The Frustrating Truth about Calvary Love

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“If I have not the patience of my Saviour with the souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail (a sharp and painful thing) till Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”   ~ Amy Carmichael

It has been 65 days since our daughter Katherine passed away. I say this not only to inform the reader, but to remind myself. As I still find the reality incomprehensible. It’s interesting to note, that this same word describes how I am seeing God right now more than ever before…the same God I thought I knew. He is looking different to me. Not in a bad way, just different. He is a God, I no longer comprehend. I continue to walk by faith, but before you judge, or add your quick comment, consider…what do you think you would think, would feel- if God took from you your own beloved child? The same child he gave you, the same child you fought to keep alive since before she was born and long after?

I am sharing another story from the archives. From a time I was being taught other painful parenting lessons from my girl, and the God I thought I knew. Thank you for reading. And for carefully considering your words.

Holding back tears again, I stare at the framed print on the wall.   It shows two cherubs and the “love” verses from Corinthians.

 Ugh. I am weak and weary. I feel sick. Jealousy and envy tag-team me, I double over, wincing as I imagine the lovely mother-daughter scenarios taking place everywhere else.

Anywhere else. But here. I forget sweet memories and truth. I hurt deep. There seems to be no consolation. Just walls erected. And one mom feeling defeated,

as her daughter reclines, throwing cheerios across her bedroom. Defiant rebellion. Glorying in her seeming victory.

“I hate you”, she smirks. The words fall to the floor as a Cheerio bounces off my chest. Good times. I’ve already digested early morning inspired words – why don’t I feel invincible?

I shrink, and see the images again dance across the screen of my mind…happy mothers, smiling, relishing their seemingly completely compliant children.

I remember her small. Still defiant. Hands on hips in the yard, looking at the house next door. She stares long and hard. Her back to me. She is wearing only undies or is it a pull up?

The memory gets blurrier with the years. She looks back and huffs these words: “I’m thinking about buying the house next door, so I don’t have to live with you.”

She is 4. I ask God why He hates me. Love is patient… I am angry that this is the first line of 1 Corinthians 13.

I find myself seething. I take a walk to get out of the house. My neighbor, Kevin with his wife, has raised two girls. Every time I walk by he shares a bit of wisdom.

Today I walk, and almost pass without conversation. Not happening, God wants my ear. We say hello. We make some small talk. I am not a good hider. I just don’t do fake well.

He catches me, and somehow he is sharing wisdom again. He says, “Ya know, I had two girls and it’s not easy. If I had to give advice I would say this… patience.” I cringe.

He says a few more things about choosing my battles, winning the war and we pause to admire the beautiful, unfinished, carved table he is sanding.

I know wisdom when I hear it. I know God loves me. I am that table. God is sanding me. I am not enjoying it. I am not sure how I am going to look at the end of this journey. I am not feeling beautiful.

Kevin comments on the detail, “I’m a stickler about the sanding.” He points out a mark on the leg. “It takes time, but it’s worth it in the end.”

The table is exquisite but will be a treasure when he is finally satisfied with his efforts and attention. He sees the beauty yet to be revealed.

I know, I know…patience.

*I wrote and shared this in July of 2012. A lot has changesd since then, mostly- my patience…and confidence in God’s faithfulness despite my lack.

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Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

4 thoughts on “The Frustrating Truth about Calvary Love

  1. My friend. I feel we all are being sanded and perfected through our journey in this lifetime. I know the pain is deep. It is unable to be understood. It IS, however a wound that will heal…albeit slowly. Remember the smiles. Remember the hugs, remember the brave sweet Soul she is, here on this earth and in Heaven where she is whole once more. I’ve lost my whole family and the healing is still going on. The sharpness of it has lessened. The joy has remained. And the peace that I know with all of my being is that all of them are so unbelievably close by and in Gods Love that pulls me through the days where sharpness of loss stings. Love you.

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  2. Oh, that sanding and restoring process is painful…it’s hard labor bringing out the true beauty from within. And sometimes we mess up and feel like giving up or just putting a thick coat of paint over the whole thing and forget about bringing out that true beauty from within. God must feel that way sometimes with us. But no, He is always patient and “long-suffering”…He never gives up on us. I do understand much of what you are feeling, although not exactly. We had time to prepare for our son’s death as we watched him fight his battle with cancer and death seemed a big relief for him…not for us, but for him. No more pain, no more suffering, for him. But our pain was really just beginning…and yet…we knew and know that he is now whole again, no longer suffering…and totally healed and beautiful…waiting for us to join him someday. His exuberance as he shows us all around heaven will be so wonderful…so fulfilling…I can imagine it and that makes me smile. If this life was all there was we would be without hope…but thanks to Calvary… yes, that Calvary Love…we will all have that grand reunion one day. And our much loved and long-for children will be there ready to escort us into heaven’s gates, and they will be saying, “I can’t wait to show you this…and I can’t wait for you to meet JESUS face to face! Oh, then you will be SO glad I am already here…and you will understand it all perfectly.” I cling to that promise and hope…it gives me great peace and comfort. I pray that someday it will do that for you as well…but it takes time…like that sanding, restoring..takes time, and patience…and a lot of faith that the end result will be worth it all. Love you dear friend.

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