“Tell your daughter, whatever she's been going through. God says to tell her that He gives her an A+.”
When a stranger who doesn't know you, or know that you've been wading through the grief that comes with the death of your daughter, gives your parents a message to pass on to you like this one, you hold onto each word for dear life. Especially since many times since March 5, I've felt like a total failure.
The past week and a half have been hard. Harder than normal.
The thing about grief is that you get to a place where you feel like you're doing really well….like you might have survived the worst part of the storm. And then all of a sudden out of nowhere, a lightening bolt fries your heart and you feel like you're right back in the moment when your baby died in your arms.
You feel busted.
You feel broken.
You feel like you're still bleeding all over the place, spinning out of control, wondering if the creepy part of the Willy Wonka boat ride will ever end.
There have been moments in the last week where I've cried harder than I cried when her heart stopped beating. There have been seconds where I didn't know whether or not I could survive the level of pain that slashed at my already fragile heart. And just when things couldn't seem to get any worse—wondering if I was ever going to move on and reunite with the land of the living—I'm reminded of the truth by a total stranger.
Christa, I'm giving you an A+ right now—even when you don't feel like you deserve it.
Isn't it incredible that the God of the universe isn't looking at our actions right now and judging us? Isn't it mind blowing that He's instead looking at our hearts?
I Samuel 16:7
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Today after dropping my parents off at the airport, barely able to drive because of the amount of tears and sobs heaving from my broken soul, the word of the Lord rang in my ears once again. I see your heart, beautiful girl. I see it, and I'm so proud of you.
God knew before the foundations of the world that I would have very little to give right now. He knew that my heart would be so damaged by death, that sometimes anger would seep out and punch those I love. He knew that I would want to retreat into unhealthy solitude, and escape from the pain through busyness and work. He knew that I would fail miserably at certain relationships, and that I would fall down and mess up again and again.
If the world had a camera on me at all times and graded my grief, I promise you, I would fail by their standard of perfection—especially for someone who is in ministry. We expect people on the platform to be perfect, instead of being honest about their road to maturity in all circumstances. The fire of death and loss have burned with such intensity in recent weeks, there are all sorts of new, nasty little monsters, fears, insecurities, and anger that have risen to the surface—and believe me, they're not pretty. But because my beautiful God isn't just looking at my actions—because He sees that my busted heart is the only thing I have to surrender right now, every time I lay it at His feet again, this incredible God says, Way to go, Christa. You get an A+.
Right now, my only priority is my heart. If I tried to control every action, reaction, and behavior, I would be focusing on the symptom, and not the problem. And the problem is deep brokenness that, if not healed correctly, will lead to a lifetime of broken behaviors. But the more I hand over my heart, day by day, even when I feel like a total failure……
The effort is seen, I'm reunited with the Healer, and God gets to come in and lead me into wholeness.
I'm exhausted, friends. Please pray for me as I'm discovering some deep wounds that are surfacing from the flames of the hottest fire I've ever experienced. And instead of seeing this as a bad thing, I'm so grateful that Jesus loves me enough to use this fire to refine me, get the ugly out, and transform my heart.
And in the process, I apparently get an A+. Even when I don't feel like I don't deserve it.