As I begin writing, I am sitting on my couch listening to my children as one sings (loudly) an off-key worship song, another works diligently on a list of “boundaries” that a great accountability partner asked her to create, another sits right outside the door resolving a conflict with her boyfriend and another is sending me texts to tell me she misses me and loves me. My life is full.
In moments like this, I count my blessings and thank God for the privilege of guiding these precious lives and pointing them toward Him. [quote]My heart feels full of love and my thoughts are tender, pure and hopeful. I chuckle here because this blissful place may only last through the next sentence before chaos erupts. [/quote]
My instinct is to type, “I wish I could say that every moment of every day felt that way.” But I’m not entirely sure that I really, truly feel that way. I do enjoy the moment, but honestly some of the best growth that I’ve seen in my girls, my marriage and myself has come in the pit of despair, anger and hurt. There are many moments that I have failed terribly and wish with all my heart that I could have a do-over. But, I wouldn’t trade the lessons I learned along the way for anything.
This very week I celebrated my 40th birthday, said my earthly goodbyes to a dear friend, contended with a crime that had been committed against one of my children and genuinely just tried to hold it together during every single one of the last seven days. In the middle of it, I cried out to the Lord and said, “I just don’t think I can take any more.” Softly, my spirit reminded me that I can do ALL things through Christ’s strength within me. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I rolled my eyes. After which, God reminded me that He doesn’t attend pity parties.
I say all of that because I want you to know that I am incredibly and unbelievably blessed, for many reasons, but here are just a few: I married my high school sweetheart and we will celebrate 21 years of marriage this fall. I have four absolutely stunning daughters, two very handsome grandsons and one extremely spoiled black Labrador, Chester. My life truly is full.
However, in the midst of the blessings God has seen fit to trust me with some incredible trauma, deep pain, heart wrenching loss and a journey that has kept me on my knees. And, somewhere along the way, a long time ago, I discovered the meaning of Philippians 4:7’s “…peace that passes all understanding…” and have learned that it’s not talking about a kumbaya, butterflies-all-around, wistful kind of peace. [quote]This peace is beyond feelings and has, for me, often looked like tears streaming down my face, fear knocking at my heart, right in the center of heart-break or anger – turning my face and thoughts toward God and saying, “You HAVE to be in control because otherwise, I’m done.”[/quote]
I titled this post Fragile Fabric because the word fragile immediately cautions us to handle with care, know that there’s something precious and delicate inside; and fabric comes in all shapes, colors, textures and styles. Yet, even ripped fabric can be repaired and some fabrics are even more sought after once their worn and have a few holes.
On many days, I’ve found myself in the role of seamstress of the broken hearts of my children. My only equipment: the shears of truth which cut away the lies from the past and a needle filled with the love of our Father which carries the unbreakable thread of the Word – allowing the Master’s hand to guide me as I unskillfully try to repair each and every ripped place. Truthfully, there are some broken places that only God can repair and even in all my willingness, His timing is not right now and not me. I trust in those instances that there’s someone else – a friend, a teacher, a future spouse whose already being equipped with a needle and thread.
It’s my hope that as I share the fabric of my family and how God has so masterfully knit us together, that you will find encouragement. [quote]There is only way to travel on the journey toward “forever” when your family is woven together using a patchwork of broken pieces – by roller-coaster.[/quote]