Our 10th confession won't be anything new and earth-shattering…it may just be another eye-opener to the inner turmoil of the grieving parent. For me, it was a gut-wrenching realization.
Confession #10: The grieving parent is experiencing intense emotion toward the Sovereign One. This emotion surfaces in various forms…anger, apathy, and disappointment, to name a few. My personal "favorite" was the latter…disappointment.
I lost track of how many times someone told me after Zoe died, "It's ok to be angry with God!" or "God can handle your anger and questions!" Anger would've taken much more energy and effort than I could bear at the time…my emotion centered on disappointment. It also matched the heaviness of my spirit more. Anger would've demanded passion. I couldn't pull anything close to that from any crevice of my being.
I just found myself so very disappointed that God would orchestrate this path…and not just disappointed in the shocking plan…but disappointed in the One himself. Before you call an elder meeting, let me add…I still trusted and loved the Father, but if I'm being honest, I didn't like Him very much. Ok…I guess you're probably still leaning toward making that call. Hear me out, though. I fully believe you can be torn inside out by the debilitating throws of grief and still trusting the Almighty for the big picture. It just felt…and sometimes still feels…like God and I…well, like we "were on a break."
I would liken it to my relationship with my own children. There are many times when I'm super disappointed with their choices and behavior…and feel as though our relationship is very strained…yet my love for them never fails. Is that a fair analogy?
I've mentioned in earlier blog posts that we were praising God for His miraculous work in sustaining and healing Zoe already. Why did He feel like this was the better way in spite of all that?!? We may never understand. We may not be meant too. But this definitely led to my disappointment with Him.
Truthfully, I wanted to not feel this way…I wanted to trust His plan implicitly. But that's why this falls into a confession…especially in Christian circles…nobody wants to admit, let alone talk about, this one…and yet it's a core struggle of the grieving parent.
It's a strange place to find yourself in a situation where the thing that gives you the most comfort, grace, and compassion is also where you find your greatest torment. By that I mean, the truths found in Scripture are so encouraging and so frustrating at the same time.
How about I put it this way...sometimes I wanted to stay miserable, and God just wouldn't leave me alone. (another familiar them when I think of family relationships) Lame.
There are so many times when this internal conflict became apparent to me, but I’ll only list a couple for time’s sake.
I could site innumerable times when someone shared encouraging Bible verses with me, only to have my heart clinch in turmoil at the truth of God’s sovereignty or love for each one of us. Honestly, I didn’t really want to hear it at the time. Yet, truthfully, the only real comfort I’ve had these last 6 months is pondering the fact that God is up to something bigger than I could imagine in Zoe’s life and death.
As dear as music is to my heart, there were times I couldn’t utter a single note because of the words that were attached to them…usually centering on trusting God and following Him, no matter where He leads. I couldn’t bring myself to lie in order to keep singing. Then there have been other times we’d be singing in church, and the stone cold reality of God’s loving compassion would hit me like a brick wall, and I’d be so overwhelmed by His presence that it would feel like the world stopped spinning for just a moment, and He reached down from Paradise and gave me a big ol’ bear hug.
I even signed up for a women’s Bible study and was excited to study the story of Esther in greater depth and see how God would use it to further heal my aching soul. I quickly began back pedaling, however, when it seemed like Beth Moore was trampling all over my tattered heart with every, “…for a time such as this…” comment. For fear of passing out or vomiting all over the sweet women in the class, I just couldn’t bring myself to keep going. I’m still looking forward to doing the study because I’m confident God had me there for a purpose. I may just have to do it in a smaller setting or even alone…and that’s ok, too.
Regardless, it all seriously comes down to my disappointment with God in choosing this path. We believe He can and will…and IS…redeeming Zoe’s death for some amazing kingdom purpose. I have no doubt. But that doesn’t make me want her any less. Let me be painfully transparent here. One day, I remember telling my pastor/husband, “Everyone keeps saying how awesome it is that people are hearing about Christ because of Zoe’s death. I know it’s so awful and ungodly to say, but right now, I’d still choose Zoe. I guess that reveals how little I truly believe what I say I believe about Jesus.” Such a sad commentary on the heart condition. Not that anyone would not understand the plight of a mother who’d just buried her 3 year old daughter…it’s just a miserable place to be when you find yourself wholeheartedly wishing for the temporary at the expense of the eternal. But like I said, sometimes…like our children…we just want to cross our arms, stick out our lip, and be miserable for awhile…no matter how comforting the arms of our father can be.
So it is in the throws of relinquishing ultimate control and God-given nurturing desire that disappointment was born. Even though He had given life, He took it away. Even though we obeyed, it wasn’t enough. Even though we sacrificed, He demanded more. I guess the real question would be, “Will my heart CHOOSE to say, ‘Lord, blessed be Your name’?” Because in these moments of deep disappointment in what God has ordained, my will must lead the way. I’m trusting that God will bring along my emotions/feelings when the time is right. For now, I’m left with the words of a song that has comforted our family greatly these past 6 months.
What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments…or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
Maybe one day…just maybe…we will look back say…
"That disappointment and anguish? Well, that ain't nothing compared to this. This…THIS…is so much better than we could ever have imagined."
Now wouldn't that be something?