Honey and the Stone

“So much to say and nothing at all.  My thoughts drifting down like leaves in the fall…”

I have wanted to pick up my pen many times over the last month.  So many thoughts running through my head.  None of them seemed to be coming together in a way I would want to share with those kind enough to read my posts. Today is no different from the others, yet I feel compelled to try to bring sense to some of what has been on my heart and trust God with the rest.

As I have sought to write about the hope I have in my Jesus  it fascinates me that everything in my life and the life of those I love seems to be pointing directly away from this hope I proclaim.  My life has known many difficult seasons but never one so overflowing with tragedy as the one of late.

Death, cancer, loss, finances, physical pain, illness, politics, relational struggles……The list goes on and on. If I’m not touched by these hardships, someone I love is.

Hope wanes.  Sorrow is heavy.  Pain is a burden.

I’m weary.

How do I share hope when I’m struggling to see it?  How do I encourage when I need encouragement? I find myself on my face again crying out to God.  He meets me there as He always does and as I pour out all that wounds He lifts my head and I cry out again.  This time with praise.  A time of mourning transformed into a time of worship.

The promises of my King pierce the darkness and I remember hope.  Or truer still, hope remembers me and I am made new.  It is here I see that the trials don’t point me away from Jesus, they point me to Him.  What would seem to divide is actually a place of sweet union.  What seems hopeless is actually a place with the promise of renewal as our God makes all things new in the perfect timing of His love.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:35 ESV

This is not to suggest that the grief is gone, circumstances changed or that a single second of this is easy. On the contrary.  Rather it is about the fact that hope and pain are not independent of each other.  They are not realities that refuse to be reconciled. The moments of my deepest sorrows have often been intermingled with times of my sweetest joy as I walk with Jesus through my suffering.

Jesus holds you in the dark of the night when all seems lost and your thoughts betray you.  He hears you when your tears pour from the injustice of it all.  He sees these babies left behind, precious ones lost, your friend growing weaker by the day. He stands with you in the uncertainty of this election, when you are waiting for your test results and when your marriage is struggling to hang on.  He hears you when the one you held when they were new is now an adult turning their back on God.  He loves you when you rage against Him or believe that there is no God at all.

Dear one, trust Him in your pain.  Praise Him in your heartache.  Take His hand as you walk through the fire.  Or maybe it is time to stop rejecting Him and running from Him and give yourself into His care.

He is worthy.  He is able.  He is willing.  He is good.

He will never leave you or forsake you.

Jesus came for you. Jesus died for you.  Jesus rose again for you. Jesus is coming back for you.

It is beautiful to sing His praise from the top of the mountain, but it is glory to sing to Him in the darkness of the valley.  May you walk with Him there sweet one, as He brings Honey from the Stone.

~ Deon

 

 

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To Mars and the Stars

Mornings are different now.  I wake to the reality of living our lives without you.  Your parents and your sisters fill my thoughts.  I try to go about the motions of the day as I wrestle with the disbelief of it all.  As I try to put together the right words it causes me to think of your precious little face as a baby and the beautiful young woman you had grown to be.  My mind replays your dreams of the future and I weep again and again at the loss of you.

Oh Stacia, how I’ve longed to write something that would honor you.  Words that would capture even a small glimpse of what you mean to me.  What you mean to all of us.

My pen that has long helped me process and express my feelings in a way my voice never could now betrays me.  My pen is not equipped to tell of this kind of pain.  There is not enough ink in the world to convey the depth of our sorrow or the despair I feel when I look into your mama’s eyes or watch your dad walking through his grief.  Words can’t help me take your sisters hurt away or bring you back.

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How do I begin to explain the numbness that fell on me as your Uncle Jeff took the call and whispered  words I never thought I would hear and he never thought he would have to say.  A sentence that seemed……impossible.  So final.  A sentence I cannot repeat even now.

I had held you in my arms just a few short hours before.

It just couldn’t be.

We had all talked about your new school year..  Your change of career plans.  We had no doubt we would see them come to pass.  These dreams, such a perfect fit for you.  We chatted about your job and Camp Leo.  Taylor kept telling you how much she loved you and how unbelievable your American Eagle discount was.  She asked how many babies you wanted to have someday and you laughed at me a little when I asked if Diabetic people could get gestational diabetes. You patiently tried to explain sorority relationships to your Uncle again and as you told him about “Bigs” and “Littles” he jokingly asked if there were any “Middles”.

We were casual when we talked about your drive back to school and reminisced about how you had always loved to drive long distances.  It must have been the cowgirl in you that loved the open road.

Oh love, had I known what the next hours would bring I would have never let you go.  I would have hugged you in that parking lot until the sun came up. I would have told you to quit your job and stay home. I would have driven you safely back to your family and kissed you one more time. I would have sent you on your way to follow your plans and walk into your future.  If only I had known.

But that wasn’t to be…..

I have struggled with hope in recent days.  I have resisted the peace and comfort I know  is found in my Lord.  Sometimes, for no other reason than my thoughts are so scattered.  Other times for simply not wanting to be comforted.  Preferring the walls of my pain over the steady wave of Jesus’ love that promises to refresh and strengthen me.  How could I want to be comforted when your mama won’t hold you again and your daddy has lost one of his precious girls?  How can I be filled by the presence of my Savior when my nieces cry over the loss of their sister.

Is the love of my God big enough for this?  Can His love quiet this raw torrent of pain?

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Then like a gift, I remember your smile.  So bright. So true.  So ready to love and be loved in return.  I think of a little girl.  So tiny and brave when Diabetes came crashing into your life.  Your world soon turned upside down by needles, blood sugars and a pancreas that had let you down.

My love and admiration for your family grew even stronger in those days as I watched the way you took care of each other.  Courageous and real in the face of every challenge.  It wasn’t easy but you and your family are knitted tightly together and you made it through.  You kept walking it out until you became a inspiration and a role model for other kids facing the same giant.

I flash forward to a table at Denny’s one night.  You as a young teenage girl.  Reminding your big sister, cousin and your Uncle and I that if “God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”  We didn’t need to keep talking.  You had said it all.

The fog now has begun to lift and the unwavering love of His promises has begun to make me new again as I remember that my hope is anchored securely and without fail in the love of our Savior.  His Comfort finds me as I read His words and I am relieved that I don’t have to try to make the right words flow from my pen because He has already given us all the truth we need.

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He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.  Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:3

Grief doesn’t come in pretty packages or follow anyone’s timeline.  Our lives are forever changed and our hearts will never forget.  We will walk out the rest of our days wishing you were with us to share in the moments.   We will hold your parents close and love on your sisters at every opportunity because we know that their way is longer and steeper than ours and because they are so very dear to us.

Through it all I will trust in His great promise that His love is in fact big enough to hold the chasm within all of our hearts.

“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

As the leaves change into their falling colors and the morning air turns crisp I am reminded that time doesn’t stop to respect our loss.  I pray that as the hours march on we would all continue to hold each other a little tighter, sincerely light up when we see each others faces, that we would linger a little while longer and truly listen to each others hearts.

I pray that we would continue to hope.

Because that’s what you taught us sweet girl and we are forever grateful.

We Love you Beautiful One…

To Mars and the Stars,

Aunt Deon