Check Yourself #Confessions #Faith #CheckYourself #Choices #Blessings

Nothing is wasted in this world. I truly believe that. One of the greatest gifts of death is how it causes us to evaluate our lives. It shakes us out of the stupor of plans, deadlines, appointments, and routine throwing the frailty of our humanity in our faces.

That alone is a gift—recognizing the brevity of our life on this side of eternity.

A friend and I were talking the other day about this and it made me stop and check myself. If I died today, would I be okay with that? The answer hit me quickly—yes. Hear me out, I’m not having suicidal thoughts or anything and I’m not unhappy with my life.

These past few months I’ve especially questioned myself, questioned God, and repetitively asked if I was doing the right thing. Nothing scares me more than wasting my life away in places I don’t belong and I was afraid I was doing that. I was concerned I was pursuing the wrong relationships and pouring time and love into people and activities that I shouldn’t be.

My head and my heart and my gut were in constant flux, none of them really agreeing on much. When that happens fear easily overpowers the obvious truth around us. I prayed extra hard and did my very best to do the right things and work outside of my feelings. That’s not easy.

Somewhere in all of this I found myself beginning to center myself to live in the moments of my life, instead of the what if’s. I’ve come to realize I live with lots of feelings of fear and I have my entire life. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be afraid but somewhere in all of this mess that has been my life recently, I kept moving even with fear whispering lies in my ear. I kept trying even when the feelings of despair rose up within me. Fear allows us to measure the depth of our courage and our faith.

How did I get past my fear? I prayed. I prayed so much and I was honest with God about how scared I was about everything in my life. Then I asked for help. And finally I moved. I took a step.

I’ve been more vulnerable in my life these past several months than I ever have. In the process I’ve learned this was a part of my lesson. We find our strength in our weakness. We find our power on our knees. We find peace in gratitude.

Every moment has become incredibly precious to me. You might not see it. I may not make some big announcement about it, but in my heart each moment deeply matters. I’ve driven down back roads wind in my hair thanking God for those moments of freedom. I’ve sat cuddled on my couch with little girls on my lap, thanking God for them. They may not be my daughters but that doesn’t make our relationships any less valuable. I’ve sat next to friends praying in that moment, thanking God for them. Thanking God that He keeps providing people to fill the holes in my heart. I’ve prayed more in the moment than I ever have before. Somehow, that has made every breath of my life feel more significant.

I’ve vowed to myself and to God that I want to live His plans for me and that has meant doing things that don’t always make sense from the outside eye.

So when I thought, if I died today would I be okay with that. Am I content with the life I’m living? Could I leave this earth—without sharing my life with my person, without having a family of my own?

Yes. I am content with the way I live my life. And while I want my person and my own family more than I could ever explain, the fact I’d be completely at peace to die without having them surprised even me.

We don’t get to choose what happens to us but we do get to choose how we handle ourselves. We get to choose to love beyond reason. We get to choose to do the right thing even when it’s tough. We get to choose to wait for the right person instead of the right now person. We get to choose how we are going to learn from our mistakes. We get to choose to apologize. We get to choose to forgive. We get so many choices. That’s a blessing.

Today, stop and ask yourself if you died today, would you be at peace with that? Check yourself. And if not, maybe it’s time to choose to live your life differently. You can choose to change. And if you are at peace with yourself, that’s awesome. There’s a gift a peace beyond explanation in that.

Love, Hugs, & Sunshine,

Michelle

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How to Comfort the Mourning #Love #ThankYouPost #Faith #PowerOfPrayer

During times of loss and difficulties, I bear witness to all the types of love that exist. Learning what love is, how to love and be loved, is always inspiring to me. I’ve learned so much about marriage and true commitment, after the loss of my own. I’ve learned even more about true friendship, these last five years than I can ever put into words.

I should know by now to be careful what I pray for, I just might get it. Sometimes I think we pray and pour our hearts out and we find ourselves feeling like we’re just talking to ourselves in an empty, dark room. No one hears except our own ears, but there’s always more than meets the eye. God has consistently shown me how much He hears me. With every confirmation, I find myself awestruck. Maybe one day that amazement will wear off but for now I’ll bask in it.

Some prayers are resolved with a single act, a single answer. Other prayers are answered in a series of events sprinkled through out time. The mysteries of life, of prayer, of God are vast, marvelous, and at times frustrating. How can you put into words something that can only be felt with the soul?

Grace. God’s grace and willing hands are the only way to make that happen.

I’ve had both the burden and the privilege to experience death—up close and personally—the act of it and the business of it. (Wait that makes me sound like I’m a serial killer or something. Not what I meant. 😉 I’m also not in the funeral business but I did used to work with estate administration and taxation so that part is legit.) With the passing of my husband almost five years ago and my dear mother-in-law last week, I’ve witnessed the process of death in all of its layers.

The greatest part of this process has been the witnessing of love. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of acquaintances. Love of strangers.

When we think of love, often times our minds go to the hearts and flowers concept. Hearts and flowers is such a small part of what real love is. I think so many of us have been misguided by this partial truth, that if we aren’t experiencing the commercialized form of romance (flowers, chocolates, and the like) we are not loved. These acts are special and important and I’m not trying to belittle them rather put them into balance for us. (What can I say, I still have a little bit of accountant in me and those accountants like balance.)

But when dealing especially with death, this form of love (hearts and flowers love) doesn’t fit. And in life, to experience the real depth of love, hearts and flowers romance will not sustain our hearts. We are creatures built for love. We need love in all sorts of forms.

One of the things I hear and see so often in people, especially during times of loss are the feelings of helplessness, not doing enough, and not being good enough at comforting the hurting. Part of this stems because we are unable to fix the problem. We cannot bring that person back from the dead. On the surface, that’s the answer that screams as to how we fix the problem. But that is beyond our control.

So how do you comfort the mourning? So many ways. You can pray for them. You can hug them. You can feed them. You can just sit and listen to them. You can spend time with them. You can send them a random text. You can take a walk with them. You can do so many things to help the hurting. The best phrase that covers all of the acts you can do for your hurting loved one—you show up for them.

That is love. Real true love. Showing up for the person who needs you is love.

We all have our own way to show up for someone, so embrace your gifts and use them to help others. No act is too small. Love is never too small a gift. It won’t instantly heal the wound but it will get in there and get them through the process. It won’t keep the pain away. It won’t keep the tears at bay. But it WILL be the bandage, the medicine to help the person move through their loss and into their new life.

There is truly no greater gift in the world, than the love of a friend.

This morning I woke up and I could fully feel again. I’d been concerned because all through this process of losing my mother-in-law, I’ve felt numb and unable to process. Nothing scares me more than wondering if I’m biding time until my complete emotional crash. Nothing is more frightening than questioning your own sanity. Especially when you can remember how incredibly awful one of those breakdowns feels.

I’ve come to realize, I’m okay. I’ve been processing this loss for a while now. I’ve been preparing and going through the motions of grief for several months. That doesn’t mean that the tears won’t hit me out of nowhere, that something won’t cause me to be sad but rather when those moments come, I’ll feel them and handle them.

I owe that self-confidence and recognition to God and the prayer He answered for me. Earlier this week, I told Him I was scared and asked Him if I was okay. He answered me rather quickly. Even before I prayed that prayer, my friends and family were planting seeds. Yesterday, I was able to clearly see that answer in front of me. I am okay. God has blessed me with amazing friends and family who pray for me AND show up for me. They speak words of truth and goodness and back them up with action. They love me in all the ways I need to be loved.

This is your reminder to show up for someone today. Just be there for them. Love them in the ways you know how and remember if that love is given from a genuine, pure place it will make a difference.

To my dear friends, who have loved me extra hard this past week, thank you. I love each of you more than words. You are my greatest blessings. I’ve spent the entire day thanking God for each one of you.

Love, Hugs, Sunshine, and Prayers. <3

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