Making Peace With What He Gives…

Once again, it has been a very long time since I have written down anything. I have been hiding and frankly, that’s the way I like it. Hiding. It’s what I do when things get tough. Hard. Too much to handle. But, I must admit, when I hide I am alone and I live in what seems like total darkness. Just existing. Going through the mundane tasks of everyday life without having to deal with anything that I do not want to.

I have been hiding really well since last November. Since, that awful, dreary morning when my Mama drew her last breath on this earth. And, I must add, the final breath that I missed. I knew it was near yet I missed it. Guilt raises high when I think of that moment. I was with her night and day for 13 days after we brought her home. And, I missed the last breath. Why? I was hiding. I didn’t want nor could I deal with that truth. She was leaving me and going Home. To the eternal home where so many people that I love live. One in particular, my son. It was too much. Feelings of grief, sadness, and the word I am still afraid to say… Jealousy. I was jealous of her going Home. I felt like she could do life way better without me than I could without her.

On that dreary November morning, I went into hiding. Completely shut down. Done. I clenched my fists tight and I would not allow anything to pry them open. So, here I set, on this dreary September morning almost a year later with clenched fists but I feel them loosening. Very little, but loosening slightly all the same. Why now?

I think it’s because the last month has been devastating for me. I have hid to the point that my grief is spilling over. You cannot run and shut down grief forever. It will come out. It has to. My grief started showing itself by feelings of being so overwhelmed. By sheer anxiety and nervousness to the point of being physically ill. Fear consumed me and the tears were pouring out like water hydrants bursting in the street. I could not stop them. I would try my best to talk myself out of the tears like I had since that November day.

I started gaining a little sense about two weeks into this. I knew I had to get this under control. All the while, God speaking straight to this hiding soul letting me know that I couldn’t hide forever. He whispered gently but stern nonetheless that I was not in control of this. I could NOT control this. I have a problem with trying to control everything. Even though, deep down, I know I cannot. I still move right along trying to control the emotions. I will choose what I will and will not grieve. Me. The girl who missed the last breath of the sweetest woman she knew.

I knew I had to do these things: Quiet time with God. Listening. Settling in, getting quiet and being still. Praying. Being intentional on allowing Him to grab these clenched hands that are bleeding from gripping them together so tightly. This all came with the high blood pressure on the holiday weekend of September. Three days at home. Checking the blood pressure. 158/106, 164/112, and on and on. It wasn’t going down. The hiding and the darkness were coming to an end and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

So, I got quiet. Still. Started listening. And, I started learning things that I hadn’t wanted to hear since that dreary day in November. The day I missed the last breath of the one who witnessed my first breath.

I read these words a friend sent me that Ann Voskamp penned. She said:

“Pieces of your broken heart mend when you make peace with what He gives.”

Seriously? This is the worst thing I have ever heard. Ever! I would never make peace with what He has given me, hands start clenching again, this time harder. But, these words were repeating in my head like the words to my favorite song. I heard them all the time. Then, on the deck, quiet one morning I read:

“Though He brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For, He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” ~Lamentations 3: 32-33

Hmmm…. “Pieces of your broken heart mend when you make peace with what He gives.” “Though He brings grief, He WILL show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.”

I need compassion. I need someone to see these torn places that are gaping wounds all over me. “Pieces of my broken heart…” Those pieces are everywhere. “mend when I make peace with what He gives.” Peace. It eludes me. Hiding, darkness surrounds me.

Then, Isaiah introduces himself to me on the deck in my quiet time. I read:

“Why should I be beaten anymore? Why do I persist in rebellion? MY whole head is INJURED, MY whole heart AFFLICTED. From the soles of my feet to the top of my head there is NO SOUNDNESS, ONLY WOUNDS AND WELTS AND OPEN SORES, not CLEANSED or bandaged or SOOTHED with olive oil.” ~Isaiah 1:5-6 (emphasis mine)

I hurry to look up all these words in the Strong’s dictionary. I pause at injured. Strong’s Definition:

“malady, anxiety, calamity: disease Grief (is) sick(-ness)”

Grief is a sickness. I am sick. And, the “pieces of my broken heart mend when I make peace with what He gives.” I am wounded. “From the soles of my feet to the top of my head…” I sit in total silence on the deck. This is the deck that they took my Mama’s lifeless body out of our house to the car that carries coffins.

Am I going to unclench my fists? Am I going to ask the One and Only Great Physician to start cleaning, bandaging, putting his healing balm on these wounds, welts, and open sores? Am I going to “make peace with what He gives?”

Yes. I have to. There is no other choice. The pulse slows. The blood pressure decreases. The heart stills and quietens as I look at the steps that took my Mama away. My fists relax. I open the hands just barely that are bruised, bloody, and full of welts… And, I hold them up to God. Straight in the air. And, I say…. “Father, help me to make peace with what You give.”

See, in my own way, I have determined that to grieve my Mama would be diminishing, taking away my grief for my son. I cannot do that. My grief for him has to be at my forefront at all times. Otherwise, the guilt rises. I relive the pain. Shutting down the pain from the dreary September day and putting the hot, sunny June day back in my sights. I cannot do both. I will die. Then I remember:

“Though He brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For, He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” ~Lamentations 3: 32-33

Compassion. Healing. Soothing. Cleansing. Soundness.

I open the clenched fists all the way. For today. And, I will pray for the days to come that I continue to leave them opened. Maybe, one day, I can even take the bandages off?

10,000 Reasons

I can look straight ahead from my parents kitchen table into their living room. When I look up, I see a Hospital bed. My sweet Mama is in that hospital bed struggling for every breath she takes. Cancer is ugly. It is scary. It is painful. Cancer has made me have to prepare to say goodbye to my Mama.

She is the one that gets me. She knows my moods before I do. She knows what to say, when to say it, and how to say it to me. How am I supposed to live on this earth without her? I have asked God that very question over and over again for the last 2 months. And, honestly, I haven’t stopped asking the same question about the loss of my son, Chandler.

We brought my Mama home on Friday, October 30th. I took a leave of absence from work to care for her. To say that being a caregiver is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do is an understatement. The needs are constant. Caregivers do not get to sleep. They live on coffee and caffeine and just to keep going the best they can. Caregivers go outside and sit on the porch to weep. Sobs from down deep. Weeping because of their Mama laying in a bed so sick and there is not one thing that you can do to take it away. You treat the symptoms the best you can but you can’t take it away. Caregivers cry because they are tired and when they are tired they feel like they are doing the worst job in history of caregiving. I have known those that have been caregivers but I never knew what kind of job this was physically and emotionally until I was in the position.

But, caregivers…. see, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We would do it over and over again even if we did feel like the biggest failures. Caregivers hold hands. They sing. They have full blown conversations at three o’clock in the morning because those conversations are things that need to be said. Important things. Secret things. Things that a caregiver will hold in her heart until she meets her Mama again.

Early this morning, I had to make a trip to the porch. At two o’clock, I stood on the deck with coffee with tears in my eyes. My Mama is struggling. We are at the end. I can tell you this but my heart still tries to reject it. Even though my head knows, my eyes see. My heart is having trouble accepting that my Mama will be gone soon. Out of nowhere, I started thinking of the words to Matt Redman’s song, 10,000 Reasons:

“And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing your praise unending, 10,000 years and then forevermore.”

10,000 years and then forevermore is a very long time. God spoke over my soul to remind me just as He has many, many times about Chandler that this is not my home. It wasn’t Chandler’s home, my Mama’s home and it’s not your home. Our home is with God and the place that He has prepared for us. We are just visitors here.

It’s so important that we get that. This is NOT our home. Death can come so quickly that you don’t even realize what happened. Chandler lost his life in one instant. My Mom was diagnosed with Cancer in August. She is laying here now struggling for air. We don’t have all this time to make it right. We could be gone in an instant.

We need to get our hearts right with the one true Living God. The One who sent His Son to die on a cross for us and forgive us our sins. His Son is the ONLY way we will make it to our true homes. Again, this is not our home.

It seems that grief has became an almost constant in my life in the last few years. Loss has been right at my door. Most of the time I do not feel like my heart can take anymore and that I am going to lay down and die of heartache. But, I keep waking up each morning and slowly realizing that God has plans for me. He isn’t done with me yet.

I made a promise to my Mama in one of our late night talks. A promise that I would continue blogging. A promise to keep on the path of healing with God. I promised that I would somehow use my losses to try and help others who are suffering the same kind of pain as myself. I will be happy if my ramblings help one person that is in the very same spot that I am right now.

For me this is risky. My heart is broken. I keep adding up my losses and I’m scared. I don’t really know how to live. I surely don’t know how to take risks. The pain is too much sometimes. But, I will trust God. I will keep pushing forward in the race that He has for me.

And, I just want to thank all of you who are praying for my Mama and our family right now. We feel every, single one of them and your prayers are carrying us through right now.

In keeping my promise, I have moved my blog over to an actual website. By doing this, it can handle the traffic better. However, it will not carry over my previous blogs. You can still see my archives and past blogs at http://www.branditrent3.wordpress.com.

Also, my new website is http://www.branditrent.com

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Love to all, Brandi