There is comfort in that for me as beginning this life as a young child, I remember being lonely above all else. Other than lots of pets, a lot of unused land to distance me from a curious world, a grandfather that over-indugled me with himself in an effort to stay clear of an over-worked wife, an absent mother who I knew loved me but didn't know how to love because she didn't experience true and committed love herself, I was a child of a divorced and single mom, and I only had one true friend all through elementary school who found her next best friend when we went to high school in 7th grade, I have finally begun to more clearly understand how it is the repeated disappointments in life that, while not intentional, leave us incomplete for ourselves...and others.
Learning how to leave the guilt for what you are, and why you are not all you thought you would be and RELAXING in the process as you become sanctified from the journey at the foot of the cross, are just a few of the challenges that I have begun working through with greater anticipation of God healing within my soul...finally and completely.
While each battle we are called to fight takes something from us that never returns, what and how God replaces "it" with Himself and His appointments and approvals are constant reminders of a faith that is being lived out and a God who lavishes mercy and purpose upon us.
I can especially relate to the challenges of circumstances that change everything about your life. I have experienced life-altering events more than a few times, but if there is one struggle I have above every other, it is how to be the "substitute" mother to Dylan and Olivia. While I have never desired to replace Lisa, I always knew that what God called me to was unique and going to be the greatest challenge of my life.
I didn't think about it, I just jumped into it and allowed my faith to take over...after all, He put that mindset there too. It was not and is not as if I am able to focus on that role independent of the others I am simultaneously immersed in and also often challenged by, but I had to and continue to adapt..and adapt quickly, but not always most effectively. There are times when I also realize how God knew that. He knew what I was, what I wasn't, who I was, and who I wasn't...and still He chose ME!
Nearly 10 years into this journey, I have become more dissatisfied with myself but more satisfied with Him. I have let go of the expectations of others and continue to look for and find peace within the journey, that is lived out each day. I have found that the most destructive thing I can do is listen to the voice inside...or even those outside. Regardless of where it comes from, it is the voice of the father of lies that presents itself in the recesses of our heart that allows our wounds to be magnified...both to ourselves and then consequently to others. We find ourselves sensing the disapproval of others as everyone has an opinion of how we should handle our challenges and how it should be perceived so that it is an instant blessing and benefit to what God is up to in our lives. If we embrace the opinions of others, we are left wondering why we are not "better" at it and we get "stuck" there and consequently we often make excuses rather than try a new approach realizing that it is in new approaches (that are often created and recreated with new seasons of life and maturity) and we learn what He wants for our lives is NEVER easy to accomplish, but it is FILLED with blessing and favor and grace that sees us through and leaves us more satisfied than we ever would have imagined. I have also learned that the key to the progress is accepting that we have no idea what we are doing...and trusting Him to lead us through it.
I am not nearly where I hope to be within my journey, but I am more aware, more surrendered, more thankful, more forgiving and more understanding that what God allows into our lives has purpose that will transcend all pain...and it always occurs in the areas of our lives that need the most healing.
Trusting Him at a level that began in my own life with depletion and lack early in life, eventually to what I thought was satisfaction with a solid marriage, to shattered expectations when Danny got sick and then when we gave up what our family was for what God chose our family to be, and loss once again through the malicious efforts leveled against us due to another's bitterness, anger and resentment, and now to living the promises of God on the other side of the pain with a completely new understanding of being satisfied and complete with a journey and even greater purpose still ahead. The journey and the learning and the reality of God within it is absolutely indescribable. It has allowed my faith to not only have feet but also wings. I have believed God for many things, many times over, but what is on the other side of pain that robs your heart and steals your soul is absolutely without adequate words to articulate when your trust is ONLY in Him.
That is what I keep in mind when I struggle with daily challenges of what should come naturally...under normal circumstances. I always said I didn't want to live a normal or average life and I now know why...I am not normal...or average and therefore to produce from me what God wanted, He had to take me through certain paths that stripped me of self and reminded me of my utter dependence upon Him and my need for Him as well as my reliance upon Him to carry us to our destination against all odds.
I know that as I continue my journey substituting for the loss of Lisa in Dylan and Olivia's life, I will find that the more I learn, the more I do not need to try. I just need to trust. I will again receive that same understanding of how God rewards our faith...a process I often struggle to understand, but one that He honors. And as I have learned in many other challenges, God does not disappoint us even though His ways are not ours. Nonetheless, He exceeds our expectations...time and time again.
God uses time to give us peace with Him. ~Jon Nellermoe