Waiting. This is what we spend most of our lives doing. We wait in lines, wait for the phone call, wait for a better job, wait for our kids, wait for food, wait for summer to come, wait for school to be over, for our favorite tv show to come on.....just waiting...and waiting. It's easy to understand what it feels like to wait for something because we all do it everyday.
The last 6 months has been filled with days of waiting for us. It's different now. We get up and wait for something...just don't know what it is we are waiting for. I hear myself saying if I can just get past "this." Then I realize that once I get there, I'm really not there yet because there will be something else to wait for once I get there. What am I waiting for?
The first few nights after Ashley died, I remember standing by the window staring outside at the rain storms just waiting for her to come home. As if she would just come walking down the driveway at 3 oclock in the morning. We were waiting for her to be found. We wanted a child to burry. (who would ever think that would be something to wait for!) Then, we waited till the funeral day came. After all the crowds of people were gone...the reality of our empty lives set in. We got up every day and waited for the end of the day to come. I would wait for the sleep meds to kick in. I would wait until the morning came. Nothing in life had any value at all. It was torn from us. We sat there, empty and lost.
Days of waiting turned into months of waiting. We began to wait for school to start, seasons to change, sickness to go away, sunday to come, guests to visit. Soon the things we wait for turn into the same things that we used to wait for...things that actually do happen. The real hurt comes when in addition to the usual waiting, we continue to wait....empty armed....for what? What we want is to get back to life the way it was. We want to see Ashley come running to us. We want to tuck four children into bed at night. We want to have all of the seats at the table full. We want to feel like life has a purpose again. The hard part of all of this waiting is that the things we are waiting for can't and won't happen in this earthly life. This is more than we can swallow.
I feel like I can't say any of this without clarifying that I have Eternal Hope in Christ Jesus. I know that what I am waiting for every day is the restoration of perfection in Heaven. This is what we are all waiting for...It's just that now Heaven has become so real to me. It's not just a place to talk about and wonder about. I have one foot in heaven now. The things of earth....the things that always seem so important to be waiting for are no longer important...they have lost meaning. Yes, even things like family and spending time with my children are blury...because in an instant death causes you to realize that you do not have a grip on any of it! The comfort in the fact that we have no grip, is that someone does have a grip. God has a firm hold on us. He is in control of our lives. I do not have to despair, I just have to believe. It is easy to say that we believe (especially when we feel like life is in our hands.) but when your grip is torn away leaving you helpless...believing takes on a whole new meaning. Believing is Living.
My faith has been put to the test. Knowing that I will see Jesus and that I will be together with my daughter again one day is worth waiting for. This is much easier said than done. It means I have to walk every day with a limp (like Jacob did after wrestling with God), it means that I have to make a choice to trust in God even though I can't see the end result. In my pain I have to choose to live each day the best I can...knowing that no matter what joy I feel in this life, the pain and suffering, the sorrow, and the longing to be with my child will not go away...it will come with me. It will never leave until I am made perfect in heaven. Could it be that the pain I feel in being separated from Ashley is the kind of pain and longing that God has to be with me, HIS DAUGHTER?!
I do not live without hope. I do not have to fear. But, those whose hope is not in Christ....the things they are waiting for will never satisfy them. They are earthly things that will all pass away. When the waiting for one thing is over....they will be waiting for something else. It is meaningless. It has no purpose. It will end in the grave. There is nothing left. I never thought I'd ever survive the loss of my child. At times I feel like I'm not surviving, but I am. The truth is that it's not me...My heavenly Father who knows this road I am traveling on, because He traveled it before me....He is carrying me each day. I do not need to imagine how I'd make it...I just can't imagine how I'd make it without Christ.