This post will be hard for Matt's family, my faith community, possibly his friends, and no doubt his children when they are old enough to read through my writings regarding their father. However, I will selfishly claim that there is no one that this is harder for than me. I plead for your understanding, that in this place, I need to write this out. I need to let this go; out from within me, in hopes that I can get at the root of my grief. . .the breaking of my faith. . .and truly the ground on which I stand. I have started, stopped, erased, rewrote, reread, erased, started over, deleted, and repeated writing this post since this blog has started. It will be painful, but here goes.
Matt was not by conservative evangelical orthodox standards 'saved'. There are people who are reading this that might think, 'That isn't true, I was there when he accepted Christ'. Which he did - often. Whenever he would say that special acceptance prayer at church, on the way home I would always ask him about his actions in that. Most often his response would be, 'Well, I felt bad. I wanted to make sure the pastor felt as though they saved someone today.' It was about two weeks prior to Matt's death that we spoke of Christ in his life, it was on January 22. He told me that I shouldn't rush him, that he wasn't ready to accept that Jesus was God, that he didn't want to conform to the laws of the Bible, and that "he needed more time".
He needed more time.
I used a lot of words he didn't use, because as Matt would say, "He could never explain things as well as me." But it's what he said none the less. He did, however, use the exact statement of needing more time. That is the definition of ironic, right?
I would like to first honor my father by recognizing that he gave me peace in the first moments following Matt's death, because this was the first thought that haunted me. He assured me that we are unable to judge another's heart, that where Matt was at in his walk, and where he was in his relationship with Christ is beyond our knowing. He was right. . .and yet, I still wonder if my faith re-evaluation (for lack of a better term) is rooted right here, right in this very issue.
So the way I see it there are only two options for those who stand up and behind those things we hold true . . . 1) Sit across from a 31 year old widow who is broken beyond belief and say, "Don't worry (Matthew 6, right?). Your husband is burning in a fiery hell. He is in complete and utter agony, being tortured, and will remain there for eternity." Or . . . 2) You can lie to me. I may have been the only one, but I knew Matt's true heart condition (some of which I was blind or stupid to until after his death). I know that his heart condition, the God I grew up with, the Bible I believe in fully, does not place him with the Jesus I pick up my cross for daily. And this is why I am SO angry.
I'm angry at Matt for not following me closer in this faith walk I was on prior to his death. I'm mad at myself for not loving him more fully, in a way that would have brought him to Jesus. I'm angry at God for taking him (sorry dad) before he was ready to leave this Earth. . .'ready' from a Christian perspective. I am angry. Angry about just this issue. So angry that I am now questioning e v e r y t h i n g I thought I knew to be true. I could be questioning in search of a false comfort, or maybe I'm questioning because this doesn't line up with the savior I have loved, and have known so dearly, my whole life.
Completely Utterly Ugly Raging Disgustingly Angry.
Here is what is worse. Matt was a great person. He struggled with worldly crap his whole life long. Some of this worldly crap were choices, some were things he was born into, some were things he was born with. But he tried. He tried so hard. He tried hard for me, he tried hard for the kids; that I know. He made people laugh, he made me laugh, his kids laugh. He was fun and energetic, and never gave up on people. He worked hard (although only on things that he wanted to work hard on). He was full of life. . . I would have called it life giving life.
So there you have it. Written out for the world to see. My husband, whom I loved ridiculously, is either burning in Hell. . .or everything I thought I knew as truth was wrong. Welcome to the chaos that is now my mind. I wrote in a previous post about how it felt for me to have my marriage torn. And these two painful realities are intertwined in a very close way. Before Matt's death I felt an unexplainable peace in prayer. I would get on my knees, close my eyes, and invite the Spirit in. I would tell him my worries, requests, and plead for healing for those I loved. Now when I close my eyes and beckon for him I want to talk to him about Matt, but what peace is there in a conversation regarding the eternal torment of my beloved? If God bound us together on Earth, death has torn us apart, and now he is suffering for his lack of surrender to Jesus on Earth. . .how can this not be a lifelong burden for me to suffer as well? (and maybe it just will be)
I have felt God is calling me to explore this fear, or pain, or irreconcilable part of my grief. Now whether he is calling me to help those also in 'need of more time' to understand that there is nothing scary about God's love -- it is GOOD NEWS! Jesus saves, Jesus restores, Jesus brings peace. . .and Jesus is unchanging. He is waiting and ready for you now, don't wait. . .if only for the sake of those who love you.
Or. . . .
Is he calling me to explore the thought that maybe love does win. That maybe the God we serve is bigger than the box we put him in, maybe he is still winning Matt's heart, or that maybe he does desire to reconcile ALL things, including Matt, to him (regardless of how that looks).
I don't know, but I'm not giving up. Things have been extremely hard for me the last three weeks now. I am depressed. I am lonely. I am confused. I am tired, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, and angry. I'm in a place of wanting to get past this, and knowing 'getting past this' is not a choice, but more a matter of time. There is a deep soul awaking within this grief. One that calls me to not let his death be in vain, to listen to my heart and move! I don't know what that movement is yet, and some days I want to ignore it and crawl in bed. But I desire to follow it, to resist the urge to become complacent. I want the reflection of Christ shining through my life, even now, even when the darkness is so thick in my writing it is hard to swallow. My appreciation for just allowing me to share this fear is unexplainable, so thank you.
A song that sings to me right now.