On April 4, 2010, Easter, I was employed at one of the best schools in the nation, which was being forced to close. My daughters went there; we had happily been together there for six years. I had over 120 students who were sad, a family that was sad, and what I thought at the time was a great deal of Unknown. Here is my unedited Facebook note from that day, followed by some insight from today:
When I went to put my status this morning, I started instinctively to type, “He is risen.” And then I thought: I can’t write that. I am not “walking” well right now—the past week, touring —- High, seeing my students’ shattered faces as they pored over class lists and tried to fill out schedule forms, listening to my girls on the drive home; failing, again, miserably as a wife—I think Greg wanted the “always encouraging” version and instead has the “always there, and too honest” version; staring awake at the ceiling all night, worrying about what will be, wondering: will I have a job next year? How will we pay these taxes? How will we ever recover financially from these medical bills? I am worried about my Uncle Charles; I’m missing my Grandma; I’m just so tired of it all, and lately, I’m letting the whole world know.
Here’s the thing: I am not getting much right in my life right now. I am scared to death; I am lonely; I am worried about my students; I am worried about my family. I am all these things I know I should not be. Everything will be fine has never been a cliché for me—it has always been a reality. I have seen it time and time again, God’s slow revealing of His plan. But in this very present, I am adrift, waiting for the anchor to again set.
I used to be the “joy” girl—people were impressed by my chipper attitude in the midst of it all. When my world was falling apart, I was still able to show outside what I knew inside: that it would all be okay because, and only because, God in heaven knows the plans he has for me, counts my tears, hears my prayers. He is as constant as my troubles—and He sees his plan. But, lately, I find joy far more rare. The joy girl is becoming a surly woman—so I thought that surely anyone who saw “He is risen” by MY name would laugh.
And then, I started thinking about those days in Seattle, driving that old Ford Windstar through those tunnels to that hospital, going with my daughters—my beautiful, lovely, steadfast girls–to see their father in the hospital. 31 days. And as I drove through those tunnels, I would sing along with CeCe Winans, “You don’t know the cost of the oil/Oh, you don’t know the cost of my praise/You don’t know the cost of the oil/In my alabaster box.” I would sing it loudly, meaning every word, convinced that no one but Him knew the cost of my praise—
It’s true, you know: only He knows. What I’ve been through, what you’ve been through. The sordid sagas, the quiet triumphs. If I told you what it felt like to have Discovery Cove to ourselves, to be alone there, with Greg alive, April adopted, Abby here and healthy, to be swimming above rays and through schools of fish without thinking the words leukemia, New York, miscarriage, to be thinking only of my family and these fish and the amazing moments that God has seen fit to give me time and time again in my life—if I tell YOU that, you may think, “Girl, you have ALWAYS been loopy.” God, well, I can’t help but believe that He would wink and smile, knowing He gave me that day. It took 15 years, wandering through cancer, failed adoptions, lost babies—but my family and I got to that day.
Now I am waiting again to see what He will give me—I am lost in a maze where all I want is either an answer or a fast forward button. Wishing for “August, already” feels, most days, like a good idea. And since I am lost, since I am failing daily to do, be, and convey what my heart so desperately wants to, for a split second this morning, I thought, I can’t write, “He is risen.”
And then I corrected myself—because, if, right now, I only know this much, I know that He is risen, indeed.
Christ in me, my only hope of glory. In August. Right now.
It’s kind of amazing, sometimes, how the Facebook memories can strike me on my timeline–many are bittersweet, tying my heart into knots. But in reading this tonight, I felt vaguely cheered. Here my little family is, with 2016 threatening to make 1995 and 2001 look like cakewalks, and I can tell you this: I’m not scared to death. I daresay none of us are. I am not lonely. I am not worried about my family.I do not feel lost in a maze, and in our current situation, while I know there are no answers, I certainly don’t want a fast forward button.
Still true? We have beautiful, lovely, steadfast girls. Like us, they know that this is a raw deal. They are getting through it with dark humor, lots of chocolate, and our trademark grit. (Granted, they do both talk about punching people, but–so far–it’s just talk.)
Still true as well: The words “I am adrift, waiting for the anchor to again set.”
Thankfully, it’s also true that God is slowly revealing his plan. He’s given us amazing times and seen us through horrific ones–and although we are not the type of Christians who can talk convincingly about rainbows after the storm, feign excitement over our future powerful testimonies, or lie in bed at night counting the stars in our heavenly crowns, we can look you in the eyes and say, “God has always been there for us. He always will be.”
Although we certainly can’t fully feel it now. Although we stumble blindly. Although we cry so much and are so angry.
Christ is in us. He is our only hope of glory.
He is our only hope.