Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where have I been?

This may be the first summer I've really faced with excitement and not anxiety.  As I've filled in our various activities on the calendar, I've had a lightness in my heart, an anticipation of making fun memories and enjoying having my kids home for a few months. 

If you know much about me, you know that the past two summers haven't been that pleasant for us.  Two years ago, I was rapidly spiraling downward into the place I call "the pit".  Last summer, I was climbing my way out.  This year, I feel like a different person, and am so thankful for that.

But even in the midst of all this, there is an undercurrent of sadness.  I have been noticing lately how much my kids are changing, how much I seemed to have missed.

Luke, my sweet firstborn, is done with elementary school now.  He's turning into a young man more and more each day.  Where have I been?

Annaliese, my feisty, beautiful girl, is changing so much.  "The" questions are coming at a rapid pace, and I try not to panic when I think of what's around the corner.  Where have I been?

Adam, my shy little man, has broken out of his shell, and has added 3 inches to his frame in the past 18 months.  Where have I been?

Sam, silly Sammy-boy, is entering the world of 'real' school in the fall.  His legs look longer to me, too.  Where have I been?

Tess, my 'almost-3-going-on-13-year-old' is not a baby anymore.  I was looking back at pictures from the past few years, and I don't remember a lot of those moments.  Where have I been?

The sadness comes from this, it seems.  The loss of these years because of the thief called depression - the fog that surrounded every day, week, and month.

I used to beat myself up over the fun we weren't having, telling myself that my kids deserved so much better.  There's nothing I could have done to control that, and I've learned to move forward.  It's not an easy guilt to free yourself from.  But tonight, I found myself reading from Joel 2, and nodding my head in affirmation:

23 Be glad, people of Zion,

rejoice in the LORD your God,

for he has given you the autumn rains

because he is faithful.

He sends you abundant showers,

both autumn and spring rains, as before.

24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;

the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—

the great locust and the young locust,

the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]—

my great army that I sent among you.

26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,

and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,

who has worked wonders for you;

never again will my people be shamed.

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,

that I am the LORD your God,

and that there is no other;

never again will my people be shamed.

Did you catch that?  All is not wasted.  There are valuable lessons for even my children in what I endured.  And those years will be restored.  I'm still here, able to be fully present in the lives of my kids, and excited to see what is to come. Hallelujah!