"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
A part of me hesitates to write this, because you never know what is around the corner. However, believing that I have come out of the most intense part of the cloud of grief, I wanted to try to explain what it is like.
Good news, I am the same person that I was before Jan 25. Better news, I am changed. I'm more aware. I'm more vulnerable. I'm more dependent on God.
I see the dark part of my heart that Ashlynn left behind as fertile soil, a place ready to be cultivated into a productive garden by the Lord. I almost see it as a "prescribed or controlled burn". Prescribed burning is the deliberate use of fire under specified and controlled conditions to achieve a resource management goal in forestry or farming. It not only controls and rids invasive species, but preserves the wanted plants as well as making the soil more fertile. In it's immediate wake, the burn leaves an unattractive black ash on the ground and trees. However, seed in the ground can spring forth strong in the newly fertilized soil.
I think the analogy fits in so many ways. God is in control as the farmer. He has used and continues to use this tragedy to bring about His glory in me. He will never let the "fires" in my life get out of control, but will use them to refine me into the image of His Son (Romans 8:28). He will cultivate in my heart His gifts of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control) and will work to get rid of all of the things that are opposed to them. If I abide in Him, He will prune my branches to grow as he sees best (John 15). Right now there is ash and sut over my heart, but my prayer is that what He has begun in me through this loss will be a big crop, fruitful and glorifying to Him.
My main concern now that I have started living in a more regular routine is that I will get caught up in the business of everyday life and will slip back into the same person I used to be. During tough times, I cling to God tightly. When things start going well, I loosen my grip and can forget what He has done and who He is. I don't really forget, but I live like I do. So I really want to continue the growth that He has began. I know that God is faithful and will continue to work, but I also know how forgetful I can be. I'm praying for a more disciplined walk with Him as I trust for Him to continue the work begun in me.
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6,7
"Refiner's fire My heart's one desire Is to be holy Set apart for You Lord I choose to be holy Set apart for You my Master Ready to do Your will"