Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Transitions

Last week I spent the week on the beaches of South Carolina. I enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the sounds of the ocean, the beauty of sunrises and the presence of God. It was a necessary retreat to deal with the struggles and heartaches of life. God showed me a lot through his word, through conversations with my Mother in Law who went with me (a treasured mentor and friend), through music, through books I read, and from his own still small whispers into my soul. The week of openness, tears, revelation, and cleansing validated shifts and leadings I felt recently but without certainty as to how to handle.

I started this blog almost a year ago – on Mother’s Day 2010. Its purpose to record the stories of God’s grace intervening into my life. I never expected this recording of the past to so quickly catch up to the present. A few stories remain from the times surrounding Peter’s homecoming, but like my life, I feel this blog will experience some transitions. Over the next couple of weeks, you will begin to see some current reflections as I transition from past experiences to the present day.

Many of you also follow my Light for the Journey blog which is scripture and teaching based, less personally connected to the situations in my life. That focus will continue there. To be honest I’m not quite sure what focus will manifest in Stepping Stones. I know it will stay personal. I know it will continue to share God’s interventions in my life, what he’s saying to me personally. Because I’m caught in the turbulent rapids of grief, I know that will be my initial beginning. Guess I’m just warning you. We’ve arrived to a bend in the stream, a curve in the road, where my sight does not extend and I can only take the next step in front of me. Time will reveal where the adventure God has us on leads.

During my retreat, I read Mary Beth Chapman’s book, Choosing to See. Through it and some other experiences I’ll likely soon share, God confirmed and instructed me about my grieving process. I’ve not been doing it very well. I know grief can’t be neglected; if just shoved internally and disregarded it manifests in unhealthy ways in unexpected places. Yet that’s exactly what I was doing to some extent. In my relief and understanding of Peter’s peace, I in no way wanted to negate the great grace of God or invalidate the work he completed in Peter’s life. However, in fear of invalidating that, I neglected to validate the loss in my life. God challenged me to balance.

I realized as I pressed into my loss how much I resisted the pain. I am such a feel good girl. But what God showed me last week was, as I pressed into the pain, he was right there with me. I experienced his presence in my loss just as much as I did in my joy. It was even more precious to meet him there. The God of all creation, who made all things and holds all things together, could run the universe even while ministering to me, one solitary broken individual, in a very personal and tangible way. It humbles me to be loved so much.

As I glance out the window while writing this post, I see signs of spring: greening grass, blooming forsythia, budding trees, and scampering squirrels retrieving their buried fall harvest. But the air remains cold. Snowflakes swirled through the sky just yesterday. Spring is a season of transition, and that’s where I find myself as well.

As I drove home from my southern retreat, I enjoyed the many signs of springs. It reminded me of the spring of 2000 when I watched spring bloom from the windows of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Andrew’s longest hospitalization, we spent a month and a half trying to conquer the perceived seizures and then adapting to new normals through the placement of a feeding tube and trache. I remember visiting the cafeteria as my daily escape and watching the Bradford pear trees bud, then bloom, then reach full leaf before we went home. I remember thinking “I’ve missed spring. It’s been stolen from me.”

As I reflected on that moment while driving home this past weekend, I felt God’s truth whisper through my heart. I am a God of restoration and redemption. What the enemy tries to steal, I fully restore. I realized the luxury of this spring, this time God’s given me to grieve, heal, grow and enjoy before entering fully back into the workplace and regular rhythms of life, this gift of spring is a gift of restoration for all of the time stolen the past dozen years as we battled the boys’ mitochondrial disease.

So friends, here we go! Spring transitions in the natural and the spirit… Let the fun begin!

2 comments:

  1. I am so encouraged by how courageous you are to take this step of healing, and to be willing to be vulnerable and share it with all of us. Take all the time you need to go through this process. You will find in the end, God will use this to make you a stronger, better person for going through it and not around it.
    Welcome home!
    Sarah

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  2. Juli-

    Once again I re-read these posts as I prepare my class for camp. It has helped me as I try to help the teens understand the idea of joy in the mourning.... (my class is joy for the journey...). Thank you for living life joyfully...even in the mourning. ---Kathy

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