Sunday, December 12


I'm a visual learner. If someone is giving me directions, I need clear landmarks, and I mentally map out the left and right turns. Just giving me the list of where to turn and when does not help me naturally - i like to see the little map and visualize the turns. Whatever i'm instructed to do, I have to mentally visualize myself doing it, anticipate all the avenues and repercussions of each step or decision, then go about the task. This is the only thing that works in my favor and enables me to be somewhat creative (i am not naturally - i just copy.) I can picture the purse i want to sew, then "un-sew" it in my head and piece it back together in reality.

anyways. long explanation. the point is that i'm also a visual learner in my relationship with God. I see my life with Him in pictures, and can only fully express how i'm feeling or what i'm thinking once i envision myself inside of a story.

This past wednesday the fictional "me" was screaming, throwing things, smashing mirrors, etc. (I think the fictional me keeps me from actually doing most of these things in real life.) I've been seeing her stumble her way through a long dark valley, overcome by the shade of grief. And yesterday, she was done. She just sat down in the cold darkness and cried.

So that's what I did too. I'm done.

I had an incredibly challenging week, due to 'normal' activities. I worked, went to a movie, a christmas party, grocery shopping, and spent a day with the Walkabout students. All this normality is suffocating. I can only handle trying to be brave for so long before i crumble, which is what i did at the river walk in San Antonio. and again in the office bathroom. and again in a parking lot. and again at the YO hotel during the christmas party.

So yesterday, I gave up. It was kind of like an emotional and social hangover... I was foggy, unresponsive, and thoroughly done with everything. My poor husband. He's so incredibly sweet, and I am not a very good wife right now.

My hangover is wearing off. The Spirit and my conscience won't allow me to simply give up and die, or emotionally check out for the rest of my life. So I get up, and start walking again. Still with no light, no explanation, no foreseeable change coming up.

You know what's amazing too, about God? He gets so excited about praising Himself, I think. The Spirit seems to exclaim, "YES!! Good job! Right choice!!" when i choose to get over myself and be swallowed up in grace. And then He infuses me with the ability to trust and go on walking.

This morning I read Psalm 6, and it led me on a treasure hunt:

I am worn out from sobbing,
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.

My vision is blurred by grief. Surely it will not always be so? "Surely..."

"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life." Psalm 23:6

What does it mean by "follow", I wonder? As in, it will trail after me, but never be with me? So i pull out my trusty Strong's Concordance, and am blessed by the Lord - this word "follow" means to pursue, to chase, to overtake. 

I'm not normally a fan of The Message, but i like the word picture it paints for Psalm 23:6: "Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life." 

Strong's also says that the word for "mercy" in verse 6 means "strength", "steadfastness", and "love". To render a translation without those three meanings would lose it's richness, and either be solely a sentiment without a backbone (love) or cold and legalistic (strength).

So I am being chased by the steadfastness, strength, and love of God, even in this valley. His love is not an empty sentiment, all fuzzy with no depth and no hold over real life circumstances. And His strength and steadfastness are not calculating penny pinchers with no compassion. I am pursued - consistently, steadily, and mightily being overwhelmed by the tenderness of Yahweh.

even here. even now. even 8 weeks later.


  1. your writing is so beautiful Erin, i felt your pain as i read it and cried with you....i always do when i read your words. you have a gift, as an excellent writer. and you are gifted with the ability to see His grace and love thru this deep valley in your life. you are mandy's friend & mentor and my whole family admires you so much. Peace & Love to you, forever, every single day:)

  2. Thank you for the scriptural treasure hunt. I learned a few new things and I will be passing this new knowledge along to a friend in need. The Lord is at work in you and through you, Erin.

  3. Erin, this is an amazing encouragement to me. Thank you for your beautiful heart. It is just what I needed to hear after this week which has been hard for me too. Love and blessings to you.

  4. Exactly what I needed, Erin. Thank you for encouraging. Love you very much!

  5. Praying for you this morning. I cried for you on the way home from church. And prayed. I thought of you as if in the ocean, surrounded by tumultuous waves and I prayed that God would be to you a visual and real life ring. One that you could see and feel supporting you and holding you up amidst the waves of grief and missing.You are a gifted writer and your words stay with me and the Lord brings them to mind as I pray for you during the week. You and Blair are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Erin, you are in my prayers everyday. Your blog is so inspiring and awesome. Take care. Love, Debbie:o)

  7. You are contiually in my prayers, Erin. I want to do more for you. As a mother would comfort her child. If I can, please let me know. You truly inspire me in your quest to know God's will in this. And rest in the strength of that purpose.

  8. you inspire me to read Scripture deeply - not just my usual surface reading. i see you pursuing God in the Scripture and being sustained by what you find. what a beautiful picture you have painted...makes me want to know Him more.