It was an early Sunday morning when we were awakened by the doorbell ringing. Tim went down and answered the door, both of us were thinking that Justin must have locked himself out of the house. I stood at the top of the stairs waiting to hear his voice; instead, what I heard was Tim inviting the Sherriff’s deputies inside our home.
As the unthinkable news of Justin’s death reached our ears, our three little boys made their way down the stairs, still in their cozy jammies with sleep in their eyes. While the deputies were talking to us, I kept trying to smile through the tears and reassure our boys that everything was somehow going to be okay.
Justin left behind four siblings; Sarah, Sammy, Luke, and Joshua. As my mind was trying to come to terms with our new reality, my heart broke all over again as I thought of my children. I ached for their loss and the pain that they would experience. Suddenly my world came crashing down as I realized that for 20+ years, I had done everything in my power to provide them with an emotionally safe, trauma-free, stable environment. In the blink of an eye, the “trauma-free” environment I worked so hard to protect was gone.
There was no “fix” for the pain that they would endure; this would be something that they would have to walk through and learn to trust in the goodness of the Lord minute by minute, day by day. My heart hurt for the loss of my son, for the loss of their big brother, for the loss of their carefree-spirit, and for the pain in their hearts that I could not take away.
Sometimes as Mamas, we unknowingly set up little kingdoms here on earth. At the time it didn’t seem like a kingdom; safety, stability, etc are all good things. In my understanding, I wanted these things for my children for their good. And while these things are “good”, they can also become an idol, an idol of control. Because when my little kingdom of trauma-free, stability, and safety was torn away, I was devastated. Cognitively, I understood that God was ultimately in control of all things, but somewhere along the way, there was a disconnect. The Lord gently uncovered the deepest recesses of my heart revealing a posture that said all of my children’s well-being depended on me. I was wrong, no one has that kind of power but God. He sovereignly reigns supreme and He has the final say what will be the best for the children that he blessed me with.
To my limited understanding, it’s so upside that the exact opposite of my worst fear is happening. What I thought would destroy our children is actually cultivating a depth, an empathy, and a compassion for others that ease does not produce. In no way do I diminish their suffering and grief, it is real and we face it together every day. But God, in his kindness and goodness truly works everything together for good to those who love him. To him be all the glory and praise.
Forever being kept in His grace,