Sunday, February 25, 2018

love. today.

My shoulders are soggy from the loving tears cried on them- the hugs, the gifts, the food, the words- we are leaving this place saturated with the love of God’s people. We are exhausted, loved, grateful.

Our kids are learning how to grieve in public. I guess this is a good thing? My daughters were comforted by women they hardly know as they all hug-cried in the bathroom. My son begged to go home when the tears finally came for him- I didn’t let him, and he soldiered on- and tears turned to distraction, food and fun with his friends one more time.  Let them lift you up, son. Let them love you while you’re here.

When the tears come, some run towards others, some hide.  I think those who have someone to hug also have someone to hold them up at times like this:  God’s grace through human arms. I hope my kids are learning this. I felt this, all day long.

“Maybe the love gets in easier when the heart’s broke open,” says Ann Voskamp, and I think she’s on to something.  It is hard to live with an open heart at times like this. But I do not regret it for a moment.  It was a battle, everyone- my heart broke leaving Indiana to come here. The temptation to make it a fortress of concrete was strong- but God didn’t let me pour the concrete, and I’m glad He didn’t.

We were spared the  kidney stone crisis on this Sunday, and God upheld my beloved so that he finished well. I love being married to this man, even on days like this.  It is a special talent, to be able to preach in a way that you speak to the grief we share as a church family, without making it all about oneself- pointing to Christ, giving all of us hope in His love.  His voice shook, his love for St. Peter’s poured out his eyes and made all of our eyes run. 
As if that wasn’t bad enough! At the end of the service, as he prayed and bowed with his brother-pastor Alex one last time, they hugged before they walked down separate aisles, before they parted in body (but not in spirit.)

Surely the Lord is in this place.
As heart-wrenching as this day was, I end it with gratitude, and with hope. Grief shared gives us a chance to love each other in new ways. As we face our powerlessness over the passage of time and the sovereign plans of God, we are humbled, yet strengthened as we look to God for comfort and help.

“The LORD watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight.” Genesis 31:9
Keep your hearts open, dear friends in Christ, to God and to each other.  And thank you- to all of you who shared your hearts with us.
With love,

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