Here We Are Again #Confessions #SixYearsofWidowhood #SixYearsofLifeChanges #SixYears #BrokenGlassCastsMoreRainbows

Here we are again, October 25th. Every year since this date became one of the most significant turning points in my life, I’ve found October has brought with it a different cocktail of emotions. The journey is always different but consistently meaningful. For those of you reading this who don’t know what I’m talking about, October 25th is the day Chris left this world for the next. That day was a Friday and this is the first time since the date has fallen on a Friday.

As I’ve done often in these last six years, I must confess and share my feelings of how this October has affected me. This has been an October with great highs and great lows and so many plot twists in my life that it should be no surprise as to why my neck hurts. (Seriously, my neck does hurt either from age and/or emotional whiplash.)

First off, there’s been an intense uprising of anxiety within me. Probably the most intense I’ve had or rather remember having in the last several years. I credit part of that to being “awake” again. I’ve been walking through a period in my life of unhappiness, confusion, and sadness. Truly, I’ve felt like my own version of the walking dead. I don’t know exactly how I “lost” myself again or how I fell back into a lifeless stupor but I’m sure the additional losses in my life have played a factor.  That coupled with an insanely busy schedule with no writing time and almost non-existent “me” time contributed to the state I was in.

As God always does, He found ways to speak to me again, ways to remind me of who I am, and who I’m capable of becoming. He again provided the grace and divine providence to wake me up. And again I’m so thankful. With this re-awakening all the feelings have flooded back in full color and so it makes reasonable sense that anxiety has found its way back in with the other emotions.

This time God’s providence came in the forms of a book and a person. I was reading the last assigned book in my first doctorate class, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. If you’ve never read it, you should. It’s short and the story rings true. It is all about change. After reading this book, I recognized that at some point I’d become complacent in my life and I’d lost my focus. I’d stopped seeking my “cheese” and had allowed the waves of life to push me out to sea not realizing that I had oars I could use to get me back to shore.

Equally well timed, the next day my path crossed with a significant person in my life and instead of floating out to sea I grabbed the oars and rowed towards my goal. Anxiety and fear splashed in my face but I still kept rowing. After spending an evening with this special person, I suddenly remembered who I was and realized it was time to make changes in my life because I wasn’t living MY life I was living someone else’s life. I was trying to fit myself into a box that wasn’t right for me and then wondering why I was so uncomfortable and unhappy.

I have this plaque thingy I bought from Hobby Lobby this past spring. It has a quote on it that says, “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.” It spoke to me at the time but I couldn’t figure out how it truly applied to my life because I felt complacent, scared, and frankly too busy to think about what I wanted in my life.

I talked a lot this year about how I felt I’ve lost my hope and I’ve had a hard time chasing it down and keeping hold of it. But after reading a book and spending an evening with an amazing person and all the prayer I’ve done along the way, I realized I’d stopped moving towards my dreams. I’d stopped making plans and doing things that actually made me feel alive. I’d given up on how to get there because I had no idea what to do next.

At my Mamall’s (my grandma’s) funeral this past summer, I spoke about this wall hanging she had above her chair. The wall hanging carried a simple three-part recipe for happiness. It said in order to be happy we need someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.

I’ve had so many “somethings to do” for the last fourteen months that it hasn’t allowed me the time to properly love the “someones in my life” or hope for something more. Suddenly the perfect storm hit—the book, the person, my personal limits—they all slammed into my spirit.

I pray every single day for my person and for a family of my own. Every. Single. Day. I pray for this. I pray for him. I pray for us. I pray that I am doing all the things to become the woman who is worthy of him and them. Every day without fail and sometimes multiple times I pray for this. I’ve prayed rosary after rosary, prayed novenas, lit candles, kneeled in church on Sundays, and wrote letters to God. I continuously petition for this BUT I haven’t been moving towards it. I’ve been letting life carry me wherever it wishes instead of taking intentional steps to get to him, to get to them, to prepare my home and my heart for them. Nope, instead I’ve just been working my butt off on a relentless cycle.

That all changed this month. I’ve made choice after choice and have been listening to the quiet voice that whispers to us all. I’m making accommodations so that I can write again. There are other things in the works like a podcast and a nonprofit organization—all centering on the one thing most dear to my heart—family. 

October carries harsh memories for me but it also carries the most important one and that is change is the only guarantee in life. The leaves change during this month. My life dramatically changed during this month six years ago.  Death is real and it comes for us all. But life is just as real and it is brief. If we don’t change and pursue those desires of our hearts, our true purposes of this life, then we’re crawling into our coffins while there are still beats left in our hearts and breath left in our lungs.

I distinctly remember the first time I was at the cemetery and I had this feeling that I needed to leave because my life wasn’t in the cemetery. I was trying to crawl into my coffin well before my time and then I wondered why I felt so dead. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson the first go around so I’m circling this mountain again, but that’s okay. I’ll get it down eventually. 😉

My entire life changed six years ago. A part of me died—the old Michelle died that day. I find myself grieving her a bit right now—her innocence, her old life, her blissful ignorance.

But with death comes rebirth. This month I’ve found myself falling in love with myself again (in a healthy way not the narcissistic way.) I’m proud of who she is, her ability to be bold and daring, to be soft and strong at the same time, to be completely terrified but still staring the challenge in the face, her ability to believe and trust in God. She knows how painful death and loss can be and yet she’s still going for it. And so, I have to give her a break for being anxious. I have to give her a break for being emotional. Because she’s coming out of her coma and she needs a little time to tend to her wounds while she races towards the next goal.

October, here we are again—a month filled with tumultuous changes. I don’t know what you’ll hold for me next year but I guess that really doesn’t matter right now.

So today, on the day that Chris left this earth for the next, I celebrate life with all its beautiful brokenness remembering that broken glass casts more rainbows than the fully intact. And really the more rainbows the better, right? At least I think so. <3

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Answered Prayers, Anxiety, and Counseling #Confessions #BackToCounseling #HealingNeverEnds

It’s October. I didn’t even fully recognize that until this week because life has been moving so quickly as it often does. It amazes me how even after six years this month still triggers a vicious cocktail of emotions in me. It doesn’t matter how much you fit into your daily schedule or how relaxed it is, the truth is we can never escape ourselves. We can’t escape our inner voice. We can’t escape the scars. We can’t escape the inner demons.

I’ve learned with time we can cleanse ourselves of certain demons and others well they hide in the dark recesses of our spirits. Waiting for the right moment to attack, waiting for us to be too busy to deal with them, waiting for the right timing, and then they strike.

This has been a trying year, but I’m not sure I can look at my life and find a single year that wasn’t trying. Maybe what I should say is this year has been full of changes that have cut me to the core and tested my resolve and my faith. This has been a year where I’ve had to search deeper within me and around me to find the light.

I could tally up my losses for the year or earmark the struggles but that’s not what this is about. This isn’t a “poor me” post. This is a reminder that life isn’t always as it seems for those around us. A reminder that the comparison card is one that results in faulty assumptions and lies.

We all have battles we face. We face them daily—physical illness, mental illness, family difficulties, career troubles, loss, and the list goes on and on. We all have a choice to fight or forfeit. God gave me the heart of warrior and He gave you the same, the question is whether you’ve chosen to put on His armor and fight or to run from battle.

No matter how much I wish I could run from battle in those moments of extreme exhaustion, I cannot. I am a warrior and I fight for love at every corner. I fight for real love—love that can heal hearts, love that teaches others how to make difficult choices, love that is righteous and seeks truth.

I put my love into action with my words, with my body, with my heart, and with my spirit. I pray and move. That isn’t easy and it’s hard for a lot of people to understand. But I will always fight for love. I will always seek to do whatever it is God is asking me to do, even if it’s hard, even if I don’t see how its going to help me, and even if no one understands.

But I still have demons to fight. This time life events and October have brought them full force into my face again. Confession—my fear of loss is so incredibly real at this very moment. And with the fear of loss comes all the other demons especially anxiety.

I have amazing things happening in my life right now. I’m working at a job I prayed for, for many years. I’m blessed with great friendships and relationships that I’ve also prayed for, for many years. I’m changing my approach to my life and being bolder—standing up for what is right for me and going for it. I’m ditching complacency and being active again.

All those things aside, I’m scared to death of losing it all. I’m scared I will do something or say something that will drive people out of my life. I’m scared that death will come for the people who shine so much light into my world. I’m scared I will lose it all. I’m scared I will be all alone—no friends, no family, no significant other, no one.

It is true that we will all face death—we will bury ones we love and we will face it ourselves one day. But as I sat in my living room this evening praying I asked out loud, “What am I afraid of?” I listed off all of these things mentioned above and more. Then I asked, “What is the truth?”

The truth is not a single one of those fears will kill me. Not a single one of those fears will stop me from being the woman God is calling me to be. Not a single one of those fears will stop God’s promises as long as I keep moving through the fear.

And so I decided after a few year hiatus that it is time to go back to counseling. I’ve hit another wall of anxiety. A barrier that I need help knocking down. For me to move to the next level in my life and my relationships, I have to fight this battle. I need help with the battle plan.

Do I have time for this? Ha! Ha! If you’d look at my schedule you’d wonder how I even have time to go to the bathroom. But I’m making time for this. It is something I need to do.

I learn my greatest lessons through experiences with other people.  As I was spending time with someone who’s very special to me, I began to see parts of myself being reflected. Parts of myself I wanted to believe I didn’t have time for, parts of myself that I thought could wait, parts of myself I thought I’d gotten over or kept hidden. But in those moments with that person, I realized those parts of him I saw clearly, also reflected parts of me. And I realized he saw those parts of me I couldn’t see without him. With him I saw myself again. Some people have this ability to hold up a mirror and force you to look at yourself—see your flaws, see your strengths, and see your weaknesses. See what you can work on to be better. I’m thankful he was able to do that with me. I’ve needed that more than I could even know.

I’m not perfect nor am I seeking perfection. I merely want to be growing into the woman I’m called to be and counseling is the action needed for me to get there.

Six years after everything in my life dramatically changed, six years after I thought my entire life was over, six years later I’m still rebuilding. I’m still healing. I’m still growing. And that is a blessing. Six years later I’m still living. I’m still fighting.

And so, I share this because this is important for someone else to read right now. I share this because I’m called to. Our stories are not just our own.

I hope you are still healing, still growing, and still living.  And as for me,  I’ll rest when I’m dead. 😉

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