“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation (Psalm 40:9-10, ESV).
Sometimes I find myself looking at my dad’s watch on my wrist and getting lost in thoughts about time. Like, how long will these waves of grief keep coming, God? Not only how long, but why do they come at unexpected times?
In the past I would have been haunted by the notion I was doing something wrong or rather believing something wrong in allowing my heart to sit in a place of deep sadness or sorrow. I would have attributated it to a lack of faith or amnesia about the goodness of God. I would have never considered that maybe in that place God was revealing His faithfulness in greater measures…that His goodness was ever before me.
God knows our intimate thoughts and is acquainted with all our ways.
Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we wonder where we are at in our processing of grief. Are we where we should be on the circular time line of healthy grieving? Are we talking too much, too little and does it even matter?
My tendency is not to get stuck in any one certain place… it would be to not stay long enough…
I am a mover and my ability to move forward is both a blessing and a challenge. I started picking up clues seven years ago when my ability to move forward came to an abrupt, divine halt. Even typing that last sentence brings a smile to my face as I feel God’s deep love for me in it. His love restrained me for reasons I won’t get in to.
Here I am again. This time for different reasons, but nonetheless, I have lost control of how I would want things to be. For starters, I want my dad back. How selfish I know. He’s happier than he’s ever been and is with his own parents. I can verbalize my thankfulness about that truth, and at the same time feel the ache in my heart for just one more hug, one more conversation and one more cup of coffee.
My hope in this unfamiliar journey of deep grief is to listen long…to listen deep..to lean into God’s protection and listen well…And this is the point of the scripture I started with.
I got to visit one of my favorite places of worship yesterday with my best friend. She knew I was being hit by waves of grief but her own grief journey allowed her from trying to fix it or rescue me. She was simply there with compassionate presence and understanding…praying for me I am certain of that.
I wasn’t expecting God to meet me in the way He did, but true to my child-like faith, I believed He wanted us at this service and to be there was a good thing.
The worship was powerful…not surprising. The message was timely and weighty…which inspires me…but the invitation to come forward for prayer was a sweet deliverance for me in that moment. I can’t remember the last time I went forward for prayer. I am typically the one praying, because I love to pray over people, seeking God’s heart with them.
I stepped out from my seat and told my friend I was going forward for prayer. I stood for a few moments asking God to quiet my heart and receive from His people. A young man came up and faced me and a woman stood by my side, both touching me and asking me how they could pray. My words were few.
“I lost my dad two months ago and his loss has been very difficult for me.” That was it.
The young man prayed first. There were several things He prayed that encouraged me, however, the spirit of prophecy was clear when he said a simple phrase,
“Kandace, God is lingering with you in this grief.”
That probably does nothing for you but LINGERING is my word. My husband knows I am a lingerer now. I use to approach my time in prayer and the Word as something to fit into my day because it’s just what you do if you want to live a good Christian life. But that’s changed.
Me heart came alive when I heard the word linger in prayer. God sees, He knows and it’s not only okay to linger, He is lingering with me. I will not get stuck lingering in grief, nor will I miss what He is doing in it. His grace will help me sit, help me walk and help me run, in His wise timing.
After the young man prayed, the woman prayed, closing out her prayer with Psalm 23. It’s the last passage of scripture my dad heard me read. It was another “I see you, I know you and I love you” kiss from Heaven.
One other thing this lady mentioned in prayer…
“Only God can fill this void.”
This I know.
He’s doing it. One day at a time. One wave at a time. One prayer at a time.
He’s doing it for me and He will do it for anyone who looks to Him…maybe lingering long enough to go beyond a drive-thru experience and enjoy a table He has set before us in the presence of our enemies; anointing our head with oil and causing our cup to overflow.
Help us linger, Lord. We want You. We want to hear Your voice above all.