Friday, August 27, 2010

Holding GOD at Arm's Length

Here I am with Maxine, holding her off kissing me , even though I just sprayed myself down with mosquito deters her a bit. I decided to take my professional photographer , my resident 9 year old son, out to take some pictures of my garden and me working in it.  I like to look at other gardeners working in their gardens on their blogs too. This blog is truthfully a nice distraction from my pain , and so is my garden.
But only a quick fix. A short reprieve. 
I look at it alot. Stare at it out my window, come stand out here and just ' be ' and try to still my mind.
I put on one of my gardening pants, my 4.00 LOVE camisole shirt I bought at Target , and my attractive rubber clogs , plus long white socks of my husbands. And gobs of mosquito spray. I told my son, just start taking pictures of me working. Instead I got about 10 of me working, 5 of the sky, 55 of Maxine and his tree fort , and 7 of nothing.
So much work out here. I have no idea why my garden seems oblivious to what is missing in my life. Why it is still very pretty ? How days go on as if they are normal. How life keeps going on as if nothing happened ? My daughter meant so much, she was so valuable to this world , so important a can life go on as if nothing happened ? 
I do forget that newer readers may not know my 21 year old daughter was killed  in a one-car accident a little over 6 weeks ago now.

 My little boy asks me "Why did you buy that shirt that says LOVE ? ". I told him, it was cheap and would keep me cool in the hot weather, I am sure half the college girls and half of pre-teens may have this as it was in one of those bins in the front of Target where they put these super-cheapy deals. But, I was just going to wear it to garden , nowhere else, and I made my garden with love. So that's why I bought it.
He looks at the LOVE on my shirt, then looks up at me to see if I really mean it...then he appears satisfied I did and walks away to take more pictures.
I have been asking God lots of questions, angry questions, accusing questions, pointed questions. Repetitive questions. Did He not know how valuable, how special she was ? How much she could give to this world ?
No answers. I did get 2 insights , two I will write about in another post. But no definitive answers.

I am suffering in my relationship with Him, as I know I do not trust Him like I was learning to do. I know I am not alone in this world, losing someone dear to me , someone tragically young, someone with a heart of gold. I am just confused who He is exactly , or learning who He exactly is...and it was not my version of my God. I always believed He would protect those who love Him, guide them daily in their lives, and especially protect the ones who may not be perfect but are really trying to be a better person, a stronger Christian. Like my Sarah.
Good gracious He protected me as a nutty, impetuous, erratic driver when I was young. So why not me, why instead her ?

I have read all the ' because there is sin in this world, that is why she died.", analogies. I have read, ' the rain falls on the just and unjust' lessons. I have heard it must have been ' her time ' to go advice.
But let me try to explain, that once you see your beautiful, full of life child, laid in  a casket, never to breathe again...if you believe you will automatically be OK with the situation spiritually, that your Christian faith will sustain you, that you will completely trust God's will in this tragedy..then you will be mistaken, as the wind will be sucked out of your spiritual sails , almost daily.

My heart and soul feels as overflowing with doubt and confusion as my garden is overflowing with weeds. I talk to God, I know that I should keep drawing nearer to Him, as the Bible tells me to...but I hold Him at arm's length while I fuss. My soul is despairing over the emptiness of my life without my Sarah, and now the emptiness of my soul without my complete trust in God. About how UNFAIR this was to her. That fact really, really kills me.
Relationships, human and otherwise...will not flourish without trust. I want to trust Him, I want to say that He is good and just..always. But I cannot, and that is painful to me.
So , arm's length...not with my back to him...just not allowing Him to get close to me yet.
I do know that I love Him, He is my God , Jesus is my savior. But my spirit and soul and heart are crushed with the weight of this loss.

Deep in my garden here.

I was getting attacked my mosquitoes, left and right. Trying to swat them away , miserable to work or try to like this. Can you see all the weeds , crazy.

I am going to stop this post , and will write about an exclusive club I was invited to that same afternoon as the mosquito invasion. Look at all the weeds  mixed with my flowers. See my heart behind me garden really does soothe me. I am trying to get out here more, my husband sprayed for mosquitoes yesterday and it did help. I am trying to keep up with it , I have not had it inside me to work out here.

I appreciate you followers very much...don't give up on me getting my spiritual walk back on track, I know that God will not ever give up on me. I just need to learn how to not give up on Him.

Bless you,



  1. Thanks Gina;
    I really liked reading your post. It puts life into perspective. You are allowed to hurt, not trust and want more from God.You will find your way and God will help you get there.
    You and your daughter remind me of mine and me.
    It makes me ever so more attentive and sensitive to her and her world.
    Bless and keep you,

  2. Gina, I don't think that we will every understand why tragedy strikes this way. I don't think our minds or hearts are capable of it. I do believe that God holds on to us and stands by us as we wail and lash out, that he grieves with us because he knows we can't understand. That there will be healing of your crushed heart and spirit - that God will not allow you to give up on him.
    You are on my heart and in my prayers.

  3. As Leslie says you are allowed to hurt and distrust you are allowed whatever it takes to just put one foot in front of the other. I want to scream with you and for you. May your garden be a refuge.

  4. Gina.what a lovely postive post....i really like to read you...have faith and trust in the Lord...he is your shephard..........psalm 23......i will pray for you as long as you need darling..........and the candle burns on my blog for and blessings Ria....

  5. I'm really glad you are taking time to express as honestly as you can your questions, anger, disappointment, and "distance" from God. I hope that when MY valley comes, I will remember that others HAVE walked it before me.

    Meanwhile, weed ON! We've been out a bit more the past couple of days (it's cooler now, but supposed to get hot again). I've weeded a couple of beds and we removed the rocks from the border of one...Feels good to be out and about.

    Kudos to your photographer. I laughed at your description of the # of photos he took of various subjects :)

  6. Gina, this post is very profound and I have no answers to share. I do love that your shirt says "love" and that on your blog you wrote "love strong."
    Love Strong. Now that is a great guiding principle. Hugs to you from here in California.
    "And now these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

  7. Dear Gina ~ I just read this and it is almost 9 p.m. I cannot comment now as I am overwhelmed with what you have written from your heart.

    Do know that I love you, think about you daily, and I'll write you later, either here or via email, or both.


  8. I don't know the details, but Frances Hodgson wrote The Secret Garden, 20 years after the death of her son. I felt that story was partly about coming to terms with death. That story, which I only came across very recently, brought a lot of thoughts related to my own mother's death into my own mind. I felt that that was a healing story.

    Why do bad things happen to good people is a deep question. I'm sure that there is an 'answer'.

    The people who have asked that question the hardest and the deepest have been the Jews. Why did their God send his own people to the gas chamber. It's really a question for another time. Here's an interesting quote:

    "The Old Testament uses language which strains the readers comprehension to the very limit. Every kind of political folly, disease, earthquake, famine, drought or locust plague was seen by Israel as a visitation from Yahweh. On the part of sufferers there was grief and angry remonstrance, for the explanation made the hardship yet harder to bear, but still the psalm rod roughshod over the sufferers bewilderment, it is Yahweh and none other who forms light and creates darkenss, makes weal and creates woe."

    Best to get your hands in the soil, I think.

  9. Gina,
    I can't even begin to imagine the pain, confusion and loss that you must feel right now after losing your daughter. Anything that comes to mind to say just feels glib and 'christiany'.
    Just hang on in there and hopefully feel reassured that you are being cared and prayed for.


  10. To my dearest Gina I read this last night and didn't know what to say to you in the comments. I am so aware that many folk in your life have given you words thinking that they are comforting when infact they haven't been so I tread very cautiously here not wishing to add to the list.

    You're still holding on Gina and thats the important part. You know that I keep you in my prayers and my prayer is that one day very soon you'll let Him get close to you again and heal that crushed heart and soul of yours.

    Keep weeding
    hugs Rosie

  11. I've just got back from Cornwall. A week with all the family. All 11 that is. 10 walking and one in a wheelchair. She is 14. 13 years ago I thought that I would never stop crying over my beautiful first grand daughter and to be honest I haven't and usually cry a bit each day... but she is amazing and I had no idea what God would do, not in making her walk, but in making her one of the sweetest and cleverest kids that I know. Her uncle who was with us complemented her that she was the nicest teenager and the most interesting that he knew. I thought about this and about Michelangelo's sculptures in Florence called the Slaves. They are not quite chistled out of the marble as if it was impossible for them to be revealed any more.They moved me more than David, which is stunning but finished. I am definitely not finished! Sometimes I think "have I even been started?" It was the chisel in the artist's hand that formed the Slaves...and I think that it is the chisel in God's hands that forms us. Just every day comes that little question..." but why was it Kate?" I'll never know. Just can't do anything but cling!! Lots of love G.

  12. Margaret Schevill Link is another woman who lost a grown child, and began a search for answers. She found her answers in the beliefs of the Navajo.

    Personally I put a lot of weight in Jung's idea about individuation - that everyone's path is unique, and we have to find our own answers, each according to our own circumstances.

    You're not Frances Hodgson Burnett, and you're not Margaret Schevill Link, so their paths are not yours. But they did seem to find answers, each in their own way.

    And their answers both had something in common - nature and the soil.

  13. Gina, I find it difficult to comment, because I do not know how you feel. I can only say, that the very fact that you are on here, and in your garden, is a good thing if it helps you cope. I hope you find your peace and your answers.

  14. I'm very sorry about your pain. I understand how it is with grief when it seems the whole world moved on. I remember after my husband passed away, I felt guilty for the times I laughed with family or friends even after a year that I was beginning to live again. Hold on to the Lord, He'll sustain you, He'll be your source of comfort and strength. Your garden still looks very beautiful, a reminder of how beautiful your daughter was. God is with you even if you're uncertain about the future and confuse about it all. No human words can change anything but I know for a fact God is here and He'll get you through, there's deliverance and hope. You're in my prayers.

  15. Dear Sweet Gina ~ It is good that you are enjoying your blog and your gardens. They are each soothing to you in their own ways.

    I love your description of your resident photographer's picture taking. I think he caught you well working in your gardens. I really like you in your 'love' camisole, with your hands on your hips looking at your garden, thinking, pondering, talking to God. You are drawing closer to Him, in your garden, as you pull weeds, work in the dirt, smell the earth and flowering scents. You wrote that you got two insights, and I look forward to reading them when you are ready to share.

    It is the ordinary things in life that can keep us going, calm our hearts somewhat, even in the midst of deep turmoil.

    Our walk with God is a daily, hourly, minute by minute experience. We can be strong one minute and very weak the next. We can love Him deeply, or hold Him at arms length. He knows our hearts, He feels our pain. He cannot explain to us the whys etc. right now, but we will know all in the end.

    I hear your love of God in your posts even in your tremendous loss, even while you have your doubts. He is right there with you comforting you, even though you don't hear Him answer your questions. In love, He gave you a couple of insights, you are communicating, and what better place than in your gardens.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

  16. My aunt just passed away and at her funeral service the minister said: In heaven, there is no time and in one moment she (my aunt) will turn around and you will be there. These words stood out to me and I thought I would share them with you.

  17. Gina,
    It's okay to get mad or angry at God. He can take it and he understands. I don't think the emptiness ever really completely goes away. I think it becomes familiar over a period of time and less painful. Somehow we find the strength to go on, but we are never really the same person we were before. Grieving is an individual thing, different for everyone. No parent expects to outlive a child and I can only imagine what it feels like because I don’t have and will never have children. I do know that literally, part of you has been removed from this world and I expect that it is as painful as any other unexpected and instant amputation would be. I don’t have any pearls of wisdom other than keep going thru the motions, be strong for you other child and heal on your time not others. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s time for you to move on with your life, you decide when you have grieved enough.

    As for the weeds, the garden isn’t going anywhere and the winter will take care of them. There is always next spring.

  18. I continue to pray for you and your family. There are so many unfair losses and circumstances we will never understand until we get to heaven. I'm glad you continue to write from your heart and work in your beautiful garden.

  19. I understand all the questions you have. I always felt good things happen to good people - I was sure nothing really bad could happen to me or mine. And I also think this is unfair - too unfair to be allowed. That it was still allowed to happen makes me feel... I don't know what to understand now. Sarah was beautiful... Have you read 'Forever Ours: Real Stories Of Immortality And Living From A Forensic Pathologist'
    by M. D. Janis Amatuzio? I found it very comforting.


I love comments , please leave one if you like. I try to respond to comments,but if I'm running behind, please know that I read each one before they are published. Thanks much, Gina