In all honesty, the past couple of years have been a serious fight for joy. I can't pinpoint exactly what has caused my heart to reach such a numb state, but I feel as though I have been merely scraping by. And I've hated it. It's like each day has become so mundane. There have been times when I've looked at myself with such disdain over the person I've become on the inside. Somehow I reached a point where the tiniest disappointments could send my mood into a downward spiral and ruin my day. This has been my hardest battle.
Through it all, I've never given up on the Lord. I have continued to seek His face, even in the driest seasons - even when I felt like I was praying to the ceiling - even when I felt like His Word just wasn't coming alive. It can be so easy to just give up when we don't feel Him anymore. And I think that's what I've been fighting for a while. I just haven't felt Him. But I know that what I believe is real. And not just what I believe, but I know that He is real, and that His Word is real. So when Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "He will not leave you or forsake you," my heart and my soul believe it.
These past couple of months I have experienced a wide range of emotions. And I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life who have helped me through and encouraged me to allow myself the FREEDOM to experience those emotions. I've experienced anger, bitterness, confusion, frustration, deep sadness, and believe it or not, peace. I went a couple of weeks where I just couldn't pray anymore. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually spent. Praying for healing for my mom for almost a solid two years with seemingly no answer (or really the answer being the opposite of what I was praying for) was enough to do me in. I didn't want to put on a mask in approaching the Lord in prayer. So I didn't. But at the same time, I was so thankful to know there were countless others praying on my behalf. I depended on those prayers so heavily in a time when I couldn't pray myself.
A day came, however, when I knew I needed to confess my feelings to the Lord. So I did, and I was brutally honest with Him. I told Him I was angry. I told Him I felt like He wasn't listening, like He had turned a deaf ear toward us. I told Him I didn't understand and I felt like He didn't care. And amazingly, through this very prayer, I felt like I heard Him speak to me so clearly. I wrote the prayer in my journal, and as I was writing, His words interrupted me, and I felt led to write His words in the middle of my prayer.
I was asking Him to do a miracle in my mom's life, and He told me, "I want to do a miracle in your life, Jordan. In showing myself through one who hopes against hope." I continued to plead with Him, reminding Him that my Mom is His precious daughter. He interrupted again. "So are you." I also heard Him tell me, "I see you," and "I hear you." And then He gave me one last word...
I still was not fully convinced. But I believe that's when He really began working in my heart and showing me that my mom's battle with cancer wasn't just about her and her testimony, but it was also about doing a work in my life through all this. Was I happy with this? No. But He did slowly begin changing my heart.
I feel like the Lord has been consistently telling me one other thing these past couple of months. He knows this battle very well that I have been fighting for joy. He knows that my heart has felt numb. And I feel like He has been telling me that He had to take my mom for my heart to start feeling again. I feel like He has been telling me that
joy is coming through all this. Oh, I wish there were some other way. I really do. My heart is broken, and my spirit is crushed. So I must now trust that He will put me back together again. And He will work joy in the days to come.
I feel very hopeful in His promise. I can say that my heart no longer feels numb. I think the word for it now is tender. When a heart is broken into pieces, parts are exposed that have been hidden for years. I don't even know what all is in there. But
He knows. And he knows how to restore each part and put it all back together again.
I claimed Psalm 42 for myself on December 11, 2013, moments before finding out that the end of my mom's journey was nearer than we thought. The second part of verse 5 has really found a deep place in my spirit.
"Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
Joy is coming. I am confident that it is.
I know a lot of pain is also coming. I dread the pain that lies ahead. I started feeling it just last night. Reality is slowly beginning to sink in. When I think of her absence, my stomach burns, and I feel like the breath has been knocked out of me. She was my best friend. So much of my life was wrapped up in her. But I know joy is coming. Through tears and sorrow, I have to cling to this promise. I know in my mind that every tear will be worth it all. But my heart must follow.
I'll close with this song (I think Mom shared it on her blog a while back too).
Please continue to pray for our family and the days that lie ahead. We are so desperate for God's grace to continue to carry us.
"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."