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Just Sit With It

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Just thinking about all the things. Sometimes life is hard. And as of late, it has been hard for me. I am the type of person who faces hard things and just goes head-on into the storm doing what needs to be done to get through to the other side. 

But this time…I need to stop and sit with this. To dwell.

I recently lost both my brother, Chuck, and my Aunt Dot, who has been like a second mama to me in so many ways. Both gone …in a span of nine days. Nine days. 

And so we took time off and went down to Georgia…first St. Simons Island where my brother’s Memorial…a Fish Fry/Life Celebration took place. And then, we drove to my sister’s house in McDonough, Ga. where my aunt’s Celebration of Life/Memorial Service took place. 

Being with my siblings, and their spouses on St Simons Island was a healing time for me and I think for all of us. There is something in the quiet beauty and peace on that Island that gripped my heart and poured God’s grace, love, and comfort into my spirit. Being with my brothers and sisters brought unity that we don’t get to experience often, as we are all in different places doing life in our own ways with our own ‘people’. But it was a unity that was much needed in this time of loss. I’m so thankful that we had that time together. 

Seeing my other family members and my Uncle Clay at Dot’s funeral was bittersweet and precious as we witnessed testimony after testimony of the bright light that my Aunt brought to so many. Her love of Jesus and others was so very obvious to see. Her laughter and love of life were contagious. She brought the light and joy of the Lord to everyone who knew her. 

But now that I am home I cannot shake this feeling that God does not want me to just move on. I know that grief is a strange bedfellow. It never seems to act according to the way the books and the counselors tell us. It doubles back on you in the strangest moments. It is a process…I am aware. I am no stranger to grief. I have lost many loved ones…beginning with my own father when I was just 10 years old. 

This life has a tendency to take. And in that taking, we can feel lost or defeated. But God has so much more for us than what this life has to offer. Without Him, I would be completely devastated at all of the loss that I have experienced in life. 

But God…

With Him, I can have victory. I can have peace…the kind that makes absolutely no sense given the circumstances. I can continue to build a resilient spirit that can bend and sway but not break under the pressures of this life. 

In 2004 our family lived in Florida. That year 4 hurricanes hit Florida within a 6 week period. Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. We were thankful that we lived in a house that had been built to stand against the battering rains and winds. But to see the devastation in the surrounding areas and to see some of the homes of our friends destroyed was a shocking sight. 

During the hurricanes, I remember seeing the window panes in our home literally bowing in and out with the force and suction caused by the winds. It shocked me that glass could do that…and then I realized this was ‘hurricane-proof’ window panes. These were high-impact glass windows built to withstand almost anything. They would bend but they did not break. 

Hurricane preparedness was a real thing in Florida…and I was never so thankful to realize the builders of my home had the worst-case scenario in mind when they built our house. 

In the same way. I tend to bend and sway under the struggles of this life. Life and death. But because God is my anchor and my shield I know I will not break. I’m very bendy. Sometimes life has me bent double and the pain is almost unbearable, but I hang on for dear life to my Jesus. He is my salvation…in more ways than just eternity. Without Him, I would surely break. 

Resilience was my Word of the Year for 2023. I have learned that resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulties. I have recovered from and am recovering from my own share of difficulties in my 65 years on this earth. 

We are called to be a resilient people. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 speaks to this here: 

“We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;  we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.”

Romans 5: 1-4 tells us: 

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.”

Our resilience in Christ means that there is victory in this life…there is hope as we experience life and death. 

“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy!

Though I have fallen, I will stand up;

though I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be my light.”  Micah 7:8

It puts me in mind of a stanza in a poem by Edwin Markham, 

“Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.”  

My soul has been shaken. And so I am dwelling on that. Not the negative dwelling that we so often associate with this word. But the sitting still in the midst of it. It doesn’t even surprise me that my Word of the year for this year is the word, DWELL. I pray as my soul and my spirit are shaken, the glory of the LORD is evident in my life…in my contemplation…in my writing. That I do indeed, ‘let the glory out.’ 

God has this way about Him as I sit with Him. Even in the stillness, I feel His breath. At times it startles me and shakes up the hard ground that has taken shape in my heart. And then as His spirit comes alongside my spirit, I feel all the things I have pushed aside come to the surface, and the tears fall down my cheeks as I feel His embrace. I am stretched. 

The last stanza in that same poem says it best:

“Sorrows come…to stretch out spaces in the heart for Joy.” 


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