As many of you have suspected (and I thank you for your concern and encouragement), I have really been struggling lately. Wrestling with what I believe to be true and what that means for my life. I have been missing my boys more than ever and I find myself frustrated with myself because I feel like things should be getting easier instead of harder.
I have thought about Martha and Mary in the book of John. I have often thought of the desperation they felt as they watched Lazarus die, knowing full and well that had Jesus come he could have prevented the event entirely. In verse 32 of chapter 11 Mary falls at the feet of Jesus saying "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at this story trying to find some sort of comfort in the outcome. I can so identify with the feelings Mary has in this verse. I have fallen to the ground, face on the floor exclaiming to God that HE could have saved my boys, He could have healed them, He could have saved us from this pain.
The thing is, even days after his death, Jesus did heal Lazarus. His body had begun to decompose, the scripture speaks of the odor that would come from the tomb when opened, and yet Jesus came through. He spared Mary and Martha from the loss of their beloved brother. This is where the disconnect begins. What am I supposed to do with the feelings of disappointment that He chose NOT to step in and save my boys? He chose NOT to save my family from this pain. We have lost two sons, our children two brothers, our parents, two grandsons, our nephew, a cousin our siblings two nephews. The death of Isaac and Asher has taken much from our family. Yes, I know that one day we will all be reunited and that is the only thought that gets me through some days. But some days, it still cannot even come close to taking away the stinging pain. We miss them NOW!
Yesterday in an attempt to bring fun to our lives, we headed to the Cleveland Zoo. We LOVE that zoo and it is only a little over an hour away so we got up and packed our things for the day and headed to the great state of Ohio. We of course took longer than necessary to get there because we are slightly directionally challenged and as we find ourselves lost we often just look at eachother, laugh and admit "This is how we roll!" We explore and find our way back with the help of no man and no map! We like to explore!
So we arrived at the zoo shortly after 11. We ate lunch and as we sat there I watched a family across the room. They had three children and the mom was obviously pregnant. I sat there marveling at the fact that a family could get to have four children! That seems like an unattainable gift to me at the moment. I sat there wondering what it would have been like to feed all four of our boys lunch. I tried to turn my attention back to the children I was blessed to have lunch with and we continued our adventure.
We headed to the stingray touch tank. The boys were giddy with excitement as the graceful animals glided over their hands and splashed them as they waved hello. We could have spent the whole day there. It was such a joy to watch those boys marvel at the awesome creature God created. We stayed about a half an hour and Howard and I were ready to move on. The boys however were NOT! They protested but we nudged them along knowing they would enjoy seeing the rest of the animals as well! We continued on.
We headed up the hill and as we stood watching the polar bears swim, I caught a glimpse of a little boy who looked just like Benjamin. I glanced over and saw a family of six. Mom and dad were watching their four boys, two with red hair, as they watched the bears play. I found myself tearing up. I wanted that. It was almost as if I was having a two year old temper tantrum inside. We continued on but it seemed this family was every where we were, four boys under the age of 5 I would guess, just like we would have if all of ours were here on earth. I wondered if Howard had noticed.
We continued on and really did have a fun time with Luke and Ben. With Ben it is like he is seeing everything for the first time EVERY TIME! He squeals with excitement and names everything! Luke is our studious guy who wants to read each and every animal info plaque around the habitat of each animal. He always surprises us by using words like nocturnal, predator, and female. Then surprises us even more when he can tell us what they mean. They are little sponges who cannot drink in enough. What a blessing!
As we headed down the hill, I had expressed to Howard how much I was enjoying the day but could not help but think that there should be four little boys with us, and that was when he admitted he had been thinking the same thing all day. We shared our thoughts and feelings as we walked down the hill (it is a SUPER long hill)and I cannot tell you what that did for my heart. He is my very best friend and he knows my pain. It is maybe not exactly the same, but he too is missing our boys and wondering what life would be like with them. It was just good to share. We don't do that often enough. Something so small gave me hope. It was like just sharing those thoughts and feelings with someone who was having them too soothed my aching heart.
It was a good day. Each day I struggle with the God who gives and takes away. I know he loves me, but I do not understand. I am learning that it is okay to not understand. He is God. He knows best. I will continue to trust because without that I have no hope.
"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" This is what Jesus said to Mary after raising Lazarus from the dead. He always makes good on his promises. I have to say that, though I will not see my boys this side of Heaven, I will believe, expecting to see the glory of God! I will struggle and miss my boys, I am still on the road of grieving, but I will see the glory of God!
So to all of you who are reading this who are struggling with pain and suffering, it is okay to question and it is okay to not understand. The truth is you just have to keep on believing...you too, WILL see the glory of God! He does not reserve it for only those like Mary or Martha, it is for all who will receive it. It doesn't make it easy that is for sure, but He will bring us through!
18 hours ago