Grief, Lightning Storms, & A Broken Spirit.

I hugged my knees and stared up as far as I could. I watched the lightning flash across the Arizona sky and the outline of palm trees trace themselves against faint mountains in the distance.

My throat constricted as I tried to get out the words, “Daddy. Where are you. Where.”

It was around midnight, and this had become my habit over the last two weeks. I fought through the day with all the hope in the world, and as soon as everyone else was asleep, my chest began aching with an intensity I was learning to expect. I escaped outside every night to sit alone in the cul-de-sac and watch the lightning storms. And cry.

The skies were strange here. Ohio lightning meant storms, and bad ones. Phoenix lightning meant God was in the sky, playing games. Reminding me that he was here, and that he was the same God, with the same stars, that had been present with me in every state I’d lived in.

Two hours of crying, every night, for weeks. Two hours of lightning storms. Two hours of learning that God was my father, and finding that I loved him – not just needed him. Two hours of asking why. Two hours of replaying in my mind years of things I will never repeat to anyone. Two hours of learning that I was held in a hand that adored me and had plans I wasn’t expecting. Two hours of grief. Two hours of asking for nothing but God. Two hours of letting go of everything I’d ever known. I broke, every single night. Again, and again, and again.

I miss those lightning storms. I have never experienced so much love in so much pain.

Part of me misses having a heart ripped open and emotions entirely out of my control. Part of me misses having nothing to my name. When you’ve lost everything, and are at the complete mercy of God, there is a strange safety you feel that you will find nowhere else.

When your greatest fear arrives, you learn that your spirit breaks; your heart breaks – and your body survives. But blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Matthew 5:3, I love your promise.

And when the kingdom of heaven belongs to you, perfect love begins to cast out fear.

Those lightning storms taught me to call God, “Abba Father.” They taught me that he was Daddy. Not just God. They taught me that grief is a gift. They taught me how to leave everything behind and what it meant to actually believe that God is good. Dark chocolate good. The one thing you always wanted good. Finally home good. They showed me that the guy up there operating the fireworks in the sky had nothing to do with religion, or the life I had left behind. He had to do with a love I’d never known – and a love and intimacy and place of belonging that I wanted for the rest of my life.

Those lightning storms taught me that I now fear nothing. Nothing.

I’m realizing that I write a lot about pain, grief, hurt. These are things we are programmed to shy away from, and to avoid at all costs. We all have our methods. We tell ourselves other people have it worse, that it’s “just a feeling,” or that we just can’t deal with it right now. We rationalize our pain away and tell ourselves that tomorrow is more important than yesterday.

No. Today is all you’ve got.

If you are human, you are deathly sick. If you are in excruciating pain, you are blessed: Because you are being made aware of it. Pain is not our greatest enemy, comfort is. Get yourself to the operating room. Get outside and yell at God. Even if you are 100% convinced that you are yelling at the sky because you know he doesn’t exist, get yourself to that operating room. Cry until your energy is sapped. The surgeon adores you, and he WILL show up.

Let me tell you something. Every time your heart breaks, you will lose little bits of it, like porcelain chips that are too small to glue back to the pieces of the plate. But if you let him, God will step in and be your glue – and the more your heart breaks, the more of it becomes God’s heart.

One of my precious friends asked me last night what the point of living was. This is it.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26

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  1. Emmy says:

    Why haven't you written a book yet? Seriously.

  2. Jordan Watson says:

    Enjoyed this post. My favorite line,

    "Pain is not our greatest enemy comfort is."

    Thanks for sharing your heart in a real way!

  3. Paige says:

    thank you

  4. eloranicole says:

    hi, welcome to my brain wave. [and thank you for posting this. it echoes so much of what i've been thinking/writing/praying….]

  5. Becca says:

    I love this. It kind of reminds me of something that we learned in youth group a couple of weeks ago: You will never know that God is all you need until God is all you've got.

    And I agree with Emmy up there! πŸ™‚

  6. Jenna says:

    so raw
    so courageous
    so wise and insightful.


  7. Michelle (michabella) says:

    mmmm love this. so powerful. love you sister.

    ps- come visit the lightning capital…FL! one of my favorite things about this state.

  8. Blair@HeirtoBlair says:

    amen. amen, amen, amen.

  9. Crystal says:

    This is beautiful. I love your honesty. I've met too many women who live behind a facade of perfect togetherness. I'm very much, a mess. It's comforting to hear other women are as well. My biggest struggle? Embracing the truths you wrote about–that God DOES in fact love me. Hard to comprehend even when my head believes. Getting it to sink into the heart is very hard.

    Glad I found your blog (after reading Nate's praises of it and digging around to find it.)

  10. Rosemary says:

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this. God is good. God is good, and I love Him. Thank you for reminding me that pain is always worth it. God is always worth it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    much needed message you are true blessing from god x

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