For Vanessa Lanza: one brave Mama
There is a refrain being sung all over the world this morning by mothers who have been given more than any human being was ever meant to bear. There is a prayer being whispered on a million mamas’ lips:
Where do I find the strength?
I prayed and wailed and screamed this over and over again to God when I was pregnant with Samuel. With every step we took on this journey alongside him, with every sleepless hour in the night, with every morning’s dawn, every doctor’s appointment and every test, please help me to find the strength. God had chosen the wrong woman, the wrong time in my life. I was too broken already, too weakened. I had already seen too much, buried too much, survived too much for this journey. And what if I just couldn’t do it? What if I cracked under the pressure, what if I ended up in the nut house? What of my children then?
I thought a lot about Mary and that angel that came to her. I wondered at the likelihood that she would be in a mental hospital alongside me in today’s world, returning from a stay at her aunt’s house with a big, pregnant belly and the story of Gabriel’s visitation. I wondered, as I walked a breath-by-breath existence, how she walked hers: this child, this unmarried virgin mother, this pleaser of God. I wondered if she cried every day when no one was looking, if she was scared to be alone with this God-child growing inside of her, if she was afraid the angel would come back or afraid he would never show his face again.
And as I groped through the darkness of my own terrifying pregnancy, I learned two things Mary must have learned, too:
He is not afraid of my smallness, and even the dark is not darkness to Him.
I didn’t need to put on a brave face to do the brave thing.
I didn’t need to play holy.
I only needed to answer,
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
I think we all get stuck on the hows of following God’s calling on our lives, and the hows are never the real question.
The real question is always,
Yes. I will. And I’m going to screw this up most days. I’m going to scream and throw things at the wall. I’m going to self-medicate and falter and wake up the next morning determined to do better. I’m going to hold grudges and think people should help more, all the while forgetting to ask God for help. I’m going to do this as humanly, error-ridden, and awkwardly as possible.
And I’m also going to have moments where the angels come, and the grace pours in, moments of PURE JOY, moments where
I SEE YOUR FACE.
And I am going to keep saying yes. And I am going to keep asking for forgiveness and strength and grace in every breath. Because I know now that every breath is derived from You.
And in my human yes, I am forever tied to You.
Just say yes, friend. The strength will come on angels’ wings, as the tide is going out, and on the crest of the incoming waves. He will give and give and give to You. And You will learn to walk the darkness with a heart full of hope and a light in your heart. You will learn to hold angels’ hands, to see with faith-sight, to receive the greatest gifts heaven pours into earth, saved always for the mamas screaming their prayers to sky.
You will find your strength, friend. You will find it.
For nothing is impossible with God.
Love, your sister in the the dark,