Today I doubted that God was for me.
My body felt my thoughts and refused to rally.
Maybe you heard. We had a house fire.
This is not going to be one of those times where I say things from my life that you can feel in your life, unless you recently had your wardrobe whittled down by a natural disaster, or you just bought your family all new towels because everything you had was smoke-soaked. Then again, I doubt I’m the only one who cried Monday away. Perhaps we have that in common.
Maybe you can hold your hard thing with me while I hold mine? Let’s do this together. OK, we are doing this now.
About a dozen days after your hard thing happened, did you crash? Were you fooled by the energy of a fresh-start into thinking it would stay? Did the coursing adrenalin, the prayers of loved ones, decision packed hours, and your gritty determination keep you whole for that long?
Perhaps you noticed the fissure before the crack spread. I personally didn’t see it coming.
Tomorrow the debris removal team comes to take away the rest. We are incredibly blessed; my family and our pets all made it out intact. Most of the antiques will be fine after a surgical cleaning. We now know the answer to what would you grab if your house was on fire. I am not ungrateful.
But after almost 2 weeks of salvaging, today was the last chance I had to find the one thing I have not been able to lay claim to from my childhood. I’ve had to give it up for gone. I can’t explain this sadness.
Was it like this for you? Are you sorry you read this far? Was your hard thing doing just fine in the dark, deep inside you where it can’t talk back?
Mine will not be hushed. I’m running out of time – after this week, I wont’ be going back there. I want to be ok. So, today I took the time to talk to God about what is really going on. *
If things are just things, and we know this, God, then why is the loss of this ONE thing shredding me? I say the thing out loud and I cry.
He has me ask myself, “What is it about that thing that you feel like you’ve lost?”, and I answer.
We agree; my grief is not about that thing, but without it, one of my defining stories has changed.
Defining stories are the identity details that anchor us in our families, and shape the spaces where we first learn belonging. And we attach symbols to these stories. Those symbols get extraordinary meaning – and become more than “things”.
While we talk, God and me, I hang my head until I see one of my tears in my hand and I remember that he holds them all (Psalm 56:8-9).
All the tears that we have cried in a lifetime of ache, those tears are lost to us in tissues and handkerchiefs. On shoulders and shirtsleeves. But God stores them up. Maybe nothing is lost to him.
Not your hard thing. Not my missing story-piece. Sweet friend, what if?
Every time I lose something, which is often, I know that God sees it. It makes me smile, and sometimes I even ask, “Can you just tell me where it is, God? C’mon, can’t you spotlight this for me?”
He is seeing it now. Holding your it for you. Holding mine for me.
I do not have this all figured out by any stretch of the imagination. These hard days hurt me. There’s something about soul-deep pain that is legitimately intoxicating. It holds a soothing comfort that goes down easy when I’m choking on my hope, and I let it trickle down and chill my core. You’re not the only one.
What do you do with yours? Do you take it to God – do you storm the throne with thrumming fists? Do you crack the Bible to track his love even on days when your reoccurring dark thought is easier to believe in?
I write these words in my journal with erasable pen – lest it linger. It betrays me: Jesus’ hardest day, God allowed. So how can he be trusted?
But I don’t stop there, I ask him for a picture. If he won’t show me where the missing thing is hiding in the rubble of our charred house, I need him to replace the image in my heart. And he does.
I see my Dad in his workshop, making a Christmas gift for me. I feel what he felt when his handiwork became a part of who I am in the world; precious to him. And I know that nothing has changed.
I believe God stands with me right now, catching my tears and couraging me up. Today he had his work cut out for him.
Hallelujah, he was up to the task. I can breathe, and what is lost to me is safe with him.
*If you are curious about how to have a relationship with God that holds space for him to respond to you, please subscribe to the newsletter in the top bar. There is a method I use in my God-time that has amplified my scripture study and I’ll be sharing more about it soon. Can’t wait for you to give it a test run, yourself. Join the tribe for the inside scoop, and watch my Instagram stories for instant news.