Sunday, June 29, 2008

Because of Midi

Today was a challenging day of parenting. Lucas spilled a full cup of milk all over the floor. I wasn't pleased, but I forgave him, cleaned it up, and strongly urged him to use both hands and to pay attention (I think he knocked it over because he was fixated on the TV). After giving him another cup of milk, I briefly went to the other room. When I returned, I found that the second cup of milk had been spilled. I sent Lucas to his room, angrily cleaned up the mess, and stormed up the stairs to confront him. Trying to talk to him, I found that I was really seething with anger. So I left him in the room and went to mine to think about how to handle the situation. This was the first time since Midi died that I felt so burdened by the weight of raising a child by myself. I looked up at a framed collage of Midi and Nathan and acutely felt Midi's absence as a parent and partner. I wept. I wished that Midi was with us. My instincts told me to lash out in anger over Lucas' carelessness. But I knew that if Midi was present, she would show patience and grace to her son. I somehow felt empowered to do the same. So I went to Lucas' room and I looked into his eyes and told him that I forgave him. Then I held him for a long time.

Midi's influence on me is great. Moments such as these are so bittersweet, as is much of life now. I bitterly miss Midi. But I am so grateful that I was blessed to have her in my life, to be her partner and lover. Her lasting impact on me is sweet. I loved Lucas better today because of Midi.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Not Afraid

It's been almost six months since Midi and Nathan died. I used to wonder when the pain will go away and when I would be left with just scars. I don't anymore. I've come to a place where I know and accept that for the rest of my life, I will feel my loss. And when I do, it will hurt. There will never be a time of remembering them that my heart will not ache. And yet I am not afraid of the pain. I am not afraid that it will rip me apart or sink me into an unsalvageable despair. I have a relationship with my pain. I am glad for it in some ways. It keeps my heart connected to these two souls that I love so much.

There is a reason why I am not afraid. I have a relationship with God. It has made all the difference. In my darkest hours, He has been with me. He has answered my prayers. He has taught me so much in these six months. I am thankful that I've had eyes to see, ears to hear, and the heart to perceive what He has been doing. I suppose I've made some good choices. I've chosen to cling to the Truth. I've chosen to walk through my suffering with those who love me. I've chosen to love others, not focusing on my own tough circumstances. But it is God who is sustaining me. So much of what I've learned in the past about God I am now experiencing. He is the Living Water. "...those who drink of the water that I give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." (John 4.14). "I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6.35) We need water and food to live. We need it every day. I am learning this these past six months.

The three key moments that the living God intervened to rescue me from complete despair:

1. When at the mortuary, looking at their bodies in the caskets, weeping uncontrollably I asked Him to give me a sign that would give me assurance that they were with Him and that heaven was real. Instead of a sign, He gave me himself - through the Holy Spirit in the form of supernatural peace.

2. When going through the heaviest wave of grief, crying almost continuously for several days I asked Him to temporarily take the pain away because I didn't feel that I could survive much more. He did.

3. The week leading up to Mother's Day, I was anticipating an extremely heavy weekend of pain. God preemptively eased my fears by allowing me to partner with Him. It was my most significant week of ministry in the workplace in 12 years - Two students and one friend for whom God used me to speak comforting truth. Though I still had a difficult weekend, seeing how God was freeing others gave me assurance that my faith in Him was not futile, that my tears were collected, that I would not be forgotten, that Midi and Nathan were fulfilled in Him.

I will remember these ways that God has been ever present. They are powerful memorials that will help me fight unbelief. As powerful as they are, it is the daily relationship with Him that will keep me hydrated and fed. I love abiding in the Truth. I need God. I have no shame in declaring this. He loves me. I don't deserve His love, but I accept it with open arms.