Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Update 2/10/10 Day 94

Dear friends,

I suppose I should have seen it coming. I've been warned by many, and I've seen it before in others. But no matter how much you think you are prepared for a headlong crash into grief, you never really are. It's incredibly difficult to even write these words, given the gratitude I have for all the grace I've been given. Still, I committed to being completely truthful, so here it is. Today was absolutely agonizing. Today I was sad, angry and distraught over the changes in my family's life. I was riddled with guilt about having an older car without all the safety features (even though that was what we could afford). I cried hard about the troubles that are here and now, and wished with a passion that I could change it all. The helplessness is a cascade. And to protect those I love, I can't publicly share some of the source of my sadness. If you want to stop reading now, it's ok. I know this isn't uplifting, but it's what is.

Now the faith I profess is put to the test. Now I find out if all I say is played out in my life. I know loving God does not protect us from pain, even anguish. I know these dark moments on the pilgrim road are temporary. I know I have no guarantees about the future. But I tell you from the depths of my battered soul that I will never turn back. I will follow the One who rescued me from myself, and not because I'm strong, or amazing or especially faithful. But because He is so utterly good and compels me to go on. Ultimately it comes down to this "I will stand, because He is able to make me stand". And it comes down to this "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." And it comes down to this: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for THOU art with me...". Don't get the idea that I'm some strong Christian with great faith. On the contrary. I can only say the Great One said He'd never let me go. I look longingly for the day when all sorrow will cease. Until then, I hope. I'm not strong, but the rope I'm holding onto is very strong indeed.

Pray I'll do what's right always, and that I won't act out of pain or fear. Pray for my boys, who are a joy to my heart. Pray for Stephen, who stands on top of pain every day with a beautiful disposition. And, I can hardly say it, for my girl, on whom the brunt of this thing has landed. Pray for blessings and prosperity of spirit to visit her all the days of her life. I know the Great One must be at work invisibly in her beautiful life. Her music is music to my soul. I would gladly, for any of my children, take on all their troubles. But as you know, it doesn't work that way. Everyone, even these young, innocent creatures have to walk their own sojourner's road. We can only walk close at hand.

Friends, I've never been more relieved that you are out there praying and caring. This thing surprises me so often. You would think that 94 days in is an odd time for a meltdown. But I've known from the beginning this wouldn't be short. If only someone could say "On day such and such, everything will be alright". No one can. I love the line from an old Amy Grant song:

"I've heard it said, when the river's running high
You get to higher ground, or you die.
Well muddy waves of pain washed over me,
and it only made me see, it's gonna be alright..."

I'm not dead, so I guess I'm getting to higher ground. Thanks for going with me to the pit. Thanks for making darn sure I don't live there. You are my shining stars.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



Susan said...

Dear Loriann,

A passage from C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew):

"But please, please--won't you--can't you give me something that will cure Mother?" Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes."

Weep with those who weep, He says: but he has victory in His wings, too.



Anonymous said...

God's not finished. He's waiting around to be gracious to you.
He's gathering strength to show mercy to you.
God takes the time to do everything right—everything.
Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.
Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over.
Cry for help and you'll find it's grace and more grace.
The moment he hears, he'll answer.
Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he'll keep your teacher alive and present among you.
Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road. Walk down this road." (Isaiah 30: 18-22 MSG)

Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him. (Ps. 126:5-6)

Hang in there, my pilgrim friend. God isn't finished yet.

Thank you for sowing seed to us, even while you weep. You shall return with songs of joy!

We love you.

Lorraine & Ernie

Anonymous said...

Dear Loriann and Steve,
I share two poems that I have shared previously, because I think they capture the sentiments of all who read this blog:

Lord, in the depths of my sorrow,
I will lift my heart to yours.
You are the One who holds my tomorrow.

When waves of trouble threaten me,
I will reach my hands to yours.
You are the One who calms the sea.

When all that encompasses me seems to mock,
I will yield my mind to yours.
You are the One who establishes me - My Rock.

My heart hurts for you,
My heart cries with you,
My heart hurts for you,
My heart hopes with you,
My heart hurts for you,
My heart believes with you,
My heart hurts for you,
My heart rejoices with you,
My heart hurts for you,
My heart walks on with you.

All our love,
Pastor Gordy and the girls

johandav said...

Dear Susan, Lorraine and Ernie, and Pastor Gordy and sweet girls,

Thank you for your tender thoughts toward our family. All the love means so much.

Always your friend on the pilgrim road,


Jessica said...

When I am in those times when I feel I just can't walk another step, I'm reminded of the crippled man who was lowered down through a roof by his friends and lands at the feet of Jesus.
You Smiths are like that cripple, and the community of people who read this blog, go to your church, and know your family, are the friends who are carrying you on that stretcher to lay you down before Jesus so you may all receive complete and total healing.
And we are not tired of carrying you, no matter how long this journey gets!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you all, especially to reach out to Hannah. She is particularly in my prayers. Love you guys!
Jessica Dubin

Anonymous said...

Dear Loriann,
I cannot even imagine what you are going through but I am grateful that you are able to share with everyone. As I read these each night I cry, smile and praise God with you. Know that my prayers are with all of you for total and complete healing. Hannah is especially remembered and I will not stop praying. You are a very brave woman and an inspiration to all that know you and those that read this. Keep the faith sweet cousin and know many that you don't even realize are traveling this with you.

Anonymous said...

My dear friend Loriann,
I am familiar with, can comprehend, and empathize with every word that you wrote yesterday. The agonizing grief and guilt that arose inside of you (the rising water) was all the “things” that you pushed down in order just to get through the last 94 days.

Please realize that grief is not a forbidden feeling; it is what you decide to do with that emotion that will determine the end result. Your grief stemmed and depicts the LOVE and passion that you have for your family. Let your tears be a harvest towards a beautiful future. As the water rises, release each tear into His hands (as God reveals them to you) and move forward….

Exodus 14: 13-16
13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

Someday soon the Lord will tell you to move on and move forward. Certain things that kept you enslaved in the past will no longer be seen by you, they will be on the other side of the sea….
There is a song that I love, I don’t know if you know it. I tried to attach it with guitar chords, but it did not appear correctly in the blog, so here are the words.)
I love you, Nancy Tielking

Hope Now
By Addison Road (guitar chords)


If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours


I'm not my own
I've been carried by You All my life


Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free


And when my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore

You say I'll be o-k

And Make it through the rain, You are
My shelter from the storm


Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free-


I am not my own
I've been carried by You All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Yeah, Your love sets me free


And Everything rides on hope now
And Everything rides on faith somehow
So when the world has broken me down
Yeah, Your love sets me free

You've become my heart’s desire
I will sing Your praises higher

Cause Your love sets me free

Your love sets me free

Your love sets me free

Anonymous said...

Dear Loriann,
"I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you." 2 Kings 20:5
This healing is not intended just for Steven and Hannah, but for you, Loriann, and for Joseph and David. God pours healing balm onto the outside hurts, yes, but also the inside hurts. The broken vases are being crafted together into stunning mosaics, with golden highlights. It takes time, but the results are of a beauty unimaginable.
Lord, bless the Smiths right now, with Your tender touch. Let each one of them actually feel that touch and be comforted as You heal them.

Mel said...

Last night in my small group we were talking about the depth of the love of God. Nothing separates. Nothing. And that's the truth no matter what.
We're with you and we love you.
Much love.