Saturday, April 15, 2017

The D-Word: when life crumbles

For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called. (Isa 54:5)



I’ve been writing about broken families for years. Foster children scooped up barefoot in threadbare clothes, tossed into a car and taken to a stranger’s home. Severed hearts, torn lives. In an instant, all of life spinning dizzy. Tantrums, guttural sounds, anxiety. A heavy fog of grief emanating through the hallways of their foster home.
Now the guttural sounds are here, within my home.

And it’s not my adopted daughter, but my biological children.

We suck in air deep, and try to breathe this new life. It’s hard.

As a young girl, I twirled, I climbed, I ran. My legs pedaled fast on my banana-seat bike. I played hard in the dirt. My only worries were not missing the timing of the ice cream truck's melody as it circled our neighborhood.

I never thought of middle-age life delivering this.

This crazy dichotomy of deafening quiet mixed with ear-piercing chaos. The drumbeat of horse-hoofed children’s feet on hardwoods sandwiching the every-other-weekends of me sitting in a cavern of silence.

My breath the only sound bouncing off the walls.

My feet the only ones to walk hallways, soft.
Alone for a weekend.

Like wisps of my daughter’s ballerina tulle skirt twirling beauty ‘round her small frame, I’d always pictured my life would be like that sheer, gauzy dream of happiness.

Throughout the summers of my childhood, my bare toes clambered up the body of the magnolia near my grandmother’s home. Year after year, my cousins and I dodged evergreen waxy leaves to go even higher. Our fingertips and toes brushed the aged letters, hearts, and drawings we’d carved into the trunk with rusty pocket knives over the years. A random limb would split here and there as we went higher to the thinner, frail offshoots.

And now, I feel like that old tree.
Worn. Aged. Frail. Broken.

My soul carved deep. Scrawled with shame-words.

Worthless. Quitter. Not good enough.

And I’ve questioned…

How do I even begin to write again…about these frayed edges of my life?

How do I effectively write about divorce? With courage. With hope. With beauty.

Without sugar-coating or diminishing the pain?
Without cheapening the grace of God?

I shut down my blog over a year ago because I couldn’t write anymore. Nothing would flow. I questioned my life.

Somehow, I felt like a fraud because I was a Christian going through a divorce.

I’ve always been a staunch supporter of fighting for marriage at all cost. Christians who got divorced, in my mind, somehow didn’t try hard enough. Didn’t trust the Spirit enough. Gave up. Please understand, I’m referring to cases where there are biblical grounds for divorce.

My faulty mindset left no room for the fact that redemption often comes through the severing.

Love is often the hard choice of walking into the dark, holding the hands of four children. Entering the unknown. Naked, barefoot, the feeling of being beaten bloody. Trembling hands and raw feet treading along paths strewn with shrapnel. Land mines hidden along the way.

What in the world do we do when everything has been stripped away? How is a mama with four kids supposed to go on, alone?

I never thought I’d be the one staring through blood-stained tears, realizing there was nothing left to fight for. Nothing. The truth of our marriage was buried so far under places I didn’t even know existed.

Like an archaeological dig, I’ve chiseled through decades of caked-on falsehood. My hands ripped and clawed at the years of pretense … I really believed the glossy photos hanging on our walls were true. Our smiling faces, ethereal glow of sunlight, open field, holding hands, leaning in for a kiss. The reality of over 25-years began to seep from under the crust of my mind like magma. Slow at first and then a volcanic eruption to my soul.

In the midst of the explosion, I’ve often felt as if I were sitting in the lap of the Father. Him whispering, singing, rocking, holding me near. Zephaniah 3:17 and Hosea 2:14-15 have become the anchors which have held me still.

My brain can't comprehend it all. I only know that I’ve experienced Him like never before.

His chest has been the One I’ve lain my head against night after night. His breath the One to whisper truth above the lies. He’s my husband, my love, my Jesus. The One who’s held me all along.

As this is Holy Week, I've been particularly struck (again) of all the betrayals. Christ's dearest friends turning their backs, closing themselves off from Him. And, the Father turning His back on Christ's plea for rescue.

Because Jesus chose to be our Rescuer. Spill His blood for us.

Today, I was hanging out in the driveway with my second born, the sunlight burning hot on our faces. He was climbing the pear tree high. He gazed down and questioned, "Mama, will you climb the tree with me?"

My hands grabbed limbs scarred by holes from years of a woodpecker's search for a meal.

No matter how crushed and shattered I feel, He gets it. He understands. He was crushed for us.

How does a 44-year old climb a tree? Carefully. Slowly. Un-childlike. Messy. Awkwardly.

But, eventually, there I was beside him. Our legs swinging. My boy's head resting on my knee. The breeze rustling bright green leaves dappled with sunlight.

And, I saw it. One of many reminders of who I am, scrawled permanently across my foot. Beloved.

Indeed, there is constant beauty and love poured out over me. I am His and He is mine.

And, I am so very grateful that the tomb was empty. My Jesus is alive.

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Liza said...

Keep writing, beloved ❤

Melissa Brockman said...

Yes, sweet one, keep writing. It's beautiful. Melissa B.

Dawn Teeters said...

Ugly cry!
Please, keep writing. Healing will come. Love you sweet friend.

Melanie Singleton said...

Oh thank you Liza. 😘

Melanie Singleton said...

Thank you sweet Melissa. You all are giving me courage.

Melanie Singleton said...

Thanks, sweet Dawn. Love you! He is making all things new.

Jennifer Lovelady said...

Love you girl! Beautiful writing!

Melanie Singleton said...

Love you sweet Jennifer! Miss you!

Rebecca Krusee said...

Thank you for sharing your raw story with us!

Melanie Singleton said...

Thank you for taking time to read Rebecca!