Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Approval Not Needed

We all have moments we struggle, right?

I struggle, I falter, I sometimes think I can’t get through today. Some thing, some person, some distraction takes my mind where I don’t need to go, don’t want to focus, or just outside my realm. There are just some places I don’t belong.

And, there are other places I just don’t want to be.

I am learning to reduce the noise in my life, surround myself with solitude, peace, and silence. It is amazing how close I can become with God when I turn off the sound. It is a sort of exercise I wish I would have kept up with a long time ago.

Nonetheless, I realize lessons are something I will always learn in life no matter how old I am.

Being more spiritual, believing in a higher power has brought me peace at those uncertain instances when anxiety sets in, I can’t breathe, and I feel as if I am being buried. At times, I feel lost in my life, tormented by the unknown, alone in the darkness, deafened by the silence. Ironically, the same silence that when I talk to God brings me a sense of calm.

My close family members and friends know me. They know the place I am in my life, respect my struggles and sympathize with my pain. They listen, they empathize, they supoort. They may not know how I feel, but they acknowledge my strength, my resilience.

They also know I am human.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 3:23

And, that just validates the reality some know me better than others, and some don’t know me at all.

Everyone in my life has a role, and some roles last longer than others. Some don’t make it through one chapter, but everyone serves their purpose.

As the saying goes, some people are a blessing, others are a lesson.

I am thankful for both.

When hubby got cancer I was a mess. It was like a levee broke, and I was flooded with fears and questions and worry. It consumed me, and it put me in a state of shock.

I have always felt I could handle anything thrown my way as long as I was prepared. A cancer diagnosis doesn’t fall into that category. Most of us believe those are the kinds of things that happen to other people.

It in fact has been a hard year for many people. A pandemic is not for the weak. I know so many fighting cancer, along with numerous other battles. It has been a tumultuous year for us all, and some of us have fought battles this year that no one knows about.

Yes, even in my family.

This whole year has been hell, really. Simply one struggle after another.

Then September rolled around and my upside down world began to tumble.

Removed.

Silenced.

On my knees.

And, I knew then it was time to shut down the outside world.

Why?

Simply because it was the only way I could get through my son’s accident.

I will never get used to my husband having cancer. In one way or another, I am faced with multiple reminders on a daily basis. The rest of the world is not living those moments, but I live them over and over every day as they stare me in the face. No matter how much Jesus I have in my life I am human, I waver. Time and again.

Perhaps nothing can prepare me, or maybe it’s just an adaption I cannot make.

Either way, I have realized it is OK.

It is OK to not be OK. It’s OK to have a bad day, or a bad week, or even two.

It is OK. It just has to be because there’s really no choice.

I will never forget the day of my son’s accident. I will never forget how helpless I felt, how defenseless I was. I will not forget the fear, the pain, the trauma, the sleeplessness, the nightmares, or any of it.

I am so thankful the Lord looked out for him that day, and each time I replay the moments over in my head I realize how blessed we are.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1

There are plenty of tears to be soaked up, but cherishing the silence in my life is helping me manuever my way through a difficult course. It has helped me see where I’ve been and how far I have come.

Writing helps me sort through my thoughts and digest the ones I can tolerate. Those left are simply there to remind me of work to be done, fears I am facing, and a momento of how this is part of a bigger plan.

I know there is a purpose on my path, and slowly, I am fumbling through all the pages to find the bigger picture. This blog has become part of my journey. It is mine, and there are no right or wrong answers. It is my haven, my survival tool, my place to sort it all out and find peace, encourage others, and even follow my dreams.

It is simply a part of my journey I have chosen to share.

I come here, to this place of words and quotes and thoughts, seeking what’s hidden in the quiteness. A refuge for us all to find comfort and harmony. My courage in sharing my emotions and searching for a sense of healing may seem like a vulnerability; however, make no mistake, it is in no way a search for approval.

Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Hard to Handle

Have you ever had a critical realization that impacted your whole way of thinking?

I have an abundance of thoughts and a lack of discernments that could go into making the list complete, and this could quite possibly be why I always need to know the unknown. And, why I try terribly hard to be a realist.

Let’s face it! I have said it before…we spend our whole life planning for the future only to hit the brakes when something tragic happens and then be expected to live life one day at a time. I dont know about you, but I have never been able to shift gears that quickly, nor do I instantly accept change at a moment’s notice.

Maybe when it comes to being a mom or having to think faster than four little ones, but not in a situation that involves every life expectancy I ever dreamed about.

Last week, I listened to a podcast from a lovely woman who has suffered her own heartaches similar to my own. One of the discussions during her segment touched on some mistruths and how she searched the Bible unsuccessfully to find where it says God will not give us anymore than we can handle.

I have thought about this more and more since last week, but more importantly, I thought about this long before I heard that discussion.

For a long, long time I have felt overloaded, over exhausted, and most importantly mistaken. Mistaken for a strong woman who surely was made of steel.

My point being there’s no way I could be as heavily built as God must think.

Not only do I not feel strong, but I don’t want to have to always be. And, why don’t I have any choice in this?

Why was I chosen to be so tough?

As the saying goes, when it rains it pours?

How much can one person, one family take?

By no means am I the only one struggling. I know several people who have the weight crushing their shoulders. I am not alone. And honestly, I don’t want to be here.

People tell me all the time how strong I am, but honestly do I have a choice?

Ever since my son’s accident I have wondered how much more is going to come at us? I feel like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And, since hubby’s illness, I have had this urge to fight the panic that plagues me, to protect my children, and pray they stay safe.

That September afternoon, and the days that followed at the Burn Center, stole every ounce of peace I had built up and robbed me of any hope that my children are invincible in harm’s way.

Fear does not discriminate and a few days ago it tormented me as a feeling of panic consumed me. A quick shower, a missed phone call, and a simple reminder of my daughter traveling back to school flooded my mind with a disquiet. I had this uncontrollable feeling that something bad was happening, and I was deemed helpless.

The fear was unwarranted, unnecessary, but yet it hounded me nonetheless. These are the moments that rob me without warning, devouring any solitude I have found and creating hysteria within my mind.

I feel helpless, beaten, and the anxiety sets in.

I used to find comfort in thinking nothing else will happen because God knows I can’t take anymore.

However, one thing I have learned and know for certain is there are no guarantees.

To finish the story, the point in the podcast was…God will not give us anymore than we can handle without His help.

The lesson is to put your trust in God.

I will admit I have an uneasiness about it. I have this misconception I am letting go of control of the reins. In the back of my mind when I am thinking sensibly and my fear is not controlling my mind, I know realistically I don’t actually have control of any of this.

Life is hard and without Him it is impossible to get through the darkness. The most difficult challenge is letting go and trusting what is not seen to get you through to the light.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5
Posted in Cancer

Anticipatory Grief

Ever wonder why you just can’t shake a feeling?

I will admit since my son’s accident I just can’t rid myself of the aura that keeps plaguing me.

Some days I feel so consumed and overwhelmed that I just lose track of the day. It’s like I have no sense of time or my locality. I lock myself up from the outside world, unknowingly detached from what’s surrounding me, finding myself almost oblivious to any sense of time.

The days have gone by, the weeks, and I am still unaware of what a normal day should entail. I have no recollection of what normal is anymore, and my reality reminds me I never will.

I sit in my daughter’s apartment tonight, staring at a photograph of me holding her, just a few months old, and I long for those joyous days and the happiness I took for granted.

We have this false sense that happiness, once achieved, will be forever more.

There’s no greater joy for me than being a mom, a wife, and having a family. A secure sense of being I feel slipping away week after week. It’s as if I cannot stop the unraveling or the rate of speed I see it happening. I simply cannot go back or stop time.

The uncontrollable thoughts presented to my mind create anxiety and frustration, and I fight to stop the turmoil in my head. The tears that come without any sense of warning, the disquiet I can feel building up in a moment’s notice, and the reasoning behind it all.

We are seven months into a ridiculous pandemic. I wish I could physically start a fist fight with this invasion. Blame it for stealing my peace, my precious time.

However, the emptiness there eludes the liability.

In the rear of my mind, I recognize cancer has stolen much of what is irretrievable; however, there’s no palpable being to blame. I am in a whirlwind, spinning out of control, with no notion of how to make it all stop.

I have tried over and over to make sense of the jumbled thoughts and feelings that torment my heart and mind. I long for one person who can imagine the emptiness, the oblivion that burdens my soul.

No one in my realm shares the hollowness in my heart.

How can I mourn something not yet totally lost?

How do I mend a broken heart?

And, how do I accept the guilt for feeling grief before it’s time?

I never knew anticipatory grief was a real thing.

I know cancer introduced it into my life. An unfair loss of freedom has created a lingering sense that more is yet to come. And, what will earn the credit of the final nail?

Many of us are greiving an old life robbed by a pandemic, but I was grieving loss long before that.

We spend our whole life planning for the future, until we get cheated out of our destiny only to live life one day at a time.

Anticipation, loneliness, fear, anxiety, emotional numbness. None of those are made up nor are they understood. There aren’t enough distractions in a day to balance out the emotions that chase my mind.

I am feeling my way through the darkness, grasping for something in the blackness to steady me, take my hand and lead me into the light. I pray for some sense of peace, belonging, and a place to rest my thoughts.

I pray for strength.

I have read the stories of so many strangers, grappling to provide comfort to those of us lost in a storm. Those who know all too well what anticipatory grief is, the emotions of being a caregiver for someone with a long-term illness, and the anticipation of how it will all play out.

One thing I have learned, one thing that I have lived. One thing that has stuck in my mind. We are simply “not good,” and our response that we are OK does not mean we are. It is simply a false hope, and I’m sorry, but most cannot handle that truth.

No one is ever comfortable with grief or loss. Not the one living it, and not the one watching from the outside, looking in.

28 β€œCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30
Posted in Self Help

On this Road

Is anyone else happy to see October?

I will admit I’m a summer girl, and I hate nothing more than saying goodbye to the season.

BUT, this year (as if it could get any worse…no, I did not just say that) September was about to do me in. It was about to do the whole family in.

Definitely, not a month I want to include in the best memories.

I have been spending so much time making sure everyone else is OK that I’ve neglected myself. The last month and a half I knew I was slipping back into that hole I spent so much time dragging myself out of earlier this year. I have known I needed to step up, stop the process, and do something about it before I was consumed with that darkness.

Some days I would find myself in a daze, wondering where the hours went, looking back in search of the time that had escaped. At times, I felt as if I was in a dream, unable to speak or comprehend what was happening around me. Wathcing in slow motion as my days disappeared without much recollection.

My mind couldn’t focus on anything because it was too crowded with “stuff.”

Worry. Guilt. Sorrow. Pain. Heartache. Confusion.

The judging, the thinking, the feeligs just go on and on.

I have been thinking…get a real job (but who even wants to hire me), find a new hobby (but what this time), come up with something to do that makes me happy (but what is happy).

The truth is I don’t know where to start, where to continue, or when to give it up. Read that sentence again.

Yeah, I know. It makes no sense. Imagine that inside your head?

Today, while reading my devotional, it dawned on me I’m not really ready for some things. I know I’m too fragile minded to handle some situations or tasks. Maybe it’s not my turn, and maybe that’s OK.

As I told my aunt today, I realize God really does know what he’s doing when things don’t transpire in the time you want them to happen. I’ve been at home, with my son, and that’s where I’ve needed to be. Sometimes things just happen for a reason. Sometimes they happen the way they are suppose to happen.

A part of me has this tug at my soul. As I’m navigating my way through the twists and turns of this path I’m on, I’m feeling my way through the darkness. At times, I feel the light shining down on me, and at those seconds I can see clearly. Other moments I find myself in the dark, lost, disoriented, not realizing if I’m moving forward or backwards.

I know two years ago God put me on this track. I sensed it then, and I know it now. My life took that turn for a purpose.

To do good. To make a difference. To make an impact.

I have grown inpatient trying to decipher the reasoning while attempting the navigation of my route. I know I am close, because I can feel it in my heart, yet, I cannot interpret the nebulous message.

I find myself struggling to see clearly and concentrate, like awakening from a vague dream. I sense it buried somewhere within me, one day divulging itself like a melodramatic revelation.

I can close my eyes and feel the anxiety climb from the pit in my stomach. The anticipation high, my patience scattered, and my quest near.

One deep breath after another and all in due time.

Plenty can happen on this road we’re on.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:2-3