Ever feel like there’s a theme to your struggles? Like you work hard, grow, see success, but find yourself facing this part of you or your pain that just won’t leave you alone already?
Today, my guest, Alysha St. Germain, shares her theme-struggle, and the hope she’s found to face it. She’s got an amazing story, and I pray it encourages you.
It was late August of 2012, and I sat on a curb in front of our home in tears.
Not even a year before, my young husband and father of our two children had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. By that August it had become very apparent he was losing the fight. So we took drastic measures to be closer to family in our time of need – we decided to move.
Caught up in that moment on the curb, everything seemed beyond my control. I was hurt, angry, broken, and disheartened. Life was not turning out as planned, and I wondered where God was in all of it.
As I got up off the curb I made a concerted effort to do whatever I could to regain control of my life.
This was not uncommon during my husband’s illness. We constantly found ourselves grasping at straws as we yearned to regain some semblance of control. Most of the time we were just fooling ourselves. As every earthly comfort and dependence was stripped from us, we came to understand that the life we desired was beyond our grasp.
But that didn’t stop me from trying to hold onto control! In fact, when my husband passed in March of 2013, it got worse.
Now a young widow and mother of two, I became convinced I was solely responsible for not just our children’s wellbeing, but their emotional process. I became a staunch mama bear and activist and all but omitted God from the equation. I reeled my kids in closer and became enraged when anyone’s expectations failed to account for their loss or life experience.
With each challenge, my heart emerged heavier. I took responsibility for the full impact our loss had had on their little lives. I battered myself with self-deprecating thoughts about my parenting abilities, and, never able to meet my own expectations, I felt like I almost always failed.
One day, my then two year old tripped me in the middle of the dairy isle after bolting away from me in the grocery store. I felt humiliated! I lashed out in anger insisting he was, “bad, bad, bad,” because he had hurt mommy.
Caught up in the heat of the moment, my anger towards my son reflected my feeling of inadequacy.
Just then my little 4 year old piped up from the back, “If you run from mommy we might lose you and that would be bad!”
My heart dropped. “This isn’t about me,” I realized.
My four year old had led me to an epiphany: God had it covered just as He did in Isaiah 61:3 when He promised He would create beauty from ashes. It was my responsibility to rest in that knowledge.
Even now, I still struggle to accept that self-reliance is fruitless. When I’m brought to my knees by a situation with our children, it’s almost always out of desperation, not preemptive action. I still forget how much God longs to be immersed in the nitty-gritty aspects of my life, that, to Him every little thing matters.
Just yesterday, I came before my daughter asking her forgiveness for my actions. “Mommy you always say that, ‘Will you forgive me,’” she responded. And she’s right, I do, because I still fail often.
I don’t want live in a constant state of desperation. In the wake of my loss, I choose to live with more intention.
I want my children to know that surrender is not synonymous with weakness. That prayer is powerful. And that dependence on God brings freedom in humility. In order to teach them, I must first practice what I preach.
In this world where so much is beyond our control, luckily, trusting God is not. Now more than ever, I want to be brought to my knees because I choose to, not because I fall.
What about you?
“As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.”
– Ruth Bell Graham.
Alysha is a writer, encourager, momma, wife, daughter of the King, and a loss survivor. She believes in living intentionally, setting boundaries, and holding those closest to her a little tighter. Her sense of compassion and empathy are fueled by her faith in God and a strong desire to help those in need. Join her as she strives to create a better future for herself and her family as they soar from the depths of loss to new heights as overcomers. Find Alysha on Instagram (LiveBeyondLoss), Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.