For approximately the past eight weeks I have been on a hiatus of sorts. From what, you ask?
From focusing on the positive. From turning it all back to praise. From always seeing Evie's death as a part of God's good plan.
Please hear me out. I know that sounds repulsive, sacrilegious, irreverent even, but it happened. Let me explain.
For whatever reason, at about Evie's four months in Heaven mark I just needed a break. I needed a break from the songs and the prayers and the thoughts that reminded me so much of the difficult, uphill battle I have been on since July 2012. My mind was weary and I needed a break.
Instead of the uplifting worship music of Chris Tomlin, I needed carefree, dance-in-your-kitchen Taylor Swift.
Instead of listening to sermons or devotional clips while I crafted, I needed episode after episode of Phinneas and Ferb.
Instead of praying earnestly for strength and deliverance from my anxieties, I just wanted to peruse Pinterest and add new recipes and project ideas to my boards.
And, instead of constantly shifting my focus from the sad reality of Evie's departure to praise and thanksgiving, I just needed to focus on the sadness and the fact that it really, really, really stinks that my daughter is not here to enjoy.
I needed that. So much more than you might imagine. For months and months I hardly allowed myself to fully embrace that reality for fear that I would somehow be dishonoring to the Lord by just letting myself bask in the awfulness that is death. But it became a necessity.
Since hearing of Evie's diagnosis last summer, I have been trying desperately to pattern my thoughts after those in the Psalms: heartfelt quandaries and inquiries as to why bad things happen to good people and then praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. I always thought the praise and thanksgiving needed to immediately follow the questions and woefulness, but now I see differently.
I went through an entire season of woe; a full season of feeling sorry for myself. And now, weeks later, the praise and thanksgiving is starting to come again.
I went through a season. A fairly sad season and I knew it couldn't last long. I was starting to feel it, Josh was starting to comment, and I knew it needed to end. But I honestly feel it was a necessary season for my grieving process. And when I talk to the Lord about it, I don't feel condemned. I feel very much like He understood my need for a break and I knew He would be there for me when I was ready to get back on track. What a mighty God we serve.
Most certainly my break didn't involve anything regrettable or kicking the Lord out of every facet of my life - I still talked to the Lord regularly - just, very simply put, when given the choice between choosing joy and choosing to dwell in sadness, I chose the latter. Just for a time. And I think my brain and my heart both needed it.
Please know I am not encouraging anyone to follow my footsteps - I just want to say that it happened. And since no temptation has taken us except that which is common to all men, I assume someone out there has experienced or will soon experience the same thing. And I don't necessarily think it's all bad ... just don't let it last for too long.
Let me try to summarize the main ideas here ...
- There was a period of time for about six to eight weeks when I really felt the need to allow myself to be fully sad for losing Evie and visualize all the would-haves and should-have-beens.
- I was never irreverent toward the Lord, just allowed myself a break from the thoughts and songs and prayers that I had been clinging to so hard for so many months.
- Toward the end of that time, I started to feel very withdrawn. Josh made a comment about me seeming "worse". And I knew that meant I needed to stop.
- I have talked to the Lord about it and really feel that He understood my need. He knew my heart wasn't malicious, just trying to feel its way around the dark cave of grief. And I was reminded again that our God doesn't judge us for human inadequacies.
- To snap out of it, I started reading Mended, by Angie Smith and One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Two books I couldn't recommend more for emerging out of a cocoon of sadness.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God, our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, and dominion and power, both now and forever, Amen. Jude 1:24-25