Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

I Just Can’t Can’t

IMG_3962My mother-in-law, Elaine Marie Oslund Tinker, died on Wednesday, October 8 and I feel a bit like nothing is quite as it should be.

And yet, the rest of the world is moving on just fine. And I just can’t can’t right now. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I’ll be honest, I don’t even want to drag myself out of bed in the morning. (Or in the afternoon if I can get away with sleeping that long.)

But somehow I do keep getting out of bed, and I made bread one day, and I’ve built backyard fires two nights in a row, and I’ve had good conversations that aren’t just all about my grief, and I’m making plans for my future, and I’m starting negotiations for a new job…

And life is going on. My life is going on.

And that’s as it should be, but it doesn’t feel like it should be.

There’s part of me that wants to just stop. To just make everything stop.

And that part of me is dragging me down. And it’s making me not want to write.

I deliberately gave myself permission to not write when I was spending so much time caring for Elaine and when we were all caring for one another in the time after her death. Those were the days–or hours–that we all just took one at a time.

Writing, though integral to who I am and what I’m doing, writing just had to wait for the most part.

And even now I’m not entirely sure what to say about those days. And part of me feels like I can’t. But I just can’t can’t. I have to say something even if I don’t know what I’m saying.

And the “have to” is not some weird pressure I’m putting on myself. I promise. I would tell you if that was what it was.

The “have to” or the “can’t can’t” is this feeling deep down that I know, know, know there is more for me in life.

I said before that I felt like everything in my life prepared me for my ability to be present with Elaine as I did–I felt that same sense throughout even the worst of her illness and even in her dying.

And it would be so gratifying if I could kick back and say, “Ah, Lord, I see my work here is done.”

But God keeps nudging me, “I’m not finished with you yet.”

And as much as I felt like all my life prepared me for what I’ve just been through, I feel as though what I’ve just been through has prepared me for more, more, more.

And so, I just can’t can’t.

And so I press on.

Letting Love In: A Book Review of “The Wall Around Your Heart”


>>>Click here for access to my in-person, audio interview with Mary DeMuth, author of The Wall Around Your Heart<<<

I have had the privilege of serving on the launch team for Mary DeMuth’s new book, The Wall Around Your Heart. As a member of the team I received an advanced copy of the book to read.

I am a big fan of Mary’s blog and anticipated that the book would be excellent, of course. But it was even better than I expected.

The Wall Around Your Heart is based on the idea that when people hurt us, it is natural to want to put up defenses to protect ourselves. But Mary says that when we wall ourselves off from painful relationships, we also keep ourselves from healthy relationships that can help us heal.

Using The Lord’s Prayer as a road map, Mary walks the reader through the journey of healing from relational pain. Mary goes phrase by phrase, and sometimes even word by word, through The Lord’s Prayer gleaning insights about God’s love and the blessing of community along the way.

Immediately when I learned of this book, some old hurts came to mind. I had a feeling that God was going to use this book to help me deal with some of those old hurts.

I know that I had been harboring bitterness in my heart–even unforgiveness at points.

What really blessed me about The Wall Around Your Heart is that Mary acknowledges the yuckiness of relational pain. She acknowledges how very, very hard it can be.

Mary doesn’t sugar-coat pain. She has personally experienced more pain in her lifetime than I can even imagine. She goes into more detail about that in the book, but suffice it to say she understands pain.

What Mary does that is so different than a lot of Christian authors is that she points out the love that God has even for people who have hurt us. She notes, “we cannot love our enemies until we see the twin truths: God loves me. God loves them.”

This approach to the question of forgiveness helped me see my old hurts in new ways. It gave me more compassion and grace for those who have hurt me.

But the book is about more than just forgiveness. In a chapter titled, “May Your Kingdom Come,” Mary names five different types of kingdoms that we create for ourselves that keep us from allowing God to reign in our lives and hearts. I was really challenged by some of those!

The only aspect of the book that was a little tricky for me was a fine point about theology that I didn’t quite understand. In one or two places Mary talked about God being “sovereign” and that is a concept that I haven’t really learned much about in Lutheran theology classes I’ve had. But even at that Mary does not try to propose pat answers to the questions of why bad things happen to us.

Mary DeMuth, author of The Wall Around Your Heart

I strongly recommend The Wall Around Your Heart for anyone looking for God’s hope and healing from relational pain. It is well-written, it deepens how we think of The Lord’s Prayer, and it is full of grace.

You can order the book from my Jennifer Tinker’s Fave Titles section of the online book store at Life & Liberty or ask for it at your local bookstore. You can also listen to my in-person interview with Mary DeMuth and you can read about my two meetings with Mary and what it is like spending time with this woman of God that I admire.

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