Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hurting and Healing

The girls of the house. They all bring me so much joy!

I would like to take a moment and in a few measly words and characters thrown together on the screen you’re reading try to sum up the gratefulness I have for all of you and the prayers that have been prayed for me and are continuing to the throne in my behalf. I am utterly convinced that God uses the power of prayer to sustain us and I have been sustained by Jesus in the last 6 months since Jordan died. In the last 18 months that my life was a cancer-fighting hurricane. And yes, in the last 24 years to this day of God’s hand being on my life. God did that and incomprehensibly, He allowed your prayers to make that sustenance and grace and divine hold very real in my life. I am also utterly convinced that we are still in need of that miraculous act called prayer. Thanks to each and every one of you that prayed for Jordan and me and Jaycee and Arawen and who continue to pray for us. Thank you from the bottom of my hurting and healing heart.

Heart hurting. I had something akin to déjà vu the other day. A conversation I had with Jordan about a dream I had and then being in the exact place I was in my dream. A memory of him telling me not to watch a movie because he knew I wouldn’t like it. The vividness of the memory showing up AFTER I watched said movie with my brother and absolutely hated it. The absence of being so well known like that is thick. A dream I woke up from the other day of a conversation with a lifelong best friend of Jordan’s. The hurt in his heart and the intensity & honesty of him missing Jordan and talking to me about it left me to wake up to utter sadness. Sobbing to my mom later; “I can’t believe it happened. I can’t believe he’s gone.” It really is nearly impossible to wrap my mind around the permanence of death. It’s painful to even try. The way when Jordan gets spoken of the very present awareness of the past tense stabs me in the chest. I entered 2011 without him; a year he’ll never know. I will make a year of memories, none of which will include Jordan. Five days later, Arawen turned 2 without her daddy. The memories begin and it all hurts. A lot.

Heart healing: I don’t know how to explain the strong confidence I had from the very beginning of my brutally wounded heart that God would heal me. I knew He would. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. I knew I couldn’t and won’t ever understand an incomprehensible God, but I also knew that wasn’t my job. Really, the best way I can describe it is that I have been granted surrender. God picked me up, planted me at the cross, lifted my arms, took my balled up fists, stretched my fingers out, and turned them palms up. I held the pain at arm’s length as best I could. I exhausted myself to sleep every night for a long time. I didn’t want to fall to sleep, I just wanted to pass out from exhaustion. I stayed up reading until my eyes could no longer physically stay open. And it was in this heart-wrenching, reeling, pain-racked time period that God spoke to my hurting heart and a manifestation of the healing became real. I have a story to tell and it’s full of redemption and it has God‘s fingerprints all over it.

One night, I was up late reading a book after an unexpected but surprisingly enjoyable, rejuvenating, and very quick trip to Phoenix. My younger brother Josh had just punctured a lung and lacerated his liver in a bull-riding accident in Flagstaff, so after a week of recovering, I traveled out there to bring him home. His friend Ty, who attends school in Phoenix, had been at the rodeo and then at the hospital, blessing us greatly by being there for Josh when we could not. Ty had also graciously provided airport transit, picking me up and dropping the two of us off the next morning. This is my journal entry from the night I got back:

It was a moment that was born. It sparkled, then lived. It was so real and important it reached out, halted my book-reading, and turned my head to look over at it. It took my breath away and I reveled in it. I noticed it all intensely and repeatedly, devouring the entire picture with my eyes. The gorgeous, splayed lashes on the curvy, nearly spherical cheek. The unconscious beauty of the pink, perfectly joined lips. The chubby, suntanned arms and legs jutting out of the striped green pajamas and splayed all over her -and my- side of the bed. The arm curved in front of her face with the silly banz on her wrist. The blond tendrils gracing her forehead in a myriad of directions. The one braid in and the one braid out. The imperceptible up-and-down of her back and translucent softness and aliveness of my daughter sleeping next to me.

Ahhhh….. I drank deeply before I realized what was happening. Then, startled by the delight, exactly like the heartbroken girl in my recently abandoned book after she had a rare joyful moment, I asked, “It’s ok to be happy. Right?”

You’d-think-it-would-have-been-longer pause.

Then, I knew that the wise adult’s reply to the girl was true for me as well: “Right. Very ok.” Except the voice I heard wasn’t an uncannily understanding man. It was Father. I know that voice; it penetrates hospital ceilings. His understanding is not uncanny. His understanding is omniscient, empathetic, and very, very real. It is ok to be happy. And then I heard the same voice again:

“And it’s ok to love Ty Kieser.”

Twenty-nine days after my beloved husband looked me gently in the eyes, touched my chest and told me he was going to pray that God would make space in my heart to love someone else, I was freed to love Ty Kieser. I was profoundly astonished!

Ty Kieser. Tall, dark, disarmingly handsome, radiating Jesus in raw genuineness, soul-searching eyes, beyond athletic, hilarious, passionate man of God. I knew that it would be hard. I knew that being freed to love him did not include doing anything about it. Except pray. I knew the next weeks and months would nevertheless be piercingly painful with loneliness and excruciating surrender. And I knew I would have to lay this man on the altar too. I was not being freed to love him and keep him. I was being freed to love him and give him back to God. But, with all that knowledge, I also knew I loved him. And that God was in this.

Caught completely off-guard, awestruck in the moment, the above description and narrative began to tumble through my head. As I grabbed my laptop knowing I needed to write it all down and I couldn’t lose the words reading themselves to me in my brain, I questioned myself. I distrusted the terrified and excited butterflies in my stomach. The blatant obviousness of the fact that it would take a divine miracle loomed horribly and familiarly large.

I comforted and convinced myself that if it wasn’t, in fact, supposed to happen with the man newly dear to my heart, I would be more than happy to delete the above paragraphs forever. I knew that, with whomever God would bless me, he would be unthinkably right and wonderfully over-qualified for the huge job. I envisioned myself ruefully laughing and gesturing with a flick of my wrist at the immature coping mechanism of a crush.

The self-assuring, self-questioning, and self-protection walls were closing in on me, but I was kind of there: freedom to live in the moment. Unashamed of what that moment looked like even if, to all others it appeared unforgivably ludicrous. Freedom to allow an overwhelming spectrum of raw emotions into my heart and know that I wasn’t the One ultimately responsible for sorting it out. Freedom to put my computer down, shakily and probably temporarily give it all to God, and go to sleep. 8.23.10, 1:54 a.m.

Next post title: God’s Crazy Love Stories