Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Being Punished?

I feel like I have retreated into my shell the past couple of weeks.  I don't know if it was Justin's Memorial, or just the fact that we are living our first May-August, or the dread of the upcoming August 11th; maybe I'm just trying to not stress about anything with being newly pregnant; probably a little of everything.  But all of a sudden I just didn't have anything to say....to anyone. I stopped calling people, stopped blogging, I was just kind of here, going through the motions. 

That sounds a lot more dramatic than it actually is.  If you run into me on the street, I'm not down and depressed.  I am still enjoying my life, cherishing my children, spending quality time with my husband, and reveling in the fact that I have another little blessing growing inside me.  It just seems that if you scratch the surface, even just a little, I am a little more melancholy and numb. 

I think I subconsciously decided that I was not going to think about anything painful for...the next couple of months, maybe?  I don't know.  I don't know if I was doing that because I thought the pain would be too great right now in May-August, or if it was because I didn't want to stress out the first few months of pregnancy.  Either way I pushed all of those feelings down somewhere, believing that I could just suppress them for awhile, I guess.  The funny thing about suppressing feelings though, is that the only thing that really does is makes you not think about the positive in situations.  The negative thoughts are bound to pop up whether you like it or not, but because you are not "thinking" about things, you are not arming yourself with the positive thoughts to counteract those evil ones. 

All of a sudden I kept wondering if I was being punished for something; if that is why we couldn't keep our baby, when other's get to keep theirs.  I'm not sure where this thought came from, (well I know exactly who placed the thought there,) but I don't remember ever thinking that before.  And once again this sounds dramatic, and it really wasn't.  It was just kind of in the back of my mind a few too many times that I was forced to acknowledge it's prescence.  Which of course led to, "Did I do something really terrible to receive such a horrific punishment?" "Am I that awful of a person that I deserved this to happen?"  "How did I make God that mad??"

These were just thoughts invading my mind, I knew in my heart that my God is not like that. But because I had chosen not to "think" I wasn't prepared for those accusing thoughts, and just let them fester in my head.  I don't think I realized quite how much it was affecting me until we were at church Sunday. As I looked at the bulletin and the outline of the church service I realized that the closing song happened to be, "Jesus Loves Me" and something hit me; all of a sudden I needed a little hope, a little light, a little feeling of some kind because I had become so numb lately.

"Jesus Loves Me," always reminds me of Justin. I sang that song to the boys for the first time the night Justin passed away, we sang it at his funeral, and then again at his memorial.  It is such an innocent song, with a lot of meaning.  It is the epitome of a child's christian song, that I think sticks with you into your adult years.  For me, singing "Jesus Loves Me," it takes me back to being a child and hearing, or realizing, for the first time that JESUS LOVES ME.  It's just an innocence that sticks with you.

After seeing that song in the bulletin, I prayed that Pastor T.J's message would speak directly to me. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would work in a way just for me, open my mind, my heart, and my ears that I would be able and willing to listen to what I needed to hear from the Lord that day.  Did you know that the Lord hears your prayers??? ;)

Pastor T.J's message last Sunday was on the unconditional love that God has for us.  That it is not what we do, or don't do, it's not what we say or don't say, it's nothing we have control over. God loves us the same...all the time...regardless.  Are there things I can do or don't do that are pleasing to God? Sure!  But it doesn't make Him love me any more.  Are there things that I say or don't say that are not pleasing to Him, and even disappoint Him? Oh yes! But that doesn't make Him love me any less.  He loves me the same today as He did the day I was born, the day Justin was born, the day Justin went to be with Him; nothing has changed that.   I am not any better or  any worse than anyone else.  My sins are not less than or greater than the next mommy's. My life is not easier or harder than anyone elses.  Every single one of us has had devasting heartbreaks and insurmountable joys.  Some of us feel the heartbreak that comes with the passing of a child, others a parent, a sibling, or a spouse.  Some of us it's bankruptcy, or the loss of a job, or a friend.  Either way pain is pain.   And every one of us has been dealt pain; but every one of us has experienced joy as well.  Whether it is a new baby, a new love, a new job.  There is joy. We are not being punished we are all just handed different circumstances in our lives to grow from and learn from, and handling it in the best way we know how.

There is a way I am supposed to live my life, a set of rules I am told to follow, it is all there in the Good Book, but the Lord knows that it is not a matter of "if" I fail them, or even when I will falter.  He knows that already, He forgives me, and it does not change the love He has for me.

 I am not being punished. If I were punished in the way I deserve for all of my sins, I would have taken that beating on the Cross, and not be gauranteed a home in Heaven, but the Lord saved me from that. I am not being punished because Jesus took the beating on the cross.  He died so that I would not be punished.  “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) "Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God sees only the righteousness of Christ when He looks at us. Our sin has been nailed to the cross with Jesus, and we will never be punished for it."  This is just all part of a plan that is so much bigger than my own.  I am not punished I am blessed.  I am blessed everyday that I wake up healthy, with happy, healthy, beautiful family, my children, my husband, my family and friends, food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes to wear.  I am blessed.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God


  1. Once again, your blog does more than just reach the tired souls of those suffering from the same affictions as you, Sis. Once again, allow me to reaffirm that your outlook, and your faith, restore hope and serenity in those tortured not by the loss of a child, but also in your sisters and brothers who face unrelated harsdships, who like you, allow Satan to depress them on occasion with self-pity and resentment. Through you, Mary, God speaks to us; those who are looking to hear Him speak. Those of us who need to realign our spirits and our thoughts, and thus, our actions. Who are we to cry out that He has forsaken us?? Who are we to wallow in self-pity, to question His wisdom, His reason, or His grace? For it is only through HIM, that we are forgiven, and it is only through faith, that we are restored. Was it not his ONLY son, Jesus Christ, who was left battered and bleeding on the cross for the world to scorn and belittle?? Did He not carry the weight of our sin and our ugliness? When I woke up this morning...I certainly wasn't praising God for my many blessings, or worshipping Him with a thankful heart. No, I was allowing Satan to corrupt my heart and my soul with hatred...looking at my life through angles of self-pity. Through you, my sweet sister, God whispered He loved me...and that He is right here...with His arms still wrapped around me. If I had not read those specific scriptures...the ones you applied to your blog....I am not certain that I could have overcame my self-loathing today, for Satan had his claim on my heart. May He bless you, lift you up, as I will do for you as well in prayer. I love you!!

  2. That was such a sweet comment. Thank you so much! I love you and I will continue to pray for you. I know God has some mighty plans laid out just for you, you just have to get through some of the pain and strife to get there I think. Maybe these lessons and circumstances are giving you the strength, knowledge, and wisdom for something great in your future. I'm sure whatever it is, it will surpass anything we could ever put in place on our own. Love you!

  3. Mary.. I meant to comment on this awhile ago, but never found the time.. I completely understand how you're feeling. I sadly spent most of last year feeling that same way. It wasn't anything dramatic, just a small shift in your thinking, or not thinking for that matter. It hurt too much to think about WHY this was happening to us, so I just stopped thinking. And since we didn't know much for sure at the time, I didn't have hardly anyone to talk to about things.. so I just tried not to think about it. Which led me to not thinking about God. Which led me to really really doubt that God is even real. It's so true that the Devil can sneak that in you so easily because I find it easier to believe and trust in big, frightening situations that are totally out of my control. But it's the every day that gets hard.. I am in a much better place than I was a year ago, but there is still a very big part of me that knows I am just not feeling things. Just hiding it away.. I am a little numb under the surface as well. I feel like I need a giant bolt of lightning to hit me to shake me free of this. There's just so much I don't understand and am angry about, it's easier to not think about it. Thanks for sharing. :)