Our minds are like the tallest tree where the heaviest and strongest winds test the strength of the branches. Our thoughts are the many leaves attached to each branch. Some thoughts gladly let the wind take hold of them and send them either soaring in the rush or floating gently down. There are those others, though. The thoughts that are stubborn and shrewd. They hold tight with all their power and refuse to let go no matter the wind force. These are the ones we dislike.
We can’t see the wind just like we can’t see our thoughts. However, we can see the effects of the wind. We can also see the effects of our thoughts, and feel them as well. The Bible tells us to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” This does not come easy for a lot of people. However, we know that we are called to do it. It is for our benefit that we learn to do it so we can protect our minds and self from where those stubborn or dark thoughts can potentially lead.
The “wind” is there to help us let go of them. Psalm 104:4: “He makes the wind his messengers.” Our help to battle is in the “wind.” Stop fighting and let it take hold.
When I was first told that I wouldn’t have to do anything else after the Lumpectomy (no chemo, or radiation, etc.), I was elated…at first. Guilt came next.
Guilt is a powerful emotion that has a way of sneaking up on you. I guess, for me, you could call it survivor’s guilt. Before you ask “why would she feel guilty over that?” Know this- two years ago a friend of ours lost her battle with colon cancer. Tomorrow a former teacher of mine will be buried after losing her battle with ovarian cancer. There are others in my life who have battled and won and others who are still in the process. All of them had to go through so much just to have a chance at another day.
So, why did I get a free pass? This questioned plagued me for days.
I was talking to a very wise young woman about this and she asked me:
“what makes you think you got a free pass?”
She reminded me about everything I have had to go through with Melanoma and other skin cancers…all the skin checks, blood tests, xrays.
Then she said something that I will never forget: “Nobody gets a free pass”
She is right. Nobody gets a free pass.
We are all fighting something whether it’s a physical illness, an emotional issue or a mental illness.
We are all in a fight. We are just in different battles.
I took myself out to lunch after the Easter service yesterday. In the booth next to me was an elderly couple, dressed in their Sunday’s best, who sat and ate their meals in complete silence. They ate, stared out the window, stared at each other, but never once did they speak. As I witnessed this, I thought “I hope that my husband and I never end up like that – where we run out of things to say to each other.”
When the waitress came by to hand them their check, she told them that she said, “see you next week.” I realized that this couple probably comes here every Sunday after church. It’s their routine. I smiled at this thought. As they got up to leave, the man went over to his wife to help her out of the booth. He then grabbed her purse and put it around his shoulder. He put one arm around her shoulder, and held her hand in his hand. He was helping her, guiding her frail body that obviously struggled, holding her steady as they walked. You could see the love he had for his wife permeate through these gestures. As I witnessed this, I thought to myself, “I hope that my husband and I will be just like that one day.”
This whole exchange reminded me of our relationship with God. Sometimes it seems that we are sitting in silence with Him. We can’t hear Him and it feels like He doesn’t hear us – just like we are this couple. Just like this couple, many of us have a routing to spending time with Him.
Isn’t it beautiful to know that He is just like the husband in this scene? He puts His arm around us, He helps us up, He holds our hand, He guides us and He leads us. All out of love.
Sometimes as Christians we can feel like failures when the emotions we feel seem more powerful and stronger than the faith and trust that we hold. At first, it may feel wrong ti feel these, but emotions, as troubling as they can be at times, can also be beautiful, honest, and raw. And that’s how God wants us to come to Him…honest and raw. These emotions are what makes us human. They are what made Jonah run in fear. They made David cry out in despair. They even made Jesus cry out on the cross.
I have been feeling this way, but gradually, through this experience, I have learned that the opposite is true. It is through those emotions, processing them and bringing them openly before God, that my faith and trust have solidified. The promises of God, which I had been preaching to myself through this whole process have been clearly identified and revealed to a, admittedly at times, broken heart.
In sharing this unwanted adventure, everyone has been prayerful, encouraging and supportive. The people I have appreciated the most are the ones who validated my emotions and let me just be angry or scared. They didn’t try to fix them. They didn’t tell me to just have faith and trust. I had those things. They just let me feel them followed with a gentle reminder to tell God about it. If I am angry at Him to tell Him. If I don’t understand, then tell Him. That, more than anything, was what I needed to hear…that it’s okay to not be okay.
Grief. It’s so much more than an emotion or a stage.
Grief is a journey.
Grief takes you down a path of processing and healing. This path is individualized. The journey can be short, and the path well-paved. It can be short, yet an uphill climb. It can be a very long, but smooth journey, or a long and rocky one. It can be curvy. It can even be circular. Everyone who experiences great loss will take this journey and no two people will experience it in the same way.
Grief comes after great loss, usually the death of a loved one. However, it’s important to know that grief can come after any loss that is deemed great to the individual.
I am not a psychologist. I am merely a woman who has suffered great loss in the past year.
I have learned a lot about myself and about the subject of grief as I have taken my own journey down its path. The biggest lesson I have learned is that this journey is different for everyone. It’s important to understand this when you are done walking its path, but it is just as important to understand it if you are still on it.
Whether the journey is short or long, smooth or rocky, you can take comfort in and trust that you are not alone. Remember this from Psalm 34:18 –
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
How many of us, both women and men, remember sitting by the phone waiting for that person we liked to call us? Sometimes, I admit this, I even picked up the receiver to check for a dial tone just to make sure the phone was actually working. Looking back, it’s funny, albeit, even a little pathetic, to picture ourselves doing such a thing. The reality is, however, that we still do it. We still wait by our phones for that phone call….the phone call with the test results we are anxiously awaiting, the phone call that hopefully has a job offer attached, etc.
What about when we are on the other end? When we call or text someone and wait anxiously for them to pick up or respond? There is a level of disappointment when the voice mail picks up or the text, or even email, isn’t responded to.
Now, imagine what that must be like for God. He calls us and waits for us to pick up, to respond, – and to answer His call. I can only imagine how many times we don’t hear “the ring.” Or worse, we hear the ring, but still don’t answer. Sometimes, like me, we may even answer the call waiting, putting God and His call on hold. I did that with this blog. I knew He wanted me to write it, but I let the other calls of life (mostly distractions) be answered before His.
Many of us are waiting for God’s call. Be ready to respond, to answer when He does.
Isaiah 6:8 says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”