Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hope.

Our time in Florida has come to an end.

Even though at day 3 or 4 I was already dreading this day, it does not come as I expected.  I am not sad. I am not filled with dread.

I've thought today about how I could someday write about these 2 weeks here. And I felt a lump in my throat immediately.  You know those moments in your life that could never be told as they really were...? The emotion something that could never be verbally explained...? The birth of your child? The death of someone you loved? Sure pictures and memories attempt to tell the story but it never really gives the full picture.

This trip.  The fact that I start to cry when I think about this trip...tells you more than my words ever could.  Someday...I'll try.  I'll try to paint the full story.  This was our healing trip. But...not our two weeks to be healed. No...no. No...definitely not.

This was the first big step in our healing.  And oh...only Heaven knows what has happened on this trip.  The gift to my soul in these last two weeks is something I could never fully articulate.  Ever.

The gifts have been so many.  So very many.  I've not even shared the half of them.  The fact that a friend of a friend works at Disney World and blessed our socks off with helping us with tickets.  Or the friend that contacted me not knowing anything that we are going through saying God laid it clearly on their hearts to give us a certain amount of money.  The many many many notes I've received from people that know me so very little...with words they will someday know God gave them to send to me. Or the friend that heard we are coming back through their way and graciously invited us to stay and get to know them better. And of course...the gift of this condo for 2 full weeks.  Fully gifted.

Through it all we have been humbled...grateful...and most of all in awe.  Both of us have said that over and over.  We are simply in awe of how God has shown us we are right in the palm of His hand. And in this storm? We needed that reminder. And will need it.

For me as I look back on these two weeks of bliss...I see so much.  Sunshine every single day. Lots of little brown faces and yawns at the end of every day.  The quiet, consistent crash of one wave after another right off our deck.  All of it...what I walk away with most...is hope.

I came here with very little.  Very, very little hope.

I was a mess.  Many questions. So very few answers.  Honestly...I came with a decision. A decision to still have faith. A decision to believe.  A decision to not doubt.  A decision.

But I'm leaving with hope.  I've seen it.  I've seen what I could never have even wished for.  I've seen the look in a child's eye filled with wonder and joy. I've seen laughter come alive that's been missing . I've seen life...totally renewed.  And like a warm Gulf wave over a shattered soul...it's given me hope.

I remember when my sister, Joanne, graduated just a year ahead of me. She chose this quote for her year book photo.  "Never deprive someone of hope...it may be all they have." I have never seen her year book since 1997 and I have never ever forgotten that quote beside her graduation picture.

I have thought of it so many times in these recent months.  As my hope waned and I felt the lifelessness take over...I knew I needed it breathed back in to me.

Could I ever fully express what has happened here? Not the physical...not the fun and the memories. No...I'm talking about something that has happened inside of me and I'm sure you can see it on the outside.

This is one of my favorite verses.  It puts things in perspective.  I know the here and now isn't what my story is all about.  I know there's a greater picture being painted and I love how this verse reminds me of that.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

We don't lose heart.  Oh...I have.  I have.  Those nights when I collapsed on the floor sobbing saying over and over and over "I can't! I can't! I can't do this!!! I can do anything but this!!"  I love this verse.

I know right now this is all so very vague.  I want you to know why I made the decision to blog now. In the thick of it.  I'm a realist.  To the core.  Tell me all the worse case scenario stuff and let me prepare for the worst.  It's how my brain works.  And for me...when I'm going through something like I am right now...I want to read someone's story when they were right there. Right there, in the eye of the storm.  Not after they made it through. Our tone changes then. Doesn't it? Hearing my children talk about the scary rides at Disney a week later...? So different than when they were on it! Screaming and clutching my arm for dear life.  Now? "It wasn't THAT bad..." "I mean...I'd do it again..." and I smile.  Not quite.  That's not quite the real story.  And they may do it again! But tell us how it was IN the moment. That's me.  And so when this storm hit I knew I was faced with a decision. I couldn't tell you the specifics...but I could choose to stay silent and tell about it after (if...) we survived it.  How there were so many gifts that offset the pain. How my faith was still rock solid (forgetting that it was shaken to the core and I questioned every thing I knew to be true...) That's when I knew.  I decided to tell the story...in real time. Though I can't share the details now...someday when they are known...you can look back and see this story 'in the raw'.

Hope.  Tonight as we pack the van to leave early in the morning...my heart is filled with hope.  There IS a future.  There IS a path that can be filled with joy here. There IS something bigger happening that I can't see. God CAN use this story for good.  I came so very empty. Frail. Weak. Full of questions. I'm leaving still frail. Still weak. But knowing there is hope.  I have seen it.  And it has changed me.

For I know the plans I have for you. declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11(NIV).


2 comments:

  1. Janice,
    So wonderful! I too need hope. One of our adopted kids will never be better and it's wrecked us for over three years. While we move forward in life, many new ways of living have swirled in our heads. The severe disability this child has weighed us down to nothing and we are ready for a change. God told us not to bring this child home, warning bells screaming. God screaming No. We ignored him instead to listen to an agency who only wanted to keep the line moving. Oh, the regrets we have. How my husband wouldn't listen either. Oh and to watch my
    Other kids suffer because of this, awful! It's been a storm as well and sadly we know what needs to go, to happen and the outcome will be painful but necessary. And we are ready to close this chapter. Learn from God, what and who is valuable and likely, we in the near future will be walking away from a LOT. Giving up much to gain Less. But LESS is our MORE. I have realized through this storm, that I have to search for the rainbows and our rainbow, in the midst of the storm is that we want a life of Less. Less stress, less stuff, less commitments, less space to live, less of everything. And so this is our hope, to Listen to God and HIS plan to restore our family and we know this involves walking away from MORE into a life of LESS. We had one day in the last 3 years that embodied what we want. We actually sat on the beach as a family and enjoyed ourselves. Just one, perfect, single day in the sun just a few weeks ago, but we took it realizing we needed it. Also to heal. To realize all this storm is for us, is the devils attempt to destroy and divide our family. And that the answer was simple. Painful to choose, yes. But simple. Sometimes not fighting can also be the answer. For us, fighting means the war will never cease. Ever. In this case, our healing began that day, slowly, by accepting what we as a family NEED to do. And so we move forward with clarity, sadness, relief and a plan. Gods Plan. Something to get our family back and too help sustain us we put this plan into action. So thank you Janice for sharing hope today. Walking the hard road is never easy, but seeing you with your determination brings hope to so many of us. So thank you!

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  2. Prayers for both you and anonymous above. Inspiring strength from both of you!

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