Today is day 304.
Which is significant because 304 days is twice as long as 152 days.
And maybe you remember the last time we hit 152 with bonus kids.
One day after school last November, I sat outside my minivan sobbing. By sobbing I mean while I was on the phone with RRL he asked “are you hyperventilating?” It was that kind of sobbing. I was sitting on the sidewalk on top of our double stroller and all 7 children were buckled up in the van and I could not will myself to get in. The day was simply the culmination of lots of life with hurting kiddos coming to a head and I just couldn’t do it one more second. Absolutely, 100%, no matter how much I felt like I was supposed to, no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how much I loved all 7 occupants of that van, I COULD.NOT.GET.IN. In that moment, I felt like I had been swallowed by a cloud of darkness that could not be penetrated. I could not see an ounce of light in the situation.
In my head I was shouting over and over “GOD HELP ME” but couldn’t bring myself to mutter those words out loud. I honestly believed it might not be possible to fall any lower. And then the stroller broke and I crashed DOWN on the sidewalk. Haha, real funny, God.
Left with no other option, I got up and chose to take one step toward light. I put the (not completely broken) stroller in the van, took a deep breath, and opened the driver’s door. AND I GOT IN.
I was still on the phone with RRL and through tears I suggested “Maybe we could talk to someone”. But I didn’t really mean it. BECAUSE WHO? How could we ever confess just how hard this was? How miserably I sometimes failed? We threw out several loved and trusted names- elders and ministers at our church, family, dear friends- all of whom I’m pretty sure would scoop us up and literally carry us if they thought it would help. But then one name slipped out of my mouth before I could have even come up with it in my brain. We quickly dismissed them- we know them, but don’t KNOW them. We certainly can’t TELL them. Not everything. What would they think? Ridiculous. Talking to someone at all would be ridiculous.
I drove to the library (hello, free and not alone) and sat in the busyness of that place, half-heartedly helping choose books and willing myself to pray. Suddenly- because that’s how the King of the Universe works- it hit me like a lightning bolt. Today. TODAY is EXACTLY day 152. No!? It couldn’t be. REALLY? Quick double check of math on my phone confirmed. Yep, day 152.
And last time, 152 was the breaking point for everyone.
Whether by my (slightly) competitive nature or more likely through a strength I could never derive on my own, I decided something in that moment. Today day 152 is not going to beat us. Not any of us. Today the enemy doesn’t get 152. I didn’t know where to begin. I still didn’t WANT to do it. So, I found the will to pray a simple “help us get to 153,” show us how to do another day in this darkness. I’ll admit, even in my forced prayer I was more than a little bit skeptical.
You know the little kid who peeks out of one eye during the prayer to see if anyone else is looking? That’s a little how I felt in those moments of trying to move from prayer back to real life. Peeking out. Wondering who had noticed. Wondering what was happening.
But happen, it certainly did. Wanna know who called RRL not once but TWICE within 24 hours of that breaking-point-moment? Yep. Same “they’d be great, but how could we ever tell them, we don’t even know them” guy. He “randomly” called to ask RRL’s input on helping someone. RRL dismissed the first call as just that- about helping someone else. BUT THE GUY HAD THE NERVE TO CALL BACK. At the end of the second call, he was prompted to say to RRL “You know, my wife and I pray for you guys. How are you doing?” Before 24 hours had passed we had a dinner date arranged for the four of us to get together, and just like that we had a catapult right through what had seemed impossible- day 153.
That dinner, ya’ll. The Lord used it to save a part of us. They spent several hours listening, sharing their own battle wounds and triumphs, encouraging us and praying for us. They looked us squarely in the eye and said (my interpretation):
“YOU CAN DO THIS. It will be harder than hard. People won’t get it. YOU won’t get it. But you can and will do this hard thing.”
And with those words, I felt LIGHT flooding back into places of my heart that I thought were maybe possibly going to be dark forever.
Let me give you a moment to let that sink in.
Day 152= breaking point (again)
Not sure how to keep going
Wonder if a couple we never spend time with (who have adopted kids) would talk to us
Dismiss that idea
Couple “randomly” calls us
Asks how we are doing and invites us to dinner
Reminds us it can be both GOOD AND HARD
Reminds us of light
Today is day 304.
I mean, if that won’t make your head spin and your mouth burst forth with a giant HALLELUJAH- well, then… I’ve got nothin’ for ya.
Today, the fight against darkness is still a struggle. Each day is filled with opportunities to choose. But I was reminded that day to believe in a powerful LIGHT. I’m going to be sharing more over the next few posts about that Light. A light that finds the smallest crack and penetrates in a way that it shatters the walls built in black around you. A light that waits for you to turn toward it, but allows even the slightest dart of your eyes in its direction to invite you, to change you. And sharing a little bit about how I’m choosing to let LIGHT IN, one day at a time.
One of my favorite LIGHT/POWER verses is John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the LIGHT OF ALL MANKIND. THE LIGHT SHINES in the darkness, and the darkness HAS NOT OVERCOME IT!
I’ve never felt the fighting power of that Light more than I did when I made it to day 153.
And today is day 304.