We pointed, “oohed,” and pointed at the descending airplane-it was falling over us to land at john wayne-and my heart was gripped with the familiar hands of grief and loss. I realized in that moment that I miss the feeling of take off. I never thought of myself as someone who loves flying, but today, I realized I miss the feeling of being dropped off by my dearest friends, with tears, hugs, and prayers, and bags almost too heavy to check in myself; my passport in my hand, and my body comfortable in sweats. I miss the buckling of my seatbelt, and the feeling as I clasp the belt, of butterflies in my stomach-because this is not merely a ride to a destination, it is the beginning of a sensational journey that will forever change me, my perspective, my heart, my life. I miss it all. And all it took was a look out my windshield to realize it.

And then we drove by a Gentlemen’s Club. Obviously I did not point that out to the boys, but I once again felt that familiar pang of kissing the dream of reaching those women goodbye, at least for now. And I pray for my Someday, that he will be a man willing to walk with me into the trenches, and that he would walk hand in hand with me into dangerous situations, for the sake of bringing the Living Water to quench their eternal thirst. 

And to some, this new life of mine may seem like a tangled mess. It may seem unraveled, and full of death and crushed dreams. But I don’t share the hard things so that people are misled about my current state. I share the hard things to allow them to enter into the reality of this new life; and I share the grief because I want to share the reality of the Death I have experienced, the death to self and the death of self, that has freed me to enter into this journey of finding who I really am-or rather whose I really am. Haven’t we heard time and time again that it is the Death that we are able to find true life? Jesus’ death was messy, brutal and bloody. He hung on the cross naked and disfigured, because He refused to take the easy way towards the New Life. He went straight into the trenches for us. 

And I wish I could say that my heart was even an inch as selfless as His-that I would enter these trenches with all my intentions directed at my boys. But in these past months I have learned more about myself, my God, and humanity than I will ever be able to articulate. I have gained much in my Death. 

And people may not know what to say, or may not know how to help, and I may wear a fake wedding ring to steer away the angry snares of conservative grandmothers that think I am a sixteen year old single mom, but this is all part of the process. This is all part of the sowing of this small seed. And I am convinced that this was never a tattered mess, but rather a beautiful tapestry that has been waiting to be revealed. 

So dear friends, do not mistake my Death and grief for a pity party. I am not a victim; but I am inviting you into the reality of the ministry, the reality of the pain, and the reality of the New Life. 

And I may weep when I look up at the descending planes, and I may weep as you share your travels, but this is confirmation of God doing something beautiful in this once so hard heart. I am being softened and molded into His Likeness. And I am walking in the shoes intended just for me. And it wouldn’t be the same without the grieving of my Old Self. It simply would not be so beautiful.