I went shopping with a couple girlfriends yesterday and I bought myself a new hat. Now, those of you who know the ‘everyday’ Sarah know that the ‘dolled up’ Sarah you see on my album covers, in concert, in interviews, etc . . . is NOT the real me J. Nah, I often run around town with no make-up on and my hair pulled back. . . OR . . . in a hat. (Good thing about all that, right now, is that Practice begs me not to get ‘dolled up’ . . .he likes the plain ol’ me best.) Anyhow, yesterday I bought a new hat b/c not long after Chad died I lost my very favorite hat, so my supply has been a bit lacking.
My new hat has a saying on it . . . I bet that some of you have seen this saying and this brand. The hat says, “Life is Good.” I love it. Always have. I am a ‘cup half full’ kind of girl and I love a cute little logo that basically tells the world that the cup is half full.
Only problem is . . . Is that while I do believe, somewhere deep inside, that life IS inherently good . . . I also know that there are days, and seasons, and times . . . when life just really and truly doesn’t seem good.
I am taken back to January 13th, 2008. Just three short months after Chad died AND the day after Abbi’s 12th birthday. I remember the preacher teaching about Jeremiah 29:11 that day. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you hope and a future.” Well, friends, IF that is true . . . then life IS good, right? Well, I was tormented by that that day! To me, as Sarah Schieber . . . walking through the hell of grief . . . Life was NOT good! You see, to me, I knew that I served a God who was big enough to breathe the life BACK INTO my husband on the south Chicago street on October 7th! That would be hope and a future . . . at least in my mind! I just could not see through, or past, or around the pain of the grief. How could God have good plans for me . . . for us . . . and yet let this happen? This is my journal to my Lord on that day . . . it is long . . .but PLEASE stick with me . . . it will be worth it!
O God, I am so confused . . . I hate church right now . . .hate it! I am so mad at You! Do you know how horrible that feels? I feel like a whiner and complainer – like I should just be able to throw my arms up in praise to You . . .because I know all the Christian answers . .. but right now none of this feels o.k.! NONE of it! Yesterday someone told me – ‘just look forward – not backward.’ What is that supposed to mean – that I just forget Chad? Sure, we’ll just forget him as we celebrate Abbi’s 12th birthday without her daddy there. I feel so guilty at church – for being angry with you. For knowing the answers but not feeling them – or for that matter – even wanting them! God – I am SO angry at you! You are God – why didn’t you save him? Why do we have to go through this? Why have you forsaken me? I feel like this must be punishment. Do you love me? Everyone wants to know – what’s happening with the music? Screw the music! I just want Chad back! Please keep working is spite of me! Please help me . . . I don’t want to be angry at you . . . it is so hard when from the pulpit you hear “if you’re depressed . . . come be prayed for.” No! This doesn’t work this way! There is NO magic ‘God’ answer’ to this one! It is so hard to know how to walk through the grief with grace. How do you go through the stages of grief – the anger . . . with grace? I don’t want to hear that God’s gonna make it o.k.! Damn it! This is NOT o.k.! How could You possibly have thought that this was o.k.? Huh, God! How! There is an expectation that God makes everything o.k. – so therefore I should be getting better. How do I season that with walking out faith AND grief?
Ah, as I clutch Chad’s bible to my bosom, the song ‘Be Still and know that I am God.” Stillness . . . that is what I need – not the stillness of quiet – God knows that I have enough of that – but the stillness of the Spirit ~ please God, continue to ‘float’ me in a bubble of peace.
Still my mind
My broken heart
I cry out – where does my help come from? It comes from God. Still, still, still! Please God, may I know the stillness of who You are! Please, through my pain, anger, confusion – please may I know . . . Still!
There seem to be moments of breakthrough. I should know this by now – that when the waves and winds and confusion seem to be the worst – be escalating – that that is when You speak. That is when You cut through with Your knife of revelation . . . perhaps that is when we steal away. But even with Chad and I - You moved and cut through when the waters seemed to be getting highest.
There is no ‘pat’ answer for my storm. There is no formula that can be given from the pulpit. This storm is too big. This is not your typical storm. This is a tsunami – the wall of grief is a force of its own. I cannot fight it. There is no ‘christian-ese’ or ‘God formula’ for it. I must go with it. I must feel every bit of it. But - in it and through it I will know STILL. That doesn’t mean the weeping is bad, or the questioning. It just means ‘still’ in the midst of the storm.
I am exhausted! What is stillness? It is knowing that it all will be o.k. – even when you can’t see. Even when you question.
Huh! What a sweet gift I have in my journals. What a documentary of the grief of a young family grappling with HUGE questions!
You know, the truth about life is that sometimes . . . there just are NO answers for the storms! As Christians, I think we want to just be able to put a verse or saying on the storms of life and expect them to ‘fall into line’ with right thinking. Well, friends, THAT is not reality!
It is out of these storms that a very precious song on The Long October Road was birthed. It was out of the reality that sometimes . . . there just ARE NO answers to the stroms of life! Maybe today you are walking through reality . . . death, financial hardship, health issues, infertility, divorce . . . storms that leave you with no answers AND an aching heart! I would like you to hear a clip from the song Breathe In, Breathe Out.
The night I met my producer, Paul Marino, he left our dinner meeting and went home. Unable to sleep, he went to his computer and began to read all he could about Chad, me, all that had happened (if you google Chad Schieber you get thousands of articles, etc. . ), and my ministry. He went to my website and on the homepage there was a quote. It said, “Some days we just breathe.” Right there and then Paul began to write this song.
Job 3:25 & 26 says, What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” You know what, friends? If we are going to quote Jeremiah 29:11 . . . then we also need to be able to quote Job 3! You see, REAL life would suggest that life is NOT always good. Fortunately . . . GOD IS!