Posted in Devotional

The New Normal

Can you define normal?

The normal most of us have been accustomed to for much of our lives is out there in limbo somewhere scuffling to survive. And, I hate to be the one to break it to everyone, but I don’t think it’s coming back anytime soon.

At times, I have tried desperately to stop the noise. The talk of the pandemic, the political strategies, the negativity, the debate on schools, the opening of the country. It is an abundance of information to process. And, most of it is negative.

It is entirely too much.

And, I don’t have the answers.

Much of the time I don’t know what the questions are.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

I do know we are in this together, although we may not all agree on the situation, we are one.

If you have ever read about the end of times and some of what the Bible says it can be a little intimidating. Scary almost. The Antichrist, the beast, a war waged on Christians.

Before I go off in another direction, my point is simply this. We cannot flip a switch and make this go away. We cannot sit and wait for normal to return. We cannot put our lives on hold.

We cannot live under a rock, in fear, in anger, in oblivion. We must keep moving and trust in the Lord.

We are all grieving right now. We are mourning the way our lives used to be and our freedom. We have unknowingly taken so much for granted, and just presumed living would always be just the way we imagined.

The pandemic has affected most everyone’s mental health. It has been difficult on us as adults and especially as parents. We grieve for our old lives, we grieve for our children losing out on school and sports and socialization. We mourn for what we have always had and always known.

It is a difficult state to be in. Depressing.

It has created an incompetency that our mentality cannot digest.

However, our children are more resilient than we think. We need to give them credit, give them support but keep moving forward, out of this darkness, this fog that is hindering everything good within us.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Everytime I think about what has been taken from me and my family I relate it to cancer.

This pandemic hasn’t caused any grieving that cancer hasn’t already caused us; however, at times, it has exemplified the pain and the alienation and the anxiety.

But, it didn’t cause it, and I’m not going to let it reside over my life.

Another example of what cancer has taught me.

I have been grieving for two years now. I have been a mental mess for most of it, and I find it is sometimes a daily struggle.

Still.

Before the pandemic hit there were times I had to social distance, stay home, sit in a hospital, and wear a mask. Being a caregiver for my hubby, a wound care nurse, giving daily shots, administering IV antibiotics, keeping up with pain meds, prescriptions, doctor’s appointments, scans, and symptoms is more than overwhelming at times.

I never thought I had the strength I have found in myself, and for that I am so thankful. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have a choice.

And sadly, we don’t have a choice in many situations right now, but we do have a choice in how we deal with them.

I have sat alone at night while everyone was sleeping and cried and begged and pleaded for my husband, my children to not have to go through this cancer fight. I have asked God why, I have made myself sick, and I have fought to comprehend what is happening. I have stayed in my nightgown all day, not hardly gotten off the couch, cried in the shower so no one would know, and mislead my friends and family in believing I am OK.

At times, I have lived in fear, struggled to trust in the Lord, and wondered if I had enough strength and hope to get through the day. There have been moments my children were the ONLY focus I had that could drag me out of the darkness. Having the four of them has been my saving grace.

Many of you feel the pandemic has stolen your normal, but cancer stole that from my family awhile ago.

Even on bad days, even in times I fight to stay afloat, I refuse to give in.

I cannot.

I will stay positive for my children’s sake. I will make the most of this situation. It may not be normal, and it may not be what I imagined, but it is what it is. How I handle it is what matters.

It is up to us to make the new normal our normal.

We can let it take us down like quicksand, or we can embrace the change and keep moving forward. The choice is simply ours.

My Refuge and My Fortress

1Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14“Because he That is, probably the king loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91

Posted in Family

Happy Mother’s Day, With Love

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13

I have loved being a mother since the day I set eyes on my baby girl 22 years ago. Yes, it is hard to believe I myself have been a mother 22 years, and the fact I am old enough to have children even older than that is astounding to me. Nonetheless, I am.

Having four children has, hands down, given me the biggest accomplishments, while at the same time giving me the most difficult job, the most heart warming moments, the most joy, the most anxiety, the most heart break, the most laughs and the most tears.

Motherhood has offered the best times of my life, as well as some not so easy times. It has been a journey filled with love, learning, self awareness, acceptance, defeat, sadness, joy, maturity, realizations and lessons.

I would like to be able to say being a mother has been pure bliss, a happy, joyful journey with the best days of my life and nothing less. If I am truthful being a mother HAS been all of that, along with some heart breaking, some painful, and some difficult days as well.

For me, motherhood is without a doubt the best part of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I am so blessed to have four wonderful children who have made my family complete.

I would not trade any part of the journey, good or bad. The joy far outweighs the bumps in the road, and I will love them all the same until the day I die.

None of us are perfect, and we don’t live in a perfect world. Life is not always kind, but that adversity teaches us it is up to humanity to make it better and resist all the bad around us. As mothers we hate to see our children suffer, but it is our job to guide them on how to navigate the path even when it’s a difficult road.

I have always taught my children to be kind to others, don’t judge a book by its cover, or treat others harshly just because your peers may. We never know how people are living and it doesn’t hurt to just be nice to everyone. And, if people don’t bring happiness to your life than distance yourself from them.

I was so proud the other day when my youngest son, who I know has heard me tell my older children exactly that a million times said he just distances himself from people who bother him. It’s the little moments like those that make me feel worthy, like I’m not treading water, and they are actually listening.

I constantly tell my older children, “You don’t have to always do what I say, but you do have to listen to what I have to say.” I call that respect. And, if my own mother (and father) taught me anything, it is to respect your elders.

Many times I feel like the way I grew up and the way my parents were raised is obsolete in today’s society. Call it old fashioned or whatever you like, but I call it essential. As someone once said, if your children don’t learn to respect their parents growing up, they will never respect anyone. There is so much truth in that statement, and I have tried to raise my kids around that exact theory.

If nothing else, no matter where life takes them, I hope they will remember and live by those standards. I am hopeful they will invariably know how much I love them, even though at times they don’t agree with what I think or have to say. I pray they will remember what I have taught them and forever love and respect me.

6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

This is the first Mother’s Day in awhile I will have all my children together, in one house. I am so thankful and excited to spend it with them.

These days I relish every moment we spend as a family celebrating holidays and special ocassions. I don’t take any moments for granted like I have in the past, that things will always be the way they are.

At times, I have forgotten how precious this life is and how quickly it can all change. I worry about my children just as much now that they are becoming young adults (if not more) as I did when they were little. It seems as they grow the worries become bigger and life gets harder for all of us.

I regret I can’t share this Mother’s Day with my own mother, who taught me how to be a wonderful cook among other things, and my aunt who is like a second mother. Both of them have shaped my life and taught me so many different qualities that established the woman I am today. I am so thankful for both of them, and I know they understand how your heart can be heavy when you worry about the burdens your adult children face.

Regardless, of where they may be, they are in my heart forever.

I wish all the mothers out there a wonderful, special day. And, especially for those mothers who are fighting cancer along side their child right now…you have extra love and prayers for many more celebrations with them. xo

13As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 66:13