As I write I’m sitting on an airplane. My son and husband are in the row ahead of me. I can hear them playing together. My son has his new Buzz Lightyear and Woody toys. He’s narrating a conversation between the two of them.
“I’m gonna get you, Woody!”
Buzz is the bad guy. It seems he always is.
That sweet high-pitched voice is music to my ears. I often think how sad I will be when it drops to a lower octave but then I realize it will be a reason to celebrate and a symbol of growth.
Growth has been a theme for my small family these past 6 months. This Fall was a challenging one. We were suffering. We needed more faith. Faith in Him. Faith in ourselves. Faith in a bright future.
I believe we were guilty of doing what so many do. We let the worries and rush of our lives get in our own way. There wasn’t enough of anything. Time. Conversation. Respect. Kindness. Instead there was too much of all the wrong things. Stress. Blame. Doubt.
We were wrapped up in our son but neglecting each other.
And so we reached a breaking point. To put it simply, we were broken.
The dark place we found ourselves in isn’t somewhere you ever envision being. It’s frightening. A void that’s too big. A shadowed corner that’s too small.
My husband and I have led what I’d consider charmed lives so we were taken by surprise. We have parents and siblings we adore, an abundance of friends, success in school and work, no medical issues, and (most of all) a healthy happy brilliant son who personifies the very best in us. How could people like us get to a place like that? Very easily, it turns out.
The experience challenged my faith. At the same time it gave my faith a chance to truly flourish.
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
I am a perpetual optimist so finding joy in hope isn’t always difficult for me. I do have hope. It may occur in varying degrees depending on the circumstances but it’s there, lingering under a dark patch of earth waiting to bloom.
Patience while afflicted is more of a hurdle for me. Who am I kidding? Patience in even the best of situations is a struggle. I’m the kind of person who makes impulsive decisions rather than think things through. Sometimes it means I say things I later regret. Sometimes I exhibit frustration when things don’t happen the way I want it in my timing. I guess God is more knowledgeable than this 31 year old woman. Imagine my surprise.
And faithful in prayer? Yes, I believe God has a plan for me. For my husband. For my son. Boy was it hard to see that in our darkest times. Rather, I was fearful in prayer. Praying often, my words like screams of terror, frustration, and exhaustion.
Coming back from such a place is no walk in the park. To put it bluntly, it sucks. Yet when I look back on the end of 2012 I see more than the hurt.
I see family who supported us. I see my parents and sister traveling long distances to just show their love. I see their hourly phone calls. I see their never-ending willingness to listen to me cry or yell or just be silent in grief.
Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
I see the Sunday at church when it felt like literally every song was a direct message to my family. A reminder that we can overcome anything.
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though it’s waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with it’s swelling.
I see the deep conversations that this experience prompted within our family. Conversations that have made us stronger, more loving, and better understood. We bid farewell to complacency to become the kind of partners we want to have ourselves.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
I see that God can deliver us from anything.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Our story is not complete and that is a very good thing. Each day is an opportunity to live the lives we want and be the people we want to be. This isn’t a Disney movie with some magically written happy ending. They need to do a movie about Cinderella and Prince Charming arguing over whose turn it is to pick up all the Legos and sweep up dog hair.
I am proud of us. I am thankful for a God who carried me when I needed Him. I am appreciative of my husband, a strong man who loves me and our son. I like who we we are today and am hopeful of who we’ll be in the future. And it’s a very bright future.
Psalm 52:8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.