Tonight I read chapter one of the book When God Doesn't Fix It by Laura Story. I knew that it was going to be a hard read because, well, I am living "when God doesn't fix it." My emotions are raw. Everything reminds me of Kevin. Tears often flow freely. Especially at home. At night after the kids are in bed. When I am sitting here in my room with no one to see the tears. As you can guess, sitting in my room alone reading this book at 10:30 at night was a recipe for a hot mess. I did not disappoint!
If the rest of the book is like chapter one, I may not make it through. As she was describing the issues her husband was having: couldn't stay awake, forgetful, unable to hold conversation, etc, I was transported through the last three years. Those were all things that Kevin displayed as a result of depression and addiction. When she revealed that her husband was displaying these things as the result of a brain tumor, my first thought was, "I wish it had been a brain tumor."
How heartless. How thoughtless. I feel horrible that I even had that thought. Like Laura and her husband, Kevin and I spent countless hours on our knees crying and begging God to remove this disease. This thorn in the flesh. And nothing. To his dying day he struggled. If we'd been fighting a brain tumor, it would have been an honorable fight. Instead, because it was addiction, it felt shameful and lonely, for both of us. If he'd had a brain tumor I wouldn't have had to spend my days wondering whether he really ever loved or cared for me or the kids. If he'd had a brain tumor he would have felt like he could share and let others in. If he'd had a brain tumor I wouldn't have had to fight the feeling that he was always choosing the drug over our family (even though that was never the case.) Before I understood even the tiny bit I do about addiction, I begged God to make me sick, with anything (cancer, brain tumor, whatever it would take) so Kevin would see how badly the kids needed him and he would just stop being stupid and stubborn and come to his senses. Now I know that was a ridiculous thought and an even more ridiculous request. There were moments when I think I knew he would never recover. The depression was too strong, Satan's lies to deep, and his hope too thin. I don't know what I could have done to change things, but this I know: Kevin's death was an answer to our desperate pleas and cries for deliverance. Is there any better deliverance than complete and total healing and worshiping at Christ's feet? Can I still worship when His answer was so drastically different than the answer I truly expected?
You all, I was praying expecting a very different answer than I got. In my mind I could see his healing here on earth, the two of us ministering together and sharing our testimony of deliverance to those who so desperately needed to hear it. I prayed believing that Kevin was going to be 100% healed here on earth and would stand as a beautiful testimony to the power of our God. How could I pray in faith, believing one thing would happen, and then the exact opposite is what actually happens? Was I praying wrong? Was there a sin in my life keeping God from hearing my prayers? Was God not answering because Kevin wasn't saved in the first place? Why did God answer similar prayers for others and not for us? I have no answers. I don't know why the Lord answered our prayers this way. I don't know why the kids and I are still here and Kevin isn't. There are days I struggle to think that waking up here on this earth is a gift. That there's any grace in still being on this planet when Heaven is my home. Waking up in Heaven would be grace. Being here almost seems like punishment in comparison to the joy that awaits in Heaven.
However, the truth is that ALL IS GRACE. ALL IS GIFT. Even waking up here. Without my husband. Filled with the shame of a death caused by addiction. Filled with the regret of not being able to help him while he was here. Able to walk beside my children and show them God's love and faithfulness each day. To pray fervently for their salvation and the new lives they will have in Christ. To live out for them a life of trusting and waiting on Christ, in the good and the bad. I am here to know Christ and to make Him known. To love God and love people.
Oh, Father, please don't ever stop drawing me to You. Let Your face shine upon me. Upon Sophie. Upon Ethan. Draw Ethan to You and fill him with the Holy Spirit to lead him and guide to a life that is poured out for You in any way You ask. Continue to grow Sophie to be more and more like You each day. Fill our hearts with a love and passion for Your word. Fill us with a love for the precious people You have created and placed around us. Oh, Father, may those who see fear You rejoice when they see us, because we have put our hope in Your word. (Psalm 119:74.)