“Life”

(For Griffin and Carol)

Today is a year since a sweet baby Griffin toke his first breath and then moments later, his last breath.  The grief of surviving the monumental loss is something I can simply not imagine.  From a distance, I have watched my dear friend walk through  heartache with such grace.   Little by little, Carol’s smile returned.  Not the smile you wear so that everyone around you feels okay.  Not the smile you force as people tell you everything happens for a reason.  The smile that radiates from her soul that says, “death didn’t win.”  Carol has bloomed.  Life will never be the same.  Some days will still be unbearable.  But she let life win! (And it was a choice.)

“Life”

Teeming with possibilities.  Ever new.  Hearts unveiled.  Moments immortalized.  Breath unto breath, can we ever know what waits for us.

Dark nights.  Long storms.  Thunder rolls.  Fears embodied.  How do you survive what was not scripted.

Triumph chosen.  Jesus found.  Carried through sorrow.  New season unfolds.

With every breath, in every heartfelt day, death cannot conquer what is sown in love.

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“And yet….”

I am going to share a journal entry/poem/prayer that I wrote today.  Be forewarned, it is a raw reflection.  My last couple posts have been about emerging.  Seeing your value, separating fear from you, etc.  That is just where I am at in life, and so that is what I am writing about.  And though I have those truths that I’ve written of seated well within me, the battle to redefine my reality is real.  Fear doesn’t just relent when we opt out, oh but how I wish it did.  (My guess is some of you know this all too well also.)  Take this for what it is, an honest reflection of my struggle.

“And yet….”

Simultaneously brazen and somehow afraid.  Hopelessly lost, yet fully at home.

A hundred miles I’ve wandered.  Through desolate places I’ve walked.  Dead ends chased with enslaving zeal.  With endless pursuit I have offered my heart.

Value reduced.  Confidence slashed.  “Rock Bottom” priced, once again.  Hope extinguished.  The lie engaged.

Fear fights.

Seeds of value contending to emerge.  Passions aching to bloom.  Dreams once dreamed longing for the warmth of the sun.  Courage held hostage just beneath the surface.  Who can know this battle?  Who can point the way to liberation?  Only my God.

Where are you God?  Carry my broken spirit just a little further.  Find my hand and clench it tight as You lead me the final steps out of the valley that seeks to castrate me.  Silence my enemies.  Be my Redeemer yet once more.  Cause me to know what I know.  Speak again of the promise that cannot return void.  Triumph the adversary of my soul.  Be my strength when all that is left of me is recycled broken dreams.

Lead me just a little further.  Stay close to my side.  Turning back looms with every step.  The last bit is the hardest, so be my strength my Lord.

And as the birthing process goes, God – cause this new life to emerge.  Don’t let fear snuff it out before it takes its first breath.  Make the cries of what’s being born be heard throughout.  Lord, be victorious for me.  Cause me to not despair.  Don’t let the night overpower the dawn.  Hold me close while You extract what was never meant to be…not the new life, but the old dead lie.  You will be victorious my God.  You will be my hero.

And yet…”do not rejoice over me, my enemy.  Though I fall, I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is light for me.”  (Micah 7:8)

Unmasking Fear

It’s the week of Halloween, so why not unmask this bad boy… yep – fear.

I am not a scaredy cat, but I am realizing that fear dominates my life.  I’m not talking about obvious fear like spiders (though maggots are way worse) or gremlins, I am talking about the deep-seated stuff that feels like it’s me.  Fear that lingers and looms and whispers to me at every twist and turn.  Fear that under cuts my confidence and lies to me on a daily basis.  Fear that prevails at derailing me, despite my ability to succeed.  Can you identify or am I just the only one that fear likes to pick on?!

I am way to old for this stuff.  I am in the second phase of my life and burn the candle on both ends chasing kids and dust bunnies and spending more time in my car than in my bed (well, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea).  I have to give the “fear” talk every night as I tuck 4 little faces into bed, confident that the dark is going to eat them alive if their eyes stay shut for more than 30 seconds.  Fear and I are not friends and have been mortal enemies for some time…and yet, daily I give it my deepest secrets to it allowing fear to exploit and torment me.

I’m all done.  I’m pulling back the veil and exposing this impostor.

Here are 3 things about fear that need to be unmasked

  1. Fear is not part of you.

That’s right, fear is not a part of you.  Let’s look at fear like an equation.  It looks like this:

You + Fear = False reality.

In the core of who God made you, fear was not there. Fear feels like it is a part of you, or at least for me it does, but fear is an additive – something added after the original design.  That’s radical, right.  Step back and think about that for a minute.  Fear is NOT a part of you.  You can separate yourself from fear (You Fear = Empowerment).

I’m going to use myself as an example.  My guess is fear is something that was agreed with one time many years ago, that once agreed with decided to make a home my life.  Fear posed as a friend bringing me safety, but in all reality it is the great thief that desires to destroy every inkling of joy that comes my way.  Fear wants me to think it is indistinguishable from me, but fear is a feeling, just a feeling.  An emotion, a thought, often a lie – rarely the truth.  I am not bound to fear because it is not who I am, it is a decision I make.  Thus leading me to point #2…

2.  Fear is a choice.

Yep, fear is a decision.  It can be agreed with or disagreed with.

Fear is the voice that at every intersection of opportunity says, “but what if?”  This is a deep thought (hold on tight, it could change your life) you have a choice!  Let me say that again – YOU have a choice.  When fear presents itself and expects that you quickly agree and hold its hand and pack it in your suitcase and take it on your adventure (so it can ruin your joy)- say no.  That’s right, just say no.  “No, thank you.  There is no room in my suitcase for you to come along and ruin my fun.”

Fear is not a part of you!  Fear can be separated from you.

Fear is a choice we make, an agreement we often don’t see.

3.  “Fear and Faith can not coexist”.

I am not sure who originally said this, but this is a quote from the smartest man I know, my Dad.  Fear and faith are opposites.  There is no room in your heart and mind for both of them at the same time.  Only one of these get to steer your ship at a time.  You can not simultaneously believe you will succeed and at the same time fear you will fail.  Faith will be building in your soul, excited to see you be victorious, and then here comes your worst enemy disguised as your bestie.  Only one of them gets to imprint on your dream and take the lead.  The other gets quickly ushered away to the back office where duct tape is fastened on their mouth.

Ray Edwards says these 12 words changed his life… “Fear knocked at the door.  Faith answered and no one was there.”  (Wow.)  When fear knocks and faith answers, fear evaporates.  Again, they can not coexist.

So, here’s my wrap up.  We get to choose!  We don’t have to be blind followers anymore – how liberating!  This choice is like a muscle, so let’s start flexing it.  Every time we catch ourselves agreeing with fear, just chose to flex your faith muscle instead.  Eventually you’ll be bulging with faith and fear will be a skeleton, begging to be fed.

One or the other.  It is a choice.  And it is not who you are!  So simple it’s hard.

(in)Visible.

Here is a question –  can you see the invisible?

That is a bold question, right?  Are you thinking, “where in the world is she coming from”?  “Like aliens and spirits?!”  …No, no.  I’m talking about what is fully visible in our lives, but yet unseen.  Let me back up a few steps.

It has been a couple of months since I have posted a blog.  I have been exceedingly busy, but really that is just a front for saying that I have been working hard at surviving.  (When you deal with anxiety and ADD, you are almost always trying to avoid the deep dark place of depression and sometimes all else gets put on the back burner of life to steer your ship away from dark waters.)  In the midst of my survival mode it has been the anniversary of when life took an unexpected and devastating turn 3 years ago.  Now, quick side note, I do not live in false hopes of the resurrection of something destructive, but I do mourn for an entity that I created and cultivated with deep love and dedication.  I mourn an ideal my children deserved.  I mourn a commitment that I made, like a seed planted, that did grow, did have roots, did require my nurturing.  I mourn my dreams and expectations.  I mourn.

But more than mourning, I live!  I live beyond the devastation.  I live in a new reality that I don’t completely understand yet.  I didn’t die when my marriage did despite the fact that I had no idea how I was going to survive.  And mark my words, my story is far from done.

(Oops, rabbit trail.  Ok, back to where we were.)  Are you familiar with Newton’s 3rd law?  It is the law of motion that states every action has an opposite but equal reaction.  I believe the same principle we see at work in matter and motion works in all areas of life.  For me, my equal but opposite reaction to mourning has been creation.  But creating what will be is almost as much work as mourning what was.  (It only makes sense, equal but opposite, ugh.)

There, that brings me almost to my opening comment…can you see the invisible?  What has always been in me, (the potential, desire, hope) has always been there, will always be there, but so much of it is not yet visible.  Bringing something into existence, putting skin on it, giving it life, is WORK!  Oh man.  Some days I want to just eat candied pecans and watch Ted talks.  (Uh, that may have just happened yesterday.)

I know I am not in this boat alone.  I am sure there is at least one of you out there in the big world that can feel this deep longing to acknowledge what you know to be true and yet no one can see…sometimes not even you.

I don’t know about you, but I have been in a waiting pattern for something.  Some fictional, mystical thing to take place before I “begin” .  Am I waiting to be told it is ok to dream?  Am I waiting for the planets to align before I make my flight plan?  Am I thinking some fairy godmother is coming to my rescue with a magic wand?  (Maybe a little.)  Yes and no to all of these, but mostly I am waiting for someone to see the great in me and make me want to believe.  Wow.  Can anyone do this for me?!  No.  Seeing the great in you has to come from you, yourself, or you are never going to actually believe it.  In fact, I have the most amazing people in my life who do see it and keep encouraging me to it, and yet it is not enough.  Why is it not enough?  Because I don’t believe it.

I heard this great piece of advice today.  It was in a blurb on fb from Lisa Nichols.  She said, “I didn’t wait for permission to be great, I gave notice.”  Yes.  YES!  Give notice!  You can not sit around waiting for someone to see something in you that you are unwilling or incapable of seeing yourself.  You know it is there, you feel it, you just refuse believe it might be there because then you might have to decide what to do with it.  And if you are anything like me, you have noooooo idea where to even begin – and that is scary.

So, ladies and gentleman (and self), let me wrap this up with some deep advice.  Today is you day.  The waiting period just expired.  You know what is there, you want to believe it…and well today is as good of a day as any day.  Quit waiting.  The permission you are craving is never going to come from anywhere but from within you, so receive it.  See the possibilities.  See beyond the circumstances.  See what might be, not just what is.  See into the abyss with laser like vision as if you can see through to the other side.  See beyond the fog as if the sun just broke through and began to shine.  SEE the invisible!

As long as there is breath in you, there is greatness!  You are not dead and cold, therefore there is still time left to be what you would’ve been.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste another day wishing someone would believe in me, when really it is time for us to believe in ourselves.  I chose to believe today.  I chose to see not only what is, but what will be.  It scares me.  I have no idea how I will ever get there.  But I can’t wait another day hoping someone else sees it.  I am going to see it.  I am going to believe it.  And then, well, I don’t know what then.  I’m going to keep fighting the uphill battle, but with a little more push.  I’m going to start asking for what I want without saying sorry.  I’m going to look at myself different….that is what I am going to do – I am going to look at myself like I am victorious instead of a “has been”.  I will choose to see the gold that I am and not the hunk of coal that someone else couldn’t see the treasure in.

I am going to believe in me.  I’m going to see my invisible.  I’m giving notice today.

I hope you chose to see your invisible.

I can’t wait for the world to know our stories.  When the light in us breaks out, it is going to be beautiful.  Our stories will give light to someone else’s dark road, so don’t give up.  Believe in you.  Because only you can.

Here’s to our invisible!

“About”

I’m a girl on a journey to find myself.

No, I was a girl, now I am a mom.

I am a mom trying to make a way.

Trying to make my way in an unknown land.

An unknown land full of landmines.

Landmines called grief.

(Grief, hmm.  I guess that would be the key word.)

We can never know what life holds for us ….but we can chose what we do with it.

As I sit, trying to fill out the “About” page, it causes me to ponder and reflect- what am I really about?  And you know, I’m not “about” grief, but grief has certainly had a definitive mark on my life.  So much so that it would be the first immediate expression that would come to mind when trying to put words to what I am “About”.

This blog may or may not be about grief.  More accurately, it is probably about how I personally have dealt with my own grief.  The grief and then the waking up process.  The mourning of plan A and scrambling to figure out plan B.  The process of deep sorrow, anger and learning to honor.  The upheaval of all that I have know.  The digging for reasons.  The pure exhaustion of walking a weary road.

It is also however, about hope.  It IS about plan B.  It is about being changed….and renewed.  It is about rebirth!  It is about venturing into the unknown.  It’s about learning to fly.

You know, no one can ever really know your story.  Stop and think about that.  It is a true statement.  No one can ever truly know your pain.  Grief is isolating.  I mean, you can tell your story and people can try their best to identify.  Certainly, some people will have had similar experiences.  But the process of mourning takes you to your own personal cave.  Grief is very isolating.  No two people experience grief the same.

I am talking about any loss.  Some are bigger, some seem not as big, that really isn’t the point; loss is the point.  It is the death of your child, your parent, your marriage…your dreams.  It is when the rug is pulled out from underneath you and you absolutely do not know how you are possibly going to carry on.  It is when you have been hit emotionally so deeply that you can not breath.  I mean, it physically feels like the sorrow is going to suck the life out of you.  “How did this happen?!”  “And what am I going to do???”  It is like the storm in your life knocked you off of the cargo ship you were on and now you find yourself drowning in the icy cold waters that broke your fall.  “THIS was not the plan!”

And there is no timeline.  Who can tell you when your done?  Who gets to say when your sorrow is enough?!

I do not know your pain, but I do know mine.  My cave of sorrow wanted to bury me right beside my loss.  Some days I was a willing participant to death.  Some days there was no fight left in me to continue to survive in the land of the living.  Some days my tears could have filled a bucket.  Some days I wanted to drown in that bucket, just to not have to cry another tear.  But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t stop breathing because there was still life left in me.  Life was like the tiny baby embers of a fire that were barely flickering, but beckoned me not to give up.

My journey back to life from the cave of death has been a rocky, undesirable road.  I have tripped more times than I can count.  I can only hope in sharing my observations along the way that somehow it will inspire you to greater life.  When plan A falls apart and all you are left with is the wretched shards of plan B, I can tell you that it isn’t going to rain forever.  I can tell you that there are always people in the land of the living that will rejoice when you re-emerge.  (I can also tell you there will be too many critics to count, but that it will matter much less when you have forged your own way back from the cave of death.)  I can tell you that nothing can compare to the feeling of the warmth of the sun on your face when you’ve survived your winter.  And I can tell you that one day it won’t hurt to breath…at least not every breath.

So, what am I “About”?  I am about finding life again.  When the cards you were dealt intended to do you in, you chose to not give up.  You chose to stay in the land of the living even though the slumber of your death cave beckons your soul.  You chose hope against all odds.  You forge a way where there is no way.  You find God.  You find yourself.  And you remember, that it is literally darkest before the dawn…and that is what makes the sunrise all the more glorious.

Just one more baby step back towards the land of the living- you’ve got this.

Hello world!

Well, here I find myself joining a large community of online journal-er’s.  It feels somehow a little silly and vulnerable (mostly vulnerable, putting my deepest feelings out there for the whole world to see), but it will be many more years before my memoirs are published and so this will be my outlet for a bit.  (I am totally laughing right now.)

I don’t really know where to start.  Other people have such directed posts.  For me, this is really about making observations in regards to my own life as I’m dissolved and forced to evolve.  The title, becoming unequaled, is bold- don’t you think?.  It almost even feels presumptuous.  That is by no means my point, to be arrogant that is.  However, I am becoming unequaled.  I am tired of trying to fit in with the crowd; hiding and blending, blah.  It is so exhausting and empty trying to be something I am not meant to be.  My heart desires to be what God has called me to, which means being unequaled.  No two of us are alike, right?!  So why do we try to imitate each other when our design intends for something so much more.  Literally, God imprinted it within our very own DNA to be without equal.

My hope is that my ramblings on my personal metamorphosis will inspire others out there to allow God the freedom to undo you also (to the point of being unrecognizable sometimes) and remake you into the creature that flies and no longer crawls.

This journey so often is not chosen and my guess is that it is rarely enjoyable.  It forces many of us, I am convinced, to cry and beg for the normal of what we have always know and over our lives have grown used to.  I think God loves us enough though to not let us settle into our mundane.  Why would He if He really loves us and created us to do something unique and terrifying- terrifying because it is what we (you and me) were created specifically to do…so we don’t know what it is supposed to look like (because no one else has ever done it) and that is scary stuff!

Despite all my fears, I’m choosing to surrender.  I’m learning to lean into this process instead of resisting it with all my might.  And, much like a butterfly, the end product is going to be amazing.  I just know it will all be worth it when we spread our wings and get to see the world with a whole new perspective.

It has to be…what I’ve always known does not exist any longer.

Here’s to the journey!  Cheers.

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