Friday, January 15, 2016

The Loss Months

In the past, I've made jokes about myself being an "overachiever" and how I don't do anything half-way.

I laugh just re-reading that statement.  It takes me back to the 2 months leading up to my wedding almost 16 years ago.  In that small span of time, I quit one job, started another {with all the training it required}, wrapped up all the loose ends of wedding planning, and then got married and went on a honeymoon. To say that I had an identity crisis a month or so down the road is the biggest of understatements!

Sometimes these things - the pile-ups of life - "just happen" and we could've chosen differently and prevented some of the stress.  Sometimes we could just choose to react differently to these things when they happen. And often, we don't have any control over them, which is what I've experienced over the last few months.  

A while back,  I made mention of a big decision I'd made, but that I had to wait to announce.  As hard as it was, after nearly 12 years, God told me to give up my Pampered Chef business.  
This was something I'd put my blood, sweat, and tears into for a long time.  I'd built it from the ground up.  I had over 2000 customers in my data base.  I constantly got compliments from hostesses and customers and I truly felt that I was good at that business.
In fact, one host said to me, "but you're so good!" when I told her that I was going to be resigning.

Many of my conversations have gone like that one these past few months.
Explaining to people over and over again why I made the decision I made and why there was NO other decision I could make.

How do you explain that to someone else? How do you explain that conviction? How do you explain that something you were once so passionate about, you are now passionate about releasing?

That ONE thing would've been hard enough.  It would have been a loss and would have required a period of mourning.

Just DAYS after I made this decision, I had only told my husband and kids, my parents, and my in-laws.  DAYS, not weeks or a month; just DAYS.  We were told that my Father-in-law had cancer.  Again.  The same cancer he'd had about 12 years ago.

It took a month or so of doctors appointments and second-opinions before chemo started.
He told his doctor that his grandkids - my kids - are what kept him going. 

But less than four short months after getting this diagnosis, my Father-in-law entered Heaven's gates.  A week and a half after Thanksgiving and two and half weeks before Christmas.
My husband and Mother-in-law were dealing with funeral plots and caskets. 

To say that the whole situation seems surreal is, again, an understatement.

I recently heard a prayer of praise shared at church.  A miracle healing of a young cancer patient. An answer to many prayers.
And I'm ashamed to admit it, but my first thought was, 

Why? Why, God? Why couldn't that be us?
Did we not pray hard enough? 
Why did my husband have to say goodbye to his Dad at such a young age?
Why did my kids lose their Papa so soon? Too soon?
Why did my Mother-in-law have to lose her husband?
Why did this happen to us?

And then the shock of "why am I questioning this?!"

I guess it's because I'm human and I can't help but wonder "WHY?"  If you ask some members of my family I've been asking that BIG little word since I could talk.  


Do I believe that God's plan and His timing are perfect? 
Do I believe that He has a purpose for all things?
Do I believe that He will help us all get through this?


I still wonder why.  Not just why he died.  Not just why now? But so many "Whys," really...

I've prayed, questioned, searched, and struggled to figure out why things had to happen this way.  

Why all at once, God?
Why me?

What is this supposed to teach me? 
What do I do with this? How can I use this pain and this mourning to glorify you? 
Is that even what I'm supposed to do? 

I'm not sure unsettling is a strong enough word for what I'm trying to describe but it's the only one that comes.  
The only one that comes to mind to depict the paradox between knowing so strongly that I was supposed to surrender my Pampered Chef business and now feeling like I don't know anything.  I felt so strong in my faith during my prayers and decision to resign.  
Now I feel so shaky in my faith.
Not because I believe any less.  Maybe it's because I fear what's coming next? Maybe I'm afraid of what else He may ask me to give up?  
After the big losses of these last few months, I am just spent.  I feel as if I don't have anything else to give up and I am certainly feeling that identity crisis I felt as a newly-wed all over again.

I read another blog today that was very helpful; the post was titled When God Says No. Not only was the content spot on for my life situation right now, but she references Daniel and his three friends thrown into the fiery furnace.  I'm currently leading a small group Bible Study on the book of Daniel.

I think not.

And though it doesn't tie things up in pretty little bows for me and answer all my questions, it reminds me that questioning God isn't bad.  It doesn't have to be irreverent or disrespectful.

God desires to have a relationship with us.  A relationship between a loving Father and a child.  A Father who doesn't want us to hurt but knows sometimes it's for our greater good when we do.  A Father who loves us no less when we question than when we lift our hands and praise Him.

Here's my favorite line from "When God Says No:"

We dared pray the scariest prayer, that His will would be done, and it has been. While He may not have answered every prayer in the way we asked, our faith is not dependent upon how God works or responds to our requests. Our faith is in Who God is.

My faith is not dependent on my current situation.  It's not dependent on my asking "WHY?" one more time.  

My Faith - My Trust - are in the One who knows the number of hairs on my head.  The One who knew me while I was still in my mother's womb.
The One who's love can withstand my "Why's" for as long as they come.  

And I feel they may continue to come for awhile.
But I trust the journey will not be in vain and in spite of me, He will be glorified.