An Interrupted Fairy Tale

This is a guest post that I wrote for a friend who is doing a series on overcoming difficulties in marriage.

An Interrupted Fairy Tale

The Power Of Sticking Together

Today’s testimonial story has been shared by my friend Kristi Prince.

To find out more about this series click here.


 

Happily ever after

 

An Interrupted Fairy Tale

By Kristi Prince

 

“Once upon a time” – it’s a great way to start a story because you know that whatever twists the plot might take, the ending will always be “happily ever after”.

I love happy endings! In fact, I’m that person that some of you hate. I like to read the end of the story first. If it doesn’t end well, I’m not wasting my time.

I have my own fairy tale.  I know the ending, but right now I find myself in one of the many plot twists that I never saw coming.  It is only because I have the promise of a happy ending that I can keep turning pages that seem written in a foreign language well beyond my comprehension; one that screams with a voice of fear, anxiety, chaos, confusion, guilt and pain. I pray that by reading the honesty in my story, you will find comfort in your own chronicle. Read it through two sets of lenses. One set is a temporal lens that limits vision to the present life and endures for a time only. The other, praise God, is an eternal lens which is immutable and is graciously provided for us by the true Author. So, I begin my story through the near-sighted lens of my now life, but strive to stay focused on the ending with the lens of my sovereign God of Hope.

Once upon a time (32 years’ worth of time) a starry-eyed 20-year-old stood at a church altar holding the hands of her Prince charming (literally…my last name is Prince).  My father officiated.  My brother sang.   We stood in front of hundreds of people who had braved the ice that cold December afternoon to support us as we began our new adventure. With a naïve love that radiated from deep within, we pledged our lives to one another. We recited the traditional vows and promised to “have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse…” Yep, definitely a fairy-tale beginning. The thought of “worse” was far from our minds.

This Boymom thought she had life by the tail!

Life proceeded just as we dreamed. We were crazy in love. On October 6, 1985 we welcomed our son, Taylor. Two more sons followed. All three looked just like their dad. They were happy, healthy, rambunctious boys and we were so in love with them. We did what we thought were all the right parent things. We took them to church and volunteered in their school. They were outgoing, bright, musical, funny, athletic and most importantly, Godly young men. Sure there were a few bumps in the road, but this Boymom thought she had life by the tail!

Our first plot twist occurred when God called us to adopt a sibling group of 4 from Russia in 2006. This detour could supply enough material for a book on its own, but life was still good. In 2007, Taylor stood at the altar with his biological brothers as groomsmen, Eli lighting candles, Shane bearing the ring and his adorable 3-year-old twin siblings sprinkling flowers down the aisle before his beautiful wife met him at the altar. The fairytale was still playing out according to my script, and in November of 2012 it got even better when we found out we would be grandparents.

But then…

Our story turned a new page on April 24, 2013 when, completely unexpectedly, we lost Taylor to suicide. It was as if someone had mistakenly ripped a chapter from some dark novel and shoved it into the middle of my fairy tale. It didn’t fit. The binding was not meant to hold these nightmarish pages whose jagged edges protruded from the spine like vicious teeth waiting to devour. Tim and I found ourselves hurled onto a painful course of obstacles that seemed insurmountable. This was the worst of “worse”. The turbulent voice of grief threatened to muffle any whispers of hope.

Hope doesn’t remove the pain; it simply makes its weight more bearable.Tweet this!

I can easily understand why such pain is the ruin of many marriages. Your life has been stripped bare. The color of your world has been drained with each tear that you shed. The cloak of grief weighs so heavily that you struggle to breathe. You are left feeling parched and empty. Yet, there is another who suffers in the same way. My man. The one God chose ahead of time to walk with me on this journey. To have and to hold me, for better or for worse.  So, we choose to hold each other, and to be honest with one another about the pain.

We cry together. We pray together. Together we choose to intentionally listen through the noise of our unwelcome battle for the whisper of God as He speaks a Fatherly love and peace over us. This is a conscious decision born out of the once naïve love that has matured into a deep, penetrating love over 32 years of selflessness. All those years ago we made a vow to one another under the canopy of the pledge made to us by our omniscient Heavenly Father. We will take the hand of Hope and muddle through this abstruse earthly chapter together. It does not remove the pain; it simply makes its weight more bearable.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

His promise of a lifetime allows us to look through the fog of today and focus on the hope of eternity. Together Tim and I will use His eternal lens to focus on the finish line in order to make it through the pain and anguish of today. Of one thing we can be sure, that while our lives are forever changed, the Author of Life is “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” – Hebrews 13:8. “He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelations 22:13

 He has already written our story’s ending. Someday it will be “Happily Ever After.”

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Grief – When Emotions Collide

 

Your precious little girl is celebrating her third birthday today with a Minnie Mouse party (she comes by her love of all things Disney quite honestly).  She has been talking about it for weeks.  She uses one hand to fold the thumb and pinkie of the other and then proudly holds up three fingers to announce that she will be “fwee on Juwy 11th.”  Excited toddlers and preschoolers will gather around tables adorned with pink and white and sparkles, their smiles highlighted with pink icing mustaches as they anxiously await the birthday princess to open the gift they brought. All the while, Poppins will entertain all the adults who agree that she is “practically perfect in every way.” Her charm will gladden the hearts of many as her personality bubbles out in animation that even Disney would have a hard time illustrating.  Poppa will try to capture all the moments on camera so all can relive the experience for years to come.  There is just one thing missing – you.

Once again, I find myself struggling as the emotions collide within me.  I want to lose myself in the infectious joy of the celebration, but find it difficult because my condition is defiled with grief.  My mind plays its own fantasy film of the fun Taylor would have with his daughter and she with him. My happiness is tainted with anger because the vision will always remain a dream.  My anger is laced with guilt because I don’t want to be mad at him.  The emotions all call for attention and swirl in a powerful cyclone that threatens to pull me into its vortex.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything –

“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes-3-1-8

What do I do when these times come in a discordant concert and the clash sends me spinning? I focus on the Creator of emotions and ride the familiar waves that come with grief. I don’t have to sequester one emotion for the sake of another. I realize that it is possible for the emotions to coexist.   I stand in the middle and let the emotions collide. I choose to let the turbulence push me farther down this road of sorrow.  I don’t have to close my ears when conflicting emotions vie for my attention with a cacophony of chaos.  worlds-collide-2Instead, I choose to listen to the song of Hope, Who combines my dissonant chords with others to produce a harmony that endures until I get to Heaven and have the chance to sing it with a chorus of angels.  For today, I choose to sing, “Happy Birthday!”

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