Mercies in Disguise

To those of you who follow regularly, you know that I frequently discuss what I have to come to feel is my calling in life after J’s death, or maybe as a result of his death.  I don’t like how that last part sounds though; I don’t like having to lose him in order to attempt to touch lives.  In fact, when I woke up this morning, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even want this to be my calling.  I spoke with a good friend about sometimes praying that this wouldn’t be my calling, that I could have an easier one.  Maybe that seems selfish, but, I’m sharing it with you anyways, because like always, my pity party leads to a blessing. You see, my reason for not wanting this to be my calling is because I want one that only allows me to suffer, and not my sweet little boy. I feel like even though I shouldn’t have to endure this experience, he should have to even less.  And, truthfully, I’ve debate TIME and TIME again about starting this movement and putting myself and my emotions out there.  I debated about whether or not people would believe in this cause, whether they would back me, and whether or not I could really honor our family’s decision to walk the line and be a part of the good in the world.  And, really, for a long time I thought it would be easier to grieve if I didn’t make it so public.  The reality is, the exact opposite is true.

Today, as I was walking through a local craft fair, I began to reminisce about the last year I attended the same fair.

How J and I had watched C’s eyes light up as he witnessed Santa appear by helicopter, as he got to sit on his lap, and walk through the crowded aisles holding our hands and pointing out toys he wanted. I also distinctly remember him wanting a VERY pricey fire truck, and J having to carry a four year old out while he was kicking and screaming about said fire truck, while I got to stand in line and wait for our pictures.  As I watched J carry C out, I remember thinking how lucky I was to have such a wonderful husband who supported me in parenting our child.  And how C was blessed because he had a daddy who required a level of behavior from him that would eventually lead to C becoming a responsible adult, even though at the time C was not appreciative of said behavioral expectations.

As I absent mindedly walked through the aisle of the same fair this year, I couldn’t help but think about how much has changed in one year for us.  And, as I was deep in thought, another officer’s wife came and introduced herself to me.  And while I’m sure she has no idea how much her words meant to me, and how much of a reminder they were, I pray she is reading this tonight.

Just as she began to speak to me, I happened to catch a small phrase of a song that was being sung.  It’s called, “Blessings” by Laura Story.  Here’s the link:

As the officer’s wife was speaking to me, I heard “What if your blessings   come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears?” being sung.  And, at first, I really didn’t pay much attention to the song.  I was attempting to focus on our conversation.  As we spoke, she was telling me her own story, her own trials and tribulations, and her own blessings.  And, we talked about the strength it takes to overcome those trials.  Towards the end of the conversation, she told me through teary eyes, that “you have no idea how many people God is allowing you to bless through your loss.”  Honestly, I’m not sure what the rest of the conversation was about, and that isn’t because of lack of interest. It was because I’ve been told time and time again by therapists that the grieving process never ends, but it lessens when acceptance of the event and of your future without your husband finally happens.  I’m by no means proclaiming acceptance today, but before today, I didn’t even entertain that as option in my life.  How does one finally accept such a loss?  I simply thought that this was some “therapist invented word or stage” that was meant to make me feel better in the moment.  Yet, her words struck me, as the first stage of accepting.  We lost J- that will never change. He’ll never come back.  But what is left of my life, my future, that’s where the acceptance begins.  Accepting that we are still here, and because of his loss we can bless other people. I’m not there yet, but I feel like her words planted a small seed.  A much needed one at the time.

As I walked out of the fair, I felt a need to look up the song I had heard such a tiny portion of.  And then, as I read the words to the song. I sat in my car for a long while and simply cried.  While I won’t comment on all of the lyrics, I do want to discuss a few  – the few that provided the affirmation of what the officer’s wife said to me earlier.  It seems paradoxical that I could be blessing people through my own loss.  And, really, I’m not blessing anyone, God is.

“ What if Your blessings come through rain drops? What if Your healing comes through tears?  What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near? What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

Maybe those words don’t speak to you, but I pray they do.  I’ve always said that my life could be worse, and believe me, God shows me that frequently by others that I am destined to meet.  A new friend whose son is in a group home because of a childhood illness that left him debilitated.  The anger, the guilt, the responsibility, the sense of failure as mother.  Sometimes, I think what seems like the absolute worst situation, could be worse.  Sometimes what seems like a punishment is actually an act of mercy from an all mighty God. Maybe J’s death isn’t the worst thing that could have possibly been handed to me?  And while that seems impossible to actually believe sometimes, I do feel that we have been spared from worse.

As I immediately downloaded the song, and placed it on repeat, I played it over and over again as I was going on about my errands.  And, each time I heard it, I felt weight being lifted.  No, I didn’t want this to be my calling. I want my husband and C’s daddy back. I didn’t ask for this suffering, but in this suffering, so many blessings have fallen as raindrops. Blessings in our lives and more importantly blessings in other’s lives.  While I’m far from acceptance, the idea seems plausible, if only plausible for brief moments.  I’ve spent what seem like a thousand sleepless nights, where I felt alone.  And, yet I always rise in the morning, and in the quiet moments before C wakes, when I sit and reflect on what I need to accomplish that day, and I pray for the strength to do it, I feel far from alone.  The sleepless nights turn into mornings where I’m reminded of His love for me and His presence near me.

“We pray for wisdom.  Your voice to hear.  We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.  We doubt Your goodness.  We doubt your love.  As if every promise from Your words is not enough.  And all the while, You hear each desperate plea, and long that we’d have faith to just believe.”

Recently in doubting my calling, I’ve had my fair share of anger.  Mainly anger that C has to endure this.  That he has to suffer, and feel such a void in his life.  And often times in my prayers, I pray that he can just have a normal life.  That more suffering be on me.  And, still, though I pray, I’ve felt anger.  I’ve sometimes doubted the promises that we are given in His word.  And, I try to have the faith to just believe.  To just feel that in the end, this is somehow a blessing in disguise.  I often times tell people that, but believing it, is much different.  Yet, today, the songs the conversation with a fellow officer’s wife, both are proof that there is a greater plan.

A plan that brings honor to our sacrifice.  A plan that hopefully instills more good in the world.  A plan that allows others to change their lives.  A plan that brings honor and glory to our Maker.  The one who time after time after time, affirms for me when I doubt my calling.  The one who reassures me when I feel like I don’t have the strength to do this, or that no one really will believe in what we are doing.  The one who has given me wonderful friends and places on their hearts the exact thing I need to hear in the moment.  The one who allows me to hear today that through my loss I’m touching lives.  Through my strength that comes from Him, I’m receiving blessings through raindrops and passing them on to all of you.

I’m no where near accepting J’s death as a part of my life. I’m not where near accepting that unfortunately we have to suffer.  But today, I’m able to remember how truly awesome our Maker is.  I’m able to remember that even though our lives are almost unbearable at times, we are still comforted by His promises.  And that our faith is at its strongest when we are choosing to believe while kneeling on our knees. Choosing to believe when it seems impossible that we’ll make it through this.  Choosing to believe that even though the grief that comes with losing J won’t ever go away, in the end, eventually, I’ll be able to see its purpose.  That while its purpose may still be in disguise, eventually, it will be revealed to me. And, I can’t help but think that starting this blog, the 31 acts of kindness, each of you and your support are affirmation of that.

Today as I was on my knees and feeling like nothing else could be worse than my life in this moment, I was ever so “gently” reminded by a friend that having faith while on your knees is a choice.  And, it’s not a one-time choice.  It’s a choice we are forced to make frequently.  Tonight, I am thankful for the timing of our God.  For Him bringing the events of today together, and for Him giving me all of you as my support system.

“What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?  What if the trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the sleepless nights are Your mercies in disguise?”

Tonight I am thankful for serving a merciful Lord, who is my strength, comfort, and reminder of the greater days to come.  My reminder that even though my life is hard, He is sparing me from much worse.  And tonight dear friends, I’m able to see that and believe it, if only for a moment. Tonight I am thankful for a promise of a life beyond this one. A life I know in my heart J is enjoying, and that someday we will too.  Until then, I pray God keeps affirming to me through all of you, that I have a greater calling on this earth, and that hopefully our sacrifice can become a part of the greater good.

I pray whatever trials and tribulations that are present in your life today, you too can feel Him near.  And that if you find yourself on your knees, that you too make the choice to be faithful, and that you continue to make that choice to believe that sometimes blessings come through raindrops.

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