James 1:2-4 consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I ended our family video of year 3 with this scripture. While I have not considered many of our trials, “pure joy” I have felt my faith grow rapidly. I also am far from mature and complete but the story is far from finished. (Hopefully a bus does not hit me today)
Putting what I want to say into the proper words is going to be difficult at best. Because I want to convey just the right thing and often times with the written word the intent is lost due to lack of voice inflection.
The first time I can clearly remember understanding God’s hand in my life was when I gave birth to Chase. Having a baby is very humbling and in that instant for most parents all selfish thoughts and considerations go up in smoke. Chase or Thirteen as I often refer to him is a treasure although he has his moments. Don’t we all though J The gravity of having a child to raise in the proper manner is both crushing and uplifting at the same time.
Here is the dicey part of the story and I tread lightly here because a lot of this subject has been buried however, it also changed who I was. Divorce is a terrible thing to have to endure. No matter what side of it you are on – it’s an awful situation. Compound that if you have children involved, and if one of the spouses had an affair. I had both in my case.
Suffice to say that I was a victim of two very selfish people. I was frozen in place by fear, loss, trying to protect my 2 year old, and grief. Frozen and all I could do was take the hits as they came. I couldn’t eat, sleep, and I made very bad decisions because I felt I had no one to turn to and I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly.
The only reason I feel compelled to drudge up all of this hurt is because lately I have had several friends approach me who are going through a divorce or are thinking about it, and not all have the same circumstances as me but grief is grief and hurt is hurt. When you go through a divorce, you are in a fog for years. It takes a lot of hard work to understand and navigate life when all you want to do is buy a donut truck and run over the offending parties. The one thing I tell anyone going through this is to view it like a flight of stairs. You can throw yourself down the stairs from the top, hit every bump, and break every bone or you can navigate them one at a time. You might go up a step, down a step, slide down a few, or even sit down for a while. Nevertheless, be careful and go slow.
Mr. Ex happens to be an attorney who does a lot of divorce work. I watched what many of his clients did to their children and I made a vow that Chase would never know anything but love. It was not our sons fault and he wasn’t a pawn in a game. He was to be protected at all costs. Did I live up to that? Not all the time and once in a while my anger would rear it’s ugly head and I would say things I shouldn’t have. For the most part, however Mr. Ex and I work very hard to do whatever it takes to make Chase’s life easy.
We don’t argue about holidays. We don’t argue about time back and forth. We both take the approach of what is reasonable and it works. We talk on the phone almost daily at certain points because we are parenting together. In fact, when Larkin was diagnosed, Mr. Ex was among the first to be called because I needed him to reinforce to Chase that everything would be ok. That is exactly what Mr. Ex did.
I was changed forever because of what happened. I lost my home where I had brought my child home from the hospital, I had quit my job at United Airlines so I didn’t work, I lost my identity and life that I had built. I had to be the parent who was grounded and didn’t make any sudden changes to a little boy’s life because at the time his father was not taking any of that into consideration.
I lost friends who suddenly didn’t want the “single girl” around. I heard whispers of worry that I would steal a husband. REALLY? SERIOUSLY? After what I had just been through – men were the last thing on my mind, and a married man would have learned that a good time from me was a kick in the you know what. More importantly, what a woman learns going through this situation is this; Girlfriends are the very best thing in life right next to a cold glass of Pinot Grigio.
Loss is an important lesson. Trials are important lessons. “If your faith hasn’t changed you, your faith hasn’t saved you” My faith wasn’t on the radar back then. I was being tested and I withstood the storm, but I was not walking a life of faith. My life took twists and turns for the next few years and I slowly realized that I didn’t love myself enough to make good decisions. I wasn’t putting my energy into the right directions. I had to re-wire myself and it took a lot of work.
All of that past pales in comparison to my life today. Goodness knows the shallow life I would have continued living if the trials and sorrows hadn’t prompted change. I live in now and next. Keeping my focus on living in the moment. I have an amazing husband who takes great care of us. Change and a focus on God and my faith moved me along to who I am supposed to be and whom I should be with. I have a beautiful son who makes me grumble and smile daily. In addition, Larkin, our beautiful little girl who fights the good fight every day. Right now, she is upstairs sick with a high fever that has lasted now 3 days – another trial that we will get through. She gives a great deal of perspective as to what is important.
Through the trials of the past 3 plus years, I haven’t given much thought to the donut truck and the energy I wasted on carrying around the “I’m right You’re wrong” grudge had to be put toward taking care of a sick little girl. Letting go became so very easy because it is not my bag of rocks to carry anymore. (thanks Alan for that phrase)
The trials are received with pure joy (after the fact) because I take so much pleasure in “getting after it” and digging deep to continue to grow.
With love, patience, and faith we will make our way. James sums it up best in chapter 1 vs 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
I’ll keep asking God for wisdom and one day maybe perseverance will finish its work I will be mature and complete and not lacking anything. Not likely with twins on the way. Insert big fat giggles here.