Dear reader, let me begin by declaring that the last four months have been a hot mess. If the first half of 2020 received a letter grade from a teacher, it would be an “F” written in bold, red letters. If we had to rank it on Amazon, it would receive one star for poor performance. If it was an Olympic gymnast, judges would award it low marks for not sticking the landing.
Even though we are just six months in, we must take heart. Quoting the immortal words of Jon Bon Jovi, “Oh, we’re halfway there. OH! Livin’ on a prayer. Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear. OH! Livin’ on a prayer.”
On top of everything else plaguing 2020, we experienced a family emergency. Most of you know my dad has dementia. It’s an awful disease that requires full-time care for your loved one as symptoms progress. My sweet mother has been that person for my dad for years. A few weeks ago, she tried to catch him when he was falling and she ended up in the hospital with a shattered wrist.
This resulted in surgery, a few metal plates, some pins, and a declaration from the doctor announcing that my mother has “the bones of a baby bird.” Awesome.
I won’t get into the details. Just know that circumstances have forced us to make gut-wrenching decisions about his future care. We are trying to figure out the hundreds of important details that go into making life-altering decisions during a time of COVID. Therefore, I’ve decided to take a small hiatus from writing and podcasting during the month of July.
To be clear, we are on a break. I feel like I need to emphasize that point because I’m a normal, fun person who lives most days utilizing lessons learned from watching every season of Friends.
Hard and challenging times often push me to dig into the Bible a little deeper to further seek out His goodness. Lately, I’ve been desperate to find something that makes sense during a senseless time in my life.
Take Psalm 23, for example. I write down all of the things I know to be true from this familiar passage: The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness. I will fear no evil because He is with me. He comforts me. Goodness and love follow me. I will dwell in His house forever.
This is God-breathed scripture. This is His Word. I know it is steadfast and resolute.
The question remains, what if I don’t feel like this is truth right now? How come it doesn’t appear that goodness and love abound at this time? My soul does not feel restored.
In fact, it feels pretty beaten up.
It’s normal to wrestle with belief. It’s natural for me to cry out to God, pleading with Him to help me understand. Obviously a solution is not readily available, yet I still don’t know how to properly grieve. The struggle to process all of this is very real.
It’s easy to read the Psalms and forget that it wasn’t written all at once. David (and the other authors) didn’t sit down one day and pen the entire book. When I find I’m unable to identify with David in Psalm 23, I quickly turn to read his thoughts in Psalm 13:
- How long will You forget me?
- How long will You hide Your face?
- How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and have sorrow in my heart?
- How long will my enemy triumph over me?
- Look on me and answer, O Lord my God!
In two verses, David begs the Lord to answer the question “HOW LONG?” He feels forgotten. He feels lost. He feels hurt. He feels defeated.
But in verse five, something interesting happens:
- But I trust in Your unfailing love.
- My heart rejoices in Your salvation.
- I will sing to the Lord.
- For He has been good to me.
David’s perspective changes.
Did he cry out to the Lord in anguish and confusion? Yes. Did he share all of his raw emotions and feelings with the Lord? Yes. Did he demand that the Lord answer questions and show up in a big way? He did.
But he ends by praising the Lord for His goodness and trusting in His unfailing love. It’s important that we have conversations that encourage each other to honestly process through all of the confusion, heartache, and racial injustice at this time.
It’s okay to struggle.
But we all must return to a place where we do not fear evil, we rejoice in the certainty that God is with us, and we believe His goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives.
Love you. Mean it. Stay safe. Have courage. Be kind. Wash your hands. And I’ll see you again in August!