Broken or Brave…..Walking The Life God Gave Me

I haven’t blogged in a while not because I haven’t wanted to but my time and energy has been focused on other things; mainly Hannah.  There are so many thoughts that go through my head. It sometimes is like having 700 tabs open on a computer…..sorting through those tabs (thoughts) is hard.  There is so much about myself that I am down on; yet so much about myself that reminds me that God is still working on me and I pray that I am allowing Him to do what He needs to do.  Sometimes that “work” though is painful, lonely, scary and sad.  I feel like I should be wearing an “under construction” sign so people know that I am not who I want to be or who God wants me to be…..I am almost thinking I never will be.

Life this year (2019) so far has been WAY difficult for me.  With my illness and Dennis being out-of-town so much (more than ever….he is out-of-town again right now) and with seeing Hannah regress and possibly have a “new” issue/diagnosis on top of everything else; 2019 has not been a great year.  I try to put a smile on my face and “fake it until I make it” but that is not always easy.  I think the word that can best describe me right now is just broken.  I don’t feel brave or like I have it altogether.  I feel discombobulated and out of sync, out of touch and just plain crazy most of the time.  It is like every time I try to do something I get distracted, disinterested, unmotivated or something happens to draw me away from it and then I never finish it.  I have a type A personality so then when I don’t finish something, it makes me mad and then that broken feeling sets in and the cycle continues all over again.  I am probably making no sense in this blog post!  HA!  BROKEN…..LONELY…..OUT-OF-PLACE……Like you don’t fit in anywhere or with anyone….have you ever felt that way?  That is the best way I can describe what this year has been so far to me. I am not sure why God is allowing this particular “valley” for me.  What is He trying to show or teach me?  What is it that I am supposed to learn from this?

I bought this book…..100 Days to Brave last week and started reading it.  I highly recommend it.  It is a devotional book but it is an easy read…..not long, drawn out or too hard to understand. I am tired of feeling broken.  I am tired of being lonely.  I am tired of feeling out-of-place.  I want to be brave.  I want to be okay with the season of life I am in and on this journey.  There is so much about my life that is hard but there is so much about my life that is easy compared to others.  I find when getting discontent, trying to remind myself about the joys of my journey and the parts that are truly easier than most.  I am so blessed not to have to work outside my home.  I am so blessed that I have a husband that will do pretty much anything I ask of him and he never makes me feel like I am a burden.  He never questions when I spend money or what I do when it comes to our home or with Hannah.  He kinda just allows me to be the CEO and CFO of our life (which again my Type A personality really likes/needs).  HA!  So, I do have so much to be grateful for but sometimes the hardships (especially Hannah’s health issues) overshadow the good parts and I feel weary, weak and broken.  I so wish I could just fix it all for her.  I wish I could take all her pain and misery on myself and make her whole.  I would do it in an instant.  Until I became a mom I had no clue what unconditional love was……I sure found out with Hannah.  I remember Dennis wanting another baby so badly and I just couldn’t do it mentally or emotionally.  I finally one day looked at him and said…..”I cannot do this again as loving someone this much HURTS.”  It literally hurts to love this much……it isn’t a bad hurt except for the fact that Hannah has been sick her entire life and the plethora of health issues continue to compile.  We are dealing with a whole new possible issue right now that has blindsided us.  It is just never-ending and so very hard.  But, I want to be brave instead of broken.  I want to rise up above the struggle and be and do more than just get by.  I want to take my journey and use it to help others.  I want to be brave…..I want to take all of this brokenness, loneliness, helplessness and these challenges and make it all matter.  I am trying to figure out what that looks like for me….for Dennis….for Hannah. We have A LOT of changes happening for us this year and I want to take these changes and our life’s circumstance and make it matter.  It is time to rise up and be brave instead of broken and I am determined to figure out what that looks like for us.

On a different note, I am not sure who needs to hear this but I thought it was blog worthy.  Being a caregiver for anyone regardless of who it is for, it is difficult.  Perhaps it is your child, parent, sibling, grandparent or friend.  Whatever the case and no matter for how long, it is an exhausting and lonely life.

Dennis left town AGAIN on Wednesday, but he texted me this as a friend of ours sent it to him and told him he was praying for us.

My response to his text was “TRUTH.”  I have walked this road for 13-1/2 years.  I never in a million years dreamed that I would be considered a “caregiver” just a mom but believe it or not there is SO MUCH about our life with Hannah and that I do not share publicly as I truly do have private things (shocking, I know).  I told someone the other day that living with Hannah is almost like caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.  It is the same repetitive phrases, the same repetitive actions, the same routine, the same everything over and over and over again. If you get out of that routine it sends Hannah in a downward spiral of agitation and anxiety.  If there are too many people around she gets agitated and overly stimulated.  She cannot handle loud people, places or environments.  She honestly doesn’t do well going anywhere and hates to leave our home, which is her safe place.  When I say we are home 24/7, it is the truth….other than doctor visits and the occasional trip to get some take out……we are in Hannah’s safe place…..our home.  Not an easy road and trust me I have had a lot of people criticize me for how we do things and look down on me.  But, due to Hannah’s low immune system, her health issues, her anxiety and sensory processing disorder until you have walked in our shoes you have no clue why we do the things we do.  I finally came to terms with not listening to the negativity of others who don’t understand; but it isn’t easy or fun a lot of the time.  I rely on God’s grace and mercy to carry me through and you know what?  HE HAS and He continues to.  I am thankful for those who have chosen to walk with us and love us on the journey. Please pray for Hannah as we are doing more testing next week to see what is going on in her little body that is “off.”  We have a lot of questions and no answers and we covet your prayers.

If you are struggling, if you are sad, lonely, broken and if your journey is hard……remember you are NEVER alone and you are loved.

Until next time………



Silence and Grace

I have been silent for awhile…..I needed to be still……I needed time to myself……I needed rest for my heart, mind, spirit and soul.

I am not one for silence.  I am extremely verbal and sometimes not always in good ways.  I, many times speak my mind before really pondering it and giving it the proper thought and attention it needs before just blurting it out.  The past 2-3 weeks though, God allowed me to be knocked down to my knees.

I have not hidden the fact that I have been sick since May of last year and now trying to find the proper medications and dosing the month of January was a tough one for me.  It isn’t easy being sick and trying to care for your special needs daughter and your husband.  The fact that he was out-of-town and working so much the month of January made it more difficult.  One of the medications I was on was what I renamed “Devil pill.”  It was an awful medication with horrific side effects; even though it treated my symptoms beautifully, the side effects made it not worth it.  I lost a ton of weight, had massive brain fog, hypothermia, fatigue and anger. Not to mention, the long-term damage that it most likely has done to my eyes (thanks to a “rare but severe” side effect, that of course affected me). During that time I found it important to just be still, remain silent and pray for grace to get through.  Trust me, you didn’t want to hear from me and staying off social media was best due to the mindset I was in……

During that time though, I felt unappreciated, overwhelmed, unworthy and very much alone.  But, what I didn’t see happening was that God was using that time to draw me closer to Him.  I found when I was so alone that I only had one person to turn to….HIM!

Several things stood out to me and I thought I would share those with you now…..

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

“Overlooked by everyone but handpicked by God”……I read this in Lysa TerKeurst Devotional book entitled Embraced.  It talked about how the mundane tasks of every day life can be daunting…..the same things over and over and over again.  In the midst of these mundane tasks (laundry, cooking, cleaning, wiping noses and hiney’s, paying bills) we are being trained.  There is character building, attitude shaping and soul defining.  We may feel overlooked and under-appreciated by the world but we are handpicked by God for a particular purpose.  Perhaps you know what that purpose is in your life and maybe you are still trying to figure it out; but God is using the time of silence and isolation to mold you and me into who He wants us to be and to fulfill the plan He has for our lives.  It might not be the plan we envisioned; but I truly believe He has one…..for each of us.  Sometimes though, if you are a difficult learner like I am, He has to get your attention by knocking you down and making you rely totally and completely on Him.  I truly don’t recommend this kind of education; but it seems to work best for my stubborn self.

James 1:2-18

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

These verses struck me because even though God is working right now in my life, it isn’t fun.  It is hard, grieving, testing and full of trials.  I would much prefer easy, predictable, comfortable and peaceful; but that isn’t where I am right now.  But, I know that God is working on my heart and in my life.  He is showing me what true grace and mercy looks like and I can tell you that it has made me more interested in reflecting that grace and mercy and extending it to others because I know how good it feels when it is extended to me.

I read this in New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp a few weeks ago:

I wish I always carried it with me

I wish it always shaped the way I look at life

I wish it directed my desires

I wish it was the natural inclination of my heart.

I wish remembering your boundless grace would silence my grumbling.

I wish my worship of you, my trust of you, my rest in you would drive away all my complaint.

If my heart is ever going to be freed of grumbling and ruled by gratitude,

I need your grace to remember, grace to see, grace that produces a heart of humble joy.

Sometimes God has to take you out of your comfortable place.  He has to take you away from everything and everyone that could be a distraction and He has to get you to the point where you are totally reliant on Him.  The past 2-3 weeks especially, I have learned I cannot do anything alone.  I can fight, I can scream, I can cuss but until I lay the sword down and stop fighting, screaming and cussing and remain still and silent and give it to HIM and Him alone I can’t do anything. He has a plan for my life, I know that (I might not have been nice to you if you had told me that 2 weeks ago though). He has a lot of work to do on me…..I am not a quick study or easy learner. I like things done in my own way but I need to learn to get out of  my own way and let Him work.  I don’t like this season I am in.  It isn’t fun.  I hurt (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually); but it is where He has me.  Being still, being silent and allowing his grace to cover me is where I am right now.

I am finding joy in the smallest things.  Looking at my daughter’s face and the way her smile melts me or the way her eyes light up the room.  Even when I am hearing the same repetitive phrases over and over and over again; I am finding the joy in the fact that she talks.  So many mom’s would give anything to hear their child speak.  Sometimes I make the comment that it is like living with a patient with Alzheimer’s because of the repetitive speech, patterns and routine in Hannah.  Y’all, that is hard and sometimes makes me want to scream BUT…..the fact that she is here…..alive……happy……content……those are things to find joy in.  So in the difficult, hard and grieving times there is joy to be found.

I am giving myself more of a break too……the laundry, dishes, floors, bathrooms… will all be there.  Sometimes you just have to take a time out and do what you can and then give yourself permission to let it go just one more day.  Take that time and play a game with Hannah or read a book or bake a cake.  It is in those moments that you feel free to just be okay and know that in the words of Scarlett O’Hara…..”tomorrow is another day.”  Allow yourself to breathe……rest……recoup and then try again tomorrow.

Be still and know that He is God and He is in control and with Him all things are possible.

Until next time………..