Wednesday, August 22

bringing me back

Dear Gwendolyn,

I wonder if the end of summer will always bring me back to you. In 2010, the end of summer made us deliriously happy, thinking that you were so close. We started driving to San Antonio for birthing classes and once a week appointments with gusto. Back to school supplies and fall decorations flooded the stores. You dad and I went to a pumpkin farm for kicks, and you rivaled the size of an 18 pound jack-o-lantern (in my belly of course; you were a bit smaller once you were out... but just a bit.) Fall brings me back to you, making your absence "like the sky, spread over everything" once again.

I miss you, Gwen. I'm so thankful that I can look forward to seeing you, and that the grief of losing you has softened from a raging despair to a deep, abiding longing. I can hope and trust and cry at the same time. (I think this is healing?) And yet, the reality of our separation has created a yawning chasm of fear in me. I am so afraid of being separated from my Loves here. Last night I laid in bed, with a hand on both your Dad and Malacai's backs, just feeling them breathe and reminding myself that it's okay to fall asleep; they will be there in the morning.

"The Lord did not give you a spirit of fear," your dad reminded me after I woke him with my tossing and turning. And yet I am afraid. So that leaves me to conclude that I am not trusting Him... which causes me to be afraid (and I smile ruefully, recognizing the cycle.)

My problem is this: I want to want Heaven more than anything else. I want to long for it the way that Jesus tells me to. I want the reality of it to so own me that I cease to hold so tightly to everything here. But I am afraid to pray for that kind of conviction, because the Lord just might give it to me. And if He does, then will He take Blair and Cai away?

And I recognize my faulty reasoning; my thought process reveals a faulty belief about God's character. And yet...

And to think that I could have an almost two year old toddling around instead of all these fears! Oh Gwenny. What a different life I would have had. But this is God's goodness;  I am determined to discover all of it's treasures.

I love you Gwendolyn Hope Cushman. I will see you, sooner than I know.



  1. I feel so incredibly tender toward you this morning, my friend. I thought about Gwen this week as well. And you. And I wondered how deeply you felt her absence these days. I am so glad you will not always feel that absence. I can't wait to see you in one week.

  2. God will answer your concerns and show you how to take your fears captive to the truth. It will come. And He loves you and He will show you. I believe that faith is knowing that He will be right there with you wherever His path leads you. You don't have to know now or see in yourself now how you would handle your worst fears. All God wants of you is to believe that whatever happens, it will not separate you from His love because that is Christ in you and nothing will ever break that bond. And that whatever comes, He promises to be your strength to carry whatever He allows. I find peace in that myself. That He is not asking me today to prove that I can handle the things I fear the most. I am comforted that faith means knowing that He will give me what I need for whatever He allows. And I am thankful that my fears, your fears do not represent prophecy of what is to be. I have had the same sort of fears since Nathan learned to drive and then went off to college. I was always afraid, as Nathan would say, "yes, Mom, I know. I leave the house and I am dead on the highway!" And then, Nathan went to a Discipleship Training School with YWAM in 2006 and again in 2007. During the school in 2007, a gunman came to the school and killed 2 of the students. There was a period of 45 minutes when all we knew was that 2 young people had died. We did not know whether they were staff or students. I crouched in the bathroom praying for the parents of the 2 dead children, not knowing if I was praying for myself or someone else. And I knew then that as a believer I do not get a pass from pain, I knew that already really but this situation made the thought more clear to me. I knew it could be us. And I was afraid of the reality that it could likely be Nathan and what would I do? How could I deal with that horror? And God made me realize that He was not asking me to know or prove to Him right then how I would handle what I was most afraid of. All He was asking me was to believe that He would be there with me, for me, in me, giving me strength to carry whatever came. As God would have it I was not one of the parents who had to learn to carry that grief. But it was not my goodness that spared Nathan, or his goodness but God's providence. So, we became the ones who prayed for the families who did have that cross to bear and still do. And I don't fear when the thoughts come, and they still do. But they do not represent truth. I choose to not believe them. I choose to not worry that they came. Fears are old habits. The old life. But they are not who I am now. Through God's Spirit I am empowered to choose to believe God and not the lie. It is what I do with them that becomes faith or lack of faith. Fears themselves are not a lack of faith. Fears are an opportunity to choose to trust God.