12 November 2008

the grateful ache

Sometimes my lungs can't find enough air. Sometimes it feels like half of my heart stopped working.

As the days between today and my move venture further from distant future and closer toward imminent reality, as my state of health continues to be volatile and unpredictable, and as I attune myself to interior shifts in my own heart, I've felt increasingly like I just want to give up. I want to take a big cloak of black by the corners, tuck my knees and my chin in toward my chest, cover myself, and be done. No more trying, no more fighting just to keep my head above water. Just stopping, sinking, being swallowed by cool black water. Nothing.

Prayers and tears are simultaneous now, and have been for months. I can't remember the last time I experienced one without the other. The tension that exists between the faith I have that God is good and will deliver on His promises and the overwhelming feeling that He's holding out on me is almost too much. I wonder how much further that tension can be pulled. I've prayed and wondered aloud if God is taking things from me in order to prepare me for future blessing. I'm scared to examine this hope too closely for fear that it will prove false and send me reeling. So I drop it from my hand, wiping my palm brusquely to remove any trace evidence that I held that thought at all.

I feel trapped. I know God too well to doubt His reality and His active presence, but in my own worldly estimation of this situation, I can't see that He's up to much at all. On the days these thoughts and feelings are at the height of their poignancy, I cover myself in layers of numbness so that it does not look like I'm falling apart.

But I still pray. I return to prayers of deliverance from time to time, even though I have little hope they will receive the answer I desire most. I've been asking for what I can see of Him in this place, what I can learn, knowing that these things may not be evident until there is a span of some physical, emotional, and chronological distance between a then I cannot envision and the now that threatens to cripple my heart.

My prayers have gotten a bit crazier, and perhaps what I'm about to share is evidence that my sanity is something less than intact. I've been thanking Him for these things. Opening my hands and asking to learn contentment. I'm thanking Him that though I feel shredded now, He can and will use this. I'm thanking Him because this wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for my own good and for the good of His kingdom. I'm thanking Him because He's present and because I believe Jesus knows exactly what this feels like. I'm thanking Him for how this is shaping me, even though I feel like an amorphous blob right now.

There are a lot of tears with these prayers. The words catch in my throat; I can barely think them without my eyes becoming red-rimmed and wet. But I don't know what else to do. He's not changing the circumstances, so I'm asking Him to change me.

Have mercy, Lord Jesus.


Christianne said...

Wow, Kirsten. That's some holy ground right there. I don't want to disturb the sacred space you just let us see by voicing many words.

It hurts my heart to learn that you're carrying this. We (the four of us) have been less in touch this past month, and it shows in my ignorance that this is where you've been.

What a holy prayer there at the end. I don't think it's a sign of a lost grip on reality. He seems to be forming you toward something as yet unseen. I hate the pain and confusion of it for you, and yet the honest struggle and tears are perhaps the most beautiful offering of all.


Sarah said...

Oh, Kirsten...when you write like this, it's so intimate, like looking into your eyes (though that's better). It makes my breath catch in my throat to think of you hurting like this.

And yet...and yet there is an "and yet." God still moves and shapes and forms you and your life into...something. I love how you see that and hold it alongside your pain and don't drop either. And it's beautiful that you give him what you have (ALL you have)...your prayers and your tears.

I love you.

Christin said...

I echo Christianne's thoughts. But that's about all I can do, I think. I sit and nod and think these are powerful words from both of you. But the truth is, my numbness is so great, I can't really respond with words of my own. Other than, I love you, Kirsten. It hurts my heart that you are in pain. I rage against... something, God perhaps, though my misplaced piety doesn't want to admit it, wanting you to be whole and safe and happy. But, at the same time, I rejoice in your perspective, in your hope, in your faith and confidence that God is doing something for your good. So, I give you what little thoughts I have, knowing that even if visitors here don't get it, you know me, my friend, and know that I am here loving you to the best of my numbed capacity.
-Christin, exposed.

kirsten said...

i love you girls so, so much.

i haven't really shared with anyone until, well ... now that this is where i'm at and have been at. i thought it would get better (as in, i'd be a little happier about all these things), but instead i feel more paralyzed, less able to go about my days "normally."

i hate the pain, too. i hate it so much. i have to believe He's in this because the alternative is even more unthinkable.

thanks for being with me, for praying with me.

i doubted whether i should post this or not, but the limited experience i have with this form of blog-exposure reminds me that generally, it is worth it to put it out there.

and yet ... perhaps it is not so far off, after all. do you think? i don't know. but i hope.

i hope.

i wish i could hug you tight at this very moment. after speaking with you last week, my heart ached for you, too. i know how to shield myself and my heart with numbness when it is too shocking to your system to feel anything, to sit with it and determine its weight.

i hope. and i have hope for you, friend: that we will fall in love again. that we'll get the much sought-after glimpse of his face, that we will know His goodness exactly where we're at.

i love you.

The Gyrovague said...

My sister I hear your heart, and I am praying for you. Your Jeremiad with God will provide comfort in time. He is listening, he is sovereign, and he has your back.

Hang in there.