Over the past few years I’ve changed my mind about how I feel about a few phrases that are often used.
“Everything happens for a reason.” Nah- I actually don’t think everything has a specific reason for happening. We may find purpose or a reason in it, but I don’t think there’s a reason everything happens.
“Always look on the bright side.” Sometimes, there isn’t a bright side. Sometimes events, situations and things just straight up suck and there isn’t a bright side to look at.
“God never gives you more than you can handle.” Actually, He does. He does. He’s given me more than I could handle on multiple occasions, but most recently, more than I ever could have imagined I’d be asked to “handle” and endure. And actually, I hate this phrase altogether. I don’t believe God GAVE me this or any other hard thing I’ve experienced. I believe He allowed it, but I’m not sold on the statement that He GAVE it to me. And I honestly never used to think about these things or why what we say or how we say it could possibly matter. Until it did.
On the evening of Tuesday, September 7th, as I screamed and screamed and screamed some more and my body shook and my mind searched for something…anything. Literally anything other than the scene that lay before me, I remember thinking frantically, “I can’t do this.” I thought it over and over and over again in sheer panic, as the reality of what I had already known for the previous 20ish hours, but was now painstakingly seeing with my own two eyes was horrifically, terribly and unbelievably true. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t possibly survive this. I couldn’t wake another day. I couldn’t.
“I can’t do this.”
“I CANNOT DO THIS!!!” I thought it over and over again. I think I spoke it. I think I screamed it. I know I cried it. Over and over again as my mind was trying to grasp the reality of the hell that my life had just become.
And then, in an instant, I was ripped from the scene in front of me, to the images of six other faces; six other humans. The ones I had also grown and birthed flashed in mind. I saw their faces. I saw the utter pain that was soon to be smeared all over those beautiful faces and the thought came to me. “You have too. You absolutely have to.”
I did the only thing I knew to do. Right there, in the dry grass, at the side of my child’s lifeless body. I prayed. I don’t know if I said it aloud or in my mind. I don’t know if I cried it or screamed it or whispered it, but I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, I can’t do this. I literally cannot do this. Please, help me. Please help me NEVER utter those words aloud again. Please never let me say it in front of my children. You know this is too much. Too much. I can’t. I literally can’t do this. So please, please help me.”
In that moment, even though I really had no idea what actually lay ahead of me, mentally, physically or emotionally, I knew I had to be OK enough for my children. I knew there were six others who would not only need love, support, encouragement and space to grieve, but that they would not need the added horror of their mother not being able or willing to move onward. To be okay. I knew it and God knew it. So, I asked. And He answered.
At some point in the days following Teagan’s passing, and I have absolutely no idea when, as time has completely morphed into something that makes no sense to me, I realized that God had kept His end of the deal. I really hadn’t repeated the words, “I can’t do this” since I had begged to be able to forget the phrase. And when my daughter cried those exact words over and over again and when my son said it without using actual words, I silently thanked God for helping me, so I could help them.
I can’t do this. I literally cannot do this. I couldn’t do it in those first days and I can’t do it now. This is absolutely more than I can handle. So much more than I can handle alone. I can’t face each new day alone. I cannot. When I wake up in the morning and reality hits my chest, I cannot do it alone. I have survived, (and yes, more days than not have merely been surviving) not because I can or I’m strong or I have to. It’s because I reach for the hand that’s reaching to me. I have hope and faith that HE will show me how to survive the day. Jesus is the way, the only way I’m able to do this, because this is so much more than I can handle on my own. So, I grasp for the reaching hand of Jesus Christ. I place my hope and faith in HIS words and promises. I know that as I feel completely hopeless in anyone possibly understanding what I feel, HE and He alone, understands. He walks it with me. The good, the bad, the ugly, the messy, the hopeful and the hopeless. All the moments of unpredictable thoughts, feelings and emotions. He gets it. He gets me. Like no earthly human has the ability to do so. This is more than I can handle. I can’t do it. But with Him, I can. I am. And I will.
I’ve spent the past few years trying to understand and ultimately redefining my relationship with God. Other than believing there was a God, I didn’t really have any sort of Divine relationships until I was a very young adult. And it hasn’t been until the past few years when I really had to dig deep and figure out what and who was real to me. Who I could trust and where I should place my hope and faith. What relationships are meant to be and what they are not meant to be. What healthy relationships looked like in my life. I started with God and with myself. This is a journey that I believe was divinely timed. I needed to become curious about my relationships with my Father in Heaven and with my Savior. I needed to decide what I believed, who I believed in and why. I needed it then, but I had no idea that I’d need it like I’ve needed it the past year. Through the love, mercy, grace, hope and unfailing companionship of Jesus Christ, I am able to wake up and do each new day. I’m doing what I screamed and cried that I couldn’t. I’m handling what I can’t handle. Don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s pretty and happy and tied up with a nice little bow. It’s far from that. It’s not pretty. It’s most often ugly, unpredictable, and messy, but I’m doing it. And I’ll continue to do it, with and through Jesus Christ. I’ll hang on for dear life to the only hand that can and does consistently reach for mine. It’s the only way I keep going. It’s the only way I can do what I can’t do and handle the completely impossible that is in front of me to handle.
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