So back to this post series. This is where it gets difficult – bringing it all down to the personal level. Untangling the emotion from the story. Making sense of everything when sometimes there was no sense. Getting down to the nitty-gritty, being honest with the walk we walked and the talk we talked. And weaving His love and strength throughout it all.
Let me tell you my story. My family’s story. It has a beginning, and we’re still traveling. As you read our story, don’t forget about yours.
Jason and I met during the Spring of my senior year in high school. He apprenticed under my dad in a tool and die shop his family owns. I take you back this far for one specific reason. And the reason is this: he told me that if anything should happen to the business and he would need to make a career change, he would like to become a police officer.
I’ve witnessed a couple of close friends being wives to police officers. Rarely have I ever used the word never, but I confess the word was uttered by me on more than one occasion when stating that I never wanted to be a police officer’s wife. You had to be more selfless and less lazy than what I was willing to be.
I felt secure in the shop’s financial stability.
I was 19 when we became engaged, a couple of days away from turning 22 when I had my first child, 23 when I miscarried our 2nd, 24 when I had my last. I knew being a mother would be tough, I just never realized how much I would struggle with it. I loved my children fiercely and unconditionally, but was burdened with guilt for not loving them enough. Not enough to stifle my temper, not enough to pour affection all over them, not enough to be the mother I thought I needed to be, not enough to be the mother other mothers were …
The shop’s successful business years abruptly came to a halt not long after we were married. A major customer pulled up roots and sent much of their business to China. The economy slowed, our business slowed. Other shops failed.
And you remember when the shit hit the fan. How everything seemed to drop out from under us so quickly a couple of years ago. The housing market crashed, banks were in trouble, the car industry took a major hit. We were in a major recession and everybody was fearful we would enter into another depression.
When we bought my Nitro a few years ago, the Dodge dealer said it right; you can measure our country’s economy by the tool and die trade.
And the trade was dying.
This seems quite depressing to me all of a sudden, as I read back over this! It’s true, but it’s not complete.
We have loved much, laughed much, enjoyed the company of friends and family over the years. We love our lives. My brother-in-laws are my brothers, my sister-in laws are my sisters, and also dear friends. I even was blessed with a sister-in-law that was a good friend before she even fell in love with my brother. Family, both sides, are important. And times spent with friends could never be replaced with anything finer. We enjoy mountain trips, ocean trips, we would ski once a year. We have our hobbies. We got involved in bible studies. We went to church. We lived within our means, not extravagantly to say the least, but comfortably. Life was good.
But God wanted better.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. But I can remember the season when I followed God more out of duty than anything else and was blinded by arrogance in the belief that I knew so much about him.
I’m coming to realize my ignorance and pride, and in tearing down my legalistic formulaic way of religion, God has opened my heart up to his love.
Three years ago I quieted my spirit to his. I carved out time to be with him. Sometimes I would read passages in my bible. Sometimes I wrote. Sometimes I would just sit and be still in his presence without having any expectations of him. I was overwhelmed by his love that year.
The god that was disappointed in me was almost non-existent. The god that held up the record wrongs I had done and the thousands of things I needed to work on to improve my standing with him was reveiled to me as a liar. I felt at peace with my Creator. I was falling in love with him. And I started to understand how deep his love for me ran. It was a special time.
But that time abruptly ended.
The following year my husband decided to enter into the interviewing/testing process of becoming a police officer.
The month after he decided this, my sister-in-law, a sweet friend of 17 years, died.
And here’s where I’ll stop for tonight. I need to gather my thoughts.
My grip is slipping,
I’m letting go.
I turn my face
and look away.
You grip my wrist.
You won’t let go.
And you wait
to hold onto