I’m writing this late at night. I should probably be in bed. But it’s been a long, hard day, and I can never sleep when Reid is away. He comes home tomorrow, and I am certain that no one will be more glad that he is home…than me. Well, except for my kids, maybe.
Because when Daddy’s back, their little world will be a little less wrong, and a little more right. Mommy will cook more, and yell less. There will be more story times, and less TV times. And we’ll all feel a little sweeter and kinder and richer…when Daddy’s here to help fill up our decimated Love Banks.
Or rather, I should say, when Daddy’s here to help defend us a little…against the enemy and his lies. Because his lies…always seem to be about love. And those lies, always seem to leave our love banks feeling extra empty.
It’s amazing how many more lies I hear when I am alone, and Reid is away. Lies about his love for me. Lies about other people’s love for me. But most dangerous of all…lies about God’s love for me.
This has been on my mind a lot lately, but especially after story time tonight.
The kids and I love to read together at bedtime. We snuggle under Daddy’s big Cardinals-watching-blankey, and everyone is a tiny bit sweeter, than our usual spicy. Tonight, Fred picked “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as his literature of choice. Freddo, like Mommy, is a very high “P” on the Meyers Briggs…so he had no trouble skipping over the Creation scene and starting smack in the middle of the Great Deception. (It probably drove our organized and linear little firstborn a tad crazy…but hey, we P’s need a little room for our free-spirited inconsistencies.)
I was expecting to blaze through the story, but what happened next took me completely by surprise.
I could barely read the words on the page.
It has been a really long week. Lots of physical pain. Basically, I’m in pain every moment of every day. The only way I can explain the inflammation that comes from mycotoxin poisoning is to say…imagine a headache, a back ache, a stomach ache, an ear ache, and a sinus infection…all at the same time. All of the time. That’s…what I feel like.
And to add insult to injury, I’m in the middle of a battery of blood tests because there is a good chance my kidneys are failing me. I guess technically I should just say, “my kidneys are failing.” But this feels personal. Like they are actually failing me. My kidneys are really one of my only major organs that haven’t been wrecked by mycotoxins, and I feel angry and weary that they too, now appear to be turning against me.
All of that to say…I’m struggling. I’ve been to the blood lab more times than I can count, and I saw a cardiologist this morning because of weeks of chest pains.
But even as I sit here, wondering if my actual cardiovascular heart is about to fail me…it feels like my heart, my Forever heart- is failing me.
Nothing compares to the pain of last year. I think about our precious babies who are missing, every moment of every day. But this year, well this year is the prolonged suffering of watching the body that could not sustain my babies lives…begin to no longer sustain mine. I actually go to bed at night praying desperately that I will not die in my sleep, and be found by my kids in the morning. I’m sure that is mixed with all sorts of irrational and messy…but it is really hard to go to bed with chest pains, and with hands and feet numb from neuropathy, and with kidney’s that seemed to have joined this fight against me…and to not fear that death is our next suffering.
All of that to say, I fear my heart is beginning to slide into the abyss of what the “happy-smiley people” would call, “A Not Good Place.”
But I’m not one of those, so I’ll just call it like it is…
I am in the depths of despair.
If Anne of Green Gables is a kindred spirit of yours, you probably know what I mean.
But if you don’t…well then, I’ll just have to spell it out for you.
Last Saturday, Reid and I decided it was time to clean out the garage. I have been so sick over the summer that I am now more convinced than ever that it is necessary to get rid of even the things we were hoping to give to the kids some day. If we can’t keep it, and touch it, and enjoy it…I see no point in dragging it along through our lives.
This spring, when we got rid of everything we owned from the Mold House…there were still a few bins worth of stuff that I had kept behind. A bin of photo albums. A bin of Christmas stuff. And a bin of things, too precious to part with, and basically too painful to deal with at that time.
The dress I wore the day we buried our precious Charlie.
The hundred’s of sympathy cards we got from people who reached out to us that spring.
The little black suit Fred wore for his one-year-photo shoot, that I just couldn’t part with because I was still naive enough to hope another baby boy of ours might wear it for five minutes someday.
The ridiculous turtle sweater I happened to be wearing on the day Reid asked me to be his bride.
All of the love letters…from before and after…Turtle Sweater Day.
Basically, everything most precious to me. The bin we’d have taken, “In The Event of a Fire.”
Except…it wasn’t a fire. It wasn’t fast, and clear-cut like that. It was painfully slow. And horribly messy. We had to willingly hold up, one by one, the perfectly normal looking, and most important and cherished things in our lives…and throw them in the garbage. One. At. A. Time.
Well, Reid did actually. I am still so sick from mycotoxin re-exposure this summer that if I went anywhere near these cherished things, I would probably be wrecked immediately.
So there I was, on one side of the driveway, weeping in my beach chair. And there he was, on the other side of the driveway, painstakingly lifting up and setting back down in either the “Trash” or the “Keep”…all of the things that represent the most wonderful and horrifically painful moments of our lives.
It wasn’t so much about the things. I’ve already parted with 99% of our things. And honestly, months down the road, I am more certain than ever that all of the things we lost were just that…things. Inanimate objects that hold almost no meaning or weight whatsoever…compared to how hard it was to give up our babies.
I don’t even like that hedious black sweater with the embroidered Turtle on it. It’s how much it reminded me of the day. It’s how much it made us both laugh hysterically that I ever wore that…even as tears of pain streamed down my face.
What I realized as I watched Reid go through our “life” one last time…is that all of those things reminded me of all of those days. And what hurts so bad, and is becoming so incredibly difficult for my heart to reconcile with my faith…is that we have lived through so very many bad days.
We had managed to stuff down an awful lot in these last few bins from our “old life.” So many sorrows. So many memories. So much of the pain of losing literally everything and everybody…over these last two years of life. A lifetime worth of pain had been squashed down tight in that mycotoxin-laden bin…like a real live version of those jokester Cans of Snakes.
And all of a sudden, the cover sprang open.
And all of the pain spilled out…right there in the middle of our highly visible driveway.
And I started to weep.
Honestly, it probably looked like we were getting a divorce. Our kids were in the house, having a very loud, completely unsupervised Frozen dance party, and we were out in the driveway, visibly suffering. We must have been quite the sight.
And as I sat there…it began to happen. It creeped in slowly at first, and then it came on with a vengeance. Wreathing, and squirming, and attacking…like worms. Or better yet…snakes.
The great Lie.
That wretched, loathsome, ugliest of all things. That thing…where if you believe it hard enough, for long enough…it will take away the one and only thing that actually matters…your eternal life.
Out in the driveway, I couldn’t even see the lie for what it was. Because, that, after all…is the nature of lies.
But now, days later…it hit me hard during story time tonight.
Fred handed me his Children’s Bible and said, “This one Mommy, let’s read about the Snake.”
“As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. “Does God really love you? the serpent whispered. “If he does, why won’t he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.
Th snake’s words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. DOES GOD LOVE ME? Eve wondered. Suddenly, she didn’t know anymore.”
And as I read those words, my mind flashed back to our time in the driveway last Saturday.
Reid, holding up our wedding album.
Reid, holding up our love letters.
Reid, holding up our life.
And Reid, lifting Charlie’s teddy up and asking me with tears in his eyes, “Do you want to keep this?”
And right then, from stage right, ENTER…the lie.
God couldn’t POSSIBLY love us. He took away Charlie. And then the next baby. And then the next baby. And then the mycotoxin hurricane stormed in, and took all of our worldly things. And now I am suffering with boils of pain that cover my entire body. HOW is it possible for one family to endure this much pain? God couldn’t possibly LOVE people who He allows to suffer like THIS.
Reid, lifting up Freddo’s little suit, the question not spoken, but still hidden there in his eyes, “Are we really going to put this on another boy, even if God did do, like ten miracles that He ISN’T doing…and we somehow miraculously had another baby boy someday?”
Does God love me? No. And I mean, HELL no. He only REALLY loves the people who get to KEEP everything. The people who still have all their stuff, and all their health, and most of all…all their babies. He can’t possibly love US. POOR US. Clearly, God doesn’t want us to be happy.
I mean, usually that slimy snake is at least semi-crafty. But out there in the garden of our driveway, there were absolutely no subtleties.
He was selling. And I was buying.
But as I sat there tonight, with innocent little Fred cuddled in my arms, I began to see things a little more clearly. I thought of Freddo, as he listened to a story about the very snake who has stolen, and killed, and destroyed so much joy from our family. The very snake…who he will have to spend the rest of his life fighting against with every breathe of his being. The snake…who is after him now, even as he sleeps. And I realized just how deeply each and every one of us are living that very scene.
Does. God. Love. Me?
And IF He somehow does…than “Why won’t He let…” (Fill in the blank.)
I hear those lies, every single day. I hear them in the grocery store. I hear them when I look at Instagram. I probably even hear them in my sleep.
Nothing makes you realize just how many stupid people on the planet get to bear children…like burying three of them in a years time. I see pregnant ladies everywhere. Most seem really nice, but some of them drive me crazy. I see pregnant ladies smoking. I see pregnant ladies belittling their kids in Wal-mart. I see people who don’t even want kids complaining about their pregnancies on Facebook. And honestly, it makes me want to scream.
And when I am not waging a war in my heart and mind against the unjustness of our story…I am battling a totally different set of lies. “I guess I am just not a good enough mom.” “I guess I just don’t love God enough.” Or maybe, I guess God just doesn’t love me.
And nothing makes you realize just how many healthy people there are in the world…until you are sick every moment of every day. And while I watch everyone around me heartily bouncing around like Tigger through their full and busy days…I feel like I am literally dragging my body along through mine. “I guess God doesn’t have anything left for me to do in this life…except be miserable and sick.” “I guess God doesn’t hear my, or Reid’s, or our kid’s endless prayers that He would heal Mommy’s body.” Or maybe, I guess God just doesn’t want us to be happy.
And what I realized as I read those very words to my kids, straight out of the children’s Bible that’s sitting on half the Christian coffee tables in America…is that there is absolutely NOTHING unique about these lies that have become the soundtrack of my life.
That sorrowful, soul-sucking song…is on repeat.
In every heart. Everywhere.
Every. Single. Day. Of. Our. Lives.
And right now, people…while we’re stuck broken, surrounded by broken, here on this broken planet, I’m here to tell you….it’s fight or die.
For you, and for me.
If we don’t fight these lies, they will sink us…just like they sunk Eve.
Actually, let’s make that a Present-tense. Just like they are sinking me.
I don’t really have a nice bow to put on this one. I wish I could. I like bows. I like to feel like I’m writing about things I struggled with yesterday, or maybe this morning. But not things that I am still barely surviving…even as I write this tonight.
So let’s end this post…with the best self-defense mechanism I can think of. Let’s turn it on you.
Will you take the step of faith to fight back…by telling someone about the lies you are hearing today? You could post them here. You could share them with someone else later today. Just promise me this…that you will tell somebody. That you will let it be known, to at least one other person, and especially to the enemy who is slinking around your heart even as you read…
THIS…(fill in the blank)…THIS is WHEN I hear, “Does God love me?”
THESE…these are THE MOMENTS I think, “Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy?”
THIS is WHEN…Suddenly, I don’t know anymore.
And Lord Jesus, please come fight for me.
Because I noticed something out on our driveway last Saturday. I did hear, and I did believe…every single one of those lies, as we sat there and waded through that bin of suffering.
But I also felt such relief in being known by Reid, in the midst of the lies. Relief in knowing that he knew exactly why every single thing he was pulling out of that bin…was going to make me cry.
And most of all…that he knows exactly how much I am struggling to believe in the goodness of God and His love for me. And that he is praying for me. And fighting for me.
One lie at a time.
Until one day, when the bins will be gone for good. Right now, your garages and closets and attics are probably full of all of your most treasured memories. And ours…are empty. But someday, every single one of us, are actually going to lose everything.
And then, the only thing that will matter, in that split-second of time between this world and eternity…
Is if we believed the Lie…to the point of no longer believing the King.
Or if we believed the King…and let Him carry us…to that great and glorious Day.
The day when Finally…we no longer believed the Lie.