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  • Writer's picturerachelferiend


I liked my life. Correction, I loved my life exactly the way it was. My loving husband, incredible son, sweet dog, and our little rental house. My second son on the way and the two hundred Facebook likes on our baby announcement. The mundane walks to the park. Netflix with my hubby after our child goes to bed. My sweet and worshipful relationship with God. My peaceful prayer life. All of it. I loved it. And now, there is a piece of my life I hate.

“I just want to go back. I just want to go back…” I sobbed into my mom’s arms on my brown leather couch. It was the day before my due date, and I was losing my shit. Never have I wanted to rewind the clock so badly and go back to my old life, old feelings, and old loves. If only I could erase the pain and forget the horror of what happened. Some people say ignorance is bliss. I believe inexperience is.

I love Disney. He is a man who believes everyone always deserves a happy ending. Perhaps it is because he understood reality. I love the story of Cinderella and was completely enchanted by the remake released in 2016. Honestly, I watch it on a weekly basis. But it isn’t the magic, or the glass slipper, or even the prince that has me loving the story. In the latest version, before Cinderella’s mother passes away, she tells her daughter to always be kind and have courage. Throughout the story, Cinderella’s kindness and courage are constantly put to the test as her stepmother and stepsisters treat her poorly, call her names, and try to foil all chances of her happiness. Cinderella finally reaches a point where she can no longer muster the courage or the kindness to move forward. She ultimately has to look outside of herself to overcome her circumstance. She alone is not enough.

I know it is only a fairy tale, but I can relate to Cinderella’s desperation. Her tank was empty. So is mine. Just living a normal day with this grief is exhausting. Who I am is not enough to make it through. I often find myself depending on the smile of my son Jaxon, or my husband’s sense of humor to help me navigate my grief. But this is not only taxing on my family, for it isn’t their responsibility to maintain my happiness, but it is also theologically incorrect. Although I am looking outside myself for help, I am not looking in the right place. Of course, I’m referring to Jesus.

It is difficult to approach God after facing tragedy. I have had such a difficult time walking through the doors of my church. And at first I told myself it was because I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by my friends. I didn’t want to break down in front of everyone in my church, and I especially didn’t want to answer a bunch of probing questions. But the reality is, as I see more and more of my church community around town, I realize, my reluctance isn’t about the people. It’s about God. Because the God I felt like I once knew is now unpredictable, mysterious, and more confusing than ever. In a time when I am struggling to make sense of the world, I am completely intimidated by trying to make sense of God. I am also fearful of what He may do when I find myself in those church pews. It’s not because God changed, but because my circumstance has changed the way I see him. It seems I lack Cinderella’s courage.

I have never thought of God as being courageous, but now I do. Courage seems like a human trait, but I think we get it from our Father. God has the courage to love a broken world. Which means, some people will believe in Him, and others won’t. Some people will give up on him and be disappointed. Others will hate him. If God exercises courage to love me, then maybe I can have courage to love him too.

Maybe I am weary because I am trying to navigate my grief solely relying on my own ability to make it through each day. The horrible truth is, even if my son had lived, his life wouldn’t have made me a better Christian. Only having the courage to continue deepening a relationship with my Jesus can do that. So when I think about my circumstance like this, I can no longer say I won’t enter my church because I don’t understand why God would let me lose my son. My relationship with Him is separate from and more important than my pain. It does not negate or fix my sorrow, but it does make me long for Jesus again.

Like Cinderella, I am not enough. She needed her fairy godmother to help her, as I need my Jesus. I need his kindness. I need his courage. And I need a relationship with him. It doesn’t mean I am ready to raise my hands to the worship music yet. I will probably sit in the back row and slip out of the service early. And I will sob as quietly as possible to not embarrass myself, but I will approach the throne of Jesus nonetheless. And like Disney, I will believe that God does have a happy ending in store for me and my family.

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