It's been seven months. Seven hard months. It started with a phone call, with desperate pleas and prayers. We hung on the phone in desperation as they worked on my boy, I begged them not to quit and when the ambulance drove off without a siren, I knew. I ran to the bathroom and hit my face on the toilet seat cover and vomited. My boy was gone just like that.
Shock set in, people came. Days came and went, pain clouded everything. Lovely people, family surrounded us like a cocoon. Protecting us, giving us time. Seven months. Life keeps happening.
And so as a writer friend of mine told me, you bleed out on paper. I am not much of a writer but I do bleed out on this paper (I know it's not really paper but same concept). You write to release the pain, to share the pain, to share the love because without love there would be no pain. Sometimes I feel naked and broken for all the world to see and it feels liberating to write that pain and not care what anyone thinks. Bleeding out for all the world to see.
Seven months and not a day goes by without thoughts of him. I struggle to sleep less now than then, but it is still a struggle. I wake up shocked sometimes, heart racing and nauseated.
I wasn't there with him but I have a powerful imagination. I heard them working feverishly, in my mind I see it. I wish I didn't. I wish I had been there, I wish I had gone, even if just to hold his lifeless body. To have held him, my baby.
He was 6'2" of strength and love. He was funny and wounded, engaging and compassionate, tortured and kind. He was a contradiction of fun and sad. He was the best and the worst of me. He was challenging and strong and yet like a wounded bird that you desperately wanted to hold and heal. He was lovely in so many ways and heartache in others. My love for him ran through my veins like blood but I could never seem to fix the broken parts. We are all broken to some degree, but he was fragile under all the laughter.
Jesus was His savior, back and forth He ran to Him but sometimes healing comes in different ways. The rehabs and altars for whatever reason didn't seem to be able to keep him from the grip of addiction. The disease ravaged his mind and body and then he was clean and going to church. We had hope.
And then there was this.....this one last time. The text back and forth with a friend saying he was in pain, he had been to the dentist and had a root canal. They needed the "h" they had said. Heroin. There I said it.
And then there was nothing but questions, who was there? Why was the scene so strange? Why was it a crime scene? Questions we will never have answers to.
Rescued was the word that came to mind. Rescued from the entanglement of addiction. Died a sinner but with a savior. Won't we all die sinners, saved by grace?
It was always spoken of in hushed tones....how did he die? I suppose some would be embarrassed, try to keep it a secret. I have learned to bring all things into the light. You never know who you might set free by being honest. What mother out there might be struggling to hold unto her sanity in the darkness but by talking honestly you bring light. The shame that wants to overtake a mothers heart can be broken when we speak openly and honestly about the struggle of addiction.
I don't know why? I never will. Most days I am okay, some days I am sad. Life goes on and I laugh and I smile and it is honestly not fake. When someone ask me how many children I have, I tell them three, but one is in heaven. It is a bit of buzz kill and I know it shocks people but I kinda like saying it, "he is in heaven." HE IS IN HEAVEN.
I am thankful for a God that escorts me through this valley. That I am not alone. He is always with me. I feel like I have grown in my love for God, while others may find that hard to understand I find it impossible to have lived through this without the love of my heavenly Father.
I am thankful for my sons and my husband that teach me strength and tenderness as we walk through this together. We are not alone. I love them with a fierce love that believes the best is yet to come for us all.
He has carried me through, He has carried us through. He has redeemed the pain and continues to unfold purpose in this pain. It's not over...we are still walking through this valley, but every once in awhile I feel like we have gotten up the mountain and we see the sun.
It is true I have been pummeled(black and blue) by this tragedy, but then reshaped into someone different, someone deeper, someone more compassionate than ever before. I love deeper, I hope more. I see differently.
Turns out I didn't fall apart and somehow things instead fell in place. I wrote in my journal one time...I don't know if I am falling down or falling up? That is how it feels sometimes. Falling. Like suspended animation but this I know the one holding me in that place is Jesus.
I knew that already, but now....I really know it. He spoke to me so clearly, I'll save that for another time but trust me, it's some good stuff.
Redemption looks different sometimes, differnt than what we expect. I look in the mirror and I see someone different, older and wiser. I see redemption of so much. I see pain but I also see hope. I know Justin beat me there, I know he is happy there with Jesus. He is redeemed and sometimes redemption comes with a higher cost than we expect. Jesus blood was shed but sometimes our tears must be shed too. Sometimes we pay the price too. We lose something in order to gain something. I will lose Justin in exchange for knowing he is with Jesus. He is not lost. I know that I know, that I know.... God knows best.
Redemption on Calvary's cross was traumatic and painful. Redemption isn't always pretty, sometimes it's messy, heartbreaking and confusing. Even Jesus asked why, as He hung on the cross.
So today, I am messy and heartbroken. I will pull myself together and be thankful for those in my life that have left a profound mark on my life through this. They have made me kinder than I ever was, wiser, better, stronger, better dressed, bolder and have lead me to the cross countless times. They have helped me cultivate honesty in this place of suffering. They have held me and pushed me and for that I am forever grateful.
So today, I tell my soul to be thankful and I am. You can be thankful and sad at the same time...just in case you didn't know.
- April 23, 2014
Who Justin is.....a son, a brother, a jokester, a friend. Loss is what we feel, but it is not "who" Justin is. Justin is redeemed (made new), found not lost, set free from the brokenness of this corrupted world, that is who he is right now.
Who am I....a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, thankful and blessed. Grieving is not "who" I am but it is what I am doing. Who I am is a daughter of the Most High God, a broken vessel looking towards heaven and doing the best I can daily to honor God in this struggle between the broken places and the perfect place still to come.
Who Christ is in me....Redeemer of all things, hope giving, life abundant, strength, grace and love all mixing together within me. Pushing out the doubt and fear and flooding my heart with love. When I turn back to the why's He gently points my thoughts toward Him. He is perfect wisdom, knows all things, sees all things and because of that... I can believe all things are working toward my good. That is Christ in me.
So here I am in a community that gives me space and grace to struggle. I am learning to live in the "who" and not the "why". To trust is my act of sacrifice. To sacrifice "my" understanding and replace it with faith in a greater purpose. He is redeeming all things, including my pain. Thoughts swirl around inside my head and He gently reminds me to be at peace....remember who you are, to whom you belong. The "who" is what's important. Jesus asked the question, whom do you say I am? I say, you are Lord and I trust your wisdom.
The pain doesn't go away, but it grows duller. As I searched through pictures today, trying to find Easter pictures I cried. The pain surfaced like a shark seeking to consume me, I let it take me under for a few minutes and then I felt the sweet peace of Jesus flood my heart. The longing in my heart for Justin becomes a longing for heaven and I realize this is all about training for reigning. For one day soon, we will reign over the redeemed earth and be reunited with those we love. And then....my mind will be completely redeemed, no more swirling doubts and fears but instead constant, perfect peace. Thank you Jesus for being the perfect, spotless sacrifice that opened heaven to my Justin and to myself. Now, if you wouldn't mind to come back quickly I would really appreciate it.
- April 19, 2014
Lessons learned in Kenya
A smile sounds the same in any language.
Sometimes others stories help put your own in perspective.
Surrender is the mark of trust.
It's not what, but who.
Waiting time is never wasted time.
Love is always larger than I can imagine or dream.
I am braver than I know.
Healing is precious when you can release the work to God.
Happy is not a place, but a person.
Mourning is the by-product of love.
I am never alone.
Beauty has no color, its an inside job.
Love is meant to be shared, lavished as a gift on others.
I want more God and less stuff.
Aaahhhh Kenya, its been sweet but I really must get home now. Looking forward to the warmth and love of my tribe. Absence does make the heart grow fonder...sigh....love my life. Thankful for heart lessons and my Kenya home but glad to be heading back to my precious family and friends!
- April 09, 2014
When I grow up I want to be happy(its not to late).Not the kind of happy that comes from everything just right, the kind of happy that sits on your heart like a big fat frog, croaking along with the rythm of your life. The kind of happy that fills your moments even in the presence of struggle. The kind of happy that rubs off on people and points them to the one from whom all joy is found. This kind of happy can't be bought it is given. We can receive it but then we still have to learn it. This kind of happy can be taught if we are willing. It is simple... but the most difficult of things to do.
Let go of everything, then there is nothing left to figure out and nothing to change because letting go of this world is the only change we need to be happy. Deep huh?
You see we cant have our eyes on Jesus and our mind on our problems, joy comes through surrender, and a surrendered life is a happy life. I didn't say perfect...perfect doesn't exist this side of heaven.
Surrendered lovers of God are doing the trusting and loving necessary to create a heart at rest. Beating happy beats out among their daily lives in rythm with the Fathers heart. When I grow up I want to be happy...to look into Jesus eyes and not hear anything but love. I want to leave the worry and restlessness behind, to let go of this world, to quit trying to understand, to quit trying to fix,to just love for that is the answer.
Jesus isnt interested in my winning all the world so much as He is interested in winning all of me. All of me...not just some, not just when it is easy...all my heart, mind and soul. True faith is not about what you do but about what you are becoming. When we have all surrendered, all that we are....that is when the world will be won.
Preaching to myself...becoming happy in the struggle. Ribbit, ribbit!
- April 05, 2014
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