“Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.”
I haven’t written in a while. I had put a lot of pressure on myself to write the positive. Then I read the above verse from Psalm 30. A reminder that, to truly reach anyone on this journey, I need to be real. The negative is real. There are breathtaking mountaintops in special needs parenting. Experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. There are also valleys. Deep, gut wrenching, heartbreaking, grief-filled, devastating valleys. Moments that break your heart so deeply that it takes your breath away. Seasons of feeling shattered.
I’m in a valley. The darkness is overwhelming. Friends and loved ones aren’t able to understand; the isolation leaves me frozen. I can feel myself going through the motions, pushing forward one step at a time. Yet, time seems to stand still. It’s getting harder and harder to put on a smile as those around me tell me about their summer vacations and social activities. The list of things my family can do together grows increasingly shorter as the days pass. My world is closing in. The feeling is creeping up on me and I can’t seem to fight it anymore…has God turned away from me?
I dig deep for my remaining ounce of strength. I remember the last valley. God felt so far away. Yet, somehow we reached the mountaintop. The valley is where His promises become most real. In the valley, I have a choice. The valley is where I choose between faith and falling. I can cling to the Truth of His presence, cry out for mercy, and hang on until I can see the light again…or I can fall deeper and deeper into despair. I have a choice to feel the pain, but not let it overtake me. A choice to believe the lie that I can’t go on, or to believe that, through Him, I can take the next step. The valley leaves me with the choice to land in a place of bitterness, resentment, and jealousy…or to land at the feet of Jesus. Where broken becomes beautiful.
The truth is that this journey tempts us to feel defeated. For our children’s sake, for the sake of this calling, we will be shattered and put back together time and time again. Acknowledging the beauty in this life we’ve been chosen for is important. Vital.
So is acknowledging the brokenness.
The pain of this journey shapes us; makes us appreciate things we’d never have noticed in our former lives. It doesn’t define us and it doesn’t define the journey…but it’s really hard to live through! Harder than most could ever understand. However, there is One who understands our deepest suffering. One who feels our personal pain. He sees us when we feel invisible. Rescues us when we feel ourselves being swallowed up by the weight of it all. Faith recognizes that, when the pain makes us feel as though He has turned away, God is still here.
If not for the valleys, we’d never recognize the mountaintops for the beautiful victory that they are. Each valley serves a purpose. But, while I’m here in this painful place, I’m willing to admit that I’m shattered. Willing to shout at the top of my lungs a prayer for mercy. For, the same God that hears the cry of the shattered, has been shattered Himself. He’s felt the deep ache of watching His children suffer. He “gets it”.
In this broken place, when I feel conquered, I can cling to the love found in Him. I will give myself permission to grieve, and then I will look to His promise that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
I will rest in Him. Until what’s broken becomes beautiful again.