I haven’t written in quite a while. My family and I have been going through an extremely trying season. Through it I’ve really learned what it means to to remain steadfast and faithful all while praising the Lord.
When things get hard. When it doesn’t look like it’s working out the way I would hope I have a tenancy to drift from God. I get angry and hurt, but even more so when I’m sitting there thinking, God! I’m doing all the right things, where are you? I believe that it’s a common misconception that God will deliver us from hard times if we walk the path. God never promises to deliver us from trials and tribulations. He promises to see us through them, if we rely on him. He demands we praise him in the process. We should want to praise him in the process, but I don’t always want to. Do you?
When we are in the midst of dark nights that seem so long, I often revert back to relying on myself and stand alone on my own two feet, all while saying something different. I often talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Then I wonder why I am miserable.
God calls us higher. He calls us to walk joyfully the path he has set before us and the instructions on how to do so are all written.
Recently, I’ve learned I know very little about who God is and who he calls me to be. How he calls me to live. He calls for us to live righteously, but how do we do that?
To begin, I want to share my experience with you that began this walk I’m on. Ten months ago my family experienced a tragedy. My husband’s daughter died of Leukemia. She was six years old. She was a beautiful and spirited child. She was fun and so incredibly smart. She was incredibly strong. She revealed herself to be so much stronger than we knew, because she fought her illness with smiles and laughter.
I wish so much that I had done better by her. I feel so much remorse about how selfishly I entered her life. She deserved so much better than that. I remember I was tucking her in one night. I told her I loved her and that I was so glad to be her stepmom and she looked at me with utter confusion and said your my stepmom? I remember thinking that, that should have been made clear to her long before I was ever tucking her in at night.
When I married her father I was a mess. I meant well. I truly did, but I still caused harm. I didn’t understand what being a parent meant. What a great responsibility it was to be involved in a child’s life. Her mother knew and so did my husband’s family. So of course when they learned of my relapse they fought like hell to keep me away from her and I don’t blame them now, but I did. In my sick and twisted way I knew they were right for getting involved. I don’t agree with all of what happened, but we are human and not perfect. Yet, I was still deeply offended and so utterly selfish that I was still so focused on myself. I couldn’t understand that it wasn’t about me. They could care less who I was and why. Their first and only concern was for her. I never hurt her directly. I never used around her, but I harmed her indirectly by my actions.
After my relapse no one expected my husband to continue on with our relationship, nor did they think he would go on to marry me… but my husband is so very loyal. He believed in me and stood by me when no one else would. He encouraged me and supported me and I thank God for him, He never blamed me for losing visitation rights to his daughter, despite me blaming myself and I do absolutely blame myself. He lost out on so much time because of my choices. His whole family did.
We didn’t start getting her back until nearly a year later. She was weary of me and she was confused. By that time I had been married to her dad for almost a year and she now had a little sister that she hardly knew. It was such a rough transition. She wanted to like me, but she was so confused about my place and although I’m sure she didn’t know why she didn’t get to see her dad for a year, she was such a smart kid, I’m sure she knew I had a lot to do with it.
We were just really beginning to bond when she got diagnosed. We knew something was wrong with her, but we never expected her to have leukemia. She began to get really weak. She was sleeping all the time. She had a really bad ringworm infection that wouldn’t go away. She had cough that seemed to last forever. Her grandmother and her mother took her to the doctor. They did a blood test and sent her over to the ER right away. Her mother couldn’t get a hold of Avery and they called me to tell us they were taking her to the ER and that if we wanted to come we could. We got there as soon as we could. While Kaylynn was off receiving tests, they told us why we were here. I’ve never been a witness to a more heartbreaking scene than watching her mother fall apart as they told us the news. All I wanted to do was hold her mother, but because of our history I stood silent and dumbfounded. I could see my husband reeling at the diagnosis. My husband began to fall into himself. He pulled away. There was so much tension between all of us, but especially between her mother and him. I was the mediator, but I wasn’t her father. I couldn’t will things to be different even though I tried.
Nearly two months after recieving Kay’s diagnosis I learned I was pregnant with my second child. I was filled with horror. I remember thinking how incredibly selfish it is is to bring a child into this world while Kay was so sick. I was terrified to tell Avery and I couldn’t even begin to figure out a way to tell anyone else. Most were supportive. I pulled myself together and decided that I would look at this child as a blessing in the midst of all of this pain.
Looking back now, on the months since we lost Kay, my daughter Elaina has been such a joy. She has brought much needed distraction. She has rooted me in reality. I didn’t have time to fret over our circumstances and my broken husband when I had to care for a newborn and a toddler. She has also been such a light. She was the easiest and most cuddly baby. My first was a handful and still is. Elaina has been my calm throughout this storm.
We got the news on Feburary 18, 2018 that Kaylynn had gone to be with Jesus. It had been months since I had seen her. My husband had completely withdrawn and I feared he would never come back to us. He was present, but not really with us. The worse Kaylynn got, the more Avery pulled away. Our daughter barely knew him, plus he traveled for work and when he was home he was so absent it was like he wasn’t even with us. He made jokes often about suicide. The more quiet he got, the more emotional I became.
My relationship with God was at an all time low the months following Kay’s passing. Without even knowing it I was blaming God for not saving her. The whole time she was sick I expected God to come in and heal her. The worse she got, the more I believed it was to reveal his glory. I never doubted that God would come in and deliver her from her illness. Even when she was sent home on palliative care I had hope. When we moved I packed her clothes, toys, and bed and they waited for her. I had held out hope that one day she would call our new home hers. We moved again after she passed and having to look on her things brought emotions that I hadn’t really dealt with.
So when Avery called me to tell me that she was gone. It was all I could do to keep it together. I was in shock and I felt so foolish for having hope and for the wasted time. My husband had completely given up while she was sick and I felt it wasn’t my place to be there when he wasn’t. While I maintained contact, I hadn’t gone to see her and I hated myself for it and I hated him for it.
There was so much grief. I had grief for her mother who had to go through all of it alone as a single parent. I had grief for my husband. I had grief for his regret. I had grief for all who had loved and lost her. I had grief for my girls who would never know her. I had grief for my regret and the relationship I had tried to build and failed at. I was so ready to love her and take her into my family and love her as my own. Yet, I felt I had no right to grieve. She wasn’t my child and with all of the history I had involving her, the thought of grieving for her felt wrong, like I was doing her an injustice. I felt I didn’t deserve to miss her.
Yes, I blamed God for not rescuing her and I blamed myself for not being better for her.
Sitting in church one Sunday was when I had the revelation that I was angry at the Lord for not healing her. The worship team was performing the song Do it Again by Evelation Worship.
Hearing the bridge was when it dawned on me that I felt betrayed.
“I‘ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again”
I remember thinking as the music washed over me, this song would have been so inspirational when Kaylynn was sick, but bitterly I thought, but you didnt move that mountain did you, Lord?
Weeks later I was in my car on the way to my sisters and another worship song came on, almost like an answer to the question I hadn’t asked.
The song is called Even if by Mercy Me, the lyrics hit me like a bolt of lightening:
“They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain, well good thing a little faith is all I have right now, but God when you choose to leave mountains unmovable oh, give me the strength to be able to sing it is well with in my soul”
Its not that God chose not to heal my stepdaughter. When the first family fell (Adam and Eve) sin and death entered the world. While Satan used Kaylynn’s illness to harm her and those who loved her. The truth is while Satan thinks he’s winning and we all feel like we are losing, the battle was already won 2000 years ago. God made good out of something so terrible, he healed her eternally something our temporal minds have trouble making sense of.
I was reading a blog post written by a mother who had lost her daughter to cancer, a friend of Kay’s actually. I was devouring anything that could give me insight to my husband’s pain during that time and I came across an article that changed my life. She said that God didn’t chose any of this, but we had better believe he’s going to redeem it. God has redeemed it, through Jesus and it will be revealed to all when Jesus finally returns.
Upon this revelation God began working in my heart drawing me in, beckoning me closer than ever before and I desperately needed him in this season of my life. My marriage was crumbling and my security and stability was gone. My husband’s job was unsteady. We were and are constantly in a financial crisis. Nothing was going right, I had no reason to feel at peace, but I did every time I chose to praise him in the midst of all of my fear. When I choose to praise him, especially when it was the last thing I wanted to do, I choose to trust that he is good and that he will see us through this season of doubt and hardship. God blesses me with peace and joy sees me through my doubt and fear.
As I grew spiritually my husband grew even more distant. My prayer became for God to reach him, because I was trying and failing. He was a shell of the man I knew. It was so hard to be patient and wait on God to move in his life like he was moving in mine. I felt that it was unfair for God to gift me with the revelation about Kay and not Avery. I preached and preached at Avery but I only pushed him further away. I was not the vessel God chose to bring enlightenment to my husband. That came much later.
A few months ago my prayers for my husband were answered in the form of a church. They have a men’s group that my husband goes to, at first reluctantly. They began to minister and love on him and life began to spark in my husband again.
We began a marriage class with the pastor and his wife and through that I’ve learned so many things and I’ve also learned that there’s so much about the Christian walk that I had absolutely no idea about.
Through this season of hardship my faith has been restored on such a deep level I never knew existed. My husband is healing and growing. My prayers have been answered. That is my miracle in all of this. We are learning to walk the narrow path with joy and praises on our lips. I am so incredibly blessed beyond my wildest dreams to live in the light of my Father. I will praise him before my breakthrough and I will continue to praise him all the days of my life!