Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Silence that's deafening.

My husband and son during a hospital visit.

This week has been one where silence has spoken extremely loudly. You never really know just how loud silence actually is until you are unwillingly stuck in it. The sound of grief, of fear, of the unknown, can truly speak louder than words ever could. You can feel silence, while words are fleeting.

This week I went the funeral of a gorgeous, perfect 2 month old baby. Her parents led our small group for years, and they are truly good people. As I sat in the church during the service, looking at her perfect little body in the casket, the weight of silence- of stillness- became very apparent. My heart broke for her family. What they would give to have noise instead of silence- baby coos, laughter, and crying- instead of the overwhelming weight of quietness. There are no words that anyone could ever say that will speak louder than the void of not having their baby girl there.

It was an emotional day for me, not only because I was at the funeral of an infant- which is emotionally draining on anyone- but because I don't do well with funerals to begin with. I've been to too many. Too many of people that I was extremely close with- who meant the world to me. Every time I find myself in another funeral, I start envisioning the next one- worrying when I am going to be sitting in those chairs again. Terrified of whose body is going to be in the casket next time. Sometimes death comes with no warning- no clue that anything is wrong, no reason to think that the person that died would have ever been in a casket before you are- like this precious baby girl. But sometimes death comes more slowly. People struggle with long term illnesses and health problems where you can start to prepare yourself for their end. I have grieved both kinds of deaths, and honestly I'm not sure which is worse.

I found myself starting to worry about my husband during this funeral. My husband has chronic health issues, and the thought of him dying before me is almost too much to bear. But, in all reality, that is probably the way it is going to happen. I started hyperventilating and crying over my husband's future death. I started to feel the weight of grief that I have felt so many times before- the same grief this baby girl's parents were feeling at that very moment. I fear death- not for myself- but for the people I love. I don't want to be left to live without them. I've done it too many times before. When you have had so many people that you love dearly die on you, you can't help but worry about who the next one is going to be. I don't know if it's a defense mechanism to prepare myself for it, or a way to try and brace myself so I don't feel it quite as hard- but dwelling on thoughts like that are not a good way to live. It robs you of the joy in the present when you are constantly worried about the future.

I had to force myself to snap out of it. I had to remind myself that God is in control of ALL things- from the time we are born until the time we take our last breath. I kept repeating Romans 8:28 to myself: ALL things work together for the good of those who love God. When my husband's time does come, it will be in God's control, and He will continue to take care of me the same way he has done my entire life. He will be there for me in the valley of the shadow of death the same way He has been in the past. God is faithful, and I had to cast down the thoughts that were coming into my mind from satan- telling me I would be abandoned, not cared for, that my life would be ruined, that God wouldn't see me through it. That's not the truth. Fear is not from God, and I have known God long enough to know that he has a reason for everything that happens, and that He WILL work it out for my good. Like when my fiancé committed suicide. I remember very vividly staring at his casket during his wake, thinking how things were really messed up now. My life was over. There was no fixing this. Yet, years later, it turned out that his death was the very thing that pushed me to the point that I was desperate enough to surrender to God, and he saved me. It's what allowed God to break me out of my addiction. It's what allowed me to share hope with other people who are going through the same thing. It's what ultimately saved my life- though you would have never been able to convince me that any good would come out of it at that moment I was staring at the man I was supposed to marry in a casket.

I brushed my fear of my husband dying off. It's part of the PTSD that still pops its head up every once in awhile from Dave dying. We have too much work to do- too many lives to touch- for God to take him now. I know that. But then, the day after the baby's funeral, we were having dinner with friends at our home, and my husband started having chest pains. I had him chew an aspirin, and he waited another 15 minutes, but the pain got worse. Our friend Chris drove him to the emergency room, while I stayed here with my sleeping baby. A million thoughts started rushing through my head. Was yesterday at the funeral a warning? Was God trying to prepare me for something? Was he warning me? I started to truly panic. The thought of my husband dying- of my son growing up without a father- became much too real. The day before I convinced myself that it was me getting myself worked up, my PTSD resurfacing, my mind playing tricks on me, satan putting thoughts in my head to get me to fear. But this, this was real.

Three days and batteries of tests later, there was still no concrete answer about what was wrong with my husband. Silence. Deafening silence. Silence so loud, that all I could hear were my fears. As I sat in my quiet home at night while the baby was sleeping, the void of my husband not being here became overwhelming. No late night conversations, no dinners together, no watching our favorite tv series together to wind down at the end of the day. The house was void of the sound of him snoring, the sound of him laughing, the sound of him singing his praise songs to God. Just the sound of..... nothingness. A void where my husband used to be. It started to drive me crazy.

But then, I had to re-center myself. I had to remember that I know who God is, and that no matter what happens, God is in control. I recalled the words of a very wise woman- my Pastora from Milwaukee- when her husband Pastor Cano died. I remember telling her that I was so sorry this had happened, and that I didn't know why it had to happen. She looked me straight in the eye and said "Oh no, I don't question God. God is still good, and He knows why." What a woman of strength! I found myself taking solace in those words. God forbid, if my husband were to die- I have to always remember that God is God, and I am not. That He is good, even when the circumstances are bad. I have to rest in the fact that no matter what happens in my life- good or bad- I am God's child, and he will take care of me. I have to remember that my trust is not in men- not even my husband- but God alone. He is the God who gives and takes away, and he sees things that we can't. Satan wants me to fear the unknown. I am determined to not allow him that control over me. Sometimes you just need to step back from your emotions, and step into God's truth. To remember that God has been faithful in the past, and will continue to be. To remember that God knows our every sorrow, our grief, our fear, our hurt, our loneliness- and He is there with us in it.

God is faithful. My husband is coming home today. I am going to pick him up in half an hour.  He has to have a procedure done next month to fix some stuff going on in his heart- and I am trusting God with that. I am trusting God that my husband will be alive until the exact second that God's infinite wisdom says otherwise. My prayers were answered, but that's not always the case. There will come a day when my husband does die, and I will need to cling to God all the more. But for now, the silence in my home is about to be lifted, and I will have the laughter and snoring of my husband back. Glorious sounds. Sounds that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Sounds I much prefer over silence.

Not that silence is a bad thing. Sometimes, when things are the quietest, God will speak to you the loudest. When things are falling apart around you, you can trust that God is there speaking to you, telling you not to fear. The most spiritual growing times in my life have been in devastating times of silence. God will use EVERYTHING- even the heartbreaking, silent times- for good. I am not knocking the silence. But for now, I am SO grateful for the noise, and appreciating it in all its glory.