Thursday, December 18, 2014

Updated: A Letter at Christmas

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. While I'm writing a response to her, please read her letter/comment. And please, let's love this woman and pray for her together.

Here are her words. Click her letter to enlarge.

Dear "broken",

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.



Terri Steffes said...

I can feel her pain and loss right through the letter.

I am certainly going to pray for God's presence to fill her up, for Him to wrap his arms around her and give her peace.

I want to do more, I feel compelled to do more. I don't know how to do more.

Anonymous said...

Brin, you know I am stopping to pray for Gail right now. I am praying for the presence of God to show up in her life in an overwhelming way. I am praying for "Jesus-with-Skin" to bless her in a tangible ways to bring her joy and comfort. I want to hug her and tell her I know... I know... one day your life can be one way and look so very different the next. I want to tell her that joy comes in the morning, maybe not this morning, but it's coming! Hang on! Keep trusting! Keep believing! Jan

Quilting Grannie said...

Gail, God knows you losses. We don't have to always say words when we pray. God knows our needs before we ask of Him. He feels our pain. But remember He does not always say Yes in answering our prayers. He sometimes says Wait a while or even No. 625

Unknown said...

Gail, mourning and grief are all part of the healing process. I want to encourage you in that the Psalmist says that God collects our tears in a bottle. (Ps. 56:8 NLT)
I am praying for you and your husband to find your comfort in Who God Is & the hope of What He will do.

Gail said...

I appreciate your comments, prayers and kindness. But I need to apologize for bringing my hurt to the public albeit anomalously.

Who am I to complain when there are people that have no food, no home, and fear for their very lives.

I came to Brin because I have found comfort and friendship. I have cried, ached, laughed and shared her happiness over the years.

When she driving the roads looking for comfort, bringing Freeman house back to life, starting her bakery I was there. And part of me knew she would understand.

I am ashamed I have brought my struggles to this board. Please delete my comment I would appreciate very much.

Prayer for the women and children who have been raped and seen their children murdered, I have nothing to complain about.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing Gail's letter with us, it's a somber reminder of the season, that is everyday for way too many! Gail, thank you for sharing your story, it's really been all of us at some point, but yes, it will all be ok!!! Praying for you and all who need it! Merry Christmas to you and Brin!!!

Brin said...

Thanks, y'all.

G- I updated this, removed your original comment, and wrote you back. I can't tell you how thoughts of you- and we've never even met!- have been in my mind and heart constantly... even through a Christmas party last night and preparations for one today. I'm so, so glad you wrote. I probably did a goof of a job in writing back, but I want you to know that you're not alone, that we care, and that when you're out of hope, I will hope for you.

Please, if you can, would you email me? ...

Gail said...

Thank you Brin, God blessed you with the right words. I knew a friend whom I had never met would understand my broken heart, I knew you had walked this path.

Thank you all, thank you for praying for me. I ask not for the material, but for the spiritual.

God bless,

Adrienne said...

I am praying for Gail - praying that God will hold her close and let her feel His arms giving comfort and strength in the middle of the grief and pain. And praying that He will take her on to new things she never dreamed possible. Thank you for the privilege of praying. Grief and pain and sadness are emotions that God created us to feel. He understands. And He loves and cares even deeper than we can.

Melissa H. said...

Gail, I have just read this and have prayed for you. Hang in there!

Lulu said...

praying for you Gail..
hugs..God Bless you...

sherry said...

Gail... what you are experiencing is great sorrow. God is holding you as you grieve. I know this in a personal way. So grieve, weep, and keep reading the word and seeking Him no matter..for He longs to sooth your soul. Praying for you .. honored to do so.

Pamela Anthony said...

WOW... & WOW...

I JUST know God allowed me, lead me to your blog today! I haven't been here for sometime... with all the OTHER social media happening, I've neglected visiting, visiting a place where my soul literally got feed!

You see... I proclaimed a step back from all social media sites... for 3 days, to fast, pray, journal & seek answers from God! I was working my business & suddenly felt a STRONG desire/need to visit your blog... to steal a piece of happiness, something that's been far & few between lately!

And there was this comment, from a dear lady, whom poured her heart out... & with your words that you've SO freely shared throughout the years... oh, God... I thank YOU for strength, for the leading, for Brin... her calling, her life, her blog!

My day has JUST been lifted... & I pray for Gail, for you, Brin & for your husband's sickness, right NOW in the Name of Jesus!

BLESSED day... ~Pamela, from Kentucky