Am I really home?

I have been sitting here for a while staring at the screen, my hands hovering the keys, waiting.  I feel it, but sometimes it takes a while for all that simmers inside to come scripting out.  I hear this prayer rise…Make these, my words, a well oiled river, flowing the brokenness of me and the wholeness of you, up, out and over.  The simmer becomes a boil.  I process what the prayer means.  It’s a pleading that the mess of me combined with the perfection of God will emerge, expand, and explode right past my heart and onto the page. The prayer gives birth to vocabulary…

When Elijah was just a few months old, we went to a church picnic to kick off the summer.  I was wearing jeans and a white shirt, holding the baby, blanket bundled, in my arms.  I sat down at a picnic table.  Emily came and sat down next to me.  Emily was also wearing jeans and a white shirt, holding her baby, just a month or so younger than mine in a blanket, sleeping in her arms.  We both have long brown hair, probably both looked new-born-baby-tired and probably both smelled like breast milk and spit up.  Ryan, one of Emily’s twin boys, saw his mama from a distance and made his way over.  He stopped short of us, attention caught by something else, and then backed into his mom, resting his hand on her knee, his head on her chest.  Emily and I looked at each other and smiled, wondering how long it would take for her son to realize it was me he was clutching and not his mama.  A minute or so later, Ryan turned around with a smile, looked up into my eyes, and was suddenly reduced to panic.  He looked to his left, found Emily, and before an instant had passed, he was safe in her arms.
I think I have been praying to know the love of God my whole life.  It has never been easy for me.  I could process here all the reasons why, but for now I’ll just leave it in a word…hard.  It’s very strange to me now that the very thing that caused me to know God’s love, the very thing that ushered in the answer to a lifetime of prayers, was really the thing that brought me to the place of hating Him first.
We lost our baby girl.
The few friends, family and grieving souls that tumble their way here already know that hating God became my avenue to knowing Him.  Death made me feel like I had a right to stomp before the throne to demand to hear a few things.  Some days it was anger that compelled me.  Other days it was hope, that maybe just maybe, the love I’d always longed for, would finally connect to me through this.
In three years of stomping and crawling to the throne, I never left empty hand.  Each wound, need or question I brought to God, whether about Him or my grief, was always met with a bit of glorious truth, experiences with a present and risen Jesus.  In time what I became convinced of was this:  The God I had been seeking my whole life was not God at all.  He was God-like.  He was constructed with a whole bunch of truth, but so many lies had found their way into my perception and image of Him that that the God I was approaching was not purely “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
Just like Ryan had backed into the wrong mother, so I had backed into the wrong Father.  It wasn’t until the little boy looked into my eyes that he realized he was in the wrong place and then ran home.  Likewise, my grief, compelled by anger and want, caused me to look up and really stare at the Father I had been clutching since the age of seven.  He looked like Jesus.  He had a beard and authority and nail scars, but something was off and the tell tale sign was the fear I felt looking into His eyes.  And then, just like Ryan, I ran home.  When I turned away from “god” and began seeking the Jesus I met in my grief, something amazing happened. Love. It found its way into my heart, the deep recesses and nooks and crannies that had been 30 years parched and I began to feel loved.  Grieving still, questions still, but suddenly alive with love.
I am coming up on eight years without Anna Rose Kelty.  Eight years deep into grief and my own resurrection.  And suddenly, there is an inkling of fear once again.  Somehow a bit of untruth has sneaked in once more to my perception of God.  Or rather, as I grow deeper in my faith, Jesus is dragging up old boxes from the basement of my heart to sort through.  Things I need to get rid of to make room for more love.
As I write, I am beginning to look through the boxes with Jesus, my real Father, my Shepherd.  I don’t want to hold onto anything that would keep me ensnared to not seeing Him as He truly is, thus preventing me from the love and trust I long to define me.  I am not yet sure I have identified the culprit of this awkward fear, but here is what I do know, the following prayer from the apostle Paul has become the cry of my heart once again:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know His love that surpasses knowledge, that you be filled to the measure to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
These living words nearly sing to me, a lullaby, hushing all the fright away. I need this “love that surpasses knowledge,” love that bypasses making sense.  A love that is better and more satisfying than answers, a love that digs to the root of our problems, massaging things like, peace, strength, hope and joy into the wounds and fears that seed themselves in human soil.
So here I am once again, setting out for love to save me, change me, free me, rouse me, cause me, deliver me, soften me and ignite me.  I imagine there will be stories to share as I head out on this adventure, the one that will undoubtedly take me off the map to where the width and length and height and depth of God’s love are waiting.
I’ll be writing those stories here because I kind of have to… have to write out all the Jesus and love my fingers can muster.  If you find your heart weary and wanting like mine, then I invite you to come along with me.  I invite you to ask for a flood instead of full enough levels of God’s love.  I’m not okay with sometimes peace and sometimes joy.  I’m looking for more and there’s only one place to find that.
So here’s to discovering the uncharted territories of God’s love, to being filled to the measure of all the fullness of God, and to looking into the eyes of our realFather, snuggling into home.



  1. says

    I found my way back to the psalms for the first time in 9.5 months this morning. I was drawn to Ps. 32, vs. 6-11 standing out. I love you, friend. I love your Anna. And I’m praying for His unfailing love as we muddle through this life longing for the next.

  2. Anonymous says

    Four years ago today, our 29 yr old son was in the ICU with an unknown type of infection that was killing him. It was a sudden illness, one that made no sense. Tomorrow, Dec. 16th, marks the anniversary date of his Homecoming. I am blessed to have had him 29 years, but that still was not long enough. I appreciate your blog and how it says so much of how I feel as well and how I search for knowing God in a deeper sense through my grief. thank you for sharing your heart and soul. May God bless you in your grief as you grow closer and closer to Him. I look more forward to Heaven every day! Blessings, Jeannette

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