Giving thanks for the Hard.

I was at the IF Local conference this last weekend and met some wonderful women. Smart, sweet, genuine…I loved getting to know their hearts and their stories, they were all so different but they were all wanted the same thing. To be able to believe God is really good, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I came home and told Erron, “I’m so glad we’ve been through what we have, and that we are still young(ish). I’m thankful we’ve had so much hard, so early.” Wait. What? Why would I appreciate the hard? Because. I FINALLY believe he’s good. Even when nothing else is.

For a long time, I didn’t want to have anything to do with hardship or heartache. Besides the obvious reasons for not wanting the hard, I especially didn’t want to be different…and heartache changes who you are. I was afraid that loss or disappointment would make me bitter and tough, a glass half empty kind of girl. I envied girls who’s lives had always just worked out the way they imagined from childhood all the way into motherhood. And in fact, I did become that bitter girl when I had to go back to work after having Shepherd two months early. I was just. so. angry. And a feeling a little bit entitled but that’s a whole different post. I would sit, holding tiny Shep in the rocking chair before school and cry, feeling so stressed out about reading fluency and test scores, which I didn’t really care about anymore, because all I wanted was to  hold my own baby longer. I spent every free thought wracking my brain for a way around the impossible situation that was our need for my income. It sucked, and it was turning me into someone I hated. This was the beginning of an honest dialogue with the Man Upstairs. I was straight ticked, his timing was off, and what did He know about mothering anyway? Jesus was not a mom, getting up in the middle of the night, I’m just saying… It was not my finest moment.

Shep and I heading to work. I was probably making a similar face.
Shep and I heading to work. I was probably making a similar face.

Then I finally figured out it was going to have to be me who adapted. I’d run out of choices. I could be resentful, and joyless, or I could start believing God was a good as he said he was, and start looking for it. So slowly, painfully…my heart began to change and I began to trust. Not long after that, Erron got a new job that allowed me to stay home less than a year later.

When Shep fell in the pool it was surprisingly easy to trust God. It was our ONLY option. We literally had nothing else. I had to believe God was good and his promise was real or I would not have been able to survive those moments. It became harder when I woke up in the middle of the night to see the room empty down the hall in ICU. A girl a little older than Charlotte and been brought in from drowning a few days after Shepherd. They both had very similar scenarios coming in. Looking back, I should have known what was happening…I distinctly remember catching the eyes of her father as we passed each other in the hallway. I knew then, but I wouldn’t admit it. I remember a woman crying, so loudly, the day before. But I blocked it out. When I woke up and saw the empty room I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was devastated, and confused. Why them and and not us? It wasn’t fair. And I wondered for a minute, is He still good? 

During the IF conference I heard incredible stories from the some of women presenting, all of them would make you cry, but the golden thread they all shared was the same. Through their unimaginable pain, they still saw God’s goodness. They feel it now, they say, more than they ever had. I can testify to this. In our darkest hours, I felt God’s presence the strongest. It’s counterintuitive, but it was there. And the morning after that room down the hall was emptied, I came to the same conclusion. I don’t understand all His ways, but He is still GOOD. Not because Shepherd lived. But because God met me in the valley of my grief in the most palpable way. Words cannot describe it. Because days before  Shep fell in I had asked a friend to pray that I could live out my faith in a meaningful way to those closest to me because words didn’t carry enough weight. Because of the love that poured in from people who heard our story. Because the story doesn’t end when we first think it does.

I am different then I was 8 months ago.  But it’s a good different this time. I know there will be more heartache, no one gets off scott-free…but I’m not so scared of it like I used to be. And that’s a freeing place to be.

3 thoughts on “Giving thanks for the Hard.

  1. Thank you for your posts. They are so powerful to me. I appreciate your honestly and real-ness with your walk with the Lord. Your words speak to my heart and help me draw closer to God. Truly, thank you!

  2. I can’t even remember which friend initially told me about your story and asked for prayers for your little boy. Though you haven’t known it, I now lean on you/your words to keep my faith as we are now facing challenges for our 11 month-old son. Thank you so much for sharing your family, story, and heart.

    1. Felicia, your comment was so sweet. I would love to lift up you and your little man if you don’t mind sharing his name and your concerns for him if you want. (you can email me) I’d love to pray for you and yours especially knowing you did the same for us. Love to you-Allie

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