Sometimes the seasons fade into one another seamlessly just as smoothly as autumn cools into a colder winter that melts into a warm spring that blossoms into a hot summer.
And sometimes the seasons don’t seem to blend into one another at all- fall crashes down into a frozen winter that floods spring out and goes straight into a scorching summer.
Life is like that; the seasons I mean. Looking back it seems as though every 10 years were seasons in time; some harsh, some mild. Many of my life’s seasons were as predictable as day and night while others hit hard like an EF5 tornado at 3am.
No one is ever prepared for an EF5- even if they see it coming.
My 20’s and 30’s were pretty turbulent. Most of those decades was spent picking up scattered pieces of my life only to have another storm come along and tear them from my hands again. The absolute worst time of my life has been times where my children were involved.
John and I share two kids, Tate and Kayla. Right before our divorce was final John got down on his knees with his arms wrapped around my waist, his face buried in my stomach. He cried and begged me to split the kids up… he wanted Kayla to stay with me because she was a little girl and he wanted to keep our son, Tate. He said it wasn’t fair that I was leaving and taking both kids. Fair? I’d never given “fair” a thought where my babies were concerned. They were mine but still my heart broke for John. I had known him since I was 12- I didn’t hate him but I also didn’t love him like a wife should love a husband. I fell in love with him with a 16 years old heart and at age 21 I realized that although my love was sincerely felt, it had changed with the seasons of my life. I wasn’t 16 anymore. I agreed to allow John to keep Tate while Kayla stayed with me. Every weekend the kids would be together either at my house or John’s and over time John and I became good friends.
The night before I moved out I was downstairs going through toys and books trying to separate them fairly for the kids. So many times I’d pick something up and hold it to my nose and inhale my son’s scent deep into my soul. My heart was so broken. I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing by leaving him behind. I never wanted him to think his mommy abandoned him or didn’t love him- God knows I never wanted to let him stay. I tried to convince myself it was the best thing; the best thing for John, the best thing for Tate and maybe the best thing for me too. John had me pretty convinced that I couldn’t take care of two kids on my own and I didn’t want them to have to go without. How easily he could manipulate me.
Throughout Tate’s childhood I tried to be a good mom. I went to a lot of his football games but not all, and I should have. I didn’t go to nearly enough of his wrestling meets either. I couldn’t afford the best gifts or vacations but I never failed to love him. Many times I didn’t even know he had a game or a meet- he didn’t tell me because kids don’t tell their parents things like that (like they should) and neither did John. I won’t lie, many times I was selfish and I didn’t think about what I was doing or how it might affect my kids. I can’t blame anyone but myself for mistakes I’ve made regardless of my reasons.
A couple of year ago the pain I had caused my son, that he hid deep within, came to surface and he bawled me out while I was a 1000 miles away on vacation. While speaking over the phone he called me by my first name and told me how horrible of a person I was, how rotten of a mother I’d alwayds been.. and he hung up leaving me broken in the sand. He then removed himself from my cell plan and changed his number. EF5.
On weekends I’d see him at church but he’d sit far in front of me and never look back. EF5.
Once I learned his new cell number I’d send him an occasional text to tell him I loved him. He’d not reply. EF5.
Over the next few months every one of my friends would turn their back on me…. and I’d get thrown out of the church that I taught at, served at, prayed and worshipped at. EF5. EF5. EF5.
What I was being punished for was adultry… and leagally, I had been separated for two years. The problem was, I started seeing someone (my current husband) before my divorce was final. Truthfully it would have been over a lot sooner if I could have afforded an attorney, but being that my good friend and I did it ourselves, it took a lot longer.
It was at this point in my life that I felt at my lowest.
Eventually the EF5’s would hit so hard that most nights while in the shower I’d fall to my knees weeping silently. Not because I wanted to weep silently but because I was too broken for sound. This was a time in my life I turned to God heavily. Through my sobbing I’d cry out to Him, begging for my son back. I’d pray saying that I didn’t understand any of it but it was His will.. not mine, and I’d ask for strength to get through it. One song verse in particular I held tight to.. I’d sing it in my head and out loud whenever I felt beaten down. “My heart will sing, no other name, Jesus. Jesus.” Over and over I’d sing, as though hypnotized by the lyrics. Sometimes when I needed so desperately to be near my son, I’d pull a shirt he had left behind, out from a zip lock bag (that I had placed it in to preserve its scent) and I’d hold it to my nose and inhale him deep into my soul. The same pain I’d felt 18 years earlier still pulsing in my veins..I’d sob. I’d never forgiven myself – how could I expect my son to??
This past weekend as my family and I stood singing praises to our Lord, those same lyrics were put upon the screen. In an instant every broken moment I had faced over the years flickered through my mind; I realized just how many prayers God had answered. I had been given new friends, I was now happily married and I was standing in a new church, singing the lyrics to the song that gave me strength- with my son 6″ to my left.
Last night I received a text from Tate. All it said was to listen to Aloe Blacc, “Mama hold my hand.” I immediately went to YouTube and found the song. As the tears I tried to hold back, fell silently down my cheeks the love I didn’t know my son felt for me, consumed me …like an EF5.