the following quotations come from the book Univited by Lysa TerKeurst
“We’re all desperate to anchor our souls to something we can trust won’t change.”
-For the longest time this was always God. He had never failed me while everyone else around me had. After Logan I clung to Josh. He was unchanging for me. He was an anchor that had not betrayed me, had not hurt me. I knew I could hold firmly to him and nothing as traumatic as Logan’s death could come from him. While I still cling to Josh because he’s my best friend whom I literally tell every thought I have to, he’s not my anchor. I’m not entirely sure I can say God is my anchor either. I guess you could say, just continuing to move is my anchor. Not giving up on my faith, my life, everything would be my anchor. As I’m journeying through this healing with God, I’m learning that God does not change, but our understanding of who God is does. And I’m trying to anchor to that. But it’s a process, it’s not as easy as 123 as they’d have you believe at church. ‘Say this prayer and all will be well.’ While that is true in the sense of your eternal soul, life here on earth is not well. God is so much more than, do this and this and this and you will be perfectly held. Nope! If that were true, my baby wouldn’t have died, my friends wouldn’t have lost their children, I wouldn’t have lost friends, and the list can go on.
“I don’t have to know all the whys and what-ifs. All I have to do is trust.”
-Well trust is an easy thing to break and a hard thing to regain. At least if you are me. I have always trusted God full force with no second thoughts, until Logan. I never needed to know the why’s or what-ifs. I simply trusted God was God, He knew what He was doing and I was perfectly okay with that. Until trauma visited my home. Until trauma gave me a reason to doubt His trust. Until trauma forced me to need the whys and what-ifs. Today, I no longer feel the need to know what-if. I know Logan is in Heaven and I can’t argue that a life here would be better. I’ve made peace with that. The need to know why I think will forever circle me. I will probably spend the rest of my life searching for new why’s because the ones I come to understand won’t ever fully satisfy. But I also have the understanding swimming around that one day I will know all the why’s and I will make peace with that.
“Proximity and activity don’t always equal connectivity.”
-Well.. have you ever felt like you were in a crowded room but don’t feel anything? Most of my recovery felt this way. Well so did my pregnancy. Many times I’d be at an appointment and they were all so nice given our situation. Very attentive. But their attentiveness didn’t penetrate the chaos consuming my insides. It only met the surface. I appreciated their kindness, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t leave me feeling understood. I was surrounded by people when we delivered in the hospital, even being prayed over right before they took me back, but it didn’t touch the inside. We were surrounded by support at Logan’s funeral, but I can’t even remember half the people that were there. And I just remember thinking how many people do I have to hug? Aren’t they done yet? Touching required so much energy I didn’t have to give. I didn’t feel connected or loved. I just felt it was the thing to do. Let me give them what they need, as they are struggling and crying. Let me satisfy their hunger for love and understanding and let me show them it’s okay to cry for my baby. I can sit in a grief group and feel utterly alone because I view my trauma differently from theirs. Surrounded by people who could potential understand why I act the way I do, why I think the things I do and all I feel is alone because they can’t possibly understand what I went through, with their situations and circumstances so very different from mine.
“And in the rawest moments of honest hurting, God doesn’t add up.”
-How could a loving God allow such trauma. For the longest time I believed God took my son and that doesn’t add up. Why does a loving God who has loving promises knit a baby in my womb with a defect? And then why does he cause him to die? When he stands there with all the power to make his head whole? In my rawest moments of hurting, I have said so many unkind things to God. From shut up, to leave me the fuck alone. I believe God sees beyond those hateful words and sees the pain pulling those strings that lead to lashing out. I had a vision once, it was the oddest thing, I was driving back to work on the highway and all of the sudden I seen me before God in a room, I have fallen to my knees not out of respect as one would think, but out of traumatic broken grief. Instead of being able to communicate, I broke and crumpled on the floor at his feet. I could feel the anger and raw pain reeking off my body, and I remember God standing there in acknowledgement. And as I came out of that, I remember thinking, I’m okay meeting God this way.
“I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” -Psalm 23
“What can mere people do to me?” – Hebrews 13
-Verses like these hit my core. After losing Logan, the worst suffering I’ve experienced so far in my life, I tend to look through these “what you got?” lenses. You think you not showing up for my dead son’s birthday will break me? Pssssshht. While it hurts and friendship was tainted, it doesn’t compare. What more could be done that hasn’t already debilitated me?
“I fight for her simply because I want to stay right in step with honoring God.”
-Do I continue to fight for the relationships lost during my journey? Some I did, heavily. Some I was too exhausted and annoyed by this deflating pattern. As I read this in my book, one friendship stuck out. At first I felt convicted to reach out to her and repair whatever needed repairing. Realizing she had deleted me from Facebook and announced another pregnancy, all the while keeping me in the dark; breaking a sacred promise she had made after Logan died. Realizing her youngest son was growing up and I was no longer being included. Remembering all they had done for us while we were suffering. But as I re-read this sentence several weeks later, I instead feel convicted to forgive her and so many other relationships lost. Not simply for them, but for me, for my family and for our healing. Not all friendships are meant to last forever. My hope is that while I’m processing forgiveness, I will learn to appreciate what they gave me in our time of friendship. Instead of feeling anger towards them, I will try and process understanding and want nothing but good for their futures. I used to say ‘I hope nobody treats them the way they did us,’ in reference to their exiting our journey. But now, through my own healing, I can say that sentence with sincerity as opposed to malice. I sincerely hope they never endure our grief, and i would hope they have a force of friendship behind them that stands firm until the end. I try to feel this without envy. Envy because we don’t have many relationships that withstand the storms in our life. I don’t want my hurt to be someone elses.
And for the friendships that became acquaintances, the ones who no longer speak on a personal level on personal time, but I watch through social media enduring wonderful life changes, I’m trying to learn grace. To not give in to the disdain, hurt and rejection I feel. To instead follow my guidelines above to try and be thankful for what our past friendship provided. But I won’t lie to you, the first few posts I would read and try to force genuine care and joy and ebb out the annoyance. With each passing one I would read less and less becoming more annoyed until I completely skipped over it altogether. I’m trying to teach myself I can stand back and be happy for them and remove myself from it altogether. It’s my inner hurts from Logan and my unanswered desires coupled with their lack of communication that causes my pain. Ultimately I own that pain. I can decide how I chose to feel about each situation.
“But what’s downright horrible is when God seems to just silently stand by, withholding answers and solutions for which you’ve cried out. That deep hurt can make you question His goodness.”
-If I ever had to pick key phrases that summarize my journey this would probably make the top five. Almost 2 years later, God and I are still in a standoff. Can you imagine an old western pistol draw in the streets? I can. Who is going to whip their pistol out first? God on one side with his confidence so high He bears no armor. On the opposite I stand so broken I’ve put on everything possible to protect myself. Anger, pain, trust, understanding, betrayal, annoyance, grief all fill the vastness between us. Both beyond ready to draw and pull that trigger. Pain and blame. Love and understanding. I’ll let you decide who is carrying what. Who will penetrate first? Will God find that gap in my heavily covered armor? I’ve cried out to God so many times in so many ways in the last 2 years. I’ve hurled javelins and knifes of anger, disbelief and trust trying to penetrate his unexisting armor. Instead of it being deflected by his armor, he absorbs it. All of it. No matter the volume of hurls, he absorbs it all without any back blow. God and I remain in this standoff. Periodically hurling things at each other. Occasionally when I look down at my armor, I find a piece missing.
“My heart struggles to make peace between God’s ability to change hard things and His apparent decision not to change them for me.”
-Again this sentence will probably make my top 5. This is super powerful for me. As it shows my acknowledgement that I have faith in God’s ability but lack the understanding of his decision, which lead me to my previous illustration. I’ve never doubted his love for Logan and us. Nor have I ever doubted he could heal Logan. I spent several months waiting for his healing. Having faith that each doctor’s appointment would show that healing and my reward for continued hope and faith. When it never came I tried to hold my grasp on God, while my traumatic grief began to beat that grasp until my mangled heart and hands could no longer withstand the beatings.
Today I still struggle with this sentence. My heart and hands are healing, as they’re trying to work through this maze to find God’s hand again. With hopes that our grasp will be stronger than before. That we will have created an understanding how to maneuver the beatings to lessen the impact.