Birthdays, Healing, Patience, & Perspective #Confessions

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and considering today would be Chris’s 33rd birthday it seemed like it was about time I did. This October marks four years since Chris’s passing. Life has changed and continues to do so in incredible ways with each year.

This morning as I was headed towards my favorite coffee shop after several days of being physically ill and incredibly exhausted (which thankfully isn’t the norm for me) I was thinking about Chris and how much my world has changed since he died. An overwhelming sense of joy enveloped me as I thought about Chris. The man I was married to would’ve never believed all the ways and all the people his life and death have touched, not only family and friends he knew but people he’d never met and with the publication of Shine his legacy is touching the lives readers all over the place. Also writing and publishing Shine last fall truly released me from a lot of my emotional bindings and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

I’m truly blessed that on this day I can fully acknowledge the peace, acceptance, and healing that has taken place since he started celebrating his birthday in heaven. This year I’ve had sorrows and I’ve had disappointments AND I’ve had great magnificent blessings. This is the normal ebb and flow of life.

I found myself sitting in the cemetery in tears lamenting, praying, and crying for the missing parts of my heart (my family.) I’ve sat at home withdrawn and searching for answers with where to go and what to do with my life next only to be randomly answered by the television. The first time it was super weird but then I got used to it. Ask and you shall receive. LOL!

I’ve sat in my special place working away on my writing only to uncover new calls on my life. I’ve sat on the other end of phone calls laughing, crying, and listening in awe as new relationships and chapters were being written right before my eyes.

At almost four years into this new life of mine, a life without Chris, finding Michelle, reconnecting with Jesus, and opening package after package of clues guiding me on the journey to, through, and along my life’s purpose I can’t help but be thankful.

But the greatest gift is the gift of love so many of you continue to give me, in your own ways, at your own time. Some of you think I’m a patient person, CONFESSION I’m not. I’m not as patient as I look to be on the outside. I want so desperately to be done waiting for my own family and instead be living, loving, and growing with them. I want so badly for us to be together under the same roof. I found an email I’d written prior to Chris’s passing that said how much I wanted my family even back then. I’ve been waiting on that dream for longer than I’d recently thought.

I long for the day I can “tell” Chris, “Look at this! Look I have it! I finally have it. My family–an incredible husband and amazing children!” In my ear every time I want to give up and throw in the towel on this dream I hear Chris say, “Don’t give up. Never give up on that. Don’t settle. Wait, it’s coming.” I’ve been blessed time and time again to hear these words from unsuspecting sources in unexpected ways from friends, from strangers, from clergy, and from the TV. Of course you can probably connect that this is where Never Give up on Your Always & Forever has come from.

In the meantime, I’ve been working towards that dream by forcing myself to grow and become the best woman I can possibly be. Which should be no shock considering my over achiever disease. 😉 I’ve been sent down a new path spiritually and words cannot describe how beautiful those steps have been. All the connections, all the pieces of God working in my life is overwhelming and inspiring. (This will be showcased in a book at some point. It’s too astounding not to share.) Some days it doesn’t look like it will ever happen and some days it doesn’t feel like it’s even possible but I’m moving towards my family.

In these four years, I’ve discovered my dreams of teaching and writing were well placed and I get to live them and work on them every day now. No more desk job for this girl! My work places involve classrooms and coffee shops. Just typing this gives me a whole new perspective on the life I’m blessed to be living. This might also be influenced by the delightful cup of coffee I’m sipping on with its heart shaped foam design. (It tastes as delightful as it looks.)

Today it is a blessing to think of my late husband with peace and joy in my heart and renewed hope for my future. That comes from many places but especially in knowing he is living on in a place free from pain and overflowing with love. I can’t tell you how I know this but I do. It is something that is so deeply rooted within me that it cannot be ignored.

If you’re hurting today, if you’re missing Chris or someone else near and dear to your heart I pray you find this place of peace and comfort in your own heart. Cry when you must, laugh when you can, and remember healing is a journey. Time only heals if we’re tending to our wounds. We are not alone in this life. We are all connected by a beautiful thread of love. Remember we must not be afraid to ask for help when we need it, provide help at every opportunity, and never give up on our always and forever. Love never dies. Healing happens. I thank God for His miracles in my life, and if you’re reading this that includes you. You are a miracle. Never doubt that. Thank YOU so very much being MY miracle.

Love, Hugs, and Sunshine,

Michelle <3

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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

 

 

 

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