Sunday, March 15, 2015

No Inspirational Speeches, Please.

I'm sure at some point I'm going to offend someone with my writing here.  This blog could be it. {Meh. It's my blog anyway.}

Many of you know that I did something pretty difficult the past week. I let my circle of trust know and as always they were supportive and understanding. Those in that circle were chosen a long time ago when Jace first got sick, but I learned how powerful the concept was while I was going through my divorce. Not everyone needs to know every detail of your struggle. Not everyone will be compassionate. Not everyone will know what not to say.

Not everyone will care. 

My circle of trust doesn't try to inspire me or give me advice or lecture me on what I should or shouldn't do or feel. They just ask how to pray, check up on me, and love me through it all. {they also pour me coffee}

I know I'm the so-called queen of the "feel good messages." I've been reading through past posts from several years ago and even I get annoyed at myself and my gratitude some days. 

I get it. It's great and life-changing to be positive and grateful and joyous. I know that is what we are called to do, but when people are hurting sometimes they just want you to get on your knees with them and say, "Yeah. Life sure can suck." 

Since Jace started chemo, I often think of Mary and how she felt watching her son die a slow, brutal, and difficult death. Even though she knew this was how it was suppose to play out that did not make it any easier on her heart, I'm sure of it. 

In 2013, there was a day when I was fearful of losing my own son. 
In 2014, I lost my mom much earlier than I expected. 
In 2015, well, let's just say it's already looking to be another painful year after a recent visit with my dad. 

Do I trust that God's plan is bigger than my life? Yes
Do I know that His promises will come to pass? Yes
Do I know that I'm redeemed already? Yes

Do I need to only hear the good, the promises, and how God doesn't waste pain? {my own words} No.

In my hurting and grieving, I need people to recognize that even in the promises life can SUCK. I know people don't like that word. I don't like it either. 

But I'm going to be very honest. If you know the details of my story and all the nooks and crannies of complication that have come about in the last several months, then you know I'm not exaggerating or asking for pity. Some days I think I'm the brunt of satan's biggest joke and he's just waiting for me to give up. {I'm not.}

Instead of pretending our lives are always happy, great and inspirational, I wanna see authenticity, genuine feeling and compassion and the ability to recognize that it's ok for life to be hard.

It's very hard for me to listen to PERSON A tell me an inspirational message when they never show they are struggling and are in the business of masking their hardest days. Life is perfect or so they want me to believe. 

I want to hear from PERSON B who has been in the depths of the valley and admits life is a struggle and isn't always sunshine and rainbows. I want to surround myself with those who have the ability to recognize: "this is hard," I can barely breathe through this day," or "today seems to be against me on all sides." 

I am Person B. These things I'm having to sort out, the feelings I'm having to deal with, the loss I'm continually seeing is hard and some days I'm not sure I'll make it through. 

And I'm ok saying that. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Perfect Imperfection

So the imperfection about reading my blog is that I don't blog consistently, but you can bet it will always be from my heart and as genuine as I can capture it for you. 

 I've been quiet on here for a lot longer than I anticipated. Most days I just don't know what to say mostly because there is so much on my heart I cannot even begin to put it into words. There isn't a tweet or Facebook status or IG picture that can even come close. 

This "perfect imperfection" theme has popped up more than once the last week and I wonder if it's God trying to send me a little message. 

You see, I don't think people expect me to be perfect. I DO NOT feel anywhere near perfect and really hope they just see me as I am. Maybe deep down this is one of my childhood wounds that keeps popping up without me really knowing it. 

I debate a lot with what I share about my childhood and that is the sole reason that I haven't finished my book. I'm still figuring out how to present it all and, honestly, still trying to work through it all. Despite those that {thought} they knew my family, they definitely didn't see what was happening behind closed doors. It was difficult to go through and writing it all into words is proving to be even more difficult. 

My mom did expect perfection. I'm pretty sure if you ever talked to her you probably heard different. It was mostly in her actions and words if I happened to mess up even a little bit. My parents did run a tight ship, but for my mom there was a lot of anger with things not being perfect. I remember very often wondering why I would be grounded for something so simple as missing a room while vacuuming or for not loading the dishwasher to her level of expectation. 

I remember talking about anything that might not have been perfect was off the table even up until right before she passed. That included my brother's death, the plan upon either of them passing, the plans for the properties {in my name} that I wasn't allowed to visit alone, how to handle my brother's disabilities and his services or even our own relationship. 

It was like that pretty much my whole life. That's probably one of the reasons I've become an open book. If you are having a one-on-one conversation with me, I most likely will answer any question you can come up with. Cancer, adoption, death, divorce, grieving, faith, God, prayer.....

I so wanted to just be transparent with those around me, including my kids. I was tired of pretending that everything was great when it wasn't. So now I just go with what's happening and try to be as honest as I can while trudging through the valley. 

I do have some great support and have surrounded myself with those that I feel comfortable sharing my story or the story of now. But when I cannot even talk about the circumstances above without bursting into tears, I usually will just smile and come up with something nifty to say instead. If you happen to ask about my dad or brother, I usually can't answer you right away. I only get to talk to my brother once or twice a month and I only know what the drs/nurses tell me about my dad. I'm SUPER protective of sharing information about them right now especially publically on social media. 

There is NO WAY to spin the circumstances I'm in for the positive.  I mean, clearly, I know God is doing that for me even if I cannot see it, but humanly, all I see and feel is despair and desperation for this long season to be over. When I look back over my almost 40 years I see a lot of pain and struggling and wonder what I've been doing wrong or what I need to do different to get out of this desert. 

I am in this weird grieving stage right now that I know is normal. {been there done that many times before} 

I'm angry that I'm being left with so much to figure out when it all could've been avoided. I'm SUPER annoyed that all of these situations took a turn for the worse during my son's cancer treatment.  I'm sad that I cannot be closer to my dad or brother and that where they are is a much better situation than them being here with me in Texas. I'm sad that I cannot keep and preserve anything from my previous life, including the lake house that holds so many memories and moments. 

And then...

I am also grateful which makes it all even more weird. 

I'm so thankful that God has intervened in my life more times than I can even see or speak about. I'm so thankful for those at my church, at my work, and in my home that love me, encourage me, help me, guide me, cheer for me, pray for me, and allow me to go through all of these emotions at the same time. I'm thankful that NM takes better care of those that need assistance than TX does. I'm thankful for those who visit my brother and dad and help to take care of things they need. I'm grateful for the family I have and for all the days I get to see my kids grow and experience life. 

My gratitude really does overflow even when I'm sitting in the valley crying out for it to be all over. 

This morning I woke to a few empowering text messages: 

"You are AMAZING. You are BEAUTIFUL. You cannot be DEFEATED." 

"God has big plans for you and is going to use your pain to create gain in your life." 

Then, I headed to Instagram to scroll through some of my favorite feeds and found this gem from @pastorraley: 

{Ps. 37: The steps of the righteous or ordered of the Lord...David penned the words as a wise old king. Gone are the days of killing giants, military campaigns and youthful motivations. He now leads a powerful, united kingdom. His greatest weapon at this stage of his life is not a sling, a spear or a sword. His greatest weapon in his EXPERIENCE. He could look back on the goodness and faithfulness of Jehovah and realize that through it all, God had ordered his steps. There comes a point in life where your greatest advantage is the lessons you've learned through past battles and challenges. You come to realize you've actually been empowered by the journey.}

It's sort of miraculous how God uses others to confirm the message he put on my heart last night: 

God doesn't waste suffering.