Yesterday I worked on organizing all of our books. And in one of my mom’s books that I inherited from her collection I found some of her journals. She had put them in a book she was reading in January of 2006. Which was 6 months before she died. Some of the words she wrote were pretty normal for her but other things she wrote about were hard to read. So many layers of things that I am not going to go into massive detail about here but there were struggles in her marriage, in her motherhood, in her heart. There was even an email from me in the little stack of things folded into this book. It was very special to say the least to find this treasure cove. What it did for me in a big way was confirm how similar to and different from my mom. And maybe her journals can help me grow. Fifteen years later and I know this past six months for me has been about growing up, maturing, owning my past and moving on. Slowly but surely. Maturity is not about a one and done. Its a long process but you have to keep at it for it to work. I believe so many issues in our lives or arguments we get into are stunted maturity. We are clinging to our immaturity, our entitlement, our selfishness.
My mom was not a selfish person. She was a hard worker and went through so much in her life. She prayed so hard for her kids and felt deeply about everything. Wore her heart on her sleeve. My aunt reminded me the other day how “fearless” my mom was, she said “it was as if she was not afraid of anything.” I find myself quite the opposite lately. I feel to share her story and mine but I am also comfortable without having to share anything. I used to just do it. Rip the bandaid and not look back. But now as I get older I find myself more calculated and careful versus carefree.
Connie. Who was she. Losing her at 25 I feel so gipped of an actual friendship with her. Really getting to know her and what she was like. Don’t get me wrong I knew my mom and spent hours talking with her. But I mostly talked and she mostly listened. When she did talk she would say…”let’s pray!” But I know and for sure the Lord knows that there was so much more than that going on. She was 50 when she died. 50. Her year of Jubilee.
Those four pages of journal that I found revealed some deep things she was praying into. In her 50 years she saw her first husband (my dad) and her son (my brother) experience for the first time their mental illness. And then she stood alongside them while they tried to get a diagnosis and how that changed their daily life. She went through that twice. 20 years apart. I can not even imagine how she did that. I know when the second time came around she really battled. The guilt, the disillusionment, the pain. Why. And then she was gone. Just like that. When we needed her most. It seemed. Why.
And now here I am 15 years later. I honestly did not plan to go on an unraveling grief journey today. I was trying to declutter and organize our bookshelves. But God knows. He knows when its time to unravel. He knows when its time. When our hearts need it.
I got Discovery Plus two days ago and its hard to not just lay here on the couch and binge watch Magnolia Network from start to finish. I love it all. I just watched the one about Chip and his marathon. It is in honor of a professional runner named Gabe who lost her race with cancer. It really touched my heart. Before she died she started Brave like Gabe to inspire people to run and to raise money for research of rare cancer cures. I was so moved by this and the crazy way Chip met Gabe and her husband Justin. I know God was in this story for sure.
It stirred my heart to believe I can grieve through the totes of things I have from my mom’s house. I haven’t touched them in almost 15 years. I think it is time. I know its not running a marathon but its time to unlock my 25 year old heart and let her grow up. Let her fly. Maybe I will start a grieving nonprofit called PRAY LIKE CONNIE. Who knows?? She was a lover of Jesus and a marathon intercessor. I have an inheritance in her prayers like I have no idea about. I know I will be a better mom and a better wife as I learn the lessons from her journals and things. I honestly wish I had more things. But God knows and He sees it all!
My mom loved life. She cracked me up. She wanted to live it to the fullest and she didn’t even have cancer. She was taken from us in an instant with NO warning! It truly still knocks the absolute wind out of me. But I know I have a legacy in her love and deep belly laugh. She loved me big and I love to tell my kids about her. I was also reminded while I read her journals yesterday that we are not to make the dead our idols. I am certainly at times guilty of thinking of her as this perfect person. I know that is not true and I was reminded of her humanity. We can become to focused on ourselves and unaware of others. This is not my hope either as I unravel. I didn’t get to pick this season but I am going to embrace it and surrender to all God has for me in it.