Wednesday, March 28, 2007

March 28

It’s amazing that even when our heart is breaking, when the pain seems to overtake our lives, that God shows Himself to us in unexpected ways. He gives us assurance that He is with us. He is with us through the heartache. He is with us through the years of sorrow. He gently reminds us that He will never left nor forsake us. He shows Himself to be worthy.

My grandma died on Monday. She had thrown me away. She walked away from our relationship but I never stopped loving her. I sent her Christmas cards every year up until two years ago. I kept hoping that God would reveal to her the truth about my parents but she decided that I wasn’t worthy of her love and put me out as trash.

Yet, I loved her. Wouldn’t life be easier if we could just stop loving? I have never understood how marriages fall apart because I have never known how to stop loving.

Last night, Tuesday, March 27 after revival service, Mark’s mom called to tell us that my grandma had died. Of course, no one in my family had contacted me. They have all walked away from me and never looked back.

I have cried until my eyes hurt. Why do I miss someone that has not acknowledged that I am even alive for the last 18 years? I would think that this wouldn’t have affected me. When Mark was getting off the phone with his mom, I heard him say, “Mom, I need to go. I need to tell her now.” We were driving in the car. We were coming home from revival services.

Mark hung up his phone and I said, “Tell me. Who died?”

His words were quiet almost a whisper, “Your grandma.”

I sat in silence. I willed my emotions and heart not to feel anything. I finally asked, “When?”

“Yesterday, honey. My mom read it in the paper today. The funeral is tomorrow morning at 10.”

This dark weight of feeling was beginning to come upon me. I thought that I could keep it in check. Surely, God was not going to allow me this pain.

And, then Mark spoke again, “I can’t believe that no one in your family contacted you. They couldn’t even tell you this.”

With that statement all of the air felt sucked out of my body. This was about so much more than my grandma’s death. This was my family. These were people that abandoned me, that threw me away. These were people that hurt me in a way that I had never dreamed possible. And, these people, my family, had not contacted me.

Not a surprise.
I went to my grandparents after my parents kidnapped Christi and Bobby begged for their help. I remember saying that they knew us and they knew that we had never hurt our children. And my grandmother said, “Well, at least Christi and Bobby won’t go to hell. They will not be raised by a Baptist.”

That was the card my parents used with them. I fully understand losing everything for your faith. Mark stood in that driveway, his arms hitting his hips. I wrapped my arms around him because I thought that he was going to beat himself to death. He looked like a man coming out of his skin.

“Baptist? Baptist? You will not help your granddaughter because she is a Baptist?”

My grandparents stood in the doorway and said nothing but closed the door. They closed the door and when they closed that door, I knew. I knew they had closed their hearts.

Mark lifted and carried me to the car. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t speak.

What words? How do you combat such hatred?

My husband backed the car out of the driveway. He was hitting the steering wheel. He was crying. He was angry.

Suddenly, it hit me. The sickness. I was throwing up. Mark pulled over and I stood on the side of the road and vomited. It was like poison coming out of my soul from the evilness of their words.

My faith was sending my children to hell. That’s what they believed. That’s what they said. To this day, I still cannot understand why they believed that.
And, last night I heard those words, “Your grandma is dead.”

I assumed that there would be no pain. She died to me so many years ago. But, somewhere I had held on to the belief that she would seek me. That she would tell me that she was sorry and that she loved me.

Last night, I prayed for God to assure me that my grandma was in heaven. I begged him to assure me that I would see her again and that I would wrap my arms around her and hold her.

Why do we love those we love? Why do their arrows pierce our hearts so deeply?

I couldn’t sleep and went to the living room and sat in semi-darkness. I had pulled out one of my Bibles hoping for God to speak to me. But, I couldn’t read the word. My eyes were unable to focus.

My beloved Paul, walked into the room and jumped. He wasn’t expecting to see anyone because it was midnight.

“Mom, why are you up?”

“I can’t sleep, Paul. I just found out, my grandma is dead. You never met her. But, I loved her. I always thought that someday I would take you to meet her and that she would love you.”

This fourteen year old boy sat down on the sofa. This overstuffed sofa seemed to swallow him up for a minute. The he adjusted the quilt he had wrapped around his body. I asked him to sit by me.

“Mom, I need a shower. I can hardly stand myself.”

I told him that I had cried so much that my nose was full and I couldn’t smell a thing. So, the child sat by me. I put my hand on his black shiny hair. I touch his smooth young check.

“Paul, I am hurting. See, I loved my grandma. I kept thinking one day that she would call me and tell me that she was sorry and that she loved me.”

“Well, she knows the truth now wherever she is.”

Shocked, “Paul, wherever she is? I am praying that she is in heaven. I want to see her again. I will never see her in this lifetime again – but Paul, I want to see her again.”

My son seemed to grow. “Mom, I don’t KNOW where she is but I can tell you this – SHE knows the truth. She knows what she did to you and she is sorry. Whether she is in heaven or hell – she knows the truth and believe me, she is sorry.”

He was missing my point of my desiring to see her, to love her, to hold her.

I went on, “Paul, I have been remembering when I was little and playing with her jewelry and sleeping in her bed. She taught me how to make that apple pie that you love. She taught me how to sew. She loved bright colors. I get my love of colors from her. And, I look like her. And, my mother looks like her. Every time I look in a mirror, I see two of the people that hurt me most in the world. I can’t get away from the pain. When Christi and Bobby were stolen, I thought about killing myself. But, then I thought of Michael. And, I knew that I somehow needed to be his mother. Michael sustained me. His presence kept me alive. But, you were my gift.”

My son shifted his position. “Man, mom. Just think what she almost caused you to do. You thought about killing yourself because of what your family did to you. Do you know what would have happened? Daddy would have gone nuts. Michael would have been raised by someone else. And, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be your son. Someone else would have adopted me. Mom, I am your son. This is exactly where I am supposed to be. Just think, even though I never met this woman, she is my grandmother, too.”

I interrupted, “Great-grandmother.”

“I know. I know. Let me finish. She is my grandmother, too. I can see her in you. If you see her when you look at yourself, then I have met a part of her. She is a part of you. It’s in the genes but she raised you, too.”

“Paul, I need to know that she’s in heaven. I need to know I will see her again and there will be no more tears. I need to know that I’ll see her at the Crystal Sea. And, that I’ll not remember the pain she caused me.”

He again said, “Mom, I don’t know where she is. But part of her is in you.”

Why can a child see evil so much clearer than an adult filled with sorrow, memories and pain?

Paul is correct. I have no assurance that my grandmother is in heaven. She could be in hell. The only way I can honor her memory to by trying to take the best things she taught me and live them in my life.

Last night, I wanted to hear from God. I wanted assurance. Yet, my eyes could not see the words through the tears. So, God sent my son, born out of due season, to speak to me. And this boy was able to present the truth that I needed to hear.

The fact is, I have no assurance where my grandma is. I can hope and I can pray but she made choices. Last night, as I was crying I told Mark that I needed to know that grandma was in heaven. He told me that she was. I reminded him that he had said, on many occasions, that my grandparents could not be Christians and do what they did to me.

He was, “Well, honey maybe I was mistaken. Christians can be wrong. Your grandma was just wrong.”

But I knew that Mark didn’t believe his words. He was trying to comfort me. If Mark had it in his power, he would place my grandmother in heaven for me. It took a little boy to try and tell me that it was pointless now to pray that she was in heaven. My grandma had made her choices many years ago.

His words have remained with me this morning. King David cried and prayed and fasted begging for his son’s life. And, the baby died. The servants were afraid to tell David but they did. And, David’s actions surprised the servants. He got up, washed his face, and ate. He said God had spoken.

God gave my grandma 90 years. He gave her 18 years to come to me. I kept every door open. Sometimes, people make bad choices. But, Paul is right. God has spoken.

This child stayed up with me until 3 AM. He talked and told me about his friends. He told me about all of the scientific theories he’s interested in. He told me that he was meant for our family and that God had arranged for him to be my son.

16 comments:

Dee said...

Love is such an amazing thing. I have had some of those same feelings with my biological mother. "HOW can I love her after the things she has done/allowed??"


(((Debbie))) praying extra for you this week.

Elaine said...

(((((Debbie)))))

Elayna said...

How can you love her? Because you have Jesus in you - and He's shining bright within you. (((Debbie)))

tonims said...

Debbie, I am sorry for your loss, God has bleesed you with a loving family and a wonderful husband. These experinces have made you a strong, faithful woman of God and rememeber to always trust in him. Keep your prayers true and steady and God will carry you through this time of unsteady. Praying for you.

Deeders said...

(((Debbie))),

I'm in tears after reading this. God bless and comfort you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Debbie. I have been weeping for you as I have been praying. Rejoice in Paul! He is pointing you to The Cross and the love of Jesus. You and Mark have been God's gift to him as parents. You know that God uses our brokenness to fill us even more with His love. Let yourself grieve for a woman who was so much a part of your life, but let our Lord and Savior comfort you and give you peace.
Janet

Leni said...

(((Debbie))) I'm sorry your family hurt you so horribly. The wounds of family cut so deep.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my dearest one,

I've typed twice words to try to comfort you, but nothing I can say will help.

Love never dies. We have that promise. Hold onto it, and while your grandmother may not love you, you love her. Rest in that love. Pray for God's rich mercy to be extended to your grandmother and the rest of your family.

OH Kim, praying here for you

Angel said...

(((Debbie))) I'm so sorry you're going through this pain.

cathy5kids said...

(((Debbie))), I'm praying for you. I can't even imagine what you must feel.

Jamie in Ks said...

((((Debbie)))) You have a heart of gold. Praying for you.

Amy Layfield said...

My heart is crying with you. I am so thankful with you for Paul... He is such a great boy. I so wish that I could make your hurt go away. I pray that God would just wrap you up in HIS love. ((((Debbie and Mark))))

Deborah said...

(((Debbie)))) Praying for you as you grieve for your grandmother, and for her choices. I don't even know what to say to give you comfort, but I am praying that God will wrap His loving arms around you and that you will literally FEEL and know his total love for you.

Blessings,
Deb

§wanny said...

Debbie, you are a dear sweet woman and the love of God shines through you so much!!!

Praying for you!

~T said...

(((((Debbie))))))

DRS said...

{{{dear, dear Debbie}}}

You and your family remain in my prayers.

DRS (Debbie)