‘And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten–the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.’ (‭Joel‬ ‭2‬:‭25-26‬ AMP)

Restore my JOY. 

Return to me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit in me. Losing Christiano took so much from me – from all of us. And, joy is one of those things. It is something that I’ve missed terribly. I’m not talking about a temporal feeling of joy, but the joy that allowed Jesus to endure, and even embrace, the cross. This joy does not rest in things going our way or having a worry-free life. It isn’t measured by perfect circumstances or perfect health; perfect marriages or earthly crowns. In fact, real joy escapes us when we give too much thought to these things. Joy is present when we keep our eyes on what lies ahead, just like Jesus did when he died for us. It has been hard for me to get my eyes off of the pain and the suffering that losing my son has brought. I want my joy back, and it’s going to take some work on my part. It’s going to mean taking my eyes off of my hurt and looking to the One who gives me rest; the only One who can restore.

Restore my HOPE.

I miss hoping. Hoping for good things to happen; hoping for the future; or even just for today. The Bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. My hope was deferred, shattered and shaken when Christiano didn’t make it. Longings haven’t been fulfilled for a very long time. However, my hope has not been fully lost. I never would have made it through without Jesus, my hope and anchor. But, my hope has been deferred by my circumstances. The enemy attempted to steal it, along with so many other promises I once stood so securely on. Hebrews 6:19 says, ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ Thankfully, even when our thoughts and ideas of hope are shattered, our hope remains firm and secure. This means we can never drift too far away from hope. We are held by hope. And, in 2015, I would like for the restoration and reconstruction of my hope to be made complete.

Restore my IDENTITY.

This one is a biggie for me. God has worked this one out in me since the beginning of time. Wife, mother, friend… Just a few roles that I’ve found my identity in over the years. And, now, grieving mother has been added to the list. This is not a desirable group for anyone. In fact, NOBODY wants to ever be in this group. And, nobody in the group ever wants to welcome anyone else in. It’s the loneliest place I’ve ever been, and I feel most inadequate and unaccepted, at times, because I’m a part of this group. It’s a group where outsiders, who don’t understand, get to look in and critique the members of this group. For me, it’s a place with glass windows and full transparency. I’ve chosen to let everyone see inside and not put up any blinds. But, this transparency comes with a high price. And, that price has often been my very identity. 

You see, I haven’t lived here for long and I knew nothing about it before being thrown in. I am inexperienced and inadequate and not too sure how to please everyone who is watching. I’m too ‘OK’ for some people, and I’m not ‘OK’ enough for others. I’m too Word of Faith for some and not ‘Word of Faith’ enough for others. I’m too much God and not enough emotion, or I’m too emotional without enough God. I’m too happy, I’m not happy enough. I’m too transparent for some, and others wish they could see more. I’m too social, or I’m not social enough. I cry too much, or I don’t cry enough. I laugh too much, or I don’t laugh enough. Some people think I share for attention or that I expect too much from others. Some wish I would just go away or snap out of it. Some people can’t handle my pain because it’s too painful for them. So many expectations, unfair assumptions, and harsh judgments; and they hurt. This kind of hurt on top of grief can make for unspeakable pain. I speak on behalf of all grieving mothers when I say that all we want is grace. But, that is usually not what we get. In the beginning, we get lots of it; but, over time, people either want us to move on faster, while some can’t believe we are moving on so fast. That is why my biggest heart cry is for identity. I want for my identity to be found in God. I don’t want to just be a grieving mother. I want to know that my sole identity, and the only identity that truly matters, is found in being a daughter of the king. For, in Him, I’m loved, accepted and understood. 

Although, the tragedy that forever altered my life came in 2013, truly LIVING with it came later. 2014 was all over the place. It was a year filled with more difficulty than I ever thought possible for one family to endure. I will spare you all the details, but I will say that we just barely made it through. We are ready to put it behind us now. (Although, I’m not even sure what that means, really.)

 I can never forget all the tragedy we’ve endured, all the losses experienced, the many disappointments over the last 14 months. But, I am choosing to believe for something again. I’m believing for brighter days ahead and strength to endure any dark ones that may creep in. I am believing for healing in our hearts and rest for our weary souls. I’m believing for God to RESTORE what’s been lost like only He can. I’m believing for joy unspeakable, hope renewed and identity found only in Him. 2015, I’m ready.

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