My mother passed away 13 days ago. I kept my head and wasn't at all verbally-challenged as we made funeral arrangements, wrote her eulogy, visited with mourners, celebrated her life, and had fellowship with family after the funeral. But after the services were over, exhaustion set in and I was at a complete loss for words. How are you? I don't know. How can I help? I don't know. Do you need anything? I don't know.
I don't think numb is really the right word... Maybe confused. Or overwhelmed. Eventually, I was definitely irritated and cranky. I wondered where that fit into the "7 stages of grief".
I went back to work today. It was nice to do something "normal", and I hoped it would be a step in the right direction in moving away from irritated and cranky.
While at school (and on the way home), I had the chance to talk a little with girlfriends. I talked mostly about how I didn't know what I was feeling, but I also landed on a probable explanation for why Bryan and I had been a bit off in the last couple of days.
I think he was a little freaked out (feeling shut-out, perhaps) that his blogging, support group leading, therapy loving, never-stop-talking wife WAS NOT TALKING. The moment I got home this afternoon, I threw myself into his arms and began putting some words to my feelings... What a relief to have a few words again.
Have you ever heard someone say something like, "We can't understand why, but God has a plan..."? I don't feel that way at all about Mom's life - or her unexpected, sudden passing. It's as if I now have the beautiful honor and pleasure of stepping back five feet and viewing her entire, incredible work-of-art life and the many pieces and brush strokes that are now perfectly in place. God certainly worked miracles, moved mountains, and tended to every meticulous detail of Mom's life and my relationship with her. More on that in a later blog post...
But there are other things that I'm perplexed by.
I don't doubt at all that God has a plan for these perplexing things too, but I'm not exactly at peace in this area... In fact, if I'm being completely honest, I lean towards borrowing tomorrow's troubles.
Tonight I kept feeling the nudge to soak in the tub. I wasn't cold. I hadn't just worked out. I wasn't feeling stressed or needing a break from the kids. I had no aches. I just felt I needed to get into the tub. As I turned the water on, I felt I should grab a book. I didn't have any library books handy, so I grabbed the only book on my nightstand. It was a gift that I received months ago, but never even cracked.
I opened it, and the word trust jumped off the page at me. Not just trusting God, but trusting people too. A bit of scripture is quoted, "We loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." 1 Thess 2:8.
A few pages later, the authors continue with, "It can be scary to trust God if we insist on fully understanding the step of faith He is asking us to take. Provers 3:5 assures us that we really can trust God from the bottom of our hearts - with every part of our lives. We tend to focus on what we can see and explain instead of choosing to focus on God and His promises. We need to grow and mature in Christ, but we also need to remain childlike in our faith."
That really smacked me between my eyes... Mostly because we discussed Mom's growth and Matthew 19:14 at Mom's funeral. Matthew 19:14 was a verse she'd clung to her entire life, "Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."" Love that this book reminded me to keep growing, and yet remain childlike.
How timely that I would reach for this book now, when I have ignored it for months. Was it sent to me for this very time in my life?
To face down fears of trusting God's lead, the book continues -
""Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." 2 Kings 6:15-17
Whatever it is that God is asking... Those who are with us are more than those who are against us.
I praise God for always being so much smarter than me. For taking the precious time to drop this book into my lap. For caring for me and meeting my every need. And I thank Mary Southerland for following his prompting in giving me this book - arrogant me, who only reached for it after months of dusting it off weekly. Trusting God is an excellent read so far.