No resolution; just hope

You will see lots of posts about resolutions. You will see lots of posts that say it’s just another day. Either way you look at it, it is good to stop and reflect. It’s good to take time to think about your life, where you’ve been, the direction you want to go. I don’t do resolutions per say but I do typically look toward the new year with certain hopes. In looking back I realize that, although some of them did, a lot of those hopes each year didn’t come to pass. Should that mean that maybe it is time to give up on the idea that there are better things/better times ahead? It would be easy to do just that, I can assure you. I didn’t come this far to just give up now though. So, I’m going to think about what lies ahead and do so with renewed hope that the coming year is going to be better.

I sincerely wish you and yours the very best year ever and pray that you too will look forward with expectancy and hope.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours all the best this Christmas.

To my friends who are missing someone special, my heart is with yours.

To forgive or not to forgive?

Why is it so hard to forgive?

This troubles me as, until this last year, I have always forgiven easily. Or did I?  I question that because things that I thought I had forgiven have crept back up; this time more difficult to get past.

I’m far from perfect and I make mistakes every day. No one is perfect and I don’t expect that from people in my life. People will disappoint you and let you down. It’s human nature. I feel like I can typically let things go. But what about those things that caused a hurt so deep that you just can’t seem to move past? How do you deal with those things?

“I have always believed that forgiveness is a gift that you can give someone; one that doesn’t cost a thing. But it does cost. It costs dearly I have found.”

I used to forgive people for them. But, I have since found that it is actually more for me. I really can’t stand to hold grudges or have the feeling of unforgiveness in my heart. So, if I can’t do it for them, I should just go ahead and do it for me. I guess I’m just not there yet.

To be continued…

The Empty Chair

I wrote the following at this time a couple years ago:

Here we are again, another special day without you. I know you would want me to be happy, I will try to push through. I’ll do my best to smile. I’ll try hard not to be sad. I will think of treasured memories, in spite of missing you so bad. No matter what I do though, it still feels so unfair. Because despite my best efforts, I can’t ignore the empty chair.

SANGRY

Yep, that’s right, I’m sangry. As a widow, there are lots of days that can’t be adequately described. So what do we do?? We just make up words! So yeah, I’m in sangry mode. I’m sad. I’m angry.

Sangry started on Sunday awhile back as I was thinking back to what Sundays used to look like… I woke up beside my best friend. The day revolved around God, family, and church. We were together. The four of us.

I got to thinking about what a big part of our lives church was. It was our history, our present, and our future. We had so many plans. I had so many hopes for the future. I could see how it would play out. We would do it together.

Absolutely everything changed on June 19th, 2012 when he was taken from us.

Where does one go from there?? We went from a family of four to a family of three. I went from being a wife to being a single mother. My kids went from having a father to being fatherless. In an instant.

As difficult as it was to walk back through those doors without him, I kept my kids in church every Sunday that I was able. For me, it felt like going to the funeral again. Every Sunday. I was trying to “do the right thing.” I was trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Trying is the key word. What was “the right thing” was no longer clear. Normalcy no longer existed in our world. After 8 horribly difficult months, I realized that there was no way I would be able to move forward while being there every week. There was too much history there.

I found the Lord there at the age of 18. I was only visiting; watching my (then) boyfriend play the drums. A year later he asked me to marry him there; from the stage, in front of everyone. That same year we were married there. Shortly after, we had two children and we raised them there. After making it through some very difficult times, we renewed our vows there. And then… His funeral was there. 

I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t be there anymore.  It hurt too much.

I didn’t want to leave but I genuinely felt like I had no choice. I was torturing myself trying to “do the right thing.” It was painful and I felt completely out of place. So, we started going somewhere else. It was still difficult, just not in the same way. Close to a year later I decided it was time to go back. By that time I had felt much further removed than before I left. But now it was more about conquering something. Walking back into something so that I could say that it didn’t get the best of me. And that’s just what I did.

I won’t go into all of the reasons surrounding leaving for good nearly 9 months ago, but I did. I will say that it was extremely hurtful to watch what “should have been” my life, play out in front of me; a different cast while I look on from the outside.  For those of you who don’t know my history, my husband was the Praise & Worship Leader at our church.  When I thought about the future, it entailed him evolving in his ministry while I did the same with mine.  But, we would do it together.

I did some “church hopping” for awhile but never landed anywhere permanently. And now, I rarely go. Don’t worry (to any of you that gasped with **insert reaction/emotion here**) I haven’t gone to the dark side. I’m no more of a sinner than anyone sitting in a pew on Sunday. I’m just a little lost right now. I still love God. I still pray. I’m just trying to find my own way. I’m trying to examine my heart and my hurts and then search for something real.

My post wasn’t meant to be about church. I only intended to use it as an example as it was such a big part of our lives for so many years. The point is that everything changes when you lose someone that was such a huge part of your everyday life. I’m reminded of what I wrote in 2014:

“When you lose someone that was so much a part of you, you lose your identity too. Learning to live again is so difficult. You don’t know your place, where you fit anymore. Everything is different. Nothing will ever be the same.”

Here I am almost 5 1/2 years later and I’m still so lost.  Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of work; I have come a long way. But, I realize that there are still so many things I need to work through.  The sadness, most likely, will never go away although I look forward to it lessening.  The anger shouldn’t last if I allow myself to feel and work through it; eventually accepting things as they are.  But for now, I’m sangry and I’m okay with that.

The Struggle is Real

There are things that I hate to admit; mainly because of how I am supposed to think and what I have learned to believe. Those aren’t the things that I would typically write about. But, I realize something… If I only write about the things that would “sit well” with others, I’m not writing with real honesty. I have believed in everything I’ve put out there; I just tend to leave out the things that might make me “look bad.” Thankfully, I’m learning not to care so much about that.

I truly believe that, popular or not, it’s the things that we are afraid to say that are what people really need to hear. We need to say them out loud. We need to talk about them. In turn, others will feel freer to do the same.

Writers should inspire others. Inspiration doesn’t come from “rainbows and sunshine” writing alone. Positivity and self-help is extremely important but, so is talking about real things; what it’s like being in the midst of struggles and all that it entails.

I talk a lot about the beginning of an issue and being on the other side of it. What about the times when you are stuck in the middle of the struggle; when you can’t seem to find your way to the other side?

What’s the good in talking about the victory without mentioning the truth that is the walk through the struggle?

IMG_2922 2I say all of this to say that I want my writing to be real. My life is very real. My struggles are very real. Why hide the parts that could truly help someone? Nothing helps someone more than to be able to relate to someone going through the same thing; someone who truly understands. Good, bad, everything in between… That’s where I go from here.

We jokingly say it all the time but the struggle really is real.

Hurt n’ Church

I read a FB post about how important it is for Christians to be careful how they treat non believers; especially when it comes to correcting wrongdoing. I have to say that it is also as important to be mindful of how we treat other Christians. Just as much damage can be done there! 

I hate to say it but to be perfectly honest, I used to get annoyed when I heard about Christians getting upset and leaving church over something that offended them. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about because offense and hurt aren’t necessarily the same thing, but still… I always thought that they should be less easily offended and more understanding. Not only that but; it’s not God’s fault! But, I have a different heart these days for people who have been hurt by others who call themselves Christians. Because I’m one of them!

I love the Lord with all my heart and no amount of hurt caused by others will change that. That being said, I’m leery to fully commit to a church again. I hate this; especially because I know in my heart that the actions of few don’t speak for the body as a whole. 

Do you have an experience with Christians that has negatively impacted you and how did you get past it?

Kids n’ Grief 

As incredibly difficult as it has been to deal with pain and loss as an adult, I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for children. Sure, I see the ways they struggle and I’ve been there to witness how the void left by the loss of their Father effects them. But, I still cannot fathom how their young minds and hearts process and deal on a daily basis. 

As their Mother, I am there for them in every way I know how and am able. I can give hugs and wipe away tears but I can’t fix it. What a helpless feeling to have as a Mother! I try to encourage them to be positive, push forward and to look on the bright side. I have to be honest though, sometimes you just have to say, this really really sucks! 

These kids get up and do life, while having to deal with something that no one else sees. They are strong and amazing. But I have to be honest, not only does it completely suck; it pisses me off! 

I don’t bother asking the question why anymore. I’m way past that; but still… It is so far beyond me how two young kids can have to bear so much. 

They didn’t just lose their Dad. They have suffered loss upon loss upon loss. Dad. Home. Relationships. Church. Innocence. I could go on and on. It’s just not fair. No, life is not fair but all of this… I don’t get it. The saddest part is that I feel like they receive more judgment than compassion. 

All I can do is keep moving forward and walk beside them the best I know how. That, and pray that they don’t grow cold from it all. 

Purpose N’ Pain

There was a time in my life as a young woman when I felt as though I had gone through more in my life than some ever would in the entirety of theirs. What gave me hope in that was the fact that I somehow, deep down in my heart, believed that God would place people in my path whom I would be able to help. I believed that as I walked through my struggles along this journey, I could be the person for others that I may not have had; that I wish I would’ve had as I was going through something. This hope gave me a sense of peace and it also gave me the strength to persevere and push forward. Hey, why not try to make positives out of the negatives?! Now, don’t get me wrong, that didn’t make the things I went through easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have walked through some painful things in my life. I’m just saying that is what helped me make sense of things.

Interestingly enough, that was before the accident I was in that claimed the life of my husband and the Father of my two children. Yes, as much as I thought I had been through before, I had no idea what hell was to come. As strong as I thought I was before, I really didn’t have the first clue what strong was until having to navigate life as a single grieving Mom of two grieving children.

Over time, it became increasingly more difficult to hold onto the “roses and sunshine” attitude of believing that my struggles would be used to help others. As the days passed and I continued the attempt to acclimate to this new life that I didn’t choose, the very thought of that same attitude just made me angry. I had come to the place where I believed that pain must be my purpose in life.

I no longer felt peace in thinking that way. I no longer felt hope. I felt used. I felt cheated. I felt tired. I felt weak. I felt exhausted from trying to be strong. I felt alone!

The journey of navigating through the helplessness that I battled is for another time and another post. But, I will say that I finally got to the place where I was able to think about the way I used to view my struggles in life, in a new way.

This revelation helped me tremendously:

“My struggles aren’t my purpose but, I can take my struggles and give them purpose.”

Don’t be Scared of my Grief

Why are people so scared of grief? 

Why are people so uncomfortable with other people’s pain; so much so that people would rather stay away than actually be there when you are hurting??

I’ve thought about this SO many times over the last five years. For the longest time I have done nothing but make excuses for people. 

But let’s get honest here… 

When someone has a major loss in their life, shouldn’t people be around? Is it that person’s responsibility to reach out and try and get people to be there? Maybe the answer is yes, I don’t know. But you know what?? I think that is not only wrong but it flat out sucks!!! 

Look, I get that people are uncomfortable with other people’s pain. I get that it’s easier for people to assume that the person has lots of people around them and tons of support. I get that it’s easier to just think, aren’t they over it already?? 

Guess what??? When someone suffers a life altering loss, they don’t expect you to have all the right answers. They don’t expect you to fix it. You don’t know what to say?? Let me help you… Just say something! You don’t know what to do?? Let me help you… Just show up! 
And while I’m at it let me help you with one more thing… We don’t get it over it! Ever!