“Write what is on your heart,” she told me.
It would be so much easier to write something practical, something sitting in the forefront of my mind. A nice fluffy article about the beauty of walking through this Christian faith and how well things seem to turn out when we just keep walking.
But that isn’t the truth. The walk isn’t easy, and the fluffy words and well-timed quotes sometimes don’t reach down past our souls to the core of our spirits. Sometimes walking this faith can feel like crawling on shattered glass. Sometimes saying, “God is good” and knowing God is good takes more than a brief prayer and a warm hug from a friend. Sometimes we have to sit right in the middle of the pain – this place where our feelings deceive us into thinking for just a moment that maybe He isn’t good all the time.
It’s been a week like that.
A few short weeks ago my shaking hands held that familiar stick. The two pink lines appeared and my heart overflowed. “Do you know that I’m 44?” I asked as I went to my knees in thanks. I know He knows, but a laugh escaped my throat as I envisioned the reaction from my warrior.
“Thank you,” I whispered to the heavens.
“We won’t have a car big enough to hold all of us,” I giggled to myself.
All the practicalities of life fly out the window when we think of new life. New life – a gift from Him every time.
My warrior’s reaction was much of what I expected. Shock, laughter, shock, joy, shock – rinse and repeat. He wrapped his arms around me and uttered a prayer for us both. It’s funny how you can change your way of thinking in just the flash of an extra pink line.
Because we had lost a pre-born baby previously, we approached the news with caution this time.
“But, certainly,” I thought, “You willed this God. And You are good all the time.”
The weeks went on as I kept the news from my parents for now. My mother, the one who showed me how to do this whole mothering thing, has Alzheimer’s. Our conversations plunge from rote pleasantries to a confused depth in minutes. Her voice on the line is 3000 miles away, and how I wish I could look into her eyes and share my joy.
Her confusion swept in and washed over us both. She sensed her own confusion and passed the phone to my dad. His voice swollen with stress and sorrow pulled at my tears, and we said our goodbyes.
The tears flowed as I asked my warrior, “How can we live in between joy and sorrow in the very same minute?”
Then it began. The same signs as the last time we lost. My heart sank along with my knees, as I pleaded, “Please, not this time. I don’t understand.”
The whispered Voice in my spirit replied, “My purposes are greater than you can understand.”
And there it is. Sometimes we will not understand. But the truth is God’s goodness is not dependent on our understanding of His purposes. He is good – all the time – even when we lose on this Earth.
Sometimes the walk is a crawl, and the crawling is painful. Our journey here is filled with unexpected twists and turns.
This time was different. The technician gently looked into my eyes and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
I smiled as a warm peace filled me, “I’m sorry, too.”
A few moments later I found myself on my knees again with hands raised, “You give and You take away, but I know you are good.”
I drove home in silence, walked through the door, and wrapped my arms around my little ones. Breathing in the scent of their hair, I whispered, “You are good.”
I have found peace today, despite the pain, knowing this – God’s purposes will most often supersede our comprehension, but His heart is always for us. Even in the darkness we can find joy when we remember, “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).