I woke up at about 5am....madly itching!!! My legs and stomach were killing me they itched so badly. I crawled out of the bedroom and into the bathroom only to find my entire body (with the exception of my neck and face) covered in a gigantic rash. I had hives!!! I'm sure it is stress induced! I've had hives on my ankles before but never across most of my body!! I just started to laugh!! I actually started laughing so hard, I had to cover my mouth, fearing I'd wake up one of the kids.
I crawled back into bed, trying to not itch, but it was psychotically impossible not to. I lay there laughing. Of course I had a major, uncomfortable, annoying as hell rash across my entire body on the one weekend we had dared to get away. For weeks, Nina has been asking to go to the beach house. Todd's Uncle Wally and Aunt Bonnie have this incredible house in Pajaro Dunes (near Santa Cruz) that they generously allow the family to use for vacations. Whenever we have all taken a family vacation with Todd's family and mine it has always been at the beach house. All of the kids adore coming here. Some of their favorite memories have been made here. So...with Nina's persistent requesting and given her strength and stability, we decided to bite the bullet and come. Eduardo alleviated my fears by ensuring us that he had contacts at Standford that could easily help us if need be. So, yesterday afternoon around 2pm we left Santa Barbara. Nina was beside herself with joy...we all were to varying degrees.
So... it is fitting that the one weekend we decide to get away and do something fun as an entire family....I get hives!!!
After a few minutes of laughing and mocking myself, the humor began to dissipate and became replaced by grief. Everything around me was being demolished!! Every aspect of my life was being ripped away from me, with the most precious and important one being my daughter!! Grief began to turn into despair!! How could this be happening to me??? It is not fair!!!!! I began to feel dizzy and that damn blasted heat began to race back to my head. Then the tears came...slowly but then gushing! I hate it when I can't control my own crying!!! It is as if my sobs take over my body and I am just a passenger, helplessly hanging on.
I knew what was coming so I grabbed my jacket and shoes and snuck out of the room before I woke up Adelae and Nina. I grabbed a second coat from the downstairs closet and quietly opened the front door. I needed to escape. I couldn't be in the house and be quiet. The crying was building up and it was going to be bad...I could tell it was going to be terrible!!
I made it to the beach within a minute. The morning air was crisp and misty. The waves pounded the shore, repetitively. I began to walk fast then I began to run. I ran and ran and ran. Then I stopped and screamed and screamed and screamed. I had denied this for a very long time but something is working against me!!!
As soon as everything started unraveling in August, I've felt like something (some kind of force....trust me I've struggled severely with this!!!) keeps pushing me to the brink, wanting desperately to snap me, worst of all...pushing me with unholy force to hate God!!! I have been angry at this situation repeatedly, who wouldn't... but I have never been angry at God for any of this...heartbroken only, pleading for mercy constantly...but never angry! Over the last couple of weeks I have struggled with something that was brewing, pushing me there but I have refused. I have found myself being shoved to this precipice repeatedly, and the frequency and intensity of this battle has increased. Internally, I have been battling a turmoil that is bigger than my pain over Nina....I have felt like the entire universe has been pushing me to the edge, waiting for me to curse God above and then swallow me up! I cannot explain how terrifying this is!! The thoughts that have been racing through my mind have been simply insane and I have been so overwhelmed because I have been fighting but feeling like it was a losing battle.
Then this morning, this stupid rash was the straw that broke the camel's back! I finally recognized that there is something going on here, that it is not my imagination, but like my friends have said...that I am living through my very own personal plague of biblical proportions...that in essence I am like JOB, having everything most precious to me being taken away. Weeks ago Todd had tried to read to me from Job but I had become furious when he tried to draw the comparison. I vividly remember saying that unlike Job, I would break!!! I was so fearful!!! But this morning, when I stood alone on that beach, listening to the crashing waves, trying to not scratch my itchy body, something changed! Unlike previous times during the past 6 weeks, I was no longer fearful! I found myself thinking So What!!! Everything I love is being destroyed...just when I don't think it can get worse....it does! But instead of snapping, God has held my heart fiercely!!! I have never felt the presence of God as securely as when these thoughts raced thru my head!
What I realized this morning is that God's love for me is constant...it is incandescent in spite of whatever I say, do, think!!! It does not matter!! I can drop as many F-bombs as I want and God will still love me! I can think the most vile thoughts and God will still love me! I can want to run away ten thousand times and God will still love me! Nothing I fear matters!!! I am the daughter of the Most High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and I have NOTHING to fear!! As I stood there on the sand, these thoughts pouring through my mind, I felt an immense amount of relief come over me. Most of all... I did not feel alone anymore!
Let's be honest now...the worst case scenario in my life right now, and probably for the rest of my life, is that I will have to give my daughter back to Heaven, knowing that someday I will see her there again! That is the WORST case scenario!! But as painful as that is (and will ALWAYS be) it is still WONDERFUL because my precious child will spend Eternity with her Heavenly Father, watching over us, our very own angel.....if this is what our journey is suppose to be, although I pray constantly for the healing we need! If the absolute worst is still at it's core something wonderful, something glorious, something majestic, then what do I have left to fear....NOTHING!!! Sure I will continue to be sad, feel empty, and some days it will feel like it is too much to bare, but that is why God gives us family and friends to walk with us, to love us, to help us find joy...most of all that is why God never ceases to hold us tightly and carry us!!
Last April in a conversation with my father-in-law, I had said that I believed that because I had walked the straight-and-arrow, sacrificed myself in many ways, that my life had been shielded from extreme pain and sorrow...like I had extra cushioning protecting me!!! I have come to roux the day I said that...it was as if I challenged something. But now, I realize that it does not matter!!! I do not need to fear a thing!!!
Today, as I stood there on the empty beach, with the morning sun trying to break through the heavy embankment, I seized my life from the grasp of fear.
After lunch, my father-in-law and I went on a long walk where he shared with me a verse he had recently memorized. It was Psalm 139. I just re-read it and all I can say is that God is good! We will all be transformed by this, one way or another, irrespective of the outcome! My prayer is that we all fervently try to let God soften our hearts. For me it was by calming my fears. I am thankful and I shout out (because I have a