The Straw that broke the Camel's back

How could something as small, light, and unnoticeable as a drinking straw become overwhelming; breaking your last ounce of strength? I never fully understood this saying until recently. Grief seems to occupy so much of my heart and my mind that at times I find myself greatly affected by the small things in life. Who thought sitting down to make a photo Christmas card would be the string to unravel my day? How could I predict that rearranging the décor in my home for Christmas would be upsetting? Even something as simple as cold toast, an unhung jacket, or spilt water on the floor can be frustrating. Sometimes I feel like a prisoner, trapped in my own irrational responses and raw emotion. During these unnatural moments, it is hard to recognize myself. Another grieving mother that I was speaking with said she was experiencing the same thing. In her words “the fog has lifted”, and she was right. I realize now that the disorientation, numbness, and cloudy view of life were a gift, a protection of the heart. The reality of grief is about as easy to swallow as an orange. That is why God did not reveal its true face and the depth of loss until later. I am amazed in the ways I continue to see his hand of grace and mercy working in my life.

Learning to cope with this Claire-ity of my life has been a work in progress. This new awareness is heavy, so I try to lighten the load by limiting the expectations and obligations I place on myself. I try to spend time with the Lord focusing on his goodness and purpose in my life. Unfortunately, there are days that I am weak and I can barely say his name. Then there are days that He fills me with so much strength and joy that I can barely go to sleep at night. On the good days, I ask the Lord for opportunities to uplift another, and on the bad days I am thankful for those who continue to genuinely walk beside and encourage me. It is the perfectly timed phone call, the day taken off work to spend just chatting, the drive just to bring a cup of coffee and a hug, the unexpected bouquet of flowers, the scripture text, or the surprise movie and ice cream that get me through. How blessed am I to be surrounded by people with a desire to be the hands of feet of Christ! They shed light into my darkness, and I am grateful. I don’t know where I would be without them.

Living life by the small moments takes patience and grace. Lessons that the Lord continues to reteach me. Thankfully there are many to hang on to, soak up, and cherish while raising my precious son, Derek. With every new expression, milestone, and experience I learn more about him while catching another glimpses of his sister. My unconditional love and adoration for Derek provides an anchor for my heart, a spark of joy, and a reason to be intentional with my time. I looked up the meaning of Derek and it said “people-ruler”. If there is any truth to this, if my son’s purpose in life is to lead people, than I pray he leads them to Christ. And the beginning to fulfilling that purpose starts with me. So despite my pain, my hurt, and my despair; I do not want to lose one opportunity to pour into my son. To love him, to teach him about Jesus, to show him how to be a man of God. Raising a soldier for God’s army is a full time job. I pray the Holy Spirit fortifies my mind, heals my heart, and equips my spirit for the task that lay ahead