Nothing Can Separate…

This past Sunday marked 8 months since Travis went to heaven. Sometimes I wonder how that is possible, it does not seem that long.  Other days, it feels like it has been a whole lot longer.

I would love to say that we are doing well but in all truthfulness and reality, we are not.  It’s hard…it’s a struggle…and frankly, it’s just painful. It makes me think of the line from Sleepless in Seattle where Tom Hanks says that he chooses to get out of bed every day and breathe in and out and one day he hopes to find that its not so hard to get out of bed or breathe in and out.  That’s the day I’m waiting for…for me…for my children…for all those who miss Travis.

In the midst of that pain and struggle is another struggle…my struggle with God, with His choices, with my view of Him, my experience of Him, my knowledge of Him.  There has not been much communication between God and I or even anything relational between us, at least from my end. Right now, I just find it hard to be in relationship with a God who seems a little reckless and haphazard in His actions.  I am trying to reconcile that notion with having a relationship with Him.  I still believe in His sovereignty, in the truth that His ways and thoughts are higher than mine but I can not seem to accept the pain and suffering that His ways have brought into my life and the lives of my children.  I do not understand.  I do not get it and frankly, it just makes my head hurt sometimes to even think about it.

That has brought me to a place where I just can not seem to function in this relationship with Him.  I just do not have the energy, emotion or desire to be an active part right now in my relationship with Him.  I have not felt any guilt about that, it is just where I am. I figure that He knows that better than anyone and He is okay with that. I had experienced levels of this during Travis’ illness but it has been more apparent since his death.

About a month ago, I was reading a book about a man who had lost his mother, wife and daughter in an car accident.  This is what he said, “For months I felt shattered as a human being.  I could do nothing for God and had little desire to obey Him.  Night after night, I sat in my living room, unable to say anything, to pray anything or do anything.  I was empty of energy and desire.  All I could do was let God love me, even though I hardly believed that He loved anyone, least of all me. I had no idea how I could ever really believe again or if I even wanted to. I had no will or desire for it.  But somehow I believed that not even my weakness of faith bothered God much.  God loved me in my misery.  He loved me because I was miserable.”

My first thought was, “Wow! Okay, so I’m not the only one and this is normal for where I am.”  Then the passage from Romans 8:38-39 popped in my head.  I have always viewed those verses, in the past, in terms of the fact that nothing I ever did would separate me from the love of God.   I do not know why I thought of it that way but I just did.  After those verses popped into my head, I heard God say to me, “Tammy, you may never participate in this relationship with Me again and I am still going to love you and pursue you.”  What?! I had to think about that for a while.

On one level, it made sense.  When Christ died and even before we acknowledged Him in our lives, God loved us.  He pursued us even though we were doing nothing in return.  Somewhere in our walks with God, we get hung up on doing “our part” in the relationship.  Yes, obedience is born and should be born out of love but sometimes I think there is a subtle shift in our thinking that assumes that our part in the relationship keeps God doing his part in the relationship.  That could not be further from the truth.

All I can really say is that in that moment, it felt like the pressure was off…a burden was lifted.  I have not resigned myself to walking away from God or my relationship with Him but suddenly Him loving me and pursuing me is not dependent on what I do or even my inability to love Him in return.  Truthfully, it never really was.

Where does that leave me?  The next excerpt from this gentleman sums it up well, “…Still a problem remained.  God may have promised forgiveness and unconditional love.  But I wondered if I could trust a God who allowed or caused suffering in the first place.  My loss made God seem distant and unfriendly, as if He lacked the power or desire to prevent or deliver me from suffering.  Though I believed my transformation depended on the grace of God, I was not sure I could trust this God.  Was it even possible to believe in God, considering what had happened?” I guess I am also waiting for the day when I can answer that question too.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.”–C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed



  1. Ann said,

    March 28, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Your wisdom – even in your time of great trial/confusion – totally blows me away. Let God love you through your friends and family, and in His own special ways for now. He totally gets it.

    What a fresh perspective you’ve given me. I don’t even have anything to be upset with Him about and I struggle with “my part.” Thank you for the word. I totally receive it and I am so glad I was on FB when you posted this. 🙂 We need to get that coffee soon. I miss my friend.

  2. debinafrica said,

    March 29, 2012 at 4:03 am

    As always, I love how you’re real with us and mostly, with God. The transparency, the truth (however odd that might be for some) is the only true way of moving closer to the acceptance that you’ve been separated from the love of your life…moving closer to your ‘new normal, and prayerfully, eventually, healing. Almost five years into my loss that daily makes me wonder how I can go on…almost five years of DAILY having to make a choice to get out of bed and breathe in and breathe out…and knowing that my strength comes from Him who understands our deep and agonizing pain. How unconditional His love. I love you, my friend. Come visit me!

  3. Tammy McClelland said,

    March 30, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Deb, I just want to come visit you…I want to stay a while. I know that’s a little odd but it is what my heart wants and my children want. By a while, I mean a month of so or until you and Mike are tired of us! 🙂
    Miss you so dearly much!

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