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I didn't panic right away. I have mislaid my wedding rings a number of times over the years; having taken them off for some reason and forgotten them; only to find them sometimes hours later, patiently awaiting my return. On one occasion I remember leaving them beside my Mother's kitchen sink and having to go to church the next morning feeling decidedly naked, as though I were not completely or properly dressed.
My rings have been a part of my hand like the life lines on my palm since I was 21. Maybe I thought of them as part of these lines; falling somewhere near the beginning of my life, and meant to remain there, like these permanent creases, until its end.

Our entire family, including JP, had made a trip to the beach together, and it was something we we had all looked so forward to doing. His schedule and life rarely fall into line with ours, particularly long enough for an out of town trip, and so we felt truly blessed to have him with us. The truth is, I didn't realize at the time just what a blessing his presence would turn out to be. It was J.P. who endured the night ahead with me; digging through garbage, the contents of which were unimaginable; J.P. who would drop me in front of one establishment while he went into the next; praying someone had found my rings. It was he and I together who traced every inch we had covered since we had left that evening.
We had left a sleeping child and husband at the hotel; James convinced that I was worrying over nothing. The rings were here; he was convinced; would be found almost immediately, as they always had been, whenever they went missing or overlooked over the years.

I have avoided writing about the loss of my rings for several reasons; the least of which is that it quite simply breaks my heart, to this day, and so I have chosen to push the thought of it as far from my consciousness as possible. Writing about it has been completely out of the question, even though this would normally be the very reason that I would choose to write about it. I have always found great solace in writing; "talking" on paper. My own letters to God. He and I read them together; He comforts me through my own words; my eyes opened reading what I've written. I think sometimes I surprise myself with what my own heart is saying.
But in this case, I simply couldn't face it. Till now.
I have avoided this topic hoping; praying...the ending would be different; some miracle would occur. The power of prayer!! I would have told you. We just prayed and God heard us; knew my heart was broken far, far worse than anyone understood (including my husband:) But God knew. Saw every tear fall. Held my hand when I would go off alone, and just cry, gut wrenching sobs that only He heard or truly understood. I would have told you that He honored our search, the terrible night at the beach, and then weeks and weeks of calls and searches for any shred of hope or direction. That He had honored our marriage of 30 years...certainly I should get points for that; it's only fair! Half of the world is divorced these days. Yet we stuck it out, thick and thin, better or worse. And these lost rings were the symbols of that union. I could never replace them, not ever. Ring after ring, jeweler after jeweler; trying our best to put something on my left hand, and wanting none of it. At least, not yet. And so He had returned my precious rings to me; healing my broken heart, smiling on our marriage; blessing us, and this union.
But it didn't turn out that way, and for a very long time I was angry.
I confess to you now that I avoided this topic also out of fear. People, particularly those who have lost loved ones; or even perhaps had undergone a financial crisis or some tragedy... Might call me shallow. They are just things. Metal, really, with rocks in them. I feared they would shame me for mourning these things; judge me for this. I was afraid of that, and truthfully, that made me a bit angry, too.

And then, the other morning, His still, small voice....

I wonder now if a day ever goes by that I'm not reminded of my rings; although I rarely cry about them anymore, unless I'm alone. The thought of them remains somewhere in my subconscious mind, I'm sure, all the time. Truthfully, I have given up; stopped praying about them. And so it was a bit of a shock early the other morning when I clearly heard His Word, and at the same time, His Voice, speaking to me..."You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of Your Heart.". And at the same time... He asked me when I have truly sought after Him... was I truly desperate for Him? Did I truly love Him enough to seek Him with all of my heart?!
And then He reminded me of this elephant in the room; this thing that had made me so angry and bitter that I had stopped talking to Him about it at all. Had I ever; Would I ever seek HIM this way?
Did my heart ever break just to be near Him?
Oh, precious Lord and Savior, forgive me...

I have started this post several times over the last few days, and something always seems to stop me. Not yet; He tells me. There is far more I want to tell You.

He tells me that I was once so very lost, too. And that His heart broke for me, in ways I could never hope to understand, there, on a cross; willingly, in order to have me with Him forever. That He stopped at nothing; stepping into the darkest, most vile places of my heart; knowing it all, bearing it all, yet calling me to Him, even as I was. All things on earth will one day be restored, He reminds me, but some of those He has sought with all of His heart will never, ever choose to be found. He understands my loss far more than I could ever bear to know. He tells me that He loved me so much that He never stopped trying to find me; never stopped calling me to Him. That the Father sent Him to me; to us all; offering His perfect and Holy life for us, simply, and only, because we were lost.

And then He showed me my life line again... Tracing the empty place where my rings used to be.
Look at Mine. He tells me. You will never be lost again. See? How beautiful; more precious than diamonds; far more priceless and irreplaceable. You are mine, He tells me.
And so I have written Your name on the palm of My hand....

"I have written your name on the palm of My hand." ~ Isaiah 49:16

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