Originally published March 29, 2013
When hope seems dead
Part two of a three-part series on trials and testing.
Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. Twelve men put their hopes in Him and when they saw him die on the cross, hope died. In fact, they were scared for their lives.
When all hope is gone and the future seems bleak there doesn’t seem to be any reason to live. I know. I’ve been there. However, by the grace of God alone, I’m still here. Think your life has been hell? You’re not alone.
If what you are going through has successfully killed your hopes and dreams, try these scenarios on for size. I’m sure you can relate but stay tuned. It ain’t over yet.
Provide loving, nurturing home for micropreemie while working full-time
My daughter came 16 weeks too soon. Those first six weeks were spent mostly at the hospital hoping against all hope that my firstborn would either die so she wouldn’t have to suffer any longer or live. God chose to let her live. Before she was discharged from the hospital initially, I was already back to work full-time. What are my husband and I going to do? Neither of us can afford to stay at home with her. My sister tried unsuccessfully to care for her in our home. I called nearly 100 day care providers who refused to care for my daughter. We wanted children but we had no point of reference for a special-needs child. Do we have to become poor to care properly for this little light who was so precious to us? What kind of life were we going to live because of this child?
My husband used to drink the minimum equivalent of a case of beer every day. He touted himself as a beer connoisseur since he never touched domestic beers, only the good foreign stuff: Tsing Tao, Foster’s, Grolsch, Gordon Biersch, Tied House (local brewery), and the like. In fact, one of the main reasons I married him was he always had marijuana. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we argued over the absolutely stupidest thing: which street crosses which street. After all was said and done, I gave myself a time out and locked myself in my bedroom. He didn’t like that so he kicked down the door.
Support and care for husband through cancer treatments
Only a few months before his cancer diagnosis I had graduated from San Jose State University. I was the first in my family to get a college degree and I was basking in the glow of my new job at a top semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer. The pay was off the hook and made it possible for us to buy our first home. However, the surgeon painted the absolutely bleakest of pictures for my husband’s future. If he didn’t have surgery, the only treatment course available for a cancer that had no known cure, he would succumb and die.
Believe evidence of recovered incest memories that points to parents
When it was becoming clear that I, in fact, was sexually assaulted growing up, the next question was, “Who did this to me?” My therapist was very careful asking me how old I felt, where was I, what did I see, who was I with. What I heard myself say was unbelievable. The fact was large pieces of evidence already existed but made no sense. Although when I started to put those pieces together and factor in my father was the perpetrator, it all made sense. I didn’t want to believe such madness. I was my father’s princess. I loved him so much. He was the only parent I could talk to, share my heart, not fear retaliation. I figured out what we shared was a trauma bond.
Say goodbye to my husband on his death bed, attend funeral
It was the most difficult day of my life. I was facing my husband’s last breaths and preparing my children for the inevitable death of their father. All of us knew this was coming but no one was ready for that day, not really. After he died, a close friend helped with funeral details. Once finalized the day of the funeral arrived. No one offered to drive us to the funeral. I had to drive myself and the kids in my husband’s car. We were late and we were miserable.
Battle relatives in court, face widowed life isolated from family
Less than two years after my husband died, relatives attempted to serve me court papers asking the court to wrench custody of my special-needs daughter from me. I had no clue grandparents were meeting with Tatiana after school and during lunch at a restaurant across the street from her high school. I was suspicious when she had cash and other miscellaneous items I had not purchased for her. During the first hearing I got even more confirmation about how sick and dysfunctional my home life was. I heard my father tell the judge that he loved me but I was sick mentally. After hearing that even my lawyer felt I was going to lose this battle.
File law suit on behalf of child against school district for incompetence
When my daughter brought home permission slips for watching movies “Troy” and “The Patriot” because of sex, language and violence, red flags went off. Troy was to cover ancient civilization education while “The Patriot” was for the American history segment. Her grades seemed too good to be true. She was obviously struggling but getting amazing grades. That combined with her behavioral problems forced me to decide that I had to disenroll her from school and get her into a boarding school. What made it easy was when, after a three-week stay in a psychiatric hospital, she became uncontrollable in an airport causing us to engage TSA and forcing us to take separate flights home. Less than a week after we got home, she was picked up again on a 5150 and transferred to a safe house where a team of medical professionals evaluated and recommended boarding school. The fight got to a point where although county mental health had no standing in her conservatorship matter, they butted in and opposed my designation. Further, we lost a hearing that determined whether I, in fact, could keep her at a boarding school.
Send daughter to out-of-state boarding school for three years
The last thing I ever wanted was to send my daughter outside of my care to a boarding school. However, her behaviors were making it easier to see why this had to happen. I leveraged my good name and credit to take out loans so I could pay for such evaluations, lawyers, doctors, travel, etc. Initially, I wanted her to attend a boarding school in California but my education consultant and her peers could only recommend one school. It was on the east coast.
File for bankruptcy protection
Before life disintegrated, my credit score was 777. I was investigating ways to bring it up to 800+. Then I was facing unfathomable fights that forced me to nearly zero out my husband’s retirement account. Of course, the 2008 recession didn’t help either. Never in a million years did I thing I would have to file bankruptcy but circumstances forced my hand. As it turned out, it was only the beginning of the fiscal ugly.
Sell home, give away most possessions, rent apartment
Our home was the last major purchase we made together. We loved the location, the schools were off the hook and we felt right at home. Unfortunately, my daughter’s social security was wrongfully terminate and dividends from the retirement plan were shrinking because of losses. I tried everything I could to stall so I could find a job. Few were hiring. Those who were made inordinate demands for skills and were not interested in on-the-job training. The nature of the Silicon Valley I knew and worked in had changed dramatically and suddenly I was struggling to find work, even temp jobs, which I never thought would happen. At the very least, I can do executive secretary jobs but what they wanted was for more than I was able to give.
All of these scenarios have one thing in common: Hopeless outlooks. They appear to be dead and stinkin’ dead. What happens when you surrender these to Jesus? Hope arises.
ABOUT BORICUA CONFIDENTIAL©™
Boricua Confidential chronicles my new life as a single mom of two kids after my husband died from cancer on our son’s seventh birthday. Join me on this journey of change, revival, reformation, discovery and new direction ordered of God. Being a widow ain’t easy, that’s for sure. I refuse to rollover and die. Quite the contrary. I intend to thrive from this crazy life. You can’t keep this woman down. If I’m down, I won’t be for long.
God created me to bounce back. Watch me.