I wanted you to know that I have received an immeasurable amount of feedback since I last posted to the point where I feel compelled to continue to try to write a little bit more. Weeks ago, a faithful friend of mine from Maine sent an email and encouraged me to keep writing despite my continued sense that I no longer have anything worth saying. Part of the problem is that after writing for years about Nepal and many of my other mission experiences, it feels as if anything else I might have to say pales in comparison. Worse yet, at times I absolutely hate the story that I’m having to write now instead and will try to do anything to not have to live it.
I’m not kidding when I say that I am stripped and broken as a result of this plank that continues to stick out of my head. Every single day is a reminder of what once was and the knowledge that my future is nothing more than a blank slate. Maybe it’s what Christians feel when they are told they have an incurable disease or they wake up from a car accident and are ventilated and incapacitated minus the blink of their eyes?
I now see truth so much more clearly from when this first happened that it’s unbelievable. In the beginning, I just thought that I would be able to pick myself up, dust myself off, and go on serving in a similar capacity as before but God has helped me clear up some of those falsities so that I could understand my utter dependence on him in a better way and I’m really thankful for that.
You know, on September 3rd of 2010, I awakened in the morning like I had for every single day of my life up until then, thinking that whatever was ailing me would pass and that God would surely be present to assist me if I only asked. It never once occurred to me that I would be losing just about everything that I valued and held dear.
When I think back on it now, I’m slowly seeing that it was a stripping away at the soul level. The loss of dreams and hopes for the future that hadn’t even occurred yet. Perhaps some of it was fantasy or some kind of romantic notion I fostered in my head about what my life was destined to look like? Whatever it was, I realize now that it was a misunderstanding between myself and God that surely depended on some level with me getting what I wanted in life.
I think of one night early on when the pain was so incredibly bad that I laid on the floor in our large walk-in closet having grabbed my husband’s uniform and hugged it for several hours crying out to God for mercy. Oh, how I felt comfort in touching something all too familiar that belonged to him, something that smelled like him, and something that we both had loved. But in the end, there was no peace in the jacket for the knowledge that it was nothing more than an empty shell was inexplicably obvious.
I think of unrelenting days knowing that there was a gun locked in our safe in the closet combined with the looming draw that I knew that I was close to being willing to do whatever it took to stop the reality that someone whom I loved deeply and wanted to spend the rest of my life with no longer loved me at all. It was the first time I had heard the voice of the enemy… a dull, quiet voice looming in the darkness, promising everlasting peace for a moment of discomfort.
I think of letter after letter from churches and supporters signing off from Arise… some forever and some dependent on how I elected to proceed in the future and who could blame them, but the hurt and pain that follows suit leaves one at a such a loss that there aren’t words to describe it. Worst yet, my best friend and confident who had held my hand and my heart through every trial over much of my adult life was nowhere to be found. If truth be told, was the understanding that he was at the forefront of the story and ever so tightly held the keys that had the power to stop the ball of our destruction from continuing to roll out of control.
Strangely, I knew that God was present in the closet. In the quiet of the darkness, when there wasn’t a single tear left to shed, God was waiting patiently. Waiting for me to voluntarily take my hands off of an empty memory and reach out to him in trust and faith. Somehow, I drifted off to sleep with the knowledge that I still wanted more than anything to be approved by the Lord as someone who he counted worthy enough to suffer in his name.
Alternately, I knew that God’s voice was not encouraging me to take my life and stop the pain because of who slept quietly in the room across the hall. My son, who was suffering just as much as I was, and obviously trying to do everything in his power to care for me. God gave me the ability to see how such an act would do nothing more than increase the harm and damage that had already been inflicted on all of my children’s lives. Would the loss of another serve any greater purpose than to push my children farther away from God vs. drawing them near? Would God be pleased with my choice, understanding of my unwillingness to follow him in such a time of trial, forgiving enough to understand why I might choose to take the easy way out?
At some point, the letters of sadness became strangely comforting. No longer was there the pressure to try and resurrect a ministry that belonged expressly to my husband. All the years of serving behind the scenes as a Christian wife and mother would not be enough to carry through the loss of a leader and strong tower. The sack cloth that covered my body would become strangely comforting and the ashes I had heaped over my head helped me remember of my utter dependence on God. Lessons learned, when you’re as low as you can go, the only direction to move in is up. Up towards God, stripped naked of every possible human defense mechanism, finally ready to see Jesus for who he really is.
“First, we’re reduced to exhilarating humility, to an interior darkness, a silencing darkness, that lets us see God in the richest way He can be seen in this life. We will see Him in heaven in ways we cannot see Him now. But we can see Him now in ways that release us to worship and love, even when dreams shatter.” – Shattered Dreams (Larry Crabb)
“When we discover our passion for God, He reveals His passion for us.” – Shattered Dreams (Larry Crabb)
One thing I can assure each one of you is that I will find God and that I am closer now than ever to a willingness to make no demands, to sacrifice everything I hold dear for the privilege of resting in the Father’s presence. I am moving through the rubble of my soul. My appetite for God has been aroused. The Spirit is moving. The days of my addiction to relational control are nearly over.
I have no idea what will happen next? I’m not sure how God will appear? I’m not sure how I will know when he does? There’s probably still more that I can do to create space for God to enter? How will I describe the experience when God shows up?
So, for today, I choose to wait, with this painfully large plank sticking out my head. I will continue to wait in silence and solitude because that is what is most important in discovering God’s presence. I have to continue to block out the noise of life and become aware of what really lines the walls of my heart. Why, because beneath the pain in my heart, every single moral failure I’ve ever committed, every shattered part of my life, I am incredibly assured that God’s divine presence is waiting for me and is fully in control if I will only allow him the opportunity.
~Gina for Arise Medical Missions