I have been fearing this first week in November for a while now. It is a painful reminder of loss for our family as we approach 2 years of being without Scott (read here for more about my personal grief process – it hasn’t changed except that I’m out of those styrofoam cups now;) and specifically our daughter as it ushers in the first anniversary of a very painful death in her biological family.
As I was pondering this week and what it signifies for our family, I started realizing that there are painful reminders of loss all around us. As we chose to follow God on this journey of foster care and adoption, we also (without knowing the entire extent at the time) chose to welcome loss into our lives. The loss of innocence, the loss of lives, loss of sanity some days, the loss of family, the loss of jobs, the loss of belonging, the loss of comfort, the loss of ease, the loss of convenience. We have been losing our very own lives.
And isn’t that exactly what we’re supposed to be doing as followers of Jesus? Laying down our very lives. Holding loosely to the things of this world, even the people we love. Lowering ourselves. Considering all that we have rubbish compared to Jesus. Turning everything we know about success upside down because that is the way of Christ’s Kingdom.
I’m not very good at living this upside down life. I was asked by a dear friend if I would share about suffering. And I keep coming back to how terrible I am at what most would deem suffering here in our lavish lives in America. I’m still holding grudges against people that landed us in our current circumstance and against those that refused to help along the way. I still wish I could go back in time some days and un-do all of the little decisions of obedience that led us to this spot. I still want to just walk away from it all. Christians like to talk about suffering well and let me tell you, dear ones, I don’t have the first clue as to how to do that. I wrote this blog about how I have been frustrated because I need guidance in this area and there’s just not any. The ones who have been given a microphone are the ones who have found great success in the world. I am tired, friends. I’m tired of walking this path. But I I find myself continuing to say, “Yes,” to Jesus even though I just don’t want to anymore. Even though I want to take the easier way.
So here we are. We know a lot about suffering but very little about suffering well. Ours is not a path I would recommend following because we stumble and fall and curse and shout and harbor grudges and cry out to God for another way. All I do know is to look to Jesus. He was obedient even to death. He prayed for the cup to pass but suffered & died still. And He is strong enough to keep us. Even when we don’t want to be kept anymore. He will keep us and He is worth it. So we will continue to follow in obedience and proclaim His upside down Kingdom. Even when we can barely lift our hands anymore.