Grief isn’t a place where most want to hang out. It takes great patience, perseverance, and peace that comes only from the hands of Heaven to help us hang on. I have been fighting my emotions all week. I have finally entered into a season of joy and hate the idea of backtracking to sorrow. It’s a season that plants seeds of good fruit, but it’s very heavy and deep. Yet I know it is where we do some of our best growing.
This is also the season of our first son Elijah. It is hard to not retrace our steps of where we were twelve years ago at this moment and all of the what should have been’s. While I know he is in Heaven free from pain, I will always be his mother. A mother never gets used to her children being gone.
Around the time that he died, the book, “The Shack,” came out. It was received with great controversy, but I didn’t care. I was on the brink of suicide and felt very angry about my loving Father taking my daughter and now my son.
As I read the book I could relate to the emotions of the main character and wept as he went on his journey to meet the trinity. It encouraged me at a time where I had no hope. I longed for the days of a movie to see how his journey of faith and grief would be played out to please my visual appetite.
With great excitement, the movie came out this March and again great controversy ensued. I wrestled with going, but my husband surprised me with a birthday date to see the movie.
I prayed before I went in and wondered if it was okay that I was even there. As the movie played, it reawoke a sleeping part of my grief that I thought had been long healed.
But it wasn’t.
As the lead character gets to meet G-d, Jesus, and Holy Spirit I felt this childlike faith enter in as he explores the necessary questions those who have had experienced loss ask. Not only that, but I could feel the Lord’s presence as he drained pain that had been locked away for so long, but encompassed with love.
I would love to go into detail, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. While we know that this is just a book, a story, it put into play emotions that had been long hidden in the secret places of my heart and the resolution was freedom.
For those of you who feel that this book isn’t a good depiction of sound doctrine, it’s a story. While I did just watch the movie, I encountered G-d. Not on the screen, but in my heart. He uprooted some deep pain that had been coursing through my thoughts for years and I KNOW He met me there.
I literally choked back my sobbing in a way I haven’t cried since the burial of my son. I felt years of oppressive thoughts of how G-d loved me and my children fade away, and finally, let go and see how my Father really sees me.
He is love.
I could barely stand up after the movie as I was so full of emotion. As I fought to keep my joy and stuff my tears I am reminded of these verses:
Ecclesiastics 7:2-4 NASB
“It is better to go to a house of mourning
Then to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.”
As I listen to the words of Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song, “Jesus Will Meet You There,” the cello seems to be the sound of my heart’s cry. With each note, I can feel my emotions rise and fall with each movement of the bow.
I must have listened to his album a thousand times. To have someone be able to speak your pain into words, music, or a visually stimulating movie, it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord heals through creativity.
G-d is the Lord of creative miracles. Maybe today your head is buried in your hands and it seems like you hit a dead end. But I know my G-d is living and loves to resurrect what looks hopeless.
While you wait, know this, Jesus will meet you there. Your pain isn’t going to be wasted, know that beauty will come from these ashes.
But while you wait wherever you are, Jesus will meet you there.