|The last time the four of us were together, the day before his funeral.|
It's been eight weeks since my world drastically changed. While everything is still surreal, and there are moments when I almost forget the truth of this reality, there is something that I know to be true...
I am not who I was eight weeks and one day ago.
Eight weeks and one day ago, I was carefree and focused on upcoming events for our family: our daughter's 13th birthday, his mother's 60th birthday weekend celebration, planning our trip to Hawaii next spring, and mapping out our Christmas budget.
Eight weeks and one day ago, my time with God was filled with bold prayers and a hopeful heart; I was in the midst of a 6 month fast (that was one of many blog posts I was writing...I'll get back to that one day) and saw the ways in which God was answering those bold prayers.
Eight weeks and one day ago, I was a completely different person.
Because eight weeks ago everything about me changed.
I have felt many emotions during these last 56 days. I have had days when I can physically feel the aching of my heart. I have had moments of overwhelming fear about living this life without my husband. I have had bursts of tears simply because I miss his voice. I have also had moments when I feel complete peace, and moments of joyful hope. But there is one emotion I have not felt: anger. In all of this, I have not felt any anger.
Because I'm not angry.
When talking to others, some have expressed to me that there are many mornings when they wake up feeling angry, and that anger carries into the rest of their day and unintentionally attacks those with whom they interact.
Am I hurt and upset? More than I can explain.
But angry? Not at all.
So what's the difference between me and those who wake up angry? God.
I'm not gonna lie, I believe I have every reason to be angry. Why was my husband taken from me at such a young age? Why do my young children have to grow up without their father? Everything was going so good for us, why now? I could walk around angry all day long and who would blame me? I have a valid reason to be angry.
But I'm not.
Because I have God.
Eight weeks and one day ago, I walked next to God.
But eight weeks ago began my journey of clinging onto God.
Have you heard this quote before? I have. Several times. And it's a favorite of mine to repeat when I am reminding others about reliance on God.
It's the absolute truth: "you never know God is all you need until God is all you have."
Each of us, at some point in our lives, will have trials that demand complete dependency on God. It could be a battle for health, the loss of a job, an estranged relationship, anything! Trials and heartache are not prejudice. We will all experience a trial that will leave us standing still and wondering why we have to endure hardship.
Trials are the test of your faith. The test of your heart. The test of your reliance on God.
One of the hardest things for me to do is watch my children suffer. I want to immediately fix everything. I want to come to their rescue, make their life easy, and keep them from ever hurting.
But what would happen to them if I never let them hurt?
They would never mature. They would never grow. They would never learn to persevere.
"We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never bring us shame. That's because God's love has been poured into our hearts. This happened through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5 (NIRV)
There is a purpose behind every trial we endure. And it's not because our God is "mean." He's the exact opposite. We serve a God who weeps with us; a God who wraps us in His comfort; a God who wants to give us every desire within our hearts.
When my children are hurting, I do my best to comfort them and ease their heavy hearts. But I don't rush to fix their problems. I believe in each of them. I know what they can and cannot handle. I have faith in my children, and I rejoice over them when they persevere through difficulty.
God feels the same way about each of us.
He doesn't allow trials because he us wants to suffer. He wants to see us grow.
He wants to see us persevere.
He has so much faith in us!
And like the perfect Father that He is, He allows us to experience heartache.
Without the heartache, would we cling to Him? Or would we just casually walk beside Him?
Without the trials, would we ever cry out to Him? Or would we go days without seeking Him?
I am not the same person I was eight weeks and one day ago.
I am different.
I am clinging on to God tighter than ever before.
My entire being is completely reliant on God.
I've acknowledged out loud that I cannot do this without Him.
My prayers are not rehearsed. My prayers change everyday. I cry out to Him more times in an hour than I used to all day long.
You know what I am now?
I am fearfully faithful.
I am not fearful of God.
I am fearful of going a day without Him.
I remember asking a girlfriend, "if God was all you had, would that be enough?"
And now here I am, asking myself the same question every day.
God is all I need. I have wept loudly, quietly, and honestly with God. I have asked Him why. I have collapsed into His comfort, and I have allowed Him to quiet my tears.
I am not who I was eight weeks and one day ago.
And I am thankful that I am not.
I am a witness to God's strength, His love, His comfort, and His promises.
When we cling onto God, it's impossible to be angry because as we hold onto Him, we are covered in His love and His hope.
Therefore, I will walk through this trial, clinging onto God for strength, and holding onto His promises.
For He is the perfect Father.
And like a daughter dependent on her father, I trust Him.