Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Observe the Rituals

A perfectly timed letter was in my mailbox on Monday.  I checked the mail after running on the treadmill a while and thinking about how numb and almost robotic I have felt lately.  Certainly a part of grief, but just as confusing and painful as all the other parts.  

A dear friend had sent me a heartfelt card and included was a copy of a devotional excerpt.  It was a short narrative describing in first person how Mary must have felt after Jesus's death on the cross.  One thought reads: I am nothing in a nowhere!  Sounds uncannily familiar ... 

As I continued to read the words the sobs just came over me as I realized not only was a wonderful person thinking of me, the Lord was thinking of me as well.  And He wanted to meet me where I was, in that place where my heart and emotions have built up around them the strongest of brick walls so as not to be penetrated.  Too much feeling seems dangerous right now.  I am so weary of feeling.

So what does a good Christian girl do when nothing feels right?  

More from the devotional:

[Sarah], do this:
     Even in your despair, observe the rituals.  It is the Sabbath; then let it be the Sabbath after all.  Pray your prayers.  However hollow and unsatisfying they may feel, God can fill them.  God is God, who made the world from nothing -- and God as God can still astonish you.  He can make of your mouthings a prayer -- and of your groanings a hymn.  Observe the ritual. 


     One story is done indeed, [Sarah].  You're right.  You've entered the dark night of the soul.

     But another story -- one you cannot conceive of (it's God who conceives it!) -- starts at sunrise.  And the empty time between, while sadly you prepare the spices, is in fact preparing you!  Soon you will change.  Soon you will become ... a saint.  "As dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" ...
     Come again on Sunday, [Sarah], and see how it is that God makes saints.  Come, follow.

Reliving the Passion, Walter Wangerin, Jr.

To anyone feeling as I do right now, don't lose heart.  Keep persevering and doing what you know is right ... soon enough I trust our hearts will follow. <3

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5


  1. I love what Elizabeth Eliot says of grief and devastation: "Just do the next thing."
    That simple word of encouragement and direction will keep a lost, grieving soul from becomming permanently paralyzed by their grief.
    May the father comfort you today as only He can!
    You are dearly loved!

    1. Thank you JoAnn. Doing the next thing has been my battle cry since this summer. A good little piece of encouragement <3

  2. Beautiful. Much love and prayers for you as you keep moving towards the Lord, in the midst of grief, sadness and despair.

  3. This is such a good thing. I think grief is a tough subject, and as Christians, we tend to rush through it, but God is processing something in each moment. Praying for you, and excited for your "morning" to come, but also excited about what God is doing in you now.

    1. Thank you Sarah. Grief is tough as a Christian, but I am learning to just embrace it all in the hopes that healing will take place wholly and completely. Thank you for your prayers <3

  4. So sweet and good of Jesus to meet you like this through your friend. He is a good God!

  5. I needed this today. It's been a tough week, and even doing "the rituals" has been almost impossible. Thank you for the reminder to keep going anyway.

    1. "Just keep swimming" :)

      A dear friend reminded me of Elisabeth Eliot's quote, "Just do the next right thing." I find myself thinking that often.

      Saying a prayer for you right now <3