“O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:27-31‬ ‭NLT

From the prophet Isaiah:

““No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭58:6-11‬ ‭NLT

2020 Where even am I.

Today I am sitting in a coffee shop looking out over the water. There is a thick eery fog draped across the scene, that prevents me from seeing any of the barges, boats, birds, or sea lions that my other senses tell me are out there. It's a very "winter white" feeling because the air has brought an icy chill this particular morning. I reflect on the last year, 5 years, and decade of my life and I am struck by how unreal it feels. Like this fog, my memory is caped in grief and clouded by pain. Every once in a while, like a boats mournful horn, a blissful happy memories rings through. I just feel like I need the sun to come shine through and burn off the fog layer in my mind so I may see clearly again. 
Grief is such a strange thing. They say "its a journey, not a place", but what does that mean? Where even am I?? My life is forever changed by the loss of my mother and brother, but does it have to always affect my current life? I guess it will. But the how can change. This last year has been hard. For anyone living in the world today, you know. But on top of the political and social unrest, a pandemic, and me trying my hands at parenting; Aaron and I have experienced more loss, grief, fear, and pain that has pushed us both to the point of feeling nothing at all. Have you been there? Like, it's just too much that you just become numb to it all? A couple deaths of loved ones, a divorce in the family, a car accident accompanied by death, health concerns (everything turned out ok), and old emotions bubbling up inside me again as if I lost my brother all over again. I don't get it. When are we done? Lord, Is this dark shadow going to lift anytime soon? What are you doing here!? Those questions swirl in my mind as I reel with ears ringing from the smack down I feel life has given me. 
The one bright shining beam of joy in this year has been our son, Judah. Aaron says God knew what kind of year we were gonna have, so he made Judah who he is, one heck of a happy, hilarious boy, to help us through. 
Side note, we named him Judah after Judah in the Bible, it means praise. But more for his mothers story- Leah. You see, she thought she could win her husband's love over her sister (also married to her husband) by having sons. After one son she thought, "the Lord has seen my misery, and now my husband will love me!". And a second son comes, she says "the Lord heard I was unloved, and gave me another son!". A third, "surely my husband will love me now that I have given him three sons!". And finally, with Judah, she says "the Lord has given me another son, this time I will praise the Lord."

I resonate with that so much. Just that each time God did something she wanted to see what he was doing, but in her own way and plan for her life. I cant imagine the loneliness and pain she felt, knowing she was second choice to her younger sister by her own husband. She wanted God to fix it. To give her the love she wanted from her husband, but instead of being grateful and joyful over her children, she was focused on what they could get her. She wanted more. 
As much as I think she had a right to want that, the point is she allowed her pain in her marriage to steal her joy of the gift of motherhood. She was missing the blessing. Children that would love her like no other, from a God that loved her like no other. I like the place she came to, to say "this time, I will praise the Lord."

I just want to live there! No matter the circumstances, the pain, the lonliness and loss, I want to just say, instead of always looking for what I want, and how life can serve me, "At this time- I will praise the Lord."

I hold on to my convictions so tightly, like I know God will work all things for good to those that love Him, and that God is good, and loves me, and will walk me through the dark of night. But I sometimes skip to that and dont rant out my pain and anger. David did. David yelled and pleaded and questioned Gods provision for him. But he always came full circle to remember who God is, and who he was, and knew that the healing he needed was only found in trusting God. I need to allow the ranting part for a little bit sometimes, still holding on to truth, just to process my emotions. In order to be able to come to the end and let go, like Leah. My heart is so heavy I cant move. I so desire to be lighthearted and flit around life, and laugh. I want Judah to see me laugh, and remember me laughing. Its just so hard when all I see is pain. Mine and others'. Im tired. So tired Lord. Where is that renewing strength that the prophet Isaiah talks about? I don't feel like a well watered garden right now.

As I have said, everything God asks of us is for our benefit..... maybe.... just maybe it's time to see more of other people's pain, and less of mine. Isaiah talks a lot about reaching out to the helpless and needy, how that's what God wants from his people, and I'm thinking maybe healing can be found there. I mean, I've  tried everything else: mourning, wallowing, filling by body with sugar and salt. Yet I don't seem to be going anywhere.
I read the promises in Isaiah and remember that the Lord is mighty, I cannot understand His ways, but He promised me that He would be here with me. There's a song that says, "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord". So, here, in need of strength, I will wait. Here I am, help me see other people and not just myself...help me reach out my tired hands, and give me strength to do something of worth. But either way, right here and now, I will praise the Lord.