Our One Constant

Nineteen years old and ready to take on the world. I was invincible and had the world at my fingertips. I thought I knew all I needed to know to get through life. Oh, how naïve I was.

There was so much to come. So much heartache, so many losses, so much to learn. I had no idea…I thought I understood it all. I thought I had already fully lived because of the struggles I’d already faced as a teen. Boy, was I wrong.

Married at twenty and trying to mesh two very different lifestyles wasn’t easy. We both grew up differently and were set in our ways. Yet somehow we made it work.

Little did I know that no matter how much you wanted it, only God gets to decide when you can start a family. I learned that particular lesson over and over and over again, too many times, in my opinion.

When I did get pregnant, no one prepared me for preterm labor, a baby in the NICU, and the fact that I would have to leave the hospital without my baby. You only hear of the great miracle of childbirth and the bond that follows. No one tells you that you might not be able to hold your baby for days, let alone feed them or care for them. Who can prepare you for seeing your newborn in an incubator with tubes going every which way?

Then there are the unthinkable, unimaginable situations. Childhood cancer. The plane rides, the surgeries, the chemo, the daily ups, and downs. What parent prepares to see their child in such a state? I surely wasn’t prepared, even though I was now twenty-eight.

The white casket. The white roses and greenery at the front of the church. The family picture displayed that will never be recreated. There’s no preparation for that moment. There’s no way you can fully prepare to kiss your baby goodbye for the last time.

Two years later you’re being rushed into surgery to deliver yet another baby. Crying because you’re so scared something is wrong with this child, as well. Why else would they be scurrying about?

But when you see the face of your third son, you have only utter and unexplainable joy on your face. You see the miracle God has provided for you once again, and you have all you can do to contain your emotions. So you don’t. You cry and thank God for this precious gift of life. This is what thirty looks like. A six-year-old and a newborn. Years of loss and years of gain. Does this mean it all balances out? I’m not sure yet.

Then cancer comes again. This time it’s your mom. You’re thirty-six and driving her to and from appointments as your life melds with hers. You juggle parenting your kids, having a marriage, and taking care of your own parent. It seems like so much, but you wouldn’t change the time with her for the world. Your own immediate family seems to be left in the dust, but they learn the importance of helping others. It’s a lesson you can only teach by example. You pray you’re teaching them correctly and not neglecting them. What choice do you really have?

When forty comes, your mom is gone. You wait for her phone call, but it never comes. She’s with Jesus now and phone calls aren’t part of heaven, although you wish they were. You miss her and wonder how you’ll live the next forty-odd years without a mother. Yet, somehow you do. This is adulthood, take it or leave it.

Forty-four comes in quietly during a pandemic and appears to be leaving chaos and more loss in its wake. No one can prepare you for all that is to come in life. Not at nineteen, twenty-three, twenty-eight, thirty, thirty-six, forty, or forty-four. Just when you think you have a grasp on life, it throws you another loop and finds you gasping for air.

The only constant in my life…in our lives…through the ups and downs, ins and outs, is Jesus Christ. He was with me in each circumstance when others weren’t around. He was in the NICU with my son, the funeral for our second son, the operating room with our third. He was in each exam room with my mom and was with me as I waited for the birthday wish that would never come. He’s with me now as I face uncertainty.

He is the calm amidst the storm, and the only One I can truly depend on. How about you? Do you know Jesus? Do you know He is beside you and will never leave you? He is worth getting to know and He can carry you through.

Dear Jesus, Thank You for being the ever-present constant in our lives. When life throws us around in the wind, we know You are at the center, ready to steady us. No matter what we’re facing, help us look for you like a beacon of light in the dark. Remind us You will never leave us nor forsake us, even when others do. In Your Precious Name we pray, Amen.

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Cheryl Baldwin

    Dear Rochelle,

    What a beautifully written entry! It so stuck a nerve as I was reading this and wondering how you could get through tragedies. Though mine are different, my major realization that I needed Jesus was in 1983 when my then husband up and left me unexpectedly with 2 small daughters. At the same time, my mom was in the hospital on a ventilator. I felt so alone and then the Holy Spirit stirred in me (at church..ironically) and I knew He was the only One to get me through this.. I held on for dear life! Since, I have experienced a teen daughter with cancer and unexpected death of my father, very best friend, and beloved nephew. I wouldn’t have been able to move an inch without Him. I don’t have any clue how people can get up every morning without their faith let alone when facing tragedies. Thank you so much for reaffirming who we need to stick close to.. God bless..Cheryl

    Reply
    • rochelleb@me.com

      Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your story with me. You have certainly been through some trying times, as well. I agree with you: I don’t have a clue how people can get up each morning without their faith. I know I can’t. I hope both of our stories encourage others to turn to Him during their hardships and tragedies. God bless!

      Reply
    • Connie

      Forever embedded in my heart your son Alex and all the ups and downs Losing my husband Without the Lord I would not gotten through any of it Today and everyday Without Him we are nothing Amen Rochelle AMEN

      Reply
      • rochelleb@me.com

        Bless you, Connie. You have been through your own ups and downs and tragedies. I see you holding onto Him. Amen!

        Reply
  2. Laura Elliot

    I’m so sorry for your loss and hardships Rochelle. You are right it is not easy being a Christian and all the trials that are thrown in your face constantly and I bet it’s something Jesus experienced too. But you are right we are human and not perfect and it is ok to not be perfect and be covered by His blood. I was reading my bible last night and Jesus said himself someone who is forgiven a lot, loves a lot but yes the hardest thing can be trying to understand trials and forgiving yourself. It is not that I do not want to forgive myself, I just get fearful in my life fearful of abandonment by God etc. Anyway it will be a glorious day the day you see your son again in heaven.

    Reply
    • rochelleb@me.com

      You’re right: Jesus experienced trials and it was thrown in His face constantly. And yet He still chose to obey His Father. What a lesson we can learn from His example. One thing I know, Laura, is that Jesus will never abandon you. Ever. He is always there for you. Sometimes our views get skewed and we can’t see Him, but He’s there. God bless you…

      Reply
  3. Stephanie

    What an amazing testimony of faith and perspective. This shows your true heart and your understanding of sacrifice that sometimes carries people with you but leaves others behind. We can only trust in His plan for us, that your past has made you a stronger person and that we will see those who are carried in our hearts with us again.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *