Sometimes I just need to sit in it.
Sit in the dirt. The mucky hole of a minute, hour, day, week, or month I find myself in. The holes of life that I don’t see coming, and half the time, I have no idea where that dang hole even came from.
I picture myself skipping along through life, maybe even whistling a happy little ditty. Then bam! All of a sudden, wait why I am so grumpy? Wait, why am I so down? Wait what happened to my happy children, why are they being so naughty? Wait, what happened to my content husband? Did I do something wrong? Why cannot I not smile, or whistle, or STOP being so whiney about small/medium/large struggles of this life?
At first I am in denial that I am sitting in a hole at all. “I’m fine!” I say, and I just pace around pretending all is fine.
Then, I try to maneuver my way out. Be it jumping, climbing, or trying to use some supplies to MacGyver my way out, I fight it. I use all my energy and sanity up in trying to use my own strength to get myself out of the pit.
Finally, after the denial and the fight, I just decide to sit in it. I accept it. Do I want to be sitting in the mud? Do I want to be feeling down, stressed, out of control, sappy, crabby, blue? No, I don’t. But sometimes I just don’t get to choose. And so in it I sit and I decide to surrender to the fact that some feelings and circumstances just cannot be mustered over. They need to be lived through.
March came on me this year. I was just underlyingly not myself and grief weaved its way into the forefront of my being without me even noticing. I’ve gotten good at knowing myself, and so I tried all the usual things I do to work through it. I pray, I read the Bible, I try to rest, but there it still was. I was still sitting in the mud waiting for God’s joy to come in the morning.
I’ve learned, just because His joy isn’t in the next morning doesn’t mean its never going to come. It will. It always does. Its God’s promise and I have lived it. God’s joy always comes, but it doesn’t make the sorrowful, stressful, downcast times any easier. They are what they are. May I give myself permission, may I give YOU permission, to just let it be hard. No which way around it.
And its okay that its hard.
In March I found myself reading through the book of Isaiah. Its an interesting book of the Bible to be reading when you are feeling down because all the chapters I was reading were about “God judges this” or “God’s wrath will be terrible upon them” or “It will be worse for them than (insert some poetic way of saying hell on earth).” The beginning chapters of Isaiah are brutal. But apparently I am OCD and I couldn’t bring myself to skip chapters or go read somewhere else. The reading plan must go on! And on and on I read all about how, quite simply, things go wrong in this world. Due to many things yes, but reasons aside, it was over and over again clear that in this world there will be pain.
Gideon’s birthday party was amazing. We swam in the pool, we let balloons go, and two lanterns (one for each year) and it was beautiful and hard and lovely and sorrowful. My heart half giggled and half cried, as the lanterns floated up into the night sky all my children and cousins starts chanting “Gid-e-on! Gid-e-on! Gid-e-on!” What a sweetly complex life we live that we can joyfully chant to celebrate the life of a little baby gone too soon.
Gideon’s Lanterns Chant
I want to be okay with this without feeling the need to solve it or change it. I want to be okay with allowing people to surround me in the celebrating but fighting the hard fought grief with God and God alone. I want to give us permission to be real with one another. If you are in a pit, tell me about it. I might not be able to pull you out of it, but I sure can sit there with you! I want to pray for you. I have a never ending desire to lift you up in prayer. My prayer for you, for me, today and right now is that we not be ashamed of the mud that life brings. Life isn’t always supposed to be skipping and whistling and mud pits do not equal failure.
One of my all time favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. It is written by David’s son Solomon, and man fighting tooth and nail to figure this life out. To crack the code and finally conquer it all! This is what he says,
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”
Whatever your day brings, whatever today is a time for may you know that it’s all God’s time and He makes it all beautiful.
What’s today a time of for you?