Today, bitterness is nipping at my heels. I am trying hard to outrun it, but it is like a lion on the tail of a deer.
So here is where I come. To expel the thoughts that threaten to consume me…
Three years ago I was looking at being an empty-nester. At being a mom who had raised her children. At finally being able to explore a life with just my husband….you see, I already had a child when we married, so we had never been “just the two of us.” I had dreams. Ideas. Expectations.
And then it changed.
And now I feel like I was set up. This feeling comes and goes. I long to be rid of it.
It took me awhile to wrap my head around the idea of raising another child. I had such defined hopes for the future. Taking another path came completely out of the blue. But soon I realized how important it was to my husband to take on raising our grandbaby.
So I asked God to help me wrap myself around it.
I asked him to help me find a way to give what my selfishness did not want to give.
And He did.
And I was in….with everything in me.
I fed. I loved. I nurtured. I prayed over that little boy as I sat with him in that rocking chair, deep in my own grief and pain. I asked God to cover him. To bless his little life. To make him a light. To help me raise him to be a tender, faithful warrior. I invested everything I could find to give. I battled the voice of death over both of our lives. And I won. God won.
And then he was gone.
Just like that.
My mind, my flesh, my life experience tells me that I was “set up.” Why would I struggle so hard to come to terms with raising another child, only to have him ripped away after going all in?
I’ve come far enough with the Lord to understand that there is always meaning behind pain….that none of this agony is ever wasted…but this one has left me grasping for that peace that I had found. I know that grief and peace can exist together because I have known it, but right now, my battle is keeping bitterness at bay. And that is hard.
And I grieve.
He was not my son, but he was the son of my heart. I feel like I have lost a child. I do not mean to minimize any mother who has ever lost a child…please do not hear that from me. I can only give you my own story, my own emotion, my own perspective.
One moment I want all his things where I can see them, smell them, touch them. The next
moment I cannot bear the chasm that opens in my chest when I see a 2 year old in a restaurant or a toddler throwing a fit in the grocery store. I’ve had to leave the grocery store because I could not bear the sound of a crying child. Sometimes I want to peak around the corner of an isle and see a sweet little face and offer comfort and sometimes I want to get as far away as I can, as fast as possible. Blonde hair and blue eyes are the end of me.
I feel like he will be forever frozen in time. I
took pictures and videos of him obsessively and now they come up in my photo memories daily. I still see him and get an occasional picture, but it is not the same. It is not me taking the picture, experiencing the new things with him or hearing the new words he says. I will not be the one he has his first conversation with.
It is a conflicted world I am living in now. I am so happy that he has a family that loves him more and more every day. I had such fear when he was first taken away, but I have learned that there is no need to be afraid. I love that his daddy is there to teach him and play with him and see him grow and change. What a gift he is for Asher.
Then there are the days when the feeling of betrayal is raw and heavy and bitter. When those who are supposed to love you the most, hurt you the most, there is a road that must be walked….and I am walking it. I am not there yet. One day I miss the daughter I dreamed of having…..she has a birthday coming up and my sister and I had talked months ago about ways to surprise her. But the very next day, the thought of seeing her makes me want to run. She has hurt me deeply. Some days I wonder if I will ever be able to think only of the good things and not all of the hurtful things…but just like every other hurt that has come my way, I must find my way through this one. And I WILL find my way through, because I refuse to become a bitter old woman who lives in a past of hurt and betrayal.
I will not let anyone else write my story for me. I decided that a long time ago. Things may happen to me, people may hurt me, but I decide how the story goes from there. The truth about bitterness, is that I can choose it or not. Right now, I’m battling it….but it will not win.
I have to do the work to get the win.
And I will win.
Because mercy triumphs over judgement.
And I will rise.