In the thick of it.

Depression.

It takes many forms.

When we hear the word we think of self-harm, pills, sucicide, saddness, unmotivated, isolation, anger; the list goes on. Can I tell you friends, there’s more to it. The layers are thicker and it’s not one size fits all. I want to share with you my layers. I’m still in the thick of it, so shit’s going to get real.

My depression reared it’s ugly head when my daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It didn’t help matters that I was an emotional pregnant mama bear at the time and found myself weepy twenty-four seven. My depression looked like: anger. I was angry all the time. I snapped at those I loved without any warning. I hated myself for it and was annoyed that I was so annoyed all the time. I also felt like I had to people please during my depression. If people didn’t like me or if someone thought bad of me I’d go into a full blown panic attack. I didn’t feel sad in my depression in fact, I felt nothing. Some days, I felt paralyzed to my bed and clung to Netflix and food and wine for my comforts. I didn’t want to talk. I always want to talk so this was huge for me. I pushed my friends away and began to process inward. I wanted nothing to do with my husband. I felt alone because his depression was full force as well. I tried to be the responsible one so I sought help and began to “push through”. I still had a family to take care of and a job to do and I still needed to be human and function in society. I couldn’t sulk in my sadness over the diagnosis because time was short. I ran myself ragged trying to give Sawyer the best, most fullest life I could in the short time that she could cognitively enjoy it. I worked even harder to get all of her medical records in order, sent to the hospital, in constant contact with doctors, making appointments, getting developmental testing done, setting up therapies, and so many other invasive tests done (alone),  and all the while taking care of my newborn. I pushed through so hard that I pretty much lost myself in the process. You know how everyone’s searching for their purpose in life? I didn’t have to search any longer, keeping her alive was my purpose. I went through cycles of doubt with God. I believed in Him and that He was real but I didn’t believe He was there. I believed He heard my cries but I felt like He abandoned me to teach me some sort of profound lesson. For the record, this is ridiculous but I’m still learning to leave this lie and discover His truth in love. I “pushed through” and was determined to find hope in a clinical trial. Sawyer was accepted into this clinical trial and I thought it was over. I had hope, I should’ve been elated, I could go on with my life. . .but I couldn’t. I’d never felt so alone, weak, angry, combative, devastated, anxious, than ever before. For some reason I pulled back the layers and found myself empty and hopeless because I put all my hope in something other than God.

During this time of emptiness and depression is when all the things happen. It’s when our car breaks down, it’s when your marriage is destitute, it’s when things in our house break, it’s when we can’t pay our mortgage because there’s so many bills to pay, it’s when you drop the ball on friendships that mean so much to you, it’s when we have strife in the family, family members get sick, people abandon us; it’s when we’re barely hanging on by a thread. The circumstances in my life felt like everything was broken and I had no power to fix it. I literally threw all my eggs in one basket and realized that no matter the outcome of the trial it still wasn’t going to fill this gapping hole that ultimately only God could fill. Trust me, letting God “fill the hole”…please, sister tell me how? What does that practically mean? It means stepping back and embracing the process of His promises. We need to step back and locate Him in our midst. I began to do this, I’m still doing this. God aligned so many things in order for Sawyer to get into this trial (like, I just can’t even. It’s a miracle), He’s protected her and us in our travels, we haven’t had our house taken from us and our needs have always been met, money has always come through, gracious people fixed our car, Sawyer isn’t declining yet, and our kids are always full of joy. All these things God provided me with while I was stuck in my depression. He intended for them to fill my heart with hope. However, I was so far in the thick of it all that I didn’t even recognize these were blessings from His faithful hands. Dwelling and sitting in depression is so much worse than actually looking at it in the face and walking away from it one step at a time. We do that by recognizing our need for God and nothing more and believing He’s willing and able to make your mountains move. Walking from my weakness and running to God’s strength is all I can do right now. Slowly, but surely I peel back the layers of doubt and sadness and direct my thoughts towards Him. One layer at a time because stepping back and looking at your mess only pushes you further down. If getting out of bed each day is your one victory, give Praise. If accomplishing one measly little task is all you can muster, hats off to you. It won’t be like this forever.

Survivng depression is all I can do right now. Moving forward one more day and injecting hope into my painful layers is all I’ve got. Each layer I waiver between doubt and hope, sickness and health, mountain and valley. Rest is parked in God’s faithfulness so I’m planning to stay there awhile and heal.

Silence

I’m sitting here waiting to “hear” or “feel” or “think up” some magical words to say. See, because everyone knows my life is a mess, that’s no secret. Everyone knows my house is messy and I don’t care about things most parents probably care about. Everyone knows my marriage isn’t perfect, everyone knows I’m just doing my best. But why do I feel like everyone expects me to be this brave, faithful soldier battling on in the midst of complete darkness. Forging ahead and coming out unscathed. Everyone expects my relationship with God to be in tact because that’s how it’s “always” been. I have all the faith. But what do I do because the reality is; it’s not. My faith is pretty much a site of destruction, a pile of ruble, a disaster of epic proportions. And if I’m being honest: I fake it until I make it. I mean, everything within me wants to be that faithful Christ follower, you know; the spirtitual one that goes where God “tells” me to go. How do I really know it was God, though? That’s my question. Like, here’s me stumbling around in the dark hoping to land on an idea that may resemble God or sound like something He’d say. I mean because let’s be real; He’s predictable, right? Always do the right thing, be good, be loving, do things out of your comfort zones and just trust God. I can tell you one thing: if I hear “just trust God” one more time, I may in fact jump off a bridge. I am trying to trust but it’s just to quiet, you know?

 

I don’t know if you can tell but I’m the kind of person that needs to talk things out. In my life, people have told me that’s just me and my control issues but I think it runs deeper. I think I just want a relationship. I want to chat, I like to chat. I probably like to chat too much. I want to be heard, to be understood, to be protected, and looked after. I can’t “just trust”, end of conversation, no more questions, no more discussion. I need more. I need conversation. So, here I sit contemplating a new thought. A thought that goes against everything the Church has taught me, something the Christian community may have missed.

 

God is speaking in the quiet. God is there in the silence. God hears me. He wants to hear me. It’s in the stillness and without all the noise that He’s giving me the chance to get to know Him. I may not hear Him but sometimes you just need to feel Him; in and through you. You need to “just trust” that He’s still there and He’s never going to let go. In those silent times, He’s giving me permission to talk, to download, to be: me. He doesn’t want anything from me in the silence. He doesn’t expect me to follow His orders like some robot. It’s in the times of quiet that He restores my heart, He makes me whole, He comforts me as I mourn, He holds my words close to His heart and wipes my tears. He doesn’t need me to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get it together. It’s in the quiet that I can tell Him I sometimes don’t trust Him. I sometimes am frustrated my daughter is fighting for her life. I’m mad because He’s not telling me what to do or where to be or how to be. He hears me in the silence. He even hears me when I’m silent. He hears with His heart and speaks with His love.

The beauty of not knowing: is simply, not knowing what to do but doing the something placed in front of you. It’s that simple. Because God is everywhere. He’s not limited by time and space. He sees all, the big picture, the small and He still chooses to sit with us in the silence to hear our roars. You may think He’s calling you to be a missionary in Africa and if you don’t listen your purpose is over. What you may not see is that God has entrusted you with a husband and kids and a job filled with hopeless, lost, coworkers that you could love day in and day out. See, sometimes I feel like we say God is calling me to this spiritual thing or that miraculous life because we’re scared to sit in the silence and be real with ourselves and with Him. We’re scared of “not” getting an answer and so we’re forced to see the pain in the quiet.

The quiet places are the hardest spaces but they’re the most enriching for your soul. You’re weary soul needs rest and He’s happy to provide the stillness, the quietness of His unending faithfulness.

So, here I sit…in complete darkness, resting in the silence and knowing all the while; I’m still so deeply loved by a good God.

Numb

I’m sitting here awkwardly, repeatedly playing with my daughters sensory blocks. Stacking them, pulling them apart, putting them down, picking them up, contemplating if I should really process all the feelings. But here I sit…ready to share.

Back in April my daughter received something that could save her life. There’s so many variables here, there’s so many if’s, there’s so much unknown. We signed her life away to science. One day I’ll tell you that story because it’s a good one and it’s a damn miracle. What you need to know now is that: pain is more present than ever and for some reason…I can’t feel it. I can’t put my finger on it because I’m so grateful, entirely grateful for all the gifts and all of God’s faithfulness. I just feel incredibly overwhelmed, when I do feel. What if the unknow miracle doesn’t pan out? What if it was all for not? I put my soul into getting her treated. All of my soul. Trust me when I say: I give God all the glory for this but I about killed my self and completely lost myself in the midst of the hustle. Can you relate? After something big there’s always a let down? Right? I’m waiting for more bad news, I’m used to bad news, I do bad news. I’m callused to pain because it’s become our normal. That’s my problem.

The brutal truth is we’re more of a mess than ever. Our finances are destitute, our marriage is so broken, our mess is endless, our patiences are strung so thin, my husband had some minor health issues that could turn bad since we can’t pay for his medicine, our house is in constant chaos, and all the while; we don’t care. We’d rather numb the pain with ignorance and manage the feelings. The numbness of it all had caused us a great disconnect. Do you know what I mean? It’s all a heavy load. It’s to much to process, so we don’t. It all makes you believe you’re alone and encourages the lie that you’re, in fact…alone.

The thing is: numbness is okay, for now. It’s okay to make it through another mundane day, exhausted, and at your wits end, it’s okay to be in this place. In this place, God is present. In this place, God is all you’ve got and that’s good. Even though I try to run away; I drink the wine, watch the shows, eat the food, sleep it off, escaping doesn’t make God farther away from me it makes me believe I’m farther away from Him. God isn’t far from me though, ever. Even when I mess up. Even when I’m an absolute diseaster, creating destruction at every turn. Even when I cannot feel the feels, He’s the one that gets me through the minute, the hour, the day. Leaning into Him in the pain and numbness of all the little things takes all my effort. It’s knowing I can’t do this, I’m not doing well, I’m so done, and so alone. It’s about placing the anxious heart in a gracious Father’s hands. And I get the whole father thing, you know? Mine wasn’t great. The whole like; trusting a faithful, good, good Father is actually pretty impossible for me. I then think about all the times He saved me when I couldn’t save myself. I think about the glourious things He’s done in my life that are unexplainable. I mean, I had seizures for years that were unexplainable and then one day I just stopped having them, out of the blue? I just, I can’t comprehend it. It’s His amazing faithfulness when it’s the last thing you can see in the moment. It’s His strength, in me that I can deal with this Sanfilippo life as I never even wanted to be a mom, let alone a special needs mama. He’s proven Himself to be faithful. I’m owning that right now. Because right now, I don’t feel like praising. I’m thankful but I don’t feel like playing the church game. I don’t feel like putting on a pretty face. I feel like giving everyone the bird. I feel like not caring forever. It’s ok though, I have the memories of faithfulness to forge ahead and that’s enough. Being numb is enough for me at the moment because in the numbness, God carries you. You can’t see it, you won’t see it until you’re through it but you’re on the shoulders of the ever present, always gracious, forever loving: Father. I’ll feel when I’m ready. For now, I’m enough. Being real, well; it’s enough.

This is where I live.

Lately, we’ve been living a life of hope. It’s been resounding in our hearts and at the grasps of our finger tips. We have hope, more so than we did a year ago. We have the freedom to believe God is willing and able to heal our girl, for good. We believe this, oh do we ever.

 

But we don’t live there.

People close to us wonder why we say things like: “Sawyer is losing her mind, daily” or “she’s dying”. They can’t comprehend it when we’ve been given the greatest gift we could possibly get: hope. We don’t say it out of disbelief. No, we say it out of belief of a plan bigger and greater than ourselves. See, if we insist that God does the miracle in the manner we expect Him too, we limit Him. We don’t ever want to overlook His power and presence in our lives. He’s given us so much peace in knowing that; come what may, He remains faithful. If we expect Him to heal her through our hope, we live there. We can’t live there because God forbid His plan is greater than I? What if His plan is to take our first born in order for Her story to touch lives? Make humans better? What if it’s for the greater good? What if her purpose was to point people to God and His greatness than to heal her body in this broken world. It’s a hard place to live but it’s reality. I can’t for one second try to control God. I’ve come to learn that trying to control Him only leads to devastation and destitute. It only leads to anxiousness and unforgiveness. See, if we expect God to do what we want; the minute He doesn’t deliver we become bitter and blame Him for our false expectations. I can’t live in unforgiveness. It only affects me and turns my soul into a monster.

We live in the hope that God sees the end of the story. He knows my pain, He knows yours. He can heal your pain in the midst of it. We’re so wounded, sometimes it makes us so jaded but we know His grace is limitless. We know His love is greater than our circumstances because He comforts us with it at each and every turn. We have to live in the facts, the present. She basically has Alzheimer’s and won’t make it past her early teens. Time is running out for her. Tests reveal that she’s slowly losing her mind. We have to take everything into consideration but believe that whatever it is: God is with us, Our hearts are camped out there. There’s hope in not knowing the end of the story. The peace is real and the strength comes forth from knowing that with every passing, painful moment; God is with us. Our hope is in Him and our Girl is loved so deeply by Him. My mind is fixed on that instead of the end game. I live in the peace that passes all understanding and knowledge of whatever will be, will be.

 

I beg you, whatever you’re going through don’t play the name it claim it game. Trust God to do His will in your life, with your greatest pain. I promise you; peace will overflow your heart and you’ll find an unconditional love when you put your hope in God instead of your circumstances, instead of your pain and fear. Know the stability of His grace and live each day knowing that in and through you, His will will be done. Set your mind on the realness of the diagnosis or devastation but recognize hope for what it is; a promise that God will never leave you through the storm.

My hope is in Him, no matter the journey, no matter the pain. He sees me, He hears me, He loves me. That’s enough.

Island

Here I sit. Waves overtaking me, no end in sight. I don’t see how I’m going to make it out alive. Dark, deep thoughts overtake my mind and suddenly I feel like I’m drowning. I can’t go one more day and I can’t keep slipping away. Away from; everything I once knew to be true. Nothing seems good anymore, nothing seems easy. Work, press on, keep moving; keep swimming. And for what? Just to do it all over again tomorrow. The current will always rise but will I? Rise up, soul. Wake up, it’s not that bad. It could always be worse, and that’s what gets me through the day.

I cry out:

“Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Done. Have you ever just felt done? Okay, my dark, depressing post is about to take a turn. Stick with me. There’s an island in the distance. There’s always an island. This island may not be the same comfort or have the same luxaries you’re used to but; it’s safe. You’re not drowning anymore and you’re surviving. There’s a simplicity to survival life. It’s not easy but there’s comfort in knowing you don’t have to struggle to keep afloat like you did in the big abyss. It’s a new struggle, a different struggle. It’s ok though, it’ll eventually become your norm. This is the shit show of my life, currently. Surviving, living off the land; so to speak.  I’m living on an island with the hope of survival. I have everything I need. I may not have everything that makes me cozy but it’s created a thankfulness in my heart for each passing day I make it through. It creates a bond between my people and I as we stride on to make it out alive and forge our way through the wilderness. Because, we will make it out alive. You want to know how? Finding comfort in the provider even in the midst of complete chaos. Not only are we not promised tomorrow; We’re also not promised to always have the comfort and safety of today. Anyone’s world can flip on it’s axis at anytime, it’s not a matter of if it will, it’s a matter of when. It’ll always blindside you, it’ll never happen when you have your fighting gloves on. It’ll always happen when you’re struggling to breathe as you gasp for one last breath. That’s okay though, the island is there. Explore it. Create life there. Keep hope of a God that rescues.

This isn’t the end for you. The island is a promise of provision and even, prosperity if you look past the unknown and trust the known, you’ll be okay.

When you just can’t even. . .

Don’t mind me and my sob story. It’s just one of those days, right? I won’t sugarcoat it for you. So, here I sit playing with these magnets my sweet friend intended for our crazy girl. I guess they give me more comfort than her, for now. I’m siping my third cup of heated-up coffee. Nerflix strikes again, I’m hanging onto every cliffhanger of this new show I dove into today and already on the tenth episode; sorry not sorry. My kids? Well, don’t worry it’s the kind of day where Sam and I take turns monitoring, disciplining, and try to not lose every ounce of patience. A teething baby and an overly-hyper active three year old does us both in. We’re out of diapers for the little, so I sent out the big and her dad to fetch some so I could secretly regain my sanity. Never mind, the fussiness of a little boy that just needs to be held by: yours truly. Typing one handed is a talent, I don’t possess. So, I’ll make this sweet and to the point. Although, there’s nothing sweet about losing your ever-loving-mind and having to muster all the “cans” for the “I can’ts”, there’s nothing more maddening. Today, was a minute by minute day. Depressed, not about the circumstances, though. Anxious, not about anything in particular. It’s just a combination of something you cannot explain.

While I can’t explain it; I just wanted you to know I was here. I’m here with you in case, you too just “can’t”. I wanted you to know that these days are okay, these days are normal. This feeling won’t last forever and as cliche as it may sound: tomorrow is a new day. But tomorrow isn’t just a new day to start all over again, it’s a day to pick up the brokenness and forge ahead to greener pastures. The sun may not come tomorrow but there’s something greater inside of you to stand for. It’s the quiet but unruly strength telling you: “you’re not your depressed days, you can make it another day, your fear won’t own you it’s just trying to trap you. But darling, you’re free. You’re free. Say that. You’ll always be free because grateness lives inside of you. The grateness in you was put there by the Great. He allowed you today and by His grace and mercy He’ll allow you tomorrow. So, live in darkness just one more minute because there’s still beauty there. There’s strength in taking life by each minute. Every minute you make it is another victory, it’s another testament of God’s work within you.

 

You can, I promise.

Don’t forget, I’m here. I’m just hanging on by a thread here but just for another minute.

Fight

Have you ever fought so hard for something?

I have.

Sometimes praying is all we can do but most of the time I think it’s all we want to do. We pray in the name of Jesus but we don’t actually position ourselves to progress. People ask me: “how do you do it?”…I don’t. Christ in me does. I can’t do a thing right. I can only keep going, keep swimming. I can only get up one more day and trust the strength inside me to make one more exhausting phone call that may potentially lead to an answer; but probably not. I can only wait one more weekend for excruciating, life or death results. I can only watch my daughter go through one more procedure. I can only drive two hours one way to get the best doctors I can for my girl; hoping that’s enough. I can only fight my insurance company every single step of the way, one more time. I could’ve all this time, sat in the quiet and  prayed to a God that somehow, “it’ll all work out”, things don’t just work out.

What if Jesus just prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane but never did the next thing He knew needed to be done a few, sombering hours later? He fought it out in prayer and then He went to battle. Why do we think we’re exempt from battle? Folks, this life is hard. That relationship is messy. Marriage can be hell. Your job is, work. This diagnosis is devastating. That task is daunting. The everyday grind is mundane. I get it. It’s easier to let it be up to God than to fight through the barriers. It’s in the midst of battle that we realize our strength. It’s as we knock out our opponent, when we see God’s hand in and through it all. I can’t begin to tell you the nightmare of my last year but I can tell you I’m a better person because of it. I can fight harder and be sustained longer. I know my strength is in God but I put my hands to work with what’s in front of me. I fight for things to come into play I won’t wait to watch them unfold. I’ve learned; “taking the bull by its horns” has a whole new meaning. It means not just trusting people always and instead being persistent and calling doctors every single day, sometimes twice; to see if there’s been a cancellation because it’s her only shot. I’ll never just: “leave it to God” when there’s still more steps to be had. Walk out all the steps and then pray hard.

Fighting like hell is the only thing I know how to do anymore. My fighting strength comes from my Maker. He put it inside of me, He put it in you; let your faith rest in that.

A Letter to My Special Needs Daughter

Dear Sawyer,

There’s something so fierce about you. People stop in their tracks because of your captivating presence. Your glow and excitement for life lights up a room, little do you know something’s wrong with you. You’ve never given your disease a second thought. The other day at the playground you chased after those boys and played along with them; like they included you. They didn’t. You don’t need to feel included, though; you’re just happy to be chasing them and talking to them. You get the power and vitality of connection. You celebrate life. Like, every single day is a gift. Every bite of ice cream you eat, it’s like the most exquisite thing you’re pallete has ever tasted. You boss around people like it’s your job, you make me want to be a better leader with your persistence and resilience. You’re inclusive and everybody is forced to have fun around you because laughing is your favorite thing on earth. That and dancing. You’re impulsive and your little mind has no clue what to focus on when but you stop in your tracks when you come in contact with another little person because you see yourself in your peers. You see the friend in people. You obsess over the things you love because you’re passionate and you know what you want. Trust me darling, that’s a gift. You’re most likely the loudest one in a room, sometimes; because you have so much to say and you command to letting your voice be heard and your story be told. You’re brave as you cry big tears when you’re being poked and prodded at and you have no idea why, it’s just become the norm to you.

 

It’s not normal but you don’t let it define you. You do the hard things and continue on asking for all the stickers and goldfish. You take every minute as it comes and leave the past behind you. You always give people chances, so many chances.

This disease, this diagnosis has taught me everything. All the while, you already knew what it means to be special. You live carefree, courageously, and unashamed. I live with guilt, shame, and anger. I wish I knew how to live like I was special. I wish more people lived like you. I wish we all lived like we knew we were rare, we knew we were loved.

You live your life pursuing love, it radiates from you.

And that, my dear… is what makes you special.

Strength is rare

I’m still sitting here on my third cup of “heated up” coffee letting the morning clearly, slip away. I’m avoiding all the realities today as I mourn the loss of SEVEN Sanfilippo kiddos we lost this week. Seven in one week, it’s unbearable. This disease has never been more real to me. I learned something today; as I was sobbing watching the funeral online of one of the sweet girls who’s life was cut way too short.

Strength is rare.

Since Sawyer was born we’ve always referred to her as a rare diamond. Her smile sparkles and her personality is radiant, capturing everyone she comes in contact with. She’s contagious. See, diamonds are rare and the strongest mineral known to man. Everyone wants a diamond but not everyone is fortunate to have one. We have one. I’m not a scientist but what I can understand from Wikipedia; is that diamonds are put through fire. There are many ways to produce a diamond but fire is a resounding component.

You have to go through fire to gain your strength. It’s actually in the fire you find your strength, you have to. You have no option but to press on and be pressed.

This whole thing, Sawyer’s entire life has been a wildfire. It’s completely changed me to the core. From the moment I gave birth she needed strength, she needed me to be strong for her. When everyone said she was fine, she needed my strength to fight for her. When everyone that I loved thought I was insane, she still needed my strength. Regardless, of my insecurities; strength was the only thing I could muster to keep going. Finding strength in the fire is nearly impossible as you muddle through wondering if you’re doing the right thing. Don’t leave room for wondering and questioning, just take the very next step in front of you. Don’t be tempted to question the future or demand all the answers just blindly trust and boldly step. Anyone can do anything for one more minute. At least that’s what I tell myself and Sawyer she endures yet another test no three year old should have to go through. One more minute I tell her, second by second we count to the minute. I’m not saying it’s all ok because there’s nothing ok with being in the fire. The light is about the only thing that gets you through and keeps you looking up. Being in the fire is scary but worth every single burn.

Like diamonds, strength is rare. Not everyone has it and not everyone can walk out in it. Some, let the fire burn them to destruction; while others avoid it all together.

Whatever it is in your life, whatever your fire just keep going for one more second, until a minute. Rely on strength that God put in you to get through. Don’t ask God to get you through this, instead KNOW He’s already given you the strength to walk through the fire.

Loving can hurt

So,

Ed Scheeran and I have become best buds, at least where his musics concerned. Photograph, there’s something about that song that gets me every single time. Especially, the first few lines:

“Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive.”

Pals, we were meant to love and to be loved. We were meant for this. We were meant for such a time as this. God wanted relation with us before time even began. It’s so true, yet so painful. We try to keep our love far from pain and near to joy. We try to protect our fragile little hearts in hopes that at the end of time they’ll be steadily, in tact. Lord knows why we do this. I mean these people that I love are going to fail me, they’re going to hurt me, and my least favorite; they’re going to leave me.

From the time I was little my love language, as in: how I feel loved, has always been quality time. I just like people near me, just being. I like conversation, consoling in one another, and living life with people. When I was thirteen years young that part of me was compromised. I quickly learned that people can’t always “just be” and life suddenly takes them from you. Life took my dad from me. Drunk driving, to be exact. It wrecked me. It stirred up this indescribable fear inside of me. I couldn’t imagine the injustice of people that I loved were being taken from me. One after another of my aunts and uncles and grandma and grandpa and brother. They just kept leaving this earth and leaving me in pain. Loving can hurt sometimes or maybe a lot of times. My heart has seen loving pain.

 

Love pains grow deep within you as you quickly and forcefully grow deeper and deeper for people in your sphere. I believe this can even happen with people that are still in front of your face and have yet to leave this earth. Love pains are hard, painful, messy, complicated, hurtful aches. Can I just be a little honest here, my ache is for my family. My nuclear, sweet little family.

I have love pains for my husband. I long for the day when our relationship doesn’t revolve around a sick and dying child. It longs for deep, meaningful conversations instead of keeping scores of duties done. It longs for sweetness instead of bitterness. My heart longs for him to know I’m in this, forever. Let’s do this together. It’s bursting with a void he can’t fill but a need only he can meet.

My Zion. I have love pains for him that he won’t have to be an inocent bistander to the suffering we’ll all face. My heart beats for his future, his bright amazing future. I long for Him to know his purpose in this world. I long for him to know he’s loved, deeply with no strings attached. My pain births airplane parenting for this one and I pray to God he makes it through with me and for me.

Sawyer. My beautiful, beloved girl. I always wanted a girl. My mom did so good with me. She made me believe I was beautiful. She conveyed confidence and reflected it onto me. She made me into her little princess and loved me every single step of the way. I so wanted this for my little girl. I want to do so many things, big and small. I want to teach her the ways of Holiness and love instead of the ways of this tragic world. I wanted to do life with her. She’d be my best friend, my forever little girl. But we all know how the story ends without a cure. So, here I go campaigning for my broken girl and my aching heart.

 

See, I’m no stranger to pain and I’m definitely no stranger to love that hurts like hell. I’m sure you’re not either, right? But can I tell you, it’s the only kind of love I want to give and it’s the only kind of love I’ll ever receive. I want to give this love to mankind. The world needs to know the painful love. The love that hurts and is messy and takes work like a boss. I’ll tell you right now; this is the only kind of love worth living for it’s the only thing that makes you feel alive. If anyone or anything offers anything less it’s not love at all. It’s a false version of a cultivated reality that surely is the very thing that created suffering. Pain is inevitable but it’s real. Real, is love. This love is permanent in your heart and is the only thing you should fight for and with. It’s so painful to write this. Lately, has been no cakewalk. Pain has been all too near as hope for a future is at my grasp. I’m scared, yet trusting. I feel loved, yet frightened and that’s entirely okay because real, well it’s all I’ve got. This love I know, it’ll get me by. These love pains are tangible evidence of God’s everloving grace in my life. Through and through, He loves you.