Eisley Antalya · Life · loss and heartache

Lessons at the Royal Gorge.

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

We’re facing some huge mountains and even deep valleys in our lives. (pun intended with this post, but I’m also quite serious) ‘The mountains’ being decisions we’re having to make and ‘the valleys’ representing the areas we have yet to face that we are afraid to, or “haven’t had time” to. We are weighed down by life’s punches and blows, the sudden ones and the old blows that still ache with each breath. Today, we just knew we had to get out – literally.  Where better to run to in Colorado than to the mountains? It’s always our favourite escape. We begin our trek usually not knowing where we are going – letting go of (almost) all control (which is why Ted drives in such circumstances), we drive until we decide where to go and what to do. More often than not, our kiddos fall asleep within the first 20-30 minutes, we roll our windows down to take in the fresh air and just listen to music.

After some time, one of the two of us speak the vulnerable, powerful words that carry so much…”I’m so sorry…”and reach for the other’s hand. Hot tears stream down our cheeks.

Here we are again, and again, and again.

So much pain and suffering shoved to the side, overlooked, or perhaps avoided, raising it’s ugly head in words spoken to one another. And life, oh life hasn’t been gracious to stop to say “Hey, it’s okay to grieve. Let’s talk. Let’s cry. Let’s scream. Let’s write. Let’s take time to heal.”

It’s been brutal. And boy, are we done.  But not done with LIFE and with LIVING. We are done with SUFFERING. Suffering, not just due to the losses we have had, but mainly the suffering due to the choices we’ve made along the way. Ones of avoidance, choices made to choose the busyness of life so not to feel and face the valleys, the deep and dark places that terrify us.

The first few months of this year have been incredibly painful, filled with sickness after sickness, hospitalization of Everly, and amidst all of that the loss of another baby (I would entering my 2nd trimester this week). From the outside looking in, we appear to be okay. And it makes sense why people around us have thought we’ve even moved on. Appearance… oh my. What a joke, am I right? How many times do we (you?) lie through your teeth “I’m doing good!”? We just keep pushing through and going and going and going. But is that strength? We know, we are anything but strong right now. We had given up just two weeks ago. We wanted to call it quits on everything. And those moments, our “rock bottom”, have led us to this moment here…

Now, we are making choices for our family that aren’t easy (the mountains) which don’t look anything like we’d imagined, or planned for. Or where we’d imagined. It actually might seem like a rather simple life, from the outside looking in. Or like we’ve given up on our dreams, our calling even. But we know this is not, and that this is the first time we are deliberate in choosing to face this “valley” that we haven’t fully faced, and that is no small or simple or weak thing. It is strong to decide this path, though it’s more painful and requires more faith (for us).

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

I stood today and looked down into the depths of this gorge. And my stomach sank due to fear (especially with my kids near!) yet once I recognized how truly safe we were, the fear naturally dissolved and I began to see the beauty everywhere. There was beauty even in the depths where the river raged below. I almost gasped, it was so stunning. I suddenly realized it was no coincidence that we were there. I felt like this was a picture of where we are at: A picture of us, facing this gorge, this valley and feeling fear as we look down. Fear of falling and being unable to get back up, or worse. Fear of the unknown in facing the raging river. But from above I can see there is also beauty below. Though it will be difficult to crawl back into that valley and face these things, the beauty that will meet us amidst all of this pain and fear, is undeniably healing.

Now, if you had told me I would get this kind of an amazing picture, just even a week ago, I would have scoffed, honestly. I have put up some major barriers in my relationship with God in my search for answers. Searching for peace and understanding in every season of life and feeling as though I come up empty handed each time, or worse – suffering more loss. And that is painful and confusing. I want to be in a place where I can trust Him wholeheartedly, again. And with this picture, I feel like once I can do what He’s wanting us to do – to truly face this valley – our fear will begin dissolve, our trust will begin to build up again.

He’ll walk us through this valley. He will be with us.

And perhaps, for now, that is my answer. That He will be with us each step of the way.

(taken with my iphone)

 And for these little eyes that are watching, and looking into the gorge but not truly knowing what their momma and daddy are giong to be facing (and honestly, I don’t want them to fully know!)… I want to do this for all of us. I want to show them that though you will face these gorges, and have to walk through these valleys, you need to and you WILL come out alive.

We are more than conquerers with Him.

 We can do this.

However difficult and painful. However long it takes.IMG_4959

Time to face this valley.

//

I’ve written posts with talk of this kind of having hope to face this. Talk of facing giants and valleys and mountains and fears, etc, etc, etc… but this time we actually have steps in place to help us. Such as long term grief and marital counseling for this year. Which is a first, the longest stretch we did was almost 2 months, and it was our healthiest 2 months since the loss of Eisley. Grief and lingering sorrow have truly seeped into every area of our lives: health – we are both the most unhealthy we’ve ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s seeped into our drive, our passions, into who we are and how we live.

I told Ted today, for the first time since Eisley passed away, I have felt it is time to move forward. I need to figure out how to say goodbye, which is something I haven’t been able to let go and to do yet. Almost 5 years later… I don’t know what this will look like, but I am ready to move forward and begin my trek through this valley.

Thankful that Jesus is walking before us.

Thank you for reading this novel. :)

-J

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9 thoughts on “Lessons at the Royal Gorge.

  1. Hi sweet Jami. I just want you to know that Im praying for you. I haven’t said much but have been following your journey and I just want you to know that I care. I am sure that we have both experienced and changed so much from our time in DTS but I remember that there was this spark of strength and hope in you then and it was so evident and it came out of you without you even trying. When I read this I can see that same strength rising up in you. I don’t pretend to know what you are going through, but I know that He knows. And i am praying for you and your family. Love you.

    1. Oh LAURA! Wow, it’s been a while. I am so thankful you wrote. <3 Thank you so much for your words and care.

  2. Hey Jami,
    I’m so excited for you guys to face this journey head on! God has amazing plans for you both! It won’t always be easy, but you are solid and you’re in relationship with the Rock. I look forward to hearing more of your journey. Love you guys!

  3. I wish I could come down there right now and give you a huge hug, then just sit and be with you. This is so incredibly huge and you are incredibly strong.

  4. Jami,
    I feel like, I almost have no words. when the heart cries- “I’m not strong, I have no hope, I am at a loss… everything feels really hard right now”

    God says this:
    “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still” Ex. 14:14

    I look at you and Ted, and there is such a beacon of destiny over your lives. It just brings me to tears actually, right now in this moment… as I see the struggle you’ve faced. The broken hearts. The things that come at you, and threaten to destroy you. Yet, Christ is with you! And even though I know there have been times when he feels really far away, it is so, so, so evident. Through all of your broken pieces, I see him shining through. Don’t ever stop sharing your story. The both of you.

    “And for these little eyes that are watching, and looking into the gorge but not truly knowing what their momma and daddy are giong to be facing (and honestly, I don’t want them to fully know!)… I want to do this for all of us. I want to show them that though you will face these gorges, and have to walk through these valleys, you need to and you WILL come out alive.

    We are more than conquerers with Him.

    We can do this.

    However difficult and painful. However long it takes.”

    Oh mama. I had a picture of Eisley, seeing her mama’s face. Just looking into your eyes. With so much love, and gratitude. The way you honor her. Advocate for her. You have given her a voice. The thing we want for our children…. for them to see their destiny. She is seated with Christ, and one day, you will live together. I see her as a little girl, with brown bouncing soft girls, a dress and bare feet, running through a meadow, with a pink balloon tied to her wrist… and she is looking, discovering, care free.

    Your family rocks my world. I will never see a pink balloon without thinking of Eisley, and all 6 of you. It humbles me, it wrecks me, and it speaks hope into the atmosphere.

    So much love for your family. You are so right, that there is beauty in the gorge, and on the mountainside… prayers. love.
    -Ash
    (sorry for the novel comment!)

    1. I feel like {i} have no words now. Just so thankful for this “novel” (don’t ever apologize for writing me this, I LOVE IT!) <3 I just have so much love and thankfulness for you, Ash!!!

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