the countdown

“You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears.”

CS Lewis, A Grief Observed

Yesterday afternoon, I read this book at the pool, and was reminded yet again, how much I love CS Lewis’ writing. This particular book is his journal after losing the love of his life to cancer. It’s so raw and real. 

I love the honesty of this quote. In the depths of sadness and hurt it’s impossible to see. It’s impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel, things coming together for good, or the blessing in disguise. 

Because all of the truth and logic and encouragement is blinded by tears and deceptive, controlling feelings.  

However, if I can promise anything over time (hate that word), the tears dry and you may find out, like I did, that the blessing may have been standing right before you the entire time. 

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As the numbers on the countdown get smaller and smaller, I have become consumed by last minute wedding plans. So here’s a sneak peek…

The venue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the bling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the digs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(sorry, no pics of my dress!)

the sweets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I’m getting really, really excited!)

Jen

chapter one

“For us this is the end of all stories…But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world…had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

-CS Lewis

Today at work, like every day before it, I will slam my dated stamp into the crisp, clean, white paper. Then that wet, shiny black ink will twinkle in the glare from the light bulb. As the ink drys, its date will stare up at me – “AUG 11 2011”, and will continue to haunt my memory.

Today is an anniversary of sorts. But not an anniversary celebrated with party hats and popped bottles of champagne. A year ago today we arrived home from summer youth camp. A year ago today opened the door to three weeks of a living hell. This blog is not a “tell all” and I don’t write on it to rub faces in the dirt. Whatever short lived justification I would feel from “setting the record straight”, describing every graphic horror I encountered, and how wronged I was would not be worth it. Because, it’s under the blood now. Because, I can be “bigger” than all that.

But, I do write on this blog to let you know that I have been there. I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom. I know what it feels like to have your worst nightmare materialize before your very naked eyes. I know what it means to be depressed. I know all too well what losing “control” feels like. I remember what a struggle it was to even eat, each bite like a rock lodged in my esophagus. I know what it’s like to walk through the church hallways feeling so embarrassed and ashamed. (Is this what single mothers and alcoholics feel? Judged or ashamed? Now, I wish I could hold a large neon sign, saying, “You BELONG here. It doesn’t matter what you went through or are going through. WELCOME!”)

As I come up on the one-year anniversary of a month I’d really love to forget – I am processing. Because I’m normal. Because I’m not a robot. And because God fashioned me with a very sensitive, soft heart.

Sometimes I wish Will Smith would show up in his black suit and use the memory erasing device to take all the memories from last August. (I can’t be the only one that wishes that little gadget was real, right?) Because, right now those feelings are still so fresh. And maybe they’ll always be fresh – categorized away so as not to interfere with the blessings I possess now. But accessible – so that I can help those who are hurting so.

Today, I could harbor a frown and think, “look at all the horrible pain I went through.” But instead, today I host a HUGE smile – because look at all that God took me through! A year ago, I looked into the mirror in the guest room of my brother’s house on my 25th birthday. I was just a shell of the person I am today. I knew I was a mess. But, I remember staring back at my reflection, and with child-like faith said,
“God will you make me all better by my next birthday?”

I know I’ve said this before – but what I thought was the end of my story, was only the title and cover page. This year marks Chapter One. And one day, when I step into eternity – the greatest story will begin.

just the beginning

Ah the Saved…what happens to them is best described as the opposite of a mirage. What seemed, when they entered it, to be the vale of misery turns out, when they look back, to have been a well; and where present experience saw only salt deserts memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water…

-CS Lewis, The Great Divorce

CS Lewis was a phenomenal writer. I find that he stretches my thinking and breaks through my stereotypes. This quote is from his work, The Great Divorce, which challenged my views about eternity; Heaven and Hell.  In any season of trial or pain, a fresh perspective eases the pain.

What you’re going through could seem like the end of the world…but as time goes on, when you look back it could be the beginning of a “New Day” for you. I am in the process of closing one chapter of “my story” and beginning a new one. There’s a lot of emotion that comes with that.

This week I’ve been moving back into my parents house to save some money until the wedding. (Funny thing- six months ago I absolutely dreaded living with my parents and now I can’t wait, haha. Free food, free cable, free rent…ah, that is the life my friends!) This is the fifth time I have “packed up” my things in 10 months. I find myself longing for normalcy, a feeling of permanence and home, and of belonging.

The worst part is, as I pack up and move I keep having flashbacks from when I packed everything up at my house in Lee’s Summit and moved in with my sister. I can remember so vividly, snatching random clothing items, so unsure of what I should leave or take. Completely overwhelmed, I fell into my bedroom chair crying. I remember Christian and Danielle holding me. I know as time goes on, that pain will distance itself from me and be harder and harder to recall, but it’s “fresh” now.  I was leaving a man who stared me in the face, eyes cold, saying, “I’m telling our counselor I want a divorce. I don’t want to be married to you anymore,” and yet I felt like I was the one abandoning him.

That day seemed like it was “The End” to my story, but now as I look back, it is only just the beginning. God has done so much in my life. I feel as though He has decided to make me “prove” everything I have taught and preached to the Rock youth students for the past five years. Will I really trust God in the midst of my storm? Can I make it outside of my comfort zone at work? Will I decide to stay pure sexually in my relationship? Will I forgive those that have hurt me? Now is my chance to practice what I preach. And isn’t it true, that it is so much easier said than done?

Today, I am blessed, because when I look back, the desert was, in actuality, filled with water. The ending really was…just the beginning.

(If you have been affected by divorce in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I wish I had more people in my life that I feel as though I could relate with and ask questions of. I write this blog to share my emotions and feelings and to let you know you’re not alone. Sadly, when I looked for books on divorce recovery and re-establishing my trust in people – I found only books on whether it’s “biblically right” to divorce. It’s time for Christians to quit debating over theological issues and start loving people.)