Monday, August 8, 2011

Mourning the loss

Psalm 71:20-21
20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
   you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
   and comfort me once again.

It has rained at almost every funeral I've ever been to.  I was only seven years old at the time, but I can still remember the day of my mother's burial.  My mind can still picture being inside the black limousine, watching the rain fall in sheets outside the window.  There was a dark grey sky and a cold chill in the air.  Depressing, and rightfully so, because my mother was only 38 years old.  She was a wonderful, godly woman and loved by all those around her.  My sister and I were only five and seven.  It wasn't fair. No mother should miss out on raising her children and no child should miss out on having their mother around. 

The day my divorce was to be finalized, I woke up to another dark grey sky, the ground wet from rain.  The day was almost full of torrential downpours and powerful thunderstorms.  After an over ten day stretch of sweltering hot weather, I'm sure many people were happy to see the rain. I wasn't one of them.  I figured a little sunshine would've made the day more bearable.  I wasn't surprised by the rain though, since today was the day I was to face the burial of my marriage and all that came along with it; hopes, dreams, promises, lies, hurt, betrayal, etc.

The day I got the first legal papers, a few months prior, was harder than I thought.  Something about seeing my childrens' names on a legal document broke my heart.  "It wasn't supposed to be this way" I thought to myself.  On this day, however, I didn't have to go to court to sign anything.  I didn't have to face my ex-husband who, at one time, promised to love, honor and be faithful to me.  I didn't have to walk into a courthouse and watch a judge take two seconds to sign away almost eight years of my life; both happy times and sad times. I wasn't going to hear the truth about things that were and are kept secret.  I wasn't going to get any answers to the countless questions I had.

The only way I could describe my feelings that day would be to compare it what I think it would be like to have a terminally sick relative.  You know they are sick and you know their final breath is imminent, but its hard to wrap your mind around the actual threat.  Somewhere, deep inside, you hold out hope.  The day they actually die, there is considerable sadness but there is also some relief.  That's how I felt that day.  Over two years went by between the separation and divorce.  In a lot of ways, I knew that the marriage was beyond help and I already felt divorced in a lot of ways.  Still, the nonchalant email I received from my lawyer's paralegal sealed its fate:

"Dear Mrs. Xxxxx,

I just wanted to let you know that your divorce has been finalized and I have mailed a copy out to you.

Thanks and have a good weekend."

(To which my sarcastic little mind replied, "Oh, you too!")

That day, I had to make a decision in my heart to once again grieve the loss. This time it was final.  Like an actual death, there was some sadness and then there was a small sense of closure.  That chapter of my life was now over.  I could finally exhale.

Just because I have mourned and buried this part of my life doesn't mean I won't ever feel sadness again.  Just like I still cry for my mom sometimes, my kids and I will cry over this.  As sure as I know my future holds some sadness, I also know it holds good things!  Hard times and happy times are on the horizon for my kids and I, and we are not staying at the cemetery!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

God, I look to You

Just a little midweek encouragement for you...

I just heard this song the other day and I've been playing it every morning before the kids wake up, work starts and the madness sets in!  Its a great reminder that I don't really need to worry because I can look to the One who has all the answers.

Here are the words:

God I look to You
I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You
You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do

I will love You Lord my strength
I will love you Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock
Forever all my days, I will love you God

Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Forever all my days Hallelujah

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You reap what you sow

Whose kid is that?
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. - Psalm 126:5

This picture always makes me laugh inside.  It was Thanksgiving day and all was right with the world, except that Ella left her other stuffed animal inside the house and I wouldn't let her go back in to retrieve it.  Mean mom, I know...but one incessantly barking stuffed animal with freakishly long lasting batteries is about as much as I can take!

I have often felt the way Ella looks in this picture.  I was never a person who cried easily, but now I'm one of those girls who cries at Disney movies and baby commercials. I do have things to cry about, some significant and some insignificant.  Crying when I hear my son talking to his friend about how his daddy doesn't live with us?  Significant.  Crying because I'm PMS'ing and can't find a cheeseburger joint when I really, really, really want a cheeseburger?  Insignificant. (I wish I was joking.)

The verse above was written in my journal and dated July 24, 2009...only six weeks after my husband had left.  I spent every day consistently on the verge of tears.  I was so concerned over how all of it was going to affect my children. I worried about their future, my health, what people thought, finances, etc.  On this day in particular, I was looking for hope past the tears.  I longed for the day when the happy moments outnumbered the sad ones.  I found this verse and wrote it in my journal, anticipating the day when the harvest of joy would be reaped.

I didn't really read all the words to this verse.  All my mind saw was "tears" and "joy".  At the time I thought in my mind "sad now, happy later". However, "sowing" involves labor.  Forgive me for knowing close to nada about sowing, but I was raised in New York City aka the concrete jungle...there are no farmers to be found.  I can, however, imagine that sowing seeds must be backbreaking work.  You have to do whatever is required to make sure the ground is fertile, then you have to bend over and get the seeds from whatever you hold them in and scatter them across the ground across miles of acreage.  Then you have to wait.  If you do it all correctly, you gather up the bountiful harvest you have worked for. 

I was listening to a sermon over the weekend where the guest speaker spoke from Mark 4, referring to the four types of sowers.  My pastor made the point that, if you do the math, 75% of those sowers won't bear fruit.  That got me thinking about this verse again and I saw it a little bit clearer.  A lot of people use the phrase "you reap what you sow" with a negative connotation.  However, I think there can be a very positive harvest, if you sow the right thing.    What am I sowing into my life through my tears?  Am I sowing disappointment? Discouragement?  Bitterness?  Failure?  Am I resigning myself to the idea that my kids are virtually screwed because they now come from a broken home?  Believe me, at one point or another I have done all of these and on occasion, still do. Sowing things like that will reap me nothing of value. Instead, I'm now making a conscious effort to sow hope, love, peace, laughter, happiness, faith, humor, gentleness, discipline and other virtues into my life, the lives of my children and those around me.  Anyone who is around me knows I am not 100% succeeding in this area yet, not even close.  I am making the effort though, and I can see joy now and on the horizon!


Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do." - CS Lewis
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