NOTE: This blog was written by the talented and inspired Roberta Dougherty. We are so thankful for her contribution to this blog and pray it is a tremendous blessing to you all.
“Behold how patient the great God is, waiting for ages for those simple steps in the progress of things which change the world; keeping those great secrets, which are full of blessings for man, until man himself is able to discover them. Let us learn to wait patiently with God. In such company we can afford to wait.” – William H. Furness
As a child, my favorite part of a trip to the museum was always the Gift Shop. I got to take home a copy of an “antiquity” of my very own and think of all I had learned. Treasures! To this day, I love having things around me: my habitual habitation. While I find bits of joy & memories in these things, my husband can’t understand the “clutter”. In the room that transforms into my prayer closet, I am surrounded by my Bibles, my books, shells, tea pots and always, color. The walls are chartreuse, there are blankets of leopard print, fur pillows, and the rug is the color of an eggplant. My wicker desk, found lonely in a junk shop, has been transformed by love and Herme orange paint, and it holds many things dear to me. There is my main Bible with all my notes scribbled into the margins in its loose pages, adjunct bibles, and devotionals gathered around. In my nest I am surrounded by pictures of my husband and children and parents. There are quotes, fossils of shells, silk flowers and etchings. A framed picture of Jesus sometimes looks down at me and sometimes His eyes look right at me. There is a tuft of silky white hair from Asher, my beloved dog who just passed.
Today, I sit in this room that I love so much but I am not really here…I don’t know where I am. Asher’s loss has stimulated a trajectory that numbs me. It has been two weeks since he passed away and nothing feels right: I NEED TO BE COMFORTED BUT I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE. So far, it is a lot of crying.
What I would like is direction and peace. There is no peace for me with instability. Grief feels like labor with no definitive end. It takes hours, days of perusing, praying, and I realize I must trust that this is just a season of grief. I will come up for air and wait on God and know that He will provide a place of rest for the grief within my soul, all while he counts my tears. He is my Father who sees me.
Isaiah 33:6 says, “Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times and the strength of salvation, the respect of the Lord is His treasure”.
There is so much promise in the glowing faces of children smiling over their birthday cakes, promise in the wobbly legs of a puppy, in the smile of your lover. But the promise that existed before time is the one promise I must lean on now: Isaiah 32:18: “My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and IN RESTING PLACES”. I cannot discount my memories for they are a gift. My real comfort is not in the lovely memories surrounding me, but in His rest. That my direction and is a treasure from Him.
I must let Him be my arm every morning when I don’t have strength and know that I am surrounded by the treasures of His strength, His wisdom, and His knowledge, and a fresh word every day from Him.
Psalm 23:2 says, “He leads me beside the waters of menuchah (quietness)”. For me, He is my “Menuchah Place” where I find can stillness, repose, consolation, rest, and peace.
I am able to feel this deep loss because of the deep love I feel. I pray that where I am numb, where I am blind, He will render grace and I will be able to put on His strength, lean on His arm and find the peace He promises. Yes, I will pick up my Bible and return His word to Him.
Hebrews 4:9-11 says, “So there is a special menuchah (rest) still awaiting for the people of God. For all who enter into God’s menuchah will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world. Let us do our best to enter into that place of menuchah.”
I am blessed with a husband who loves me. We hold on to each other in these times. I am blessed with children and a family who love me and surround me with their love. God has provided me with those tangible earthly treasures. But just as tangible is His place of rest for me as I reach for Him.