Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"I wonder too... if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.

To see through to God.

That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave."

That's exactly what happened to me. Seven and a half years ago.

My world fell apart. 

It was torn from top to bottom.

I was torn from top to bottom.

And in that moment of tearing, of falling apart, of sinking and shattering, I found the God I had always wanted.

In that moment, for the first time, I saw the God who had always seen me.

There was something in my heart that knew He was there, that knew what He must be like. An unfinished outline. An empty silhouette. An idea.

Was it a memory from when He chose me before He laid the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4)? I don't know.

I believed in God. I believed in Jesus. But . . . I couldn't see.

I couldn't see until everything seemed lost. I couldn't see until my world was torn in two.

God was there, when Ethan's roommate called and handed the phone to the paramedic that told us that our son wasn't breathing. He was there as we prayed, mile after mile, for mercy, for forgiveness, for a miracle.  God was there as we made promise after promise. Promises He knew were made by children of dust. Promises He knew we could never keep. But . . . He heard them.

He was there, and I knew it.

I could see Him.

The God  I had feared, the God I had run away from, the God I couldn't appease, the God I had hidden from  . . . He was there.

And I wasn't afraid.

I've heard it over and over again. I've heard it from friends, from women in my support group. I've read the words on blogs from sisters I've never met. The Apostle Paul, the broken Jacob, the suffering Job and King David all tell the same story.

When life falls apart, when it seems everything is gone and you have nothing, you find what you have always wanted. You find the One you've always wanted.

God is so often found in the tearing, in the shattering. In the loss.

Yet, if we aren't careful, if we don't guard our hearts, over a period of time, the loss that allowed us to see God, can once again blind us to Him.

As we try to build back a life. As we try to put back the pieces together and make life work, we find there are gaping holes. Holes that are caused by loss. Lost dreams, relationships, security. A life once known, gone forever.

We try to fill the empty places, to cover up the holes.  We apply spackle but it won't stick. Nothing works and we are frustrated by the gaping. We become desperate. We hate the holes caused by loss so we try harder, and harder, to fill them. We demand that others fill them. But they can't.

We survive some days by pretending that the holes don't exist or by denying their depths and their impact.

The whole time we are working desperately to fill in the holes, we know, deep down inside we know, that loss is loss. The pain of loss is . . . that it is forever.

And the pain of forever is too much.

In the pain, in the forever, in the trying, in the desperation, we can become blind. We can become blind to God's goodness, to His gifts, and to His grace.

The light becomes less. The darkness more.

In my pain of forever, I've heard God tell me that He sees the holes. That He is grieving with me and that He is sorry.  I've felt Him hold me close and tell me that He understands. That He knows. And I felt Him hold me while saying nothing. The holding is enough.

I've heard Him tell me that He will rebuild my life. That He, the One who put my life together in the beginning, will put it together again. That it will be beautiful. And more beautiful than before.

But I've also heard Him say, "Sweet, baby girl, there's still going to be those holes. There's still going to be the loss. I love you too much to take them away. The holes caused by loss, brought you to me. They allowed you to see me, to find me. They allowed me to give you what you have always wanted. And it will always be that loss that will let you know I'm near. The loss, as much as we never wanted it, will be your gain. And, if they let it, it can be  gain to those you love."

 And I've heard the words, hundreds and hundreds of times over the last seven years, "TRUST ME."

When I listen and when I trust, I stop my re-building. I stop the spackling and the pretending and the denying. I stop hating the holes.

I look at the them. I don't turn away. I look straight at the holes in my life, and when I give thanks, I look through them.

"Mourning not only means facing our losses; it also welcomes our losses as ways of following more radically the voice of love. The gospel calls us continually to make Christ the source, the center, and the purpose of our lives.  In Him we find our home.  In the safety of that place, our sadness can point us to God, even drive us into God's loving embrace. Here mourning our losses ultimately lets us claim our belovedness." 

Henri Nouwen from Turn My Mourning Into Dancing 

Looking through the holes with gratitude, I see again. My vision is perfected. The blurriness is gone. When I look through the Lens of Gratitude, my sight is corrected.

Gratitude is the way I say yes. Yes to the holes. Yes to the loss. Yes to Grace. Yes to seeing God.

I think of the saints who have gone before that now see God's glory face to face and I think I hear them say, "Yes, Cheri, it's true . . .

We know that all things, (even the loss, the holes, the tearing down, the falling apart, the regrets, and all that's broken)  do work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8:28 with my amplification)

466.  grace to see through the holes

467.  the One I see

468.  being held

469.  being called, "sweet baby girl" by the One who made me

470.  this moment

471. and this one

472. color

473. a sweet, young momma wanting so badly to do it right

474. a Saturday morning singing praises between two good friends

475. hearing testimonies from women that said He did for them what He did for me

476. the word "ALL" in Romans 8:28

478. the man at the pier that looked at Ethan in his chair and refused our money and said, "enjoy."

479. early mornings on the patio, wrapped in a blanket

480. the birds singing so loudly that I can hear them over my iPod

481. logs in my eye that keep me from pretending

482. God's rebuilding

1 comment: