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 Self Help

Out of Touch

Can we be honest?

I’m not going to lie! Lately, I’ve been a little out of touch because I have been wrestling with staying upbeat. I mean I’ve been super busy with family and kids and life, but who can’t say that?

Hubby mentioned the other day he hadn’t seen a blog post in awhile. Yeah, it’s true. I have been off the grid a little more than normal, but actually, I kind of like it. It’s hard to be social and happy while grappling with the weights on your shoulders.

Not that cancer isn’t enough of a nasty curve ball, but this crazy pandemic, a country divided, all the hate and evil amongst us.

What happened to us?

What happened to the free and the brave?

What happened to our America the Beautiful?

It’s shameful the only unity we have is we take life for granted. Think about that for a minute.

Well, unless of course you’re dying or terminally ill.

Do you realize ALL the people who are dying of cancer?

I bet those people don’t abuse the life they were given, wasting it away on fighting with their neighbors.

Life is much easier in a bubble.

I’ve never thought of myself as socially shy. I don’t have a problem talking to people, but I do have a problem pretending. And, I do get social anxiety. It takes a lot of effort to put on a smile and pretend I am mentally strong. It takes energy to make everyone believe I am OK when I’m not.

I AM mentally strong. Some days I just don’t want to be.

Living with cancer in your household is emotional. It’s a roller coaster, ups and downs, twists and turns. Even when it’s not front and center, it’s there lurking. Just a thought away, a reminder somewhere you turn.

You live with it, without a choice.

All.

The.

Time.

I am learning to manuever that obstacle. For myself, to support my children, my hubby. I’ve learned if I don’t take care of ME, there won’t be enough to go around.

Family is priority so I hope no one takes it personally when I decline an invite, or seem disengaged, or silent. Sometimes our schedule doesn’t allow for socializing, and other times we would love to hang out. And sometimes, we just aren’t up for company.

It has been a hard few months. Cancer just took one dear soul from us. I know people who recently got diagnosed. I know lots of people who are fighting. And, it all hits too close to home.

There’s a daughter taking a last minute trip to see her dad who is fighting for his life. There’s a mother counting down the debilitating chemo treatments she takes her terminally ill son to every couple of weeks. There’s a wife in the cancer center who is puzzled about how her husband got mesothelioma but was never exposed to the contaminants. There’s the husband grieving for his wife, the children who lost their mother, the women who lost their best friend.

None of them have a choice.

I look at my children, my husband and then in the mirror at myself.

It’s difficult to cope some days, and I can sense the world wanting to crumble around me. All the suffering and pain just floods my head to the point I feel like I’m drowning in it. My head hurts. I’m tired. No energy. No will to do anything.

Some days it’s too much. But, that’s not every day. I’m not going to set up camp there.

Some days are good. Some days I’m motivated and have the drive to conquer the world.

Some people tell me not to focus on all those situations or not to be a part of those cancer groups because it just makes me upset. What they don’t realize is what else it does to me.

It helps me NOT feel so alone.

Summer has been good for me in the sense I can just focus on my family and stay out of any kind of scene. It’s a good distraction to be able to listen to the ocean, sit out and soak up the sun, hang out with my family. It’s been good to make the most out of a bad time in our country by us all just being together.

Some days I’m happy to not share anything or feel vulnerable. I don’t mind sharing when I have my head on straight and the energy to help others; however, when a battle is going on inside my head, it’s hard to help myself much less anyone else.

Sometimes it’s just easier to cope when you stay out of touch.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Matthew 7:13-14