white space brings wholeness
(This life) is a process of becoming.
And when we yield to God’s purposes,
the process is one of becoming whole.
Charles Stanley, The Blessings of Brokenness
I knew it at the time and I told her so, that God was breaking me to make me whole, a mosaic out of shards of pottery. But I sat with Faith, my friend and pastor, and cried my little heart out. Big alligator tears is what my Mama always called them and I felt at the time their teeth.
The old Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme is true. Sometimes all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put us together again. But our God can. He knows our troubles and our hearts, and he is bigger and stronger than both.
It is one of God's great mysteries that he makes us whole through our own brokenness, through the broken body and mercy of our savior.
I'm sure you have had your heart broken over something or someone. For me, it has been the roller coaster ride that is Autism.
In the beginning it was just heartbreak and sorrow. Eventually, I finally came to see Kyle’s autism as stalled communication, short circuited processing and large amounts of fear that left broken relationships. Some brokenness we could work on and some only my Savior can mend. Sometimes he just doesn’t mend in the time we prefer (now) or just in the way we want (equal to our hard work) or smoothly (without interruption to our best laid plans), or even this side of the Jordan (soon). Yet, he is God, the original communicator. In the beginning was the Word. He is the original relationship builder and sustainer. He made us for face-to-face. I stayed in my bible and camped on those qualities of God as Mike and I tried to connect with our beautiful Kyle.
Jesus was calling me into the foggy wilderness to sit alone with him and learn a few things at his pierced feet. Painful things like loneliness, vulnerability, being misunderstood, how things don’t always add up to your faithfulness, getting up every morning weary and and trying again. In those days, there was not much time to be the good kind of alone, the refreshing kind. It was just plain and gritty lonely alone.
I was surrounded by the typical chaos and joy of four kids, but also with one for whom childhood tenderness like touch, eye-to-eye love and snuggles were unwanted, painful even. I had always relished motherhood, even being rung out by the clatter of all those hands, feet and loud voices. But now my days were overrun with tantrums, tears, therapists and testing.
And my boy was sad. He was five years old and full of sorrow.
One discerning doctor told Mike and I our whole family had grief to bear and to help each other face. Yikes! I just looked at her blankly. Her words did not register. I didn’t yet realize I needed grieving or how much of it I would need to do.
I have to tell you, this was not chosen white space, but carved out by God. I was being called out of my comings and goings to a quieter place where I would have to lean hard on God and others. I was being cut free of many good and happy places I liked to connect with friends and community and called to a howling wilderness. I was being made to face my own numb veneer and deep bone-weary grief.
I had always been an even keel kind of girl without sharp emotional highs and lows, but now I was heavy-hearted and low, low, low. I usually stepped lightly out of bed for the day, now I just wanted to sleep for a long, long time and sleep hard.
I have known grief be a persistent and ruthless companion, a hard driving sheet of rain, the needles kind. It is best not to ignore the storm or leave it to flood the streets of you soul. Grief can pull you under wrapped in seaweed.
No two of us grieve in the same way, yet no matter who we are, that rascal will only be put off so long before growing exponentially powerful and flooding out of the pores of your skin. Though it is always beneath the surface, I have found grief rise up most often when it is least convenient and least expected. Back then, it was at birthday celebrations.
So Faith advised me to call my mentor, which I did not have. She told me to call one TODAY. A woman's name popped into my head right there in her office, a woman I did not know, and I called her on the spot. Judy and I met the next week and she held so many tears for me, you cannot imagine. Our first time together was in her living room where she sat on the floor at my feet and hugged my knees while I cried. So tender. She was acquainted with grief herself and the heart of Jesus too, so my tears were being held by well-cupped hands.
She listened, we prayed, she brought scripture and books and wisdom to the table. We shared a crazy love of reading and stacks of books in the queue. Above all, she brought her own example of going in deep from the inside out for healing.
This is from one of her favorite books,
Be willing to have the steadiness in your life
disrupted if knowing God better requires it. The good fight is fought with a sweaty passion that develops only when the evenness of our soul is upset.
Larry Crabb, Inside Out
In time, Judy would call me a stinker for all of my stubborn self-reliance. Oh, she would know me and love me too well.
I would surrender to God’s hand during that time and again later during the Beautiful Cull, but not without
reluctance kicking and screaming and buckets of salty tears.
I'd love to tell you I've got this, no really I would, that's what I like to do, be self-reliant, but I am still at it today. Surrendering. I am no Moses, but becoming whole at least for me takes a wide sweep of wilderness.