Show me how to love


Warning – this feels raw, but it’s still real.  No children were harmed.  Adults have recovered. Love wins. and stories are used with permission.

“She’s gone.  I don’t know where she is but she’s gone.”  I remember this late night phone-call and the pain that accompanied it.  My oldest niece walked through a challenging season years ago that broke our hearts.  This phone-call from my sister came as I was in bed one evening.  I was stunned and could not find words that could bring any comfort or hope.  All I remember thinking is, this must be what God feels like when we turn our backs on him.

In my years of childlessness I was always aware that there was a part of the father-heart of God that I wouldn’t experience apart from having children. [I was ok with that.]  In the moment of that phone-call I knew my sister was probably experiencing the deepest pain of her life.  Everything within me wanted to fix that pain, solve the problem, find my niece – but all we could do was hope that the seeds that had been sown in her life would bear good fruit.

Then, as I stared at the ceiling above my bed, lying next to my husband I said, “I am never having children.”

Why would anyone choose to expose their heart to that potential pain? Children have to be one of the the greatest vulnerabilities of your life.

Now, sitting here about 3 years later I can see God’s faithfulness to my sister, my niece and our family.  She bears good fruit.

And me?  I’m one year into a harvest that wasn’t mine to bear but I’m believing that as I walk in obedience, love deeply and fight fiercely, the seeds I’m sowing will bloom into beautiful things, one day.

Last week was not that day.

As I was preparing to leave for a 4-day work trip I was blissfully aware that all my ducks were in a row and I would get to spend my last evening enjoying my beautiful little family.  Then, my little dream began falling apart.

We picked up the little girls from daycare, went to our favorite chiropractor for a visit, ate our frosted animal cookies then lost our shit. [sorry, not sorry.]

There is something that is triggered in a twin that has to do with me and any perceived weakness, sickness or lack of normal.  It is truly heartbreaking.  Most of the time I don’t see it coming until it hits me in the face.  Literally, I was slapped in the face.  In the midst of one of the most epic meltdowns I have ever experienced, she walked up to me in a trance-like state, eyes glazed over and slapped me straight across the face.

I was devastated. I was humiliated. I was hurt.  I was sad. I felt hopeless. I felt unappreciated. I was angry, embarrassed, frustrated, broken and undone.

Riding in the car home with tears streaming down my face… wondering… Is life always going to be like this?  Will we always be walking on ice so thin that I’m constantly trying to predict and prevent the cracks?  Will we ever be normal?  Clearly I have failed.  But don’t they know that I have given up pretty much my whole life for them? And this? This is how they thank me?

Then I heard Jesus whisper, welcome to my world.

Humbling. In the midst of my pain I was humbled as I thought of all that Christ endured on my behalf.  The cross. The pain. His life laid down.  All of these feel like a slap in the face when in my own sin, in my own self-protection, I turn my back and do what I want instead of trusting his plan.

I wish I could say that humbling moment and recognition removed my own pain, but it didn’t.  I struggled for a couple of days and even now struggle with understanding the pain it touched in me.  I struggle with the lies of not being enough, not having hope, not wanting to fight any more… I struggle with the battle of it all.

There are many people in the past week that have come along side me, covered my pain, spoken words of truth and reminded me of the part God has invited me to play.  I am humbled by your love. Thank you Lord for a husband that fights for my heart, holds me when I cry and reminds me that they love me too… even when I don’t believe it.  And God has been faithful to meet me in the hard places and remind me of his love.  My heart has shifted to sing, show me how to love as you have loved me.

I returned from my trip exhausted but ready to re-engage.  The girls don’t even remember what went down last week.  When I tried to talk to them about it, they just say, “we had a really bad day.”  [no kidding]  They don’t realize the interaction sent me to one of the darkest places I’ve been in the past year. But in that place, I found Jesus.

They say that the place of deepest pain can be the place of greatest potential for transformation.

I was able to get in touch with the deep desires I have to love and protect these girls, to have an impact in their lives, to see them become the women God has created them to be.  It gives me the courage to keep pressing in and offering grace. Grace, grace, grace.

This morning when a twin stripped down out of the clothes I had picked out for her, searched through the drawers to find her own magical combination then pranced happily into the bathroom, she confidently said,  “mommy, even when I don’t listen, you still love me.”            [grace]

I guess I might be doing something right.