Something that scares me: Journaling. Right after my daughter died I published and our book became an International Best Seller. I have always been a journaler but can count the times I have journaled since my daughters death on both hands, or less. It has been too painful and it’s been over three years. SO, to overcome this fear I journaled today and now I’m sharing it with you. Whew!!
My journaling is always a prayer to my best friend, My Abba, Jesus, The Comforter, Love Himself!!!
February 17, 2018
Hello to my Best Friend,
I know, I haven’t journaled in a very long time. The truth is, I have been afraid. I just kept waiting to be ready and more and more days passed, then months and on to years. I’ve been afraid I won’t be able to handle the emotion that comes as well as the revelation that comes. With revelation comes responsibility and my responsibility muscles have severely atrophied from the weight of grief and past failures. I gave up, like the roof of our neighbors old shed under the weight of a heavy snow load. It couldn’t repair itself and neither can I repair myself.
I already know that you have called me to the deep path of vulnerability and created a generous heart in me to share that vulnerability. But…. My daughter died. Our child died. I know, I know… you know this. Something in me just has to write it again. Our beautiful daughter died. Though my head and my heart both know that you roll out a red carpet of grace and strength when you allow us to walk through dark days I fear my emotions simply can’t handle it. I fear I am not strong enough. No, I know that I’m not strong enough. Since her death I have only become weaker by holding onto the things I don’t know how to process. It’s like when you hold your breath until you get to the other side of something, all the while weakening your body as you deprive it from oxygen or possibly similar to pulling a hot pan out of the oven without a hotpad and having no place to set it. I fear that I have done this very thing too long and only weakened my story, my state and ready to drop it all, causing a hot mess for everyone around me.
So, this social woman that had a broad span of friendships and wide range of experience has made herself small so she could cope. I need help. Well, that’s not all together true. You have helped me all along. I do need help but it hasn’t been absent to this point. Now is simply a time for new vision and renewed strength. You have spoken clearly to me but I fear that my current condition could not hold up to what you are asking me to do. The very things I use to teach to others I have let fall to the wayside, not on purpose but within that foggy cloud of grief, despair and deep pain. God, unveil my eyes but… please be gentle. Please, be gentle. I am afraid. I am trying to remind myself that you are always gentle with me, always, always, always.
Repentance, why do we avoid such a beautiful thing? I am very familiar with the beauty of repentance and the power of the aftermath but the path is overgrown with the weeds of pain, circumstance, fear, fear and more fear. Sometimes we fall victim to something that we allow. Fear! I have allowed it! Anxiety, I have allowed it. How did this happen? This is not who I am. The death of my daughter brought the death of so much. I choose today to believe that the things that have died were meant to die, such as the need for approval from others. In their own fear people had expectations of how I should grieve. I was judged harshly. I surprised them, disappointed them, challenged them, annoyed them and encouraged them.
Being a leader when you walk through difficult things is hard. It’s that simple. This allowed me to walk out of an old habit of looking for the approval of others. I’m grateful as well as alert when he tries to revisit. His visits tend to be farther and farther apart.
It’s surprising how the searing pain of the death of a child naturally reduces relationships. I don’t need to explain away their different reasons but I accept it. It’s painful and freeing. I would have never seen this side of the sincerity of relationship prior to my daughter dying. I gave superficially to so many out of a need to feel significant. Isolation and a long distance move painfully freed me from disingenuous friendships and allowed beautiful ones to emerge that were lost in the crowd before. I am grateful but I didn’t get there without first wading through a sea of pain.
I am called to give deeply and I fear that I am too shallow. Or, at least that is the shallow voice of the liar that lies to me some days and discourages me from identifying and taking that first step. Truths like that last sentence bring new freedoms, or old ones revisited.
I love to write. You always show up when I write. It’s like one of those old pictures of two old guys on each end of a long saw pushing and pulling to accomplish the task at hand, to fall a tree. Thank you for honoring my limited intellect, for pushing and pulling and allowing me to wrestle with you, for patting me on the back and loving me so deeply. Thank you for showing me that what I have to give is very valuable and in your grace you frame it to show off, much like when I put my children and grandchildren’s art on the fridge. Your love truly amazes me.
One of the greatest things I have learned from relationship with you, my Heavenly Father, My Abba, My Best Friend, or my favorite title for you, The One I Adore and Who Adores Me, is that I am in the greatest place, an abyss of weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my (enormous, mountain of) weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (my emphasis added) I couldn’t possibly be in a better position. I praise your name and thank you for your unending grace. Through written word I am boasting of my frail and feeble state so your glory may come. Oh, God, let your glory come!