Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Pain After the Praise

I decided that our family needs some counseling, so I made a call that I was hesitant to make but am so glad now that I did.

Our counselor is a very nice lady who very quickly recognized some signs of distress in the kids (and even in me) while we talked and played in her office. I'm feeling positive about her plan of treatment for us, which will involve weekly counseling indefinitely--until we're all better, until I can hopefully stop mistaking normal everyday sounds for tornado sirens.

I really hesitate to post that I am not doing so great emotionally because I feel like I'm supposed to be strong and--I guess--walking around quoting scripture constantly! I'm not. In fact, I only found my Bible two days ago. So the reality right now is that this is very hard. And even more honestly is that it seems to be getting harder--not easier.

Right after it happened, I was so overwhelmed at all the material needs being met, and I was in shock that it happened at all, and that we walked away from this event without one scratch.

I wasn't sure what would befall us emotionally and mentally. It is a battle each and every day to focus on the positive things, and I am really trying so hard to do that. (I don't want this post in any way to sound like a whine session.) However, I do want to be real. I walk around worrying that everyone thinks I'm this faith giant, and all I really am is a regular girl from Oklahoma who just had a tornado blow her house away along with every precious memory and sentimental piece of her life therein. It's not really the Cornbread and Hosta walls themselves that make me sob; it's what we did within those painted walls that we'll never do there again. It's the times we danced together in front of that fireplace. The blinding hot day when I took each door off the cabinets and painted them Picket Fence White under the towering shade tree in the backyard. The Fescue grass where we'd throw open our picnic quilt and weigh it down with library books, pillows, homemade smoothies, and our bare toes. It's the sidewalk out front where I drew lines for the "road" and Keagan and Kate would whiz up and down on their bikes, careful to stay on their side of the road. It's the Maple tree out front where I sat just the day before writing in my journal, praising God for this very life He had been so generous to give us, for our Life Group who met in our home every Wednesday night. The stove where I baked Snicker doodles for those Wednesday nights. It's where Kate learned to ride a bike for the first time, where I was working on a ballet barre wall for her bedroom. It's where Keagan learned to carry over two digit addition and borrow for subtraction. It's where Kate learned to read her first word.

I could go on, but I'm sure you see that it really wouldn't end. Even in just the length of time it takes to grow a baby in the womb, we made a home there. We laid our foundation and grew together more than we have anywhere else.

I do know it was a structure made of two by fours, sheet rock, shingles, carpet. And I do know we will find another one to call ours, where we can dance in front of the fireplace and drink smoothies in the backyard. Is it okay to say that I ache to have what we loved back, though? For us, that represented our lives, where we could be ourselves, where we could weave our hearts together over a Mexican fiesta night. It's just going to take a little while to grieve this, to name our heartaches and then to allow our God to mend them as only He can do. I know He knows why this happened, and that we are blessed with how it turned out (because it could have been so devastatingly worse). I know this so deeply and it is what knocks the breath out of me, that we are all together. Even Wendy! I thank Jesus for this. I hope He is also all right with me climbing up into His lap and weeping because I've lost things I loved.

It's so easy to say things like "This world is not my home" or "I can't get attached to stuff because I can't take it with me"...until you actually are staring down the gaping loss of those things. I don't believe God is punishing me for getting a little too attached to a home. I do think He wants to teach me something during this time of blatant vulnerability. Pray for me that I will continue to let Him speak to my heart. Today I have at last dealt with a bit of anger. Not at Him, but at something, though I'm not certain what. It, I guess. That this world is fallen and we must endure such violences of nature that rip from under our feet the securities we thought were stalwart.

They are not. Only Jesus is. I never wanted to understand this truth as fully as I am now,  to have it sewn onto my heart. I thought I did, but the wanting and the sewing are so different.

I am hopeful. I know we will heal and one day be even better than we were. If you didn't gouge your eye out from reading this far, thank you! Putting my heart on paper (or screen) seems to help a lot.

Peace of Christ to you,


  1. One day you will look back and marvel at how you and God made it through this storm, physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially, God will NOT fail you, and what the devil puts us through, God will turn it for our good. I can say it because I have been through it and our Jesus is faithful. But DO reach out and take the hands of others, it is not a sign of weakness but of togetherness, and building stronger bonds and teaching the kids to reach out when they need friends too. Praying that God keeps sending you angels. Brenda Johnson

  2. Oh Cara...I SO could have written this post. The roller coaster of emotions this last year has just been unbelievable. Up, down, sideways, inside out, right side out. You name it, I've had it. And, this post describes it perfectly. Not mad at God. Just IT. Trying to keep the faith and be strong, but realizing that I CAN'T keep this bottled up inside the way I did the grief after losing my dad at 17. And feeling guilty because we survived, our animals all survived. We didn't lose a spouse or a child, yet we lost everything else. And people mean well, but they would be so quick to point out "At least you're still alive." TRUE. And we are VERY grateful. You don't have to tell someone who lived through three tornadoes in one 3 hour period to be grateful to be alive. They just ARE. But, they are STILL traumatized. Tremendously traumatized. And grieving. I tell people if you think it's frustrating to drop your phone and try to make a claim on it to get it replaced, then try to imagine everything you have ever owned going away at the same time, and then do that very thing x thousands of items. Boy, that hits them hard. Folks try, but they just can't imagine it until you put it into words. Love & Hugs!