Out of Exile: Day Sixteen – Bittersweet

We are past the one-third mark in our journey out of exile (a 40 day journey). I’ve looked at what exile is and how we get there. I’m currently talking about the losses that get us into exile and keep us there.

On Day Fifteen I talked about the loss of personal trauma and the loss of control and safety that follows in its wake. That same day I received an email from a friend of mine whose son was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. He had a tumor removed successfully but this year has been a trying time as they’ve worked their way through both radiation and chemo treatments. 

One moment I am overwhelmed with thankfulness, the next filled with disappointment. 

I thought her expression of the pain and joy of this year captured the essence of what it means to be in exile:

Life is full of blessings and heartaches. At times I look at my son and feel joy and praise the progress he has made. Moments later I look at his precious bald head and am filled with the deepest sadness I have ever felt thinking of all he has been through and still must endure. 

One moment I feel my plate is full, the next I am begging God to show me my purpose in life. One moment marriage feels deep, right and intimate, the next it feels like more than I have to give. One moment my heart is full of the deepest love for my boys, the next irritation and frustration arise because the mom responsibilities feel too much.

One moment God feels so close with my faith expanding beyond what I ever could have imagined, the next fear overwhelms and grips me to the core. One moment I am overwhelmed with thankfulness, the next filled with disappointment. 

Persevering this journey is hard. Almost a year later I am left to truly depend on God’s promises that he will be strong enough and loving enough to grow me up through this journey and that all things will work for the good for those who love the Lord.

My heart is heavy …
Can you relate to the bittersweet nature of her exile? Take a minute to share which of her
words resonate with you.
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5 thoughts on “Out of Exile: Day Sixteen – Bittersweet

  1. Anonymous

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this writer and their family – thanks for their vulnerability in sharing this.

    For me, it’s the last paragraph that resonates most loudly. In my exile and loss experience, the “sweetness” (times of thankfulness, blessing, etc.) is mostly about “knowing” the rock solid truth of God’s promises – “feeling” the sweetness is elusive for me. The bitterness (sadness, pain, loss) dominates the “feeling” department. Like this writer, my strength to persevere comes in knowing that the sure promise of God’s truth trumps whatever I’m feeling (and that God himself will be the eventual, ultimate and eternal victor).

  2. Lisa

    I can definitely resonate with every line save one. Been there, felt and thought the same exact things. It sure would be nice if there was a clean line between this is “life” and this is “exile”. At times, it feels messy and tossed to and fro. I learned that savoring the milestones on the journey are important! “Chemo is done!” is a happy milestone. Radiation is over. Yipee! This is my last Tamoxifen 5-years cancer free! ( That’s a good one to celebrate.) Most definitely, I prefer my bittersweet in the form of chocolate, the salty-sweet combination in a granola bar and tragic comedies in a Shakespearean play. However, I have learned in my life/exile there is Light in the midst of these bittersweet experiences and wearisome feelings. I’m better equipped for the next season of stripping (*protected side glance as I write this 😉 ). I am learning to respect and rest in God’s sovereignty and be content with his Permissible will. Yes, life is hard but God is good. I can can chose to focus on God, praise the Lord!

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