A little bit of our story and the things I’ve learned from my journey
Last week I had to drive pass Sydney’s first accident site a few times. I don’t do it often but every time I do the memories flood my mind. Looking back obviously gives such a different perspective. I remember feeling so very thankful and blessed but it was impossible for me to understand what I was really spared. I remember that day and how I professed God’s faithfulness for watching over my daughter. I shouted out to the world how blessed we were that after a horrible car accident Sydney walked away without a scratch. My exact comment “I’m so blessed she is ok! Thank you God” The pictures still sit on my Facebook and Instagram and even on Sydney’s Instagram where she posted and said God was watching over her. To this day every time someone I know has an accident I see them thank God for protecting them or they will say they had a guardian angel protecting them. I’m not saying that those things aren’t blessings from God because they definitely are but unfortunately I learned from experience, how confusing it is to attach God’s faithfulness to circumstances in our lives. You see just 48 hours after I posted a picture of my daughter’s totaled car with my comment. She was in another accident (a passenger this time) and instead of shouting how blessed I was..I was sitting on the side of the road in complete shock and incapable of believing what the detective was saying to me. The next day I was faced with writing an obituary for my beautiful 16 year old daughter. I can’t explain how polar opposite those two moments felt but I can say that God truly open my eyes to the confusion our witness gives to others. We live in a broken world. A world set apart from the garden of eden where God’s protection surrounded us at all times. For those who only know of The Lord and haven’t studied his word. When they are faced with tragedy or suffering it is so easy to become confused and believe somehow God caused their tragedy or they tend to question their faith or possibly his faithfulness. I can completely understand now why this happens. I listen to Christian radio and hear over and over again how someone was in a trying time in their life and when they requested prayer God provided their needs and “faithfully” answered their prayers. I’m happy their circumstances changed but I can’t help but think of those who also prayed and did not receive the outcome they needed or desired. It breaks my heart that the message those people hear is that God wasn’t faithful to them. That is NOT who God is. You see even Jesus prayed to his father and cried out asking for the cup to pass but we have victory and a savior because God was FAITHFUL and Jesus was obedient to follow his father’s will even when it wasn’t the answer he desired. Jesus set the perfect example of prayer when he said not my will but yours be done. If we put that one sentence on every prayer we prayed we would see that God’s faithfulness isn’t about answering prayers to make our lives upon earth easier or better and that prayer should be about voicing our hearts to God but should also be a willingness to accept his will over our desires and trusting that he will then carry us through. His faithfulness is about giving us mercy for disobeying his commands and sending his son to provide a sacrifice of grace and if we accept his gift he has promised and eternity of peace alongside him and all the other believers in heaven. Do not judge God’s faithfulness on circumstances in this life, his faithfulness reaches far beyond this world and into the lives of every believer regardless of how our prayers are answered here on earth. His faithfulness isn’t judged by whether Sydney survived that 2nd accident his faithfulness made it possible for her to live beyond this life. His faithfulness provides the only hope a grieving parent has..that this world is not the end, but rather the journey to it. His faithfulness provides the path back to the garden where we may rest for eternity in perfect peace and love. As I wake to face each day living a life I am not strong enough to live. I survive it because I know this is temporary and when I’ve made it to the end of my journey I will not only see my sweet girl again but he has promised that we will never be separated again. Now that should be what we think of when we think about, ponder, or desire answers to explain God’s faithfulness just as with every prayer we should end it with not my will but yours be done!
I didn’t take many pictures of her on the side of a soccer field so this is such a rare treasure to me, however I could have taken a million and it wouldn’t be enough. Her passion for the game was as beautiful as that smile! My #missablekindofgirl #PlayForJeter
I want so badly to feel like I know who I am, but no matter how hard I look or how hard I try..the me that is there..I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know this pain..the unending ache that is unexplainable but ever so present and all consuming. The me that lost her daughter..NO I don’t want to know her even though I am her..It is so hard to learn to love the you..you don’t want to be.. yet that you needs more love than ever before…..I long to be who I once was..the me that was whole unbroken and incapable of understanding a pain like this..the me who wasn’t crushed by the weight of grief..the me that didn’t have to grasp for air or feel a constant ache inside my chest..the me that felt in control and stable..so how do I balance the desire to feel like I know who I am..I don’t..I wake up every day and let the ache remind me that I need God..let the missing remind me to continue making memories..let the feeling of not being loved remind me to love someone..and to let the feeling of not being in control remind me that God is..so today as I miss her more than I ever thought possible I am also reminded of how blessed I was to have her but even more blessed to know I will see her again. My journey may include darkness but I am holding tightly to the light of Life John 8:12
Please know that as I share my vulnerable journey not all my thoughts and actions are righteous or appropriate. I am sharing so that others can see the struggle and how the spirit of God continues to walk me through the waters to a place of repentance and even understanding as he protects me from the snares of Satan. So as I walk through the shadow of the valley of death I catch myself often thinking I didn’t deserve the suffering I am forced to endure. I loved my daughter and loved spending time with her. I did not toss her off onto others so that I could go and do things she or Cameron could not attend. I never bought or did things for myself if it meant that they may not have something they wanted or needed. I wove them into every part of our life. I never needed “my time” or a date night I simply didn’t want to miss any opportunity to enjoy them as I knew I was only guaranteed for them to be in my house for 18 yrs. Yet I never turned my back or ran from the hard moments of parenting. If I felt it was for their good and they didn’t agree I let them hate me for that moment even if it meant that I cried. So as I watch the people around me and see the news daily I find myself angry that they get to have their children specifically daughters and I don’t. They will experience weddings and grand babies and lunches or shopping dates with their grown daughter where the conversation isn’t about mean girls or stupid boys but instead about real life..they will experience their daughter growing from a teenager into a young women when they chose to throw away so many opportunities to live life with them years before. They saw their child as a responsibility but when I looked upon my daughter I valued her and cherished the gift she was..how could I possibly deserve to be the one to loose my child?
However God does amazing things when you seek him for peace and comfort. He continually opens my eyes in a new way and shows me a picture so different than the one I’m seeing. Every feeling I struggle with above comes from a comparison of me as a parent to someone else as a parent. It is a very self focused view. Oh how humbling it was the day I sat wailing to God about these things. As always in a gentle way the spirit nudged me with the question If you compared your parenting to mine would you still feel like you deserved to keep her? If you compared your love of her to Jesus’s love of her would you still feel you deserved something different? I wish at that moment I would have felt humbled but I didn’t instead I wanted to scream even more simply because I knew I was wrong and being wrong never feels good but as I pray and fight through, God continues to reveal my entitlement but more importantly that when I take my focus off of his glory his kingdom and the over abundant love he pours out and instead start comparing my life to the world. I lose balance, lose focus and become angry and bitter. If I take a moment and imagine myself looking at The Holy God himself I could never ever say “I didn’t deserve something” because if I got what I deserved I would never have had her to begin with and I wouldn’t have the hope of ever seeing her or living in perfect peace again. I am humbled by his love and gentle redirection when I need it. I’m so undeserving yet he continues to pursue and love me anyway.
Comparing myself to people of the world or being better than other people is not what being a disciple or Christian is all about. It is about comparing ourselves to Christ and waking up every day obediently following the word of God regardless of our circumstances or how hard it may be. The only comparison we should be doing is comparing our lives to Jesus. When we do that our humanness becomes prevalent and for me all entitlement disappears and I understood the grace he has given and the sacrifice he made. It doesn’t take away the pain of losing Sydney or the ache of missing her every second but it gives me peace and the strength I need to endure it while I’m waiting.
I used to think that bad things didn’t happen to good people..when I look back now I can see I felt that way because I was only processing the part of the bible I wanted to..When I thought about Daniel and the lions den I thought about his victory and survival. I paid attention to the beginning and the end but not the middle. I see now that God unveiled his faithfulness to others at the end but in the middle is where God is personally at work and proves his faithfulness to you. The middle is where we experience God in ways that allow us to see things differently and grow closer to him. The middle is where without God you can’t survive..The middle doesn’t feel good and it isn’t comfortable..the middle is where the potter’s pottery is spinning and the shape is changing and if you continue to stay in the potters hands the middle is where that crazy piece of clay that looks messy and disfigured is spun into something beautiful. Without the middle you’re just a piece of clay but after going through the middle you look different to the world. That’s when they can see God’s work within you. If your in the middle trust and know that the middle is where you get to meet God personally🙏🏻