Wednesday, February 2

crying uncle

"For in grief nothing 'stays put'. One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?"
- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

i've been so irritated with you, God.

and i've felt like i keep coming back to this place of surrender and ashes, that i wonder, "Haven't i learned anything at all?" But perhaps it's only wishful thinking that hopes that a decision once made, a bridge once crossed needs never to be crossed again. I would hope to never wrestle with the demon, "God is not good" ever again, but that's not the way it works. I come back to grappling with him, again and again, until I finally cry uncle.

I'm awake at 4 in the morning with these thoughts, and the unquenchable Spirit you've put in me repeating, "I surrender, I surrender..." And I do yield, Lord. I resist that you are, in fact, a paradox; a combination of good and uncertain,  absent and faithful. I'd rather think that you are altogether pure and nothing evil can be done or allowed by you, or uncaring - wholly bent on your own will being executed and your glory attained.

You are both. And that is so very difficult for me to grasp.

I correct myself - You are not uncaring. Your caring is greater than what I want it to be. I would rather have Gwen than the shadow of the cross covering me. But that in itself it's own paradox - I will have Gwen again because of the cross.

I love C.S. Lewis. and how reading his books makes everyone think they can write as brilliantly as he did.

I've been irritated with you because what I know to be true and what I'm experiencing are different, and the only way of getting "even" with you (as if that were possible) seemed to be to ignore you and run away.

I appreciate that Lewis has felt the same: " I was getting from it the only pleasure a man in anguish can get; the pleasure of hitting back. It was really just Billingsgate -- mere abuse; 'telling God what I thought of Him.' And of course, as in all abusive language, 'what I thought' didn't mean what I thought true. Only what I thought would offend Him (and His worshippers) most. That sort of thing is never said without some pleasure. Gets it 'off your chest.' You feel better for a moment."

Haven't I already wrestled through this with you? Haven't I already decided, "No turning back"?? Why is this repeating itself?? And why, when even during my fits of false accusations (or true ones), I already know the answer, and know that I will eventually yield and trust? Does this mean that I'm a fool, never learning from past matches?

You are so bizarre, God. I arrive at last to the conclusion i've known all along, and what do i find waiting for me? Peace. bizarre.

I really just want you to tell me that you'll never do this to me again. and promise to give me other children. and remind me in tangible ways that I am loved by you, cared for, delighted in, adored. I want you to apologize, really. I want you to say you're sorry, and to make it right.

And perhaps as Blair suggested, you've been trying to do that very thing, but cannot comfort a writhing child, anxious to run away with her fingers plugged in her ears. but perhaps not.

"For I know whom I have believed,"  is my cry, Lord. I know your character, and though it's paradoxical, i know it can be trusted.

Oh Lord I believe! Help me in my unbelief. But oh God, tenderly, tenderly.


  1. Almost every night as I'm laying down for bed, I pick up the picture on my nightstand of me holding Gwen and just stare at us together. I'm not trying to conjure up the emotion I experienced that morning, I'm just looking. Sometimes I a wave of grief flows over me as I remember how I felt throughout those days. Other nights I feel a hint of hope and joy as I see you, Blair and Gwen together permanently in heaven. I always give thanks, because I know He is good, and I believe He is "working out for the good", in some way we can't see yet.
    I love you, and you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I do not know the same loss as you, but I know loss, and I cannot tell you how good it is to see what you've said it in print. Like a knot untangled. You put words to a dark storm and let me see it for what it is. It is less scary that way. Thank you.

  3. I read this a couple of times:
    "And I do yield, Lord. I resist that you are, in fact, a paradox; a combination of good and uncertain, absent and faithful. I'd rather think that you are altogether pure and nothing evil can be done or allowed by you, or uncaring - wholly bent on your own will being executed and your glory attained."
    It's very possible that I'm not quite understanding this, but I'll add to the layers of bizarreness (as you put it):
    -1 John 1:5 says that he is light; in him there is no darkness at all. so he is all-powerful and allows evil and still is completely good. just as you originally stated, just as you would rather think (with a few added paradoxes.)
    -Romans 8:32 (which is of course written within a larger context that is completely contrary to what people want this verse to mean)--- I would not dare say I can summarize this verse or say what we should learn from it, but one thing that I find striking is the simplicity of logic laid out: He gave up his son because he loves us. He loves us. Which means that he does care (a much smaller thing than love). He is committed to much more than seeing himself glorified; he was willing to be shamed. It was not a selfish love that in the end served him, but a crazy, unreasonable, far-reaching love.
    -Romans 8:28 is another that stands its ground amid an extraordinarily contradictory context (or so it seems.)
    It would be nice to be able to simplify things, but instead, they only get more complex. And, as you said, startlingly simple; coming back to a truth that you believed all along, and finding in it peace. I don't know. Thank you again for letting us walk with you and seeing God as you do. Thank you for not being afraid of questions or of answers that don't seem to make sense.

  4. Tears stream down my face as I read this Erin. I love reading your blog because you so candidly and honestly put beautifully into words the deepest struggles of my heart. I can't wait to spend time with you this weekend. I love you.

  5. Erin, I too am learning the complexity and multi-facedness (are those the right words?) of God right now in a deeper way. I've been reading a fairly new book on grieving: "God's healing for life's losses" by Dr. Robert Kellemen. The journaling sections are getting me into the passages of Scripture that I like to avoid: David's. Jeremiah's, Job's, etc pain that is so like what you expressed here in this post. The book is helping me go through the stages of grief in a biblical way... but I was having trouble with the complaining to God part because I didn't give myself permission to "complain"... but it can be done "biblically", and God encourages us to be honest with Him... and you are doing it well. You are cliinging to His character and choosing to trust Him even as you wrestle. Thank you for "penning" this.

  6. I do not know personally this particular grief. I read and am touched by the engulfing nature of the pain. I pray for you and am thankful God gave you a voice to vent your feelings.
    I am sorry for your grief and that Gwen is not here.
    Bless you Erin!