As I clean the kid’s bedroom I bent down to pick up a toy. It was hers. Her favorite. In a nanosecond, I am transported back. I bought them for her secretly for Christmas. She was so surprised to see an entire set of Littlest Pet Shop under the Christmas tree. Her last Christmas with us. She said, “MOM! You told me you didn’t buy these!” I just laughed and enjoyed her surprise and happiness. She played with them for months and even gave a couple of them away to some of her favorite people.
I come back to the present and suddenly, and without warning, a sharp pain stabs me in the middle of my heart. I fall to my knees clutching my chest. The sobs roar out of me in silence. I must stifle them so the children are not scared of what is happening to me. I cannot breathe. My heart pounds. The sobs roll out over and over again and I cannot calm them. I allow the flood to take me over. I embrace the sword in my heart. The waves roll over me. After several moments I attempt to stop myself. There are times that the feelings are so intense I realize my heart may actually stop because it physically cannot take the pain. It is now that the mind must overcome the body. Subdue it. Beat it into submission. But not without cost. It leaves me feeling ragged and drained. I drag my body off of the floor and lay down. Soon, I get back up and walk back out into the world as though nothing happened.
I want to tell every mother who is missing her child that her agony is seen.
I want to tell every woman who is at the end of her rope because the kids won’t stop screaming and fighting that her suffering is not in vain.
I want to tell every woman who cries into her pillow at night that every tear is counted.
I want to tell every woman who screams into the night sky and asks, “WHY!?” that her screams are heard.
I want to tell every woman whose child pitches fits all day long that her exhaustion is seen.
I want to tell every woman who wakes up night after night to take care of children that her exhaustion is known.
I want to tell every woman who feels she is failing as a wife, mother, sister, and friend that she is worthy and beautiful.
I want to tell every woman who collapses on her knees that on her knees is the best place to be.
You see, suffering does not make us someone different. It reveals our very souls. It is in suffering that God is found. When you cannot hear Him, when you cannot see Him, and when you cannot feel Him He is still there. He says to you, “Don’t you know I love you?” He is there in the midst of it all.
So, beautiful woman, you are to be lifted up. Your scars, just as His scars, are seen by everyone and they are glorious to behold. These deep wounds speak of immense suffering and perseverance. I see you. I am you. You’ve got this. Don’t give up. Just one more second. And then one more. And one more. And one more. And soon the sun will break through the clouds.
In your suffering, I ask you to do one thing. Lift your voice. Stifle the curses and turn them to praises. The heavens will open up and pour down on you. Our suffering and our daily struggles will still exist. But our souls will welcome the praise the way a flower in the desert welcomes the rain. He is with you in this barren and dry land.