I am a little anxious about sharing this, but here goes:
I cleaned my bedroom yesterday afternoon. Doing something is better than doing nothing and having my mind wander to places it doesn't need to go. Besides, the dust bunnies under the bed had grown to the size of small horses!
In my cleaning and sorting, I came across an old journal stuffed in my bedside table. It was from mid 1999 to the end of 2002. I ended up staying up late to read through it. Kind of interesting to view the "old me" from the perspective of 2012.
By mid 1999 Hannah was nearly two years old, Rachel was growing inside me, and I was struggling with being a weary, pregnant mom of three whose husband was never home. Sam was working the craziest schedule ever concocted by a fire department: 24 on, 24 off, plus his part-time job.
Most of my entries were filled with the normal frustrations of parenthood: potty-training, picky eaters, and parent-teacher conferences. What I noticed nearly right away was how close I was walking with God. Every page had a scripture that I was memorizing, a quote from a devotional I was studying, a thought from a book I was reading or a sermon I had heard, prayers written down, and answers to prayer recorded.
As I progressed through the year 2000 and to the end 2001, I relived the days as my marriage struggled and nearly fell apart. I had forgotten or mentally rearranged many of the details of those days and was surprised to see how it actually all went down in my own words. Reading through it I was able to glimpse answers to prayer that I never realized while I was in the thick of it. Again I noticed that I was still walking closely with God, even in the midst of so much turmoil.
There is a huge gap from the end of 2001 to the end of April 2002. This gap covers the time when my marriage did fall apart. By mid May 2002, we were struggling to put things back together. We had been through a stressful division from our church, 9-11, the birth of Samantha, and a heart rending separation as husband and wife, but something had shifted. My entries from then on no longer held prayers, verses from scripture, or anything that indicated I was even talking to God.
The journal ends at the very beginning of June 2002. I'm not sure if I kept a journal much after that but I do know my walk with God faltered mightily until about 2007, when we found a new church. While I have drawn closer to God in these recent years, reading through my old journal has given me a vision of what my walk could look like again. I had forgotten how good it was and I want that again.
These past few months it has been easier to be angry with God and to blame Him. To be angry with my brother was far too painful. But the truth is John had a free will. He made choices, and the rest of us are left to deal with, and work through, the consequences of those decisions. And I think therein lies my struggle. I want it to be easy. I have come to realize (with much arguing and debate within myself) that while blaming God may be easier for now, in the end, it's not going to give me the results I desire.
Even being angry at John won't do any good. I need to let go of those angry feelings and I hate that it isn't easy. Every time I see a photo or remember him, those feelings start up again. And every time I have to ask for forgiveness and start over again. It's not easy and it hasn't even been a full day yet! (Have I mentioned that I want it to be easy?)
I think I'll keep my old journal on my bedside table to remind me of how things once were and where I want to be.