I finally had a plan. After this past years drama and all of the hurt and pain caused by it, I was working through my emotions one day at a time. The day my boys left my home back in November was one of the worst days of my life. The betrayal from the scheming and the plotting for months behind my back from my ex husband and his girlfriend to take them without my knowledge or consent was sickening and made me so angry. I was beating myself up over even finding myself in the situation in the first place. The crying had subsided and was slowly replaced with routine and trying to keep myself busy in general. I tried to focus on the family I still had around me, my writing and trying to keep the house clean. (Not an impossible task when it’s just one person living there.)
Every time I would walk around the house cleaning it I would have to walk past the boys’ room. It was almost like walking through a ghost town. A room that was once so full of life was now completely silent. A memorial or a time capsule. I had made their beds but nothing else had been touched. Their own paintings still hung on the walls. Their “stuffies” still sat on their beds. The problem was, nobody was sleeping in their beds. The room remained unused for so long. For months. I tried closing their bedroom door so that I at least wouldn’t have to look at it but I knew it was still there. It was still upsetting to me to see it decorated the same as it always was but knowing that the reasons why the room was there in the first place were gone. The boys weren’t spending the night. Their father wasn’t strongly encouraging them to come and see me on a regular basis or to spend the night. (example?…They spent Mothers Day with “her”. Yup, you read that right.)
I started to ask myself this question: “how long are you planning on holding a memorial service for something that doesn’t exist anymore?” (Meaning, the boys were gone and there was nothing I could do about it.)
My oldest son’s bed had already broken. The last time he slept in it, I came into his room on a Saturday to wake him up (he tends to be a very late sleeper…teenage boys eh?) In order to wake him up in what I thought would be a more gentle and fun way, I decided to plop myself down on his bed rather hard and repeatedly bounce on it until he agreed to wake from his very late slumber. It woke him up alright…the cracking of his bed frame that is. We both heard it. Right down the middle. I froze and cupped my mouth both in shock and because I was laughing at the fact that I had inadvertently broken my son’s bed! (I’m a horrible mother I know!) He simply rolled over, peeked his head out from his blanket, looked at me, groaned and rolled over again to go back to sleep. (In my defence those beds were 12 years old. They’ve had them almost their entire lives so it was bound to happen eventually…right?)
I finally took my oldest son’s broken bed apart and brought it down to the dumpster, folded up his blankets and sheets and put them in the linen closet. A few months later, after a lot of thought and asking God if it was maybe time to take baby steps to move on, I took apart my others son’s bed and took that down to the dumpster as well. Came back upstairs, folded his blankets and sheets and put them in the linen closet. Because the beds were gone I then proceeded to put away their “stuffies” and took their pictures/paintings down from the walls for safe keeping. I swept, dusted and mopped every corner of that room. The room was now, literally, very empty.
Getting the room cleared out was one thing, but now looking at it, it seemed to be a good use of space that was now wasting away. I had moved my guitar into the room and set up the keyboard in there to try to fill up space but it was still very empty. Not to mention that now because I had taken down all of their pictures and paintings the walls were a bit of an eye sore because of all of the holes left in them. I knew it was time for the next step…a make over. I drove down to the local hardware store and picked out a neutral paint colour. Which, if you know me, is very rare because I like colour. I tend to think neutrals are boring and cold. But I felt for some reason that this room needed to feel like a breath of fresh air when you walked in. That meant a clean, cool, neutral colour palette. I chose an off white colour, with just the tiniest hint of grey in it. It was a neutral enough colour that if the boys ever did come back it was a decor I could work with and still make it a teenage boys room, just a little more grown up. I spent two days filling up holes, sanding down walls, taping corners, painting and touching up trim. I also found really nice looking (and cheap) grey and white drapes that goes perfectly with the room. When the room was all finished I took a step back and admired my handiwork. And it was good. Walking into the room now felt clean and new and it really was a breath of fresh air. I even sort of felt brand new myself. Funny how some paint and the courage to let go and move forward does that.
At this point I could totally envision what I wanted the room to look like. All white/neutral furniture to keep the room feeling fresh. (Seriously, who am I with all of this getting excited about a neutral colour palette? It’s crazy talk! Talk about a new me!) A place I could write, record, read, study and lock the world away. My own little oasis. I even found the absolute perfect floor mirror for the room…exactly what I was looking for! And just when I was getting excited about my room…my plans got put on hold.
For the last two weeks, I have had house guests. Two house guests to be exact. My nieces. Without going into grave detail, my sister and her fiancé have been having difficulty being able to keep their home over the last while. About two weeks ago it was the last straw and they officially got evicted from their town house. They had a very short amount of time to pack up everything they wanted to keep, put it in storage and only bring what was necessary with them. The biggest concern of course was the fact that their are four children involved, my nephews and nieces. Where do you go? What do you do in a situation like that? Well, that’s where family comes in. My nephews went to stay with their grandparents and I offered to take the girls…seeing as I had an empty room and all.
My nieces have been staying with me ever since. They are 6 and 11 years old. My newly decorated oasis room is now fully lived in again. But instead of two boys, it’s now occupied by two girls while their parents look for a new place to live. Once all of their stuff was moved in and I was alone in the house, I walked into my new office that had been taken over by my nieces and I had to smile and chuckle to myself. I looked up and said to God, “So this is why the boys had to leave. You knew my nieces were going to need a place to stay.” This is why I felt a peace about re decorating the room. Because God knew that the girls were going to need a room all for themselves, to feel at home in. Something that they could feel comfortable in. Something that wasn’t decorated for a boy. And now with all of their pinks and purples splashed everywhere in their bedding and clothing etc, the new decor is a perfect feminine match for them while they’re here, however long that might be.
If I would have been stubborn and chose to keep the room as it was, there wouldn’t have been any room for my nieces. If I would have chosen to memorialize my pain, held on to it, stayed in limbo and just kept the door closed rather than being brave and moving forward, I think it would have been very uncomfortable for the girls to live in a room that was still meant for two boys. The room is theirs (my nieces) for as long as they need it. Perhaps eventually, down the road somewhere I’ll get my own studio/office/oasis room. But for now, it’s doing what it was intended for in this moment, providing a safe, comfortable environment and shelter for two little people that need it more than me. And God knew it all along.
It’s helped me to further understand and to be able to see that God really does work everything together for good. It wasn’t my ex husband that was in control, taking my children the way that he did. It was God that was still in control of the situation, and still is, regardless of how it happened. God used what the enemy meant to hurt me with and provided a way for me to be able to help my nieces when they needed me most. God didn’t cause the pain, but in His sovereignty, He used it for a bigger purpose. Something that I couldn’t see when it was all happening. He was simply making room for the good that was to come out of it.
I think sometimes in our futile human thinking, we try to hang on to the very thing that God Himself is trying move out of our way. We don’t understand it. We can’t explain it at the time. And in the moment our pain and questions tend to block the very thing that God Himself is trying to bless us with down the road. We think that what we’re hanging on to is so much better than the future God has for us. If we would only trust Him and let go. It’s easier said than done of course (this I know all too well) but sometimes all we can do is take that first step…and then the next and so on. It took me quite a few months to be able to redo the room and slowly let go like I did but once I did it, that’s when what it was intended for was able to “move in”.
Now when I walk past the room, the same empty room that caused me to be lonely, sad and hopeless, with so many unanswered questions, is now a room that is full again. Full of colour with all of their girlie pinks and purples. Walking in and seeing my oldest niece writing and colouring in her bed, brushing through her thick long hair trying to get all the knots out. Or when I come home from work late at night and I peek in and see them both sound asleep in their beds, knowing they don’t have to worry about a thing. They can sleep peacefully knowing it’s all taken care of. My pain and eventually my “letting go” was the open door to their provision.
So, I ask you the same question I asked myself:
How long are you planning on holding a memorial service for something that doesn’t exist anymore?
What are you hanging on to that you know you should be letting go of?
What are the first little steps you can take to being brave and moving on?
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”~Romans 8:28