Photo credit: By Dmitry A. Mottl (photographer) & User:Tom_dl - File:Kuznetsk Alatau 2.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6818645
I’m in a tough, discouraging season of life right now. And this season feels more like a lifetime than a passing season. I know that isn’t positive but it’s honest. Maybe it’s because for the last four years, I have been stuck in the infant stage of parenting. That exhausting stage where your child is totally dependent on you and there is zero time carved out for your own wellbeing. Or maybe it’s because my child throws up every day. Just when I think it’s improving we hit another run of daily projectile vomiting episodes. Maybe it’s because life feels like suspended animation for me; the same routine over and over again caring for my son 24/7 on top of all the other duties required of a mother, wife, daughter, friend, nurse executive or whatever role I’m playing that minute. Maybe it’s the fact my son has been sick consistently since last December - ear infections, surgeries, seizures, ER visits, viruses. That’s been our life. And it’s been hard. Maybe it’s because my dad has been battling cancer on top of everything. I told a friend last night this has been the last five years of my life. Unexpected twists, surprise diagnoses, curveballs that rock your world. Or maybe it’s because most of the things I get excited about these days, don’t seem to work there way into existence for me. A vacation canceled because travel is not always wise with a special needs, medically fragile child. A half marathon postponed because training is not realistic for me in this season. A date night hijacked because of a fever or seizure. These seem insignificant but when the days are long and stress is abundant, the littlest things bring hope and excitement. I’m at a point where I hesitant to get too excited about any upcoming plans because I know one acute illness may have me sleeping next to my son in a hospital room. Or maybe it’s because so many plans have not worked out that the littlest disappointment brings back a flood of emotion and I cannot see a day when life won’t be this way. It’s just a tough, discouraging season. And this season is attempting to wear away at my soul. At my heart. At my faith. But I know it’s just a season, even if the devil is trying to trick me into feeling it’s going to be this way forever.
To add to this season, this past weekend marked two years since I last heard from a dear friend who slipped into a quiet state days before she lost her battle with colon cancer. I miss her so much. And yet the thing I remember most of her, is less her and more how Jesus shined through her. It’s hard to explain but I miss seeing Jesus in her. Tears flood my eyes just typing that. She was as real and genuine as it gets. Not perfect. Not flawless. But a ride or die, pray you through it type of friend. In her weakest moments, she wanted to know how to pray for others. And before she died, she gave me a list of things to pray for after she was gone. That’s just who she was. And my heart just isn’t the same without a dose of her every few days. Saying goodbye to this childhood friend, has added to this hard season.
This weekend I was driving around trying to lift my spirits over another discouraging moment and I heard the following lyrics of a song - “it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah”. And immediately I realized that all of this discouragement is really just a spiritual battle. And the very best thing I can do to battle my way through it, is to sing hallelujah and praise God. The battle is not against flesh and blood.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The battle is nothing about canceled plans or missed events. The battle is in how those things discourage me. It’s an attempt to steal my joy. And the only path out is hallelujah. And it’s okay if it’s a cold and broken hallelujah. In fact, maybe the praise means more when it’s cold and broken. When life is so hard, that you aren’t sure how you are going to face another day of challenges, sing hallelujah. So I thought back to some of the times I praised God through pain, heartache, grief and trials.
The day I got the call with my son’s prenatal diagnosis, I went home with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and sat in bed reading the book of Job. Praying for a way to trust God, crying out a cold and broken hallelujah.
The week my dear friend died I cried myself to sleep almost every night, praising God through tremendous grief and heartache because I didn’t understand why He took her at the young age of 37. Why her son will never know how amazing his mother was on earth. I sang a cold and broken hallelujah.
A few days before my grandmother died, the family stood around her bedside with tear-filled eyes, singing “How Great Thy God”. A cold and broken hallelujah.
The day that my son was born, I stood in my bathroom with my hands on my stomach singing a praise song while rocking him back and forth in the womb. I thought it would be the last time I ever got to sing to him. He wasn’t supposed to survive birth. I cried out in praise to the Lord. A cold and broken hallelujah.
I’ve learned that when we sing hallelujah in the toughest of times, we tap into God’s power. We put on the armor of God and we win the battle. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Psalms 130 1-2, 5-6
”Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy….I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”
Because a cold and broken hallelujah, is still a hallelujah. And that is what matters.
Cold, broken and singing,
Note: The opinions and feelings expressed in this blog are solely that of the author and does not in any way reflect the opinions of or represent any employer, organization or academic affiliation to whom the author may be associated with currently or in the past.
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.