Friday, October 2, 2015

Behind the White Picket Fence

Maybe I'm the only one, but since I had Rachel, when I look at pictures of my wedding day, I often think about how completely clueless we were as to what was in store for us.

I had an idea of what happened when you got married and added to your family and it didn't include heartache and dead babies.  It didn't include a constant struggle against sin and selfishness.  It didn't include brain aneurysms or autoimmune diseases.  It didn't include false friendships.  It didn't include most of what growing up and growing in the Lord does...  It didn't include being so bad at so much in life...  Mostly I just pictured a white picket fence, 4 kids, cooking and cleaning, baking cookies - and being able to keep a house clean and smelling fresh! - and things continually getting easier with time - not harder.  Growing up has caused me to learn that there is pain behind every white picket fence.

Often I'm tempted to feel like we've got it all wrong and that's why we continue to have hardships and trials - but the truth is, God never promised we wouldn't.  Some of the most dangerous and hurtful people are the ones who tell people that if they just have enough 'faith' and just pray enough and trust enough that nothing bad will take place.  Because the Bible doesn't say that.  It says that in the valley... in the pain and sorrow and death and sin that exist in this world, that God will be with us.  That He is enough.  That He can turn the ashes to beauty and make something more out of it all.  That we can trust HIM.  Not to give us what we want, but that He is in control of everything and has purpose, even in the things that hurt and are not what we asked for.

Sunday night I had one goal - to watch the "blood moon".  I heard it was so rare that it won't happen again for another 30 years.  It was supposed to be at the most spectacular from 8:00 - 10:30 pm.  That night, I was so overcome with sadness that I was too busy having what could totally be classified as a complete breakdown, that I never remembered the moon.  The next morning, I woke up to Isaiah telling me I *had to* come look at the moon.  I said we missed it and immediately was even more upset because it just seems like I can't get anything right - not even looking out the window at the right time.  I went to look and the moon was still big and beautiful.  It was nothing like what happened the night before, I'm sure, but it was still dark in the early morning hours and still looked as bright and round as a light bulb in the sky.  Isaiah was certainly satisfied with it....

I went to get my coffee and mumbled to myself, maybe if I'm still alive to see the next one in 30 years I won't be crying my nights away anymore and can actually see it.  And I just felt so hopeless - thinking that probably isn't likely.  That I'll either die from a heart attack or brain aneurysm by then or miss it again because that is just how my life seems to go.

I went outside with Ezra later that morning and saw that suddenly, flowers were blooming everywhere in my garden.  Plants that have been barren or dead for weeks - some longer - all had just one or two new flowers on them.  I have no idea if a 'blood moon' can make flowers bloom, but it was crazy.  My daisy mums were due to bloom, but to see the carnation standing tall - a huge Hibiscus out of nowhere - and the one purple flower in my pot that someone gave me for Teacher's Day months ago that has been dead for weeks and looking pretty sad for much longer than that... and even one of my day lilies was showing it's face...

I started taking pictures and one picture really captured my thoughts...  mostly because of the white picket fence in the background.

I have a beautiful home - it's small for us now, but when we moved in, I couldn't believe it was mine - I have the white picket fence. I have a house full of kids and get to stay home with them like I always wanted.  I have a hard working man who is a great and devoted dad.

I also have dead babies.  Pain.  Heartache.  Loneliness.  Marriage is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Good, loyal and true friends are rare.

I have a beautiful garden that I worked for years to make so it always has blooms somewhere through the warmer months - but I still have to face winters.  It's just the way life goes.  I never like winter better just because I can see it coming.  I hate watching things wither and die - and since I buried Rachel, I have developed a serious dislike of the hard, frozen ground and how the snow gets in the way on the roads on the days I need them clear the most.  My favorite season by far is spring because I love watching things come to life and bloom...  but I suppose I only love it so much because of the hard season before it that makes the new growth so refreshing and encouraging.

Right now I am watching the world lose it's color; it's life.  I'm seeing the beauty of the leaves as they die and watching them start to fall, leaving behind bare and plain trees.  The air is cool, the nights are longer and colder, the fun and light summer days are gone.  These days are always hard for me because I feel Rachel's birthday coming from August on - and I'm not sure if that will go on for my entire life, but I certainly didn't still expect it to be 5 years later back then... so I won't be surprised if this half of the year is always a long reminder of my days with her.  And being pregnant again right now... it's just so strange.  Hard to believe at times.  Hard to remember it isn't her at times.

I'm preparing myself for a long winter....  but I hope along the way God will give me splashes of color like he did on Monday to keep me hopeful because I'm struggling to feel it... to see it... to know it... that this season will eventually lead us back to the new life and growth of spring.  That death only stings for so long and eventually life will spring forth and with it bring the promise of eternity.

I remember when I was pregnant with Rachel looking at the falling leaves and hearing God whisper to my heart that I need to learn to bend with him.... and I'm in that place again.... needing to learn to bend and trust.  I also remember after she was gone how year after year he has used my garden to love on me as my heart has ached for her.

Monday when I saw all these beautiful flowers peeking through dry and withered plants I felt a sense of calmness wash over my heavy heart as he reminded me the control He has over everything and how He can bring life out of death and beauty out of pain - in unexpected places, at unexpected times.

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