On Saturday, I spent some uninterrupted time with my dad. It was both beautiful and scary as I’m always aware of the risk we’re taking in this Covid world.
As we’re talking, he shares some of his frustrations but also his joy. In his exact words he said, “I’ve had a good life, if I were to go tomorrow I’d be ok.”
And that statement changed me.
My dad has had a tough and challenging life. From being adopted and to this day not wanting to talk about his experience, to battling drug addition and spending time in the penitentiary. Fast forward to his battles with epilepsy, anxiety and cancer, a housing situation that could be better, and still he says, “I’ve had a good life.”
In the midst of all of this my dad found God. He served at a local church and gave when others may have found it challenging to give. He really is a super hero and the older I get, the more I listen, the more I see it clearly.
He wasn’t always at his best. He had a temper that was well known but even he recognizes the change and is walking in the newness of his life. This reminds me that we all have an opportunity to change. We aren’t locked into who we were but can evolve into our best selves.
That talk confirmed some things for me, some character traits I have that I’ve inherited from him (more about that later) while also showing me that contentment and joy can be found regardless of how much money you have, or the challenging blows life has dealt you. You and me can still get to a point in our lives where we can say, “I’ve had a good life” and mean it.
In what ways have your struggles worked for your good? What’s your testimony? Share it with someone. Share it with me. I’d love to learn from you!
When things get tough or when I know I’m about to go on a hard journey, I tend to wear something affirming.
Today I’m wearing this shirt because yesterday was hard, real hard, and it’s bleeding into today.
Have you ever had a good day and at the very end of the day it took a sharp turn?
Yesterday was that day. At 5PM PST, there was a shift. I still have a headache and I’m still trying to get back to 1.
A woman, a doctor (not my doctor), looked me in the eyes and said, “you should be proud of yourself”. And then there was a long pause and she held space for me. And I cried. And I’m still crying.
Since yesterday, I’ve been trying to figure out why something so affirming could hurt so bad. And I think I finally get it.
I should be proud of myself – But I’m breaking. I should be proud of myself but I’m sobbing. It’s like the very thing you have to do – The thing God’s Word requires – Is both good and incredibly heartbreaking at the same time.
What is this?
It’s an opportunity to grow. It’s a chance to be made new and it’s incredibly hard.
But make no mistake, I’m still grateful. Space was held for me yesterday and I needed it. And then it was held for me again this morning.
THANK GOD I already had a counseling appointment scheduled for today. I needed that talk this morning, I needed that cry.
I’m good at keeping it pushing and moving on to the next task but I’m trying to get in the habit of letting myself fall apart when I need to and that’s what I’ve been doing today.
I needed that space. I needed the space the doctor gave me, the space a friend held, and the space my therapist left open for me. I’m so grateful God lined everything up this way. I got the space I needed. I pray you get the space you need too.
Please go to therapy. If you’ve been waiting for a sign, THIS IS IT! You don’t even have to leave your house. There are more free options now, your church may have licensed therapists and of course, you can go through your insurance.
As someone who’s had a therapist off and on since 2010, I highly and wholeheartedly recommend it. Go get your healing. Get help dealing with today. You’ll thank you for it.
Hurting but hopeful,
The other day I asked, on FB, if anyone else held their breath while wearing a mask. I got a few responses and I felt like it wasn’t just me.
Then today, while scrolling through Facebook, on some pages I probably didn’t need to be on, I found myself once again holding my breath but this time without having a mask on. It’s like I was bracing myself just in case I saw something that was triggering.
So I prayed and asked God to help me stop holding my breath. Maybe it’s anxiety, maybe it’s fear but I know the root is the same. I don’t want to be rocked or swayed any which way without my consent.
I know many of us are walking through life holding our breath for fear of getting hurt or failing, or falling. And we’re suffocating ourselves.
In what ways are you holding your breath? Are you awaiting a challenging conversation? Are you afraid to fall in love? Are you afraid to start that business? Are you afraid of saying how you truly feel? Are you afraid of the truth about you and others?
Do this right now – take a deep breath and let it out. Then do it twice more. We can’t move through life holding our breath. God can save us from every hurt, every pain, and every fall but sometimes He doesn’t because He’s using it to mold us into who He’s called us to be.
Breathe with me when things are hard, and especially uncertain. Feel what it’s like to fully be present. Don’t let the possibility of something bad ruin the opportunity for something good. Let God do His perfect work. He wants to walk this, and other things out with you, but you have to do your part and breathe!
I used to be so jealous when my friends were getting married. It was if I was watching them get the one thing I wanted and prayed God would do for me.
And it didn’t happen once, it happened over and over again.
I remember being in weddings and taking moments to myself to get myself together. Between the smiles I was fighting to be there for my friends – to put my own feelings aside.
It didn’t help that I was single – praying and waiting for God to do a new thing in my love life, fully expecting Him to do it, only to watch years go past when He didn’t. In fact, I believe that made it worse.
But instead of detaching or withdrawing I put one foot in front if the other, walked down aisles, carried a train and smiled in pics because even though my heart hurt, those days and those moments were not about me.
One Valentine’s Day one year, I agreed to watch a friend’s child while she and her husband went to celebrate. It was a hard day for me – I felt like a movie was playing right in front me that I’d never have a part in.
But I prayed and prayed and told God I wanted to be able to celebrate with my friends without thinking about myself, without crying inside. I wanted to wholly and truly celebrate them. And over time, God did it!
Now, I’m not perfect at this. Every now and then my feelings roll in like a bull in a china shop and I have to get back to one, but I am much, much better than I used to be and I am thankful and grateful for that.
It took a while but God changed my heart and I’m so glad He did. I don’t know when my time is coming but while I wait, I’ll be celebrating with my friends because if He can do it for them, He certainly can and will do it for me.
I am guilty of ignoring all of the blessings God has given me because I wanted God to do one thing. I’ll have moments when I’ll forget all He’s done because He hasn’t done that one thing!
Luckily, when I was content to stay in my own sunken place – drowning and no longer able to see the good God has done – my friends held up a mirror so that I could see.
I don’t like feeling this way but I know it’s normal and I know I’m not the only one. I believe it’s the same reason why someone can have all the money in the world and be miserable.
I pray and still pray for healing for my mother. I’m even tearing up as I type this – but over the years things have gotten both better and worse and I feel like I’m moving through the grief stages into one of acceptance.
I really wanted God to do that one thing. But I also wanted Him to do it my way. I wanted Him to do it without hurt and suffering, and without changing both of us in the process but God thought otherwise.
It’s crazy how we ask God for one thing – one way – and instead he does one hundred things, one hundred ways. And still it seems like it’s not enough because it’s not the one thing we’ve been praying for.
What’s the one thing you want God to do? What has He done in the meantime, instead?
I don’t have any answers for any of this. My goal is to wake up feeling better because my one thing – and really, it’s more than one thing – I want God to do, that He’s not doing my way, and in my time… is getting me down. And I’m going to cry about it and that’s ok.
For everyone who knows me personally, I wrote this post on 9/22. I’m better now.