I read today of another school shooting. God what is happening? My heart breaks. The next headline is about some sick, twisted people who abused their children under the cover of homeschooling. These people aren’t home educators they are predators and need to be put down! I look down at my leg .After my last surgery, it has not been right. It’s numb from my hip on down to the tips of my toes. That wouldn’t be so bad except for the extreme nerve pain. I wake up and go to bed to it. (If I sleep at all.) A friend calls me sobbing. Her heart is broken. I don’t even know if I have any answers. I listen, my heart aches, we end our call. Where is there any good in all this mess? Has goodness fled the earth?
God how do I help the hurting when I’m hurting too?
I go to grab a cup of coffee. I look at the words I wrote some time ago on my chalkboard cupboard, “ You will never lighten any load until you feel the pressure in your own soul“. Ravi Zacharias
I know suffering, I know heartache. I know what it feels like to not be able to make your child safe. Watching my daughter have a Tonic Clonic seizure and sobbing helplessly while my husband performs CPR. That was helplessness. Asking God for the last 10 years to heal my pain and get me out of homeschooling. (Yep, that was my prayer) Watching my son be bullied and ridiculed by the very people who were supposed to be leaders. Watching him struggle with dyslexia and crying alongside his young mind. Feel the pressure in my own soul.
I don’t have the answer to pointless wars and murders, to twisted people who we call “parents” that abuse the innocent, to broken wills to live or pain, but I do know that I can enter into the grief of the hurting and I can feel the pressure. I can show up and speak up. There still is goodness on this earth.
I saw it the day my daughter had a seizure and a family took care of the rest of my children. I saw it when my friend called me out of the blue when I was suffering unimaginable pain and trying to cope. I saw it in the encouragement of a Youth Pastor who has allowed my son to believe that people actually care and want his best . I saw it the day I woke up and just couldn’t anymore. I had to take one of my sons to the Orthodontist and my leg hurt. Waking up to the same pain ,taking the same meds, waiting for the tick, tick of the clock so the pain eases a bit. I sat there thinking, “God I just want to hear from you.” I got in our van and drove 30 mins. to the appointment. This particular son is quiet (like annoyingly quiet) so I put the radio on. Part of the words were about Jesus calling us. https://youtu.be/rYQ5yXCc_CA I sighed and wished He would. Call that is. I was in quite the mood by the time we walked in the office. I plastered on my fake smile said, “Hi” and sat down. The TV was on and Kathy Lee Gifford was singing some song about letting Jesus be seen in me. The receptionist starting talking to me so I shifted my eyes to her. She asked me how my back was.( I’ve been coming here for years and they know me well. I probably pay her salary. LOL) She walked back to her desk and had a book in her hand. She said, “Barb this book is about my faith.” I looked down at the book then at her. She said, “I just want you to know that God is with you and He cares”. I really couldn’t speak. I’m not the kind of person to cry in front of others. She told me to look at the date in the book because it seemed to be exactly what I needed. I didn’t need anything else from the book. The front of the book was written Jesus Calling. I knew I had just been called by God through an amazing women I didn’t even know was a Christian. When I got into the van I started to sob. My son said with big eyes,” Mom what’s wrong?” So I told him and we both drove home pretty amazed by the kindness of a receptionist.
God has been with me in all this pain. I don’t know if I can say Thank you God for this suffering. It’s been 10 years and I’m just going to be honest. It’s not easy. But I do know if God can’t make it better, I just want Him to make it count. Everyday.
I have always wanted to make a difference in this world. I knelt down in a soda machine room in Bible college and told the Lord he could have my life and do whatever he wanted with it. I pledged to die if need be. I don’t think when we pledge our lives we know what we are saying. Was I willing to give up my independence? Was I willing to suffer, not die, but truly suffer for God? What if He had told me, “Barb I’m going to pull on your nerve for 10 years to the end of your life. Will you still serve me?” Well that’s a hard answer. I’m no different then Peter. “I’ll die for you Lord but, Um, could you please stop pulling on my nerve.” How about Jobs wife? I always feel she gets a bad rap. I mean she lost those SAME 10 children. She lost everything too. Now she’s watching her husband suffer. Maybe she just wanted his suffering to end. Not that she was a wicked woman. She was clearly not in her right mind,” you speak as one of the foolish woman”. So before she wasn’t foolish. Maybe she was just broken? I have been there. I have been so broken in pain and grief that I have asked God to just take me home or cut my leg off, either will work.
So is God so mean He would cause my suffering? No, I don’t actually blame God. I blame Agent Orange and another senseless war. My sister and brother have terrible backs. My father was in Vietnam and was in an area of high concentration of Agent Orange( Who on earth ever thought that was a good idea???) My Dad has had 9 back surgeries . That is not a coincidence. But please continue to put it in our food. Stellar idea. So mankind is evil. Not everything is God’s fault. He has been here in this pain and is completely capable of healing me. Should I shake my fist and say ” If thou art the Christ get off that cross or Heal me” . Either way it’s the same thing. We all want free will but when we get it ,we don’t like the results.
I am not like you anymore. I have been given a glimpse of what entering into means. Sometimes I wish I could make you see. When you carelessly comment about someone’s pain medication, when you think someone should just get over whatever hardship is in their past, when you carelessly tell an abuse victim to just forgive the abuser, when you stand before people and tell them to trust God yet you know nothing of suffering, when you brag about helping people( really?) ,when you tell someone” let me know if there is anything I can do”. ( please), when you say to a chronically ill person” God is good all the time” and they are living on pain pills wondering where God is. Friends enter into their suffering. Feel the pressure. Clichés and idioms don’t help. Be there for the long haul. Don’t be a fair weather friend . Some people’s storms never blow away( only their friends do) . It’s easy to say I’ll pray for you, but will you be there for the long haul?
Part of homeschooling for me is teaching my kids we are not here to serve ourselves. I don’t always excel at this. I sometimes have to pull myself out of a massive pity party to show them service. This world needs love. This world needs hope. This world needs people who feel the pressure in their own soul and lift burdens. Be there. Give hope. Show the world there is still love. I sometimes pity you. I have an insight you will never have, yet I have a pain you will never want.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
If you can’t make it better God, Please make it count.