“I’m not who I was” is a song by Brandon Heath, but it is my reality as well. Yesterday, my mom declared that I’m not as fun as I used to be. I don’t doubt that is true. I don’t think that it really should be much of a surprise. There is no way to go unaffected when you lose a child. “I’m not who I was” and that needs to be okay.
I struggle with it sometimes because in some way, I think that to have allowed this to change me is to have failed to believe God through it all. God defines me and has since I received Jesus as my Savior many years ago. If I am defined by God, then how can a circumstance change me to the core.
Christopher’s death hasn’t ultimately changed me; it hasn’t redefined me, but it has changed how who I am is manifested to others. What you see is closer to who I am than what may have been true before Christopher’s death. I struggle a lot. I have a hard time believing that a perfect God could/would choose to love me perfectly, no matter what I do. I have a hard time imagining that there is nothing that will change the fact that I am precious to Him and that this relationship is guaranteed. I’ve always struggled with that, but perhaps not so openly.
I confess that it is hard to reconcile all those realities to what I know that same loving God allowed that night in December 2007. It doesn’t make sense to me in the context of this perfect loving that He has for me. It makes sense in terms of Christopher, but not for me.
I’ve never had patience with people who made the faith sound easy, but now I am more likely to tell them that it doesn’t work that way for me. I’ve never appreciated it when people simply say that all it takes to make all of life (in Christ) work for them is to “let go and let God.” They don’t realize what it really means to “let God.” Sometimes “letting God” means that you are required to really let go. That hurts and I suspect that these people have no idea.
Truthfully, at the same time, I am glad for them. I’d rather not know how much letting go that God sometimes requires . . . and He doesn’t always ask. I don’t think too often about if I was holding on to Christopher too tightly, because it doesn’t really matter. We can hold things in our open hand, not really thinking that God would, in fact, take it from us, but I’m here to say that sometimes He does.
And because He did, “I’m not who I was” and that is apparently okay, because it isn’t a surprise to God, now is it?