TRIGGER WORD WARNING: auto accident, cancer, grief, fears
“I wanted to protect you, but grass doesn’t grow on the mountains.” That phrase was written to a friend of mine. Apparently, a family member of hers was trying to tell her that life’s lessons are only learned in the “valleys of life”. I talked it over with James, and we sat there in a rather awkward silence; until we both started giggling. “What does that even mean?”, he said. “Hmm..I think the family member is trying to say that growth only occurs in difficult situations.” We both shook our heads in the way that means we are rather befuddled; but don’t yet have an opinion formed about what was said.
I had just laid down in bed that night beside James when I sat up and yelled, “It’s BULL!!!” He looked at me in a confused,
groggy daze. “What’s bull?” “That phrase! It’s baloney! We have pictures that were taken out west; in the mountains! There’s grass EVERYWHERE!” He sat up, too. “You’re right! Even on the mountains where there is snow, grass doesn’t die, it simply lies dormant.”
Realization dawned on me, and we talked about my friend’s hesitation to receive good things without fear. Ugh! I am completely struck by the audacious lies that we believe. God is good. He is absolutely not capable of evil. Therefore, He cannot; absolutely cannot, cause evil. It’s impossible. “[What would have become of me ] had I not believed that I would see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13 AMP version).
For years, I was terrified of good things. Sometimes I would physically run from good things and kind people. I literally lived in fear that if good was done for me; I would either have a debt to that person that I couldn’t repay, or it would be a mean trick. Seriously, I honestly thought that kindness would be extended only to play a cruel joke on me.
That is no way to live! It’s miserable being at the mercy of your fears. They control you, sapping life from your years. It’s been a long journey of slowly having my eyes opened by God so that I could see and receive His Goodness.
One of the reasons that I took the following picture is because I admired the tenacity of the wildflowers. They overcame a rocky precipice, a concrete ramp, and even a man made railing…just to grow right there. I almost wish that they had a sign with a huge flashing arrow that said, “Stop! If these flowers can defy the odds; so can you! Stop focusing on your fears and LIVE! Overcome the impossible! You can do it!”
A valuable thing that my auto accident and migraines taught me was that each day holds no guarantees. I had absolutely no promise that I would make it through an entire day without being debilitated by nausea, pain, blind spots, hearing loss, vertigo, or all of the above. I learned that each moment is precious.
Life is so full of uncertainty. Freak accidents happen. Loved ones are taken all too soon. I stopped being afraid to live; and instead, I became alive. I focused my energy on being aware of what I could be thankful for. Right in that moment, that second…I looked for one thing that I could thank God for. Even if it was seemingly small or insignificant, I made it into a focal point of blessings.
For instance, when we lived in our apartment; I had a master suite for the first time ever in my life. I thanked God every single time that I rolled out of bed mid-migraine to crawl to the bathroom. I was so thankful for the close proximity. Giving thanks is a discipline, but I firmly believe that complaining is a learned process as well.
I am not going to sugarcoat our life this last week. It’s been “expletive”ly hard (I don’t even have the energy to cuss…I guess I just provided some of my reader’s with a reason to be thankful 😉 ). In the last seven days, James and I have had to set real, hard boundaries with a family member who chose to break the law. Until they are willing to earn back our trust; they aren’t allowed inside our house without us being home. Tough love is so hard. It can be heart-stabbing; but we have to love our family members enough to set boundaries and expectations of appropriate behavior. Life is too short to be bogged down by the stress of attempting life without boundaries.
Additionally, another dear family member is at the very end of her battle with Cancer. How our hearts are breaking! How our grief is palpable! One member of our family has not fully accepted their grief; and made some very painful choices that have injured quite a few of us.
Grief sucks, doesn’t it? As if it wasn’t enough that your heart is shattered; you still have to guard your heart with what little energy you have left. Last week, as three of ours were waiting for the bus; I called their attention to me and asked them to think about a puppy on a leash. I explained that when you first get a puppy, and start to “walk” it, it takes off with a bounding start. The puppy needs to learn that YOU are walking IT, not the other way around. Our grief is like the puppy. We need to acknowledge that it’s there; and then learn to direct IT instead of being at its mercy. If we don’t, our grief will soon be in charge of every aspect of our life…like an ill-trained puppy that makes a mess and leaves chaos behind.
Please understand me. Grief must be acknowledged. Weeping and processing must happen. However, allowing yourself to be controlled by your grief will only end up pushing away the very ones who can support you and love you as you grieve.
Grief is a journey. Be authentic and real in your grief. Admit it, process it, but please don’t wallow in it. Don’t allow it to consume you and steal the moments of life that are right here for you now.
My friend, Mrs. B., once asked me to stare at my own nose. Go ahead, try it for a few seconds…cross your eyes. After the vertigo clears, stop and remember how much bigger your nose seemed to appear. The very thing that you focus on will continue to grow in size. When your eyes are diverted from looking straight ahead, you lose the ability to see clearly, and your perspective blurs.
There is absolutely no shame in finding a trained professional to walk you through your grief. Trust me; I tease James that we will have “frequent flyer miles” at the local counseling center. Part of our grief journey is having the humility to admit that we are grieving, and need someone to journey alongside of us.
Please don’t grieve alone. Don’t be afraid of your grief. Please don’t miss the beauty of life as you grieve. You are not alone.
He sees you. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms” (Dueteronomy 33:27). In all of our grief from the miscarriage and destroyed expectations, this is the one verse that I cling to as if it were my security blanket. It directs me to the solace that my heart aches for. The pain is still here; but there is a gentle reassurance in knowing that we don’t grieve alone.
Please do not hesitate to journey alongside of us in our grief as well.
We will do our best to be here for you; but please understand that only HE has arms that are everlasting.
Isn’t it time that you receive His embrace?