Monday, February 25, 2013

The Remnants of My Faith

Three years ago today, we gathered at The Hills for her funeral. Three years.... It feels like the time to stop counting it by months. Now its been three years. Three years since the angels swooped down and took our precious Jenny to heaven.

I am thinking it is time for me to start writing some things down. Maybe not for you but for me. I don't know.  The last three years our family has been open about our pain, open about our grief, open about our heartbreak. My comfort level is steady when sharing it eye-to-eye. I can read your eyes to see if you 'get it', if you understand my heart. Yesterday, I felt compelled to attempt to write it - not my comfort zone. I can't see your eyes. Please be gentle with me if you choose to read these words.

In September, 2011, I was driving to west Texas to speak at a Women's Retreat for a precious church in Snyder. As I was nearing Abilene, a patch of land to my right caught my eye. My heart felt like a magnet to this gray dust. It was surrounded by green, but right there in the middle, it looked like a bomb had gone off. There were deep crevices in this patch of earth, no life, just parched dirt. I wanted to turn around and go sit by it for a moment. I wanted to take a picture of it. I wanted to walk on it. But I was almost out of gas and I knew exactly how far it was to the nearest Love's. As soon as I passed it, I called Rick to tell him I had seen a piece of earth that looked exactly like my heart felt. At the Love's, I wrote the following quote:

Death has created for me a spiritual earthquake and left me sifting through the rubble to find the remnants of my faith. 

Oh friends, you've seen it. At least once, you've been watching the news as they reported the fire. There's the family walking through the charred remains of their belongings, looking hard for anything that looks familiar - anything that once was a cherished treasure, absolutely anything that reminds them of their history.

After Jenny died, it felt like a bomb had gone off in my heart, spiritually speaking. It left me searching through the things I choose to believe as Truth, looking for what I could cling to with all my might. (Even as I type these words, I am having to stop so I can clinch my fist to show you how I am clinging. Can you see it?) I was clinging to the pieces of my history that I could dust off and hold.

So that's what I want to share with you for the next season of my life. I want to share some of those remnants. I invite you to join me as I dig through the rubble, to 'dig down deep' (that's what Jesus called it in Luke 6:48). The 'dig' is what empowers us to stand, my friends.

For years I have taught: "You must prepare in the Light for what you will do when darkness comes." I was sharing this recently with a group of close friends when one of them, Connie, handed me an index card: "When you prepare in the Light, you are preparing maybe not for your own dark time, but maybe so you're ready when you encounter someone in darkness. If we don't prepare,who will fight when no one else is strong enough either? Maybe we go through darkness or maybe we run into it to pull someone else out. Being ready isn't expecting darkness to come your way... it's just strong."

Sweet friends, you do not prepare for darkness by obsessing about the darkness. We prepare for darkness by becoming absolutely obsessed with Light. I've heard the story told that at the mint (the place that makes dollar bills) there is a room to teach people how to recognize counterfeit bills. They teach them to notice a fake by giving them time to obsess with the 'real'. Take time, brothers and sisters, take time to allow the eyes of your heart to obsess with the Light.

Over the next season, I want to share some things from my history that are my remnants, my preparation for this dark road. It has been a dark road but there is a Light..., a Light that has caught my eye, a Light that has attracted my heart.

"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:3


Paige said...

My heart may have jumped when my google reader showed you had updated your blog. Love you!

Karen Koonce said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for not using your hurt as an excuse to shut others out, and for drawing the rest of us in to hurt with you and to heal with you. Looking forward to learning from you, sweet sister.

Karen Hall said...

Beverly, we are a little further down the road than you, but our Jenny is still so close in our hearts. There are still days of grieving, but there are so many days of joy. Joy that she was ours for a breath of time, joy that she left us Madison, and joy in the confidence that one day she will be reclothed with a new body, along with us, and we will share in the joy of the new life with our Father. But there are some trying, heart-breaking times along the way. Madi, at times, longs to have known Jenny, and we strive with shaky voice to bring her to life again for a few moments. But Madi is so very much like Jenny in so many ways. Wish I had time and space to tell you all about them. Just know that as time goes by, your perspective will change. You will be able to go on living with more joy each day. There will always be reminders - a song on the radio, a laugh, a picture - that will bring a tear, but will also bring a smile and a great sense of peace. Love to you and Rick and all your family.

Lynn Leaming said...

Hope you don't mind me quoting you on my FB page. You are definitely one of my heroes of the faith. Don't let Satan steal your confidence in writing, because God is glorified in your writings just as He is in your speaking. I look forward to your future sharings of your heart and what the Lord has shown you of His turning ashes into beauty. I love the Isaiah verse you ended with. What a great promise to keep written on my heart. Love you!

Lauren said...

Oh! What rich, life-giving TRUTH you've declared here. I am writing through tears of gratitude, joy, and the beauty of answered prayer. It has been such an honor holding you and your family up in the heavenlies. Wow. Reading the treasure of your words has given me such sweet confirmation of God's presence with you as I've contended for you in the Secret Place of the Most High. Like Lynn said, you, Rick, and your family are giants in the faith as I watch you walk out this calling and journey with such humility, authenticity, grace, confident hope, trust, and no-matter-what faith! Oh how I wish Decatur was closer so that I could have time with you to have some of the Christ-in-you rub off on me on a regular basis. You mentor me, my gorgeous friend. I love you!

Heather Burgess said...

Thank you for your honesty and guidance through my dark times. Your strength and words of wisdom overwhelm me. Thank you for using your written words to lead us to the Light.

Connie Lamirand said...

Write on, sweet friend! I can almost hear your jingling as I read the words of your heart. Your sharing is so inspiring and so important. Like a lighthouse that shines a beacon, fearing it can't break through the fog--that light means life to the passersby! So blessed to be in your SHINE-ZONE! Love you like crazy!

Josh Ross said...

This is so good! Thanks for your words. I love you!

Kent Linda said...

Thank you for sharing in your own time and in your own words. Kay Warren recently posted her thoughts that concluded with "take all the time you need".

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