Monday, May 14, 2018

How to Gain from a Loss~

Her realization didn't surprise me.
Not now, anyway.
Not two years on the other side.

But,
when my loss was fresh like hers,
I had felt the shock, too.

"You know what has surprised me the most?"
she asked one night
while we were messaging back and forth.

"No, what?" I inquired.

Having just recently lost her mother,
my heart wondered what she would reply.

"The people you think would be by you the most, aren't.
And the ones you didn't think would, are.
It's weird how that happens."

And, she was absolutely right.
As a recent widow,
I know all too well about that happening,
and yes,
it's weird in every sense of the word.

Weird because loss,
in of itself -
(like nothing I have ever known before)
shouts to us of the uncertainty of life.

Loss
takes what was
familiar, stable, steady, and predictable,
and pulls it right out
from underneath you.

And, it only makes sense
when we lose what is familiar -
(more than anything I have known before)
it leaves us feeling desperate for that which still is.

We long for some type of normal,
some kind of familiar,
something or someone who was there for us before
to still be there for us now.

Only - like my friend discovered -
people aren't always there for us
the way we might expect them to be.

Some are - yes.
And, praise God for those who stay
when everyone else walks out.

But -
here, now -
two years on the other side -
I can also praise God for those who leave,
opening wide in their absence
the precious space for others to walk in.

"I'm praying you'll experience unexpected blessings
in unexpected places from unexpected people."

A new friend,
who God placed in my life
only a week before losing my husband,
(who happened to turn out to be
an unexpected blessing herself)
told me those words shortly after I lost my husband.

She - like countless others -
others I wouldn't have expected
and others I didn't even know -
became a new way
God chose to minister to me
during this, -
the absolute, without-a-doubt
hardest, most difficult time of my life.

"When people you expect
to come alongside you and help you,
do -
you appreciate it,
you're thankful,
and you feel so blessed,
but
when the blessing comes from
an unexpected place,
an unexpected person
where no expectation for help
has ever been placed or expected,
it's easier to see the hand of God."

Words from the same wise woman.

And,
she is so right.

A blessing is a blessing,
but when that blessing comes
from a person or a place
where you've never expected it,
you see the move of God.

You sense deeper His provision to
speak your name to someone,
place your cause upon a heart,
go out of His way
to meet the greatest needs
and satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.

Sometimes, He works through the familiar.
Sometimes, He works through the "new".

But,
you might be asking -
what about the times
when no one comes,
no one responds,
no one seems to care?

(Yep - I've been there, too)

It is in these times
or utter aloneness
and complete isolation that
we receive the most precious blessing of all.

It is then,
when God, Himself,
shows up.

For me,
this has been
one of the greatest hidden treasures
of loss.

When it seems
we have nothing or no one,
we discover -
(in ways that I'd never had my entire life )
how very much
we have God
and how very much
God has us.

And,
we realize, too -
how often before our loss,
we put
our trust,
our confidence,
our security,
in people and things other than God.

Yes, loss brings many realizations.
These -
these are my top three (so far.)

1. God is faithful.

In whatever form He chooses,
through those who are familiar,
through those who are new,
or through Himself,
He will be true to His word
to never leave us or forsake us.

He will be there.
Always.

2. Sometimes, we hold on too tight.

We have to be careful
not to hold too tightly -
to anything
or anyone.

This is true of what we have already lost,
absolutely,
but -
it is also true of those who will "disappoint" us
during our time of loss.

And by not holding tightly,
I simply mean that
once we realize that which was familiar
is no longer there -
(either by loss itself
or an unmet expectation) this:
Don't get angry.
Don't get bitter.
Don't get resentful.
Don't harbor unforgiveness.
Don't "write off" those who have appeared
to have written you off.

Understand loss is part of living in this sinful world.
Understand God is all-knowing and all-loving.
Understand God is always doing a new thing.

Understand not everyone will respond how you might respond.
Understand people are people and we all handle things differently.
Understand ours is not to judge others for what they do or don't do,
ours is
to love,
to be gracious and kind,
and to allow others to have some wiggle room.

Release what is no longer here.
And, release others to respond however they choose to respond.

By holding on to both loosely,
you will keep from
strangling your faith
and strangling relationships.

3.  I'm guilty, too.

This might be the toughest revelation to swallow.

It's easy to see where -
in our human opinion -
others have failed us,
but how many times
in how many ways,
have we ourself
not been there for someone else?

How many times have we
not lived up to another's expected expectation of us?

How many times have we chosen to walk away
instead of pressing in deeper and closer?

If we will let it,
loss -
(unlike anything I've experienced before)
can teach us to be
more compassionate,
more in touch with others,
more willing to choose to
move in closer and deeper
when before we would have turned-tail and run.

Loss can be the very thing God uses
to help us be His way to minister
to someone else in their time of need.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them
the same comfort God has given us.
~2 Corinthians 1:3,4

No, her realization didn't surprise me.
Not now,
not two years on the other side of it.

What has surprised me, though,
is the way God has chosen
to minister to me,
to bless me,
to teach me,
and to convict me
through it.

Who would have thought
there was so much to be gained
through loss?

Only God.










1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you saw my comment to your Facebook video about what you're going to do "when you grow up", but right after I wrote it i finished listening to this pastor's sermon about the Pasalms and prayer and then selected this sermon to lunch to. He and his co-pastor (Dr. Tim Mackie, of Western Seminary and co-founder of The Bible Project) have an entire series on Work that you can find at Door of Hope's website. https://vimeo.com/61694956

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.