I got a comment today. No, actually, we got a comment today. You and I did. We got a comment on the Christmas Candy post from a dear lady. I read it before I even got out of bed this morning and it took the breath right out of my lungs.
Here are her words. Click her letter to enlarge.
First things first, it's going to be okay. You are going to be okay. Things may not look better today, and they may not tomorrow, but you are going to survive this. Beautiful lady, you can do hard things.
You mentioned in a follow-up comment that you feel you have no right to the feelings you shared above. After all, aren't people throughout the earth living unspeakable horrors? Let me stop you right there. You are completely justified in feeling everything that you are feeling. Feeling broken... sad... hurt... overwhelmed... empty... at the brink... these are very real emotions. God you gave you your emotions. He gave them to you for a reason. Please don't minimize what you're feeling just because someone somewhere else has it "worse". You have every right to feel exactly how you feel today. Please give yourself that.
In 2009, I went to the office of a trusted counselor and pastor. I dumped my enormous heart-load of grief over losing my beloved Freeman House, my Jeep, my bakery business... and then seeing death take someone I loved... at this person's feet. And then I did the same thing you are. I apologized. I felt guilty. I said, "Who am I to whine and cry when women are being held as sex slaves? When women are struggling to feed their near-starved children? I hate myself for crying over my sad little first-world grief.".
And I'll never forget with this man said. He looked at me for a moment, searching my face, and then leaned forward. "Hey. Wait a minute," he said. "Forget for a moment about them. Forget about people you see on the news. Look at your life. Is this an extremely difficult time for you?"
"Yes," I whispered.
"The hardest time you've lived through?" he asked.
"Definitely. Yes," I answered.
"Then that's all that matters. For you, for your life, this is as hard as it's been. This is the biggest, all-encompassing difficulty you've faced. These are your hard times. No wonder you feel as you do. You can't compare your grief with someone else's. You can't grade your emotions based on some cosmic sliding scale. Emotions don't need to be justified. Your heart doesn't work that way. This is the hardest blow it's taken, and that's all that matters. It's okay. Really, it's okay."
I say the same to you.
No one knows exactly what you're going through... exactly what today involves... but you. Well, you and God. But my gosh, I swear that I understand that empty, God-less feeling you described. I remember feeling so raw... so open... and so devastated that the loving God of heaven seemed so far when I wanted someone most. The only thing that comforted my mind- not even my heart, really, but my brain- was that Jesus knew what I was feeling. That He hung, raw... open... and seemingly devastated that His loving Father of heaven seemed to be fading out of the picture when He wanted Him most. My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me? Now I'm not Jesus, and my suffering could in no way be compared to His, but I borrowed His words anyway and took some solace in the realization that, just as He did for Jesus, God had a plan for me.
He has one for you, too.
Why does it involve cleaning your proverbial slate? Removing jobs, cars, comfort, home, and people you love? I don't know. Why is He allowing it all at once? No clue. I can say, though, that it was some of the same for me... that sudden, Job-like devastation... like a life tornado that ripped away everything. I don't know why He allows that to fall in some of our lives... except that He sees all, knows all, and is working it all for good for us. Blech. That's the last thing you want to hear in the middle of the tornado- when everything's whirling- but it's truth. It will all come right, some day or night.
I'm glad you commented. I'm so, so glad you did. Because now I know your name. Because now, because you shared your story, I see that God is still in the business of working in lives in dramatic ways and that I am not alone in my story. But mostly, I'm glad you commented because now I can pray for you- pray hard for you- and pester God about you and your situation and your devastated heart. And when you can't pray, I can. When you have no words for Him, I'll have plenty. When you can't complain, I'll complain. When you don't have the faith to trust that God will hold you during this time, I will. I will stand in the gap with and for you, G, until He gives you a crown of beauty for your ashes and a beautiful dress of praise for your old pajamas of despair.
Please know you're not alone. Please know God hasn't left you. And please know that even in your despair, your beautiful heart is testifying to the courage, strength and might God has placed in you. You are going to be okay.
"Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God." Hold on, my heart. Hold on, hold out.