Monday, March 9, 2009

Hope Is Rising

"Because there will be a mountain too high, a tragedy so shattering, a wound so deep that no multiples of 'I think I can' incantations will be enough to power through." This quote comes from Jason Germain's devotional for the his song "Hope is Rising."

This past fall, I went through my shattering tragedy. My husband passed away on December 5th. I have written before in this blog how difficult those weeks were. Ron's cancer had spread to his brain, which led him to become paranoid and delusional. He fell out of bed a few times trying to escape. He wouldn't let nurses give him medication. Thankfully, he would calm down when I was around. Between trying to care for Ron and then trying to care for my 6-year old son at home, I was run ragged. Thankfully, Ron spent his last few days on earth at home with me. (Ben stayed with my mom.) Two days before he died, I was blessed with a couple of hours with him where his mind was not attacked by the tumors. He died peacefully in our bedroom. Even with his last days on earth being peaceful, I was traumatized by the weeks before.

This was the mountain that was too high. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get over it. For weeks, I relived the last several painful weeks of his life. Ten wonderful years of memories of Ron were replaced with six weeks of agonizing nightmares. It's not that I didn't want to remember anything else, I literally couldn't.

Finally now, I am starting to push through the nightmare and find the good memories of the man I love. I have help. I rely on my friends, family, pastor, psychologist, and on God. I'm slowly replacing the nightmarish visions with good memories of a wonderful husband. I get down on my knees, and I hand over all the pain, guilt, anger, and fear to God. His grace envelopes me, and hope is breathing for me once again.

Some may say that relying on grace is no different than being the little engine that could. "I think I can. I think I can." For me, for many, it is very different. I'm not relying on me or my strength. It's actually just the opposite. The more I let go, the easier it gets. Relying on God's grace is what got me through those difficult weeks in the first place. Contemplating the Resurrection is what removes the pain from my chest and what gives me true hope.

In September, downhere released their latest album, Ending is Beginning. Although I had many opportunities to listen to the songs on the album before it's release, I never did. I can't really explain why.

September is also when my faith started to crumble. Small cracks became big wholes and doubt overwhelmed me. I confessed to my husband that I didn't think God really loved me. Ron hurt with me and for me. I had pre-ordered a copy of downhere's CD, Ending is Beginning. When it came to my house, I had no desire to listen to it. Ron, however, shredded the shrink wrap and poured into the liner notes. He came upon "Hope is Rising." He stopped and told me he thought the song was written for me.

"I’ve lost all my earthly optimism,
That its all going to be alright,
That the good will win this fight.
Somewhere between youth and disappointments,
The dream became despair, the love became a lie,
Just now, I’ve reached the end of my line,
Just now, I’m too tired to keep on trying,"

I had no fight left in me. I no longer believed that God loved me. The love became a lie. Jason just really nailed what was going on in my heart.

The song didn't instantly fix me, but God certainly used it to start repairing the cracks in my faith. A few key people really had an affect on me, my pastor, my friend Gina, Ron, and even Jason. I told all of them what I really felt. None of them judged me. Gina and Jason communicated with me electronically, so I still have their comments. Even now when I read them, I just break down and cry (in a good way) because their responses to me were so filled with love.

I'm glad I fell apart when I did. I had the chance to renew my relationship with God before things got really, really hard. God had pulled me out of the sand and on to solid rock. If I hadn't gone through that rebuilding time in September, I don't think I would have survived December. That sounds pretty melodramatic, but it is true.

"Hope is rising, it’s a sunrise, for the end
Hope is rising, and it’s breathing for me again."

This was my anthem during those last weeks of Ron's life. I just melt when I hear Ben sing it. I ache for everyone to hear this song. I know there are many people who will be moved by it just the way I was. I know there are people who are desperate for its message. I know God will speak to people through this song. Coincidentally (or not!), it's just been released as a single in Christian radio (AC) stations. I beg anyone who reads this to please encourage your Christian radio station to play it.

Once again from Jason's devotional:

"Not only has He given me hope for a life beyond the grave. He has given me a way to live. Grace. The most beautiful piece of poetry as ever was inspired. Where violent escalation has no hold, where addiction has chains without locks, where evil and decay are slave to the purposes of beauty. God is true Beauty. And in our created nature our greatest fulfillment in life is to enjoy Him……a way to live, the religion of Hope. Hope is not a dream it’s a miracle, not a destination it’s a journey, not a birthday but a resurrection, not an end…it’s a beginning. Where is your hope? Does your hope give you the answers your soul demands in search for the truth? Does your hope stand up under all the decay you see around you?

Look to the one who finitely returns all that has been stolen, all that has been destroyed, all random and chaotic catastrophes. Jesus. Come with your broken heart, and body. He’ll breath life into your soul. Come with your angst and failure, He’ll give you purpose and a song. Hope is Rising again."

Listen to the song (#3 in the jukebox)
Read the devotional
Call your favorite local or nationwide Christian radio station

Thank you.


Maria D. said...

Ok Lori, first, I didn't even know you HAD a blog! Second of all this was beautiful it literally brought tears to my eyes. I hope you can always know that I am here for you if you ever need and that I'm loving you from 2 1/2 hours south. =)

Also in terms in "Sing Through Me" I saw that and immediately starting humming the song to myself before I had really placed in my brain who it was haha good pick.

Emily Lynn said...

I really believe that this song came straight from heaven. God knew how much we all needed it and sent it down to Jason to share with us as only he and the downhere guys can.

My mom has been going through a lot for a really long time and when I heard this I knew she had to listen to it. So I played it for her one day. We both cried. And hugged. I don't know much of a lasting impact it had, but I play downhere all the time, so she's bound to hear it again and again.

It's so beautiful how God knows our needs before we even do, and he's right there to give us what we need to go on. Thanks for continuing to share your story, Lori. Even through all the pain and loss I've been able to see God's hand in your life.

Lori said...

Thank you Maria. I'm so glad we're friends.

Emily, I am so glad your mom has been impacted by the song. I bet it will stay with her for a long time. Thanks for the comment about God's hand in my life. It means a lot.

cibele said...

I wish I was, but I'm not good with words.

Lori said...


Thank you.