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Drenched in Suffering

Sometime last Fall, when my boys' heart's were failing them, I was asked to help a single mother that lived nearby.  I knew bits and pieces of her tragic story and when I say tragic, I really mean horrific.   A marriage of horror you have probably only read about.  A dissolution of a marriage that remains caught up in legalities and other entities, warring for some of the sweetest children you could meet.  I dragged my feet about getting involved.  It seemed like an overwhelming situation and I was caught up in my own feelings of overwhelm.

I felt like my plane was going down and I was struggling to find my oxygen mask that was suppose to magically dangle in front of me.  Until I had that securely attached, I didn't feel like there was room or resources for me to get involved.  I did small, insignificant, physical tasks around her house; things that took an hour or less so I could get back to my own awful stories of hardship.

Selfish...I know.  I knew that then and I know that now.

Something switched for me and I can hardly remember when.   I am now into this woman's life with both feet, firmly planted and rooted in her cause to fight. What started as a 'project' has become one of the most sanctifying things I have done.  To those few people who know what I have done with her and continue to do for her, they think I am some Angel...what a sacrifice...she is so lucky to have you...you are blessing her life.

With my heart full of guilt, I shake my head and reply, "NO, she is my Angel."  "She has sacrificed to let me into her life."  " I am lucky to have her." And, "She is my blessing."

In her darkest moments, when all she wants to do is end it all, I am there and all I know how to do is pray for her and pray with her.  Kneeling together, in a mountain of toys and clothes and chaos, spilling from her heart and head, we feel the peace of our Father in Heaven.  We feel that Christ is not far off, watching her rocky little boat being tossed among the waves and we hold on to each other for dear life.  And in the swells of discouragement and fear, I bear testimony to her that God will fight her battles.  That he is aware and continually making a way for her when there seems to be no way at all out of this.  I tell her everything I know and believe about God.  Her God.  My God. I buoy up her Faith and bind her heart to me, to Him.

And...in all of that lies a miracle.

But, it's not her miracle.  It's mine.

Because I leave there and my own faith is strengthened.  My own resolve is shored up and preserved and I remember that everything I have told her is true.

Yesterday, I sat in court with her as a witness to the madness she endures.  It didn't go as planned, not on any level.  Much like my experiences, the opposite of everything we had knelt together and prayed for in the early morning hours, kneeling in her living room, happened.  It was a blow.  It could have been a blow to her faith but as we walked around the block of the Courthouse, trying to make sense of it all, I watched her see where God was in all of that, in what looks like disastrous consequences. I was so overwhelmed that she could access these miraculous thoughts.

Today of course, the lows are as deep as the highs could ever be tall and I find myself trying to rescue her from the edge of giving up.

Today of course, I am at my own lowest point in life.  I am completely overwhelmed and discouraged and giving up seems the easy way out.  Through the night I found myself searching for pure oxygen that should be dangling in front of my face when your plane is going down.  It has been nowhere to be found.

This morning, I prayed for what to say to my friend...this is what tumbled out.

        "There is a song by Kenneth Cope called Miracles From Heaven.  In it, a line stands out to me, 'He has drenched himself in thy suffering.'  Christ didn't just tip toe into suffering, he was drenched in it, much like you are now.  You can do this, because He knows how to succor you.  He already suffered this for you, and now WITH you.  I know that isn't always a balm of healing in the drenching moments but if you can hold on to that for dear life, through these horribly scary moments, it will be what's left behind.  It's okay to let today fill you with sorrow.  It is a sorrowful situation.  Feel it.  Let it be. Then, watch it recede and there you will see Christ standing in the midst of the storm and know he was always there."

After I sent this to her, I realized it was not for her, but for me...and maybe for you or some stranger reading this who is also being drenched in sorrow.

Today is a day filled with sorrow and that's just what it is.  Maybe it will also be a day filled with knowing Christ is near and somehow in the waiting and wondering what is coming next for my little worn out and exhausted family, we will feel a little healing and a little cleansing in the drenching sorrow that refines our hearts, and draws us nearer to Christ and our Father.

Without a doubt, mourning with my dear friend who mourns daily, lifting her tired heart and hands has proven to be the one thing that has saved me from my own trials and hardships.  There are miracles when we first help those around us.  I can't believe I ever doubted this principle and shied away from her, scared to called upon to sacrifice too much.  Instead, my cup of blessings she has given me, overflows in abundance and I will never be able to thank her for what she has done to rescue me.

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