I am not Amazing

It’s funny.  Since Keith died, I get the comments, “you’re amazing” and “you are so strong” a lot.  It is very sweet of people to say, but inwardly I cannot help but snort.  I am far from amazing, and, some days, I am the antithesis of strong.

Some days, more than I would like to count, my life, my attitude, is much less than amazing.  Some days I scream in frustration at the mess in the house, and the children in my house who made it.  Some days I cry angry tears of over spilled milk and broken light fixtures.  Some days school contains more words spoken in an angry tone than in an uplifting one.  Some days I want to just retreat, curl up in a ball and wait for the day to be over.  That’s reality.

I am not amazing.  I am human.  Sometimes much too much so!  If I have done anything right in this whole journey of grief, if I have any advice to give, it is this:  let God be God.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) may seem trite to some…until you try living that way.

  • Dressing your four young sons for their daddy’s funeral…I can do all things…
  • Continuing to homeschool with no break and no “principal”…I can do all things…
  • Celebrating birthdays and holidays and milestones…I can do all things…
  • Teaching young men to be men of God in the image of their dad and their Father...I can do all things…
I could go on, but the point is this:  I do nothing here, nothing, but surrender.  God has a plan and a purpose and, really, I am along for the ride.  And it will be a wonderful and beautiful and joyous ride as long as I don’t try to take over the driving on my own.  Instead, I wait for directions.  I pray and I pray, and I often fail and make a total mess of things, taking them back from God and trying to do them on my own.  But, I keep trying, and God keeps being gracious.  Praise Him for that.  Hallelujah!
So, my standard answer when someone says I am strong or amazing:  “No, I’m not, but God is!

Joy as a Verb

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:18 KJV (emphasis mine)

I have always thought of joy as a thing, something to possess.  It is storing memories and moments in the scrapbook of your heart.  It is that rope you cling to when you are at the end of yours.  It is something beautiful and precious, but almost something past.  When Keith died, we still found lots of joy.  It was present in the care of our Savior, the love of our friends and family, and the remembering of the life of a godly man.  This joy was good and right and real.

This passage talks of another kind of joy, though.

I have this print by the artist Michael Podesta in my living room:



This is joy…the word made into action…dancing!

This is how I want to live – with joy as a lifestyleembracing whatever comes my way.  I want to recognize that the Father planned my days, or at least allowed them to play out as they have, and that regardless of the outcome, it is for God’s glory.  I want to dance in the rain and in the pain, to see beauty around me even in the midst of the hard and ugly!

The verse our family has relied on through Keith’s death and other stresses has always been Jeremiah 29:11:  ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord.  ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”  This verse has given us a lot of comfort, but I would submit that it speaks of the first kind of joy, resting joy.

If you read just a bit farther, though, to the end of the verse, I think you get at this dancing joy:  “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” (verse 13)

So, I’m going to work at joying my way through 2012 — seeking God in all the moments, good and bad, and dancing to His tune as I go!