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




Trauma is No Joke #Confessions #NotAnAprilFoolsJoke #FaithThroughDarkness

This past week has been one where I’ve really had to fight the demons of doubt and fear. It been difficult and I’ve felt myself retreating. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. It’s just been a while since I’ve been on a cycle this rough. (Thank God for that!) Once I realized what I was doing I became frustrated. I don’t want to pull inward and away from everyone. My goal has been to find ways to be more vulnerable and honest. I don’t like to go in the opposite direction of my goals. It irritates me.

Regardless, I spent Thursday this week wanting to do nothing but lie on my couch and do nothing. (Which is NOT me at all.) And then the tears started. I cried Thursday morning went out and forced myself to get some work done and then returned home to find myself crying again. *insert eye roll*

Yesterday I woke up in a much better place and had a good day until I didn’t. Sometimes unexpected things happen (or don’t happen) and it tips the scale you’ve been working so hard to keep balanced.

Trauma. Sometimes things get thrown into your path and that trauma trigger flips your switch. It flipped mine, and in the moment it completely shut me down. From the outside, it’s not too noticeable but on the inside nothing but empty. It’s like someone hit the pause button on me. No thoughts. No feelings. Nothing. While a part of me knew this was happening, that voice of reason wasn’t strong enough to formulate a reaction. It shut down my ability to cope in that moment. Shock had wrapped me up again in its tight grip.

As my world slowly rebooted hours later, I started to realize what was happening to me. As understanding unraveled, those old feelings of dread, those fears, the realities I’ve experienced settled in. The tears came once again. And I was frustrated because again I was wounded. When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to be reasonable. It’s hard to see the light. It’s even harder to have faith. And then come the wicked thoughts. In the midst of loneliness, dread, and fear, I tried to pray again.

When shock had set in earlier, I couldn’t pray. That scared me. Thankfully, later on I was able to pray again but it felt flat and whiny but I tried to talk to God anyway. I resorted to praying for those I love instead of for myself because I had no idea what to ask for or what I needed to help myself but praying for others was much easier.

After a phone call with a good friend and a few more prayers I went to sleep. I woke up at 4:00 am in tears. Once they’d ran their course and sleep wasn’t returning, I picked up my notebook hoping writing words on the page would settle myself enough to sleep again.

I wrote, “I try my best not to dwell in the past. Obviously, I know what I’ve lived—the hardships and the victories. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow the trauma…waking up at 4:00 am in the same dark room I’ve faced many demons in, the same dark room my heart bled night after night in, it’s hard to ignore that ‘muscle memory.’”

There’s this part of me that was disappointed in myself for my reaction. Because I had it in my head that after writing Shine, I’d found a place to capture those demons. I didn’t need to relive their darkness anymore. I thought I’d successfully put that part of me up on the shelf. It’s true that book has allowed me to heal and move forward beyond my expectations. It just sucks when the trauma resurfaces. That loss of self-control and the shock in that moment yesterday, it wounded me again. By hurting me again, it was as if a voice shouted, “You’re not as free as you think you are. I still have power over you.”

In the darkness of night and early morning, I felt disappointed in myself. Irritated that I was human. But this morning, writing this post it reminds me of how wrong that wicked voice is. Because if my trauma still had power over me, I wouldn’t be able to get up and write a blog post for the world to read. I wouldn’t be able to click share and let you see all my vulnerable pieces.

People often wonder how I can be so happy especially when I don’t have “everything I want.” Believe me, sometimes I question my peace and joy. How can I be so happy when there are still so many things I want for my life? I’ve got a two part answer for you—it’s God and it’s faith. God grants me this peace and the more I seek Him the greater it becomes. And faith is all about hoping and believing for what is unseen. It’s not just sitting in “happy imagination land” but about putting into action the good things you are believing for. Faith without works is dead. This blog post is my work, because I know God is making a way where were I don’t see one. He’s growing me and cleaning up the rough edges so I can be ready for the next level.

Last night in my tearful darkness I said, “I know this isn’t going to last forever. I know there’s a purpose. It just doesn’t feel so great right now but I know you are taking care of this.” Years ago I wouldn’t never been able to utter those words. So that experience tells me that years from now I’ll be even better at coping with these rough patches, because He’s strengthened and equipped me to do so.

Have a good weekend, my friends! And remember it’s not failure unless you decide to settle. It really is darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up. And NEVER give up on your always and forever, no matter what that might be. <3