It has been one month ago today. It seems so engrained to measure things by time, such a calculable yet confining concept. The further we move away from the date, the further I feel away from Aimee and the life we shared. I hated flipping the calendar and in a sense "moving on" with life. I just wanted things to stay. It has been difficult as fear and thoughts bounce around like, "Will I remember her well, or will the memories start to fade? Will the business and busyness of life take over? ...Just wanting to hold on...
In this place of fear of losing memories and fear of what the future holds, I am learning to hand it over to God and let Him give me the patience and contentment for the moment that I have right now. It's been a challenge but a good one in letting the Spirit fill the deep void that's been left with Aimee no longer with me and by my side. The kids and I miss her singing and dancing around the house. There was a radiant and beautiful energy with her here and I miss that so much. It hurts... and I wonder why God did't heal her in the way I was really hoping He would. We had a good marriage and we were best friends and we laughed, cried, prayed, and did everything together. I cannot understand God's ways but I am learning a lot about Him in suffering. The strength Aimee had in her crisis is the strength that I now feel in mine. God's hand is holding mine and by faith I can feel His presence guiding me.
Though sometimes I cringe at the effort it takes to be still and let the Spirit speak, I am learning that He does speak and comfort me in the midst of the pain. Sometimes I want something so tangible to hold onto and my ragged old Bible doesn't seem like enough but then as I open up, its pages pour life and hope back into my soul. In moments of weakness I feel that God is just too invisible but I am learning that there is so much more in life than meets the eye. As 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, we need to look at the things that are not seen, "The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." I envision Aimee now just beholding with her new eyes, King Jesus in all His glory!
In the message I heard this morning in church, the preacher opened up with the illustration of Mary Poppins' carpet bag. It contained a whole lot more than it looked like it could. That's how life is here. Things look so limited and small and impossible. We look at what our earthly eyes can see and say "there's no way a floor lamp could come out of that carpet bag." I've been learning that God's power is so unlimited and boundless. When I put my eyes on Christ, I can rest in this foggy and unclear pilgrim journey knowing that His eyes can see all that mine can't, so He will be my vision, giving me sight beyond what these two eyes can see.
The other night I was struggling to find solace in the restless silence. I needed to hear something, I needed a word, I prayed for God to speak and He took me to John 16:16-23. It seemed like a random and confusing text to land upon and even in my somewhat frustrated state, I was right there with the disciples asking myself, "What the heck is Jesus talking about here?, "a little while..." They said amongst themselves, "What is this that He says to us, a little while and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me?" Jesus of course is talking about His crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and second coming in figures of speech. But what really stood out to me was the repetition of the phrase, "a little while" seven different times in this short passage. God was reminding me that that is what life is like. It's just a little while. No matter how long we live, we all only have such a short span. The passage goes on to speak in verse 20, "but your sorrow will be turned into joy." It then talks about childbirth and the hard time of pain and labor giving way to the joy of a new life which wipes out the memory of the pain. I witnessed the three amazing natural births of my children and I can remember watching anguish wash away under the magnificence and beauty of new life. Peace and Joy. In the new life when we are made perfect, there will be no more pain and sorrow, what an awesome thought! I have a picture of Aimee holding a jar with a chrysalis inside just about to turn into a butterfly. I also took a later picture of her holding the new creation right before it's wings open to flight. It was taken just weeks before she emerged from her own shell to be made into a new and beautiful, colorful addition into the heavenly kingdom.
I am learning that any pain and sorrow in this life can only add fuel to the joy that will be mine just as the lyrics in the hymn says, "Be still my soul, Jesus can repay from His own fullness all He takes away." Chariots of Fire was the last movie Aimee and I ever watched together, just a couple weeks before she hit the finish line after her own Eric Liddell style, passionate, sprinting race. I learned later that "Be still My Soul" was Liddell's favorite hymn so it has new meaning to me now. Her eyes were on the prize and after the funeral service I overheard a pastor there say, "Isn't heaven going to be just Awesome?" The question is so potent because it is so true! We will all get to unite together in glory and it makes me want to run now with such perseverance. Living now as 2 Corinthians says, "as unknown, and yet well known, as dying and behold we live, as chastened and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." As Hebrews 12:1 also says, "We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses... let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." MSG vs. 2, "Keep your eyes on Jesus who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it, because He never lost sight of where He was headed." It was for His joy that He endured the cross and despised the shame, finally to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God! This is my hope...
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank each one of you who have blessed us in prayer, with words of encouragement, cards, gifts, time and just overall being the outpouring of God's goodness, providence, and grace in the midst of this difficult time. Here are some more specifics for prayer...
- For wisdom in guiding the children through the loss of their mother ( praise God they are doing well so far and we also were blessed to have a restful couple days on the beach just me and the kids)
- For patience in developing new systems and schedules for everyone
- For continued favor in the guest house project in the back yard for my in-laws
- For my father and mother in law as they adapt to life here helping out with the kids, that they would have peace, strength, and joy to guide them in this new season
- For The Name of Jesus to be glorified throughout the world
Inspirational song to me lately... Invisible by Leeland