One thing that has stuck with me is the idea that what we choose to focus on is what becomes magnified in our lives. How we choose to focus on things makes a difference too. When thinking of my step-father, I can either see him lying in a hospital bed, me, holding one hand and my mom holding the other,surrounded by family and friends as he dies.
Another option is seeing and focusing on him being in the kitchen cooking, remembering the love that was jam packed in his hugs, hearing him still using slang from the 60’s and 70’s and laughing.
I’m not saying the negative images and memories don’t come, but when they do, I can choose to make a shift to the good. I’m still remembering him, but in the best ways possible. And, if the negative memories keep coming, because I know I have an enemy who wants to help me focus on the negative, I intentionally get God involved. I don’t ever have to be at the mercy of past trauma and pain.
Instead of considering one ugly moment in time with the guy who raped me, who is now deceased, I can choose to focus on the many, many other moments where we played as innocent children from around 3 years of age up to 14. I have lots of memories to choose from.
Instead of dwelling on the loss of my grandparents, father, step-father, two sisters and my one and only brother, I can think of all of the wonderful memories I have shared with them. I can even go further to appreciate the gifts God has brought me in new father figures, and siblings. Just as my sister Kerina left this world, God blessed me with another Karina. No, she does not replace Kerina, she doesn’t try to, but I know she is a gift to me, and she is not the only new sister I have been given.
I can either focus on “losing” my brother Marc, or I can laugh at the many hilarious moments we have shared. I can focus on not having a brother any longer or look up and take notice of my Chad, Damon, Carl, Charles, Terence, Boogie, Will, Dennis, Ralph, Eddie, Juan, Joe, Scott, Leon and so many more. These are guys who all love me like only a brother could, some protective and strong in their presence, some let me be all motherly and feed them, others love to take digs at me and bug me in ways that only people with brothers understand. I “lose” one, (which isn’t lost at all actually, he is in Heaven) and I gain so many others.
Just as I experienced miscarriage, after miscarriage, I was given an opportunity to witness a very healing and powerful birth with my sister Karina. This was a birth that has been healing in more ways than one, as a mother and as a birth worker who has seen so much birth trauma.
I have more fathers and even mothers than I can count. I went to Africa and gained 3 very different, but all very loving father figures. Here, I enjoy paternal love from the likes of Russ Painter, Gary Fishman, Roger Fields, Tomas Kysele and more. And my beautiful mama’s, women like Deb Painter, Robin Fields, and other women who aren’t even old enough to be my mother, have mothered me in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. Robin’s lap is a sanctuary for me. Deb’s loving arms and motherly caresses give me something that I never knew I would enjoy so much.
For me, this is not an issue of loss, but more so, I see it all as gain. I get to have the wonderful family members that are still present and some gone, plus a whole other crew of people added on. I don’t look at it as deficits with my biological family. I see it as being able to have them and now this. I get them all. What a blessing!!
So, here is my challenge for you. I have already prayed for you about this. Ask the Lord to show you the times and ways in which He has provided such gifts for you. Times in your life where all you could see is deficit, ask Him to show you where He was in those moments and how He provided. Discover with Him, all the creative ways He provided, showed you love and beauty, right in the midst of your pain. Let Him overwhelm you with it all so that when the enemy tries to take you to those pits of hopelessness and despair, you can shift gears to the multitude of ways, instances and moments that scream like neon signs, telling of how very much you are loved, cared about and provided for. I pray that you have an amazingly fun discovery!