There's a song that always gets me, the chorus says, "stop holding on and just be held." I feel like I'm always trying to hold on, to figure it out, to be ok, to be enough and yet Jesus tells us to come and rest. To let go, to quit striving, to allow him to hold us, heal us and restore us.
We met Jo* three weeks ago. She smiled and graciously accepted a gift bag, she held her head up high and walked with confidence. Then I asked her how she was doing. She crumbled in my arms and began to tell me of the unfathomable losses she had incurred in the last few weeks. She was in so much pain and yet was holding it all together. But now, she had a safe place to fall apart, to just be held, so she let go. She let go of pride, of fear, of shame, and through a waterfall of tears, shared her story with us.
She was several months pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl, that is until last week. Last week he beat her up. The violence her body experienced after that perhaps even worse than the initial beating. She lost her babies in a horrifying sequence of events that night, she was even able to see them as they left her body all too soon. Fingers, and toes, and eyes that would never look upon their loving mother.
Her babies were gone and she was back on the street just days later. I guess I'm thankful that she was there, we never would have met her otherwise. She wept in my arms that night and the next day and again three days later. In the meantime, we named the twins and began to plan a memorial service.
This weekend we gathered with her family to grieve the loss with her. We planted flowers ,"Dianthus" whose name means "heavenly flower," one for each twin. We talked about how Jesus wept and how that act in itself was a gift to us, because there is a time to mourn and Jesus mourns with us. How Jesus shows us compassion and identifies with us in our suffering and Jesus offers us hope of a life restored now and into eternity. We prayed for God to heal Jo's heart and talked about how God has so much he wants to give her, how he wants to heal her and set her free.
I hope that Jo will take those steps toward healing and freedom, but for now, I'm so thankful she let go and let us hold her. I'm so grateful that Jesus offers us a place of rest, to come just as we are and lay it all down, and just be held.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
*Name and details changed to protect the identity of our friend