"I waited on The Lord
and in a waking dream he came
Riding on a wind across the sand
He spoke my name
Here I am, I whispered
And I waited in the dark
The answer was a sword
That came down hard upon my heart
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don't know the way
So take me to the mountain
I will follow where You lead
There I'll lay the body
Of the boy You gave to me
And even though You take him
Still I ever will obey
But Maker of this mountain, please
Make another way"
(Don't worry, in the end, God didn't make Abraham sacrifice Isaac.) Anyway, since I first heard that song years ago it has haunted me. As any mother would, the idea that God would tell me to sacrifice my child is absurd. If I thought I heard a voice telling me to do that I'd seek professional help ASAP.
But the lyrics to that song also made me think about obedience. I'll be honest, I don't have it. At least not absolute obedience to God. I wish I could sit hear and say, "anything God calls me to do, I'll do it gladly!" But the truth is, I struggle greatly with that. What if I can't do it? What if it is too much for my soul to bear? I"m more of a pick-and-choose obedience type of Christian.
Then, man oh man; then came October 24, 2012. A little after 6:15pm on a bright, sunny, unusually warm autumn day. Right after gymnastics, on their way home for youth group...
Lord, please make another way!
I guess that was it then: The Lord called Avery home and in doing so called me to do the most difficult thing I have ever faced: give up my precious, precious child. And it would be completely up to me to decide how I was going to go about doing that.
Somewhere along the line I surprised myself; I've actually been giving her gladly.
Do not mistake that word: gladly. If I had my way my life story definitely wouldn't include this chapter and Avery's would have hundreds more. Her death does not make me glad. But, it's like anything that happens in life: getting divorced, or fired, or having to sell the house; you have a choice in the way you set your heart as you journey through it.
I choose not to give her up in anger, or blame, or rage. Instead, I choose to give her in love and peace and forgiveness. I give her with a full heart of faith in God.
Because when I asked God to please, make another way, He showed me THIS way. A way not fueled in the darkness, but rather in the light. It wasn't the answer I wanted... I wanted Avery back. I wanted a miracle. But He showed me another way...
I give her up to The Lord, for that is truly where her heart was and where she wanted to be; where she wanted all of us to be, really.
And I give her to you. I give her voice and her story of her faith to you, to read, to think about, to share with others. Because by giving her up gladly, in love, I heal better. My family heals better. And I honor Avery in the absolutely best way I can, and she deserves that from me.
It's not easy. I still cry, sob; broken, ugly, snot-filled sobs - mostly in the shower, sometimes in the dark of the bedroom before Matt comes in, sometimes in my car on the way to work. But after all those broken down moments I feel the healing hand of God.
Have you ever wondered what the healing hand of God feels like?
It feels like reading a random text from a friend that says, "I was just thinking of you and want you to know I love you."
It feels like a dozen pictures of the same awesome sunset sent to you with messages attached that say, "Look! It's Avery saying hi!"
It feels like opening the mailbox and finding just the right book sent to you from a young lady that remembers you way back when she was in high school and you helped out with her basketball team.
It feels like a message sent from a complete stranger telling you about the one time she met your daughter, and how blessed she felt for meeting her.
It feels like someone dropping off a picture from 8 years ago because even though your daughter is only in the background, they knew you'd want every single memory of her captured on film.
It feels like someone saying, "you're in my prayers" and knowing that they really are praying for you.
It feels like every kind word sent, every encouraging quote shared, every hug held tight.
It feels like every single time any one of you say, "This may sound crazy, but I just felt this incredible urge to tell you....."
That's what the healing hand of God feels like.
And then I know... this way is going to be okay.