I read an advertisement for a vacation aimed at couples that read something like this “For couples who want to be reminded of when they first fell in love.” That got me thinking. I think that I am truly one of the only people who can not identify with that statement. When I married my husband I thought I knew it all. We were in love and there were birds chirping and I was devastated when we had to be apart for any amount of time. He was all I thought about….Is that what they meant in that advertisement? Let me share a little of my own love story with you.
On July 29th, 2004 I laid my eyes on love in the flesh. It was that day, that moment that we had Jackson David that I knew I was wrong about my previous ”idea” of love. I had birthed that beautiful boy with no epidural (not by choice, the thing just wouldn’t work). I had brought that perfect baby into the world with only the help of the good Lord and lots of support (plus some good pain meds). I had started something and I had finished it, that baby boy was my first true accomplishment in this world. You see, I have been known to think something is a good idea and start it, but never really finish it. Having my first child changed all that, I went into labor and I finished it, and I was IN LOVE. I think I had always really thought that I would try and push a time or two and it would be to hard and I would end up having a nice painless little C-section (yes I now know they aren’t nice) and never feel a thing, or really have to do anything. That’s not how labor works in the real world and I’m so thankful for that now. One definition of labor is : Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; Something produced by work.
I don’t believe that the pain and physical exhaustion of labor is all bad. If I have learned anything in my time on earth its that pain of any kind be it emotional or physical brings about change. The pain of child birth brought me my first glimpse of love without boundaries, that labor pain brought us our first born son.
Pain has many, many faces though, it is not cut and dry. I have had to learn that life is just not black and white, I live in the grey area along with many others. We live in a place that is full of choices that have to made daily now, choices that should never have to be made, but that’s part of living here in the grey areas. The pain and absolute devastation of losing Jackson almost 6 short years later brought me my first glimpse of what its like to make the choice to keep living without that little boy who showed me true love. The first choice that had to be made was to keep breathing. I made that choice and I made another choice to lean on my husband and together we hurt like hell, together we changed. Whatever relationship we thought we knew before was gone and in its place was raw truth mixed with pain and respect for one another, we found something more real than any 4 letter word could ever be. Together we chose to focus on our beautiful little princess who desperately needed us and we focused on each other, we submitted to Jesus and let him direct our path.
After all the suffering, Its my thinking that we love differently because we have truly seen each other. We love because we choose to love each other, in the pain and heartache we grew and through our faith we changed. We have walked a treacherous road together and while God grew us in ways I never knew possible, I pray this is the home stretch now. Pain is pain no matter how you feel it, and when you sit back and look at your hardships you will SEE the changes that took place during the pain. It could be the pain of having a child, pain of saying goodbye to a child, pain of watching your spouse suffer, pain of divorce, physical pain of disease, or the pain of living when you can’t have your hearts desire on Earth. No matter the type of pain, there will be change. I pray you look up in your pain, Acknowledge Jesus and let Him guide you. There is no other way to survive this kind of pain and truly live. I know the alternative , I was there and I’m not going back.
I look back now at the people Josh and I were 10 years ago when we got married and its almost laughable. We really thought we knew something, don’t all 20 something year olds? I did love Josh 10 years ago, but now I’m in love with him and I make the choice to keep loving him (that’s not saying I always like him…. ). Would I trade Jackson to learn how to love my husband better or to grow in my faith? Of course not, but a choice in that matter was never offered. However, the choice to grow in the midst of horrendous pain and trust Jesus was offered and we took it.
In the words of Mercy Me ”The hurt and the Healer”
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide