When they broke the news, my world broke into a thousand fragments. They flew him in a coffin, face white as brazen snow. The warm dances of his fingertips once ruffling through my hair, his gentle soothing voices calming me to sleep, stopped short, and sudden. There wasn’t time for any goodbyes and the last story’s still hanging in mid air… When Dad’s body was burned into ashes, so were my hopes blown and my dreams deserted .
“Wasteland” – they called it.
I lost my equilibrium, and along with it my sense of safety and security. Everything i thought a little girl was supposed to grow up with was gone the moment my figure of strength, my rock, my soul stability passed away…
Instead, fear gripped me, and insecurity tied its ropes around my neck. I grew up needing to stay in control, to not allow myself to be abandoned again, or have life robbed me of those closest to me… When my inner world became disinhibited, my modus operandi became a need to be in control – yeah, anything that could bring me back that security as a child.
Really, when you lose a dad prematurely, and your mum had to get up the next day and coped with the loss and bring bread to the table and raise four children on her own, you just sorta swallow these inner emptiness and struggle quietly. No one hears. No one really knows what to say. Where was God? Does He even care? Is He able to protect? Would He stop accidents from happening and tumour from spreading and ISIS from slaughtering?
I’ve struggled with these questions – everyday.
How do we live life to the fullest when the broken within us opens like a wasteland?
And in this air of vying for something I can control, a place I can settle comfortably – I have done some crazy things…me saying to God, “thanks, God, I will look after myself my way.”
But from the beginning, God has a plan to reclaim our wastelands, the broken within us, the desolate, these nameless places of our souls. There I saw it, lying printed on the pages of my Bible, inviting me to trust or shun, His desire to rename us.
No longer a wasteland…God is opening rivers on our barren heights, fountains in the midst of our valleys, turning desert into pools, and wilderness into springs…I had to read this several times. It’s hard to register when the mind’s been so seared to believe otherwise. I have to mouth it slow a few times, make sure the heart follows where they eye’s reading. His promise stands as a sure guarantee for what we are to become.
When each of our children was born, we took painstaking effort to name them – and name them right. Behind every name was a meaning, an individuation, an identity personalised, a destiny ensued, a potential hoped for.
But how do we name ourselves? What do we call this “us” when a part of us has been broken and bruised? What do you sing about when the future’s uncertain and the rain hasn’t poured in and the harvest hasn’t yet come?
I am coming back to this time and again – The Good Shepherd knows me – and yes, even in our broken unreclaimed old self – I can be known by Him and I can come to know Him – for He lays down His life for me.
In this quiet space – in this little periphery of time – God is remaking me – giving me a new identity – making me a new name.
I exhale and my soul’s restored.
We, the nameless – renamed.
We, the ones without any notion of grace, out of His fullness – have been given grace upon grace.
When we feel the weight of the darkness in the world around us, when we feel like the world’s whirled past ahead of us and when our rites to a safe childhood was punctured with the less than favourable, the road ahead can look dark and dusty, or we can, take the Word’s stand and believe that – He’s called us from the womb, cups our faces and and say “Fear Not”.
This grace sets us apart.
His renaming us fills our wasteland and gives us another reason for existence.
How do we find ourselves out of the quarry of doubt and the need to stay in control? By calling ourselves after what God calls us. Our strongest security is not found in the mountains we scale, in the battles we won, in the riches we earn…but in coming back, again and again, over and over, to that identity with which He has renamed us – again.
Having been bruised by losses, we can remain maimed – or we can choose to turn our losses over to the One who’ve got us in His palm and calls us – His BELOVED.