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I was dreading my son’s wedding in April.  The last time I’d seen him he told me off and left my house, saying he’d never return.  I had no idea how I’d be treated, how the younger children would be treated.  I feared what I may be setting us up for by going.

The third week of April isn’t a good time for me anyway.  My maternal grandpa died the third week of April 1985. That week I miscarried my first pregnancy after collapsing at Grandpa’s funeral.  My dad died the third week of April 2012.  In my heart it’s just a time of loss.  Significant my first born son would choose that week to get married to a woman who had torn him from his family. 

But, this wasn’t about me.  And, I am strong.  I could go and be graceful and congenial for my son’s sake.

I am strong.

That has become my mantra. 

When my eye is burning from fatigue and I don’t think I can clean one more house….I tell myself I am strong.

When I have no one to lean into with the burdens of my life….I tell myself I am strong.

When a log is heavy and I strain to lift it….I tell myself I am strong.

When my children are behaving badly, and I’m unsure how best to deal with their confused emotions….I tell myself I am strong.

When I just want to lie in bed and not face the bills, people’s rudeness, being ostracized, my physical pain, and the unreal amount of work to be done….I tell myself I am strong.

And, it’s working!  I am strong!   And, I’m getting stronger!

I’m building muscle and am getting in wood for next winter.  I can clean eight houses in a week and then come home and clean my own.  I can walk into that community center with a smile and face those gossips.  I can parent these hurting children and watch them blossom.  And, I went to the wedding feeling nothing but joy for my son’s happiness.

Turned out, it was a great weekend.  There was nothing but joy.  Everyone was kind and loving.  It was all good.  I think some healing took place. 

And, I might have missed it if I hadn’t convinced myself I was strong enough to deal with rejection one more time.  I’d have missed the sweet words, warm hugs, and dancing with my son.  By not going, I’d have probably solidified the end of our once close relationship.   By trusting I had the strength to go, I opened the door for forgiveness and grace.

I am strong.  I’ve been through A LOT.  And, God and life aren’t done with me.  But, I can make it.  God will continue to strengthen me.  So, I am able to pick up my sword with confidence and set my face with determination as I prepare myself for today’s battle.