As I Lay Me Down To Sleep #NeverGiveUp

Last night as I laid in bed tired from the day tucking in my thoughts, a tidal wave of gratitude flooded me. It wasn’t long ago I laid in my way too big for one person bed with my pups tucked in around me enveloped in a pain darker than the blackest of nights. In those wretched nights the only hope I had was that death would visit me soon. During those black nights my mind could see nothing ahead. My future was as dark and bleak as the room I laid in. I curled up in a bed of shattered dreams, the shards cutting into my skin every night, stuck in a broken life. I mourned for more than my husband but also our life together, our future together, and now my future–alone. My blue eyes could see nothing but a black hole of emptiness in front of me. Those desperate nights were filled with tears and pitiful prayers for death and prayers for help.

I will always hold on to the memories in my life before Chris died. But I also cling tightly to the difficult days that followed—not to wallow in them but to serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Life can change so much. In a blink of an eye mine changed direction—in a second your heart can be shattered and in another made whole again. I remember being tired of being sad, of the victory going a single day without tears, and somewhere in those days of grief God answered a prayer. I’m so thankful it was my prayer for help and not the other.

Last night as I laid in bed I thought about my future, of tomorrows, and the road ahead filled with so much promise. Adventure, opportunities, blessings, and so many other wonderful things await—both planned and unplanned. I realized that when you expect more, you get more. When you put your faith into action, you move faster and farther than you could’ve ever dreamed. Last night, my heart was filled with joy—an overwhelming feeling of all things wonderful and for no distinct reason except the promise of tomorrows.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from these past few years in the power of change. Changing, challenging, growing myself, and polishing my shine has been and will continue to be one of my greatest and most rewarding journeys. I don’t know if you’re in a valley, a plateau, or a peak in your life but hold onto yourself. Don’t give up on your future. You’re here for a beautiful reason. There might be dark clouds obstructing your view right now but they won’t be there forever.

My family, my friends, and most importantly my God didn’t give up on me during my darkness. When I saw nothing, they saw everything. And as I was curled in my bed with my dogs, my notebook, my pen, a few tears of thankfulness, and a full heart of love it reminded me my life was always waiting—through the pain and hopeless tears—my future waited on the other side of those dark clouds. I can see it again. Oh what a magnificent sight! How lucky I am to have a vibrant life filled with such promise!

To my angels who never gave up on me, you have my affection and gratitude–always and forever. And to those of you feeling lost, confused, empty, and desolate—remember you’re never alone. You have so much left to live for. Don’t let those icky clouds fool you. Take care of yourself and when the fog lifts you’ll see you’ve got your own vibrant life right in front of YOU. Be a brave little soldier and expect more. If you’re still breathing it’s not over yet, tell that heart of yours to DANCE again—with time it will.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

#PolishYourShine #NeverGiveUp #VibrantLife #AlwaysAndForever #LoveHugsAndSunshine

That Nasty F Word–Fear #GriefConfessions

I’ve experienced this gut wrenching, twisted feeling lately. It’s been induced three times over the last week. I let it go the first time but after two other panic induced triggers I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So what is this wretched thing that flips my panic switch? Dating. That’s right folks—dating.

And I’m not just talking about being nervous, anxious, or unsure. I’m saying straight up dread. It’s like someone flips a switch and I go from okay that person sounds interesting to “I can’t breathe, I want to cry, and I don’t want to talk to anyone” type of panic. When it happens I realize how irrational my emotions are but I can’t stop feeling them. I can’t shut them off. The other night when they struck I went to bed hoping my induced panic was merely a result of being exhausted from a day filled with tax returns and teaching. But when I woke up it was still there.

That meant I had to deal with it. It took me an entire day filled with texts, emails, and a couple of discussions with my peeps to figure it out. The root of my panic wasn’t dating per se the root was the fear of loss–of reliving all the hurt and pain of losing someone I love deeply.

Yep, I should’ve seen that one coming from a mile away but I didn’t. From the outside looking in my fear of loss would be a blazing neon sign with twenty spotlights on it—I am a widow. But from the inside looking out I couldn’t see that—being a widow is a part of who I am but it’s not everything I am. I’ve got lots of cards in my deck and the widow card isn’t always the troublemaker.

It’s not that I’m not ready for this life step. I am ready to date. I am ready for a relationship again. I know I want to be married again. I want to have that special person to share my life with. And I realized Heaven forbid it’s my lot in life to be a widow twice over—well I’m ready for that too. If God brought me through it once, He’ll bring me through it again.

As if I wasn’t sure enough on my own there’s more to this story. Earlier in the week a song spoke to me. It’s called “Go On Without Me” by Brett Eldredge–you should google it. The song is off his 2013 album, which happens to be the same year Chris passed away. I’d never heard the song before this week. Here’s some of the lyrics:

Every man has his place in time

Everyone has a loved one that they leave behind

And even though I’m not right there with you…

I hope it’s my love that makes you feel that you can get back on your feet yeah I swear you will….

I don’t want you to cry over my memory so go on without me…

Every breath of life is short and sweet

So glad that I’m up here that I got to see you go on without me.

Later that same afternoon something was poking my arm—and I pulled out a tiny feather from my sweater. I don’t have feather pillows. It was weird to say the least but today as I’m coming out on the other side of my latest personal triumph it all makes me smile and reminds me that I’ve got this. I’m not alone. The Big Guy in the Sky has got me covered.

Even though fear is a pretty nasty F word I know one that’s even tougher–FIERCE (bet you thought I meant another F word.) 😉 I’m choosing to be fierce and not fearful. No matter what you’re facing, you’re greater than your fears. Square your shoulders, raise that chin, and walk on. Fear might trip you from time to time but you have the choice to get back up. Choose to be fierce, roll on, and remember you’re never alone.