I still loved the Lord, though I looked an awful lot like the world in my dress and manner. I still loved my husband, though I was far from honoring him. I still loved my children fiercely, though I had no desire to commit myself wholly to nurturing, teaching, discipling them. I still loved my home, though I believed housecleaning was a stereotypical, legalistic mold that I needed to have good boundaries against.
You see, I loved. I've always loved deeply. But I wanted to love easy.
Sarah Mae said once upon a time, "Being intentional is super hard. Really loving is also super hard. I want to do the hard things."
I thought I loved well. But I lacked intentionality, commitment, calling. NO, I had calling. But callings take intentionality and commitment and doing hard things, and not just seeing the joy in it but choosing to count it all as joy.
But all that was after our first loss.
When I was 22 Caleb died and I felt life drain from me in every facet, and I wanted to grieve my baby. But we were so, so young and surrounded by young like us and younger. No one told us that grieving would be good and right, there was just silence and encouragement that we'd have another. And that's not their fault. They didn't know, same as us. So my hard-labor preacher husband bottled like it never happened. And I? I made a label-less box, neatly tied with ribbon in my soul to stuff it all in. And it stayed in a back room collecting dust, and I had forgotten where I put that key.
We became pregnant again in less than 3 months and while she truly was a "rainbow baby," we didn't see that nor desired to. We had "gotten over" that "bump in the road." But what I didn't realize was how that neatly packaged box that held grief and my son's name and my identity as his mother would effect me. I felt like I was missing something as I struggled so hard to love and love life. I just kept busy. For years. Because I knew if I stopped, I'd break. But I didn't know what from. My forever deeply passionate momma-heart NEEDED to acknowledge and grieve and heal.
I convinced myself it was a lack of faith in God. This, this constant struggle for peace. This too is how we all feel if we're withholding forgiveness. It eats at us. And it's confusing because we love Jesus and follow Him and yet there's no peace. We have to deal and we have to heal, give Him rein to heal us.
So I stayed busy in ministry and was such a fun, young, hot Christian mom.
Four years after he died and I was pregnant again, I heard someone share of their grief over their daughter's miscarriage. It awed me listening to her talk about this baby as if it were the same to her as her living grandchild. I could barely breathe and all my insides seemed to lock up as she explained that she will always wonder who she would have been and that she asked the Lord, if it pleased Him, to give her a dream to settle her soul. She said she HAD dreamed. DID see. And while she still misses, she has peace.
I felt as though a thousand volcanoes were preparing to erupt inside my soul. And I wondered if God had that for me too. I told Him bluntly and humbly that I was afraid to ask and Him say no, and confessed I had zero faith for it, but was asking anyway. The beauty of acknowledging HIS holiness is that it also acknowledges our lack, our nothingness. And it allows the self-inflicted shackles of condemnation to absolutely disintegrate. I had nothing to bring to the table and He knew it. And that very stinkin' night, I dreamed.
I dreamed of heaven, Glory, and I saw him there, Caleb. He looked straight at me, in my eyes and I knew, knew-knew, that it was my son. He did not come to me. He was where he was supposed to be. But he did smile. A smile of purity and joy and perfect peace untainted by this world. He appeared four years old! His brown hair fluttered over his eyes when he turned and he had his daddy's eyes that shone at me with a mutual acknowledgement of who I am to him.
Turns out a lot of people have experienced these kinds of encounters. A very many.
I stopped being busy. I was still before the Lord. And I wept for days. I acknowledged, I grieved, and started the journey of healing. I had two daughters before my eyes, another in my womb, and a son in heaven. I was a momma of four who could rest.
It was after that I began pouring myself into my callings and relationships, with both intentionality and commitment, and began learning to walk in the Lord's peace and fruit of the Spirit. That's when I started to scratch the surface of who He created me to be; free and full of love and love for life in the mundane, every-day. That's when I started writing. But that's for tomorrow. Today was just about before.