The question I’m being asked daily is “How are you doing?” followed by “No but, how are you really doing????” (and I so appreciate the love and care and concern behind the question). Depending on the person and situation my answer varies but the most honest thing I can say is that I’m terrible and wonderful. I marveled at this strange coexistence after Mikey died and struggled to reconcile myself with the truth of it. And here I am again in this achingly familiar place…
The fog and shock of early days is gradually lifting and is being replaced by a reality that is vivid and real and unescapable. We are going about our daily lives because that’s what you do but the world is tipped a little on its axis. It just doesn’t feel quite right. And then moments come that knock the wind right out of my barely flapping sails and it’s all I can do to move on to the next moment. It seems like everything around me should shift into slow motion somehow. I’m almost surprised to realize every time that precisely nothing stops or slows down. In fact no one around me or in the entire world could have any idea of the inner horror of those moments. I miss my first-born daughter in a way no one else could possibly miss her. My relationship with her was unlike anyone else’s. The void in my life and in my family feels vacuous at times and it’s a very lonely and isolated place to be. The disbelief that the accident actually happened and resulted in Anna’s instant death washes over me again and again. How can it possibly be true? What are the chances? We had no warning. No goodbye. No second chance. She’s simply no longer here.
In those moments I am terrible.
No matter what truths I know and hold dear the terrible moments rise up and they are beyond my control.
There are a few things I can control however and in those moments I call on the power I have been given to choose a course of action. I very literally call on the holy name of Jesus and beg Him to come into my present moment. I get on my knees. I get on my face. Not my will but yours be done.
I offer myself and my pain and every ounce of terrible to the Lord and ask His grace and mercy in return. His gifts can’t be received without surrender though. Only when I am empty can He fill me. When I have nothing He reminds me that He has everything I need in every single moment.
And when I come to that, again and again, I am wonderful! I am amazed and inspired by the power of Christ within me.
The past memories and the future what-if’s fade into meaningless-ness and the glory of the real future we have is made present.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14)
When I surrender, God restores my strength of will to stand in the present moment and accept it for exactly what it is. If I’m truly honest the present moment is not terrible. I can count my blessings and my gifts. I know He is present and at work within me and in my life. I can trust Him and who better to trust than the one with the Power? I know the promises He has given me and is fulfilling despite the present sufferings.
He reminds me of the reason for my Joy and I am wonderful.