Wholehearted Faith

picure-1Leaving these two and the 120+ more behind ripped my world apart and my heart with it.  Daughter in the blue spent her first few weeks with us sleeping right by my side, that is when she slept.  Daughter in the sundress came into my world and shone with the truth of her name, Light of the Father.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I was supposed to grow old seeing them grow up.  Be there for skinned knees and first days and graduations.  To celebrate dreams coming true and to catch them when learning to fly didn’t work out as planned.  Or at the very least I was supposed to die trying.

I didn’t have a plan B.  Plan A was everything.  Plan A was take hold of the nation Jesus had planted me in. Regardless of violence and danger and being allergic to the dietary staples and at times only eating 3 full meals a week for months on end.  Regardless of no running water or electricity and being shot at and almost dying from malaria and who knows what else so many times I stopped counting.

Hold on to His Promise rooting deep in that soil still soaked red with war.  There was no plan B.

Then my health crashed, my world spun crazy and a temporary medical leave became a devastating permanent move for which I still don’t have answers why.   I still have a hole in my heart the size of a continent and somehow my heart keeps beating on.

God has often reminded me in the last 18 months something a sister and friend has so beautifully written:

 “I wonder too … if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.”

Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

I have held on to these words as if my very life depends on them being true, its canvas still hanging in shreds strung between continents.

Most nights I fight back tears if I think too long and many mornings I wonder why exactly I am getting up.  But I do get up.  If only because I refuse to give the enemy of my soul the satisfaction of thinking he’s won, even for a day.  I’m a fighter like that. I was born into battle and I certainly have no intentions of raising a white flag 36 years into a fight that has already been won.

I know the end.  I know the ultimate reality.  I have read the last chapter. I know what belongs to me because of what Jesus has paid on the cross.

But faith isn’t won in saying the right words or ignoring the fractures in your own heart or the stabbing pain of losing everything you thought you were born for.  It is won in the middle of blinding betrayals and heart-wrenching loss and the questions you still don’t have answers for. It is won by raw honesty and a violent trust that says no matter what I will believe You.

I wrote yesterday to one of my beautiful daughters who is struggling to stay strong in fighting cancer a world away:

I truly don’t understand why Jesus hasn’t simply restored this body of mine or even why I am back in the USA. It has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do- to trust Him in leaving Africa because I really left so much of my heart there with you. It has been so hard to trust Him and choose not to be angry at or discouraged by what I don’t understand.  And some days I have been discouraged and frustrated.  But it is in those hard, weak places His love comes and meets us in our weakness even when we don’t see or feel anything but our struggle.  He IS there and He IS good. Always. We are NEVER alone. He is Who is says He is no matter what.

{Please pray with our whole family for her healing.}

The irony.  It has been living with this hole in my heart that has taken me on a journey to understand more of what it means to be wholehearted.  Those of you who have journeyed with me for a while now know I have not written very much here lately. I have been writing still.  Just in more hidden places.

Later this year I will be releasing a new project from RiverTree Creative called WHOLEheARTed: Creative Pathways to a More Authentic Life.  I will be writing much more of the inner journey here as that time comes closer.  wholehrtedlogosml

But for now let’s say the places in our hearts that are the most torn can become the places of strongest encounter.  There is no loss so great that His love and goodness are not greater still.

Faith is a gift we can only give Him now in the middle of the storm and the questions and the not understanding. Faith can only be faith when the answer is still invisible to our eyes. When faith becomes sight it is no longer faith, but something else entirely.

So Jesus, please help me to see through the rips and tears by faith to Your heart-aching beauty beyond, to You the One Whom I endlessly crave.