Walking by starlight

There is a moment that comes every day. It often goes unnoticed as we rush about in our frantic doing, but it calls us silently with its color song, simple and sacred. We hardly hear it–the day melting into night. Sometimes there is the lightest shade of pink and sometimes an almost garish beauty. It’s the moment when light falls away to dark.

And suddenly we are walking by starlight.

This sparkly wonder doesn’t mask night’s blackness; in fact, its unique glory shines best in the darkest dark.

Two years ago on this day Marissa was given a positive diagnosis of breast cancer. It felt very much like being thrust into an unlit night. Confused and frightened, we stumbled on the unexpected path. Perhaps there were clouds, because I don’t remember the stars shining.

Yes, there were definitely clouds for awhile.

And looking back, I could choose to look only at the blackness. I could remember only the dark and the fear, and I could be swept away in the force of despair.

I could remember only the falling.

But I remember the stars. I remember that there was enough light for every step. I remember the color and the beauty and the rescuing. I remember peace beyond comprehension.

I remember God. I remember His felt presence. I remember an awareness of His power and keeping grace. I remember being lifted when weary.

I remember singing in the night.

I choose to remember the starlight.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name. Amos 5:8

All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalm 25:10




Called to sadness

There has been the smallest whisper of autumn in the air this week. And I am trying to move forward with a grateful heart.

I am trying not to be afraid of fall. Marissa’s birthday. The anniversary of her diagnosis. Holidays and family trips, chemo and radiation–the memories swirl around inside my head.

And the longing for more of them feels like a stone in my heart.

The weariness of grief just weighs heavier some days. It slows me to a sluggish pace, as if I can’t quite get to where I need to go. My brain is dull and tired and filled with shadows.

No amount of gratefulness can wake me up.

I am reminded that grief does not really end. You never get to the other side of it. Rather, it is woven together with all of the threads of your life to make you the person you are, the person God intends you to be.

I feel a sense of pressure to move on, to leave heartache behind me. And yet God has given me this sorrow. He knows it is part of my story and part of my heart. He knows that I will walk with this sadness inside of me for all my days. He knows that I will never stop missing her.

He has called me to this sadness.

And so I trust Him with it. I trust that this sorrow is my best path to bring Him glory. I trust that He will show me how to keep it close yet bear it well. I trust that I will know Him better because of it.

And I move my feet slowly. I carry God’s words in my mind and my heart. I plan birthday parties and drive to soccer practices and manage my home. I pray for people who are hurting, those who are in pain and facing their own sadness.

I hold close my daughter who has suddenly become afraid of the dark.

I smile at the sunrise and laugh at my husband’s jokes. I remember God’s morning words, and the joy is there inside of me. It lives beside the sadness, and I guess in some ways they are becoming friends. They are both a part of my story.

Yes, I am called to this sadness. But it is not my only calling.

I am also called to light and to salvation. To faith and a steadfast hope. To soul rest and forgiveness and covenant love. To a strength that is not my own. To an eternity without tears or sorrow with the Creator of my world and days.

Called by grace and to grace. To a song of deep lament mingled with choruses of joy.

And to a Savior who blends all of my callings into a symphony of praise.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19

Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. For you are the glory of their strength. Psalm 89:15-17