|My sister and I, circa 1982.|
That’s how long it has been since my life changed forever. The morning my little sister died was unspeakably horrifying…traumatic...indescribable, really. Losing her felt like something exploded inside me, and left a gaping hole, and I was so hurt, and I was so unbelievably angry. I was just sixteen years old then. Now, looking back, I barely recognize that girl. Twenty years. So much in life changes in two decades, yet it feels like just yesterday I was with my sweet sister; playing, fighting, sharing secrets and dreams and loving each other like the best friends we were.
I’ve spent much of these twenty years going through all those stages of grief: the anger, the denial, the acceptance, the bargaining, the depression…I list them in no particular order because grief has no order. It travels its own circuitous route, coming back around to places you’d thought you’d already been and taking forms you’d thought you’d never see again. Grief has a beginning, but it does not have an end.
But God has shown me something lately, and it has made all the difference. It has nothing to do with healing. It is all about rest.
See, usually as the anniversary of Mindy’s death approaches I feel my heart sinking and depression begins to seep in…I will get flashbacks of the morning she died, remember the fear and the swallowing grief of those first days.
This year has been different. It began when a few months ago God laid it on my heart to commit Matthew 11:28 to memory. Then, a few weeks ago, I had to learn about resting in a different way. What happened was I was indulging my obsession with moving to a different house. I had found a great fixer-upper and had contacted my realtor to go see it. (Never mind that I don’t have time for my normal life, much less moving into and renovating an old house. Never mind that my husband and I have decided to focus on paying off our obscene student loans, not buying houses). I called my realtor…then I prayed. And when I asked God directly what we should do, He didn’t say, “Don’t move,” or “Pay off your loans, stupid.” No. The single word I heard deep in my heart was: “Rest.”
And it was a command. A command to bring every burden, every worry to him. To settle down, already. And I’ve been trying to obey that command when I have too much to do, and when my children are sick and need me, and when life feels overwhelming. So this year, as my biggest sorrow comes back around, I’m resting. After twenty years I am allowing Him to keep His promise. I feel His arms around me. I feel His tears where mine usually are. My grief hasn’t gone away, but He is holding it for me. So I can finally rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Do y'all know this song? It reminds me that God is good, all the time.
Is there something that He can hold for you? Somewhere in your life where you just need rest? His promise is to give you that. Even when the healing isn't there yet...even if the healing never comes..."you will find rest for your souls."