I wasn’t planning on going all the way back, just past everything current. I needed the spelling of a middle name, but scroll back I did.
Scroll, scroll scroll all the way back. Back to before. Before our lives changed forever. Even before she penned those wise words “…..not being under Jesus Christ you will never find peace! So that’s why it’s important to find that Brightness & learn and understand” written on a folded letter that her sister found tucked away amongst her things.
Yes it was our sweet Janel’s FB page. I don’t have hardly any live videos and those on there were only her voice and of her precious new baby girl she spoke to. Finally I found the spelling but I watched every video and read every post and mostly, besides how much it made me miss her, they just were filled with such a mother’s love for her baby. My heart ached and still aches as I write this and it was 2 days ago.
I’m looking at the 2nd proverb and I see the wisdom, the understanding and the treasure of Jesus Christ that our sweet daughter spoke of.
The scene would play in my head, over and over and over again. I would wonder, imagine what went on in that car those last few minutes. The arguments, threats, anger and for our daughter there must have been fear as well. But I wasn’t there when the abuse and cruelty of a man would cause our precious daughter to come out of a moving car.
No, I wasn’t there even though I couldn’t ride in a car for a long while without going there, in my head. But in that car that December, she needed help, she was the one weak and needy; needing God to deliver her out of the hand of the wicked one who neither knew nor did he understand because he walked in darkness.
On that day God did deliver her out of the hand of the wicked and into the hands of our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The foundations were shaken, they are shaken because of sin & darkness. God in His mercy rescued!
I wonder how many times I would open the bottom drawer and pull out her purse…. a one year old baby candle, make up, some tickets, pens, baby powder spilled all throughout. I had bought it for her a couple of Christmases earlier. Shiny black big purse. The last time I saw her she wanted to trade purses. I was using one her sister and I had both used. We were already out to the car and we forgot to trade so we said next time. Yes, we would do it next time. So I take the purse out…again… and I cry. Looking at the contents, thinking of all that they say about her last days. Then I put it back. It’s too much! I wondered how long it would hurt. Last year I finally did it. Everything out. I was able to keep what I would keep and toss the rest. I carefully washed it out, layed it back in the drawer. I wasn’t able to use it, at least not yet but I know my heart is healing, slowly healing.
Moments frozen in time, captured by photos that only capture that second when the camera clicks. The rest of the day gone, thoughts, feelings, breakfast, chores, conversations of that day all gone. One thing for sure, that in that moment and the entire day is “God is good, good is God!”. That is one thing or one of the things that will never change. Nineteen years later that plump little baby girl on that slide would pen those words. Tall, slender, searching and yet proclaiming that “God is good, good is God!” Not knowing that that precious blonde in carefree thought on that swing would one day take on the world for that baby sister and without a doubt, God is certainly good.
I am on a journey and I travel this journey with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He has guided me all my days, even the ones where I tried to find my own paths and justify them with every part of my soul. I can’t go back to the beginning, where it started because it’s already been too long and too much has happened so I will start with today. I am longing for Him like never before and it doesn’t come easy and without much battle in my mind as to how. I know that I can find Him by reading His words, they are life, living, active, sharper than the two edged sword, piercing even to the division of my soul and spirit. I have tried to start reading several times this year. Parts of Genesis, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, Jude and Revelation. I have listened to Joshua and part of Judges and part of 1st and 2nd Samuel. We are going through 1 Corinthians in church. It’s all very good but it’s not enough. I have been thinking about my purpose here and how it pertains to the Gospel. I know that I have been chosen before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him in love. But what is my part, why is it that I lack words to speak even when opportunity seems … well, opportune. I feel like if the words would come to me I would speak them. I thought maybe if I start this blog it might help me to gather my thoughts into some kind of order. Maybe to express my desires to be all that God wants me to be. I have started a book by John Piper, ‘Hunger for God’. I am hopeful that it will help me to find some of the answers I have been looking for.
I knew it was coming. But the question was would I be willing to answer. Could I speak of things that I am ashamed of. Am I still carrying that shame. I know how to hold back, to tell the parts of my story in such vague terms. It was early, still at home going over the questions we would be talking about in our group. As soon as my husband read the question I knew. “Where is one area that you have been set free from the grip of shame? In what ways have you lived differently after being set free? How can you help others to be set free from shame and find freedom freely given in Christ?” When I say I knew, that is not to say I knew I would answer in our C-Group about that, only that I knew what I was supposed to do. But parts of my testimony are too shameful and I reserve those parts for the very few that I feel comfortable sharing with. Thinking back there really hasn’t been many to hear the whole story. It’s shameful and very weighty. The heaviness weighted me down the moment we first read it because I knew. But would I? So we’ve gone to church and are now with our group and we are openly discussing how Jesus bore our shame. Each person says something giving me freedom to speak. I’m still holding back and we haven’t got to that last question yet. They say “this should be a safe place; this is a safe place; it’s important not to hide in our shame because what we hide Satan still owns; some felt drawn to our church because of the honesty in the pulpit of past failures and God’s grace; one actually stated what he was freed from and we weren’t even to the question yet. I didn’t even list all the things said because there was more. Opening up the door of grace right before my eyes. So would I?, Did I? It wasn’t easy but I knew I was still carrying that shame and yes….. I told all. Like my sister said after, I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I know that I walked out of that class more free than before I walked in.
Hours into days into months into….. years. How can this much time have passed? As I write this it’s been 6 years and 5 months tomorrow. I find myself wanting to go back in my mind to the initial days following, to reconnect to the grief, to the time when it was hurting and we cried, yes the tears flowed constantly it seemed. To when it was all we talked about. Sometimes I go to YouTube and watch the funeral which was filmed sideways but I don’t care. This might seem absurd to some and totally relatable to others.
As we live in this many years away from when Janel was alive my heart is not comforted but still sad. I try to write about her life and connect to how she said “If you are in the darkness you will never find peace” but it is hard and (time) at first, I would think is my friend because now I’m able to focus more clearly, on life, purpose, putting aside the pain and doing the next thing. (Time) isn’t my friend though, because it seems at times to be removing me from her, putting distance between the time when I could still see her clearly and hear her voice and now when it’s harder to see, to hear and yet the pain still churns in my gut because I miss her.
Physical pain, emotional pain, pain that wrenches the gut and causes the mind to be disillusioned.
Today my pain is in my ear and I’ve been to the Dr. Taken all my medicine. Still I have pain in my ear. There were a couple of days that I thought I might die Not because the pain was so bad I couldn’t take it but because people die and what if it wasn’t my ear at all but it was my brain causing my ear to hurt. How long will I live any way? I know my life is short but how short. So I began to work on my children’s boxes more diligently. I made sure all the letters I’ve been writing them were placed in their special boxes in my closet with their names. I ordered a Bible and write a few more things in a booklet. Then I felt better. I do believe there is something going on in my ear and I might have to deal with it on Monday but I no longer feel like I might…. well you know…. die…..soon.
I want so desperately to work on my devotional that I am writing. This doesn’t seem to be the place. To be honest I am writing what I can but it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in that I don’t know what I’m doing. So I have her words and I don’t know how to connect her words with her life. I don’t know how to tell stories about our precious Janel and connect them to her words every time I write. I just can’t do it. It’s too hard. Even the stories are hard to write. I think it did help when I would look at the pictures of her.
I could have something substantial to wrap my mind around and I was able to make some progress that way. I want it to be honoring, helpful, probing the heart in some way. Let the reader know her a little more closely and let The goodness of God shine through it.
My journey, I love my journey. It is in freedom that I walk. I am learning and growing. I am loving God’s Word and my soul hungers to know it, to read it, to meditate on it. It gives me peace, joy, comfort and a deep satisfaction knowing that it is His word. I am learning to organize my house through organize 365. I absolutely love it. I have a Sunday Basket. God is good, He is so good to me. He is helping me do these things. I still have trials and when they come, they come at first with resentment, then defiance, then defence, then comes me trying to reason it out. Who’s at fault? Then the Spirit leads me to search out my own heart and see I if there is any selfish motives. I repent of my part in the trials and I pray for God’s help in the situation. He immediately comforts me. Later he shows me that my husband has had a really hard day. Through his prayers later in the evening I see all the harshness fade into humility and repentance.
I see the beauty of the Holy Spirit at work in both of our lives and once again we walk in victory over a defeated enemy that tried to sabotage us. That was yesterday. It was my Friday. Not our typical date night.