If I had a dollar for every time, someone has said to me since February 19, 2008, “I wish I had your strength”; I wouldn’t be driving a well-loved mini-van with 260,000 miles on it. Mind you at least one hundred thousand of those miles have been for doctor’s appointments related to our horrible day, but I digress.
In my mind, there exist two apparent problems with their logic.
Number One – I don’t believe or perceive myself to be all that strong; so, I can’t really impart any strength building wisdom on to them.
Number Two – The actual response to this is one I only recently had the courage to utter. “No, you would never wish for that.” The only way my perceived strength was on any radar was after our family walked through the nightmare of our darkest day. No one would voluntarily walk through the storms we have had to face. Trust me.
To be honest, I don’t know if I would call the perception of my behavior, strength. Frankly, I didn’t realize I had the option of not being strong. I had three other beautiful children to raise, and they needed me. PERIOD.
Quitting and giving up weren’t options. There were many days – let’s get real there still are days – that I would like to dig a hole next to Reed and just wait until God calls me home.
But that isn’t his plan for my life. So strong – whatever that means – is what I will keep on doing.
The other sentiment that I have consistently heard since that awful day was, “I wish I had your faith.”
When I look in the mirror, I see a girl who happens to love Jesus, her family, a good laugh, my kids’ sporting events, and sweet tea! Notice, I didn’t say a woman of great faith. It’s not that I don’t want to be known for having a great faith. It’s just I’m not sure that God is done with my development yet. I know all my failures, sins, and regrets, but here is where the difference lies between strength and faith, I know who is stronger than all of that – Jesus.
He loves me like crazy. He has plans for my life. He cries when I cry, and he laughs when I laugh. He – only he –can pick up my broken pieces and merge them back together. Whatever “strength” I have comes from holding out my hands and asking him to help me, and always in his time, he does.
I have learned in the last six years, I care less about what people think and more about what he thinks. I have reconciled my thinking to understand that sometimes fire and trials have the result of bringing you closer to Him. Never in a million years did I think I would say this . . . but I am thankful that his strength has the power to take your despair to use it for his glory. This does not mean that I won’t grieve losing Reed or our babies until my dying day, because I will.
However, God and his Son are great recyclers, and together, they are reframing my storms to show me incomparable joy.