Thursday, April 27, 2017

Never Let Go



The past number of months have been pretty rough for me. I started to realize that I was living in fear. Fear of loss. We've lost so much over the past number of years and I started to feel buried under the weight of grief. The grief caused fear for me. Fear of loss. Fear of being hurt again.
Through the past months, I have found that I let go of my trust in the Lord. Loss after loss caused me to fear that if I trusted God I would get punched in the gut yet again. Let down. Disappointed. Hurt. I feared I couldn't handle another blow. It think I was even mad at God. "Why would you allow this...or that... if you truly love me?" I doubted His love and goodness. All things I have trusted in and leaned on for as long as I can remember. I even felt guilty for struggling. I felt guilty for doubting. I felt shame for not being able to handle it all on my own. "I am strong, and I've been grounded for such a long time. Why can't I get a grip on this?" Grief. That's why. Grief. I've learned that grief is a big deal. Everyone grieves differently and everyone needs the grace to walk through that grief in their own way. Not only do they need grace, but they need love and support while they journey through it. I have had that, thank the Lord. Andy has been my rock as I struggled. He had the faith and peace when I didn't. He prayed with me in the middle of the night when I woke him up drowning under another wave. I had friends that noticed when I wasn't myself and prayed for me. I had friends drop off my favorite soup just to show me love. I had family members check in on me or text me a song at just the right time.
I have also learned that when you are gasping for breath between the waves of grief you need someone to throw you a lifeline to help reel you in. I found that in my new friend Loretta. Once I realized I couldn't get my head above water on my own I reached out for some counseling. Hear me loud and clear. THERE IS NO SHAME IN COUNSELING! That is what counselors are trained for!! We are not meant to navigate life alone. I needed someone to help me sort through what I was feeling and help point me towards truth. After a number of weeks of feeling overwhelemd, I decided it would be best for me to talk to someone who could help me get some clarity. Through a month of meeting with her, I found my hope in the Lord again. I got my focus back on the Lord and not on my circumstances. I've come to realize that we are resilient when we are anchored in the Lord. Though the storm may come and we may get roughed up in the waves, we are never blown away. We are still tied down and the anchor never lets us go.
I feel like we are more than ok now. We are good. We are hopeful and we are trusting in the hand of the creator. Not to say I don't still feel pain because I do! I even still cry sometimes. But, I know that is ok. Life will not be easy and I will experience more loss throughout my years. I will be sad and I will experience more pain. There will even be things that I don't understand and things I will want to wish away. But, I know that no matter what, because I am tied to the anchor I will always be ok. I will always make it through and I will always find hope.
Even though we are still waiting nearly 6 years into this adoption. Even though we have seen family after family adopt and even adopt a second time. Even though we have had multiple birth moms chose other families. Even though we have lost family members to death. Even though we lost an Ethiopian adoption. Even though we didn't get to keep Malachi.....Even though....my anchor holds.
Thank you for your prayers and support. I've needed it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM14VZVu0og

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On My Side



Healing and grief seem to peel away in layers. Like an onion. And it comes in waves. Big, giant, crashing waves. And, you never know when the next crashing wave is gonna hit or when the next layer is going to peel away. For example; At the kids Christmas program at the elementary school. In a room full of hundreds of kids and parents, I couldn't stop myself from crying for at least 20 minutes. I didn't expect it and I couldn't stop it. I am fairly certain people thought I was crazy. Or, like yesterday, when I was at the Dr.... God bless that man and his sweet, precious nurse. I couldn't stop crying. Dealing with loss does a lot to a person. My family has experienced a lot of loss, through death, the past couple of years. A number of my friends have experienced loss the past year or so, and, we as an immediate family have experienced the loss of a child through a failed adoption.
I have found that all of this loss has stirred up fear, anxiety and a lack of hope that I have never experienced before. I am grateful that the Lord has been faithful to bring these things to light for me. So I can walk through it and continue to heal and grow day by day.
I have found that my anxiety comes from the fact that these losses are completely out of my control. Anyone else struggle with wanting to control everything? No? Just me? Mmmm k.....well I struggle with wanting to control everything. Which then takes my trust and eyes off of the Lord. Crap. When I take my trust and eyes off of the Lord, I then become fearful. When I have no trust and I am afraid, I then lose hope. What an ugly vicious cycle. I am grateful to recognize the cycle so I can choose surrender. Daily. Daily I have to surrender.
MLK had a sermon about being strong of mind and soft in heart. (https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/)
I have to daily be of strong mind to make the choice to have a soft heart. The truth is, all I want to do is build a huge, giant, strong wall around my heart. Because somehow that seems safer to me. To make it so hard nothing can disappoint or hurt me. But, the TRUTH is this. If I build that wall I am keeping it from the Lord, from being loved and from ultimately being protected.  Not only that, but I am finding that it physically takes a toll on your body. Stress is a crazy thing full of self-destruction. I am learning too, that it is ok to take care of yourself. To say no when you need to. To take care of yourself and to take moments to be quiet and alone. To let the laundry go, eat leftovers and spend full weekends in your pj's. To realize that everyone grieves differently and in order to heal we have to let go of what others think and do what helps us heal. I've needed these moments. To be quiet and allow the Lord to show me how to heal moment by moment. To learn to let go of control. To chose to be hopeful by trusting in HIM with EVERYTHING even when it feels terrifying. If you think about grief as a huge physical wound it makes more sense to people. If you have a giant hole in your heart you don't try to fix it on your own. You don't just move forward and pretend like it isn't there. If you do, you'll die! You go to the Dr., the one who can heal you and teach you how to take care of the wound until it's fully rehabilitated. It is the same with an emotional wound. You have to take it to the one who heals. Who can then teach you how to care for your wound and walk you through rehabilitation. Right? We have to take that time to take ourselves to the Lord and stop trying to do it on our own or we will emotionally die inside. You can't stop the world from hurting you. But you most certainly know where to go for healing and hope!
People often say that life as Christians is easy because God is on our side. WHHAAAATTT??? I have come to find that life is hard as hell. Life on this earth holds no promise of ease. God doesn't promise an easy life. Not. One. Single. Bit. What He promises is that He is on our side. This means that He will love us perfectly. He will comfort us perfectly. He will guide us perfectly, and He will work all things for our good and His glory. When I remember that, it makes it much more bearable to walk through the trials. It even gives me hope and peace even when there seems to be no reason to have either.
These two songs have been breath to my lungs.


https://youtu.be/R-cVRxhnrY0

This week as I still get hit by crashing waves of grief from the loss of a child that was never mine..... This week as I approach the anniversaries of losing my grandpa and 10-month-old cousin....I will take away some wisdom from the legacy my grandpa left and my grandma is still living out. I will follow the example of my cousin who unfairly lost his son. I will choose hope. I choose hope by trusting God. I choose peace by being strong in my mind and soft in my heart. I choose joy by letting go of the reigns and letting the Lord lead.  Hear me loud and clear. Choosing these things doesn't remove grief or the need to cry it out. Choosing these things doesn't make pain go away or make it easy. But, it brings breath to my lungs and hope and peace to my spirit. It brings endurance to finish the race.
If God is in it, then I am in it.