Today’s testimonial story has been shared by my friend Kristi Prince.
To find out more about this series click here.
An Interrupted Fairy Tale
By Kristi Prince
“Once upon a time” – it’s a great way to start a story because you know that whatever twists the plot might take, the ending will always be “happily ever after”.
I love happy endings! In fact, I’m that person that some of you hate. I like to read the end of the story first. If it doesn’t end well, I’m not wasting my time.
I have my own fairy tale. I know the ending, but right now I find myself in one of the many plot twists that I never saw coming. It is only because I have the promise of a happy ending that I can keep turning pages that seem written in a foreign language well beyond my comprehension; one that screams with a voice of fear, anxiety, chaos, confusion, guilt and pain. I pray that by reading the honesty in my story, you will find comfort in your own chronicle. Read it through two sets of lenses. One set is a temporal lens that limits vision to the present life and endures for a time only. The other, praise God, is an eternal lens which is immutable and is graciously provided for us by the true Author. So, I begin my story through the near-sighted lens of my now life, but strive to stay focused on the ending with the lens of my sovereign God of Hope.
Once upon a time (32 years’ worth of time) a starry-eyed 20-year-old stood at a church altar holding the hands of her Prince charming (literally…my last name is Prince). My father officiated. My brother sang. We stood in front of hundreds of people who had braved the ice that cold December afternoon to support us as we began our new adventure. With a naïve love that radiated from deep within, we pledged our lives to one another. We recited the traditional vows and promised to “have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse…” Yep, definitely a fairy-tale beginning. The thought of “worse” was far from our minds.
This Boymom thought she had life by the tail!
Life proceeded just as we dreamed. We were crazy in love. On October 6, 1985 we welcomed our son, Taylor. Two more sons followed. All three looked just like their dad. They were happy, healthy, rambunctious boys and we were so in love with them. We did what we thought were all the right parent things. We took them to church and volunteered in their school. They were outgoing, bright, musical, funny, athletic and most importantly, Godly young men. Sure there were a few bumps in the road, but this Boymom thought she had life by the tail!
Our first plot twist occurred when God called us to adopt a sibling group of 4 from Russia in 2006. This detour could supply enough material for a book on its own, but life was still good. In 2007, Taylor stood at the altar with his biological brothers as groomsmen, Eli lighting candles, Shane bearing the ring and his adorable 3-year-old twin siblings sprinkling flowers down the aisle before his beautiful wife met him at the altar. The fairytale was still playing out according to my script, and in November of 2012 it got even better when we found out we would be grandparents.
Our story turned a new page on April 24, 2013 when, completely unexpectedly, we lost Taylor to suicide. It was as if someone had mistakenly ripped a chapter from some dark novel and shoved it into the middle of my fairy tale. It didn’t fit. The binding was not meant to hold these nightmarish pages whose jagged edges protruded from the spine like vicious teeth waiting to devour. Tim and I found ourselves hurled onto a painful course of obstacles that seemed insurmountable. This was the worst of “worse”. The turbulent voice of grief threatened to muffle any whispers of hope.
Hope doesn’t remove the pain; it simply makes its weight more bearable. –Tweet this!
I can easily understand why such pain is the ruin of many marriages. Your life has been stripped bare. The color of your world has been drained with each tear that you shed. The cloak of grief weighs so heavily that you struggle to breathe. You are left feeling parched and empty. Yet, there is another who suffers in the same way. My man. The one God chose ahead of time to walk with me on this journey. To have and to hold me, for better or for worse. So, we choose to hold each other, and to be honest with one another about the pain.
We cry together. We pray together. Together we choose to intentionally listen through the noise of our unwelcome battle for the whisper of God as He speaks a Fatherly love and peace over us. This is a conscious decision born out of the once naïve love that has matured into a deep, penetrating love over 32 years of selflessness. All those years ago we made a vow to one another under the canopy of the pledge made to us by our omniscient Heavenly Father. We will take the hand of Hope and muddle through this abstruse earthly chapter together. It does not remove the pain; it simply makes its weight more bearable.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
His promise of a lifetime allows us to look through the fog of today and focus on the hope of eternity. Together Tim and I will use His eternal lens to focus on the finish line in order to make it through the pain and anguish of today. Of one thing we can be sure, that while our lives are forever changed, the Author of Life is “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” – Hebrews 13:8. “He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelations 22:13
He has already written our story’s ending. Someday it will be “Happily Ever After.”
Meet Kristi Prince
Kristi began writing two years ago as a therapeutic exercise after the death of her oldest son. Through her blog, “Redbirds in a Winter Tree,” she hopes to encourage others to intentionally seek hope when grieving. In addition to her blog, Kristi is a contributing writer for The Baptist Messenger, and for The Shawnee Outlook.
Kristi and her husband, Tim, have been married to 32 years. They have 7 children, and one practically perfect granddaughter, 4 dogs and a cat. They live on an acreage in Shawnee, OK where life is never dull! You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Kristi and her husband’s story reminds us to hold on to the hope we have in Jesus when life adds an unexpected chapter. I was so encouraged by their determination to stand unified and work through the pain together as one. I hope you were too!
Thank you for following along today. ~Kelly
Be sure to stop by these awesome blogs I am linking up with this week for more encouragement. Click here.