Courage is spelled L-I-V-E.

Being Brave….The very word conjures up visions of of a barechested warrior with painted face, crossbow and arrows galloping barebacked on a sinewy stallion.  Or on a more contemporary note, a firefighter in full gear rushing into a burning building to save the desperate ones trapped inside.

But me? “Brave”??
Hmmm…no thank you!  I’ve lived long enough to know what it means to be brave…..long enough to know the costs.

As much as we’d love to have bravery similar to the great epic films onscreen, for most of us, bravery is something as simple as finding the ‘strength’ to carry on another day.

Have you ever wanted to simply, quietly, just slip away?  Has life ever beaten you down so badly, you just wanted to close your eyes and simply stop.  everything? The betrayal of a husband.  The doctor’s report of a terminal disease. The loss of a loved one.  The untimely death of a son/daughter.

In 2011, that last one was the one that almost took me down for good.
Because quite frankly, a mother is simply not supposed to bury her own child. Not her firstborn son. Not in the prime of his life.

So, what do you do with that? What do you do when life completely contradicts your faith?  And it does you know. These are things that no one wants to delve into.  Because there is no rhyme or reason.  No pat answer. Can’t just tuck it into a neat little box or explain it in 3 points and a conclusion.

Jo Ann talks about this in her book, “When A Woman Finds Her Voice”. In chapter 8, she talks about  “The Courage to Process Grief”:

This hard conversation may well require the most courage. When life cuts deep, the groans linger. The sheer loss of something precious overwhelms, chokes, intimidates. We riddle ourselves with despairing thoughts about how we should have done something differently, how this pain will never go away.”

We have a tendency to tell people, “well, now you can  have closure’.
But can I be ‘real’ with you right now?  Time really does not heal all wounds and closure…well quite honestly, when it comes to a child’s death, closure is completely overrated.  I know. Because I thought I would have it (closure).  But it never came. Time has not ‘healed’ the wound.  And it probably never will.  Not in the way we expect anyway.  The sharp loss of breath as I think about it, isn’t as piercing, but the dull ache, the empty space, well that is and will always be there.

Instead I learned that the only way you can carry on is to trust in God’s innate and unchangeable  goodness. Because, trust you must.  If you’re going to keep away from the danger of bitterness and complete shipwreck of faith, you have to ground yourself in the fundamental truth that God is good.  God is sovereign. God loves you with an everlasting love.

serenity_prayerMy grounding truth came to me in the form of a prayer. Subconsciously, one portion of an old classic prayer became the replay record in my heart and head that ‘kept’ my sanity….

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”

That’s it.  That’s as far as I could go. Just that one line.  Repeating itself over and over and over in my heart like an invisible ‘lifeline’  that marked the boundary which kept me from going over the edge.

It was this thought that sat with me on my porch one morning, long after the burial, when I once again in my life, surrendered my will, my thoughts, my heart to God and His Will and Sovereignty.  As I asked Him to please give me the ‘peace’ to accept this which I could  in no wise change, the next portion of that prayer came softly to me…The “courage” to change the things I can.

It would take more courage to live than to die.  More strength to carry on than to give up.  I still had two girls who needed me.  No they weren’t babies.  They were both grown, young adults but they were my girls. And they needed me.  My grandchildren needed me.

shifting
“There is a powerful shifting that takes place as we abandon our right to understand and yield to God’s working in our lives” – Jo Ann Fore
And so I kept breathing.  And did the most courageous thing I had ever done in my life to date….I gave my son back to God.  I gave my pain, my grief, my unanswered questions to Him.  And I said to Him what He said in His Word.

“The things You reveal to me Lord belong to me. The things You do not…those ‘mysteries’ belong to You.” I trust You because I know that You love me and would never ‘harm’ me. But I so desperately need your help.  Help me breathe.  Help me make it. Help me not be bitter.  Help. me. live.”

There is a benefit to losses in this life, on this side of eternity.  They help you detach from the love of ‘this’ world.  This world is not our home.  And, If you ask me today, I will tell you, I have THREE children, not just two.  Two here and One waiting for me in the Halls of Heaven. He’s restored.  He’s healed. He’s reunited with His Heavenly Father.  He’s waiting for me in the halls of eternity.  He is ‘Safely Home’…and I am so looking forward to holding him when I get there!

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10 thoughts on “Courage is spelled L-I-V-E.

  1. Michelle – your words of hope are beautiful, and the words you used to describe your wounds are thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing the details of your life with us, you are beautiful inside and out. love you my friend.

  2. I love that you tell folks about your three children — my lil Lacey Jane {grand-daughter for those who don’t know me} did this the other night as they were checking me into the hospital. Yep, had to drag her right along with me, and the nurse thought that she was simply going to pacify a lil four-year-old. What she didn’t know was the heart and passion that courses this child’s veins.

    “So do you have any brothers or sisters?” the nurse asks.

    “I have both. A brother and sister. My brother lives here, and my sister lives in Heaven.” Lacey smiled; the nurse the one pacified in the end.

    Oh, the courage to change the things we can . . .

    Friend, I’m honored to walk this journey with you. ❤

  3. Amen! God bless your beautiful Lacey. I imagine she and my Chasity would get along just fine (tutu’s and cowboy boots and outspoken faith and all!)
    Thank you Jo Ann. I know I’ve said it before, but truly your book and your friendship were divinely timed and ordained for me.
    Bless you always my dear fellow journey walker ❤

  4. You write with such courage and vulnerability and hope! I am so sorry for the loss of your son, but so grateful for the work God has done in your life in and through your suffering. You are a truly a woman of God!

    1. Julie, thank you for your kind words. Writing this was very difficult for obvious reasons, but I realize that there are so many who may have gotten ‘stuck’ along the way of this grievous pain. I know how easy it is for that to happen. These roads…we definitely do not want to travel but God does give Grace and Strength for the journey.
      Bless you!

  5. Amen. And much love to you. Closure is indeed something very different from the inside than from the outside looking in! Nothing fills that void that is left when they go, but we have eternal hope, and promises from a God who never fails! We’ll see them again. And until then voices like yours bless through the hurt and tears. Much love.

  6. Reblogged this on My Secret Place and commented:

    The post was originally written in 2013. Two years after the loss of my son.
    Tonight, another mom mourns the loss of her young adult son.
    Gone way too soon. Way too young.
    And so, I reblog this. In honor of her pain. her loss. her grief. Two mother-hearts walking a road neither one of us would ever have chosen yet left with no choice but to endure. May your heart be upheld as you walk your road. In your own pace. In your own time. May Grace & Peace be your constant companions….

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