For several years now, I feel I have been living a lie of who I am. Of how you see me. So often, I have heard the words, “You are so strong. I could never have the strength to live through what you have lived and still be standing. To have my child battle cancer. To have my child die. It is unimaginable, unfathomable. You are so strong. I could never have your strength. I could never.”
Truth is I am so weak. I am so very weak. I am far from the "strong mom" that I have been declared. That you believe you see. I had zero choice in my reality. Have zero choice. If I did, this would certainly not be the version of life I would ever choose. I would never have chosen to watch my young child suffer a horrible disease, one that ultimately took his life. I would never choose to walk this earth everyday forward without my child. I would never choose grief, pain and suffering. I would never choose this version of my life. I would never choose this reality.
I had zero choice. This is my reality. It was forced upon me. What choice did I have in any of it? What choice do I have now? What is the alternative? To give up? What would giving up even look like to you? Because the truth is I have given up. I gave up control. I gave up my idea of our family. I gave up my idea of our future. I gave up my dreams. I gave up my idea of hope. I gave up my idea of a miracle. Of a cure. I gave up on my child living. I gave up everything I desired in my life. I gave up my life. I GAVE UP. I am weak, and I gave it all up. UP. I gave it UP.
I gave it all up to God. I gave him the control. I gave him my family. My child. My future. My hope. My trust. My faith. I gave it all up. I gave Him my life. I said, “It is Yours.” I can not, but You can. You, God, take it from me. I give up. I gave up.
Recently, I have been watching Private Practice on a streaming app. And one episode, one moment in the episode, caused me pause. A statement in the episode so perfectly explained strength. One character said to another, “Where did you find the strength?” The other replied, “We’re women, honey. The strength finds us.” The strength finds us.
Strength found me. I am not strong. The strength found me. God’s strength found me. There is no other explanation. Period. I am so weak. But the strength of God fills my soul. This “strong mom” I am so often labeled as is a lie. The truth, I am strong because of God. His strength finds me. The truth, I am strong in my faith in God. I am strong in God. I gave up. And he picked me up. He filled me up. He became my strength.
It is not my strength you see. It is all God. He promised me on October 21st, 2016 in the PICU room on the 6th floor of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, that He would never leave me. Two days into my son’s diagnosis, as my child was recovering from brain surgery, He promised me. He promised me that this was His fight, is His fight. That he would carry me if I let him. And I said to Him to carry me. That I can not do this on my own. That I am too weak. Carry me. Carry me. Carry me.
This “strong mom” you see is no different from you. I am no stronger than you. I have just been held to the fire in my faith. Put in the lion’s den. I have been forced to step out of the boat in faith. I am trusting God. Trusting He will hold me up, carry me, and give me the strength to live through today, tomorrow and the next day. Faith that God’s strength finds me every minute of every day.
I lean into His strength, His promises. Trusting and knowing His promises. The promise of an eternity in heaven. The promise He will never leave me. The promise my battle is His battle. The promise He will carry me, and never let me fall. No matter my pain, my suffering. I can lean into His truth. Rely on His strength. I am strong because my God gives me His strength. The strength to live today and to see tomorrow. I am weak. I am not strong on my own. I am strong because my God is strong. I am filled with His strength. My God is strong. I am weak.
Written by Kristen Puma
Psalm 59:16 NIV : "But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."