Tag Archives: truth

Brokenness & Withdrawal 

godhealsThrough withdrawal, I’ve encountered a few unforeseen consequences. Not drug withdrawal but personal withdrawal.

Not long ago I received a letter from a relative asking if they had inadvertently offended me. To say I was stunned doesn’t adequately express my level of shock. And more recently still, a good friend told me that she feared I was uncomfortable in her presence and had therefore withdrawn. This woman is one I count among my best friends and my relative is someone I feel very close to as well. It hurt me to know that my withdrawal from public life had left them wondering about how I felt about them personally. In my desire to escape, I hurt them inadvertently.

After the accident, I found very little privacy in which to process my grief over Bethany and Katie’s deaths and the drastic change in health and mobility Gracen suffered due to the same accident. Family and friends came and went, and we were oh so thankful for their presence and the support they offered each one of us.

Yet it was also a hectic time and sleep deprivation was a common occurrence. Upon Gracen’s release from UAMS, caring for her was challenging, to say the least. There were medications to keep track of and belly shots to give. She was initially confined to a hospital bed and when she was transferred to any other location two people were required in order to control her right leg which was encased in an immobilizer for the first three months following her knee surgery. We were also working around a broken wrist, cracked pelvis, and so on . . .

Our home might well have had a revolving door as there were OTs and PTs, doctors and home health nurses coming in and out on a regular basis. Eventually, we acquired the assistance of two care aides. They were lifesavers for us. They helped us bathe and dress Gracen, work on her therapy, transfer her from place to place get her out of the house and just generally kept me sane. Isabelle and Julie, Merilee, Kelly, Candice, Katie, and Kimberly kept us afloat along with Drs. Balmakund, Karkos, Scott, Weeden, Renard, and Friesen.

It was helpful.

It was exhausting.

And time marched on. . .

We learned to transport Gracen in a car & mastered wheelchair usage in a variety of settings. We managed sponge baths and tub showers, walker practice, and clothes changes. Everything took longer and was more difficult than it had been before, and that was just on a physical level.

brokenwomanAnd time marched on . . .

For everyone else.

But I . . .

was broken . . .

shattered really.

All of a sudden I looked around and a year and a half had flown by and I was still trying to learn how to manage daily life effectively or efficiently or . . . at all.

Not only that but it was time to switch gears and prepare to send Gracen to college.

I was terrified to let her go.

I was afraid to keep her home.

I was still reeling and all of the sudden others started pushing me to move forward and not to worry after all God is in control.

Life had been so busy, one task leading to the next, that I failed to do a lot of grieving just trying to keep my head above water. And while others were ready for me to move on, I was just getting started.

I looked up and found myself profoundly shocked by the way the world had moved on—by how I was supposed to move on—and I knew—I knew that no one understood me . . .

kintsugiheartNo one understood my daily existence because it wasn’t like anyone else’s. And yet, there were expectations. . .

Weighty . . .

burdensome expectations that I was not prepared, let alone equipped to manage.

So I withdrew. . .

It was a purely self-protective move.

I dropped out of life.

I huddled up inside my home and wrote my way through my frustrations, hurt, and grief.


But in so doing, my silence left others to draw their own conclusions, and for that, I’m truly sorry.

kintsugidefinitionWithdrawal was about me . . .

Not because of anyone in particular.

Withdrawal was about cultural, societal, and even spiritual expectations.

It was about protecting myself so God could begin the process of Kintsugi in my heart.

It was about me.

It’s still about me.


Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Faith, Grief


Tags: , , ,

Mercy, Forgiveness & Testimony

Mercy, Forgiveness & Testimony

I received the county 911 dispatch calls from our attorney’s office last year around this time.

That very day I listened to every recorded call.  Two calls featured my shrill, hysterical, voice in the background, which was surprising only in that I was completely unaware of the people who were placing those calls at the time.  They had to have been close at hand but their presence did not register in my mind.

The call Onstar placed for the owner of the speeding silver pickup was interesting in that they only seemed concerned with possible injuries to their driver.  I guess that’s the guy paying them and yet you’d think the Onstar operator, after discerning the wellbeing of his client, would inquire about other injuries as well.  What if the accident occurred when the road was deserted and their call was the only one placed to 911?


10403417_816648245063764_3713033303821133814_n - Edited

Following my foray into the past, into bystanders reactions to the devastation of my life; immeasurably sad, I sprinkled burial-scented bath salts (Frankincense & myrrh) into my tub (not out of morbidity but because I love the fragrance) and sank into the warm water neck deep to process the emotions weighing so heavily on my heart.

And like so many nights before, my thoughts circled.  But this time the conclusions drawn seemed to contradict each other.  I found myself still firmly rooted in the belief that God will ensure justice is served since the legal system failed us to such a colossal degree, and then another, more sobering thought took center stage.  I faced the thoroughly discouraging knowledge that in truth, justice may never be served for my daughters because of God’s grace and mercy.  All that’s required for any one of us to receive forgiveness is that we seek God with a repentant heart and Poof! – our sins are forgiven – covered by the blood of the lamb, who so graciously covered my sins as well.


For the irrevocably injured this is a hard truth – an unpalatable truth, a bitter pill – and I found myself sobbing out my outrage, bath towel pressed to my mouth to muffle the sound from David and Gracen watching TV in the other room.

I found myself truly angry – enraged really – to consider that God will grant these men forgiveness full and free.  FREE!


I realize the key here is that the drivers, the prosecutor and the judge, each will first have to acknowledge and repent of their sin.  However, do they get to repent of a sinful lifestyle without specifically confessing the sins that led to the deaths of my daughters, the destruction of life as we knew it?  I know I never confessed each and every sin I’d committed when seeking salvation.

The possibility that mercy may be extended at such a great personal cost, without my consent or permission, is completely repulsive to me.  I’m not unaware of the irony of that statement in that that same grace and mercy was extended to me (although it should be noted that God, Himself did in fact grant permission).  This is not only an emotional battle but one I struggle with intellectually as well.

images (7)

Surprisingly, the idea of spending eternity with these men is not a such a difficult pill to swallow – only because the logical part of my mind is assured that is not a possibility. The Bible says at the point of salvation we become a new creature.  They may enter heaven with the same name but not the same nature and by golly, I will be made like Christ which will allow me to walk the streets of gold without stalking them and plotting to do them harm! For that I can be grateful as what kind of paradise would heaven be for me in I continued to harbor animosity toward any of these men and had to live eternally in their presence?

I hate this!  To forever and for all eternity be denied justice is a truth not easily accepted and one I know will require a considerable amount of excruciating personal struggle.  I have no desire to even contemplate the process.

Yet months and months later, that’s exactly where I found myself – contemplating a lack of justice and prayerfully forgiving these men – not for their benefit but for mine.  I highly doubt I can ever look upon the unlicensed driver, the prosecutor or the judge with anything but contempt, but my hope is their power to hurt me has been forever laid to rest.  The speeding driver, I think I can actually look at with pity – unless I find he too lacks remorse and that he assumes no responsibility for his own actions.  But, for now, I know no such thing and I will deal with forgiveness again should the need arise – for myself and because it’s commanded of me by my Savior.  But mostly for my selfish self so I can find a way to live free – without nausea – to lay down the burdens I’ve chosen to carry and those thrust upon me.

Someday, I hope to find my life no longer defined by the accident that forever altered it.  I hope there comes a day where following the introduction to someone new, the aside “That’s the woman whose children were killed in that car accident and . . .”  is no longer is tacked on either in my presence or behind my back as if I’m a novelty in a circus sideshow.

I hope the day comes where there are more notable things to define me than the losses I’ve suffered and the disappointments I’ve endured.

Words like “Bright, Passionate & Generous”“Joyful, Imaginative & Compassionate”, or “Courageous, Sassy & Tenacious” – the words found on Bethany and Katie’s headstones and reserved for Gracen’s.  I told her she’s the only one to be gifted with veto power.

Words that proudly proclaim the content of their character and personality more than the circumstance of their lives.  Words that speak of their true essence. Words that reflect the supernatural work of their Creator, their Savior and the Holy Spirit at work within.  Words that glorify God and forever testify to the immeasurable value of their lives, in spite of their far too soon departure from this world.  And yes, I hope David and Gracen can easily distill my character and personality down to three simple words on a headstone the only testimony of a life lived, choices made, and relevance assigned/ordained – by my Creator. I’m hoping for something more impressive than “Total book nerd”!


Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Grief


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canine Nesting: The Circling Mind


(Written mid-March 2015)

I awoke again to thoughts circling my mind as I feebly try to wrap my heart and mind around all that has happened in the last 14, almost 15 months.

Have you ever seen a dog settle down to take a nap?  The dog picks his spot them circles and circles and circles before settling into place.  At the first noise or distraction the dog pops up investigates and then picks a new spot repeating the process.  Circle, circle, circle, settle.  That’s pretty much how my brain works – restless fidgeting – circling around and around in an attempt to wrap my arms around all the facts so that I can process them and finally be done with them.

But there is no resolution – there will be no resolution – and maybe that’s the hardest thing of all to come to terms with.

Which leaves me with this truth . . .

My problem is with God.   Not the impotent prosecutor.  Not the foolish judge.  Not the ignorant man-child who placed me in this situation.  No, my problem goes straight to the top.  To the highest authority in all the world.  My problem is with God, Himself.  And how do I feel about that?  Well, this picture captures my current relationship with God quite well:


My hand extended before my body in the classic signal for “Stop!  Don’t come any closer!”  I haven’t walked away from Him, I simply cannot beckon Him closer.

I know God loves me, know He wants to comfort me, and know that I want His comfort and yet, right now, right now, His love just hurts.  His plans hurt.  His ways hurt.  His love for the lost hurts because He has allowed my children to die, He has allowed this pain, and will allow me to suffer again in order that my faith is refined and revealed, so that the lost will be saved, and that He will be glorified, all at the expense of my fragile, already broken heart.

It’s easier to mentally attack the humans involved than go rounds with the Lord Almighty. After all, God is always right.  His plans are always for my good and even the bad things He allows work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. There is no arguing your case or winning an argument with the Lord God Almighty, as Job discovered.

And so I fruitlessly continue the canine nesting ritual in my mind.  I continue shuffling through the events of that tragic day.  I continue circling round and round the behavior of the prosecutor, the judge, the man-child who swaggered into court.  All before turning my attention to the Lord in a conversation that goes something like this:

Me:  I’m mad at you. You hurt me.

God:  I know you’re hurt.  I know you’re angry.  I want to help you.  I want to comfort you.

Me:  Stay back!  You will just comfort me and then allow me to be hurt again.

God:  The hurt I allow leads to your ultimate healing.

Me:  I don’t want healed.  I just want my life back!

God:  There’s no going back.

Me:  I know that.  I hate that!  I don’t want to be here anymore but I can’t leave Gracen. She’s burdened by that knowledge.  She wants me and doesn’t want me at the same time. She loves me and resents me.  Only time and maturity will change that, but it hurts me to experience it and I’m afraid she might never quit resenting me – that we will never have a good mother/daughter relationship.

God:  She feels about you the way you feel about me.  You want me and don’t want me. You love me and resent my authority in your life.  Time and the Holy Spirit can and will fix the brokenness within you, but your terror of the personal cost of discipleship and spiritual healing wars with your anger over the direction my sovereign authority has taken in your life.  You want to feel my love and presence but at the same time you are terrified of me.

Me:  I don’t know what to do to change that.

God:  First, you can’t do it by yourself. You were never intended to.  But you do know what to do. You do know what steps to take.

Me:  Study Your Word and pray.

God: Yes, but your anger and hurt leads you to resist and you also know those things are not enough.  You know you can’t fix your problems with a formula.  You know that you have to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work within you and you know that doesn’t happen overnight.

Me:  I don’t know how to release the anger and hurt, especially knowing I will be hurt again.  I feel as if I am standing in the middle of a fast moving stream and the current is forcing me in a direction I don’t want to go.  I’m resisting yet I keep getting pushed forward.

God:  That fast moving stream is my will and I’m fully aware you don’t want to go where I’m taking you.

Me:  I really, really don’t want to go there.

God:  I’ll be with you.

Me:  That doesn’t make it hurt less.

God:  It does, it’s just that you no longer know what desperately alone feels like because I’ve been with you for so long.  To truly be alone feels much worse – you’ll have to trust me on that.

Me:  I still don’t know how to surrender my will to yours.  I still don’t know how to let go of the hurt and the anger.

God:  I’ll help you with that.  I’m already helping you with that.  It’s a deep wound.  Deep wounds take a long time to heal.  You just now found words to express what you are feeling.  It’s a step in the process.

Me:  The process sucks!

God:  Yep, fortunately, I have perfect patience.  You on the other hand, not so much!

Me:  A sense of humor?  Now you show a sense of humor?

God:  Hey, laughter is a good medicine, I designed it that way, and my timing is perfect.  You would have resented it if I had displayed it earlier . . .

(Feel free to call it my imagination, or call it God speaking with me.  Draw your own conclusions, but, I will say that things were revealed in my thoughts above that I was not consciously aware of prior to this time.)

Flash forward to December of 2015 and you will find that my hand is no longer extended before the Lord demanding that He stay back and give me space.  I have resigned myself to what I knew all along; that God alone can help me through this living nightmare.   We never stopped speaking, but there were things I refused to bring before Him.  There are still things I hold back.  I’m far from healed, far from OK even.  Over the last two years I have repeatedly asked the Lord, “What do you want from me?”  And instead of silence I hear a quiet, one word response.  “Rest.”

He’s not once reminded me of His sovereignty, as He did Job.  He’s never scoffed and told me to quit throwing a pity party.  He’s not demanded that I stop grieving and count my blessings.  He’s never once told me not to be afraid.  He just quietly encourages me to rest which I’ve found much harder to do than one would expect.  Resting requires more than slowing down and sleeping in.  This rest seems to include finding a way to be completely still before the Lord.  So the canine nesting ritual continues and I try to learn to rest.  But, even now, there is no condemnation from my Savior, for which I’m profoundly thankful.


Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Faith, Grief


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: