Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I can...I can...I can...even when I say I can't

Noah LOVED LOVED LOVED the outdoors and LOVED our backyard. It was the only backyard he ever knew. Last spring I made a conscious decision to do many more things with my kids and spending more time in our backyard with Noah was at the top of that list. With Noah's help we started a garden, planted flowers and enjoyed many MANY meals on our back porch. There was such a time, just about a year ago, I felt peace was finally within reach. It turned out...it was about to be quite the opposite.

Just days after July 4 I remember declaring I was not going back home...EVER. I begged, I pleaded, I demanded, I screamed, "I can't do it" but my family, friends and counselor were insistent that Haleigh Raye and me needed to return to her routine and consistency. She needed to return home. "It would be good for us." Well, I'm not going to go on the record at my responses or even the faces I made during these "talks" we would have but it was not the most pleasant of exchanges. At that time I could not even begin to envision me ever enjoying life again much less go back to the house where so many memories would be waiting for me. I was so torn between not wanting to move forward but knowing Haleigh Raye needed me to do just that. And...return home we did. So many special people (some even being strangers) worked tirelessly and literally flipped (redecorated) my entire house in about 10 days. To my own surprise we have slowly found a peace and contentment in a place where I was convinced the memories, that so early on haunted me over and over, would overshadow any good ever taking place. I remember so many people telling me early on, "I can't imagine." Well, I couldn't imagine myself this place I had found myself in. I couldn't imagine laughter in this house. I couldn't imagine peaceful nights. I couldn't imagine waking up on Saturday mornings with only one child and not the two children that God had given me and now had allowed for one of them to be taken away.  But we have found some hidden traces of all that and more and they may not even last that long but they are there. They are there because I tried and I decided (with the help of many, many others) that I could.

The backyard, however, was not something I even ventured out unto until our St. Patricks Day celebration just a few weeks ago and it was by accident I found myself out there. Last night I reluctantly agreed to eat outside which is another something I said I would couldn't do because so many new and fun memories were made at this table watching Noah in his garden, with his flowers, on his bike or just running around. But I had to remember so many memories were made there with Haleigh Raye too...and even more new memories awaited me with her there as well. So off to the backyard patio we went to enjoy dinner...

I have to admit I had a hard time enjoying it and we cut it short but it made me realize it was just another thing I said I couldn't do, another thing I wouldn't do but I ended up being able to because I said, "I can."

This time hasn't been the easiest without Noah and the circumstances that surround his death and even saying that is a HUGE understatement. I go back and hear those people telling me "I can't imagine." And I have felt and still feel the same way. I couldn't imagine losing a child...but I did. I couldn't imagine attending my child's celebration service...but I did. I couldn't imagine returning to the house we shared, the school he attended or the church we belonged to...but I did. We did and are doing it everyday. The problem was and still is I can get so caught up looking so far ahead at what I couldn't do, what I didn't want to do I couldn't see what I needed to be doing at the present moment that was right in front of me. If anyone knows me well especially before July 4 they know I am such a planner with a to do list for my to do lists (yes I said lists as in plural.) I would get such a sense of pride by checking something off my list and still do but, oh, how my to list has changed! My goals are so much smaller than what they were just a year ago. But with each goal I accomplish and with each goal I attempt, just as I think I can't take another step, as I think I can't take another breath even as I think I can't live another day without Noah I am reminded of these simple but powerful words....

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Christ is the most important word in this verse because He comes first but next important  are the words I can. We have to be willing to put forth effort and not set around and say, "I can't, I can't, I can't." The things I have had to do these past 9 months make me shutter just setting here thinking about them. Hearing my son is dead, wondering how in the world can I look at Haleigh Raye's face as we tell her that her brother is gone forever, seeing him and adjusting to this new normal that we have involuntarily had to find our way in. But they have made me realize how true this verse really is because I know now...

                  I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

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