It’s Been a While Since I’ve Had One of These Moments #GriefConfessions #LoveHugsAndSunshine

There are some things that make absolutely no sense at all. How I can miss Chris and be happy in my current life? How can I be sad and at the same time full of joy? It is possible. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t felt it myself but I’m telling you it’s legit.

There are so many new happy things happening in my life—in my professional world, in my spiritual journey, and even in my personal life (although those things are not as definitive and easy to explain.)

I went to the cemetery this week. If you’ve read Shine then you know the cemetery has not always been a good place for me. As with my growth, I do see it as a different place than I once did. I don’t necessarily believe Chris “lives” there but if I want to make sure he hears what I have to say I go there.

It was a perfect summer day–sunshine, low humidity, and in the seventies. Those were the kind of days Chris loved. “Perfect riding weather,” he’d say. I found myself in front of his headstone, my butt parked on the ground. I always giggle to myself how the grass on his grave doesn’t grow like the rest. He wouldn’t want to inconvenience people by needing to mow too often.

And so I started telling him about all the great things happening and then the happy tears quickly turned into sad ones. When I start to realize how happy I am in my “new life” it makes me sad because Chris doesn’t have a new life—at least not on this plane of existence. It’s not that I don’t believe Chris has a new life of his own because I do. And I truly believe he is in a place of peace and is free from the strife of this world. But when I start moving forward it’s a reality check. His death really happened. The good things in life are as equally real as the bad things.

As the tears were streaming down my face behind my sunglasses I said, “Chris, I can’t wait until the day I can come here and tell you I’ve got my family.” Those words made me wonder if when that joyful day comes if the sadness will lose its volume. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. But I realized how badly I want that not only for me, but for us.

I went on rambling about missing his friendship, mentioned a few grievances, and made a few other requests. I looked up from my seat on the ground to the view of the hill with three crosses and a large stone bible a few steps away. I could almost hear him chiding me that it was time to leave.

I stood up and walked towards the large granite bible with a little bird beckoning me over. There’s always a bird. Always a bird. LOL! Written on it was the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want…” When I hit the line that says, “he restoreth my soul” the confirmation hit me of Chris’s peace in his new life. I needed that to help me combat the guilt that was starting to rise up.

Then the more I read the more I realized inside those words were messages for me about my situations, my fears, and my concerns. I climbed into the truck and had one last bout of tears before gathering myself to return my world.

What is this grief confession post about? A lot of things but most importantly it’s a reminder that we’re allowed to feel more than one thing at a time, but it can be overwhelming. Sometimes the things we think make sense are false truths we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe. I don’t want to go back in time, I want to be here in this moment. And being in this moment means I can miss the friendship of my late husband and carry a longing desire for the friendship of my next spouse. I can miss Chris and be happy that he’s at peace, all in the same moment. And as weird as it may sound I can be anxious and longing for the day I come to the cemetery and say, “My family found me, Chris. My family found me!”

This Monday would be our anniversary. I wasn’t even consciously thinking about that while at the cemetery. I would’ve never been able to imagine the place I’m at today, nor the woman I’ve become. I would’ve never expected how short our marriage would be nor how much I learned from our years together.

I’m so grateful for every heartache and every victory.

My eyes have been opened as to how my life is not my own. How beautiful it is to recognize my value and my purpose, and that is to share my life with you through my words, my day to day, and in every way I live my life. The miracles that God has worked in my life and continues to work on a daily basis—they are as much for me as they are for you. I hope your eyes are opened to the plans and ways He’s working in your life as well. He loves you, too. Never forget we are all connected. We are all loved.

It’s part of my personal growth to become more vulnerable. Boy is that difficult, especially for the “girl who has it all together.” Looks can be deceiving, dear friends. I don’t have it all together not even close but I’m constantly seeking the guidance and answers so that I can grow. When I’m knocking on heaven’s door I want to know I lived a life of purpose. I lived a life of love.

And loving people means lots of messes and nothing will ever be “all together” but that’s not an excuse to withhold your heart.

Live fully. Love boldy.

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #NeverGiveUpOnYourAlwaysAndForever




Do you even see me? #FaithConfessions #LoveHugsAndSunshine #Reminders

Do you even see me? Do you ever feel like you’ve mistakenly put on your invisibility cloak?

Maybe you’re on a date. Maybe you’re out to dinner with a parent. Maybe you’re across the table from your child attempting to pour some great life lesson into them or simply trying to get them to not spill their drink all over the table. Maybe you’re standing in front of your boss. Maybe you’re in the front of the classroom. No matter where you are, I’m sure you’ve had a moment or two where you’ve felt invisible.

There have been so many times in my life where I’ve found myself asking does this person even see me? Sometimes I find myself sitting there thinking do I need a neon sign, flashing lights, and a megaphone? Cause I could get those things if necessary. I’ve already got the megaphone—two actually. 😉

Obviously, I know I’m being seen physically but then there are those times when we truly believe we are invisible, no one sees us, no one cares, and we’re a lost cause. Those are the times we feel lost in the shadows of our troubles. In those moments where you feel deeply hidden I want you to remember, you are seen. My faith tells me God sees me. He sees us. I can tell you people see, too. They notice. They may not always say anything but they see.

I never realized how much people paid attention to me until I lost my husband. Of course, what happened in my life caused people to take note but so many people were there watching before that— like my family, my friends, and my co-workers. After my loss, I spent so many dark nights wanting someone to see me, to save me, to help me, because I was so beyond low I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t even have the strength to make such a request.

But God saw me. He heard me. He’d already sent Jesus to save me from my sins and He sent him again to save me from my broken heart. (Technically he never left but I think you get my point.)

My heart has bruises and scars but I don’t see those as negative things. Those wounds have grown me. Those scars remind me that life is more than making the grade and checking items off the to do list. Those bruises have taught me I don’t have this together, but God does. He can and has done work within my soul and in my life I once thought impossible. So when the fear tries to drown out my dreams and fill my mind with doubts, I’ve learned to turn and say, “No, God has got this. He will make this work. He didn’t give up on me so I won’t give up on Him.”

Friends, family, readers, and acquaintances, have noted how they watched my journey through loss, and now tune in for my travels, life updates, and all the megaphone, truck cruising adventures. It’s like I’ve got my own little fan club, which for the tall, quiet girl who always sat in the back of class feeling invisible, it seems wildly impossible and utterly insane to be seen, noticed, and watched. (In non-creepy ways of course. LOL!)

I bet you’ve got your own fan club, too. You have no idea how many people truly see you. They see how you act and they hear what you have to say. They observe how you live, how you survive, and how you thrive. More often than not, we don’t get the privilege of seeing our effect on other people, of hearing about our influence on other hearts. Nothing shocks me more than how just being myself affects the lives of others. I’ve stopped trying to be the person that the world tells me I’m supposed to be and instead I’m being me and running towards growing into the best Michelle I can be. (That might sound cheesy, cliché, but it’s true.) I want to be all that God created and equipped me to be. Crazy enough, the more I focus on that the more I feel like I’m seen. In this endeavor, I’m fulfilled. It’s the root of the peace and joy in my life.

God has always seen me, even when I felt forgotten and unloved. He was still there. He’s always there, sometimes we just get turned around and can’t see His light anymore.

So when I think about those times, when I’m sitting across the table feeling invisible, when I’m throwing all of my energy into a lecture, when I’m pouring encouragement into a friend (young or old), when I’m wondering if my future husband missed the love boat, or when I’m sitting in the corner of a coffee shop attempting to throw words on the page…

I’m seen. I’m noticed. I’m visible. And so are you. Keep working, keep pushing, keep moving towards whatever God has put in your heart. He sees everything—the good, the bad, and in between. I hope along the way your eyes are opened to some of the ways you’re seen by those around you.

I don’t know why this hit me today but that’s just how my weird soul works. I think I needed the reminder for myself and maybe someone reading this, someone who “watches” me needs to hear this too. We are seen. We are noticed. We are NOT invisible. And because of that we should never give up on our always and forever. <3

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #YouAreSeen