” I believe God is good even when I don’t understand all the particulars of his decisions. I don’t say this flippantly. I say it as a woman who has stood in a cemetery while her daughter was being buried. And with the thud of every shovelful of dirt that separated us, I had a decision to make about the God who allowed it: either He loves me or He doesn’t. Either He is good or He is not.” ~ Angie Smith
I remember that Sunday as if it was yesterday. July thirteenth, two-thousand fourteen. It was exactly seven days from Audrey’s death and three since her funeral.
I woke up that day feeling like I had every single day, moment….second since I found my sweet girl lifeless in our bed.
….and this Mama. This exhausted unable to make any more decisions Mama….had a decision to make.
Church or no church?
Ughh the “C” word I thought. Thanks to God, I have spent the whole week deciding on colors of minute wooden boxes to place my precious child in. Thanks to this God I have been barely unable to decided whether to feed my children peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner for the millionth time this week because this pain has left me so completely broken and paralyzed.
If I am being entirely honest there was not one bone in my body that felt the need to go praise the very God that took my daughter away from me. I found no sense of logic that convinced me to enter a place where I had sat happily with my little family of five just two weeks prior only to go back with empty arms.
But as I began to pull the covers back over myself to hide away from the world, I realized by not going I was choosing to stay trapped in this place. In this four walls and a roof of a home where pink blankets still draped the arms of my furniture and missing tiny socks still showed up in the dryer.
In a moment of panic and feeling the need to escape I somehow managed to put clothes on my body and make my way through the maze of my home where every room oozed with memories of that devastating morning…. and feeling I had nothing left to lose, I left my house for His.
As my husband carried me in to the very sanctuary that our daughter had been carried out of three days prior, I began to question why I had thought this was a good idea in the first place, and as the entire church began singing “He gives and takes away, Lord blessed me his name” every ounce of my body shook in pain and anger as I stared at the very place at the front of the stage where I had kissed my Audrey goodbye for the very last time. There was absolutely positively no way that I was going to speak those words.
……and guess what?
I actually spent that entire service looking around at peoples faces wondering how they could be so happy and questioning God on why he would make others lives so easy and mine so hard.
I didn’t walk out of my white church with the giant steeple feeling miraculously healed or more favorable towards Him. I was in the midst of the storm and I was unable to see it yet.
See. It’s not solely about what we are going through in this moment…its how we choose to use it in His timing. The blessings are always there…sometimes hidden in the darkest of places but we have to choose to take them. Sometimes our “unanswered” prayers are not unanswered, they are just not instantaneously answered.
It has been almost two years since Audreys death and I am still finding or realizing blessings I missed while I was knee deep in the trenches. God’s goodness has been intertwined in the painfulness of my story it has just sometimes been harder to see or even admit to.
That Sunday of July thirteenth I left feeling even more distant from God in some ways because I was there expecting him to fix me without me having to do none of the work, but years later I look back and can see his works in that morning and only recently have been able to see that He used that painful-to-face hour to begin to restore what I thought to be the un-restorable.
I am so thankful that in knowing I had nothing to give I still ran towards Him instead of away because the amazing and life-changing blessings that have poured out of Audreys death has been far more than I would have ever been able to see in the blurriness of the moment.
I now look at those faces Sunday morning….knowing their not – so – easy stories and am no longer able to see the goodness in their live, but HIS goodness in their lives, and I am now able to look in my Audreys eyes and instead of just the pain, I can see His greatness packed so gently in to that twelve pound little girl that he used for so much good.
So to the woman who is smack middle in the battle. To the Mama who sees no way out of the painful situation they may be in. To the one who is holding on by a thread and unsure of what this next chapter in life is going to mean……
He is there with you.
Even if you can’t see it yet.
A Mama who never thought she would ever see it again….but did!