“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” ― David Richo

My wounds opened the door to writing my first song. Discovering the joy of songwriting at the age of 50 came as a shock. A pleasant shock. I’ve put some of my journal pages into song. But, not all.

Some are too raw and too ugly to turn into melody. But, some stand as a testimony to love, or a way to voice personal grief or to speak out on an issue I feel passionately about. And there are times when I think no one else can understand what I’m going through or what I’ve been through. In recovery circles this is called “terminal uniqueness”.

It’s a deadly disease to believe that our problems and situation are beyond anyone else’s comprehension.

Despair that comes with believing that our problems are so great that no one else can relate to them can be fatal.

Someone has been there.

Someone has felt that.

Someone has had that experience imprinted on the t-shirt of their soul.

I’m grateful for the times when God reminds me of the wisdom of my elders. This quote is from a conversation I had with my Auntie Martha several years ago:

“A mother’s heart is built for adversity.”

I’m not able to speak about the heart of a father. But in my heart as a mother I have experienced this adversity being forged into me. The potential for heartache begins with a positive pregnancy test. Doctors try to pinpoint the date of conception so that they will have a better understanding of when the child will be born and assess fetal development.

Who can determine the moment that a mother is conceived?

I have come to believe that the
conception of a mother
occurs the instant she becomes aware
of the existence of her child.

For some that comes with a missed period, for some with the first symptoms of pregnancy, for others when the heartbeat is heard or flutters of life are felt within.

I remember going from shock to anxiety when I discovered my first child was on the way. I learned in that moment that it was suspected to be an ectopic pregnancy only to be told later that the pregnancy was indeed normal but it looked as if I was in the process of a miscarriage. I was sent home for bedrest and the pregnancy proceeded.

I suffered a tormenting flood of ‘what ifs’ in my head. What if I’m not a good mother? What if my child has a birth defect? What if my husband loses his job? What if….?

I’ve learned that for every question
I have God whispers,
“Trust me.”

I don’t always acknowledge His whispers. Sometimes I’ve treated His voice like a bee dive-bombing near my ear. I want to swipe it away and go back to worrying. I know how to worry.

Peace on the other hand has to be learned and practiced.

As God builds the heart of a mother He places within it a cavern of love to share with each child. He gives us joy over their coos as babies, thrills when they learn to walk, tears when they fall down and run to us with scraped knees, and comfort for when they make choices that don’t match up with our hopes and dreams for them.

No mother is ever fully prepared
for that first jolt of adversity.

But, each time her heart is stretched in small ways it begins to grow to the capacity needed.

Just as the womb of each woman enlarges to hold whatever size her baby is, so does the heart expand to handle whatever comes its way.

Mothers feel that expansion of the heart as keenly as a labor pain.

In fact, it feels more like a crack in the soul when reality falls short of dreams and expectations.

I wonder what Mary felt as she pondered
all of the experiences of Christ’s life
as she watched him hang on the cross?

Did she look on his wounds and cry out to God with her questions?

She’s a mother who reminds me that I have no control over the life altering situations that my children may have to face. God gave her only of glimpse of what her child was destined for but He didn’t give her the full printout of His life.

As my oldest child inches toward 30 I have pondered many memories of what was. And as my youngest and his wife await the birth of their second child my heart expands with thoughts of what might be. The reality of now compels me to accept what is.

The stillbirths and miscarriage I’ve endured gave me a deep sense of compassion for my mother’s heartache when my younger brother died. I had months of memories while she had decades to look back on.

I am challenged with the task to ‘woman up’ and face whatever God allows in my life so that I can grow into the person he wants me to be.

Instead of perseverating on dark thoughts I must surrender them to the light of Christ. I must let go and lean into His embrace. All the broken bits and pieces of my life, each fragment, when placed at the feet of Christ will come together as a whole.

At the beginning of this year my desire was to bring hope and healing to the hurting. I understand that it starts with me.

I cannot offer what I do not have to give.

I cannot be strong for someone else if I am weak. I cannot offer peace to someone when I am staggering down the road of uncertainty.

I’ve found a hope this year that serves as an anchor to my soul. I’ve found the path to healing that I’m slowly treading down. I found the hurts of the past have molded and shaped my life and brought about much needed empathy and compassion.

There are still some open wounds that are slow to close. There are still a few areas of my life that are not yet ready to be offered up for public consumption. But, I’m seeing many things in a new light. I’m seeing beauty at this point in the journey. I remember when I was running the End of the World Half Marathon a few years ago. There were a few places along the route that offered up breathtaking views of the Caribbean. There were birds to see and butterflies and gorgeous homes along the way. But, it was still a 13.1 mile race. It was not a sprint.

Life is not a sprint.

And it is the beauty of God’s grace that gives us marvels and wonders along the path of life. And for His grace and His ability to use our wounds to open up beautiful spaces in our lives…I am indeed grateful!

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