Hope, Keeping it Real

Lessons In Living Through Dying

As I reflect on the last few weeks and the last ten months of my life, it keeps popping up that as much as I have experienced great loss I have also experienced great gain. I have learned so much in the process, and in the last days of my mom’s time on earth I learned more about living and life than I can completely understand.

I am absolutely still not sure that I have all the words, but in the meantime, I share what I can and hope that someone else will pick up even the smallest nugget that they can hold on to or release; whatever the case may be.

Life is really short. Really. Maybe I have a better understanding of that now more than ever. I don’t currently see that through a filter of sadness, regret or remorse but more through a filter of determination, courage and freedom.

What I learned about the brevity of life, even though my mom made choices that I wouldn’t make for myself, is that when you go through hard, ugly and painful things there’s still a blessing buried in that mess. It’s all about how you choose to see it. Even more so, how we choose to respond to it. I thought I had that concept pretty well mastered, but maybe not as much as I do now. Once again, as a believer in Jesus, I see how He is making all things work together and I am even more convinced that there’s no coincidence in His economy; just divine plans for a purpose.

I have realized after two plus years of hearing the words “new normal” that normal is not my favorite word, but new is a word that makes my top five. New after experiencing death takes on a whole new color and the best part of the new came on this side of heaven.

I have learned a whole lot more about my passion in life, and what picking up the pieces to rebuild looks like. There are more pieces being left on the floor than used in the creation of the next new chapter. That’s something that I have learned and understand at a greater level. New means new. Pieces of the old get added to the mould, but it’s a brand new creation opened up by purpose, plan and through a lot of pain. It’s still a new thing and sewn together by experience, belief and the choosing of one’s perspective and attitude.

I have learned the massive importance of true self care and how to go about that in the most loving possible way. Loving God and loving others is important, right now this other needs to crush the self care in the here and now as well as going forward. And it really just cannot be optimal or set aside for any good reason at all.

I have learned that a mom will truly go through life trying to protect their kids until their last dying breath. I have also learned to speak my heart even when it’s not the most favorable opinion and it’s still okay because my needs still matter as much as they always have.

Sharing all of these thoughtful and experiences seems like the best way through the grief. I long ago stopped saying things like I am fine. I have really learned more about the depth of His love for me. So instead of saying I am fine, how does “I am doing as expected” sound? Although I have also learned that grief does unexpected things at will all day long.

Take whatever you need to from this. If it’s how to see differently I hope you do. If it’s how to let go, I hope you do. If it’s how to find a mustard seed of faith then I hope you do. If it helps you let go, then I pray that you will.

Hope

The Boat Isn’t Going to Tip

Have you ever climbed into a raft, canoe or kayak before? How about attempting to get up on a water ski, a stand up paddle board or a boogie board? 

Do you remember that awkward, ungraceful, terrifyingly uncomfortable feeling? Do you remember how awkward and ungraceful it looked to those watching it go down? 

It happened anyway. It might have been rocking and rolling, but eventually we got on it. 

I am thinking about the storms around us and the fact that we are all having to deal with so much uncertainty, awkwardness and maybe some fear mixed in with what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. It’s happening anyway, and eventually we will understand all the reasons why. Eventually we will get it. 

Whatever the storm is and whatever the storms will be, He has yet to let the boat flip over. It might sway and squirm around a bit if we take our eyes off the One who calms the waves, but He is not going to let the boat flip. He will ask us to get out of the boat. He will be in the boat apparently asleep while the storms rage around us, but He is with us and the boat is not going to flip. 

I am a visual person. I need to see it believe it most of the time and admittedly, even in my faith walk with Jesus I am tempted to only believe Him at His word when I see Him at His word. That doesn’t make anyone a horrible Christian. It makes us human and normal.

Remember this today, friends. I am doing everything I can to see Him when I don’t necessarily appreciate the feelings and emotions that are swirling around me. I encourage you again, don’t stop talking and praying through the real emotions of whatever the storm you are experiencing looks like. 

I am reaching for His hand, standing on His word, and not allowing the feelings to drown me. I am choosing to not allow the sway of the boat be the end answer. I am choosing today, to hold confidently to His promises not only because I do see Him and feel Him but because I trust Him.

The boat is not going to tip. The same One that can calm the waves is most definitely allowing the storm to rage for a bigger purpose and plan than we know. It feels and looks awkward, uncertain and ungraceful, but He is with us in the storm. Do you believe Him at His word? 

In the boat, out of the boat, holding our hands or inviting us to reach for His hands, He is with us in the storms and is not going to allow the boat to tip. He won’t let us drown.