Tuesday, March 29, 2016


I don't consider myself a particularly 'religious' person and tend not to talk about it often, if at all, but this Sunday was different. I sat in church this past Easter, as I'm sure many of us did, listening to the message of Christ dying for our sins, and rising from the tomb and the testimony from one couple of the congregation. They were an average couple whose testimony did not necessarily jump out at me, except for one sentence: We aren't sure why God gives us the trials to go through that he does, but we know we can get through them.

I thought about this a lot throughout the service as P kept wiggling around from seat to seat. I thought about the trial we had been through together and would be lying if I told you I still wish I knew why I was chosen to suffer from mental illness, why I didn't have the strength to get help sooner, why I feared fear so much, and most of all why my prayers weren't answered every night for weeks as I laid in bed begging God to fix whatever was wrong with me.

I think a big part of religion, Christianity, and having faith, is acceptance and forgiveness. I still carry a lot of guilt as a mom for those first few months of P's life. I struggle with forgiving myself and accepting the past is the past and I can't change it, that P is growing every day and now she's too big to cuddle with (mostly because she won't let me). Yes, I have missed out on those newborn times with her, the times when I could have spent an entire day just napping with her, holding her, admiring her little fingers and toes and watching her sleep (I do sneak into her room from time to time just to catch a glimpse). No, I can never get that time back with her. I can never experience the happiness and overwhelming feelings of love and amazement as my first baby is placed on my chest for the first time. I think about this a lot. Maybe more than I should.

We don't go to church every Sunday, or even every month, but I do expose P to religion and Christianity. She has her own Bible that we read from time to time, and she has been known to fold her hands for prayer before a Holiday meal. She has witnessed baptism, although there are no plans in the near future for her own. She has attended church and celebrated Christmas and Easter. Maybe she doesn't know what it all means quite yet, but I want her to know it's okay. Religion isn't meant to be something magical where you ask for something you want and receive instant gratification. I want P to grow up knowing that God is peace. Through God, you can find acceptance and forgiveness. You can find comfort in uncomfortable times and the strength to do things you never thought you could. God will not cure you. God will not change the circumstances of your life or the people in it, but what He can do is give you the tools you need to survive this season.

The thing with trials is they are lengthy. Hello, they are trying. They are not easy. They come with ups and downs, setbacks and strides, and they come with no end date. And after the trial is through there is still the processing period. Processing what happened and why and learning to adjust back to normal life. I would like to think my trial is over and I have moved into the processing stage. I am still working towards accepting my past and forgiving myself for something I had no control over. Things happen, and as much as I would like to, I cannot change that.

“When you look at the past without God’s eyes, you subject yourself to deception. The past no longer exists and God doesn’t linger there. However, Satan will show you whatever you want to see and believe, so you will be trapped in an emotion that cannot communicate truth, beyond what you want to remember.” - Shannon L. Alder

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