If you ask me on most days, you'll get the simple and honest answer that I'm doing pretty well. I miss the boys, but I'm glad that they have this extended time in Maryland with Steve to hang out and connect. I'm enjoying the relative simplicity of only caring for two kids (you know that your standards for "simple" have changed when you apply the word to parenting a 3 and 5-year-old). I miss Steve, quaver at the vast unknown before us, and marvel at the incredible slowness of the legal system, but I'm surviving and putting one foot in front of the other.
It's been interesting to reflect on the evolution of my feelings and experience of this unexpected season in my life, marriage, and family.
At first, of course, I was shocked and occasionally overwhelmed with grief but mostly just pushed it all aside because there were so many immediate details to tend to that there was little time for anything else.
But that only lasted a few weeks and then the initial panic and anxiety dulled to a general overwhelmedness at the magnitude of all of the things I had to handle on my own - childcare coordination, figuring out how to pay bills, turning on the swamp cooler for the summer, handling every meal and bedtime every day for every kid - in addition to the normal stresses of work and my ordinary home responsibilities. And I had nobody to fall back on, nobody to hand things over to or share the load with when it was all too much.
But now those feelings have also given way as the kids and I got into a groove and figured out the patterns of our new normal. I still get overwhelmed, but it's not my normal state of existance.
Now I realize that my experience has moved from overwhelmed to a dull ache - a longing. I long for somebody to tell me, daily, that I'm worthy of affection, that I'm beautiful, that I'm strong. I long to be worthy of pursuit. I long for my extension of Christ physically beside me every day, every night, confirming the truth of who I am and who I'm becoming. Our marriage has never been perfect and at times it's been a real struggle, but the truth is that since I was 16 I've had one godly man beside me, growing alongside me, and being Christ to me in word and action. And God do I miss that. I used to think that I was somebody who didn't need much external validation... but I think that was because I got so much support at home. Now when somebody tells me that I'm worthy of affection I break a little inside. It's good breaking, but it hurts.
So I'm learning to trust Jesus for the truth about who I am and who I'm becoming. I know that the messages that I've gotten from Jesus + Steve are really Jesus' truths spoken through Steve. And now I have to figure out how to let Jesus be enough. I'm pretty sure he can handle it. It's me I'm worried about.
God's works are so great, worth
A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!
Splendor and beauty mark his craft;
His generosity never gives out.
His miracles are his memorial—
This God of Grace, this God of Love.