It gets harder and harder to be honest the longer I walk this Valley.
Because it’s natural that those for whom Dom’s death was a moment in time, a short season of mourning, an unfortunate incident they sometimes look back on with sadness and regret but don’t live with daily move on.
The further we get in time from the actual moment of Dominic’s sudden departure, the larger the gap between my heart and theirs.
I understand that.
But that chasm is more and more difficult for me to bridge.
It requires energy and effort I don’t always have to reach out and reach across and try to help them understand me.
So sometimes I just don’t.
There is always going to be a blank space where Dominic SHOULD be, but isn’t.
There are always going to be places that aren’t colored in because that part of the canvas belongs to HIM.
There is always, always, always going to be pain when I line up for family photos, set the table for family dinners, go on family trips, wrap presents, send cards, list names on documents because HE IS NO LONGER HERE.
Others think the water fills in where the stone sank down.
But my mama heart knows exactly where those ripples ought to be.
So I quietly remember, quietly mourn, quietly mark that special spot-smiling on the outside.
If you follow my personal Facebook page you know that part of my family evacuated ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
We are waiting the storm out at my parents’ farm in a safe spot. It was an unexpected opportunity to see one another and a sweet blessing (the visit, not the storm!) but a houseful makes it hard to do the kind of writing I normally do.
So…you’ll see some reposts for a couple days.
Hurricanes and random shootings and awful accidents can make a heart remember that relationships are really what matters.
One hard, hard lesson I’ve learned from waking up one morning to a never-coming-home son is this: You may not have another chance to make amends, say “I love you“, kiss a face or hug a neck.
I’m here to tell you: don’t drown your important relationships in unsaid words, unshared feelings, unacknowledged wounds.
All that does is guarantee distance grows between your hearts.
If you let the distance become too vast, or the pile of unsaid truth get too high, you might just find you can’t reach that far or that high to reconnect.
It takes a bit of brave to say what’s important and uncomfortable.
If someone asked me to describe Jesus I would say He’s the God who does not turn away.
He’s the God who comes near.
He’s the God who will always, always, always show up and bend down.
That’s what I hold onto in this life I didn’t choose-that my Shepherd Savior sees me, hears me, loves me and will help me.
For the Eternal watches over the righteous, and His ears are attuned to their prayers. He is always listening. 16 But He will punish evildoers, and nothing they do will last. They will soon be forgotten. 17 When the upright need help and cry to the Eternal, He hears their cries and rescues them from all of their troubles. 18 When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close and revives him in his pain.
Psalm 34: 15-18 VOICE
Not long after Dominic’s death there was a horrible mass shooting and the perpetrator was in his fifties. I have to admit I literally yelled at God, “REALLY???? This guy lives to his fifties only to kill a bunch of innocent people and You didn’t save Dominic from his accident?!!!”
I was angry and frustrated and sad and broken.
If I’m honest I’ve had a few more moments like that since then.
But I’m brought up short when I read these verses and others like them. The wicked do not have God’s ear. They will not know eternal life with Him in Heaven. They may even be worldly successes but nothing they do will last forever. Riches don’t secure immortality.
Only a penitent heart leaning fully on the grace and mercy of God is eternally safe.
Because I am His child. when I’m hurting, God does not run away or turn a blind eye or a deaf ear-He meets me there.
Jesus is the lover of my soul.
He is the Healer of my heart.
Do you feel heard by God? By others? Why or why not?
How do you deal with the fact that sometimes evil seems to win and evil people prosper?
How would you describe Jesus? Has grief changed how you describe Him?
Is your description consistent with what Scripture tells us about Him?
Theology matters-especially when grieving. What I believe about God and Christ either undermine or strengthen my faith. Write down ten things you believe to be true about God and/or Jesus.
I admit that it’s infuriating and feels unfair that sometimes those who don’t love You still prosper. They seem to have a life free from trouble and heartache. And here I am-hurting, deeply harmed and holding on by a thread.
But You are not unjust. You are not ignoring me. You will work all things together for good for those who love you. Help me trust those truths.
You are the God who came near in the stable and on the cross. You are the God who dwells inside those who receive the gift of salvation through Christ. You are not far away.
We’ve all done it-pretended to be looking somewhere else when we pass a needy soul.
Who has time to get involved?
They might be an addict or have a contagious disease or mental illness. They might be too lazy to work, too unpredictable to trust, too likely to be here next week and need something again. It might cost more than the five dollars we’re willing to hand out.
So we walk on by and hope they don’t force the issue by standing in our way.
But God never ignores a hurting heart.
He never redirects His gaze so it doesn’t fall on the one begging for mercy.
He does not ·ignore [despise or disdain] ·those in trouble [L the suffering of the afflicted]. He doesn’t hide his face from them but listens when they ·call out to him [cry to him for help].
Psalm 22:24 EXB
How amazing that the God of the universe, the One who hung the stars in the sky and told the sea, “This far and no farther!” hears me when I cry out to Him for help!
And not only does He hear me, He longs to comfort me with His love.
He does not despise my weakness or look down His nose because I’m unable to solve my own problems or help myself.
Even when others ignore me or try to make my pain small, God is listening. He never sleeps. He’s never too busy. He’s never hoping I go away and stop bothering Him.
He knows my name.
I’m not a faceless, nameless one of thousands or millions chattering away like background noise in a crowd.
He hears MY voice.
God-my God-has a personal, specific relationship with me, His child.
He leans in, bends down and listens attentively to whatever I tell Him. Like any human father, His heart is pierced when mine is broken.
I am so, so thankful that the God I serve loves me.
He specifically, purposefully loves me with unconditional love.
Even when I’m weak.
Even when I’m running away.
Even when I question the things He allows in my life.
He will never look away or stop reaching for me.
What does it mean to you that God hears you?
Do you always FEEL heard? Why or why not?
When have you felt God’s personal care and encouragement?
How might you help your heart hold onto the truth in this verse when it seems God isn’t listening or at least isn’t giving you the relief you seek?
Can you find two or three other verses that emphasize God’s attentiveness to His children?
Sometimes I am willing to give mental assent to the fact that You hear me. And yet my heart argues that my head must be mistaken because the answers I beg for are long in coming.
The silence is deafening.
But I know our ways are not My ways and Your time is not my time. Give me confident assurance that You hear me whenever I cry out to You. Thank you that in Christ I can call You “Daddy” and always rest in the truth You are for me and not against me.
Fill my heart full of Your love. Overwhelm me with Your grace-grace to ask and grace to endure no matter what the answer may be. Amen