I’ve been thinking a lot about advice I’ve heard over the years: Make the leap! Choose adventure! Climb every mountain! Take a risk! Go out on a limb! And then I thought of my mom’s mantra: Stand, and stand firm. She didn’t run from trials or back down from challenges. She knew they would make her stronger and more resilient. Her example really helped me get through the last decade.
So I learned to sit, to wait. I waited through panic attacks, days of discomfort, bouts of depression, seasons of insecurity, and years of feeling paralyzed. I would run but not far, I would hide but not for long. My mom had taught me to sit with the uneasiness and wait in the uncertainty. And my dad taught me to keep my heart right in the process. As a result, I have been able to process the gifts found in the circumstances of what the last eleven years have brought me…
- My FH (former husband) had a liver transplant.
- His donor, my brother-in-law, passed away. As a result, my FH lost his brother, my former sister-in-law became a widow, and my nephews lost their dad.
- My marriage ended in divorce.
- I went from being a full-time mom to seeing my kids 50% of the time.
- My FH and former sister-in-law got married.
- My Grandma passed away.
- My Nana passed away.
- My Grandpa passed away.
- And then, my mother passed away.
So many life changes. So much loss.
What they gifted me:
- My brother-in-law gave my FH a chance at life.
- My former sister-in-law and I forged a new friendship, my nephews gained a father and my boys gained three amazing step-brothers and an incredible step-mom.
- I went to counseling (for several years).
- I learned to appreciate and make good use of the time I have with my boys.
- I experienced intense healing.
- I got to be with my Grandma often and then at the end when she entered heaven.
- I saw my Nana turn 100 and spent quality time with her the final years and days of her life.
- I got to take care of my Grandpa in his final weeks as he counted down the days until he got to be with my Nana.
- I somehow won the lottery when God was assigning moms. We got 50 incredible years together that I wouldn’t trade for 100 with anyone else.
Do you see how this works? It truly is about letting God fuse our pain with His redemptive grace. Think of life’s bitter trials as vinegar and the beautiful gifts birthed out of growth as the purest olive oil money can buy. When you put them together, they make something useful and tasty called vinaigrette.
I would not be who I am today without the pain that drove me to get help. God transformed me from a shell of myself who questioned my purpose, to someone who understands that God created me for His works and for this time! God blended my trials, heartache, disappointment and insecurities with His healing power, words of life, and calling on my life. This fostered an environment of a deep and rich understanding of His selfless love.
We can walk around wounded and broken, splintered and bitter. And we will likely receive kindness from our fellow humans because life isn’t fair and most people are empathetic. Or we can go get help—we can receive care and choose to be around people who push us to heal and grow and we can spend time in God’s word and learn how to forgive and move forward. Yep, those are the two options.
God gave my mom a hope that her marriage would be restored and she fought hard to stay and fight for that. She could have easily justified leaving my dad and she would have absolutely landed on her feet. I might even have a lovely step dad, who knows? But her decision to cling to God’s promises and remain in her marriage have had far-reaching, multi-cultural and generational impact. I picture her standing at a train station, watching the trains come and go as she decides if she wants to board or not. And her choice to stay put takes her farther than any of those trains would ever travel, reaching more people than would ever buy a ticket to ride, and lasting much longer than the life of the cars traveling those tracks. Sometimes going the distance means simply standing still and over time, growing and maturing from what you experienced and from the lessons learned in the process…in the waiting.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.