Friday, June 07, 2013

An Anniversary of Sorts

It is six months to the day, on a Friday, since Brent died. Generally, I am doing better than I would have expected, thanks to the grace of God and the prayers and help from my dear family, friends, neighbors and those from the two churches where I attend and work. I have my moments, and in the midst of one today, I was so grateful to find my heart cry (which I know is not unlike others grieving loss) in the depths of a series of poems on the Stations of the Cross by Malcolm Guite. A copy follows here. Be blessed, and remember the Lord is near.
IX Jesus falls the third time 
He weeps with you and with you he will stay
When all your staying power has run out
You can't go on, you go on anyway.
He stumbles just beside you when the doubt
That always haunts you, cuts you down at last
And takes away the hope that drove you on.
This is the third fall and it hurts the worst,
This long descent through darkness to depression
From which there seems no rising and no will
To rise, or breathe or bear your own heart beat.
Twice you survived; this third will surely kill,
And you could almost wish for that defeat
Except that in the cold hell where you freeze
You find your God beside you on his knees.


  1. I found your blog a few days ago while looking for another with a similar name. I've read several posts from different years that have really resonated with me, but this one was my undoing. That last line...that God would be beside me on His overwhelming. And yet I remember that He sank far lower than just His knees when He bore the wrath of God for me on the cross. I've been walking with Him for 30 years (more stumbling than walking, if I'm being honest) and yet I still struggle with the heart-knowledge (or is that belief?) of Him loving me like that. I've been doing a Bible study by Sally Clarkson about the love of God, but it's just not getting through and I need it to so desperately. I know in my head that God loves me but I so long to feel it like I did when I was first saved. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Oh, my friend, I struggled for many years, and sometimes still do, to believe and trust the love of God. It is an area of weakness which the enemy exploits, and continues to hurl accusations and doubts that God could love me. Or the suggestion that I need to earn it by living a certain way.

      While we desire the tangible sense of God's love, these feelings are not constant. They are an echo of what's to come. Think of Jesus and his three closest disciples on the mount of transfiguration. Peter loved the feeling so much he wanted to stay there. But there was still work to be done... So the experience did not continue at that time. It is similar in our journey with Jesus.

      I relish those intimate times and try to remember those feelings when my emotions change. I bathe my mind and intellect by soaking it with the truth of God's love in scripture and songs. I look for him in nature, in beauty, in son, in poetry. I go on a treasure hunt to find things in my life for which I'm grateful, knowing every good gift is from him. I spend time reading his love letter to me: his word. I hang out with people who love him. I read about his love from those who've experienced it.

      Two books that have been significant in this area for me are the small book "The Furious Longing of God" by Brennan Manning and the more contemplative book "Surrender to Love" by David Benner. I also found listening prayer helpful. The books "Rivers From Eden" and "Can You Hear Me Now" by Brad Jerzak are helpful tools to learn and practice sitting, soaking in God's presence. He doesn't just give us his love, he IS love.

      Be sure to check practical things too, these can significantly affect our emotions: are you eating and sleeping well? Is your body lacking any nutrients or are there hormonal imbalances that can impact mood? Do you get your body moving every day, outside in the fresh air? Do you hydrate by drinking enough water (half your body weight in ounces daily). I really underestimated the physical. Ask your doctor to test for allergies, food sensitivities, even to assess you for depression or anxiety.

      Find a pastor, counsellor or mentor you trust and ask their counsel in this. Reach out. No one's perfect but we can learn something from everyone and in-person is better than Internet.

      This only scratches the surface. It's a daily journey. We practice. We try. We fail. We try again. We fail better.

      Start simple. Ask Jesus to show you his love, then watch in anticipation for even the unexpected ways it shows up.

      My prayer for you is Eph. 3:14-19. Another beautiful passage is Romans 8:31-39 (esp. 38-39). Read and memorize these if you can or write them out and put where you can see them every day.

      I hope this is of some help. There is no easy button. No secret formula. Keep trusting. Keep loving. Keep telling yourself the truth.

      You asking me this question was a gift of love. His love is in you and flows thru you to others.