Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Moments of Clarity

God is good. In the midst of my sorrow and my times of weeping for what I've lost, there are moments of clarity when I can look at my life, my situation, and see things for what they truly are. Now, we all may have a different idea about what "true" is. But for those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that for me, true is Jesus. Truth is looking at my life through a lens of the eternal, knowing that what I do and what happens to me has more to it than just what I can see on the earth.

I had a moment of clarity last week. I went to visit a friend of mine who has a daughter currently suffering from a fatal syndrome. Her body is degenerating. She is in pain. We have been able to have many honest conversations about where God is in the midst of these things and I always walk away from the time with something to think about or be thankful for.

Last week, we were having lunch along with my friend's oldest daughter. We were discussing the purpose of what we suffer and the frustration that comes when people say, "Your situation has taught me..." or "I've learned......from your difficult times." There's a real sense that we all recognize in which you just want to look at them and say in the most sarcastic voice you have, "I'm SO glad that MY horrible life is doing something for YOU." In my humanness, I confess, that is often my response. When I'm having a particularly good day and can think and see clearly, I can look at these kinds of comments and say, "Thank you God for using me." I don't always like it. I don't always understand it. But I've been able to come to the conclusion that says if my life and sufferings, or Lydia's life and sufferings can play a bigger part in bringing people to knowing Jesus, I'll take it.

Again, I keep this perspective as often as I can. There may very well be a time you come up to me and tell me that and I'll say, "That's great and all but can you learn from something else and I get my baby back? Thanks."

We spent a while talking about that and later went to the living room so my friend could sit and hold her daughter who was in so much pain that putting her down was out of the question. As we sat quietly together, she looked at me and said the words that I said in my heart and with my mouth so many times as I watched Lydia seize, "I cannot stand that God allows her to suffer like this."

It's so difficult to reconcile this thing to God's goodness. The allowance of pain in general is difficult. I am much more ready to accept my own suffering than to watch my child suffer in a way I can't understand - I think that would be true of any mother. I can take God using the situation to teach people. I can accept that death is coming. But I cannot accept the suffering. The question "How can You do this?" was often on my lips. How can He make my child suffer in this way and make me watch as she does?

I don't remember exactly when the answer was whispered softly to my heart, but I remember the realization clearly.

He let His only child suffer. He watched as His only Son died. Yes, He knew the plan. Yes, He knew what the end goal would be. But I know it didn't hurt Him any less. He knew the pain of being separated from His child. And He allowed Himself to know that pain for me.

Of all the hurt that God has ever known, I always forget that He has known this one more deeply than I can understand. He knows, HE KNOWS how I feel. And no, it doesn't make me hurt any less because He knows how I feel but, oh, the comfort it brings me to know that He understands my broken heart.

He knows how it feels to watch the child that you love beyond words struggle to breathe. He knows how it feels to watch as that child takes it's last breath. He understands the deep pain of separation.

It doesn't fix it. But it changes something in me. I'm not desperately clinging to a God who has never experienced the death of a child. He knows. When no else can understand the groaning in my heart, He knows. And just as God always knew what Jesus' life and death was destined to do and so willingly sent His son to willingly die for me, so I can stand and say, with a little more courage each time, that I know the life and death of my child means more than just her life and her death. Obviously, Lydia is not Jesus, nor will her life and death ever, ever mean what His did. But if God could send His son (His SON, people. A perfect, perfect being) to suffer and die to bring life to the world, what excuse do I have to want to hold Lydia back and say, "No. You can't use her life and death for something else"?

Please, please don't think that I'm saying this out of an attempt for mock holiness or spirituality. I wrestle with this. I fight with God. I yell. I curse. I am indignant. HOW DARE HE?! And I don't understand. Even as I try so feebly to put all of these thoughts to words, I still don't really understand them all, nor do I like them.

But I know the truth. I KNOW THE TRUTH. And the truth is, my life, my death, your life, your death, Lydia's life, Lydia's death, Jesus' life and His death - it's all to point people to God. And if God wouldn't hold on to His own Son and would choose to watch Him suffer and die so that others could know Him, what argument do I really have?

That is one moment of clarity. Talk to me tomorrow and I'll say something completely the opposite of all of that.


  1. Oh Jen, my heart has said this exact same thing. Exact! Not quite as beautifully, but every single thought and feeling has been my own. I am praying for you. I think of you all the time.

  2. "That is one moment of clarity. Talk to me tomorrow and I'll say something completely the opposite of all of that."

    YES Jen, I can totally identify. Sometimes I think, how can I write something that is so worshipful and holy, and then an hour later turn around and be so angry at the God I was just praising???

    I truly believe it's battle of the flesh against the Spirit. Ultimately, the Spirit WILL win, and these moments of clarity will be the whole of our thoughts.

    So honored to know you, Jen! You are sad. You are angry. You are grateful at the same time. It's excruciating and messy, but you are handling grief so well. Thanks for walking with me!

  3. Hi Jen -

    I just randomly stumbled across your blog and I'm so happy that I did. It has truely been moving to read about the life of your beautiful daughter Lydia. As a mother myself I am in awe of your strength and the power of your faith.

    Keeping you and your family in my prayers.


  4. Very well said....glad you wrote it down, as a reminder to us readers, and to yourself, for tomorrow, when you're feeling differently. :)

  5. I have no words of wisdom which will help with the pain, I have no answers to your questions, I cannot feel your depth of pain but I can say your in my heart and prayers.

  6. I don't think I've ever realized before the God knows what it is like to watch his child struggle to breathe. Thank you for that though it has broken my heart.