He’s been saying it more and more these last few weeks. Really, he’s been saying it since our anniversary. And I want to be careful with his words, because, they are *his* words and because I know the amazing heart behind them.
However, they are hard words.
Because they have lived hard. They have witnessed hard.
But as he held me close over our anniversary weekend, he whispered in my ear that he was thankful. Not just for us, for our marriage and this life – but he was coming to be thankful for his dad’s suicide.
I heard the ache behind his words and the longing of a son for his father because no matter how clear a gift becomes in the unwrapping – loss of any kind still stings even as time begins to soothe.
He said those words because he sees how his loss has opened up places in him that God is using. That the broken places are becoming healing places and the loss of a father has cultivated a father’s-love in his own heart for the father-less around us.
What would happen if we opened our eyes more to see the working and weaving of good around us that God the Father does for those who love Him?
Really – what would happen? I want to know.
I drove in the dark on the freeway this evening, over to a neighbouring town just to sit and be with a tea and a book and on the way back, as I took each exit I began to wonder at the absurdity of where I am.
I had a plan.
I had a plan and it was a good plan. Well thought out and safe, it would have kept us in a quiet neighbourhood in a quiet little town in the middle of nowhere and we would have lived out our days and we would have grown old and quiet together there and in the end, been buried together under piles of snow and ice in the winter and harvest dust come fall.
Then God stepped in and shook things up a little. Or a lot.
It all depends on how you look on things like that.
And I found myself driving home on a freeway, debating whether to take the exit into downtown or the taking the long circuitous route instead and choosing the former I entered into the city that I’m still trying to stretch into feeling like home.
I asked Tony tonight when the shock would wear off – when the surprise of *here* would no longer be surprising.
He didn’t really have an answer.
And the thing is – I am grateful. I am so very grateful to be found here. To be given all that we have been given here. That it is here where we have been able to heal. Where we have found the footing we lost and been thrown back together. It is here that we have jumped back into ministry and where we have found our calling, where we have sought God and His Will like we have never done before.
We have been found desperate for Jesus here in the place and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Which seems wrong to type, given what we have lost in the living we have done. But it’s true. Jesus said that to follow Him we need to lay down our lives, take up our cross and follow Him. To love Him above family and friends and houses and cities and those lives we long to protect. He is to be longed for above everything else and in all of that losing,
we will find the greatest Gift.
When we give of ourselves freely to Him,
we find the One Who Freely Gives.
Because more than quiet, safe lives; more than fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters, more than comfort and ease and the right clothes and neighbours, He longs to give us life – abundant and full. But that life comes with a cost: His Life. And when we allow that to sink in, deep down into the very depth of us – we’ll begin too see, each hard loss that feels like it’s going to kill us, each blow to our bodies, our wallets and status quo, each question that is sobbed into feathered pillows each night – it all finds it’s answer in Jesus.
No, what He asks isn’t easy, but what He gives carries great worth. When we offer up to Him, what we would rather freely hold back onto, He freely gives His strength, love, faith and peace and He will lead us through the hard things He allows, opening our eyes to see past the circumstances that are paved in sorrow to find the incredible gift of incredible Life with Him.
All because He freely Gives.
You did not spare Your Own Son but gave Him up for us all and because of the weight of that, I can trust that each gift You offer and each promise You make and each provision you give – You graciously give because it is in Your nature. You give because You love. You discipline because You love. You provide for the desperate because Your love is desperate that all should come to repentance. I can trust You – even when it seems impossible and crazy. I can trust that as I walk in Your leading that You will lead me to a place where I can hear You – where I can see Your glory at work.