Tag Archives: Healing

A Very Transparent Prayer

I prayed to you this morning, Father. I pray it seems these days constantly, but my mind is also distracted by some of the shadows of my past, and I find myself frustrated with this – entirely exhausted and quite breathless – because I yearn for peace and rest. I yearn for it, like I hope with each breathe not to feel the weight of anxiety against my chest, pulling the air from my lungs as I try with everything I have to keep it in. I have come to you with these concerns now, God, and I have hope that You will get me through this day.

Most of the time in my life I try and have the control. I keep it like a hundred dollar bill in my pocket, unwilling to relinquish this currency for Your will, but I hold it to use for myself – I know this is not sound, and not prudent, but I struggle. I don’t want to struggle like this anymore, but my nature goes against what I know to be better for me – You are better for me, and yet I hold on to the illusion that I can do this apart from You.

Why must this be so hard? To know You – to trust that You have a will for me that is better than my own – I suffer under the weight of the lie that I am strong enough, but then when night falls, and I lay in this bed alone, I know that it is holding me back every single moment I don’t lay all my concerns before You.

I’ve been reading Your Word, and in this time of solitude, I have felt You come beside me and ask me to trust. I give it all it seems I have, but then feel so ashamed because I know I am fooling myself. I have never given it all of me, because I have never trusted all of You. That is my greatest regret, and one I hope, with every new day, to rectify, but then again I fail, and again I am ashamed.

I do not know what to do with my shame, but I am being obedient now, I am writing this – to You – and it is here that I lay it down. In these words, my fingers against these keys, I am here, now, Lord… Help me be who I am destined to be.

The greatest struggle I have faced since being here, in this time alone, is one pain I have held for many years, God. The pain of losing a love I held so dear, and losing my mother, all in one short span of time. It is here where I question Your will, and perhaps it is here that explains why I have such a hard time trusting that. Because I do not understand it, God. I do not understand why You allowed this to happen. Why You allowed her to hand down her generational sin upon my heart, and his, and then instead of heal us, You took her away.

I was left with nothing, and I didn’t know how to turn to You, wholeheartedly, because I was so broken. That break – that pain – has stayed with me, Father, and it is the single biggest pain I have ever known, and I am still angry that You thought I could handle this. What did you expect from me? How did You see this playing out? Did You know that it would be all these years – did You see that it would break me and yet You gave it to me anyway? Was I not a faithful child, Lord, when I was young? Did I not call out to You, and want to know You, and share that knowing with the world?

I strayed as a youth, You know this, but did my wayward heart deserve, then, such a burden? To the world, it is simple – I should let it go, and I should have done that a long, long time ago. I have nobody to help me with this, nobody to understand it. And when I have come to You to lay it down, I have never felt like it was taken from me. I have never felt like You wanted me to give this up – because it remains. If I have asked You, and cried out in the night in this pain, then why have You not listened?

When she was dying, were You there? When she breathed her last breathe, did You hold her? She strayed, God, she strayed so far that she gave her pain over to me, and You allowed this. Was she too far gone for You to have intervened, for You to have spared me, her, and him from that – did I deserve this somehow? Did she? Did he? She never got the chance to make it right, and instead of allow me to have that reconciliation, You took her. Or was it not You, but sin, that befell my mother? If it was that, please don’t tell me, because I think if I knew it wasn’t You, I don’t know how I would handle that against You supposing to be a loving God. How is that for truth?

I long for the kind of rest that is not hindered by this pain. But in the years since that time, I have not once known what that feels like. I have not once awoke to a new day and felt the absence of this pain. There has been immense joy, and happiness, and You have blessed me in other ways, yet this darkness in my soul remains, and as much as I’ve asked You to release me from it, even in the midst of all the joy that I have known, here yet it remains. Why, God?

Is it that I have not done a good enough job? Do my thoughts, and deeds, and actions, and heart fail so greatly that I must still bear the weight of such pain in everything I try to do? Is this Your will for me? To learn to cope with it, and find joy, even when I hurt? If so, please, I am not sure I am strong enough to handle that for the rest of my life. My children don’t deserve less of me because I have less to give. My husband doesn’t deserve less of me because I have no more fight left in me, since all my strength goes to just making it through…

I bear this pain without anyone’s understanding, and in the face of that, I risk every single time I speak of this to appear whiny, and needlessly so – how can they have empathy for me when they do not understand? Worse, when they don’t approve that I should even deal with this anymore? A grand part of my shame comes from how I’ve experienced, time and time again, well-meaning others remarking at how strange it seems that I still deal with this pain. To them, I am a fool. To them, it looks so simple.

But You, the knower of my heart and keeper of my soul, You know what I carry, and yet even You have allowed this. I am disappointed and saddened by this, and I feel I need to tell You that.

I am going to spend this day being obedient to You. That is why I sat to write this. That is why I prayed this morning for You to take the anxiety from my chest, and to help me breathe easier. I just inhaled and it fully filled my lungs and escaped my lips with no hint of that pressure and fear that has come most breathes this week. Perhaps in this very act of writing, for some reason, You’re actually listening and maybe this day won’t be another anxious, fearful episode in a long line of the same.

I want different, God. I want something more than this. More than carrying something that I have tried to lay before You but have found no rest from. I want to go an entire day praising You, God, not questioning You. You want me this way, don’t You? If that’s what You want, then help me! I have obviously shown that I cannot do this apart from You. I don’t have that control. I don’t possess the strength, and You know this. So, please, God. Take this from me. If even for just this day.

The journey Forward

My nose is familiar with the scent here. The thick, humid, salty air that wraps exposed skin in sticky warmth; even in February, it is as if summer is right on my heels. I have yet to feel the sand between my toes or see the crashing Gulf of Mexico sea on the horizon, but I remember how it feels to be here and await my return there with the morning light.

The drive down was entirely thoughtful and, as I mentally organized my goals for this journey, visions in my mind were vivid – I know exactly what I need to do.

I often long for the familiar rush of creativity coursing through my veins but it seems life and time, in normal day-to-day, doesn’t always lend itself to such a luxury as to sit and explore it – as I drove on through dusty ranch towns and veered around port cities it became clear to me: I must use this time to write.

There are several key aspects to this venture but I feel the need to be transparent as I dive in; to first explain that, if I am successful, the next several days will find me here, naked as I unearth the inner-most core of my history, my walk with God, and my desires to change the nature of my conscious thoughts from cynical to hopeful… No small feat, any of this. I come to these keys fully exposed, willingly, but it is not without trepidation, because in committing to this, I must not fear.

Fear you, dear reader. Fear forgiveness as I seek to walk in time and space with Jesus to know Him better, if for the first real time in my life. Fear that I will be too honest, and peel away too much, and in doing so, give away parts of my most personal struggles to these white blank pages, and to anyone willing to read them once I am finished. Fear to fail – that this time away will not be fruitful because I will convince myself I cannot do this – and I will leave here with my creative venture dead in vain.

Leaving my family, I cried for a good long while. It took me a while to figure out exactly why, but I realized somewhere along the way, on a long empty stretch of highway, that I have attached myself to the identity of wife and mother so strongly that I have, perhaps, forgotten how to truly be alone. I must face, more than anything else, the person I see when I look in the mirror. Here, I cannot blame a messy house on my sour mood. I cannot pick a fight with my husband over politics nor can I lump over on the couch after bedtime bemoaning my three children for how exhausted this day has been. I have nobody here, nobody else to “blame” for whatever supposed unhappiness or discontent that may arise. Just me.

In the coming days, I will write about my most personal struggles. About my mother and Tim and the thousand emotions tied into that time of my life. About having to share Layla with her father half the time, and all that pours into my guilt because of her situation. About coming to terms with what I did with my marriages, and how I have used one very meaningful avenue of my history – of love – as the ultimate reason why I have not been truly peaceful for a long time… I will attempt to dig into how I view the world, and walk through compassion, empathy, and personal awareness as I navigate what I believe, and expect fully to also deal with anger, doubt, and concern over our future as a nation – but ultimately, I hope to arrive at a place of understanding what I value most and thus may go boldly ahead, whatever that means.

I set out on this path because I needed to stop. To stop and realize that this is my life, and I am not living it the way I am meant to. I feel it in my bones. I have for a long while. I have been so good at excusing my self-induced misery and put on a brave face for the world, but the truth is, God knows I need this – and He ordained this time so that I can, indeed, get to the heart of the me He wants me to be.

I want to say thank you to my supportive and encouraging husband without whom this time here would not have come to pass. He tenderly looked into my eyes and assured me it was okay – to have these days to reflect, and know what the right next steps for my – and our life together – are. He wants me to dig deep and seek how to use each day as the gift that it is, and let me go with nothing but happiness in his heart that the woman he loves gets an amazing opportunity for growth.

If you don’t care to know my heart, or fear that my vulnerability and honesty may offend you, or know that your first instinct is not to understand what’s behind it, but instead quickly judge what I feel, when I divulge personal details about my belief systems, and point of view, or even if me talking about my first love and how I’ve spent all these years coming to terms with what happened there just makes you uncomfortable, then please, do not read my writing over the next couple of days. Do not read it, but instead, perhaps wish me well, whatever I may be doing. . .

After all, this is my journey. This is my story – nobody else, not a single earthly being, can look at this and tell me what I feel about my life is wrong – but me, and God. So, to Him, I walk, from the most core of me. Raw. Open. And ready…

The Best Thing to Remember is Grace.

Dear God,

        How many times can I fail? The pain rips at my soul and just makes me fall further into the hole below my weary feet; I am so deep now I no longer see the light. To try so hard, only to end up here again- Lord, how can I win this battle? Just once, God, just once… I need this win. My children need their mother. Do you laugh at my attempts, Father, do you wait for me to fall? Do you even believe I can pick myself up at all…? Please, I need you now. . .

With caged tears held just below the surface, she sighs in heavily, lays her head to the pillow, and closes her eyes. She’s done this a thousand times. The physical entrapment of alcohol stains her breath and has tired her body as it sinks into the mattress, every muscle tense… A silent prayer to God, the same she’s prayed in vain for years. Just a Thursday afternoon; another day to fight through the nothingness her life has become, missing an afternoon of work because the chains of the bottle on her ankles are too heavy to bear another day.

… God, oh God! What is happening to me now? I didn’t mean for this to happen, wait… I’m not ready to go! There was so much left undone, so many hearts to mend, and words still in my heart to say to those I love.
They need me, Lord, they need their mother. . .

But… I am just so tired. I am so tired God.

I have given this all I have to give. I have screamed at you to take this burden from me, Lord, and yet I bear it. I have appeased others to get help and burned my pride to ashes when I failed, knowing that is what everyone expected me to do. Do you know the pain of failing every time you try? Because I do. And Lord, I am just so tired.

Maybe… Maybe if I let go now. Maybe if this is easiest on everyone else. Maybe…

As the pressure increase in her lungs, breathing becomes heavier and each breathe a challenge. As if gasping for air, her sleeping body suffocates under the weight of too much… Too much pain. Too much disappointment and failure. Too much alcohol.

Gasping slowly, her body gives into the moment, and breathes its last breathe. She does not feel this because it happens while she sleeps. The muscles relax as the tension escapes through the last bit of air exhaling from her parted lips.

I am sorry, Lord, tell my children and the man I love that I am so sorry. . . 

But I just could not do this anymore.

… The call came first to Brandan, our mother’s oldest child and firstborn son. He told our dad whom then had to tell the rest of his children that we lost our mother to the greatest fight of her life.

I, her middle child and first daughter, have since struggled deeply with the fact that she died alone. That, although I knew somehow deep inside that if she did not stop drinking she would lose the battle, I felt as though I could have, should have been there. We all knew, and yet, this kind of thing is not up to any of us to decide, and perhaps, for her, it would not have changed a single thing.

Those finals moments of her life are a mystery to me and I think about that experience for her every now and then. Today, she would have been 47 years old… Today, I think about that last day, and what that day has meant to the rest of my life.

God knows how often I think of my mom. How much sometimes I still miss her so much it hurts. That I catch myself thinking so naturally, “I have to tell mom about this!” Only so suddenly to realize that is impossible. For 21 years of my life, she was my mother, and then as if I blinked and turned around, she was gone.

That journey was hers alone, and although she left in her wake questions for those whom loved her, things we wonder that will go unanswered until eternity, I believe the moment my mother died was the personification of grace. . . That she was not alone, because God was there. . .

My daughter,

        Do not be afraid, dear child, for I Am with you.

Your cries to me have not gone in vain, for every single one of your tears was held in My hands. I was there when you were born, and I knew the life in store for you. I knew the challenges you would face, and I have watched you worship Me even when the pain was so bad you could not breathe.

Relax your body and know soon you will be in paradise, sweet child. Do not worry about your children, for they were first My children, and though they will miss you, they too are not alone. I will guide them and you will hold your babies again, just as I am holding you now. Life will go on for them, and because you taught them to believe in Me, each one of them will be just fine.

This is about you now, Roberta. This moment is what you have prayed for, because at last you will finally be free.

Free from the pains you held onto for all your life that taught you that you were not good enough, and that love had to be purchased. You will be free from the burden of addictions you could not fight, and the battle to live for something more than yourself.

I have loved you, sweet baby. I have loved you because you deserve My love, even when you fail.

This moment is for you, child.

This moment you are coming home.

I deliver you because the pain in your heart is heavy, and for you grace is the only way to release that burden… I AM the only way for you to let it go. Because I love you, because you are worthy of my love, now I set you free.

Come to me now, child, run into my arms, and finally look into the eyes of your Savior. . . Welcome home.

This is what exists in my heart, a love letter from God to my mother on the day she died.

That she deserved grace more than anything, despite her failures and regrets. She loved  Jesus until her last breathe, and I imagine deliverance because her final breathe was a gift. In that moment of death she was free from all she could not do. Free from the guilt. The shame. The disappointment.

As hard as it is sometimes, when the pain of her absence is obvious because those around me can hold and talk to their mom any time they want, I try and remember why my mother is no longer here.

What I have come to believe the most is that she is not here because she was given grace. Like the thief on the cross whom was told by Jesus that he would join Him in paradise that day, so too I believe my mother was given pardon from the pain of her sins.

How could I do anything but rejoice in this? Though, admittedly, I am crying even now, and did cry rather heavily while writing a few parts of this, I am mostly grateful at the picture of such a gift in my heart. That her death was a gift my mother deserved, and one that led her into the arms of the God she loved.

Today, it is her birthday. She would have been 47 years-old.

I send prayers upwards to heaven, and I rejoice that my mother is with Jesus, and she knows the face of God. I have gone on living since she died, and in all of my 28 and 3/4ths years so far have yet to see ANYTHING even remotely a fraction as cool as meeting Jesus, so I’d say she’s not doing all that bad!

If she were here right now, I would introduce her to my children (and there are the water works again… cue the tissues, please…) and I would tell her how much I love her. There would be no talk of yesterdays, or the how’s and why’s of her life, my life back then, or anything having to do with yesterday. Except to tell her how much I have gained in my life knowing I have an angel in heaven. She gave me that gift when she allowed God to give her the gift of ultimate grace.

Happy Birthday, Mommy. I love you…

From here until eternity.

Last Thanksgiving with Mom.
Last Christmas with Mom.

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