Do you ever feel like your head is fractured? Like the plates of your skull are literally pulling apart. That's the picture that comes into my head when I think back to the most painful holiday season I ever went through.
A few years ago our family went through a very difficult season when we experienced a failed adoption. We had a toddler foster son living with us for over six months, and just before the adoption was due to go through, everything fell apart.
That season was one of the hardest times of my life. Parenting that precious boy felt to me like it must feel to parent a terminally ill child.
To some that may sound too dramatic or even insensitive to those who have lost biological children. All I can tell you is that is how I felt. There was so much uncertainty.
Uncertainty is very hard for me. I like to "make a plan and work the plan!" Hourly we were waiting for word to confirm or deny that this baby would be ours forever. I guess I always had a sinking feeling that things weren't going to go the way we hoped.
I remember having days where I would literally daydream about escaping. I would imagine how wonderful it would be to just sit all alone in a dark, silent room for hours. It was like there was just too much noise and uncertainty spinning all around me, and I needed peace.
After we got the news that the little guy would be moving on, I spent the next few months just recovering and resting. The grief process just takes some time.
It was extremely painful because the authorities involved had told us to bond with him and get him to bond with us because he was going to be ours. I have a clear memory of him lying his head on my lap while I patted his back and called him my baby. He would repeat it back to me in such a sweet secure little voice: "my baby."
Having to send him off from our home when there was no way on earth we could explain to him what was happening felt like such a betrayal. It broke my heart. Our final days with him were right between Christmas and New Years.
Looking back I can see how much the Lord held us during those devastating moments. He sent some wonderful people into our lives who loved us well when we really needed it. Though I felt like everything was falling apart, God was actually building strength deep inside of me. That incredibly hard time built perseverance. I cannot say that I lived in perfect peace, but I can say that I fought hard to stay in perfect peace, and it was worth the fight!
After a couple years of grieving, I attended a church service with a guest minister. He shared about peace and took us through an exercise to let go of pain. That night was a turning point for me. In a matter of minutes I was able to let go of the deep pain that had been trying to swallow me alive.
A friend of mine wrote a book with the basics of the model that I learned that night. The book is written to kids and teens, but it definitely is usable for adults as well. This book can help you move past any kind of pain and grief.
Stayed Upon Jehovah,
Hearts are Fully Blest,
Finding as He Promised,
Perfect Peace and Rest.
-Francis R. Havergal