Since my son Seth's Homecoming..... choosing JOY has been an uphill battle for me. Though I know that HE has instilled in me the tools that I needed in order to choose JOY, I have struggled to even put them to use, as my heart is so incredibly overwhelmed by sadness, sorrow, and pain. For the past 32 weeks now I have been having to fight tooth and nail to keep my eyes FOCUSED on HIM and all that HE is doing.
This morning was no different. Last night D and I attended our last life group as we are now on summer break. The question that was asked last night was, tell about the good things that HE has done in you and through you this past year, in other words your blessings. As we went around the table, and the next person spoke, I realized that I didn't really know what I could say. What I mean is, on one hand, our forever home, my hearing aids, our little rainbow baby just to name a few, sure I could talk about those blessings, yet even though I knew ALL of them.... I struggled, and sure enough when it was my turn to talk... all I could think was, this was the worst year of my life.... this is the worst year of my life..... I pray to JESUS that I won't have to EVER endure another year like my 36th year.
Thankfully because HE lives in me, and I have learned to allow HIM to speak through me, I was able to share how this year has been an incredible year of restoration for not only myself, but for my family as well. I was able to share ALL of even the smallest of things that I am so overwhelmingly thankful for.
The truth is, this year I have been leveled...... in every single area of my life. from my FAITH in HIM, my marriage to D, and being Mama to my precious soon to be six. Even before Seth slipped away during his nap on that rainy dreary day in October.... I had been struggling.
In February of 2014 D and I were at a crossroads in our marriage. We were struggling to SEE why we were even together. After months of fighting, and not SEEING eye to eye, with one of the most dreaded holidays looming.... Valentine's Day..... D went above and beyond anything he had ever done in our 15 years of marriage, and 18 years of living this life together.
D took me to an amazing little restaurant where he proceeded to shower me with gifts, and a beautiful card that professed his love for me. He made promises to me that night, promises that I have clung to during this most horrific time of our lives together. That night as we drove home I was so incredibly thankful that HE heard my cries for help, and HE blessed me for my obedience, in waiting for HIS timing, and NOT trying to force my own agenda.
Never would I have imagined that almost 8 months to the day later D and I would find ourselves sitting at that same restaurant celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary. Only this time, it wasn't because we were starting over, getting a fresh start.... it was because we were living the beginning of every parents worst nightmare.
I remember sitting at that table, ordering our food, and looking around at all the smiling happy people. D held my hand from across the table, and looked deep into my aching, shattered eyes, and said, "I know this is so hard, but we have so much to be thankful for. I know its not going to be easy, but I still BELIEVE that HE has amazing plans for our families life." The next sentence that he spoke made me practically fall out of my chair when he said, "do you think that GOD plans for us to have more children?" Tears fell from my eyes, as I looked at my broken, yet so incredibly strong handsome husband, and I with all the strength that I could muster I said, "I hope so."
I couldn't believe that D was saying these things to me, as just 8 months prior we weren't even sure how we were going to hold onto our marriage. I was in complete awe that even though we had a rough year prior, HE was giving D HIS vision to SEE that HE was, is, and would continue to be doing amazing things in us and through us. HE was pouring into D that even though we were so incredibly heartbroken, shattered, and leveled..... we still had so much to be thankful for.
Somewhere in the middle of dinner, I laid my head on the table and cried...... tears poured out of my eyes, as the harsh reality that our precious little one was gone...... it was in that moment where it started to really hit me that my little Seth didn't need his Mama anymore.... through my tears I cried out to HIM "Oh GOD how do I live without my baby, my sweet baby love?"
Three weeks after our anniversary dinner, we sat down together as family and began to talk about all the GOOD that HE is doing, has done, and was going to do for our family. We talked about our prayers, and what we were wanting. D looked at each of the precious broken hearts of our children and asked them if they would be okay to have another sibling.
It was during that time that HE lead us straight to HIS word in the book of Joel. As soon as I read it, I couldn't believe that was HIS message to us, but in knowing the awesome power of prayer, I began to pray circles around HIS word, and as a family we ALL began to pray for HIS promises for our families life.
"Rend your heart eturn to the your God,slow to anger and abounding in love,Who knows? He may turn and relent
Valentine's day of 2015 was so incredibly bittersweet, as I could look back on the past year and SEE all that HE had done in my marriage to D, and tears of hatred, anger, bitterness fell violently from my eyes. Though I knew HE wanted to me to seek HIS JOY, by just being in HIS presence....I was angry.... I was mad... I was lost.... I was heartbroken....I was shattered..... I was leveled.... and most definitely I wasn't thankful.
After all how could I possibly be thankful that our lives had been shattered, and that our family was in the most horrific pain that any of us had ever known. Daily I struggled with my anger, and often times I cried out, "How GOD how in the HELL could you do this to our family??? How could you hurt us this badly....where in the HELL is YOUR freaking JOY? I think it's gone, there's NO way that its here..... YOU have wrecked me beyond repair... I will NEVER be the same..... I hate YOU for what YOU did to me.... I'm done, I'm done being all in.... I REFUSE to have a target on my back anymore....."
Thankfully those tears of anger only flowed for about two weeks, as HE began to prepare my heart for the next chapter of our families lives. It was within those two weeks that HE would lead me through a massive breakthrough that would open the door to my heart once again, so that I would SEE all the good that HE is doing, and that is when HE let it be known that our prayers had been answered.
Within the second week of March HE began to prepare our families hearts that we would indeed be starting at new chapter as HE would be leading us to our forever home. If that blessing wasn't enough to be so incredibly thankful for, HE blew us all away on March 25th when HE made it known that HE was keeping HIS promise to us for a RAINBOW after the massive storm that "tried" to wipe out our family. HE made it know that our Rainbow, was news that a new precious little life would be joining us in November..... a year after we began to pray fervently for HIS promises for our families lives.
I am so incredibly Thankful that I can write about ALL of HIS blessings, in even the smallest of details. I am Thankful that I am able to share my story, of how even in the midst of sorrow, sadness, anguish, suffering, and pain...... HE is still good. I am so incredibly Thankful that I am able to be HIS light in showing this broken and fallen world that anyone can PRAISE HIM when life is good, but does anyone still PRAISE HIM when life is so incredibly heartbreaking, unfair, and cruel....... well I can tell you that I have learned that you most certainly can, and HE is most definitely STILL good. I am so incredibly Thankful to have been CHOSEN to live this life, as I can look back on ALL of the tests, trials, and storms that have prepared me to not only survive this massive storm, but Conquer this massive storm.
I am so Thankful to know that even in my cursing at HIM, and telling HIM I hated HIM, HE loved me..... HE loved me because well.... HE loves me........ and no matter what I say or do that is wrong, or hateful.... HE is waiting for me to spill it all out to HIM, so that HE can pour HIS soothing truth into my weary, and aching, heart and soul. I am so incredibly Thankful to say that even though I may be a hott mess..... I'm HIS hott mess... and when I seek HIM, HE will work in me and through me, and the beauty that will rise from the ashes will be HIS beautiful message.
Though my days are yet to be pain free, sorrow free, I know HE is with me, and HE has CHOSEN me to be the face of a Mama's broken heart, and HIS voice to speak deep into a Mama's broken heart, that though I would have NEVER CHOSEN this journey to be my life, HE did, and when I surrender HE can, will, and does SHINE HIS light, and pour out HIS love for this broken and fallen world that is FULL of the last, the least, and the lost.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS, it is my fervent prayer that you will know that no matter what you have gone through, are going through, HE is doing a good work in you and through you. That even when you fall flat on your face, and scream at HIM in anger.... HE loves you.... unconditionally. I pray that you will know that HE is always there for you no matter what, and when you surrender HE can and will do amazing things in you and through you. I pray that if today is an incredibly hard day, I pray that you will be able to look back at your life and SEE all the good that HE has brought to it. Today I pray that instead of focusing on all the wrongs in your life, you will be able to choose JOY and BE Thankful.
Always with so much love, compassion, understanding, and grace,
Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,