Just after Clay’s funeral, many of you who so faithfully read our blog, encouraged me to continue writing…and I said that I would. I told you that I thought it would help me heal. Well………..I didn’t. I only wrote about 4 times. I couldn’t. I would sit down to write and nothing would come.
When Clay was sick, we were spending so much time with doctors, family and with visitors. Many of you asked me, “How do you have time to write?” My answer was that I couldn’t NOT write. God was compelling me. The Holy Spirit was literally urging me and I couldn’t go to sleep at night without writing sometimes.
After Clay died, if I’m being honest, I wondered if you would want to read about this part of the story. It seemed that what drew you to this blog was Clay. His testimony. His life. His affliction. And, rightfully so. He was such an incredible testimony. God did so much through him!
And, grief is a difficult topic to write about. I wasn’t ready to really tell you what was happening in me. Some of you know exactly what I mean by that. God was so faithful and He constantly pulled me out of my pit, but there were pieces of that time of my life that I just wasn’t sure I could share. Besides love, grief is the deepest emotion I’ve ever felt.
A few weeks ago, I was asking the Lord to show me some things about my future. I was asking Him about why He didn’t have me write over the past two years. This thought came to me and I know it was from God. “You will. You will write it. It will be a remembrance of all that I’ve done for you.” He made me see that…written in my moments of despair, my words may have been tainted with grief. Written now, they will be soaked in joy.
So, why now? I’m so glad you asked that!
The first answer is that it is God’s timing. I never wrote because I wanted to. The blog wasn’t even my idea. He used some of my dearest friends to show me the idea. It was all God. And that has to be true now, as well. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for God. He has something to say that can only be said by and through Him.
Our church is live streaming our services right now, like so many others. I was there this morning to help and make sure everything went well. I sat in the back of the sanctuary, and although my heart was so glad to be there, I felt weak and unable to even stand – much less lift my hands in praise. I wanted to literally lay on the floor in the back of the room and bawl like a baby while the worship team sang and Pastor Lee preached.
I was weepy all day. Tonight, in the presence of God, all I could do was cry. I almost couldn’t even pray. I’ve heard some heart wrenching stories of how this virus is affecting peoples’ lives and my heart is so broken.
I got in my car this evening, and just started driving for a while. The Lord gently spoke to me and let me see that what I am feeling is grief…all over again. I literally feel just like I did after Clay died.
I’m grieved for the sick. For the lonely. For the hurting. For the lost. For the church. Y’all, I’m so grieved for the church. Being assembled is vital to our lives. I’m grieved for those of you who are scared. For those of you who are trapped in fear. For those of you who are fighting depression and sadness. For those who feel confused and out of control. I’m grieved for God. For what He must be feeling right now as so many suffer, but won’t turn to Him.
So, I’m going to write to you about how God pulled me out of grief. I’m going to share with you the things He taught me as I walked the valley, for what seemed to be a long time. It was in those days that I found the hiding place. It was in the valley that I found the table. It was in my sadness that I found my praise. It was in the darkness that I came to love the light. It was in death that I found life.
And, that life is available to everyone. There is nothing special about me, y’all. In fact, it is the complete opposite. I am nothing. But, God came to me. He found me. He helped me. And, I want the world to know the joy that is available to them in my very best friend – Jesus. He is real. He is true. Every promise He’s ever spoken has been proven. Put your hope in Him today.
The quarantine got me motivated to clean up some things in the house. I moved my bedroom around and created a desk space in my room, so I would have a better view from which to write.
As I was arranging furniture, the only space Clay’s rocking chair fit was beside my desk. I didn’t think much of it until later that night when I sat down at the desk and looked over. It’s like he’s sitting here with me as I write to you. The Lord constantly gives me sweet reminders of him. I miss him so much.
I’ll leave you tonight with a really wonderful thought. I carry this around in my Bible with me….
It’s Clay’s handwritten notes from a Bible study we taught together less than 6 months before he got sick.
Here are a few of my favorite words in Lamentations 3,
“…But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Great is your Faithfulness. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though He cause grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast love; for He does not afflict from His heart or grieve the children of men. I called on Your Name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit, You heard my plea. You came near when I called on You. You said, ‘Do not fear!’ You have redeemed my life.”
Clay wrote these words, “Jeremiah’s remembrance of God’s faithfulness brings him hope in times of distress. This is a made up mind focused on all that God has done through you and for you…seeing how He has moved in times past in your life. This will allow you to declare, no matter your circumstance, ‘Great is your faithfulness!'”
Friends, I know that many of you are hurting tonight. Maybe you are praying for loved ones you can’t be with. Maybe you are praying for lost loved ones. Maybe you are just sad because you are lonely and not handling the quarantine very well. No matter your current circumstance, recall to your mind tonight all the good things God has already done in your life. Remember. Ask Him to help you remember the times He has pulled you out of the miry clay. Recall to your mind the steadfast love of this wonderful God, and stir up the hope you have living inside of you.
And, if you don’t have this hope, all you have to do is invite Him in. Just confess your sin and ask Him to be your Savior. He is waiting for you to come to Him tonight. Right now. Don’t delay. You can see that these times are unprecedented. Don’t live in fear. Walk with God and He will draw near to you. Imagine hearing Almighty God say to you, “Do not fear!” You can hear it. Come to Him tonight. He will free you from fear.
I love you. And, as I go to sleep tonight, I’ll be praying for you. Praying to a God, who I KNOW is able to help you, because He helped me. He will rescue us, friends. He is in control tonight. Trust that. I encourage you to take a moment in the morning to write down just a few things God has done for you. Do it and see how God can use it to encourage you all through your day tomorrow. “This I recall to my mind….”