It’s the little things 🦋

I always have a butterfly come to me while at the cemetery, since the very first time. Leaving the cemetery today I stopped and looked across the street into the field. I saw a butterfly. Then I saw a few more. I looked closer and there were actually hundreds of butterflies.

A beautiful reminder to take a minute, stop, and look around. I’d hate to think of all the beauty missed, simply because I didn’t take the time to just stop and be still.

Kids and Grief

I was reading a post recently of a fellow widow and it broke my heart. It broke my heart for her and her child and it broke my heart for my own children.

It is a fact that often when someone loses a spouse, they lose many people that were in their life pre-loss. I’ve written about this before and given my thoughts and perspectives as to why this might happen. But, quite honestly, it is just plain sad.

This woman made a post on her personal FB page stating that she was tired of people disappointing her child. Now, normally we save that sort of thing for our widow support groups where we can freely talk about things with people who truly understand. She was brave enough to just come out and say it. GOOD. FOR. HER.

People should know that their actions (or lack thereof) have real and damaging affects on children who have already lost so much. It’s hard enough for us as adults; children should not have to suffer so much loss.

Children who have lost a parent should be shown MORE love, not experience more loss.

PERIOD

Some might not like to hear that but they need to.

I’m gonna go ahead and leave this right here.

Letting Go 2.0

On this day 6 years ago, I had no idea that in one short week, our lives would be forever changed. In an instant.

Some days it feels like yesterday while other days it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime since I’ve seen you.

So much has happened.

You’ve missed so much.

What I’m finally realizing?

I’VE MISSED SO MUCH

The majority of the last 6 years has been spent going through the motions, getting by each day, surviving. We have come so very far, but the fact still remains that I haven’t been able to truly live.

Why haven’t I been able to live?

I haven’t been able to let go.

I wrote a post about this very thing nearly a year ago (click Letting Go to read that post) and I have done what I said I was going to do. I said I was going to try and give the pain over to God with the intention of moving forward.

How is it that I have been working at “letting go” for almost an entire year and my hurt is still so present that I’m wiping tears as I write this?

It’s a process. A long process. It takes intent. It takes work. It’s not easy.

I feel like I’ve done the work, but now what?

I have to make an actual decision, speak it out loud, and really let it go.

I know what this looks like in my mind, but my heart just can’t do it and mean it.

But I have to.

Stay tuned, friends 💕

How do you let go of someone who was so much a part of you? How do you let go when your heart still loves them with every beat? How?

Joni Grief to Life

Unapologetically Me

I love this so much!

I remember a time when my Mom said, stop apologizing! I said, what do you mean??

She told me that I apologized for everything, all the time, even for things that I shouldn’t. What’s crazy is that I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I became so accustomed to saying I’m sorry that it basically became a habit.

I’m what I like to call a “recovering people pleaser.”

I’ve spent most of my life trying to make other people happy, a lot of times at the expense of my own happiness. What I realized is that, in striving to be everything to everyone, I forgot about me. I was like a chameleon, changing (sometimes moment by moment) to adapt to who I was around; just being who they needed at the time. Well, you do that for long enough and you can wake up one day with the realization that you don’t even know who you really are.

Losing one of my identities only complicated this further. I was Jonathan’s wife. So, when I lost him, I really lost my sense of self. For almost 6 years now, I’ve been on a journey of grief, only parenting grieving kids, trying to maintain a household by myself, navigating my way through changed relationships, deconstructing (and reconstructing) my faith, and trying to learn to live again.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to face is seeing myself for who I really am. I realized that I felt my worth was all about what I did for others.

I was Jonathan’s wife

I am Chase and Brenna’s Mom

I am a daughter, a sibling, an aunt, a friend

I am still all of those things and they are important, but above all else, I’m Joni.

I am not what has happened to me

I am not who I used to be

I am not the mistakes I have made

I am not who others think I am

I am not invisible or anonymous

I am not what I look like

I am not what I do

So many of us practically kill ourselves trying to be something or someone else. Desperately and tirelessly attempting to fulfill this imaginary list of qualities or capabilities that we think will make us feel loved or happy. And then we have to spend a ridiculous amount of time tearing through the layers of unrealistic pressures and expectations we have put on ourselves. It’s exhausting. I know because it’s what I have done.

I am the daughter of the most high God, who created me in His image. He doesn’t make mistakes. He formed me with His very hands. He loves me. He created me completely unique, down to my fingertips. So why shouldn’t that be good enough for me??

I am… ENOUGH

Be unapologetically YOU ♥️

When You Don’t Fit

When you feel like you don’t fit where you used to, it can take you to a really low place. The thing to remember is, it’s not your fault, don’t stay there. It’s hard to realize that there are things that you just can’t change, but that’s part of life. Along with the good, life brings change and loss. Move forward knowing that God, if you let Him, will place you where you fit perfectly. 🌈🙌🏼💗

The Next Chapter

There are things that I need to do and things I need to finish in order to move forward into the next chapter of my life. I’ve been working hard at this.

One of the most important things that I need to do is proving to be extremely difficult. I need to finish the book that I started several years ago.

Most people would assume (after hearing I’m writing a book) that the idea came to me after losing my husband. I actually felt led to write a book two years prior. I wrote, off and on, up until I got to the point of writing about our accident.

You see, my husband and I went through a lot of trials throughout our marriage; many of which could have ended it. But, we never gave up in each other. That, to me, is a story worth telling; a testimony.

What sort of testimony did I have now?

Here I am, almost 6 years later.

My story isn’t at all what I thought it would be originally. But, I definitely have a story to tell. It’s just a different one.

I have struggled in trying to understand why I haven’t been able to finish, but I think I know now. Finishing the book might just mean the literal finishing of the chapters of the life I once knew. I know in my heart that this could be a very important part of my allowing myself to move forward. As much as I want and need that, the truth is that I’m scared. I want to let go of the the pain, but there is a part of me that holds on out of fear of letting go of him.

I actually wrote on the subject of letting go awhile back. It couldn’t be more relevant than it is now. You can read that post here: Letting Go

I’m going to do this.

I need to do this.

Wish me luck, my blog family.

xoxo Joni

Purpose over Pain

It’s one thing to think it. Some days you just need to say it out loud…

“My purpose is greater than my pain.

My destiny outweighs my history.

My hope is greater than my hardship.

God’s grace outweighs my shame.

My blessings are bigger than my burdens.

God’s favor outweighs my failure.”

Joni 💗 Grief to Life

The Caregiver

Hey blog fam!
A good friend of mine just started his blog and it’s already amazing! He’s a great writer with a powerful story. Read this entry and give him a follow!

One More Day

My greatest and worst job I never asked for…

The caregiver wears the hidden superhero costume under their clothes. They dare not show fear, never be scared, never shed a tear, even when it’s peaking out from the corner of his eye. You must be brave and courages at all times. The person your giving care to only needs to see this side of life.

But what happens when the care giving has to end? No more medicine to give them, no more needles to inject into their bruised skin, no more cleaning them, no more feeding them, no more waiting rooms, no more doctor appointments, no more seeing your loved one going through so much pain. What is our superhero to do?

The rush and intense feeling the caregiver gets when the treatment works and the medicine has no side effects. Your getting out of the hospital today! Your…

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