Learning, and Loving

Who am I becoming? 8 years have passed now that Eliyah has moved to Heaven. I believe I have become more tender hearted than ever. I was thinking out loud wondering why is this bothering me? Why does this seem something so foreign to me or something that needs to be adjusted? I think it’s because we must always guard our hearts with everything that God gave us. Recently I had to ask what does this really mean? To guard my tender and at times very fragile heart, because out of it flows the well spring of life. In my writings and conversations I can be very vulnerable. I do not want this organ (my heart) to be stepped on. I require joy. Not always happiness but joy. My heart thru this journey has had in my opinion way to many bandages, and far to many leaks. How especially in grief can this be avoided? I don’t think that it can. I think I have tried every avenue to avoid, and even run away from even the possibility, but just like my shadow it’s there. So I concluded that it is avoidable, so I must manage. This heartache,  It can come with any subject.. A romantic loss, a physical loss of someone, disappointment. Let me talk about that disappointment. Hoping and praying for the outcome you want and when it doesn’t happen…Bam!!! it rears it’s ugly head. Especially when you dont see it coming. Such as the sudden death of a loved one. Maybe you’ve prayed for something and the answer God gives is no, or he is silent. Whatever it is, the outcome did not meet the expectations or the desire that you had within.  Maybe you are up for a promotion at your job. you’ve been there a long time, you out shine your co-workers, and the bosses’ nephew comes to town, and bam!! he gives it to him based on being related alone. How do you respond? Do you respond? What if you have been praying for a job all together and week, denial letter after another keeps coming? Bills have red-notes on them, and you are a week shy of losing your apt. or home. How do you respond? I wonder at times what keeps people from utterly breaking? What about when that relationship you thought was the one that would last forever and it fails? You invested time, maybe money, given of yourself and it comes to an abrupt halt, or you find out things about the other person that changes your feelings? How do you handle it? Another thing I realize about myself is that I’m an over thinker.. I over analyze, I allow things to steal my rest because my mind is circling. I tend to run things in my head, you know worst case scenarios, best case scenarios. But it’s so bad because I will think but what if ? Let me say those what if’s will destroy you. They will take you mentally away from it all. You will be so caught up in worry that it’s all to the bad. When a situation pops up and I begin to dream, envision how it will go, smile at the possible outcome etc. I couldn’t be more excited. You know how a balloon has air and it’s flying high and enjoying the view. If it suddenly gets thwarted or doesn’t come into fruition, my silly heart falls, balloon deflates, and I am now overthinking plan B.. The re-adjustment. But how does this happen without big ole crocodile tears? or worse anger!? I then take a pause, deep breaths, and start to replay it all. Am I at fault? Does God still care? will it get better sooner or later? What does my readjustment look like? who else if anyone is involved?  Can I even listen to the small still voice in my head that says “One day this too shall pass”? Do I even care to listen to any encouraging voices around me? are they around? It’s thee hardest emotions for me. Will there ever be justice? Did I set myself up for failure? Did I have expectations and should not have? But how the hell do you not have expectations? Maybe they were too high…. Maybe they weren’t high enough. Even in grief I never want to be the victim. Watching others experience loss knowing what the road up ahead will bring makes me sad. My empathy has grown. Learning and loving through it all. I keep going, I keep moving forward, I keep praying, I keep dreaming, I keep Heaven in my view. This journey has not become easier. I am still navigating life the best that I can. God gives me strength beyond what I thought I could receive or even have. I press forward everyday. When my heart needs a rest, I do my best to give it that and recharge, re-focus and begin again.

You don’t plan God’s plan.

July 4, 1996. Eliyah J. Linell was born. January 19, 2013 Eliyah passed away. 16 years on this earth he lived a wonderful life. I am blessed, and honored that God chose me to be his mother. Yes, God chose me. Through the easy pregnancy and even easier birth Eliyah was peace. God’s plan was that he would be born on this particular holiday although his “due” date was July 7th. I never thought that in God’s plan that would include him leaving this earth before me at such an early age.

Have you ever heard the phrase “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans?” I started hearing people say that from an early age. I don’t think it has anything to do with God actually laughing at you, rather God thinking ok, you can plan that if you want but my plan for your life will go as follows:  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Although this scripture is used often to comfort, it is not a security blanket like Linus carries around with him.  If it’s looked at in that way one is led to believe that sufferings are not meant for them and prosperity will rule forever.  No, it is to know that we have a confidence and hope that God will be there to help in the midst of our suffering.

I think about those in the Bible who had plans. I’m sure many did not grow up thinking they would be great men and women of God. Look at the life of Job and what he and his wife endured. I don’t think he knew what was to happen in his life. That God would use him in that way.  I also did not know that God would use me in this way too. I did not know on Jan. 19th Eliyah would take his last breath here on earth. Our plans were to go to Disneyland that day.

What I can be confident in is that God knows what he is doing. He knows how to plan my life better than I ever could. No, Eliyah’s death wasn’t even a thought in my plan for my life nor his. I saw him growing up, graduating form high school, going to college getting his dream job and starting a family. I struggled to know that he would never get to do any of it. I prayed and asked God was this part of your plan? Is this your will for our lives? Is there any way to reverse or change what has happened? Do you love me?

It is difficult to imagine anyone loving Eliyah more than I do, but God does. He understands the depth of my love for him. He still watches over every single detail of my life. What is important to me, is important to him. All of this is true, yet I still grieve, I still mourn. I ignore those that say move on because it’s been X amount of time. I use the date of Eliyah’s passing as a grid to pass everything across.

I don’t have the luxury of planning out God’s plans. Some would get into the debate of was it his plan for him to die so soon? What is God’s role in suffering? Why did he allow this to happen? All questions of deep and painful complexity.  I know that I must engage in the realities of human life. In all its grace, and grief. The love of God still shines in my life. No matter what, God does have a plan, and it is always good. Faith in his plan isn’t believing that what I want goes. Knowing that he is Sovereign and loves me and draws us to fulfill his plan for our lives no matter what.

So, no I nor you get to plan God’s plan. We are not in charge.  Do you find yourself asking God why? when things are good, and you just sit back and enjoy, and then only ask him why when bad things happen? This is what I will end with. God’s plan for your life will never ever outstrip the grace he makes available to help us and enable us to live well. There is no promises of escape of struggles, sorrow, or pain. Jesus himself said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ” (John 16:33)