The past 2 years brought into our lives the greatest sorrows and pain and times of great joy followed by more pain and disappointment. Why? I've asked that question a thousand times or more, but I know there will never be an answer following that word slipping off the end of my tongue.
While each person in our family is an individual, we were a tight family unit too. We did alot together; education, ministry and extracurricular activities. I wanted my family to be what I had always hoped my family (growing up) would be. And, for many years, it did seem like we had achieved it.
But, life can change in a moment. One person makes a decision, words are exchanged, everyone is wounded and in pain; a person walks away and is gone from your life. A church turned its back on us, people avoided us, awkward conversations were common, others "judged" our actions, old friends and acquaintances faded away from our lives. Death would have been easier to deal with - it's an honest observation - because people would have supported us and shown compassion toward our family. A highly respected person in our life told our oldest son, "she's a prodigal now and we need to pray for her to return." The last words we heard from him... Those left behind tried to pick up the pieces. Life wasn't the same any more. Holiday celebrations were a struggle (and continue to be). We existed together; the pain too difficult for any of us to deal with. A wedding occurred. Blaine and I attended, as well as Blaine's parents and one of his brothers - but no other family. A precious child so close was now nearly a stranger and all the dreams that had been shared....gone. I've learned how painful it is to live with a broken heart.
And the days, weeks and months passed and there was life each day. Many difficult days and yet a future hope to look forward to ~ graduations and another wedding Father's Day 2010. We rejoiced over these happy occasions. My energy poured into preparations. A whirlwind 2 weeks filled with graduation celebrations and then the wedding (plus the wedding of a precious friend).
JOY! It was a good thing and our hearts needed it.
Soon though, our married child seemed frustrated with his bride. It wasn't going as he had expected, but he tried to make the best of it; giving her room to grow and adjust. For months, something didn't seem right, but he continued on. February brought news that she returned home. It's a long and complicated story. Then, a decision to end the 7 month old marriage. Pain, ALOT of pain and the question surfaced again and again and again. Why?
Why our family?
Why do we continually go through this painful journey? When will we experience true joy?
And, this time around - there really weren't people around us anymore to talk to; just us. And, more people left our lives. For 2 years, our life has been in limbo. We've been stuck in grief that just continues on and on. Everything that's been important in my life has "slipped through my fingers" ~ family, church, ministry, volunteering, people... There were times that Blaine and I wondered if we could get through this. With God's grace and holding onto our faith, we've grown closer than ever before and it's opened a path of healing in both of our lives.
Yes, I can now look back and be THANKFUL for all that's happened. I've discovered that my hurt and pain go back years and years. I have much to work through. My naturopath in 2009 determined that she didn't want to treat me anymore. I was left wandering for months trying to find a new health care provider and finally, God answered prayer in a way I couldn't imagine. A naturopath in my neighborhood, a healer ~ and I came to her completely broken, but thankfully not destroyed. The past few months have been extremely difficult as I re-discover my past and learn how events and people have contributed to my health challenges. Dr. Jones has shared different techniques to assist my body in healing and we are taking little steps regularly - some overwhelmingly difficult and others a little easier, but I am moving forward. And, we are making progress in reconnecting with our child who is far away... This is a happy thought! And, through it all my Savior has not failed me. Unending patience and amazing love.
I'm also learning to really let go of our adult children. A HUGE challenge for me! I love them more than words can describe, but the choices they make no longer have anything to do with me. And, while Blaine and I must hold to our faith and convictions - we are learning to love them for who they are; where they're at and pray for God's will to be done in their lives. We are also learning to build our lives together; Blaine and I. Everything has been about family and we had lost connection between the two of us. Today, our choices are about us, our future and our daily lives together. Some days, it's still really difficult to make choices which benefit us. We are always thinking of the needs of our children. It takes focused effort and is sometimes quite painful. Recently, we decided to purchase a 2011 Subaru Forester and new bicycles and a bike rack for our vehicle. A major financial investment, but something Blaine and I really wanted to do together; for us...
I have ALWAYS worried about what others think of me. This has kept me in captivity; living in fear. Not a healthy place to be. As I began standing up for myself over the past 2 years, I discovered judgment from others and though painful, I knew people needed to be let go from our lives. And, it's not all about "others", for I know I am a work in progress; that I have many issues to deal with and for healing to occur. It's going to take a long time. But, I have to walk this healing journey. I need to learn from the past, learn how to make different choices in how I deal with certain situations and learn to value myself, while building compassion and unconditional love for others. Lord, I pray you give me enough time to accomplish this great goal in my life. What a HUGE challenge ahead for me! But, I'm done being held captive. Done living in fear. Done being controlled by my past. Done with allowing the choices others make to affect my life as they have in the past.
So we've arrived at this weekend ~ a difficult time; a painful season. This weekend, two of my friends have children getting married. I declined the invitation to one wedding and didn't receive an invitation to the other. This is their time of joy; their time of celebrating and I am exceedingly happy for both families! I'm just not ready to embrace these celebrations... yet, but one day I shall.
There is healing available to every person. Have faith. Take a step. Reach out!
We all have a story to share with others. We have all experienced life's up and downs; sorrows and joys. It's my journey and I know I shall rise..., because He is faithful!