Finally, early spring was peeking through the dreary grayness of a long, long winter. B. and I piled into the car and headed in a direction that I hadn't been in a long while. This place. It represented some of the most difficult moments of my life. You know, all of the moments I didn't care to relive. I didn't go often.
Each time I visited this place in the past, the pain and anxiety crept in and gripped my heart and mind the second my car approached the driveway. Images raced through my mind in rapid fire and the deep ache that had become so familiar pressed hard on me. Sometimes, I felt better after a visit because that's what happens after a good, ugly cry. Other times, though, bitterness tightened its fierce grip on my heart, and I would leave feeling more hopeless and helpless. But this time it would be different. I was different.
The car turned into the gravel drive and evidence of time passed was striking. Trees were much larger; and, the sprawling, empty field of grass that I remembered wasn't sprawling and empty. There were rows and rows of gravesites, almost as far as my eye could see. My eyes searched for the beautiful tree that grew just behind the plot chosen for my sweet babies, Tyler and Hailey. It took me a few minutes to get out. But, I did.
It's hard to put into words exactly what happened during that graveside visit. B. stayed in the car because he knew this moment was between a girl and God. See, in the weeks and months prior, the Lord had been healing my heart and my perspective. I had finally released the right to be angry and bitter and allowed Him to work a miracle in me. And, He did just that. So, there I was. My being there was a matter of obedience. The Lord was taking me back to this spot so I could see it with fresh eyes through the lens of a healed heart and mind. We had a sweet moment, the Lord and I. I knelt graveside and prayed, weeping. But these tears were different. I was grateful and in awe of God and His unfailing love and faithfulness. Before I knew what happened, my arms were stretched to the sky and I was singing.
For thou O, Lord are high above all the earth. Thou art exalted far above all Gods. I exalt Thee. I exalt Thee. I exalt Thee, O Lord.
In that moment of worship, there was a beautiful exchange: beauty for ashes, joy for mourning. In that moment, He reignited a passion and a calling for worship leading. In that moment, He reminded me of His lavish, unfailing love.
Fast-forward to January 2016. It's a season of many challenges. I'm talking about the kind of challenges that, in the moment, make you want to run and hide. Quit. Give-up. These are the kinds of challenges that sweep through every inch of your world like a tidal wave and knock you off your feet. It's all I could do to keep my head above water. But God has a beautiful way of reminding us that He's with us.
There I was standing in a room during a night of worship. The evening had already been like a breath of fresh air. Just as I was asking the Lord what He wanted me to do, a new song rang out in the room.
I exalt Thee. I exalt Thee. I exalt Thee, O Lord.
I hit my knees. Once again in awe of God's faithfulness. He was reminding me of where He brought me from. He was reminding me that He lifted me out of a deep pit, healed me and restored me. He was reminding me that He was the same God that held me in His hands when I knelt graveside all those years ago. He told me to get up and do the thing He's called me to do with bold faith. Why? Because He's proven Himself faithful over and over again. He is God. He is always God.
May I encourage you today? On those days that God seems far off, remember WHO He is. On those days that God seems quiet, remember how He's been faithful. I promise you this: God is always there and He's always faithful. Do the next thing simply because God is who He says He is. Then watch Him do what only He can do, proving again that He is faithful beyond measure.
He. Never. Leaves. You. He loves you so.