Life Goes On

Life Goes On 

Sad, isn’t it? That life goes on without us; without our loved ones. It’s like a game of tag – ready or not here it comes. And it chases and follows, and it pulls and pushes. It doesn’t want you hiding on gools or taking a time-out. Instead, it wants you running around frantically just waiting to get tagged; just waiting to get captured. Life wants to pull you in as far as it can. It doesn’t want to wait around for you to feel better or to be strong enough. Life doesn’t give time for rest or rejuvenation. It wants to deplete you fully; to suck you dry of everything. Life doesn’t care about you. Life doesn’t consider you. It is relentless without a cause. It’s unpredictable; its unstable; and, it’s unreliable. It laughs at our plans and our strategies; it seeks to overtake us. Believe me when I say, life is completely capable of doing just that. 

So, what keeps us? When the tornado makes our head spin and the wind tries to blow us over? Where is our safe place? When the wreckage is greater than the salvage? When the broken is deeper than what little remains? Where is our refuge? When we’ve lost a child, a spouse, a parent, or a sibling? When friendships cease and people we never thought would leave us do? When forever is no longer after you said ‘I do,’ with everything in you? When our American Dream is now a fighting nightmare? Is there any escape from this struggle? Will the desperate clawing, the endless crying, the constant fighting stop? Will it ever stop? Where can we go to escape the pressure? To soften the blunt trauma? Is there even such a place? I believe there is. For me, there is only one place of escape. 

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ (‭Psalms‬ ‭91‬:‭1-2‬ NKJV)
But, some of us are walking through the unimaginable. Life is taking us under, and we don’t know how to get through. We’ve lost a precious child. We aren’t called widows or orphans. Instead, we are without a name in this. No human word could ever depict or describe who we are after losing our very own child. It is the death of ourselves as we once were. We can never be the same, and our child can never be replaced. We walk through the darkest shadow of death, and we can’t seem to pull ourselves through. Even when we hide in the shelter of our Mighty God, we know we cannot stay there forever. We have to come out, and we have to walk THROUGH this. Yet, He is STILL with us. 
‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ (Psalm 23:4)

We are never alone. Even though, lost  and forgotten by some, we are never forgotten by our God. For He knows our pain. He gave his innocent son’s life, just to carry us through this life and into His loving arms – FOREVER. 

So, yes. Life goes on. Sad, isn’t it? It goes on without us. It goes on without our loved ones. It’s like a game of Tag, really…
But, in this particular game, we’ve already been tagged. Life thinks that it’s knocked us out. Life thinks we aren’t playing anymore. And, for some, that may be true. So many of us have let life win because we’ve lost something so precious. We’ve been tagged, and now we are out. But, we don’t have to be. We don’t have to play along by life’s rules. We can make our own this time. We can take all the time we need for safety. We can dwell in the secret place forever. But, dwelling there doesn’t mean we can’t walk ahead. I know this world is a scary place. Losing a child makes us realize how fleeting life is. I know there are times that I am tempted to just stay in my house for the rest of my days. In some ways, I’m afraid to love. Because love crushed my heart into a million pieces. Giving my all meant losing all that I gave. And, it is hard. Every single day is hard. But, this life can’t have me. This life cannot have any of us, if we don’t let it. Instead we get to have life. And, I’m convinced that, as scary as this life can be – it is a gift. We just have to take it instead of letting it take us. We can do it. We can walk this life out together, knowing that God will be with us if we just ask Him to. Yes. It will be dark, at times. Yes. It will seem scary. Yes. We will face death. BUT, the light will not be overcome by darkness. And, just because we feel afraid doesn’t mean we have to let fear reign. Death is NOT the final say for those whose Hope is anchored in Christ. Because, one day, death will be overcome, and this life that we know here will cease. 

I know what moving forward feels like for a grieving parent. It feels like we are leaving our child behind. I battle this every day, and I have to bring it before The Lord. My son would want me to live. I can sometimes sense him encouraging me to move forward. And, in my reality, which is more real than anything here on this earth, he awaits me. He isn’t behind me, but ahead. I don’t get to him by looking back, I see him when I press forward. 

So life goes on, no matter. Will we let it pass us by or count us out? Will we let it control us. Let it take us? Or, will WE take IT? Will we take all we can get out of this life; using it to our advantage? Letting even the hard roads lead us further towards Christ? Will we run this race with perseverance and allow God’s strength to equip us with all we need to become more like His son? Fixing our eyes on what is unseen instead of the destruction surrounding us? 

‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭16-18‬ NKJV)
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RESTORE

RESTORE.

2015.

‘And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten–the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.’ (‭Joel‬ ‭2‬:‭25-26‬ AMP)

Restore my JOY. 
Return to me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit in me. Losing Christiano took so much from me – from all of us. And, joy is one of those things. It is something that I’ve missed terribly. I’m not talking about a temporal feeling of joy, but the joy that allowed Jesus to endure, and even embrace, the cross. This joy does not rest in things going our way or having a worry-free life. It isn’t measured by perfect circumstances or perfect health; perfect marriages or earthly crowns. In fact, real joy escapes us when we give too much thought to these things. Joy is present when we keep our eyes on what lies ahead, just like Jesus did when he died for us. It has been hard for me to get my eyes off of the pain and the suffering that losing my son has brought. I want my joy back, and it’s going to take some work on my part. It’s going to mean taking my eyes off of my hurt and looking to the One who gives me rest; the only One who can restore.
Restore my HOPE.
I miss hoping. Hoping for good things to happen; hoping for the future; or even just for today. The Bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. My hope was deferred, shattered and shaken when Christiano didn’t make it. Longings haven’t been fulfilled for a very long time. However, my hope has not been fully lost. I never would have made it through without Jesus, my hope and anchor. But, my hope has been deferred by my circumstances. The enemy attempted to steal it, along with so many other promises I once stood so securely on. Hebrews 6:19 says, ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ Thankfully, even when our thoughts and ideas of hope are shattered, our hope remains firm and secure. This means we can never drift too far away from hope. We are held by hope. And, in 2015, I would like for the restoration and reconstruction of my hope to be made complete.
Restore my IDENTITY.
This one is a biggie for me. God has worked this one out in me since the beginning of time. Wife, mother, friend… Just a few roles that I’ve found my identity in over the years. And, now, grieving mother has been added to the list. This is not a desirable group for anyone. In fact, NOBODY wants to ever be in this group. And, nobody in the group ever wants to welcome anyone else in. It’s the loneliest place I’ve ever been, and I feel most inadequate and unaccepted, at times, because I’m a part of this group. It’s a group where outsiders, who don’t understand, get to look in and critique the members of this group. For me, it’s a place with glass windows and full transparency. I’ve chosen to let everyone see inside and not put up any blinds. But, this transparency comes with a high price. And, that price has often been my very identity. 
You see, I haven’t lived here for long and I knew nothing about it before being thrown in. I am inexperienced and inadequate and not too sure how to please everyone who is watching. I’m too ‘OK’ for some people, and I’m not ‘OK’ enough for others. I’m too Word of Faith for some and not ‘Word of Faith’ enough for others. I’m too much God and not enough emotion, or I’m too emotional without enough God. I’m too happy, I’m not happy enough. I’m too transparent for some, and others wish they could see more. I’m too social, or I’m not social enough. I cry too much, or I don’t cry enough. I laugh too much, or I don’t laugh enough. Some people think I share for attention or that I expect too much from others. Some wish I would just go away or snap out of it. Some people can’t handle my pain because it’s too painful for them. So many expectations, unfair assumptions, and harsh judgments; and they hurt. This kind of hurt on top of grief can make for unspeakable pain. I speak on behalf of all grieving mothers when I say that all we want is grace. But, that is usually not what we get. In the beginning, we get lots of it; but, over time, people either want us to move on faster, while some can’t believe we are moving on so fast. That is why my biggest heart cry is for identity. I want for my identity to be found in God. I don’t want to just be a grieving mother. I want to know that my sole identity, and the only identity that truly matters, is found in being a daughter of the king. For, in Him, I’m loved, accepted and understood. 
Although, the tragedy that forever altered my life came in 2013, truly LIVING with it came later. 2014 was all over the place. It was a year filled with more difficulty than I ever thought possible for one family to endure. I will spare you all the details, but I will say that we just barely made it through. We are ready to put it behind us now. (Although, I’m not even sure what that means, really.)
 I can never forget all the tragedy we’ve endured, all the losses experienced, the many disappointments over the last 14 months. But, I am choosing to believe for something again. I’m believing for brighter days ahead and strength to endure any dark ones that may creep in. I am believing for healing in our hearts and rest for our weary souls. I’m believing for God to RESTORE what’s been lost like only He can. I’m believing for joy unspeakable, hope renewed and identity found only in Him. 2015, I’m ready.