I made it to my perch on the stairs by the window. It's my "refuge" where I sit with God, where I am still. My special place. (I still need a chair - the step is wildly uncomfortable especially on my postpartum body). I've been pouring over the book I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. Chalise gave me the book right after Violet died and I just couldn't even look at it until about 3 weeks later. Now it's like she's writing my story. Like God is giving me the exact chapter to read at precisely the time I need it most.
I knew God was going to speak to me through Angie again today when I opened to book and read this:
Yet she kept discovering in the places of deepest aloneness and emptinessthe God who was with her, for her. She discovered Christ's presence from the inside out, seeing what He sees as He sees it. She now has a sense of what the world looks like from a cross. She knows the darkness of the inside of a grave. And she knows, more and more, the brightness of a new day when the world is glimpsed as from a tomb, its stone rolled away. - Mark Buchanan
Here are some more excerpts from the chapter this morning that spoke to the deepest parts of my hurting soul, that I could have easily written myself...
I realized something in me that needed to be broken. Something that I hadn't felt completely yet [...] I curled up in my bed, and I invited the sorrow in. She came swiftly, deeply, consumingly. And she whispered to me in the dark of night.
I am here to stay.
Angie Smith goes on to tell about her first visit to her daughter's grave and how she got a patch of clay from the fresh grave on her forehead...
I reached for the towel, and just as I began to wipe it away, a voice reminded me of what I knew to be true.
I am here to stay.
I will permanently bear the mark of a woman who has lost her child.
I could have written these very words. It is nearly unbearable to think of all the women walking around at church, at mother's day out, at the grocery store who have also lost a child. And at the same time so very comforting.
Now, Angie brings it all home right here...
What do you believe your God can do? [...] Instead of spending your days focusing on your sense of hurt or loss, allow the Lord to bless you with the grace to believe that what lies ahead will glorify Him. It is the closest thing to true worship that we have in this life, and so often we miss it.
And as if Angie's writing wasn't enough to wash over my wounds this morning, the devotion for June 11 in Streams in the Desert ( a book sent to me by a woman I don't know, but who has been right where I am just a year before) made this point:
Today many people are attempting to use their mental capacity and logical thinking to obtain sanctification, yet this is nothing but a religious fabrication. [...] Yet the heartstrings of their old nature have not been broken, and their unyielding character, which they inherited from Adam, has not been ground to powder. Their soul has not throbbed with the lonely, gushing groans of Gesthemene. Having no scars from their death on Calvary, they will exhibit nothing of the soft, sweet, gentle, restful, victorious, overflowing, and triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb.
How did all this land in my spirit? I was struck with abundant clarity that there is a battle happening all.the.time for my soul. Satan takes every opportunity to claim my thoughts. This morning, he sneaked in under the guise of grief. But this is a battle he simply CANNOT win. Just as he cannot have my family - he cannot have me.
Where does that leave me? Still hiding in my God, peaking out for minutes, seconds as it's bearable. Standing still and letting those waves come and wash over me.
"Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him. 7You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah."