February 12, 2017

Where are the Words?

We just passed a big milestone: eleven months since Kevin's healing and leaving this earth. We've been here for eleven months without our husband, father, brother, son, and friend. The moment I said goodbye to him in that hospital room I had no idea how in the world we would make it even one day, and here we are, 339 days later, still making it one day at a time.

GOD IS GOOD. I don't think I can say that enough. He is the only reason we are still here. Still moving. Still laughing. Still loving. And yes, even still crying.

I've had a real lack of words lately, for pretty much everything in my life. The last 2 months or so have had a lot of highs and lows and lots of emotions. Doubt about my ability as a mom and teacher have been running rampant. Fears about all kinds of things are threatening to take over my mind. Getting out of bed seems to be getting harder instead of easier. Pretty much every day I lay in bed for a minimum of 30 minutes praying, begging God to give me the motivation to get moving. To get some exercise. To do school well. To love my children as He loves them. And every day, He gets me out of bed. I haven't exercised like I should, but He gives me that motivation on the days I need it most. Honestly, school hasn't been stellar. I am not rocking the homeschool mom thing. I have spent much time questioning the wisdom of continuing, but fearing that even if the Lord told me to send them to school, they'd be so far behind because I've totally sucked it up this year that they'd both have to go back a year. But, each day He gives me just enough energy to get through that day's work. He's been so gracious to show me the days when we all just need to push school aside, sit together and read books, and laugh and cry as we share memories of this man all three of us loved so much. I've lost my temper more times than I should with my kids. They have watched TV/Netflix/Amazon more in the last 11 months than they have in their entire lives before this. I know I have had more failures than successes in the area of loving my children well, but God has even given grace for that, as they continue to lavish their love on me and come running to me in their pain and sadness and joy and laughter.

I have found it hard to express this stage of grief. I know I've said before how uncomfortable I make others. They feel as though they can't share their hurts and pains and worries and hard times because they seem small in comparison to mine. I sort of have the opposite feeling. I see the daily hard and hurt and stress and life that others are living and this pain in our lives seems so small in comparison. Kevin is gone and the memories are fresh and the tears fall, but the hope that we have because we know that, regardless of the poor choices he made at the end of his life, he was a child of God and was welcomed home by his Savior. This is grace. And joy. And hope. And peace. There is pain, but we do not grieve without hope. So many around us do. We've sacrificed nothing to love Christ or make our new life without Kevin. So many around me have sold all of their belongings, left family behind, all to share Christ with those around them. I feel silly in comparison, grieving over a loss that really wasn't a loss, at least to Kevin. My kids are such encouragement to me. They remember Kevin with such fondness. They love to share the funny, silly stories of Daddy. They shed tears, to be sure, but more often than not it's laughter they are bringing to his memories. When I am sad, they rush right in with a hug and a laugh. This pain has truly increased their compassion toward others.

And it's just like God, in the midst of a time when words seem so hard to come by, that the Lord sends two opportunities my way to do just that: share words. My words. Kevin's words. God's words. For the first time I've been asked to share Kevin's story to speak the truth about addiction and the pain that it brings, to the addicted one and to their families, but not from the lens of how God moves anyway. Not from the point of view of searching out the grace and declaring that above all else. It feels weird. It feels hard. I don't even know if the words for sharing the story this way are in me. Except that I know God opened this door and I am supposed to walk through it, so I have to trust that He'll also give me the words.

God also opened the door for me to share with another church the journey we lived so that we can have an open, honest, gut-wrenching talk about addiction within the walls of the church. Again, I am not sure that I have the words. I don't have a bunch of theology to go with it. Is it sin or is it falling for the enemy's lies or some odd, overwhelming mixture of the two? I really don't know. There is definitely sin in parts of the story, but there's definitely an uncontrolled change, lies that convince the addict they must have the drug to live, and a true disease that needs help in order to overcome it. Where does that conversation leave the church and addicts? I have no idea, but I know the Lord opened this door and I know the gentleman that will be doing the interview genuinely and lovingly desires help and healing for addicts, desires for those in the church suffering from addiction to feel the freedom to overcome the shame associated with it in order to step up and get the help they need, and to see many come to Christ, regardless of their past. The Lord opened the door and asked me to walk through it, so I must trust that He'll give me the words.

Lord, I need You. Oh, Father, how I need You! Every day. Every hour. Give me energy. Give me creativity. Give all three of us a love for Your Word. Give us a love for learning. Give us eyes to see how each lesson we do in school points us to You and equips us to better share You with those around us. Lord, bless each of these opportunities You've given me to share this story You've given us. Fill my mouth with Your words and draw many to You through this hard journey we've been on the last year. Redeem our tears. Redeem the pain. Bring glory to Yourself in each interview, each re-telling of this pain, each memory of our beloved daddy and husband.

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