As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When Okay Really is Okay

How do you tell friends and family that a seemingly bedrock piece of their reality has crumbled? How do you lead them through the collapsed remains when in their wide eyes filled with shock, you can see the reflection of an emptiness, where what once was isn't any longer? How do you take the conviction that God is still able to build something amazing--whatever that may look like--from your heart and place it in theirs? How do you assure them life is still present and despite what looks like decimation? How do you help them breathe?

I don't know.

I feel I have not done it well, although I do not know how I could have or should have done it better. Perhaps a blog entry wasn't the best solution, but I really did not have the mental or emotional energy to write literally hundreds of personal notes and the inevitable replies that would have needed to be addressed. No, sometimes it is easier to drop one massive bomb than to lob hundreds of grenades.

In either case, there is the reaction, and that requires far more tact and gentleness.

When the aftershock of telling people that Rob and I had been separated a few weeks hit, so did the emails, texts, phone calls, and messages. The number of wonderful, loving friends and family who offered support in every way was a healing balm. There is no blanket like the one created by loving people.

It was also overwhelming.

I cannot imagine the shock people around us must have felt when they heard the news. I can only liken it to hearing news of a sudden death. All is fine...and in an instant, in the most unimaginable way possible, it isn't. It is human nature to react to that instant.

However, for us, it wasn't an instant.

I realize every situation is different. We have a friend whose world exploded when her husband walked in one day, told her he was divorcing her (papers in hand), packed his clothes, and walked contact information given. THAT is a whole different situation. I cannot fathom the pain that comes from that.

Sometimes, though, pain is spread out over time and events...healing along with it...and by the time the bomb hits, there have been enough smaller things that did so much damage that the difference is so minute. Sometimes there is simply peace in no longer being shelled. And in that peace, one finds that despite the debris, it really is okay. Life didn't stop. Breathing didn't stop. Dreams are not dead. Hope continues.

There are hard days...when my gaze drifts backward at what was...what I thought was...and what isn't. Tears fall. Questions are asked. I am amazed at how few answers come, but even in the not understanding, God grants peace.

Then my ears hear the Whisper...the one hard to hear in the thundering of war...and I look...forward...and I see...

Promises that have not been discarded. A God who knew then...and is not shocked now. Life still present. Hope all encompassing.

And I wish I could open the eyes of those who are in shock, who are trying to find footing in the aftermath, who only see what isn't anymore. I wish I could open their eyes to see that God is still present...still has His great plans for hope and a future steady in His hands...and is still wholly Sovereign.

I wish I could help them see it isn't the perfect choice, but God is the perfect God, and it really is...and really will be...okay.


Carmel said...

God is so amazing. Hope is a precious gift. As is the peace that only God can give. And when you embody that peace, or more, it embodies you, the world thinks you're nuts. But God is working and shining through - even if only through the cracks on the bad days. And when you hold on to it, yes, things will be, and are, ok.
You remind me of my Mum with the way you grasp and embody that peace. And that too is a precious gift.
And there was no right or wrong way to break the news. There's just what it was. What it is. And that's ok too.
I love you.

Jerri Phillips said...

Carmel, I'm printing that out and putting it in my journal. Thank you for calling around the world, hearing my heart, listening to my voice, and sitting in the peace with me. I love you bigger than the world. :-)

Steven said...

Thanks for sharing. I know this whole thing has got to be tough. It's tough for me to hear. But God is good all the time, no matter what happens, and He works everything together for our good.

I'm also reminded of something you once e-mailed me, about a dream you had concerning me. You saw a t-rex that represented some of my struggles, and it was trying to eat me but couldn't close its mouth around me to eat me. God was holding it back, and He explained to you that He was allowing this struggle to refine me. It's been a few years since I read it, so I don't remember all the details. I printed it out and put it somewhere, and I hope I find it again sometime. Perhaps this severe trial is your t-rex that God is preventing from eating you but allowing to further refine you.

Jerri Phillips said...

Steven, my sweet brother...I thought of the T-Rex earlier this week, too. It's dead...I'm still standing... :-)

Love you, precious man of God!