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

 

 

 

My Confessions: Fighting the “Impossible” and Danny Gokey Fangirling #MondayMotivation #DontGiveUp

Confession. Sometimes I feel like a lone soldier fighting for “impossible” dreams. I’m constantly battling the world I see with my eyes and the world I see with my heart. It’s a relentless war of trying to share, prove, and show to others and myself that there’s more beneath the surface. There’s great hope in our future.

When I was awakened by my adorable yet persistent dog at some ridiculous hour this morning, between the whining (from both him and myself) I climbed out of bed with a consistent thought on repeat in my sleepy head, “I know the plans of I have for you, plans for hope and a future.” Now that’s not the exact verse verbatim from the Bible, you can read the whole verse in Jeremiah 29:11 if you’re interested.

First of all, when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning my brain typically is not filled with thoughts other than, “if I don’t move maybe he’ll stop whining and go back to sleep.” (By the way, that rarely ever happens. He knows when I’m awake.) As I stood at the door waiting for my old pup to do his business and come back in side, the thought kept repeating in my brain like a broken record, “I know the plans I have for you, plans for hope and a future.” Well that’s all fine and wonderful but why do I keep hearing this? Especially at four o’clock in the morning when I should be sleeping.

After waking up at a more suitable hour that included coffee and breakfast, I finished reading an amazing book and I think I’m starting to get the message.

Since hitting publish on How I Learned to Shine Again, I’ve been pulled back into the not so fun places of sadness and loneliness. Also, all of the little issues with getting the paperbacks out (to no fault of my designers or my own) has been incredibly frustrating. (And I’m still fighting that battle.) I’ve come to learn when I get in those low places, I have to reach out and find ways to help myself work through the feelings and re-ignite my fire again. Sometimes it involves spending time with my peoples, reading the Bible, listening to music, taking a walk, or writing, but it always includes lots and lots of prayer. This time I think I prayed so much God had to be thinking, “I know, I know. Chill out.” Okay so He probably wasn’t thinking that but I’m telling you if I wasn’t sleeping, I was praying.

I went through my usual “How to Make Michelle Feel Better” checklist but still the funk held on. Every time I’d get close to kicking it, it would return at full force. When this happens it steals my focus from my work and throws it back to my obstacles. It’s difficult to be creative and to move forward when you’re stuck on the negative. And I was really stuck, but I was trying. I still am.

The Friday after my book released I had the wonderful opportunity to see Danny Gokey in concert and even got to meet him! It was just this last spring that I even “discovered” him and his music. (I know. I’m totally late to the party.) His song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” came on one of my Pandora stations and left me in tears–the emotions, the words, the music–everything about it felt like me. I downloaded his albums and realized his music is the soundtrack to my heart. It perfectly captures the feelings of my life since losing Chris–the pain and the hope. In writing my book, those songs allowed me to transport myself back and forth from the tough memories to the hope in my heart. And while wrapping up final edits, his latest song, “Rise” gave me the extra push I needed to kick the self-doubt and rally to finish it.

In case you want to check out the songs…

Also, I started following him on social media. I cannot tell you how much his posts with his beautiful wife and adorable children remind me to not give up on the dreams in my heart, to not give up on my always and forever. As humans we need to see real life moments and victories to help strengthen our hope and faith for our future.

While at the concert I realized he wrote a book so of course I HAD to buy it. Again totally late to the game here. I was disappointed that I didn’t have a copy of my book to give him because I’d written about how his music helped me. I’d planned all along to give him a copy, but you know life–things don’t always go as planned. Regardless, I was still super excited to meet him!

14915210_10100263470694919_6084696830045117188_nThis morning, I finished his book, Hope in Front of Me. I read about his struggles, his loss of his wife, and his journey. The love and respect I already carried for him grew even deeper while at the same time it felt as if I was reading my own words–my own story from a different view. I had several, Holy crap! I talk about that in my book, too kind of moments. It wasn’t until the end of the book–those last few chapters the tears hit me.

I was reminded I’m not the lone soldier fighting the good fight of “impossible” dreams, trying to find ways to instill hope, comfort, and healing in the hands of those who need it most. I’m not the only person who’s endured these struggles.

Of course I know that. I know I’m not the only one who has suffered but in reading his victories–personal and professional and the “real life” obstacles that accompany them it allowed me to push away the barrier of isolation again. It allowed my heart to believe it.

I know I’m not the only one with a mission in my heart that people don’t always understand. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel ready for what my heart is calling me to do. I know all of these things and more but just like seeing your life in black and white makes the pain and loss undeniably real it also makes the love, hope, and healing incredibly real. It reminds us what seems impossible isn’t always the case.

I needed to read that book just like I needed to wake up with that broken record thought spouting hope for my future. I don’t understand how or when but I know the dreams in my heart will happen. I’m not stuck, I’m still moving forward even if I don’t always know where the next step is going to land me.

And so are you. Sometimes it feels like nothing is happening and we’re stuck in the troubles of today while worrying that the what if’s of tomorrow are only going to make things worse. I know how hard it is to put faith and hope into the good possibilities of our future and I’ve seen and felt first hand miracles in my own life. How easily we forget miracles. How quickly we believe we’ve already received our life allotment of magical moments. I’m going to keep believing in my always and forever’s (that’s right I’ve got more than one dream.) I hope you find it in your heart to keep hoping and moving towards yours.

If you’re interested in Danny Gokey’s book, here’s the Amazon link–> Hope in Front of Me

And remember never give up on your always and forever.

#MondayMotivation #DontGiveUp #BookLove #MyConfessions