Wrestle

Last summer I wrote a blog post on our foundation’s website about leaving our burdens at the foot of the cross and allowing God to work it out (http://laylaslegacy.org/blind-faith/ ‎). At the time I knew that Layla would be healed of her cancer and we would proclaim God’s miracle from the rooftops. But here we are nine months later and Layla is no longer here on earth. She was healed, but not on this side of Heaven. Such an experience often leads us to the same question: Why?

Why wouldn’t God heal her and allow her to stay with us on earth? Why does God allow people to suffer? Why does God seem silent when we cry out for help? How many times have you cried out to God asking Why?

Many times our tendency is to try and answer that question for God, as if it’s a rhetorical question. We don’t really expect God to answer so we attempt to work it out on our own. I know for me, there’s a degree of fear in asking God for an answer to my difficult questions. Not because I’m afraid of what the answer will be, but for fear of appearing to lack faith. If I truly believe God is God then I must accept whatever His reasons are, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth. We can see all throughout scripture where disciples and Jesus’ followers ask questions when they don’t understand. They’re not struck down or brushed aside. Instead, Jesus uses the opportunity to reveal more truths about Himself.

“Feeling conflicted or confused is not the same as faithlessness. It takes faith to wrestle with doubt.” – Beth Moore, The Quest

Think about a close relationship you have. Whether it’s your spouse, a parent or a friend there is one thing those relationships all have in common: questions. I highly doubt you became close with that person by never asking questions, right? Questions are how we gain intimacy with one another. We learn more and more each time we inquire and receive new information about a person. The same applies to our relationship with God. As we ask questions and allow His truths to be revealed to us we gain a deeper and deeper intimacy with Him.

Through asking questions and discovering who He is, we draw closer to Him. Our faith is strengthened through conversation. I’ll admit, there are days I feel like I’m doing all the talking, but I know He’s listening. And when I’m doing the listening I hear His replies. Just like a good friend, He doesn’t always give me the answer I want to hear. Sometimes we need to hear hard truths or direction we prefer to ignore in order to move forward. Don’t hesitate to ask the question for fear of seeming to lack faith. God already knows what is on your heart. Your questions are not news to Him and He’s been waiting to have that conversation with you.

DIY

If you ask my husband what his five least favorite words are he would probably say “I saw it on Pinterest”. I see him cringe at the “P” word and the thought of the next DIY project I’ve concocted in my head. Something that will require shiplap, wall anchors, spray paint and at least six trips to Home Depot for sure. My Pinterest boards are full of ideas that would keep his weekends busy for years. Lucky for him, 99% of those ideas will stay only in the virtual world. I know I’m better off buying a set of bunk beds than trying to build our own out of reclaimed barn wood. Handy he is, but a furniture builder he is not.

He’s also lucky that I’m a pretty handy girl myself, although I recently got caught in a faux pa of the construction sort. I had been intending to hang a towel hook outside our shower door for months and finally got tired of looking at that bare wall. Feeling slightly lazy I looked around the bathroom for a tool and spotted a hammer. [We’ll get into why there’s a hammer in the bathroom another time] Now one might think that a hammer is a fantastic option for hanging something on the wall….that is unless you’ve got screws instead of nails. What can I say…I’m a work-with-what-you-got kind of gall. My husband looked over at me and asked “are you actually hammering those screws into the wall??” I informed him of my laziness and he shook his head. He was right though. Eventually I had to cave and walk downstairs for a screwdriver. Even with all my DIY skills I couldn’t hammer a screw without making a mess of the whole thing.

Hanging a hook is a minor home improvement compared to some of the things we’ve attempted to tackle ourselves. Many times it included an emergency call to our favorite plumber. We’re on a first-name basis. Each time we’ve said “never again!”, but that hasn’t stopped us so far.

When we get our minds set on something it’s difficult to deter our focus, isn’t it? Even if there’s water spewing from the bathtub, we’re running around trying to find towels to clean up the mess instead of turning it off at the source. If we would call the expert in the first place things would go a little more smoothly. The same thing applies when we spend a little time talking to God. He’s the expert in all things and never charges weekend rates.

I’ve written before on LaylasLegacy.org about this topic. It’s been roughly one year since Layla’s cancer returned and I knew I needed to step away from work. The urge to do things myself was immense, but the whole situation was simply out of my control. So I called in the expert and said “God, what do I do?” I felt his prompting to spend time with my children and the assurance that things would be ok financially if I wasn’t working. That was a HUGE step out in faith for me. Probably the biggest one I had ever made in my life up to that point. And it was Ok. If I hadn’t taken that time to listen and accept that I had no clue what I was doing I would be living with that regret for the rest of my life. That summer was an incredible time for our family and even if we had lost all our material possessions, I wouldn’t change any of it.

If there’s a struggle in your life that you haven’t brought to God yet, let me assure you it’s the best decision you can make. Don’t continue to shoulder that burden on your own. Be still, listen and then step out in faith. He is always waiting and willing to do the hard work.

Mother’s Day

To my grieving moms on Mother’s Day,

This year you will wake up on Mother’s Day with a piece of you missing. For some, you are a mother with no children here on earth. For others, there are siblings missing a brother or sister. A child-sized hole exists in your life that no thing and no one can fill. There are some of us who will wake up and put a smile on our faces because it’s how we get through the day, how we keep moving forward. Others will need a quiet space to just be. Either way, it’s ok. There is no right or wrong way to feel on this day. A day that celebrates the life we created, but is a reminder of the life that went before us.

You will mourn today because you mourn every day, and whether this is your first or fortieth Mother’s Day without your child, the pain will still be fresh. No timeframe exists in which this gets easier. It only gets us one day closer to the day we will see that precious smile again. The smile we remember and cherish in photos and memories.

We are a sisterhood. We are all linked by the heart because we have felt the things that no mother can bear to even imagine. There is an unspoken bond between us when we meet. A hug that means more than just hello, but says ‘I know’. I will think of each of you today and pray that your hearts are filled with God’s amazing peace. “You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” – John 16:20