Yours, Mine, Ours

It’s been over 4 years since I last updated this blog. I couldn’t bring myself to write through the brokenness. Today, I decided to give it another shot and found this in my drafts. I wrote it about my mother. I’ll share the oldies first before I share what’s new in my life…

This was supposed to be YOUR testimony…your story to tell. I just knew it. You were going to beat this thing and you were going to help get people to know God by sharing your story of His faithfulness and provision. For the past few days, I have been troubled by that. I just knew I was right this time.

This morning, I’m feeling like maybe I still am. Maybe it’s just not meant for you to speak with words to testify. Maybe it’s like the old song says, maybe it will be the work you’ve done that speaks for you. God can use anybody and it’s not hard to see that He used you a whole lot.

Your strength and resolve through so much heartache, suffering, and loss in your life. People would see your smile and they might never know you’d had a cloudy day.

Your way of knowing what people needed without them having to say it. You just could hear it in their voice or see it on their face. Your spirit of discernment was incredible.

Your ability to remain calm during the storm. You barely shed a tear until the end. You didn’t whine or complain. You were peace in a physical form.

The Worst Day

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Six months ago was the worst day of my life. Came to work. Administrators and clerical staff sniffed out that something wasn’t right. Current and former principals prayed with me and sent me home. They told me that I needed to be with my family. I did. Had to call my sister to tell her to do the same. Being the woman that she was, my mom waited on her…literally stayed on machines until my sister parked her car.
That day was the last time I heard my mom’s voice. One of the last things she did was fuss over my dad. She was worried about him even when she knew her earthly end had come. That day…the worst day…lasted more than 24 hours as she transitioned. Her huge heart that held so much love would not give up even when her lungs had failed it.
Silver lining. Today is a better day than that day. I’ve already survived my worst nightmare. Someday, I’ll be stronger because of it. Maybe I already am.

The Irony…

I find it ironic that the day that I feel I truly grew to understand my mother was the day that she passed away from this world. For my whole life, she was there in every way imaginable. She took care of me. She had the answers to everything whether I accepted them or not. She made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me mad. She often told me things that I was too young to understand, but that would make sense to me later.

Occasionally, she transitioned from being super strong to showing me the softer side of her. In addition to showing her vulnerability through being loving, she also shared with me the grief that plagued her following her mother’s passing. In hindsight, I know that losing her mother changed her life and thus, shaped mine. The woman that my mother grew to become was equally due to her mother raising her to age 19 and also to her having to do her entire adult life without my grandmother. I’m sure there were many times that my mom didn’t know if she was making the right decisions. Many times, she probably didn’t want to make decisions at all. She did, however, do what needed to be done. I get it now. I get her now.

Any Regrets?

Some people proudly proclaim that they live life with no regrets. I’ve never been that person. Right now is no different. When I look back at my life, there are so many things that I would have done differently whether I learned from them or not.

As I reflect today, I realize it’s not the words I wish I’d said or the trip I wish I’d taken or even the extra hour I would have studied…it’s the fact that when you were sick, I thought that you were too fragile for real hugs. You know the ones…the tight kind. If I could turn back time, that is what I’d do differently. I hug you tighter and longer. #CC

No Longer Exceptional Occurrences

Suddenly it hit me…these tears are no longer exceptional occurrences in my life. I cry for you every day. Not always at the same time or for the same reason, but the tears…they always come.

I’ll learn to embrace them. Allow them to cleanse. Use them as reminders that you were here. Quit fighting them and accept that it comes with the territory when you’re a woman that misses her mama.

How Big Is It?

Disclaimer: I’m in my feelings. Thankful. Faithful. Also hurt. And confused. If you can’t understand how those emotions can co-exist, this blog entry is not for you.

I have long subscribed to the notion that the bigger the battle, the bigger the blessing. If you go through tremendous suffering, the breakthrough will make it all worth it. I’m struggling with this right now. I’m constantly asking myself about this blessing…just how big is it? How big is it that my mom had to be physically removed from my life for me to receive it?

Maybe I do hear that little voice in my head reminding me that this isn’t about me, but I don’t want to listen to it right now. Right now, I just want my heart to have as much peace as my mind does. More than that, I just want my mama.

Last Saturday of September

Going to bed is easy because I’m exhausted. Waking up is so, so hard…

…but God still IS. He’s present. He’s near. He’s somehow making sure we remember to breathe. He’s our hope and our source in this moment. He’s got you in His care. He’s the way that we get to see you again.

I keep replaying some of the last things you said to us.

“I’m not gonna give up.” You didn’t.

“I love you always.” You did and I know you do still.

“I’m ready to go home.” You were.

“Why are y’all crying? I’m not going anywhere.” I won’t believe you’re a liar now.

I can’t pretend to feel you with me all day, but when I go inside your room or your closet, I smell you. You always smelled so good. I feel you then. I don’t think we’ll ever want to wash the sheets, but you’d call us nasty and fuss, so we will eventually.

Breathe easy, Mama. ❤️

A New Season

I haven’t blogged in months. Haven’t really had much that I needed to say. This year has been funny that way. So much has happened, much of which I’ve shared, but so much more I’ve kept inside. Nevertheless, I’m here now. I feel a shift in the direction and purpose of my blog. It was never meant to be journal-like, but that’s what I feel now. One day after my mother’s passing, I need to continue to feel like I’m sharing things with her as they happen. I need continued conversations. I need to not implode. So, if you still read my blog and you notice that sometimes it doesn’t seem like I’m talking to God or to you…it’s because I’m having girl talk with my mama.

How odd is it that I was so ready for summer to end this year? I couldn’t wait for Fall. I talked about it way more than usual. I’ll never rush the days again. Summer did pass quickly and it took you with it on the first day of Fall. How dare I rush the seasons? You’ve always taught me to take each day as it comes. I’ve always been a little hard-headed, I guess. You’re always right and I’m always testing the water to make sure.

Last night, I had hoped to see you in my dreams. I wanted you to let me know that you’re okay. When you didn’t show up, I thought maybe I was already in the dream. That I’d wake up and you’d still be here…in good health and even better spirits. I won’t wish you back anymore. I know you wanted to go home one way or the other.

As I try to wrap my mind around this new season of life without your physical presence, I know that I will need your lessons and God’s strength more than I ever have. I thought I knew what hurt felt like before, but I realize that all of that was only preparation and training for this moment…this new type of hurt…this new normal. I’ll take each day as it comes.

Breathe easy, Pretty Girl.<3

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. -Eccleisastes 3:1-8

Happy Father’s Day

I’ll never forget how excited they both were when I told them we were expecting. My dad was a lot more vocal about it. Spilling the beans prematurely, calling to check on “the baby” every day, and rubbing and talking to my tummy.

Eric was a lot less talkative, but like he always does…he put a plan in place. He swapped out the junk food in the house, made me swear off coffee, and told me he’d give up his weekly cocktail to ride out the remaining weeks with me. I laughed so hard the day I lost my wallet and called him panicked since he was out of town and he calmed me down by telling me that I could “borrow” from his baby’s stash. In a month’s time our baby had more money than I did!

When we experienced the loss, they were so strong for me. These are the things that I celebrate today. The love. The caring. The protection. The provision. The strength. The two greatest men that I have EVER known. One who has shown himself to be the best type of father and the other who has shown that if and when God blesses us to bring home a baby someday, he too, will be the best. Happy Father’s Day, all.

About That Mustard Seed…

Faith is HARD. Seriously. At least, faith is hard for me. I think that’s why it only takes a little bit to make things happen. We talk about it and it sounds easy. You know the sayings:

“Have faith, hon.”

“Keep the faith, friend.”

“Just remain faithful, dear.”

I know those phrases as well as anyone. I dish them out as easily as I do a simple hello or goodbye. Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of the same phrases and I realize more than ever that having faith is hard work!

I can only speak for myself, but the hardest thing about faith is maintaining it even when things don’t (and may not ever, if we’re honest) go your way. I’m not sure that makes as much sense on screen as it does in my head so let me explain…

I have faith that God is real. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I believe that Heaven will be my eternal home. For me, that’s not so hard! That’s pretty easy.

I also believe that God wants what is best for me. I believe that He created me for a purpose. I have faith that His purpose for me will be fulfilled because I am willing to let Him use me. Not quite as easy, but still not all that hard either.

That brings me to my current struggle with faith. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I desire to have children. Those same people can imagine how thrilled I was recently to find out that my husband and I were expecting. From the moment I realized I was late, we celebrated. Having suffered a pregnancy loss before, I was afraid, but I believed this time would be different. I had faith that this baby, conceived on the same day that my husband and I joined our new church home, would be born healthy and full of life and love.

When I began to show early signs of miscarriage, I was devastated. Yet, I took my faith with me to the doctor twice in one week and propped my legs up to the ceiling believing that my baby was going to be okay. I had faith that everything would be fine and that angel’s story would just have a few extra twists and turns. Everything was not okay and once again, my body refused to cooperate with the miracle that I believed was taking place.

After I let my friends and family know about the loss, they offered words of comfort. What I’ve heard so often is that “my time will come,” or that “God will grant the desires of my heart.” When I hear that, I really just want to ask them how they know. I want that inside scoop because from where I stand, all the faith in the world doesn’t guarantee that I will birth any babies. It sounds harsh, but I have to acknowledge that. I have to acknowledge that faith in God doesn’t guarantee that I get my way about everything. There are plenty of faithful people who don’t get everything that they want out of this life.

Faith in God means that I believe that everything will work for my good even if I don’t get my way. Faith says that God’s will is better for me than my own. Faith is the mechanism by which I keep moving forward without knowing all the answers to all of the questions that rattle around in my head. Faith is trust. Nothing more. Nothing less. I have to own that. I have to be okay with trusting that God will continue to take care of me.

So my faith has led me to one conclusion regarding my desires for a child. God will do one of 3 things…

1) God will allow me to birth the beautiful, healthy baby in my dreams.

2) God will take away my desire to have children.

3) God will give me the strength to push through the feelings of loss and longing.

I’m not sure what He’s got planned, but I’ve got to let go and leave it up to Him. Meanwhile, I’ll hang on to my mustard seed, pick my head up, and face the day with as big of a smile as I can manage.

Keep Smiling,