Ten Years Ago…

June 2016 marked ten years of a journey I didn’t want.

You see, June 2006 brought several endings in my life that imprisoned me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for a very long time.

The Past

One morning in June 2006 while sitting in a fertility clinic waiting for a final procedures, I received a phone call from my sister who told me my father had passed away earlier that morning. It wasn’t an unexpected event—he had been sick for a while—but his death occurred much sooner than anyone thought. My mom insisted I stay at the clinic and keep the appointment. I completed the procedure and then proceeded to her house and on into a week of surreal activity.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we held my dad’s memorial service on my birthday. I pushed the shock of this reality deep inside and took a determined step forward, presenting an accepting front to my family. At the very edges of my mind I was horrified that my birthday would be forever linked to the day we buried my dad.

As we moved forward in our grief, joy began to shimmer when I discovered that I was pregnant. I cannot describe the hope that overflowed in all of our hearts. We thought it must be our destiny, God’s bigger plan, that we became pregnant so close to the time my dad died.

This must be the glorious circle of life about which songs are written.

Our entire family became so filled with the hope and promise of this pregnancy. Surely nothing could go wrong.

At the end of the first trimester, just when I thought it was safe and that this time there would be a successful birth, I found out the dreaded news—the tiny peanut was no more.

There are no words for the devastation. Not only did I discover the death of my tiny baby, but my dream to have a child also died that day. As I sat in the doctor’s office trying to understand this news, the grief of my dad’s death months before came crashing down on me as well.

I quickly became stuck in a prison of discontent behind bars of bitterness and thick walls of emotional isolation.

Questions Asked

I struggled with life questions.

Who am I?

What do I do now?

How do I move forward?

Over time, two young relatives changed the course of my grief by posing two identical questions.

They lived in two different states and during two separate conversations these two kids (ten and eleven years old at the time), who had experienced my bitterness and pain through overheard comments and conversations with other adults in the family, asked me two questions.

Aren’t I your child too?

Yes, of course you are!

Am I not enough?

Ouch.

Ouch.

Ouch.

My bitterness and grief over the loss of a life dream caused pain and questioning in the young lives of children who were and are quite dear to me.

God used these two young children to help get my attention and understand that He had wonderful loved ones present in my life and undiscovered purpose ahead of me.

The walls of isolation began to crack and the bars imprisoning my heart creaked open.

Thus began ten years of processing, searching, and discovering the new path before me. Along the way, I began to cherish my birthday. I now see it as a special day set aside to celebrate my dad’s life in a brilliant new way—I feel honored to share this day with him.

Ten years later I ask myself the same life questions as before and know that I have promise and hope in the answers.

Present

Who am I? I am a child of God.

What do I do now? Pay attention to what He puts before me and seek to do His will.

How do I move forward? By His grace, one step at a time.

Future

Ten years to life. Ten years of wrestling with endings that led to new beginnings and to a life of freedom.

(How have you experienced endings that led to beautiful beginnings?)