Monday, June 23, 2008

You Give and Take Away

One of the pivotal times in my life was four years ago around the time when I first heard Tammy Trent's story.  Before the event that introduced me to her, I knew her name and knew that she was a beautiful person but that was the extent of it. I had no idea where her heart was or what motivated her to sing the way she does.  I was dating my husband and enjoying the process of falling in love.  Good process...Feeling pretty excited and certainly not thinking past myself.  It was a time of self reflection, Sean reflection, family reflection, and giddiness.  Life was good.  I was babysitting for a family whose travels exposed me to many interesting, inspiring people. Enter Tammy Trent.  She was the special guest at one of the events that I went to during the dating season for me and Sean.  She sang first, then shared her story of love and well...loss. Read her story here.

She concluded her message by asking everyone to sing the song, "Blessed Be Your Name." If you aren't familiar with the lyrics, read them here. I stood and watched this brokenhearted woman sing the words, "You Give and Take Away," over and over and thought, "Oh Lord, she really knows that to be true." I was humbled and felt refreshed by listening to her testimony.  I was reminded to look to Christ for meaning. I was also instantly scared to death of losing Sean. Every trip he went on (it IS his job,) I thought, "Yeah, this will be it.  This can't be this easy. It's my turn." 

Fear is a whole different animal, isn't it?  Fear of losing the people you love or fear of hurting forever after a loved one hurts you.  Fear of never feeling loved and loving in this life.  It is one of the great motivators of what we do, whether we identify it as that or not.  Counseling jargon aside, fear is huge.  Satan is a master at finding a weakness and digging into it.  I became obsessed with talking to Sean and finding out where he was and where he was headed.  A few months after hearing Tammy speak I was beyond fearful.  I was over the edge.  I concluded that I had never loved anyone like this and that this must be what love feels like. Helpless to control the inevitable fear that would drive me in my life from then on. One night God taught me otherwise.  It wasn't that I had to get used to feeling that sense of helplessness, which was likely Satan's lesson for me. That is wrong. I needed to work on looking at things through God's eyes. Flipping through Psalms looking for comfort, I came across a verse that I had marked in college.  Psalm 63:3. "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You." It was the theme verse for Breakaway's worship CD that I listened to (still do) from my freshman year. Breakaway is a non-denominational Bible study on the campus of Texas A & M--and it is a gift. Another blog for sure...anyway, the verse that captured my weakness (brought it to light,) was also very encouraging and comforting.  Your lovingkindness is BETTER than life.  I knew that I had to relinquish my right to keep Sean alive, (and dare I say even keep him in love with me.) Better than Life. His lovingkindness IS better than life.  Better than our sorrow and pain. Better than even the best times of my life.  He IS better than life. He is never changing.  Never leaving me.  Even when I try to play His role and keep things afloat. How comforting.  It helped me keep things in better perspective.  As you can guess and likely relate, it didn't make Satan or my own fear totally go away.

Recently the fear is concerning my kids.  Trying to protect them and give them what they need and fearing that it won't be enough.  That God will want them here for less than my appointed time.  MY time.  MY life.  It, too, can overwhelm me. I need to read this verse and know these words.  They are powerful words if I really believe them.  It is Truth.  It is a reminder of that night before I became a mom and a wife and the sense of despair that led to a new reason to cling to God's design for my life.  I need reminding every day. 

Lord, You are better than life and I will praise You.  Thank You for my husband.  Thank You for my kids. Thank You for the promises of Your peace and love. Be with us--all of us--when we fear the unknown.  Remind us that You are right here.  You do give Lord, in huge and amazing ways. You do take away, and we don't know why.  Remind us that You have a plan that we could never understand this side of Glory.  p.s. Thank You, Lord for Brandi and terms like that from her life that still teach me.  Oh and another p.s. Ty said "Momma" for the first time on Sunday! Once. Hasn't said it again since.  I felt it appropriate to add this since the theme is giving and taking away...

1 comment:

Carley said...

This post is why we get along so well and have so many deep talks about life, love, death, fears, etc. Thanks for the encouragement today as Jason is driving to Florida with the students....he's not mine, but yours Lord. How appropriate for today. Now instead of thinking "please don't use today to teach me a lesson", I can say "he gives and takes away". Sigh. Thanks friend. Love ya!