Why You Shouldn’t Fake It (thoughts from a teenager)

My daughter, Annarose, posted this on Facebook a few days before Christmas and I asked to share it with you. She is a deep thinking, eighteen-year-old with wisdom beyond her years, born of suffering as a sister of kids from “hard places” and later through the loss of Kalkidan. I love this girl beyond words. She leaves tonight, co- leading a team of students to Nicaragua through the University of Idaho.

snowy mountain

•Christmas 2012, my Sophomore year: little sister is hospitalized in the psych ward over the holiday.

•Christmas 2013: little sister is living in residential treatment, 362 miles from home.

•Christmas 2014: Best Christmas of my life. Two days later, my little sister dies in a car accident.

Life comes apart.

•Christmas 2015: Our first Christmas without her. Beautiful & Hard.

•This Christmas: My lovely friend Mamta is in a car accident and goes to be with the Lord. Grief twofold.

Christmas is complicated.

This time of year is so beautiful and festive. It’s overflowing with love and joy. But it also carries so much pain. I look at the shimmering tree and think of the moment I knew… my sister wasn’t going to be okay. I followed my siblings up the stairs, past the glittering lights, to where we would be told she was no more. We would stay there a long time, crying out in agony.

annarose-and-kalkidan-1024x1024

I dance in the snow, sifting delicate flakes between my fingers and think of the moments I spent out on the rope swing, tilting back until the white world and white heavens blended together and I felt like I didn’t exist anymore. That would be less painful, to not exist.
*
I plug in the sparkling white lights that drape my room and am carried back to the long nights where I couldn’t sleep and instead hunched over my guitar, making up songs about this strange reality I now lived in.
*
I help carry the gorgeous evergreen up to the house. Soon it will grace our living room with its glorious presence. But when I look at it, I can’t help seeing our tree from two years ago, carelessly tossed out by the fence as we hurried to take down all the Christmas decorations before my parents got home from the hospital. It was just too painful to have Christmas anymore.
*
I feel numb this year. Where did the joy go? Where did the old me go?
*
When Mamta went to be with Jesus on Thursday, all I wanted to do was worship. All I wanted was to crawl into my Dad’s arms and be comforted by His presence. It was the same with Kalkidan.
*
This season, I’ve been feeling sad and confused at my lack of energy and excitement for the holiday. The magic is gone. I’ve been trying to force it, making myself sit down to plan Christmas cookies as if it’s a chore, trying to conjure inorganic delight in myself. I feel broken.
*
Last night, I was reminded that the Christmas spirit, holiday vibes, fun, traditions — that’s not what this is about. It’s not all about smiles and cheer. Christmas is about us being lost in a deep, dark brokenness and a God who loves us so much, He wrapped himself in human flesh and was born to a couple of outcast teenagers in a cave in order to come alongside us.

It’s about a Savior who yearns deeply for us and rescues us from this darkness. I don’t have to clean myself up or paste on fake smiles. This is exactly what Christ came for.

He came for me. He came for you.

He came to wash us clean and fill the world with light again, pushing this great big darkness back until it has nowhere to flee.

My heart may hurt, my eyes may be filled with tears, I may feel weak and numb this Christmas. But I know that in my profound brokenness, I am LOVED by a God bigger than all of this.

He is stronger. He is enough. He is my comfort.

Annarose

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

12 Comments

  1. AmyE
    December 28, 2016

    That was beautiful!

    Reply
  2. Claire McIntosh
    December 28, 2016

    Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Lisa M
    December 28, 2016

    TRUTH…..deep and thoughtful, drawing us back to what Christmas is really all about. So sorry for what AnnaRose, and all of you, have had to go through to experience this profound wisdom, but AnnaRose has expressed it beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Pat
    December 28, 2016

    Annarose, this morning I read your thoughts, finally giving it the full time it deserves. Grief is so confusing – we think it somehow has no place – but it sits in our lives like a damp dusty rug, dampening sounds, smells, and emotions. Thank you for articulating so well the sadness of loss.
    Christmas for us was half-hearted on so many levels but we had time together with family. Isn’t that what Christmas is about, really? Enormous love.

    Reply
  5. Joanne
    December 28, 2016

    Beautifully spoken

    Reply
  6. Gloria
    December 28, 2016

    Annarose, you are truly wise beyond your years. I heard a song by a Christian artist called “a different kind of Christmas ” that he wrote after the loss of his child. It speaks to some of your thoughts and feelings. God bless and keep you safe on your trip.

    Reply
  7. Gena
    December 28, 2016

    Thank you, Annarose, for sharing your heart and for continuing to hold tightly to Jesus in a place of suffering. For choosing to believe that despite the hurt and hardness, that you are not alone, that “Emmanuel-God with us” is as true today as it was in the darkness of 2,000 years ago. Praying for continued healing for you and your family and for your joy to be rebuilt and restored.
    Gena

    Reply
  8. Shari McMinn
    December 28, 2016

    Wow just wow. Profound truth that leaves me weeping. Our older bio kids who live this hard life with us are our heroes and friends. I hope she’ll keep writing! Prayers for her trip. When you doubt your parenting and Gods work in your life just reread this fruit. It is luscious with Hs truth. Hugs for this hard week for all of you.

    Reply
  9. Emily and Ben
    December 28, 2016

    We love you, Annie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Emily
    December 28, 2016

    Beautifully said. Christ, as a real person, understands, is present, in the gritty reality of life.

    Reply
  11. Lisa Craddock
    January 1, 2017

    That was so full of truth. I needed to hear it. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you all in 2017.

    Reply
  12. Sofian
    January 1, 2017

    Beautifully written.

    Reply

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