Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Blessing

Share it Please

It has been 18 months since we loaded up the moving van. A year and a half since we waved good-bye to our friends and crossed the bridge off the island. So much time has passed since I walked into this old house stuffed full of childhood memories, determined to bring my grandmother back to her home, now my own. Soon after that, I held her hand as she left this world to go to her eternal home. Moments before she left me, I scribbled "I love you" onto the palm of her hand just as she had done to me so many times over the years… our own little secret game to communicate private messages.

After she was gone, I grieved. I wept over losing her. I wept over living in her house, full of memories yet so empty in her wake.

"How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord God Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."

Over the past year, my grief has often threatened to swallow me. Stirring cookie batter in my kitchen using her old spoon, I would feel the tears pooling in my eyes. Sitting in her spot on the rusty old porch swing with peeling paint, I would choke back the regret of never bringing her home to me.

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may have her young - a place near your altar, 
Lord Almighty, my King and my God."

But gradually, the tears were replaced by joy. The old yearning for my island was replaced with a new determination to make this house a home again. And in the midst of that, I worshipped. Sometimes it happened reluctantly, sometimes it felt even forced, but still I couldn't escape the draw to sit at His feet and to let Him whisper truth over my own grief.

"Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs;
The autumn rains also cover it with pools."

During this season of my life, I have prayed in circles. Sometimes praying one way and then going another, unsure even how to approach the Holy Throne room for our journey. So many times I silently wondered what God was doing, if we had made an error that was far too grave to be redeemed.

"They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion."

But while I felt we were wonderers in a desert of uncertainly, we were really just on another leg of the journey. Pieces started coming together, slowly at first and then a steady stream. In our weakness, we found His divine strength. When all was stripped away, I found that only one thing remained. It was in the emptiness that I found that rock solid foundation that I had always known was there.

Through so much toil in my lifetime - infertility, miscarriages, hysterectomy, a horrible diagnosis for the man I love most, fear for my children's future health - at the bottom of it all, we were not walking from one pit to the next. We were moving "from strength to strength". Like a runner, constantly stretching our muscles to make us stronger for the next task at hand.

"Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
Listen to me, God of Jacob.
Look on our shield, O God;
Look with favor on your anointed one."

Suddenly, it didn't matter where we would live. Stay or go. Put down roots or pack another moving truck. All that mattered was living, breathing, existing in HIS presence. He goes with us anywhere. There is freedom there.

"Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God 
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor."

As He aligned my heart with His ways, the old desires remained. I still miss my grandmother dreadfully when I sit on the porch swing. I still long for the island, our people, our ministry dream. But there is hope because no matter where we are, He is here. No matter how we arrange the ins and outs of daily living, He steers our path in the direction of His Sovereign will. It's bigger than us. It's not about us. It's about Jesus.

"No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You."
(Psalm 84)

The blessing is in the trust. The joy comes when I let go, lean back in His arms, and fall into the soft lap of His grace that is big enough to swallow all of my own shortcomings. There is nothing too big for my God. Nothing can separate me from His love.

If you are swimming in "What If?" or "What Now?", can I just encourage you to let go? Move from strength to strength, just as our Father intended. Let His gentle hand guide you through the grief and the joy. Sit in His presence and watch as He puts the pieces together, just as He intended.


  1. Wiping gentle, grateful tears. Both for the journey you're on and the tender reminder of His presence.

  2. You've been here a year and a half and we haven't gotten together?! Yikes! Love and hugs to you, though, no matter what!