One of 2 things happen when we decide to trust God:
It can blow our private world view apart, shaking the foundations of the world we live in and the world that lives in us. Sometimes it shoves us down under the rubble at our private ground zero, searching for any signs of life there.
2. Faith can gather together all our loose ends.
Funny how Faith is like Crazy Glue.
It holds everything together.
I know it seems like the coming of God into our lives would be a peaceful, easy thing.
But consider what Faith has blown apart in our lives.
For me, it was the old world I’d been living in. It was the world that was not working in my present life.
My adolescent Faith with an adolescent God was not working anymore.
Faith blew it apart and made a space for Grace.
Grace in the shape of an Accident.
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Remember every STOP: Denial. Anger. Depression. Survival. Acceptance.
So, here’s the first stop.
Which means, “This is a nightmare I’m going to wake up out of, and Ryan will still be here.” Don’t be shocked at that. None of us are prepared to entertain the thought, “it never happened” for very long. You’ve thought it, now feel it. Nobody knows how long each Stop lasts.
Maybe, for some of us, the rest of our life.
For instance, we build a home at the next Stop(the Anger Stop) because we ’re still mad at God, or someone else.
Of course, we are!
Don’t deny your anger!
The church often tells those of us in grief, “don’t be mad at God!”
I say, “Be as mad as you need to be. God can take it.”
So, spend as much time as you need there.
You might even find you need to return to this Stop again and again.
It’s OK. You’re the engineer.
There will always be the opportunity to move forward or return to this Stop.
God built that into our Journey together.
So maybe you’ve left the Anger Stop for now, and Depression has set in. (Mine lasted twelve years.)
You’re on the pills longer than you wanted.
Don’t stew over the length of your stay.
Just survive. It is enough just to survive.
Stop at the Survival Stop. There’s a red light there. Stop. Don’t run it.
And remember God doesn’t take shortcuts, so stick as close to Him as you can.
Where you are right now is not necessarily your ultimate destination.
And if you need to invent a world where tragedy doesn’t happen, invent the world.
Or, reinvent your world.
I’m wondering where you see yourself on “The Grief Train?”
I told you we were going to get thru this together. And here’s how.
When I was a little girl, there was a miniature train at the park. And you would board the train and it might have a Putt-Putt Golf Stop, a Botanical Garden Stop, or a Horseback Riding Stop where you can get off for a while.
Now I’m building my own railroad, with a miniature train called “The Grief Train.” And every Stop comes from the ride of my own life.
Here are the Stops this train will make:
Acceptance (You will notice I never get to the “Acceptance” Stop.)
I cannot accept Ryan’s death. But that’s just me.
On this train, I won’t suggest you stay on it all the way till the end, without getting off, like well-meaning church people tend to. I will encourage you to get off at every Stop, for however long you need to, including the ones you don’t want to get off at.
None of the Stops should be confused with your ultimate Destination. But they can be.
It’s your train too if you’re up for the ride.
God might suggest we make every Stop because God is all about learning, and the way we learn is to go thru every Stop of the learning process.
Stop, unboard the train, listen and learn what’s there, embrace it as best you can, and move on whenever you’re ready. No shortcuts.
This is not microwavable.
That’s not how God ‘bakes’ a person. We’re more like God’s personal crock pot. Low heat, all day long unlike American gods (money, power).
A major turning point for me came when I tied together the way Tyler held out his hands to me and the way Jesus held out his hands to his friends.
Focus on those hands for a minute. See the holes in his hands and remember the giant hole in his side from a well-aimed Roman spear? There’s nothing he could do to make the scars go away because, just like ours, his scars are permanent.
Think about the way he honored his scars.
I’m thinking about “Doubting Thomas.” He told them that he would not believe unless he saw and touched the scars. Because somehow Jesus’ scars are at the Center of his life story.
And my scars are the Center of my life story and I can’t get away from them. I don’t need to tell you that people do not want to look at our scars. And they even encourage us sometimes to hide them, as if Jesus wore gloves for the rest of his natural life.
Jesus had scars like ours: Physical scars. Emotional scars. Mental scars. His scars were the proof of his single-minded Love for the whole world.
Our minds don’t tell us the truth always.
But our scars always do.
They tell us what is most perfect about our body and soul.