Time for some honesty.
Time for some reflecting on...well, time.
I am currently standing on the sidelines watching a family endure the most agonizing thing imaginable - the loss of a child. 17 years old. Vibrant. Healthy. Beautiful. A heart for Jesus that I envy.
My heart aches for them daily. I wake in the middle of the night with the Spirit's nudge to pray for them. The first day I heard of the accident, my prayer was for the Lord to literally help them breathe under the suffocating weight of grief that had hit them out of nowhere. I continue to pray because there's nothing else I know to do right now. Time will ease their pain, but not free them from the ache they will feel forever.
I've thought some about my own family's journey with grief and how time both helps and hinders the healing process. I don't for one second compare divorce to the unspeakable pain of losing a child, and I want to be very clear on that. That is a category of grieving and loss I hope to never fathom. This family did NOTHING to bring about the accident, and in divorce there are ALWAYS two people at fault in various ways and to some extent because we are all sinners. There are things I wish I had responded better to, ways I know I could have been a more godly wife, etc. That is just one of many of the huge differences between grieving over a child and grieving over a lost marriage. But still, divorce has been like a death in my family. It was the death of all my hopes and dreams and plans for my life and my children's lives. It was the death of relationship with my ex-husband. It was a new reality.
Next week marks two years since the official death of my marriage. It was a long, excrutiating process getting there the 15 years prior to that day, but nonetheless, the final certificate is only two years old. And yes, absolutely time has helped my daughters and me to heal. The girls used to tell me that crying was my hobby - said in jest but cutting me to the core because of the guilt I felt at them seeing me so broken for so long. It took me months to be able to make it thru a single day without tears. They were random and followed no schedule or pattern.
Stopping at a gas station would sometimes remind me of the specific candy bar and drink he liked to get on roadtrips. Tears.
Going for a walk in my neighborhood and seeing other little girls outside playing with their dad. Tears.
Seeing a man put his arm around his wife in front of me at church. Tears.
Just the other day I took the dog to a local dog park and was consumed by thoughts of the times I had come there in the past. Except with a family. Three little girls and a husband and a dog. No tears this time, but that old familiar heavy grief on my shoulder once again.
There has been SO much progress in healing for all of us. My daughters are more grounded, more secure, more manageable from a parenting perspective, and I see some of the joy that all children should have being returned to them. It's been a long road, but time has been our friend. Slowly, but surely, binding up wounds and restoring our broken hearts.
And yet, time is also the enemy of grief in a paradoxical way. You see, time clouds our memories. It makes things that I once recalled so clearly a bit fuzzy. Things that were (and still are) reality somehow seem less brutal now that I'm a ways out from it all.
In that awful, deceptive way Satan so cunningly does, he uses time to glaze over truth. I sit in my big, empty house and look around and in the darkest of moments hear the thought, "Well, you got what you wanted. You said enough and now you've lost not just him, but all of them. Where are your daughters? With their new family. Where is he? With his new wife. You were so easily replaceable. It wasn't that bad, Sharon. You blew it and now some other woman is enjoying YOUR family. YOUR KIDS. Way to go."
So time, it seems is both a help and a hurt, when it comes to some types of grieving.
Time has played tricks on God's people for all of history. I so often see myself among the children of Israel who so quickly wished for their miserable existence back in Egypt. He had rescued them!! Done AMAZING miracles to get them out and give them an abundant life!! Yet so quickly, they forgot what the reality of their lives had been back there. Time made it fuzzy.
It seems like a big, impossible mess to wade my way thru grieving sometimes. I'll never arrive, I think. And yet, when I look back over the last four years (and two years officially), I can't help but recognize how the Lord has grown me and caught my tears and brought the girls and me along in ways I can't even describe to you. I have grown and matured and come to recognize Jesus' voice more quickly. He is using the worst failures in my life and weaving a story for my good and His glory, gently teaching and correcting me in that beautiful way only He can do. I am even more painfully aware of my sin both past and present, and He is forming me into the woman He created me to be. But goodness, it feels like an agonizingly slow process.
Time - I pray for the quiet soothing it can bring to this precious family who is aching in grief for their daughter's passing from this life into heaven. And yet I pray the Lord will protect them from Satan's vicious lies, whatever they may be, that he will try to plant as time goes by. I'm so very grateful for the obvious ways the Lord is giving them strength in devastation and the unbelievable ways He is using them to further the Gospel. More on that later, in fact...a story for another day.
I guess it leaves me with nothing to do but surrender it all to Jesus. Throw my hands up and declare Him to be the watchkeeper over all His children as He promises He is. Time is our friend and our enemy, But HE is not bound by time and not susceptible to the lies of Satan.
He is the Lion of Judah. And neither time, nor death, nor divorce can ever thwart His perfect plan. Trust Him, friends, with whatever lies Satan is using with the passage of time to thwart your healing from grief. Stop yearning for the life He's rescued you from even though you're wandering the wilderness. This is where He has us. This is where He's promised to stay with us for as long as He feels this is where we will most be changed into His likeness. That wilderness is where peace and hope are found, in the shadow of our protective King.
He knows all things. Redeems all things. Restores all things. In HIS time.
II Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."