“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
Sometimes God reveals Truths to me by throwing a few “one-two” punches that, when taken together, form a very clear message that I need to hear. This morning was one of those times. I woke up to a message from a sweet friend who walks this same journey. We check in with each other frequently. She was having a hard day – even though she has found another companion and is planning a wedding. She said something that got me thinking, “We never chose to STOP being married to our husbands.”
This made me realize that the intense longing I feel in my loneliness is a longing for my life to be the way it was. I loved being married. I loved being married to CHRIS. He was my best friend, my confidant, a father to my children, and the intimacy that comes with almost 25 years of marriage was an added delight from the Lord. We had come through the trials of adjusting to living cross-culturally and we were stronger than ever. Then, in a few weeks, that was gone forever. Even though, by God’s grace, I am able to see God’s eternal plan in Chris’ Home-going, it has still been a radical change of life that I didn’t choose.
I sat down to my quiet time and came across the above verse. That was the second dose of reality that brought clarity. I pictured my heart as a jar of clay with a gaping hole in the side. Inside that hole is a cavern of dark pain. I realized that the hole in my heart is the absence of Chris. It hurts. The emptiness by my side hurts too, but that hole in my heart just wants to be FILLED. Since Chris and I had talked about marrying again if something happened to one of us, I have the peace of knowing that we planned that together and I have his blessing to move on and live an abundant life. I am thankful for that peace, however, that hole in my heart has CHRIS’ name on it and I can’t stuff just anything or anyone into that hole to fill it up and dull the pain. I know it will be healed with time, but I’m pretty sure there will be a scar there and a special place there for Chris. Times of joy will come again and I really believe there’s a great season ahead, but I have to get through this season of repair and renewal.
JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HEAL ME AND FILL MY HEART AGAIN.
I also realize that My hole happens to be from the loss of a spouse, but I can think of many others: the loss of a child – or anyone close to you, an unfulfilled dream, infertility, divorce, a temptation or sin that leaves you feeling hopeless and unlovable, an addiction, incapacitating fear, trauma… Now, here’s the vision God gave me about that dark hole in our hearts. God said, “Let light shine in the darkness.”
It was at creation that He spoke light into the darkness and spoke this matchless, amazing universe into creation. That SAME power is at work within us! He comes in and speaks LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS. I had this picture of my “clay, treasure heart” with light pouring OUT of the gaping hole. If I WAIT on the Lord and allow HIM to heal and fill that hole in my heart, HIS LIGHT will pour out of the hole and people will see HIM, even in my brokenness. It has always been my prayer that God would use all of my suffering for His glory and I see that this is what He wants to do in my life. Even in this season of pain, He wants to shine through me. It is in my brokenness and WITH that hole, that I pray people see that the “all-surpassing power” in my life is GOD, not me.
So, I press on. I am thankful for the compassionate, patient, and present friends God has gifted me with who get really “messy” with me. He has given me people who are so well suited to walk alongside me. It amazes and delights me to see the ways he has woven together a “safety net” for me for this season: family who has drawn in even closer, old friends from high school who have walked MOST seasons with me, friends from college who “knew me when” and new Chris, friends who live in community with me now, other people who have lost spouses and can understand EXACTLY what I am going through, even friends of friends on Facebook who share my journey and have become super close friends! It is a beautiful picture of God’s intimate love for me. He knows my heart!
While I don’t claim to live each day without loneliness or the temptation to try to find a “quick-fix” for the pain, I DO know where my peace, strength, and HOPE lie. I have to take my desires and give them to HIM, TRUSTING that He is working behind the scenes on my behalf to make something beautiful from these ashes. As 2015 began, He HEAVILY impressed Isaiah 43 on my heart as a promise for this year, especially verses 18-19:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not
I am making a way in the desert
And streams in the wasteland.”
I do perceive that He is doing a new thing; I just don’t yet know WHAT that new thing IS. With this picture in my mind of my broken heart with God’s light shining through the hole, I can find purpose in this season of waiting.
THANK YOU for being a part of our lives, a blessing and encouragement to me, and a support to my ministry at RVA! This is, indeed, the season and the place He is choosing to use this broken, fragile pot of clay!