marching into a cave

Earlier this weekend, I saw a beautiful picture pop up on my Facebook feed. My 91 year old grandmother is holding her youngest great grandchild. I glanced at it, so joyful that she was able to meet her.

IMG_5239

And then immediately my heart broke with the sheer knowledge that she will not be able to hold my children. Not in this world, anyway.

And it broke again when my mother told me that my grandmother had a dream. A dream where my grandfather came to her to escort her to heaven. Her reply. She would follow him later, because she was waiting for me.

My heart remains tender, but I knew this moment was coming.

If my life were a book or a movie, I feel as if this week would be the climax of the story. If you look at what elements make a good climax, there has to be a sort of conflict. A clash between forces. What makes it even more exciting is if you have a character that you really care about and you know exactly what’s at stake.

This is the climactic part of this chapter of the book that is my life.

What exactly are the conflicting forces in my life?

Time. Doubt. Fear.

They gnaw at my existence and my flesh like bacteria.

And truly, the most conflicting force is knowing that I have absolutely no control.

It’s terrifying.

When it comes to the Christian faith, I have two favorite analogies.

One is the analogy of an ocean. Waves towering you, a storm shaking your existence, and how Christ not only anchors our souls, but can walk on water.

The other is the illustration of the cave.

My dear friend told me about how he went to the hill country this weekend and visited a cave. He asked me how my day was and I responded that I was living in my cave of studying for my exam tomorrow. During Easter service, my pastor spoke about bravely going through a cave in Enchanted Rock.

I started to listen to His whispers of what he was showing me about the climax of this story and about the reoccurring theme of caves.

I heard Him sweetly whisper, “Darling, girl. You do not just have a cave of studying for your exam. Your grief is the next cave you will be going into. It is not something you will be excited about. It is not something you will want to do. But, you will march in this cave, with your head held high, and I will lead you through the darkness. And you will come out on the other side, with a fierce passion.”

Tomorrow, I will take a test that will pave the next pathway to my career. The day after, I get on a plane to fly home, to say goodbye to my sweet grandmother, who has been holding on.

I have been anxious about this test. It’s not my first time taking it. As anxious as I am about taking this test, again, ultimately, I do not want to fail the test that the Lord has set upon me. I do not want to turn away from Him due to the fear of the unknown, like I did last season. I want to lean in on my Savior and lean in on His understanding and not my own. I want to be the woman that He is shaping me to be. The woman that comes out of the other side of this dark cave a warrior.

It is heavy. It is hard. But, I will walk into this cave, with bravery and courage. And most importantly, with Christ, who has put me in a training ground this past season to fight. I’ve never been in this cave before. I know it will feel constricting and dark and there will be times where it’s so dark I will not be able to see the path laid before me.

But carrying Christ in my heart is all the light I will ever need.

As I face the entrance of the cave, I know that I have warriors all around me that are battling with me. And for that, I will be forever grateful. As David ran from Saul, and literally went into a cave, he wrote this Psalm.

Psalm 57
Praise for God’s Protection
A Davidic Miktam. When he fled before Saul into the cave.

Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me,
for I take refuge in You.
I will seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings
until danger passes.
I call to God Most High,
to God who fulfills His purpose for me.
He reaches down from heaven and saves me,
challenging the one who tramples me. Selah
God sends His faithful love and truth.
I am surrounded by lions;
I lie down with those who devour men.
Their teeth are spears and arrows;
their tongues are sharp swords.
God, be exalted above the heavens;
let Your glory be over the whole earth.
They prepared a net for my steps;
I was despondent.
They dug a pit ahead of me,
but they fell into it! Selah

My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident.
I will sing; I will sing praises.
Wake up, my soul!
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake up the dawn.
I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your faithful love is as high as the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
God, be exalted above the heavens;
let Your glory be over the whole earth.

As I started this new year, I had a hashtag I would stick on pictures. #bringit2015.

Well, here it is. On a platter.

Jesus, my light, my love, my forever. Thank you for this path that you have paved for me. This cave that you have set upon me. I come before it with the confidence that you have set in my heart. And Father, thank you for putting people in my life, from the past and present, to battle with me. I pray for my warriors that are fighting really hard battles as well. In the past three days, there have been battles of dead grandparents, broken relationships, and battles of illness, and physical attacks. I pray for healing for my warriors, O Lord. This battle I fight is inconceivably minute compared to the battles they face. And yet, they still pray with me and for me. We are nothing without you. May I be completely transparent and authentic in my weakness. There will be no boasting in my heart when battles are won. May my heart continue to point to you. I love you, fiercely.

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