As though cleaning out their mess will somehow clean out mine.
He has this week off and we have company coming and we slip out with the kids to run a few last errands. Sit on red benches as the little ones chew through drippy ketchup and steamy hot dogs and I can feel the heaviness press.
He notices as we begin the drive home - asks where the laughter went and where my thoughts are...and I don't know how to explain it, but the words are beating wildly against my heart as though they are caged and the key has been tossed and thrown away.
Four years ago today, he set out in the cold with two of his brothers - drove up that back canyon and found his dad frozen and hanging from a tree.
Four years ago today...
And I think that four years should make a difference, make the remembering less painful - but it doesn't. Still cuts just as sharp, just as joltingly cruel.
Four years ago today, I named my first year because in the days leading up to this day I had felt His prompting, Name this year and I will hold you close...
And He did.
Each year since, in the days or months leading up to the new, He has been faithful to open my eyes to His thoughts.
This year was no exception.
He can be subtle yet persistent and it was finally in August that I begin to catch on,
God kept leading me back to Himself, to Who He is - to the faithfulness and steadfastness of His love.
So I began to trace Him, follow where He was going, write down the scripture in the back of my Bible - desperate for just one more glimpse.
The week before Christmas, a dark doubt began creeping in - wound it's death grip around my heart.
I thought back to an afternoon conversation I had with a dear friend;
It was early fall and I confided in her what I thought the naming of this coming year would be and I told her I was scared - because what happens if? What happens if everything falls apart and He gave me this word because He needs me to know He is faithful, that His love is steadfast? What happens if?
I could feel the terror creep up my throat - since we lost his dad...nothing has been the same.
And I see where I fail so clearly - my faithlessness and the way my will bends so often to sin. His steadfastness only magnifies my shakiness and can I be reminded of this day in and day out, carry this weight of failure at all times?
He brings to mind that passage I memorized, that one in Romans 8 - right at the very beginning:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ
Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of Spirit Who gives
life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
And then, even before those words have a chance to re-sink in, He opens my eyes again, one last time before the old year closes out and the new one begins,
His faithful and steadfast love, His Hesed, is not placed before me to magnify my shortcomings, but to open my eyes to Who He is in light of my lack. By seeing how magnificent and awe-inspiring He is, I find joy and feel joy and speak joy out of everything I am not.
So, before all the unknowns of 2014, even before the first day of January dawns cold and new, He has named this coming year and He has invited me along to know Him deeper, to trust Him more fully, to see with new eyes how faith in His faithfulness will draw out sweet joy.
As I let go of this old year and open my hands to the new, I say yes to my Jesus and to the year of Hesed...