Stop Asking God, “WHY?”

The most human response,

when things happen…

when bad, things happen…

when unexpected, bad things happen… is

the proverbial “WHY? ” question.

I asked it when my baby, Grace, died, in utero, twenty-five years ago.

I asked it when I was diagnosed with colon cancer ten years ago.

I asked it when my 19 year old son, Caleb, died of an accidental drug overdose three years ago.

Image result for free pics of rock piles

Sometimes it was a quiet, weeping statement, “Why, God?….I don’t understand”

Sometimes it was a loud, yelling statement with flailing, fist-shaking arms, “WHY GOD?… I DON’T UNDERSTAND!!!

Sometimes it was a voiceless, groan and moan, collapsed on the floor, “why?… just why, God?

And,

I began to think to ask it AGAIN, about a month ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But I hesitated. This time it was different.

Experience taught me.

Asking “WHY?” keeps me stuck.

And I think it keeps most people stuck.

Stuck in the wallowing pit; stuck in bed; stuck in depression; stuck in going forward because there seems no point to going on. What is life after this really bad thing that happened? How can I ever trust again? How can I ever laugh again? How can I go on without my child?

I have been there myself and see it as I listen to others try to process the unexpected, bad things that happen in life. Let’s face it… we want to know ALL the WHY’S… but in most things, we are not meant to know the answer, of WHY …

Most things, just are.

They just are, because God allows it for a purpose only He knows. THIS answer is hard. I fear most people do not want to hear it.

I didn’t.

Shut my eyes!

Clamp my hands over my ears!

Stomp my feet and babble La-La-La-La …til it all goes away!

Yes. It is hard.

I believe it is hard because… well, we want to be bigger than God. We want to challenge Him, question Him, call Him on the carpet… don’t we?

I know I did.

You see, as a human, I like control of my life and wanted to keep it that way.

But,

as a child of the Father, as a woman who loves Jesus, I need to remind myself:

  1. My life is not my own.

2. He knows best.

The day I asked Jesus into my heart, I gave up my life as my own and I surrendered it to the Father who … knows best. But, being human, I go about my life and often forget what that actually means. My life is not my own; I live to glorify God – and try to do what pleases Him. And to bring it right down to bare-bones truth: He knows best – always did and always will. Who am I to question what God allows in a life? He is the master painter, I am just a pigment of paint in His work.

THIS makes it easier now.

THIS makes me hesitate to ask again, Why?

THIS I have decided: Stop asking God, WHY?

And you know what?

I feel freed. I feel relieved. I feel totally at peace. I have crawled into the palm of His hand and can rest easy, supported and carried.

I don’t need to know why I have been allowed a second bout of cancer before I am even 60 years old. Or why I had to suffer the sudden, loss of two children. Or WHY of anything that happens in my life, day to day.

I know, that if I can keep my focus on this: God is God, and I am not, yet, God loves me… THEN I find peace.

The wrestling is over. The match is won and God’s arm is (always was) held up in victory. My job: trust Him and seek Him.

So this is my decision.

I share it with you, just in case you find yourself in the wallowing pit, or in the bed too long crushed by depression, or wonder what the point is in going on, or if there’s life worth living without your child…

I urge you too, to stop asking God, Why?

… And crawl into the palm of His hand and rest. He’s got this. Cuz He’s got you!

Jesus loves you, ya know.

My Rock Piles

I was asked to speak this year at my church – on my Christmas Joy. But, how could I speak on Joy when I am not happy?

If you have about 7 or 8 minutes, have a listen; I hope you will be encouraged. May you finish this year out well and enter the New Year stronger !

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SJdYMKhDNQ6RVHLGeGEA1Gmsxm1K68cM/view?usp=sharing

NORMAL (Part II): Paint on the Paintbrush

Are we brave enough? Are we willing enough?

Leaning forward,

arm extending at an upward angle,

breath inhaling,

an artist sits before a blank canvas with paint on the paintbrush.

And, if this artist is anything like me, there is a slight hesitation before that first brush stroke, before the paint on the paintbrush meets the white of the canvas, changing it’s look entirely.

Am I brave enough to put that color down? Am I willing enough to take the risk?

Yes. These are the questions I am asking today while we come closer to the new-normal, post Covid-19.

An artist relies on past experiences; brilliant creations alongside failed creations. It’s all in the learning to know what works and what does not.

So, all metaphorical visuals aside, let me ask you this:

What are you learning while in-the-battle,

enduring the stress,

the changes,

the uncomfortableness,

and the losses that dictate the days,

right now, during this pandemic?

(PAUSE)

What is most missed by you?

What is most important to you?

What are you glad to be without?

(PAUSE)

Now.

Lower your arm and let the color fill the white of your canvas. Go ahead, take the risk and put the color down.

Are you brave enough? Are you willing enough?

My brush stroke creates the image of everyone I love, sitting close enough to hug, on a day dappled with sunshine beneath the large maple tree in my yard. My painting would have this image repeated and repeated and repeated, ad infinitum – capturing the essence of time filled with the closeness of the people I love.

Would your color stroke depict something similar?

I think, and I guess, maybe so – and I know why.

We all are created as relational beings. We were made to crave companionship, physical contact, and love.

The greatest Artist that ever existed is the One who created you in the womb; in the womb you were known – the first relationship initiated, it is written in the DNA of all humans. I am not talking about your mother, she came second in your relationships. I am talking about God. From the beginning, God knew we humans need the companionship of other humans in order to thrive in the best way; the horizontal line of relationship one to another.

This is why I am not surprised at what I imagine to be the most common thing missed during this time of pandemic-induced social distancing:

Family,

loved ones,

people/community,

and all the similes from there.

So,

am I… (?),

are you… (?),

brave enough to demand that your new-normal includes an increase of time spent with loved ones? Are we willing enough to allow it to be the forefront of our paintings and push to the background, the busy-ness and non-relational demands? Can we urge authorities to be more mindful of this most important and basic need of humanity as they decide what to dictate to us about “returning to normal?” I believe the old-normal forgot this along the way.

What if…

… family time was more important than homework,

more important than overtime,

than the economic recovery (what do we need to recover to anyway – who decides that mark)?

What if school days were shorter,

work days were shorter,

and naps and vacations more plentiful?

What if we listened more, cared more, invested more into the lives around us?

Would these changes actually make us better and healthier people, students, workers, communities, and thrust us into a more abundant economy simply because we are living a more loving, refreshed life?

The canvas is white!

The paintbrush is in my hand, your hand, individually and collectively….

are we brave enough, willing enough to create a new-normal that is better than the normal we had before?

 

Stay tuned:

NORMAL (Part III): The Unchanging Changer

 

 

 

NORMAL(Part I): It’s Gone Forever

Let’s face it….

The NORMAL we once knew is gone forever. This is how I know.

I birthed a stillborn baby.

I had cancer.

I had a son who died of an overdose.

After each one of these traumatic events in my life, NORMAL was altered forever. And this is just how it is; No one escapes the long term affects of hardships and traumas. The experiences of Covid-19 will render the same. Normal: it’s gone forever.

I do not aim to be a Debbie-downer, but let’s face it… this is reality.

Grace was my fifth pregnancy, and I thought all things would be normal. As she lay lifeless in my arms after twelve hours of induced labor, my outlook  upon life changed. Cognizant, I was face to face with the sovereignty of God: He is the opener and closer of wombs, He is the giver and taker of life, He does what He wants for His purposes. I did not take pregnancies or the creation of life for granted as I may have.  And, God blessed me with five more children.

Stage 3A cancer blasted me from normal life into a year of hellish treatments and surgeries that teetered me on the edge of life and death.  I survived, yet normal life as it was, is gone. There are scars: caustic treatments destroyed my digestive system and I now, must constantly watch what goes into my mouth so that I am not in pain or tied to the bathroom for hours. This is a new normal for me; Tedious and not pleasant, yet I am glad to be alive and often praise God for my breath – inhale/exhale, each day a gift.

Despite all my efforts, love, and prayers… my son died of a sudden, accidental, overdose. Caleb was plagued with common mental issues and he succumbed to addiction, detoxed, was clean, relapsed, then died; that is the short story. The two year anniversary date comes up in just twenty nine days and it will be emotionally hard, again – but honestly, everyday is still hard; family-normal is gone forever as well. Sudden loss, too soon, in our human thinking changes life and how I think.  Some things just do not fit in our brains; we cannot comprehend what does not make sense to us. And yet, again, I am sustained and I am blessed each day I live, by a loving God.

Changed, I am: mentally, physically, and spiritually. I currently live what I call a new-normal life – even still, that is about to be altered, again.

The fall out from Covid-19, no matter how each of us is affected, is ushering in a new-normal, to be revealed very soon.

Yes, the old Normal: It is gone forever.

Grieve it.

It’s okay.

The logical news is this:

A NEW NORMAL will present itself, and by the mercy of God, we will meander into the unfolding with increased grace and compassion.

My advice?

Don’t fight it, it’s not a battle that can be won. I urge you to embrace it.

Some of the new-normal will be dictated upon us by governments and authorities over us, yet some things in the new-normal will be dictated by what we each have learned. That new-normal is up to us as individuals and as the collective community of America; Great opportunity is before us to create a better new-normal!

The question is: are we brave enough? Are we willing enough?

Stay tuned…

NORMAL (Part II): Paint on the Paintbrush

NORMAL (Part III): The Unchanging Changer

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sons’ Death was a Springboard: Part One

My sons’ death was a springboard into the deeper understanding of three important things:

  1. The human condition
  2. The power of relationship
  3. The gift of a day

Today, I share #1 with you…

Open my eyes, to see people as you see them. This was a daily prayer of mine… little did I know that my sons’ death would precipitate God answering that prayer for me.  Until my son died of a drug overdose in May of 2018, I believe I was living in somewhat of a naïve, idealistic bubble in quasi-pursuit of living the American dream: the, have-jobs-got-house-got-car-got church-got-kids-and-the-proverbial-golden-dog mode where only the really bad stuff happens to those “other people.” My circle of influence and camaraderie was with like-minded folk. After my sons death, I was catapulted into another circle, the wider circle of people who suffer, struggle, and who have been broken by circumstances of life and I could never have been able to see them, unless I was first broken myself. You know the childish sassy-come-back of, “it takes one to know one”… well that’s true, I’d say, it takes being broken to be able to truly see the broken, with your heart.

Broken, is the human condition. Broken, is what God sees and it’s the entire reason why Jesus was born in the manger and nailed to a cross.  The beginning to seeing how God sees, means seeing the brokenness of the human condition.

Truth is, we are all broken in some way – so be gentle with each other and take the time to really see people underneath their brokenness.

Ephesians 4:2