It’s Five Minute Friday again. On Five Minute Fridays, we write, “For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.”
I wrote for more than Five Minutes this time…. There was more there begging to be written. The prompt today was “remember.”
I’ve been thinking about how, when I survey the past few years, I sometimes seem to repeat a litany of all that has happened. I wonder if it makes people uncomfortable. Makes them think, “Get over it already.” It’s felt like waves crashing onto the sand, one event after another, after another, that left me gasping for breath. I’ve beaten myself up about repeating it and looking it over so often, sure that people are tired of hearing it.
Recently it occurred to me: God called the Israelites to REMEMBER. He called them to remember the plagues, their time in slavery, their time in the desert. He called them to remember. Not to find themselves the victims of their circumstances, but to see how powerfully God came through for them again and again. They weren’t easy memories to relive. Lashings and hunger… The terror of the plagues. Blisters on their feet. The thirst. The uncertainty. But God said, “Remember. I was there and *I* brought your through it.”
So it strikes me, that maybe when I remember…. When I call up this litany, it’s not an ongoing pity party. Maybe instead it’s my litany of remembrance.
(Pushing past the five minutes now)
When I remember all that has happened: My Mom’s death, and illness. A year of loss after loss after loss. Deployments. Moves. New babies and the joy and challenge of mothering. (There are joyful memories too!) Postpartum Depression. Miscarriage. Paraganglioma. And now at this raw place where I don’t yet feel healed from the latest wave–an unexpected deployment. When I look back at that, I kind of suck in my breath and go, “That was a lot.” And then I let out my breath and go, “But God brought me through it.
It’s not just a litany of hard things, though, they were indeed hard. It’s a litany of thanksgiving and remembrance. It’s an Ebenezer: Thus far the Lord has helped me. And with an eye to those things…. with an eye for all the places He was with me and all the places He led me through holding fast to my hand, I can look toward what’s coming.
My Mom had lung cancer. And God was there. He brought me to the other side.
My Mom died. And God was there. He brought me to the other side.
Two deployments. God was there. He brought me to the other side.
PPD. God was there. He brought me to the other side.
Miscarriage. God was there. He brought me to the other side.
Diagnosis of tumor when pregnant with Lainey. God was there. He brought me to the other side.
Lainey’s birth–snow storms and extra precautions and fear and then such beauty. God was there. He brought me to the other side.
Traveling to NIH to have the tumor removed. God was there. He brought me to the other side.
And now…. Wrapping my head around all that has changed and the things inside of me that have shifted. Now getting ready for my love to deploy again. God is here. He will bring me to the other side.
It is a litany. A long litany. A litany of life, and a life not so unlike any other’s. It is staggering sometimes to look at. But HE WAS THERE. And if he was there in ALL those places. He is HERE. He is God WITH me. Emmanuel. And that is why in the face of dread of this deployment, and uncertainty, and a heavy heart, and all that may come my way even after all of this I know that I can walk forward. I know He is here. Because all those times before. He was there. And He brought me to the other side.