Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Problem with Praise

Praising God always came easy until Caleb died. Then it became a "sacrifice of praise," something that was very difficult for me to do. One of the best things grief has taught me is that praising God has nothing to do with your circumstances. After Caleb died I began to praise God simply because of "who He was," and not for "what He had done for me." Because the reality was-I felt like He hadn't really done much for me, except give me a huge cross to carry. I learned though that the more I praised God for who He was and not what I was experiencing, the lighter my load became. Our hearts were made for worship and even in the valley of death it was necessary for me to worship to allow the healing to come. Praising God turned my focus away from my own sad story and instead lifted my head to higher things, things of His Kingdom.

The problem though is that I now have a hard time when I hear others praise God for what He has done. And I hate that. I hate that I cannot fully enter into giving God the praise that He deserves. It's just that when others start praising God for the list of prayers He has answered, I start thinking about my list of prayers that will always remain unanswered-please make my son live. I start to spiral and think, "Lord, you never even gave us a chance to pray for healing for Caleb. He was just dead,end of story." All of those questions leave me feeling dizzy and I feel like I am back at square one with those dreaded questions I've faced so many times before, "Is God good? Does He really care?Where was He?"

It's humbling to be drawn back into so many of those questions that I "thought" were answered. Even more humbling is the fact that other people's joy brings my doubts into question. But hearing others' praise for answered prayers makes me feel left out, like the one God didn't care about, which I know is not true, but how do you handle that when it feels so true?

How I handle it is going back to God with those same questions again. Sitting with Him and telling Him the honest truth. The truth is that I do feel left out when the praise game starts and that it still hurts.  In the end, I always come back to Jesus. I'm reminded that Jesus does not have all the answers, He simply is the answer. Because in the end its Him, not my children, not my husband, nothing, just Him. Realizing that makes it easier to praise Him for the simple fact that He is God, not for what He has done for me or the things that have gone right in my life.

What I want to do is to be a voice for those who cannot praise God right now based on their "answered" prayers. Those broken souls out there who if they had to praise God based on what their lives looked like, there would be no praise going on. People who have many, many unanswered prayers and questions and messed up, chaotic, broken lives. I want to encourage them (and myself) that praise is so much more than giving God a shout out when things are going right. Praising Him for who He is and not what He can do is enough. I also promise that that praise will help heal your wounds.

Ending it with one of my favorite praise songs:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another Season

Today I miss Caleb. Last night I missed him and wondered over and over again what he would be for Halloween. The change of seasons always hurts because its another season without my son. He would be so big! 2 1/2 and love candy and want to dress up and carve pumpkins. I hate, hate, hate missing out on all the things I thought were a given. And then this morning I heard this song come on the radio. It stopped me and took my breath away. "Yes", I thought," I remember you. I listened to you over and over again after Caleb died. Why are you on the radio!?!" Who knows why it was on, but I'm glad it was. Gave me a moment to stop and remember Caleb. Thinking and praying for all the families out there going through another season with the one they love missing.

If you haven't read the book I will Carry You, go read it!

I Will Carry You (Audrey's Song)

by Selah, from the album "You Deliver Me"

There were photographs I wanted to take

Things I wanted to show you

Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes

Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not

Truth is I'm barely hanging on

But there's a greater story

Written long before me

Because He loves you like this


I will carry you

While your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

Through the coming years

I will carry you

All my life

And I will praise the One Who's chosen me

To carry you

Such a short time

Such a long road

All this madness

But I know

That the silence

Has brought me to His voice

And He says ...

I've shown her photographs of time beginning

Walked her through the parted seas

Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes

Who could love her like this?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The gift He gave me

Our children change our lives, of course they do. I just never thought Caleb would change me so intensely and quickly. After he died, everything was different. I see the world now through the lens of death and loss. At times, that can be a dark lens. But it can also be a deeper, more satisfying lens. I've been busy lately and while I want to write here, I just don't know what to say or how to get the words out. Life is moving forward and even though there might have been a time when I hated that, I don't anymore. Little by little I feel like God is redeeming my whole life after loss. I've caught myself more than once this week thinking "life is soooo good!" And I honestly don't know how I got to this point! I hated life for so long, was disengaged and just surviving for so many months. But now, Im back and not just functioning, I feel like Im functioning better than before!

Caleb's life and death gave me perspective. It showed me what was really important in life. It made me slow down, way down and see what life was really about. I by no means have it all figured out, but I do think that burying a child gives you a wisdom that not everyone else has. When he died, everything in the world was bad, all the goodness drained. I relied so much on the "truth" of God because I honteslty did not see the beauty or goodness anywhere. But lately it seems like the goodness and beauty are pouring back in. And this time when they are filling up my life, they seem so much sweeter. I appreciate the little things more, the simple things Im able to do like make dinner, travel through an airport without major anxiety, give back to others instead of only receiving. There was a time when I was so broken and I guess thats why coming back together again feels so good.

I can't help but thank my son for this gift, the gift of enjoying life more deeply. His life and death gave me more depth than I could have ever counted on. Thank you, Caleb. And thank you God for being the God that can truly "turn my mourning into dancing" Psalm 30:12