Mother’s day is over. Just the day before I had lamented to my husband… “this is the stupidest holiday” in the midst of an emotional downward spiral where all of the sadness stirring in me just couldn’t stay well… in me. But, as I fell asleep at the end of Mother’s Day, the day I was so anxious to have just over and done with, I found myself thankful. Thankful for the ache in my heart that this day was stirring. Thankful for the longing that it awakened in me on a far more consistent basis in the days and weeks leading up to it as everywhere there were reminders of this upcoming holiday and so, everywhere there were reminders of who I was missing… not that I am ever prone to forget, it’s just that the ache in my heart isn’t always bubbling at the surface in an explosive “I hate mothers day” kind of way. I don’t hate mothers day. I just hate that my two girls who made me a mom aren’t with me to celebrate. And on every mothers day there will always be an ache, always a longing no matter when/if we bring home more children, always there will be two missing. And it is this ache that will be a continual reminder that this world is not my home, eternity awaits and all has not been redeemed yet. YET.
You see when life is full of joys, everything is going my way, and all is well in the world… or should I say all is well in MY world, I can far too easily turn a deaf ear to the suffering that is always around me. For everywhere we go we are rubbing shoulders with suffering, always there is pain present around us and if we’re honest, probably in us somewhere… regardless of whether or not we choose to see it. And yet, in the seasons where the joy is full, I find I ever so subtly (or not so subtly) think my home is here, that I can find the life I long for…hope for… here. I get confused in the way I think and and begin to live as though I’m a citizen of earth and not heaven. And then when sorrow hits, when death strikes, it’s like an awakening to reality. My mind, though it feels as though it is a far more muddled mess these days, is actually experiencing greater clarity then ever before. I know where my home is. I know where my hope is. It’s not just theological head knowledge that doesn’t so much seem to affect me now, but experiential heart knowledge that now matches what I’ve known to be true for so long and now affects the way I think and live and breath. And though at times I fight it (okay, a lot of times I fight it), because I want to find my hope here… because well, I want the ache to go away NOW instead of point me to something greater. Perhaps, I am simply experiencing a taste of what Paul means when he says in Romans 8;
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Yes, it is this groan that I now know. Yes it is an ache that is internally like the pain of childbirth (that I often wish I could be so free as to allow that ache to come out in the same unashamed screams and cries as a woman in labor), and it is the ache all of creation is experiencing, the longing for the redemption of all things, the hope we are waiting for. My ache is not just because I am missing my girls so very much, it is so much deeper. It is an ache of the soul for all to be made right, for all to be restored, for the ache itself to never be again. And so I am learning, ever so slowly to embrace the ache. For it is in the wrestling with this ache that my heart is more fully realizing where true joys lie. I’m far less confused even in my confusion, my mind is clearer even when it feels all muddled inside, my hope is more fixed on Jesus and heaven because any hope I try to find here doesn’t satisfy. In the midst of my grief nothing and no one makes sense but Jesus. And so I know, that there is One who one day will take away all the pain for He has redeemed me for my full redemption, and not just my full redemption but the full redemption of all who know Him and Creation itself… for His great glory. And that full redemption, is what I am waiting for, longing for, hoping for… for myself and this world that everyday reveals the groan of all of our hearts. Come Lord Jesus. Come.
I am a citizen of heaven and a sojourner on this earth, “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”* Two little girls who made me a mommy and now live with our King in our home in heaven, have been two beautiful vessels of their Creator’s hand “to show the surpassing power that belongs to Him and not to us”**, and to clear their parents muddled minds and help us see with growing and striking clarity…
“this slight, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17,18
So, as Mother’s Day came to a close I found my heart at peace in the midst of my pain. I found myself unexpectedly thankful for the deep ache that my soul felt as I fell asleep. Thankful that this ache, in the midst of all the things I am hoping for, points me to the one I am hoping IN.
*2 Corinthians 4:10-11
** 2 Corinthians 4:7