The End is so Final

Where to begin…I just spent the last hour sobbing hysterically. I’m not sure my heart has ever hurt so badly. Clearly, it has definitely been extremely wounded, but I didn’t know how to handle the pain of long ago – I had no outlet for it, so I buried it deep, deep inside. Every painful thing that happened afterward just pushed the initial pain that much deeper until that entire spot in my heart became numb. I guess God has been digging out all of those wounds for the past number of years. I’ve been through so much healing, I didn’t know there could be this much more, truly. I guess tonight was the night to dig out the ultimate wound from the ultimate heartache. Man it hurt. It is also such a needed relief…crying like that sucked, yet it felt so good at the same time. I know these sound like crazy words…that part of this makes me giggle. Glad to see God brought out my twisted humor even through this. One of the many things I adore about Him – He knows how to comfort me through my tears, Dance with me through my joy, and laugh with me through it all. He surely knows how much laughter I need to make up for – where so much was stolen.

I saw a picture tonight on Facebook – that single picture touched my deepest nerve and really agitated it. I knew it made me sad, but more than that it put me in the biggest funk. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. The picture was of Truett Cathy in the hearse riding by Chick-Fil-A headquarters. I think the saddest part of that picture for me was reading the words of his son – something about his dad taking a final ride to the corporate office. Over and over again lately it has hit me that death is so final. I recently lost a friend of mine – granted I had not seen him in 15 years at least – but knowing he was no longer on this earth hurt my heart in a way I couldn’t explain. Finally tonight, while watching TV there was a traumatic family scene, and looking into the eyes of the actor felt like I was looking straight into my own soul. That’s when the water works started. I’m still not sure I understand all of what’s going on – maybe I never will – maybe God is just touching these things and healing these deep hurts so I can be free to really experience everything I’m meant to. I know in my heart of hearts that this is a season of my life for true freedom, to really experience the desires of my heart, and to let all of the pain go leaving only beauty…kind of like beauty for ashes I suppose.

What I do know is that the combination of all of these things took me back to being 8 year old Kelley – the Kelley that had to watch her daddy leave this earth without truly getting to say goodbye. I was so scared that he was lonely and hurting…the mere thought of that I think burst a hole in my heart. My uncle took me on a walk to get me away from the house where everyone was visiting and grieving. He told me years later that I asked him if it hurt to die. Such a profound question for an 8 year old – even back then my mercy gift was almost more than I could bare. I remember asking one of the girls in my family (I can’t remember if it was my mom’s baby sister or my cousin) what happened after I left the cemetery. I needed a play by play of what happened when they put my dad’s casket into the ground. I remember this now, and I truly see how big my heart has always been – always worried about those I love – always wanting to make sure they feel no pain. What I realized is that I was in so much pain myself and carried so much worry. I didn’t have a clue how to deal with it, so I never did. I just moved on and survived the best way I could. I definitely did that with a black spot in my heart – a black spot full of nothing but death – that part of my heart had died.

After all of these years, God showed me the most beautiful picture. In the picture was me as a little girl holding His hand. He was slightly in the air, and above Him was my dad – very much alive and happy. God was showing me that we are always connected. My dad never was alone and scared. Before he took his last breath, God had him in his arms whisking him away to the most beautiful place of all places – the land of complete happiness. I truly believe that after they started the journey to heaven, my dad’s earthly body took its last breath. That gives me so much peace and so much joy.

I realized tonight that cemeteries seem like such a sad and morbid place – a reminder of loss and pain. Really graves are memorials – a tribute to the people we have loved and what they meant in our lives. It’s a memorial to say we will never forget them. It’s not a place to be sad. It’s a place to remember the beautiful things, the fun things, the precious things. Our loved ones were never even there – just their earth-suit.

All of this gives my weary soul rest and makes my heart smile in places that were counted as dead. Looking forward to the precious things that will fill that hole…

Hope Has Saved My Life

Starting at the age of 8 my life has been full of one traumatic incident after another. I was always amazed that I made it through each and every struggle without having a bitter heart or feeling like I needed redemption because of what I had been through. I was able to gracefully walk through everything and come out on the other side. Nothing was able to keep me down. I never understood where that came from. Eventually I went through something that I couldn’t get back up from…I really didn’t understand because on a larger scale, what knocked me down paled in comparison to everything else I had been through in my life. I finally realized that it was God letting me hit rock bottom. I had to hit rock bottom to realize that I wasn’t self sufficient, and that I needed Him. I always loved Him, but I never thought I needed Him or anyone else (product of other wounds). Once this realization took root in my heart, the most awesome journey began. I say awesome, because it really has been that grand. It has also been very painful…but in the midst of that pain, there has always been freedom.

This knock-down and revival of sorts happened in 2003 – 11 years ago. I went from the pits of depression and despair to finding passion, compassion and a fire for life – all in the safety of the greatest Love I’ve ever known. I’ve been on a spiritual walk where I have shed so many false identities and really discovered who I was made to be. There is so much freedom in that. I love that God is perfecting us always.

I realized something this week. Hope is what always got me through every painful situation. Through my pain, I always knew there was something more – there had to be. I’ve always been so full of Hope even through every heartache. Honestly, if I hadn’t had that Hope I don’t think I would be here right now. Hope saved my life. Hope kept me reaching for more. Hope wouldn’t let me give up.

I had the deepest revelation today straight from the words of Beth Moore – a perfect picture of my heart: pain and beauty tangled in a big knot called Hope. That pain and hope have been intertwined in my heart since I was a little girl – getting more and more knotted up along the way but never separating. The beauty that’s there is my deepest love, adoration and affection for my Lord and Savior – my greatest Hope! The pain is all of the dreadful circumstances that I’ve had to walk through. I feel like I have climbed up on top of the tallest mountain, and I’m looking back over my life. I feel like it has been an achievement getting to this point. I feel peace. I feel grief. I feel joy. I feel warmth. Honestly, I just feel like I need to rest on the top of this mountain for a moment…feeling the dew of the clouds brush across my face, smelling the sweet scent of my Savior and Love, resting my weary but relaxed head in His warmth.

It’s time to let go of the pain…where only faith, hope and love remain. I’ll rest here on this mountain for just a brief moment – then I will get up and go with my Love on what will be the greatest climb of my life!