The page update says that it has been 66 days since I’ve posted something on the blog.
That is true.
It’s not because of a lack of material, it is just that sometimes the ground you walk feels sacred and sometimes you are so in the thick of it and the lessons you are learning are still too tender and still processing in your heart that they cannot be put to words yet. Sometimes the broken places need a bit more healing before it can be shared on such a public domain. So the time will come where my heart will be ready to share these past 66 days’ story with you, but for now those places are kept in the secret places with my Father.
And that is okay.
It was a crisp January morning and I was leaving another night shift to go home for a quick shower and a 30-minute nap before church when Danny Gokey’s song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” started playing. This is my favorite part of the day when the little town we live in is still asleep, as if the world that often denies the existence of God cannot help it self to adhere to a bit of a Sabbath.
Only one other car was waiting with mine at the red traffic light for the 22 seconds ticking away beneath the little hand.
A season of change surrounded me. A season filled with goodbyes. A season of letting go.
The words of the song echoed in my heart as I followed the little car around the corner and it was as if God used that to point me to the choice before me. At the exact same place in the road the car in front of me made a right turn when I had to turn left.
Different roads. Different directions. Different destinations.
God was telling me, “Christelle, it is time to choose.”
The cloud of Cancer and treatment and suffering and trying to find solutions for her care in South Africa while I’m here in the US, has hovered over my head for just over two years as my Mom was fighting Stage IV Colorectal Cancer. She went to Heaven last Wednesday and I know for a fact that she is having an awesome day without any suffering as I’m writing this.
That song’s lyrics reminded me that I was so cooped up in and consumed by this battle that I was very little present in my own life many days. And for a time that was exactly what I needed to do, that was what obedience meant for that season. But God was pointing me ahead. Opening my eyes to the reality that I am still alive. He showed me that I still have a life that needs living. I have children that need help with their spelling tests and figuring out friendships and gymnastics meets and music lessons.
So for this moment in time I just need to walk out into the sun.
Away from the pain of losing her and the agony of not being able to be there with her when she died, and as the lyrics in the song so beautifully say,
“Tell your heart to beat again, close your eyes and breathe it in, let the shadows fall away step into the light of Grace. Yesterday is a closing door, you don’t live there anymore, say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.”
For a moment I want to sleep deep with my phone turned off and not have it next to my pillow waiting for a call. For a moment I want to live in one time zone only and not stay up nights to be awake in her world. I want to walk outside and see the sun and experience the relief of her not having pain or being alone.
I want to breathe in the grace of celebrating that death does not defeat hope and that for us who live in Christ death does not mean the end.
I want to bask in the sunlight feeling Christ’s victory over death and every despicable life stealing disease and horror, knowing that in the end we win.
I want to celebrate the beauty in her eyes, the deep-seated joy she had trusting in Jesus even in the hardest places.
I want to walk in the light and celebrate the amazing people walking the steps of this journey with me. I want to rejoice in the friends who have prayed and cried with us, and those who went to visit her when I couldn’t.
I want to forget about tears and weeping and celebrate the love from a stranger becoming a treasured friend because she held my Mom’s hand the final hours because I was unable to be there.
I want to dance in the light because of a friend filmed the beautiful sunny day when she was buried so I could share a piece of the day with them. A heart-brother who drove 100’s of miles to be there, for another who represented my words and shoveled heaps of dirt to close her grave – with so much love for me.
I want to celebrate my sisters in Christ who has drawn the sword of the Spirit many times on this journey and have encouraged, and loved me every step of the way.
I want to close the door of yesterday and rejoice in the beauty of gifts like my friend who baked South African cookies for my Mom’s Life Celebration Service so I can have a bit of home here.
I want to rejoice in the beauty of how He revealed His truth to my 9-year old by teaching him from Scripture the truth that He is the Resurrection and the Life the day before his grandma went to heaven. Love poured out.
I want to celebrate the dancing pink balloons set free by a group of women I have never met yet have prayed for us all this time at their Bible study in a small town in South Africa.
I want to celebrate the hard words from a friend two years earlier who told me to make arrangements for my Mom’s funeral so I did not have to feel the weight of it this past week.
I want to breathe deep from His grace that truly is enough for all my needs. For a moment longer I want to bask in the reality that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
So grant me a moment away from the deep sorrows and what seemed to be never ending time in the waiting room as God was stretching and bending my faith till at times I thought I would not be able to hold up.
Let me have a moment to soak in the reality that my God is faithful and ever present and that He has sustained me through this valley and will continue to do so as I live this side of eternity without my Mom.
The little car disappeared to my right and the choice ahead of me was clear.
Yesterday is a closing door -
I don’t live there anymore.
I want to step out into the light of Grace;
And tell my heart to beat again.