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