I was making homemade pizza dough, standing in the small little corner of my kitchen and all of a sudden I had a memory that seemed like it was just yesterday. His voice was clear as day, I allowed myself to get lost in one of the many conversations we had that changed me. Our talks were never brief, Richard knew if I told him who was calling to not expect to see me for at least 30 minutes. I soon snapped out of it, found myself staring at the mixing blade swirling, waiting for my ingredients to give it purpose, while the tears started to blur my vision…
Grief is frustrating and a weird dance we all experience in life. It sneaks up on you when you least expect it to. Well atleast for me, the person who will internalize it, put it on the back burner and ignore it until it explodes with a furry.
It was just a few weeks ago, I was finishing up a run on the track getting ready for my second race of the summer when I was listening to a song and talking with God that I all of a sudden felt my breathing speed and my shoulders want to shake with the sorrow I had tucked away. Thankfully it started to ran, the two little girls were alseep in the stroller and I had a moment all by myself, well, not by myself, but on my own without human eyes watching me.
I am currently in a bible study that is going over the book of James. There is a well known scripture verse in this book, the one that says to “count it all joy when trials come”. It is interesting how the Word of God is the same yet each time I read a scripture, new revelations come forth. I was stuck on verse 8, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. Crown of life…hmmm
This Sunday my friend, brother in Christ, mentor, discipler, elder, spiritual father is celebrating his birthday in Heaven…Heaven. The place my soul longs for deep within, yet my heart and mind struggle to comprehend its vastness.
My mind has been dwelling on the concept of the “crown”. It is promised to us, it is given to us “victors” as 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says. Grab your bible, check out these verse, if you don’t have one, use the internet.
Ken and I spent some time talking about the crown. We sang songs about it in our church, the symbol speaks to those of us who acknowledge the kingdom seed and gives us hope as we toil here on earth. Yet I will be the first to admit that I can have deep convictions that rattle my soul and shake me and spur me to do things that require a faith that can move mountains and then I will get lazy, put my armor on halfway or not at all and find myself in need of Savior to hear my repentance.
If we keep our eyes on the champion who perfects our faith as Hebrews 11 says, then how would we wake each day? Ken never let a moment pass and fade never to return. His convictions were worn on his heart and practiced out daily. Leaving me many times annoyed that I was having to be “talked to again” thanks to my stubborn spirit.
The absence of someone who impacted your life is one that can be filled up, disguised as full and not lacking if you’re not careful. Finding a balance between grief, denial, joy, anger and hope is a road I think most of us don’t want to experience.
Because I am a visual person, I have been using the scriptures to paint a picture for my heart to cope with. One that talks about receiving our crown of life that James talks about or one that talks about worshipping our maker day and night as it says in Revelations 4 & 5. Even though I have God’s word to turn to I still am struggling with my human instinct that runs to doubt. If we are honest, don’t we all wonder about the validity of Heaven?
I wonder as he is in God’s throne room where there is a glow of emerald circling it (rev. 4:3) surrounded by the elders all clothed in white with crowns on their heads (rev.4:4) with lighting and thunder flashing and rumbling (rev 4:5) flooded with the voices of every living being singing “day after day and night after night: holy holy holy is that Lord God Almighty…You are worthy” (rev 4:8,11)…does he think about his time here on earth? The mere blip in eternity for him and everyone else that has ran the race.
I find comfort when I think about the promises we find in God’s Word. I believe that is why I have found so much conviction to daily be in it. I am broken, make mistakes, get haunted by regrets and find that toiling here on earth can be a real pain. God’s Word grounds me, gives me hope, restores the vision I need to cross the finish line.
Even though it has been a short 4 months of his last day on earth it still feels like he is on an extended vacation. I hold onto things that my heart is chewing on, the good, the bad, the confusing things. I haven’t found a mentor yet to sit and talk with about these things. I finished strong at my last race and wanted desperately to call him and tell him all about the experience. I have had some victories that he walked along side with me when I was struggling, pleading for me to lay my sword down and see the situation with kingdom eyes.
Grief, something we all wish we didn’t have to go through I am finding is a necessary evil. It refines us, if we allow God to hold onto something we don’t want, yet fight to relinquish. It has the power to strip you of the walls you build, to find yourself vulnerable to the deep soul work that God so desperately wants to do as the master gardner who has planted the kingdom seed within you. God never relents, his love is relentless.
This week I have had two songs on my heart. One I am almost certain most people could say they have heard it atleast once in their lives, probably at a funeral or if you are raised in church, sung during a church service. It is called “It Is Well With My Soul”.
“and Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul”
I am trying to say it is well with my soul, even though I don’t understand why. Instead I have been asking God to restore my faith and vision. We are singing a song in church tomorrow that some of you may know, it is one that gives my wavering hope a place to rest in. It is called “Be Thou My Vision”. I find when I listen to it, the picture of the crown of life becomes clearer and protected by human doubt. It also makes that longing for our forever home to be brought to the surface and no longer squashed. I have attached it below, hope that it speaks to your heart as it has to mine.
“So I run with purpose in every step” 1 Corinthians 9:26 Happy birthday my dear friend