Thursday, March 29, 2012
Pressed but not crushed
The words hung there in the air for a moment before they settled in my stomach like a lump of lead. Don't react. "Really? Just you and your dad?"
"Yup. My mom and everybody stayed at my Nanny's. She had lots of money."
"How could you tell she had lots of money?"
"Because, they had TONS of food!"
We continued talking about it while my mind raced, trying to comprehend what I'd known but not really KNOWN.
"After a while we went to stay with my Nanny but we had to leave when she got divorced. Then we went to stay with my aunt and uncle. They got divorced too. Then we stayed with my big brother."
Startled, I ask "Who?" "I have a big brother out there somewhere." Shrugs.
I have heard of this big brother, maybe 10 years old. Different mother.
"Then my Nanny came back to get us."
"I bet that was confusing!" Shrugs.
Another day, another conversation. We're in the car, "I still love my old mom and dad. Is that OK?" A calm demeanor hides the depth of the question.
Her brother reassures while I explain how God makes our hearts to expand to hold love for many, "He ran from the cops once. He hid in some woods."
"What did you do?"
"I went with the cops. I was there when they found him. I had to go to the jail. My mom came too. It was when he threw a rock through the windshield." So matter of fact.
"I still miss them. I hope they aren't in jail now. I hope they are safe."
"This is making my eyes water." Suddenly there is sobbing. I am in the front seat. They are in the back. It feels like miles. As soon as we pull in the drive way, I have arms full of crying child. Sobbing as if their heart will break. Yet it is already broken. The depths of sorrow I have no comprehension for. I hold and sway like I would a precious infant, this child whose feet dangle down by my knees.
When the anguish is calming, we walk up to the house. I know the storm has passed when I hear, "Hey look, a lightening bug!" The smile lights up my heart as much as the tears bring me sorrow.
How does one help that wounded, broken heart to heal? How do I, who fall short in so many ways, who falls to temptation more times than I like to admit, help that heart find contentment amidst the shattered pieces of lost innocence? I cannot. I cannot glue the pieces back together anymore than I could stop rain from falling.
"He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds." Psalm 147:3
It reminds me of what my friend recently said. "God presses me to turn to him. I am pressed but not crushed." It's in those moments that I too am pressed. I cannot heal my children of their wounds. I cannot make them go away. I whisper a prayer of desperation in those moments. "Please God, please." Nothing else will come. But He knows.
We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in depair. 2 Corinthians 4:8
My children too are pressed. They remind me of a solitary flower growing up in the crack of a sidewalk. They do not belong there. And they are fighting for life. They fight the press of feet that will step on them, press them down. Will they turn to God in the pressing? That is the question on my heart. I can direct them, I can try to water their hearts with God's love. Only he can heal their broken hearts. Will they let him?
That is my prayer. My desperate plea. I watch other brokenhearts. They avoid God. Could not understand the pressing. They tried to heal it other ways. I, too, have tried that. It was almost my undoing. Pleasure to combat the pain. Alcohol to numb it. Empty relationships to fill the void in my heart. Those early days of adulthood were like a random sampling to see what would make me feel whole. How to help my children not succumb to the world in the same way?
But God says "He heals the brokenhearted," not me. "He bandages up their wounds...He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures...The Lord's delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love...For he has strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within your walls." Psalm 147:3, 8, 11, 13.
So I will continue to plead with Him to heal their hearts and to guide me. I will trust that the one who provides rain for the plants, loves my children more than I can fathom. His children. And he will press them to Him.
I pray he presses you to Him and you will allow him to heal your broken heart.