Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Answer

It's been quite a while since I have come here and share anything.  Life has been busy, my heart has been busy and frankly I've been struggling to figure out what I even believe about anything anymore.  Religion has become something that makes me uncomfortable, not to say it's all bad but I look around and see people doing things in the name of religion that go against the very teachings of what they are supposed to be about and I struggle to make peace with that.

The truth is I have been struggling to make peace for quite some time with Jesus and with myself.  It seems in my life I have had many ebbs and flows when it comes to Jesus and even myself.  Today I feel like I am making my way back to peace and while I still have no answers I've had a bit of a red letter day.

Thirty years ago this winter, my mom died.  My heart ached, my soul ached and I could not make sense of the world.  That following summer a teacher who was and is very dear to me made it possible for me to go to summer camp.  There is a little gem of a camp on the edge of Lake Erie, on the western border of Pennsylvania it is supported by the local Baptist Church.  I was so nervous to attend this camp.  I'd gone to church my whole life but had no real idea who Jesus was or what following his teachings really meant.  I cried in my bunk my first night there and in the morning after a prayer time I made my way down a narrow road to the Lake.  I remember standing there, tears falling into the lake, looking out at the magnitude of the water and the waves and wondering where on earth I fit in this world and why any loving God would take my mother.  I didn't leave with answers that week, but I left well loved.

Twelve years ago I sat in a NICU cubicle while doctors told me my son was dying, I ran to another room and cried and cried while a nurse held me and even held my hair back while I threw up.  My husband brought that sweet boy into the room and we held and sang to him as he drew his last breath.  We left the hospital that day, not with our child, but with a box of memories of six days of his life.  I clutched that box as we left the hospital empty armed and broken hearted.  Neither Howard nor I said a word on that drive back to our little corner of Pennsylvania, but that car somehow found itself on that narrow road leading to that rocky beach at that tiny Baptist camp.  Once again tears fell into the lake as I wondered where on earth I fit in this world and why any loving God would take my son.  I felt so insignificant standing there looking out at the crashing waves.  The magnitude of the waves overwhelmed me but also stilled my heart, drowning out all of the extra noise in my head as my husband held me and  I ached in a way that still takes my breath away just remembering.  I didn't leave with answers that day, but I left well loved.

In the past few months I have found myself overwhelmed and growing cynical with a world seemingly gone mad.  Foster care has opened my eyes to stories that have broken my heart, become a part of me and yet are not mine to tell.  We have some big decisions coming up for our sweet foster daughter and beyond ALL else my only hope is that decisions are made with HER best interest in mind.  Life has gotten hurried and full and I have found it difficult to breathe or even take a moment to take care of myself.  I celebrated a birthday this week and was overwhelmingly grateful to have my amazing husband, children and friends as they showered me with gifts, sent me out with friends and gave me space for self care.  Today I found myself walking that narrow road leading to the rocky beach at that very tiny Baptist camp in solitude.  I stood there as waves crashed and it was like the floodgates opened and months of tears fell into the lake as I stood there wondering where on earth I fit in this world and why any loving God would allow such poverty, addiction, abuse and brokenness.  I felt insignificant standing there looking out at the vast lake.  I walked back to the camp where I am currently attending a retreat with some of the most lovely women you could ever meet.  I'll leave here tomorrow with no answers, but I'll leave well loved.  

Honestly, friends, this world makes less and less sense to me each and every day.  I am overwhelmed with heartache for all of the brokenness of the world.  I have made it my mission to enter into the pain of others and just be there and feel it with them, to be there and love them well.  I honestly have a lot of questions about religion but as I sit here tonight my soul still stilled by the sound of the crashing waves, I think the answer is love. I think it might just be that simple.  I think we try to complicate it all with doctrine and laws and rules but the basis of it all should be love and if it isn't, it isn't my God.  Love doesn't always look pretty or feel good, but it is the answer.  We don't always have to agree with each other, we don't have to like everything about each other, but we CAN always love each other well.  SO when I think about religion and how I fit in and what I believe, I am still figuring that out.  I do believe 100% that there is a God and that he loves us and wants us to above all else love each other so until I get the rest figured out (and maybe I never will) I'll just continue to love others well.  Could you help me be part of the answer and love others well too?
"When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." - Horatio Spafford

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. - John 13:35