Thursday, May 2, 2013

How ya doin'?

Recently several people have asked how things are going for me. 
I don't always know how to respond, because really it depends on what day and sometimes what hour or minute they ask.

Overall, I'm doing pretty well. I have good days and bad days, like everybody else. Most of the time I smile and kind of lie, saying "I'm fine". Because that's what most people expect. It's just easier than launching into a long explanation they probably don't want to hear anyway.

But the truth is, I'm not fine. Not really. Not now, maybe not ever on this earth. You see, my only son died 4 years ago today. And I'm still not over it. He was so young, so full of hope and promise. He left too soon. And I feel cheated.

Oh, I know - I'm supposed to be an overcoming, victorious saint of God who never struggles and always triumphs over every adversity. And honestly, God has been a tremendous comfort to me. 
I don't think I could have coped without the calm assurance that this life isn't all there is, that this temporal existence is simply preparation for eternity. I believe that, now more than ever, and I'm at peace. Lowell won't come back to me, but I get to go to him.

But I'd be boldface lying if I told you I never struggle, never have doubts, never have days when depression threatens to overwhelm me. The devil would lose his job if he didn't attack us at our weakest points. And he's pretty secure in his employment, at least when it comes to me.

You see, I have weak areas. And it seems as if my weakness has increased since Lowell's death. I have no tolerance when people, especially children, are put into danger, even in movies or on TV. If I view that kind of suspenseful program, I get a horrid feeling in my chest and panic threatens to overwhelm me. So I just don't watch. I inherited Lowell's phone, and even 4 years later his voice is still the recorded message. I can't bring myself to change it - somehow it comforts me to have his voice on my phone. There are times when I miss Lowell a lot; occasionally this puts me into a very dark mood.

Sometimes I don't really want to fight back. I guess I feel I'm somehow being unfaithful to my son's memory if I resist the melancholy blues. I have determined this to be a lie from hell. If I sink into depression, I'm ineffective and I know Lowell wouldn't want that. 

For a couple of weeks in April, I couldn't seem to get out of the funk. I was trying to handle my problems with my own strength. And I can't... 

When I finally gave in, and told God I had to have His help to overcome, the Holy Spirit immediately came to me and the depression lifted. And I've been pretty good since then.

I believe that's what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that God's "power works best in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) As long as I insist I can solve my own problems, that I can handle everything by myself, the Lord will respond, "Okay - suit yourself." And I really don't have the power to fix things. Thankfully, God is very patient, and when I finally come to the end of myself and ask for help, He's right there for me. Paul said in the next verse, "when I am weak, then I am strong." 
(2 Corinthians 12:10)  James wrote, "you do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2
And sometimes I just don't want to ask.

But I'm learning to swallow my manly pride and depend on the Holy Spirit. One of the hardest things for me to do is ask for help. And sometimes I need help from other people. I've learned some difficult lessons over the past few years. And I'm so thankful for my family and friends who are on this journey with me - I need those relationships more than I can say.

I hope I'm more Christlike than I used to be. There are some days when I definitely am not. 
And then I have to come to Him, repent for my attitude and often my actions, and let His power be perfected in my weakness. Again.

So, how am I doing? I'm okay...
I'm growing, changing, learning, walking. I'm beginning to trust God again. 
I'm broken, and only He can fix me. And it's a slow process - looks like it will take a lifetime.

But the good news is, one day I will be changed and be with Him - and with Lowell and all my other loved ones who have gone on. Until that day, I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to fulfill the destiny God has for me. When I am weak, then I am strong.