I feel Him as I break up winter-hardened earth, pull weeds, and harvest peas. As I breathe deep the symphony of blackbird and blue jay, cardinal and finch, rustling leaves and honeybee.
This oasis, just feet beyond my own back door, refreshes like rain after drought, softening fissures, washing away dried up clay, cleansing scars, purple and deep, of diagnoses and disease.
A respite. A chance to breathe the rhythmic melody. God in. Me out. God in. Me out.
But what if I can’t climb her walls? Or guard her arms? Or help him sleep? What if she beats me around every bend to the edge of the cliff…and leaps?
“Even if,” I hear Him whisper, “Even then.”
And I have to believe. In the marrow of my bones so I can breathe.
For I’ve lost my way in this crazy decade. Started to grasp and cling and ache with fear.
But I didn’t start here. I trusted once. Strong and deep. Didn’t doubt when my brother died and I didn’t heal. When my son got sick and never got well. Through long nights and new meds and constant tests. I didn’t doubt when my second was diagnosed or my oldest longed to end his life.
I stood. Still. And believed.
Then my third and fourth were diagnosed, and my daughter stood above holy ground and threatened to leap, and melanoma slipped uninvited into the lymph nodes of my father’s neck, and I wavered and started to sink.
Hands clenched. Heart tight. Unable to trust. Or maybe unwilling. Eyes securely on me.
He whispered, but I couldn’t hear or wouldn’t, till my say-it-like-it-is, food-loving, sports-loving, fruit-eating, red-haired mother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly slipped into eternity.
While my girls were at camp.
When I reached them hours later, one cried. And one ran. And I prayed. “They’ll be OK,” my oldest said sitting next to me on my daughter’s bed.
And the Spirit whispered. Words I’d memorized years before.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, of love, and of self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I’d been struggling these past few months to trust Him with my kids, so afraid they’ll slip away before they’re His. Secure.
Fear had wrapped itself around my heart. But we are His.
Even if things don’t turn out as I hope.
Even if my precious, incredible, hurting kids choose their own way out.
Even if. Even then.
I need to know it in the marrow of my bones so I can breathe.
“Even if. Even then,” He whispered again as darkness kissed the dawn and moonless night gave way to blushing day.
Just Him and me. In this oasis of the deep. Not steps beyond my own back door.
But with every breath, right at home in me.
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
Joining the blog tour for Emily Wierenga’s beautiful new memoir, “Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look”.
Emily’s story is poignant and honest, lyrical and powerfully written. A journey of hope and pain, wonder and loss, adventure and amazing grace. A tender heart sometimes faltering, but ever seeking, always reaching for the very heart of God.
A five star read!