Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dancing in the Manna

The other day, in my post, I asked.... "Where is that hope now?"  I long to "feel" that overwhelming sense of peace that I had, even in my darkest moments with Rachel and shortly after her death.  I'm afraid I may be assuming that since so many people have moved on and wonder why I haven't stopped talking about Rachel yet - that maybe God feels the same way... maybe a "good Christian" would be so full of faith that they would be smiling by now -even if just in front of people.  Maybe since I'm still so sad, maybe I'm doing something wrong.... I see the looks, hear it in the "encouraging" comments.... maybe if I just trusted God more, I would be able to just say "My daughter died, Praise the Lord!"  And since I'm not there, and never will be, I start to wonder if God has forgotten me.  I wonder if I can possibly be glorifying Him when even Christians judge me for the fact that I am still heavy hearted for my girl - and I'm completely okay with that.

Well, my Hope (Jesus) is never changing.  I know that to be the absolute truth.  So that only leaves one answer - I've moved away, not Him.  Thankfully all of this writing, no matter how rough around the edges at times, does prove to be helpful in me working through some of the things that I probably wouldn't even know needed attention if I didn't write everything down.  I'm thankful for your patience and love for me as I do this.... being vulnerable like this actually really stinks - I don't believe it's a mistake that God has me using this blog as a way to continue to grow in Him through my trials.... but being in the limelight through the hardest days of my life has been very hard.  I know that most of you receive me without judgement, but the few times where that has not been the case have left some pretty deep wounds in my heart.  I pray that God has purpose even in them.

As I considered the fact that for the first time in this journey, I am struggling so much to trust God, the thing that keeps coming to mind is manna.

I told you about the magazine I found... in one of the articles -titled "Peace that passes all understanding" by Ed Welch - he says this in reference to Exodus 16:
   There are times when we will feel like destitute wanderers in the wilderness with little hope of food and water.  God will then give us manna at the time we need it.  He won't give us so much that we will have enough for tomorrow because then we would just start trusting in the manna rather than trusting Immanuel. (God with us). 
   God makes a promise.  He will give you manna - or grace - when you need it, but not before.  That means you will be anxious if you forecast the future because you are making your prediction based on the manna you have left over from today, and there is none.  What you don't factor into your prediction is that you will receive fresh grace when you need it.
Losing Rachel made me stronger - even though I have felt nothing by weakness since August 4, 2010.  Walking this road has given me the gift of wisdom, courage, determination, compassion - and I could go on and on.  That baby girl was truly a gift to me.  But the one thing that I have been left with, eating at my soul is fear - and it has been magnified in my journey with Asa.  The daily pain of this road has left me scared to death that I will have to face something like this again.  After Rachel's diagnosis, I had no idea how long it would hurt.  I probably used to buy into the "grieving takes 1 year" lie that so many people think is in that non-existent handbook for how to handle loss.  I'm kind of glad I didn't know.  I'm glad I thought that it would hurt most at first and then progressively get better.... cause it doesn't.  It's very up and down and totally unpredictable.  It's been a long, hard road.  But when I look back over the last year and a half....

I can see the manna that fell from heaven.  Just when I needed it.  The exact amount I needed.  In the exact form I was hungry for.  My God is the God Who Provides.

And so I have decided that in those moments, when I'm riddled with fear that Asa will be taken from me - or I'm avoiding a gathering because I just "can't handle" what comments or judgements I will have to endure - or I feel like I need to protect my heart since nobody else seems to.... When I feel all alone and unloved by detached  in-laws who judge me and busy friends.... I'm just going to say "manna".  And when I do, I'm going to remember every time along this path where my needs were met before I even knew I was hungry or thirsty.  You see, because when God says he is with us... Immanuel.... He means he is doing something.  He doesn't just sit there and watch his children fend for themselves.  And my experience tells me that I have no reason to doubt that He will always be there for me.

This week leading up to Rachel's birthday has been painful.  I can't believe it's been a year since I held my baby girl.  But today, I stopped at her PO Box.... and manna!  A whole bunch of cards for Rachel's birthday... from all over the state of NH, plus, NY, IN, MN....  We open that box to emptiness weekly and then today, just when my heart needed to know she hasn't been forgotten, I was overwhelmed by the cards we got.  As I opened each card and read them to everyone at the dinner table, I cried a lot.  Partly because I wish this wasn't my life, I wish she was still here - and partly because I'm so grateful to have all of your love.

We got home and there was a package on the steps...  I opened it up and my friend Michelle had sent this beautiful music box that plays "Amazing Grace" - I cried some more... Thanks, Michelle!

And in one of the envelopes, a blog reader Megan sent me this key chain....Thank you!
It says: "Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance"

And did my girl ever love to dance... she's still teaching me the steps. 
Thank You, Jesus, for today's manna.


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes