“I want to be ten years from now.”
I will never forget uttering these words in the days, months, and even first couple of years after losing Anna. I was desperate for a decade to pass, to be thrust a good milestone away from the pain.
And now, here I am.
One morning last week, in the countdown days to my dreaded month, my sister-in-law Melissa sent me a text. It was simple. “How are you?” I knew this question we ask each other almost daily was fully loaded and aimed at my heart. These three little words dug a hole right through the protective barrier I’d been building and drove love into my ten-year-old wound.
I choked back tears and responded.
“I’m fighting for joy.”
I have four healthy boys that are regularly blessing me, hugging me and telling me I am the “cutest mommy in the world.” I have a husband who is the most gracious, loving guy I know. I have a home I love at the end of a cul-de-sac that backs up to farm land, perfect for boys to romp and roam. I have family and friends I thank God for every day, a job I truly enjoy, and my story is now in print with the name of Jesus on the cover. There is no other word for this life I am living, than blessed.
I chide myself…
Really Kate, “fighting for joy” ? After all this time and with so much blessing?
Every year at the end of February I write myself a memo:
“I will not be harsh to myself next year.”
And every February the same thoughts and feelings beat me up, leaving me battered and bruised in the to and fro of anniversary grief.
This year I will not do it to myself.
And here’s why:
I cannot control the pain I feel, only what I do with it. And pain, in every form and fashion I experience it for the rest of my life, will always be a doorway into sacred encounters with my Savior. I will not curse the grief or the capacity to which I feel it any longer.
So yes I freely confess, I am fighting for joy, in the midst of so much blessing because I love my daughter that much. I miss her enormously and it still takes my breath away. February takes this love and longing, hoists it up on the flagpole of my heart, and strong and painful emotions fly high in my February sky. Ten years has not changed that fact. I suspect ten more won’t either.
This month I plan to open my heart to you. To share with you what it looks like, at least for me, to “fight for joy” and to encounter the saving and satisfying love of Jesus in the process.
We all have something we long for- wish were different. We all have seasons where we find ourselves impaled with things like- disappointment, stress, discontentment, regret. I invite you to face it with me this month, to face whatever your pain is and to allow your infirmities to be wrapped up and bandaged in a saving joy that intimacy with Jesus alone can bring.
Ten long years.
February 2015- I’m ready for you.