I was talking to a friend the other day and she was describing how I'm feeling in such a pointed way that I knew the Holy Spirit was talking through her. How it seems like there is this mountain in front of me that I don't know how to get over and that at times I just feel so dry and thirsty. Little memories are my sips of water and they come infrequently, but at the times when I need them the most.
I've been reading a book, "Hinds Feet in High Places," for a little over a year now. God knew I needed to pick the book back up when Amy was in the hospital and has provided just the right chapters. Almost a week ago, I had one of those nights when I felt so thirsty for a glimpse of Amy, for that feeling of her presence and God gave me a dream that night. A dream where I carried her and she felt so heavy (she really wasn't) and I was exhausted when I woke up. I usually read my Bible in the morning, but I had left it downstairs and so I read the next chapter in "Hinds Feet In High Places" (spoiler alert- if you are presently reading this book you might want to skip to the end of the post!). The main character is called Much-Afraid and (like Pilgrim's Progress) has taken this journey that the Shepherd has sent her on because He promised to make her crippled feet like hind's feet. She has endured much along this journey- taunting from Bitterness, Fear, Resentment, Pride, Self-Pity and precipices so steep or low that makes her doubt the Shepherd's wisdom. But the Shepherd gives her two companions to help her called Suffering and Sorrow. She finally she reaches a place where she is at peace and the final challenge she faces is to willingly have the flower of human love ripped from her heart. After that she sleeps and awakes in a green valley with vibrant flowers and birds singing and butterflies and insects and a river flowing.
And here are excerpts from what I read that morning...
"The first thing she did, after she had taken in her surroundings, was to step toward the river which gushed out from under the alter. It drew her irresistibly. She stooped down when she got to the back and dabbled her fingers in the crystal water. It was icy cold, but it sent a shock of ecstasy tingling through her body, and without further delay she put off the white linen robe she was wearing and stepped into one of the rocky pools. Never had she experienced anything so delicious and exhilarating. It was like immersing herself in a stream of bubbling life. When at last she again stepped out of the pool she was immediately dry and tingling from head to foot with a sense of perfect well-being.
As she stood on the mossy bank by the pool she happened to glance down and noticed for the first time that her feet were no longer the crooked, ugly things which they had always been, but were "straight feet," perfectly formed, shining white against the soft green grass.
As I read and wept I was reminded again that Amy's feet were given strength again and that perhaps there was a beautiful valley that she could discover each of the new abilities she received one at a time- her voice could speak and sing and she could run her fingers through her hair and pick and eat berries and all the many little things she can take joy in!
It gave me peace and a realization that the memories and dreams I have are not her now. And a part of me is sad, because I can't help her anymore. Even in Heaven I won't be feeding her, carrying her, fixing her hair. She does those things on her own now. We will just be sisters- there for each other, talking and laughing together, sharing moments. It's a new role I have to prepare myself for and it's a little hard to swallow even though it will be grand and glorious when it happens. The mountain of grief and uncertainty about the future is high and it is only the Lord who will get me over it. And, like it's been my whole life, I'm going to have to go one step at a time.