Beckett passed away when he was 114 days old.
Tomorrow Rylee will be 114 days old.
This date has perhaps wrecked me more than any other date we have faced the past three years.
This day has brought out more fear, anxiety and emotional breakdowns than I’ve had in a long time.
It comes at me from all angles:
I look at our strong, healthy little girl and I think, ‘Surely we are safe this time. It won’t happen again.’ Then I remember walking to pick the kids up from school hours before Beckett passed away. His eyes were shining so bright and he was so cute and alive. I never looked at him and thought our time with him would be short.
I don’t want to put her down and walk away. That old thought reenters my mind constantly; ‘What if I had just held him all evening that day?’ and I can’t let myself take that chance again.
I trust my husband so much, but currently I am out of the house and he is with her. My mind is constantly wondering how they are doing. I keep glancing at my phone hoping for cute photos and no frantic phone calls.
It hurts that after tomorrow, each day Rylee lives is a day that Beckett didn’t get.
The crazy part of all this is that I thought this would be regular life the past four months. I had almost accepted that motherhood would be full of fear and sadness this time around.
I think I am being honest with myself when I say, this fear has not ruled my life. I have been exhausted, riddled with guilt over everything I’m not getting done, and emotional—but I have not let the fear of the ‘what ifs’ rob my joy of the ‘what is real’.
But two weeks ago it all crashed in. And it’s been heavy. It’s been exhausting.
So I told people I wasn’t okay.
When friends asked the casual question, ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘how is your week going?’ I told them I was a mess. I told them why. I said things bluntly to my husband that I usually try to tip toe around. I let other people in on my mess.
I haven’t let everyone in. I haven’t broadcast my turmoil. But I haven’t hidden it either.
I love the guideline of: You don’t have to say everything that’s true, but everything you say should be true.
This is my truth right now. It’s heavy. I don’t want to be ‘that friend’. The one that people don’t want to invite along because they always bring the mood down. The one that people have to filter their conversation around. But sometimes life is just heavy and there is no way around that.
And then finally, I let God in on my mess.
Sometimes I want to scream when people say I am so strong or compliment me for always pointing to Christ. I am not and I do not.
I am so, so weak.
I don’t know what I’m doing or if I’m responding the right way.
I choose to zone out and quiet my mind with music, fiction, sitcoms, scrolling. . . anything to keep myself from facing my thoughts.
Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and I want to close my eyes and just pretend like life is fine instead of facing my situation head on.
I don’t want to think about the underlying fears and emotions because it takes effort. It takes emotional and mental energy to stop numbing my mind and let those raw thoughts rise to the surface.
As hard as it is to get real, I can’t pretend like this is just how life is and muddle through.
In those moments that it all becomes real, I know there is an answer to my suffering.
I know that Christ is the answer.
I know this because it’s the only thing that ever makes a true difference in my life.
When I turn to Him, my troubles don’t disappear. My circumstances rarely change at all. But my heart changes. My heaviness becomes lighter. Sometimes I physically feel it lifting off my chest.
Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I close my Bible and feel exactly the same as I did when I opened it just 10 minutes later. Sometimes this goes on for weeks.
God is not a mystical wish granter. There is no perfect prayer + bible reading formula to get what you want out of life.
When I let myself get honest, I admit that life isn’t about what I want to get out of it anyway.
Christians love to talk about this ‘free’ gift of salvation—that we accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross and that’s all there is to it. We talk about a ‘relationship’ like we have equal footing with God, a 50/50 partnership.
But when I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for my sin, I gave Him my life in response. I said, God this life isn’t about what I want anymore, it’s about what YOU want.
Sure, I get to enter into discussion with Him. I get to argue and yell and tell Him how I want things to go. But I also have to trust that He is a God that knows the whole picture while I only see part. I have to trust that He is a God that loves me. I even trust that He is a God whose heart breaks with mine.
And when I give Him my troubles, fears, doubts and heavy emotions, He can handle them. Sometimes it’s immediate sometimes it’s not. But His peace is present. It’s present because I invited the Holy Spirit into my life almost thirty years ago, and He hasn’t left me yet.
Whatever phase I go through, whatever emotions I throw at Him, God is steady. He is true. He is there.
This isn’t just my truth. I don’t believe He’s just good for me.
I think He’s available for you too. I think He’s willing to listen to your troubles and your heartaches. I think He’s willing to take your life and give you His in return.
A life lived for God—it’s not free of trouble. Worldwide health epidemics still exist. Innocent people still die. It’s hard and it’s real and it’s full of trouble. But more than that, a life lived with God is a life that has the potential for joy and peace even in the darkest of times. It’s a life that knows this isn’t all there is. It is a life of hope.
When the days get hard, when the fear, anxiety and emotional breakdowns come:
I continue to remember that God gave me the gift of my son for 114 days.
I continue to choose joy in this motherhood journey I am on.
I continue to trust that He loves me.
Above all, I continue to hope.