When You've Lost Heart

Note:  This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a portion of any purchase you make via links within.  Also, this post was mostly typed on a decrepit laptop, with a small child on each side of me, one poking buttons at random, and the other putting his feet on the keyboard and saying inexplicably, "No mocha!  No mocha!"

Evening Light
Photo by Richard Lowkes, flickr creative commons
We've had a lot of illness in our home in the past few weeks.  Not surprisingly, I came back from my friend's graveside service completely wiped out.  I woke up that next morning and realized I was. so. very. sick.  And I had pink eye.  Yuck.

I spent that entire day in bed, and slept most of the time.  I struggled through the rest of the week, trying to take care of my sick self, a sick toddler, two decidedly not-sick kids, and this grief.  Weary doesn't even touch it.

I promise, this is not a complaining post, at least not entirely!  I'm certainly not the first mama to be sick and grieving at the same time.

I am better this week, but my older daughter came down with the same cold, including a wicked case of pink eye.  I would post a picture, you know, just for dramatic effect, but you might plan to eat sometime today, and a photo would probably get in the way of that.  The day before, she had been complaining of stomach pains, and had two random nosebleeds.  As a praying mama, I was naturally praying for my girl's health as I tucked her in, and again later when I put myself to bed.  But honestly?  I prayed half-heartedly at best.  "Why pray, Lord?  When You're going to do what You will anyway?  Why bother?"

Let me be clear: I do not wish to be in charge of the universe, nor do I feel qualified for the position in any way.  But I guess when you're hurting from a wound that came about because something you prayed for fervently did not happen . . .I suppose it takes a bit to get your heart back into the habit of open-handed, trusting prayer.  I am made of flesh and human emotions, after all.

(By the way, the children sandwiching me are currently having a "chomping" war across the keyboard with my hair clips.  One of said children wants me to tell you he is being kind by helping his sister find her monkey.  He thinks he should have his own blog now, and that I could be his scribe.)

That night, after I gave up on prayer, I read a bit from Hope for the Weary Mom, by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin.  I've read this book before, but last week it was available free on Amazon in an expanded edition.  The fact that I am rereading the book tells you what I think of it.  The title of the chapter I read is "When Life Hurts Too Much," (chapter 4, by Brooke).  A few quotes that seemed to come straight from my own heart:

"[After my miscarriage] I still believed God was good, but I closed off the place of radical belief in His desire to be good to me.  I quit dreaming.  Quit hoping.  And just sat still, basking in what goodness He had already given, refusing to dream that He might give it again . . . Loss changes everything."

"I looked deeply at the cross, and wondered again, 'If God never answered another prayer for me, if He never met another need, would His gift of Jesus and my salvation be enough?'"

"Why?  Why would we choose to follow a God who allows our pain? Why give our hearts to a God who doesn't always answer our desperate prayers the way we think is best? . . .Why are we serving God?"

Brooke goes on to ask more hard questions: Do we love Jesus for what He can do for us, or for who He is?  Is my faith such that I will walk away when the path becomes too painful?  I love how Brooke quotes scripture as a beautiful answer:

"Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.'"  (John 6:68-69) (emphasis mine)

"So my healing from life's losses comes down to this: I follow Jesus not because of what He can do for me, but because of what He's already done for me on the cross."

This is not a quick-fix patch, but it does help.  From my daily study last month: "Meditating on God's love over me stirs hope with in me."

On the day she was feeling the worst, Ava turned to me and said tearfully, "I think the medicine I need the most right now is love."  Of course I gathered her right up into my arms.  And you know?  I think she's right.  So many things we give to ourselves to medicate, try to control or mask symptoms, but what we really need is deep healing, Love with a capital llllll. :)

Psalm 31:7 has this lovely part: "You have known the distress of my soul."  As I read that right before finishing this post, I felt a little relief around my heart.  Maybe a tiny bit stronger too.

I know, He says to me.  I know what you are feeling!  I cannot answer your "why" just yet, but I will walk beside you, if you let Me, and I can ease your pain if you give Me the weight of what you carry.

Praying for that easing for all who read these words today.


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