When healing looks different than you thought it would
I wanted to get out of the house, take some pictures and seek some beauty together. But I think what I really hoped for was to twist open the release valve on my thoughts. I needed this pressure inside my head to release.
I mentioned to Jonathan that, "Maybe could go to the park?" It would be golden hour. Perfect for pictures and a bit of breathing room before the delving into the bedtime routine we've been struggling so much with. But as he finished up supper and helped get Behr ready to go, I watched as the valley's rim thirstily drank up the last of the day's sunshine. All that light I'd been counting on was sinking into the grey clouds and my heart right along with it. This isn't how it was supposed to be.
We hurriedly loaded both kids in the car and drove over to the spot I had in mind, all while I swallowed my disappointment and adjusted my vision to reconcile it with reality. We unloaded from the car and stepped out onto the cold, green grass. I gasped inwardly at what I saw.
This isn't what I thought it would look like, it was better.
I'd never seen a sunset like this one. A thin veil of fog curled delicately from the ground like a bridal veil. The sky was blending and changing; a beautiful dance of pink and yellow spires. Even though the sun had disappeared behind the hills for the night, this felt in every way like a sunrise.
It's been two months since Scout slipped from my body into the world. Two months of rejoicing and adjusting and trying to figure out one another all over again. It's been a happy time, but also a weird mix of conflicting emotions.
The truth is, I'm still trying to reckon with the fact that nearly a year of our life got sucked into the growling belly of a monster called antepartum depression. And not only that, but I also spent months bedridden from morning sickness and multiple viruses while Jonathan worked the most overtime he's ever had and Behr refused to sleep normally. Our marriage, my relationship with Behr, our church life--all of it--was switched into survival mode during that time. Head down, hunched shoulders against the wind, one foot in front of the other. Just. Get. Through. It.
I've never known loneliness and despair like that.
I guess in a way I'm just now mourning what took place. It was the hardest thing we've ever endured as a family. It changed us. The ground shook as the plates of our familiarity shifted. And honestly, we're over here still trying to find our footing.
Our visit to the park was wrapping up, bedtime was waiting to be attended to but we just couldn't leave. At least not yet. As the sun sank lower into the West we watched, amazed, as the sky grew increasingly vibrant. Color leaked from the clouds and splashed into the valley like a rose-shaded waterfall. Pink was everywhere. On the brim of our hats, tangled up in Behr's curls, kissing Scout's round cheeks. The earth blushing at the scandal of this sort of unexpected beauty.
And I couldn't believe that right when things were supposed to be turning their bleakest was when it all became the most glorious.
I know from past experience that God never allows hardship into our life without purpose. That doesn't mean we can't feel disappointment or confusion over the fact that they had to happen in the first place. This world is broken and it's ok to be angry alongside the heart of God over that.
As Ann Voskamp once wrote: "You don't judge your feelings; you feel your feelings--and then you give them to God."
So this is me giving my (frustrated, disappointed, hurt, sad, scared) feelings over to Jesus; trusting full well that His love is big enough to hold me while I struggle through them and strong enough to speak healing truth into me when dark emotions overwhelm my spirit.
And, regardless of what I feel, the reality is I'm not the one holding the pen that's writing our story, Jesus is. And like any good author, He's been weaving a much more intricate, exciting outcome than I could ever hope for all along. Here's to remaining faithful while reading through the hard chapters of our life, amen?
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from who every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more than we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and over. Amen."