This is real. This is raw. This is transparent.
Last night we met with a counselor. A trauma counselor.
In speaking with her, it is evident that for the past 3 years, our lives have been a series of crises strung together with fleeting moments of normalcy.
In late 2014, both Rick and I lost our jobs. As a result, we lost our home and one of our vehicles.
This seems to be the catalyst that sparked a series of events that have made the past 3 years incredibly traumatic.
After losing what I thought would be our "forever home", we moved to an old home in a "transitional" part of the city. Rick had gotten a new job and I was starting to make more money working from home as an independent contractor. We wanted to make sure we could easily afford the rent, so we (mostly me) chose a home that turned out to be, well.....a nightmare. The final straw was when a man overdosed on drugs in the driveway of the vacant house next door to ours. We broke the lease and chose to move into a smaller, but significantly nicer and safer apartment in a neighboring town.
In 3 years we have moved 3 times.
We are now in a home, albeit a rental, in our desired town and desired neighborhood. A home that fits our needs perfectly.
In the spring of 2016, I had a hysterectomy after a year of ER visits, terrible pain and desperately trying to find a doctor that could help me.
A couple of months later, my husband had gastric surgery in July 2016.
I have to pause here and explain something. I have a couple of chronic health problems that lead to chronic pain. I have spent the past 8 years trying to manage this. It is hard. I mean really hard.
Now that that's out of the way....
One month prior to my hysterectomy, our son attempted suicide.
That was harder than anything I had experienced. Ever.
A few months later, he injured his shoulder at summer camp. We spent the next 10 months trying to get his shoulder injury resolved, culminating in surgery to repair his torn labrum in April 2017.
In February 2017, we moved from our 1400 sq foot apartment (which was lovely, but rather small for a family of 5 plus a dog) to our current home.
In July 2017, my husband had surgery to fuse 3 vertebrae in his neck.
On September 19, 2017, we received word that my father-in-law had passed away. He had been sick for several years following 2 strokes. While you can try to prepare for the loss of a parent, you are never ready. We are still trying to process this loss.
In early October 2017, our son attempted suicide. Again. I cannot tell you how those words break my heart.
So...why am I telling you all of this? Why lay out the tragedies and trials of the past 3 years for you?
I have shame. I feel lost. I don't understand what has happened in our lives. I am searching for answers and solutions. I desperately desire "normal". But what is really my true desire? I want one other mother-just one-who may be struggling with some of the same feeling, to know that she is not alone. To know that it is not her fault. To know that she does not have to carry the weight of her circumstances like an albatross around her neck, nor wear the trials of her family like a scarlet letter on her chest.
I have struggled with my faith in God. That is the dark and ugly truth of this. I have questioned. I have raged. I have cried out.
God has not abandoned me, despite my anger and fear. I am just now starting to see my way back to Him, starting to feel like I can trust again.
I know that this is not what white-bread middle America Christians expect. I have even been told that the trials and tragedies we have experienced are a direct result of our sinfulness. As if God is handing out punishment for us not being "good enough"?
Sister-God does not dole out punishments based on how "good" or "bad" others perceive us to be. The entire premise of the Christian faith is that we cannot ever be "good enough" to earn our redemption, it is entirely through His grace, and that alone, that we are redeemed.
I don't know if we are going to see and end to these issues soon or ever. We can only address them as they come. And there are other issues that have gone on and continue to go on in the background of all of this. But, we have faith-in God and each other. Faith that tomorrow is a new day.