Friday, May 18, 2018

Collector

He's a collector, you know, of the worst kind.
He collects disappointment, pain, patterns. He collects failure, mistakes, mindsets. Over and over he replays them, carefully turning up the volume until all the misery is shouting in my ears. He uses vulnerable spots to press on me, hoping I'll shrink away from the pain, further away from the ones that love me the most, weaving misery across my eyes until I can't see their love anymore.

He used an old trick, and tricked me again. You see, any pain or failure or disappointment that I've given to the Lord, the enemy can't touch anymore. He can't dangle those and lure me away, because they are no longer mine. He can't steal from the Lord of heaven and earth. He steals from me, and from you. He steals the things I think are still mine.

Seven years ago today, I gave birth to a daughter we didn't get to keep. The pain of searing loss was so great, I had to completely, thoroughly give her to the Lord. My heart hurt SO much I truly needed His breath in my lungs. In the final days of carrying her, knowing she would probably die, my body nearly collapsed with emotional pain. I leaned hard, deep, into the Lord, because there was no other way. I couldn't face our older boys without Him. I couldn't make eye contact with anyone without Him. He was my everything, and He told me Himself that HE has her now.

HE has her now! Even though it still hurts, I have accepted that she isn't just MINE. She was a gift to us, but she is truly His.

I got into trouble this week, not because of grief or pain over memories that won't be mine, over years that I don't get to have, or the gaping hole in my heart because I don't KNOW her. I got  into trouble over things I thought were mine.

"Ironically" enough, I even had several great conversations with one of our sons this week about turning off our "wanters". I told him about how miserable we become when our "wanter" is on... discontentment creeps in an all of a sudden nothing is good enough anymore. We have a beautiful back yard, with room for me to garden and keep chickens. But when I let my heart wander into "wanter-land" and feed the ache for acres and acres of farm land, all of a sudden my back yard isn't enough for me anymore. I showed this to our son, because I've battled it before and I can see it now, and gratitude for our beautiful home has taken root. But I missed some other things. Surely a quiet shower is mine, right? A clean living room is mine, right? Down-time with my husband like I want it when I want it is mine, right? MINE MINE MINE. Yuck.

Entitlement turns wanting into bitterness.  "That's mine."

It's time to lay it all down again. None of it is "mine".

In surrender, I find myself at the feet of a merciful, generous God. He collects too, but He collects PEOPLE. He scoops up anyone that is willing, and settles them into the fold. He cares for people, deeply. He cares enough to MORE THAN taste the pain we felt losing a daughter.

I'm willing- scoop me up, Lord!

Then comes the wash of gratitude. Gratitude is the perspective that is held when standing at the bottom, LOOKING UP. In a grateful heart, "grumpy" can't grow. Gratitude keeps the cross at the front, and RELIES ON the goodness and mercy of the Lord.

Gratitude RELIES ON the goodness and mercy of the Lord.

Psalm 23:5-6 


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Scoop me up Lord, I'm willing.