“Good morning Mom!” James exclaimed full of joy and wonderment about what was about to happen. As I rolled out of bed, I felt excitement too. Downstairs Phillip brewed coffee and lit a fire in the fireplace in preparation for our family Christmas to begin. As I grabbed my sweatshirt, Faith came into the room with a special twinkle in her eye and asked, “Are you coming Mama?” “Yes Baby, I’m on my way.”
Tuesday morning, like millions of other families, we celebrated Christmas. It was a time of celebration and love indeed. For me, Christmas shopping begins in January when I begin looking for simple things that affirm who Faith and James are becoming. Things that symbolize their accomplishments and growing character. This year, I bought James a copy of the first novel he read independently and the movie that portrayed that story. When he opened it, he jumped up and down, ran over and gave me a hug. As he did, I reminded him of his great accomplishment and how proud I am of him. Faith’s gift was as pair of delicate dangly flower earrings. As she put them on, we shared a quiet moment where I talked about how I love who she is becoming – how she is growing and blooming into the daughter I could only dream of.
A glimpse of my life of the past untouched by brain injury or illness.
How I wish everyday could be like Christmas and yet…
There are so many days that I ache for the beauty of my life before everything fell apart. Days when the physical pain I live with creeps in over the peace bringing darkness that overshadows joy. Days when my bed is my companion instead of my family. Days when hopelessness, and not hope, fill my thoughts for my future. Yes, there are times when the grief over what has been lost is all-consuming, making even the most mundane tasks seem impossible.
My life, filled with new normals.
Battling for peace…
…that is unless I allow myself to grow into a woman of God who deeply trusts the Lord and one who allows myself to be shaped into the person he wants me to be. Proverbs 3:5,6 says,
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
The past two years has been well beyond my understanding. The joys in my life have become my sorrows. The gains — losses. Where I excelled, I now stumble. WHere I was confident and strong — I am now weak. Oh yes what a painful stripping of myself this process has been. However, now that I am beginning to emerge from the darkest of my days, I am seeing there are always two road set before me. One is the road of grace, love and mercy. The other road is endless depression, anger and bitterness.
I have journeyed on both sides of these roads – sometimes by my choice — sometimes as a result of others. Somedays my pain has been so raw I’ve lashed out at friends and loved ones causing them great pain, heartache and me, great sorrow. I have gone to doctors. Some have listened, heard me, and shared in my heartache which in turn has brought me back to hope. Others have dismissed me, ignored my pleas and even attacked my character. For a year and a half I lived isolated and alone. Some friends sought me out, understood my incredible limitations and showed grace upon grace. Others became frustrated and slowly disappeared.
I have learned through these experiences such an important thing. I want to live the rest of my life on the side where Jesus stands. I want to live giving grace, loving well and expressing mercy. I desire to take the pain, and give it to the Lord so he can transform it into something lovely…believing…the scriptures that he DOES make all things beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
A new path. A new joy! A new me!
May we all grow in grace, mercy and love in 2013 and beyond!