Monday, September 2, 2013

The silver lining

One week after Ryan's funeral, I found myself lying flat on my face on my bedroom floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

Given that our new house was not completely unpacked yet, I decided that following Saturday to attack my bedroom and get some of the boxes out of the way.  Along the way, there had to be at least fifty emotional landmines.  What was I supposed to do with the items from Ryan's nightstand?  His eyeglasses?  His socks?  Meaningless items, but it was still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he did not need these anymore.  All of this was difficult, but it did not compare to the ammunition provided by a stack of handwritten letters, tied with a black ribbon.

When Ryan was 17, he spent a summer in Wyoming "cowboying" on a ranch.  He did not have much internet access, and this was prior to texting.  So we went old-fashioned that summer.  Countless letters and postcards were sent between Hart, Michigan and Cody, Wyoming.  We had been dating for about a year and a half, and we were crazy, crazy in love.  I made the stupid, absolutely insane decision to read the letters that day.

"I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you..."
"I am so looking forward to growing old with you and playing with our grandkids..."
"I could spend eighty years with you and never grow tired of you..."

Suddenly, the fact that all of our dreams for a long life together, horses, children, grandchildren, traveling, and ministry had been cut down and destroyed hit me like a ton of bricks, and I crumpled and hit the floor.

There is no time period of my life that has been more excruciating than the spring of 2013.  And sometimes I have struggled to make any sense of it. Why?  Why this pain?  Why me?  Why Ryan?  Why Colton?  Does this pain have any purpose?!  Is there any silver lining?

It does have purpose.  And there is a silver lining.

Fifteen months ago, I wrote a blog post about suffering.  This post is not going to be a replica of that one, which was about sharing in the sufferings of Christ and why suffering is beneficial for us in the long run.  Today, I'm simply searching for what I have to be thankful for.  I am redeeming the pain that I have suffered.  My God has promised me that His plans are meant for my good, and that He has given me hope and a future.  Today I am looking for what has been for my good.

Because of this pain, I...
  • have become a better parent.  Being the only parent of a grieving child has taught me even more about compassion and patience.  It has forced me to be less self-focused at a time when I could easily be all about myself.  My little boy lost his father and he doesn't fully understand why.  Anything that I'm going through pales in comparison to his situation.
  • have learned to take better care of myself.  I am very in tune with my needs at the moment.  Some days I need alone time to recharge, and I'm making that a priority.  Sometimes I need to be with my friends.  I need to exercise and eat food that makes me energetic.  I need to have fun and laugh and do things that I enjoy, so I'm doing that.
  • have learned to appreciate happiness (even small measures of it) and not take it for granted.  When something comes along that truly makes me grin, I recognize that and I thank God for it.  A beautiful sunset, a wonderful conversation, a walk-off Tigers win, a well-brewed pot of coffee, a good book, a bike ride through creation, or even just a really funny TV show - I am so grateful for these things.
  • have learned (re-learned?) to rely on the Lord for my joy.  All of the things listed above are wonderful, but they do not compare to the deep contentment that comes from knowing Him and trusting Him and being thisclose to Him.
  • will be a better spouse (if God chooses that for me) in the future.  I can easily look back and pick apart all of the faults that I had when I was married to Ryan, but that is futile.  Let's just say that I grew a lot in seven years, and Ryan pushed me to be a better person. (Anyone who knew Ryan well is probably smiling, imagining what I mean by that.) What is most important is that I learned not to take someone for granted because we are not guaranteed (at all) that we will have our spouse into old age.  Each day is a gift.
I never would have chosen the road that I've been on.  The price that I had to pay to learn all these lessons - when I think about that price, it is almost too much to bear.  I still have to pinch myself when I think, I buried my 27-year-old husband.  It is still totally surreal.  But despite the grief, the emotional triggers that appear out of freaking nowhere, I know that I'm moving forward.  I have finally come to the place where I am thankful for what I have, what I had, and I am not mourning all the time but rather I'm celebrating because my God has once again proven Himself to be enough for me.  I have been so blessed.  So blessed.

Are there still hard days?  Absolutely.  Don't ask me about the night before Colton's first day of preschool last week; it's a tear-filled haze.  Am I still in pain?  Yes, and I imagine that I will always feel those sharp twinges of pain throughout the rest of my life.  But I am reminded of Psalm 40:1-3 at this stage in my life:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Because I have been redeemed, my hymn of praise will continue, undaunted.  Christ's sacrificial love for me is the ultimate silver lining.

7 comments:

Sally Malburg said...

Your words and thoughts are so real and I can feel your pain. Praying as I see you growing in the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your encouraging words that I can share with a friend who's grieving the loss of her son.
Sharon

David Robinson said...

Praying for you and Colton. Your strength and faith is a wonderful testimony to the love of God and His power

Deb Schneider said...

Love you both! You are a blessing to me and many others! Prayers for you still as you go throughout your days and weeks ahead with God by your side!

stacey Bruno said...

I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who's name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one's gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I'm now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com

HIS daughter said...

I cried when I read this. I just found your blog via the miracle mountain ranch facebook page. Just wanted to send prayers and hugs your way!

Mercy Brown said...

I’m Mercy brown by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. Madurai the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I’m so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and always there to answer you question giving you the good advice that you need. his email is maduraitemple@yahoo.com