cling to Hope

While seeking out post ideas on other blogs that I rarely, if ever, visit, one link led to another which led to another (we've all done this, right? the wildness of the internet leads one all sorts of places, some good, some not so, and some awesome!), which gave me these quotes that I wanted to share today:

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale."


"In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."

{Read the whole short essay right here. It's worth it.}

Cling to Hope, friends! Even in the hard, the bewildering, the unknown, God is still working. He is in control and that is HOPE. He doeth all things well and I, for one, am determined to trust Him.

Will you?


this moment

Sometimes I write things down that are inside
& tuck it away
in the quiet
pen & ink
black & white
These scratches staining my heart
my fingers flow with words
It all rains down
shadowing the pages
fear & pain canvassing my story
page after page
these thoughts that circle my brain
Out of my head they hurt less
make more sense
(kind of)
Yet still I doubt
Does anyone care?
and then
Fearfully I share them
so sure they won't be understood
Only to find a heart like mine!
How does God do that?
Give me someone before I even ask
plan the steps
set the actions
leading me to this moment
where my heart-cry is heard
pointing the Light
cradling my fragile-ness
arms wrapped tight
& I rest


dark places to Light

Dark places. We all have them, don’t we? It seems so often that they come, especially when we most don’t want them to. Yet that’s exactly how the enemy works. He targets his darts for our most tender spots and boy does he have great aim.

That’s precisely what happened to me the other day.

I had an arrow hit a place that I’d forgotten was fragile and when it struck, all I could do was react. I had no time to think or plan, I simply reacted. And my go to response? Was to run and hide.

I’m not proud of that. I wish I could’ve stayed and laughed at myself and moved on. But when push came to shove, as God’s still working on reminding me to trust Him, all I could do was remove myself from the situation and try and work through my emotions alone. Long story short, I ended up crying as I drove home.

I’m sure you’re terribly curious what happened, and I don’t want to give every detail away. But suffice it to say that I had a really awkward situation happen earlier that day, a situation that I had no idea how to handle. A situation that I had no idea what I should even do or think about it. I got through it, thank goodness. But then… There was someone with me when the awkward happened and out of simply a heart of fun, with no desire to hurt, teasing me about the situation started. It was totally meant in good fun, I know that. There was absolutely no malicious intent at all. But my tender spot? It got scratched just a tiny bit. And even tiny scratches hurt, despite being unintentional. Hence my tears.

Oh, but there’s a really awesome yet to come!

A text message and one phone call later, two friends found out about my feelings. And they hurt for me. They prayed for me and then one reached out to me. That’s when I was reminded that the dark places, those horrible shadows that feel so very, very lonely, are not actually places only I have to handle. Those dark places are felt by so many! Yet even if they’re only felt by two, when those two communicate and realize there’s even one other person who understands? Ah, my heart! It’s a beautiful thing, empathy. I’d never really put that word to it, but that’s precisely what it is and what is so glorious. When we can empathize with one another!
 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3-4 
Is that not a glorious thought? The mere fact that God comforts us daily is wonderful (and I’m so very, very grateful!), but add to that the fact that we can take that comfort and help others around us just adds so much more depth. Because when you’re right there in the thick of things? When your dark place is surrounding you and you’re struggling to find the light? That’s a place where we desperately need someone to give us a hand! To reach out and grasp a hand and realize that we’re not alone. That someone understands us. Someone cares. Someone had felt the same, someone has been there, and someone has gotten through to the other side. It gives us HOPE. Hope that we, too, can make it. That we can survive intact and end up so much stronger on the other side.

This dearest of friends, who I’ve only known a year or so, reached out and eased my heart that night. There are no words to describe what she did for me in that moment. It was simply the fact that she empathized and knew my heart so clearly. She made me understand that as embarrassed as I was feeling (mostly embarrassment that I was embarrassed and unable to handle it, I think by that point), my feelings were not stupid or ridiculous. She ever so gently wrapped her words of love around my bleeding tenderness and reminded me that God’s got this. I knew that, but I needed to hear it again. (Isn’t it funny how forgetful we humans are?)

Once I knew how not-silly I was, once I could breathe clear again, once God had settled my heart, I began to think about how amazing that experience was. I mean, here was a woman who I’d known for only a matter of months, yet she was able to see beyond the shallow into the deep things and realize that my darkness needed Light. A Light that she could reflect because she’d been there before herself. A Light that only she could reflect in that particular moment. A Light and a moment that God had been preparing for a long time because He knew that awkward would happen and that I was going to need someone to remind me. (He so often uses us, doesn’t He? I think He does way more often that we’re probably even aware.)

He knew all that and prepared long ago! I am constantly in amazement over how God works for us. How He plans and loves us so fully! How can I not be when I think about all the steps that had to happen in order for that particular friend to be there in that particular moment to ease that particular hurt?

Think about it. Each occurrence in our life has a purpose, yes? And we know that in order for this step to happen, this other step has to happen first. He has a plan and each step of that plan is crucial. So think about all the things that had to fall into place for that moment to arrive and happen just like it did! The people I had to know who had a less than stellar circumstance happen in their lives, which led to meeting this couple, which led to them introducing this couple to me, which then led to me spending a great deal more time with them, which then led to that awkward and embarrassing day. And that perfectly wondrous, God-breathed moment.

 (Are you still with me? Hopefully so.)

Isn’t that so simple, yet so profound? I love how God works!! The fact remains that each of those steps had to happen in that order. Had one failed in any way, then the next ones wouldn’t have happened. But they didn’t.

Because God.


That’s just crazy-awesome, friends! God is so good. Every single moment of every single day. He never gives up! Our dark places don’t stand a chance.









Unanswerable questions.

What do we do with these things? How do we ever begin to even make sense of them? How do we explain them to ourselves, let alone to anyone else? Especially when those feelings are for someone else. When someone you care about is hurting, how can you help but to hurt with them? You want so badly to make everything better. To make them okay again. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.

They aren't okay. They won't be okay. Not for a long, long time.

So how does it work?

We cry together. We hug, we cling, we comfort, we allow the venting, the frustration, even the anger, or the fear, we face it all. Together.

That? That's the most important thing of all. Together. That means not alone.

When you're grieving, you feel alone. You can be in the biggest crowd of people all wanting to tell you how sorry they are and you can feel oh. so. alone. It's one of the strangest feelings, like you're disconnected from it all. Like there's a fog around you and even though you see people are right next to you, your eyes won't focus. And your heart? Your heart struggles to peek out from the shattering. It has the harder time reaching out.

You can know all the right things. You can tell yourself over and over that God's got this. You can understand that it's better if you have people in your life to lean on. You can even crave that! Yet somehow still be unable to reach out your hand and grasp it.

(Emotions are fickle things.)

So those of us around them? Those of us in that crowd who are seeking to do whatever we can to ease that pain and heartache? We have to be the ones to reach out.

Sometimes we just get tired of that. Sometimes we get tired of being the strong one. Sometimes we even say, "But why didn't you say something? You should have told me. If you'd asked, I would have come immediately!"

Sometimes we don't realize just how next to impossible that action is.

Such a simple thing, right? To send a text message or make a phone call? Trust me when I say that those actions can actually be some of the hardest in the world!

And remember....that's the path we chose when we said 'yes' to Jesus. How many times did He get tired, how often was He required to give and give and give? How often did he crave to go out, alone, and rest? And yet every time someone asked of Him, He gave it. No matter what.

We're no different. He requires the same of us that He required of Himself.

There's a hurting family tonight. Their loved one met Jesus, very unexpectedly, in a horrible situation. And as those of us who love them try to surround them with love and comfort, my heart came back to these thoughts. They need us in this moment. They (if they're anything like I was this past May) will simply have no words. All their hearts will be able to do is cry out.

But we? We are their words right now. We are His arms right now. We are His love right now. And we have the privilege of loving them through this unspeakable Hard. They are craving the prayers and the arms and the crying. Their hearts are so shattered, their emotions so chaotic, praying clear and concise is not even possible.

So even though I can't physically go and be His arms and His words, I can still cling together with them (for them) in prayer.

Together is a very important place to be.



When we're shattered in pieces
nowhere to turn
emotions all fragile
emitting concern
It takes til that moment
of being o'erwhelmed
it's proven exactly
who's been at the helm

So often we're sure
our life's been on track
yet the smallest blow
just throws us straight back
We're down for the count
wondering why me

Then Jesus whispers
"You need help to see?"
He gathers us tight
wipes tears away
His gentle touch
keeps fear at bay

"Give up the battle
let Me take control
I have already won
the fight for your soul
All you need to do
is let Me inside
I'll wash out that pain
and forever abide
Your strength alone
is no match for Mine
I love you too much
to let you repine
I've got you covered
let go of the wheel
I'll cradle your heart
and ease what you feel"

I lift up my hands
I fall to my knees
I've made things a mess
"Here, take it now please
I trust You with all
I rest in Your hands
I give up control
to Your Master Plan"

As simple as that
my burden is lifted
From my back to His
I know it's been shifted
Comfort steals over
I lay down to rest
in His peace and love
Away leaks the stress
My pillow is soft
my mind starts to slow
no worries are left
God's got this, I know!



I just needed to get my thoughts out of my head...

{My thoughts after reading this article by Rachel. Plus numerous others that I've read in the past.}

I am an odd duck.

Yes, it's very true and I'm really okay with it actually. But I recently had that thought, I shared it with a dear friend, and she looked at me all worried that I may have been saying "I'm weird, nobody likes me, guess I'll go eat worms" or somesuch. Which is SO not the case! Although I am weird. I completely own that I'm odd, especially when it comes to the molds that I so clearly do not fit into.

Let me explain...

I am in my mid 30s (ugh, that's still so strange to say!), I'm single, and I belong to a fairly conservative fellowship. A fellowship filled with people I love dearly! But one thing that comes with conservative traditional types are these little things that I call molds or ideals. For instance, the ideal which says that I should be married by now; I should be an amazing homemaker and cook; I should love children and be heartbroken that I don't have any nor any chance of having any in my near future; I should know how to garden perfectly, and can veggies for the winter, and any number of domestic things that I'm either terrible at or know nothing about. I fit none of those, in case you wondered. And that's okay. It really is.


I think the fact that I'm even aware of these differences, between me and others of similar age and situation, may be a product of people that have no idea what to do with someone like me. No one makes me feel less than, for the record. At least not on purpose. I simply think that those of us like myself (yes, I'm assuming there could be more like me out there somewhere) don't fit very many places. The church doesn't really know how to prepare a young girl for my situation. Nor what to do with me now.

When I was younger, I had dreams of what my 20s and 30s would be like and those dreams definitely had marriage and children in them. Which is a good thing! I don't want to sound like those dreams are bad because they're not. Far from it! But I simply wish there had been someone in my life that would've told me things like:

  • You may not get married and you need to prepare for that. Because that desire to be married won't just go away simply because you tell it to or you ask God to take it. He breathed it into you, it's actually a beautiful thing. But don't let it be the ultimate dream.
  • If you never get married, don't stress! Hang in there. There's so many things you can do with your life, so many adventures you can go on, so many new friends you may make, so much that you wouldn't try otherwise. Look forward to those parts!
  • If you don't marry, it's okay to be sad about that. It's even okay to be happy about that! 
  • You might need a career to support yourself, whether you get married or not. You should be prepared just in case.
  • It's okay not to want to teach at a church private school or whatever your "norm" is for older singles.
  • Some days it really stinks to be single! Be honest about that.
  • But don't become desperate. Yes, you want to be married, but learn to be okay that you're not. Strive to be content with where you're at. Be happy!
  • Surround yourself with friends who will let you be yourself. And love you no matter what.
  • Somehow figure out a way to respectfully respond to those who comment about your singleness. Even when they've hurt you.
  • Do not become bitter!

I loved Rachel's article because I knew she somehow saw into my heart. There are a lot of articles out there about singleness and I've read some of them. But so many say the exact same things. I just want more older singles who feel more like me to be writing! Because the honest truth is I may never get married. And while that may hurt extra hard some days and not at all on others, I want to be able to acknowledge that. I want to know I'm not alone in that. I want to know that on the days I'm happy I'm not married, I'm not too bizarre. I want to know that finding things I love (like books and reading, and blogging, and getting the chance to travel and meet other blogger, readers, and authors) is a good thing! That I can do those things without worrying what you may think of me.

Really, I think I just want to know I'm not the only one who feels odd. To have the knowledge that I'm not alone in my feelings. That someone understands me. I think if someone had told me some of these things when I was a teen, I may have dealt with a few things differently over the years. Maybe I'd be a little less odd now? Or maybe not. But it would've certainly made a difference to my heart.


Step out into the Brave

Do you ever feel like your walk with Jesus is pretty radical? I mean, I'm sure we all do at some point or other, but I'm talking about getting down to the day to day interactions and feelings. I experienced that today. I had a not-fun chat with someone who is not a believer. Now I should clarify that I instigated this convo because this particular someone has been actively showing me that they're upset. Only I wasn't sure why or what exactly I had done. (Which is never a fun feeling, right?) Yesterday some things culminated into me going home last night with a knot in my stomach. (And the determination that I couldn't endure another day like that!)

Then I heard this song...

And it helped give me the brave I needed to take the opportunity that came today and just jump out! I didn't think twice, I'd been praying since yesterday that if the right opportunity came up, that God would help me see it and give me the courage to start the convo. He came through! (Of course. :) So when my chance came, I jumped in with two feet and my heart rate through the roof!

What I figured out? Is that as I am the believer in this friendship, I was going to have to be the one to take one for the team so to speak. They were never going to come to me about this, I had to go to them. This particular someone had a wall a mile wide and tall and thick as all get out. Everything I said felt like it was bouncing off. I struggled for the right words, I prayed frantically for the right words, and whether they came and I said them I'm still uncertain. (I have trouble getting words from my brain out of my mouth in coherent sentences.) But this one thing I know...

God was there.

Through every single bit of the hard conversation, I fully trust and believe He sat right beside me. Even as I heard things I didn't like, even as this particular someone shared the honest truth of the pain in their life (because I do believe the underlying basis for all that's going on is pain. Pain is a huge motivator, isn't it? It's one of the enemy's favorite weapons sadly.), even as I cried (of all things. I was really wishing my emotions weren't so near the surface!), and even as I ended the convo realizing that things weren't really going to change...and yet....

I changed! I felt very confident as I left the room that I had listened to the Spirit and chosen to act as He wanted. Even if things weren't solved, that was okay. I had responded to a situation in as Christ-like a manner as was possible and He had been there through it all.

So what is my point? (I do have one!)

A reminder to myself that, mistakes or no, listening to the Spirit can be as simple and easy as it was today. The conversation may not have been easy, but that moment when I knew my opportunity was there and I needed to grab hold, I ignored the elevated heart rate and the Fear, grabbed my Brave and stepped out.

And you know what? I think that's all God asks of us so much of the time. I can't fix this situation. I can do nothing to change this person or make them understand my heart. But God can. And He will. I just have to trust Him. He's the One who's going to make the situation better. All my own words will do nothing. But His words? His love? He can do anything! All he needs from me is my willingness to do whatever He asks.

Choose to Trust, step out into the Brave, and let God handle it.

How easy is that? :)



Thoughts swirl
heart falters
words fail
Where do I go from here?
breathe in
breathe out
I will survive
with time
with faith
Clarity will come
He is worth it all


Selfish Grief

One thing people don't tell you about grief? (Or at least no one ever told me.) Is how selfish it can make you feel. Okay, so I know I have this Huge Thing taking up space in my insides. A Huge Thing that is a Big Deal, a Huge Thing that is unpredictable, unreliable, and unknown. All I can do is endure and survive my way through it. I get that. So yes, it has to be dealt with (because trust me, ignoring it does not make it go away!), but I've come to realize how selfish I tend to be about it.

Take for instance last weekend. I was having lunch with a table full of friends and while we were having great conversation, I kept feeling weird inside. Like I just had to bring up mom and how I was struggling. Which is not a bad thing! But we'd already talked about it, alluded to it, and that convo point was done. So I shouldn't want to keep talking about it. Except I did. And it was weird. I did not end up bringing it up again, but I've thought about it a lot this week.

I've been pondering this question: can grief make you more selfish? I mean, I know it's normal to want to talk about the loved one you've lost, I get that. And I do think it's good to talk about them. To talk about your feelings and how you're handling things. To keep it all bottled up would make things much worse for yourself. But! Don't you think it's possible to go overboard with that if you're not careful? I'm not sure, but I think so. Because at what point does it go beyond needing to talk about it to wanting to be the center of attention or wanting to be known for this Huge Thing. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but hopefully you get what I'm asking?

Yes, I need to get this stuff out of my head and my heart and put it out there so I can deal with it. Because leaving it inside is not dealing with it. But if I talk too much, if I constantly bring it up all the time (I mean, if I brought it up as many times as I think about it, I'd definitely be bringing it up ALL the time!), it becomes possible for me to make it all about me. And it shouldn't be all about me! I'm the one going through it, yes. But I'm not the only one! At least in my family for sure, and in general, lots and lots of people have lost loved ones really close to them. So if I make it all about me, that could have the possibility of me becoming full of myself or somesuch, plus it would take away from others who are dealing with their own grief. Which is a Bit Not Good, yes? Yes!

I suppose what I'm trying to say is I'm learning how careful I need to be. I need to survive my way through this Huge Thing, yet God needs to continue to be glorified in it as well! It needs to become all about Him, never about me. The enemy would have me think otherwise and I don't want to go down that road. So forgive me, dear Jesus, if I've already started that path, and please help me to get back on track. And thank You for loving me anyway!

He > me

For sure and for certain.


No Words

I find it so interesting the way people react when I tell them my mom passed away recently. Some react immediately with this look on their face, the one that says "I'm so sorry for your hurt", and then they say those exact words. (I like those people.) Some react with additional words of "I understand. I've been there. I know it hurts. I know it's hard. But it gets easier, it really, really does." (I like those people too.) Others react with nothing really. They say sorry, but they don't know what else to say and so they change the subject. (I understand. I do. It's hard to know what to say at times like that.) Other times people have apologized for bringing her up in conversation. Or even for talking about their own mother.

I just wish I could tell them it's okay. It's okay to let me be sad. It's okay to remind me of mom and cause me to feel sad again. Because let me tell you, there's no getting around that! It's okay to talk about my mom. (I especially love doing that actually.) It's okay to talk about your mom. If you still have your mom, naturally you want to talk about her sometimes. Please do! It helps. Somehow.

And to all those who have no words....I understand. I really do! Prior to this past May, I was in your shoes. You go to a funeral and you want so badly to have words to encourage the family. You feel awkward just standing there silent and you feel like you need to say something. But you have nothing, so you repeat the same old things everyone always says at times like that.

Can I tell you a secret? Words aren't needed.

They really aren't. During the visitation line, I heard "You have my sympathy" SO many times. By the end of that night, I was kind of tired of hearing those words. I still am. Sympathy isn't a bad thing, I get that. But it doesn't really say a whole lot either.
sympathy: noun the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration
I think that definition was created because of the people that go to funerals and don't know what else to say. And most times, I've noticed, it's said by those who've not experienced losing this significant person in their life yet. Those who've been there? They don't usually say it.

But let me repeat, words are not necessary. Just being there, standing in front of me tells me a whole lot. Hugs tell me even more! (I should make clear, if you're unable to be there in person then obviously words are all you'll have, whether by phone or written in a note. In which case, words are necessary. Just not sympathy, okay? Really truly not.) Looking back, I can't tell you anything one single person told me. But I do remember the feelings I felt from those who came. I remember quite vividly a particular cousin and several close friends who came and hugged me tight for a long, long time. I remember how I felt in those moments very clearly. If I sit and think on it a while, they come back to me and the sadness rushes back too. But it's a good sad!

Is that weird to say? "It's a good sad"? Probably. But it is. While this new path I'm on isn't easy (not by a long shot!), it's still good. I can find rest and joy in it. Some days easier than other, certainly.

Sad is pretty much a constant in my life right now. And that's okay. There's no way for me to be any different. Only time is going to change it. And actually I really think there's always going to be this small part of my heart sad for the rest of my life. And that's okay too. It means she meant a lot to me! I'll just be Kara with a hole inside. Luckily for me, my Father understands. I think He went through a sadness when He turned His back on Jesus. So I know He understands! And He's getting me through.

Little by little, He's getting me through.


breathing hope

Some days just breathing is about all I can do
It's all so fresh
so raw
It hurts
I imagine getting over it
but I can't
How can I?
Words that I imagined saying before
but I could never have imagined these feelings
When they say there's a hollowness inside your chest?
they're right
When they say your throat becomes a lump of hard
& it's near impossible to swallow?
they're right
When they say the tears come at odd moments
& swallow you whole?
they're right
When they say bursts of emotion will happen
& then you're fine again?
they're right
When they say your memories come back
& make you laugh
& cry all at the same time?
they're right
When they say you want to talk about your mother all the time
& bring her up in every conversation?
they're right
When they say it takes TIME?
they're right
It's feelings unlike any I've ever felt before
& the millions of words I could try
to describe them wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface
or even make sense
unless you've been there
unless you've felt it too
unless you're still feeling it
Because losing your mother is only experienced
it cannot be described
or imagined
it can only be felt
& adjusted to
there is no getting over
There's only straight through
one small step
one smile
one choice
Hope on, my heart
Life is waiting


I miss her...

I miss her
I miss her smiles
I miss her hugs
I miss her grin when I was teasing
I miss our convos
& how she always listened
to every
I miss her hands
(squeezing mine)
I miss her shoulders
(just bony enough, yet soft enough for me to lay on)
I miss her fingers
(combing my hair & wiping my tears)
I miss how she knew just what I needed when I was sick
I miss sitting in comfortable silences while we both read books
I miss sneaking bagfuls of new books past dad's all-seeing eyes
I miss her 'hello's' when I walk through the front door
I miss seeing her on the front row at church
I miss calling her for advice
I miss just knowing she was in the room
I miss her in the morning
(when I wake up & remember)
I miss her in the middle of the day
(when I just want to hear her voice)
I miss her at night
(when the silences bear down with tears)
I miss her
I miss her
I miss her
I miss her in this jagged-edged hole in my heart
this wound that seems as raw & fresh as the first day
I just miss my mom.




Scrolling through Instagram recently, I read this (isn't it awesome how God works?! How He places the thing we needed in our paths most unexpectedly? I love that.):
This week has the potential of overwhelming my heart. It has the potential of stealing my joy and tripping me up. But it also has the potential for me to see God beautifully orchestrate circumstances beyond my control for His glory. It has the potential for me to experience a quiet heart in the chaos of life. By His grace, I am choosing the latter.
I am choosing to rejoice in what is to come and to be confident in Who my God is. I am choosing to base my days off of His promises and not my feelings. I am choosing to throw my cares at the foot of the cross instead of carrying them like dead weight on my back. I am choosing to trust Jesus and thank Him for being faithful before tomorrow even comes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He will certainly be faithful tomorrow.
As Elisabeth Elliot once said - "Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now." I am leaving the worries in His hands and lifting my own in worship this evening. This week not only has the potential to be a beautiful display of His grace, it can be a reality because our God is just that good.
This was timely for a couple reasons. There was some Hard I was dealing with at that moment which had nothing to do with losing mom. (And I was struggling with it. Because losing mom has been difficult, but adding more turmoil to my heart on top of that was the pits!) But as I got through that and then focused back on my grief, I realized this was still true. The enemy is absolutely determined to steal joy from me. And I refuse to let him. I must choose that every single day actually, because he never gives up. Thankfully? Neither does my Father! And guess Who's going to win?! :)

For all the sad I'm feeling, for the hurt and the pain of saying goodbye way before I was ready (which, I'm pretty sure I'd never be ready to let go of my mother), for the myriad of emotions that I struggle with daily, this One Thing I have never, ever been in doubt of: the Hope that I will see her again some day, that she's left her wheelchair and her broken body behind and is with Jesus where no tears will ever be felt again, only Joy!

That gets me out of bed every day. That eases the pain SO much. That thought is one of the most comforting things. It really, really is!

So take that, satan. I'm choosing JOY! Even in the midst of my tears and this hole in my heart that will most likely never go away completely, I. Choose. Joy. I choose Hope. I choose Jesus.

He will NEVER let me down.

I wish...

:: I wish I could just be Okay.
:: I wish that I didn't get tired of answering the same questions from family and friends and repeating the story a gazillion times.
:: I wish they didn't all say the same sorts of things that I've heard again and again.
:: I wish they understood that I know that God's in control. (It's just hard to remember that some moments. He understands though. I believe that with all my heart.)
:: I wish they would've told mom how they felt about her when she was still here, rather than visiting after she was gone and telling me how much she meant to them. (I appreciate hearing that. I do. But mom would've too. In fact, I think she needed to have heard those sorts of things in the recent months before she left, but she didn't. And that hurts me too.)
:: I wish I didn't feel hurt over things not said or not done for her while she was still here.
:: I wish I knew how to even begin to express that to everyone. (I know they all mean well. I know a lot of them don't know our journey and out of love and concern they wish to know how to pray. I know they don't know what to say. I know that. I understand that. But my feelings are real and non-negotiable. I wish I could change them to be what I want.)
:: I wish I could tell everyone who's been praying for my family how very much we appreciate that.
:: I wish I could tell them how much it means to know we're loved.
:: I wish I could tell them what all the hugs, text messages, phone calls, and blog comments mean to me.
:: I wish I even had words to describe what I'm feeling.
:: I wish the anger and fear I'm processing would go away.
:: I wish the things that frustrate me would stop doing that.
:: I wish I understood how I can cry and smile at the same time.
:: I wish I could cry it all out and get over it. (But I know getting over it isn't possible. Ever. You don't just get over losing your mother.)
:: I wish I could talk to her again.
:: I wish I could hug her again.
:: I wish I could just spend time in her presence again.
:: I wish I could see her smile one more time.
:: I wish I knew what to say to dad.
:: I wish I could make his grief better.
:: I wish I knew how to make things better for my brothers.
:: I wish I knew how to explain grief to my nieces and nephews.
:: I wish I understood how grief works.
:: I wish I knew what to say to those who ask me about her.
:: I wish I knew how to fill those Awkward Silences.
:: I wish I didn't react so strongly to things right now because my emotions are so near the surface.
:: I wish I even understood myself.
:: I wish I knew what to tell people when they ask how I'm really doing.
:: I wish I could just be Okay.

I wish, I wish, I wish. I wish so very many things! But here I am. Unable to make any of that happen. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other and step. Sometimes it's a big step, sometimes I move barely an inch. But I am moving. That counts, right?


Do you ever feel like something is so big in your life, it has changed you so significantly, that it should show on your outsides somehow?

In my heart, I know saying goodbye to mom isn't going to show, it's only my insides that have changed. But there's just been this weird feeling for the past three weeks every single time I go somewhere new or somewhere I haven't been since before mom passed. I walk in and I feel like everyone there is going to notice this Big Thing about me (like I have a giant sign on my forehead stating "I'm grieving because I just lost my mother"), but no one ever does. Of course they don't! Yet it feels like they will. Every. Single. Time. It's the strangest feeling really. Even when it's not.

Emotions are just so chaotic and crazy, aren't they? For those precious three weeks in May, my heart felt on my sleeve constantly. I was breaking, yet I had to be strong because I had things to do. I had meals to prepare and laundry to wash, nieces and nephews to chat with and hug, friends and family stopping in mom and dad's at convenient and inconvenient times, my job to go to, my own house to worry about, oh so many things! And of course I spent as much time as possible just sitting by mom's bedside, staring at her face, adjusting to this new reality that I didn't like. Trying to make sense of it all felt impossible. It still does.

I have repeated over and over and over (to all the myriad of family and friends who ask) that this experience is hard, yet good. And it is! But I realize that it's only been three weeks and there's so many more emotions I'm going to have to adjust to. Emotions I cannot prepare myself for because I haven't felt them yet. I don't even know how I'm going to react tomorrow, let alone the next hour or three. Or even this next second! And I want to be strong. Some moments I am and some moments I'm not.

One thing that surprised me about this journey? Something I never thought about before this. When it's your Loved One who is gone, yet all those who come to comfort you, you actually end up comforting them. It's funny how that works actually. And I'm not complaining about it! Because they loved mom too. They're processing just the same as I am. I've just always thought about visitations/viewings as the time when I go to comfort the family, when it's actually the very opposite.

.......or maybe it's simply that we comfort each other.

Yes, I like that better. There were so many times during the standing and the hugging and the chatting that I got tired of comforting them. I got tired of saying the same things over and over again. But maybe if I remember that they were there because they're trying to become Okay with this too, that'll help. Yep. I like that.

There's just a huge amount of FEELINGS when you say a Final Goodbye to someone you love. I don't understand them. I'm struggling to process them. I don't know when I'm going to be Okay. But some day I will. I believe that. God will get me through. Moment by moment by moment. And I trust that one day I'll wake up and it'll hurt a little less. And one day things will feel a little more normal again. (Whatever normal is, right? :)

And one day? One extra special awesome day? I'll get to see her again. And the glorious thought of seeing her without her wheelchair and walking around gives me Hope.

And HOPE makes all the difference.



Grief is a strangeness of Being
tears seeming always at the ready
here where it's raw
& close by
Storms come as quick as they go
it's the chasm that hurts
jagged edges
Somewhere HOPE is hiding
just out of sight
(for the moment)
& at the instant I fear I'm lost
out it shines
& True



It's been a journey, mom
Filled with moments we'd never imagined
Struggles & Hard came fierce
but so did the Happy
Onward you'd go
so worried you were a burden
never wanting to put anyone out
but always determined!
Your strength amazed us all
(even to the very end)
& your spirit, mom
your gentleness
your very heart was kindness
& love
No one met you but immediately smiled
you were just that way
(& never even realized)
As your body became more broken
never once did you falter
or complain
(if you did, we knew it was serious)
One by one the losses came
& you slowly adjusted
so did we
Yet we knew this day was coming
this Final Goodbye
First it was the Pause & Wait
as if this world held its very breath
(our world did)
Then it was the Precious
the hand squeeze
the eyes open
the laugh
treasures worth more than anything!
& now it's the After
the letting go & letting God
He took your hand
& led you up to Heaven
where your new body was waiting
Oh the comfort in that, mom!
to picture you walking with Jesus
no more wheelchair
no pain
no Hard
only JOY!
& Happiness!
& Jesus!
Save a place for us, okay?
& when our time comes
we expect you with arms wide open
(after Jesus, of course)
Until then, we'll live
with hearts filled to overflowing
Knowing it will be okay
we'll make it
slowly but surely
changed in all the best ways
You were amazing, mom
& we are so grateful
We love you
We miss you
Forever & Always



remind me

When my heart runs ahead
hold me back
& remind me
You doeth all things well
When my tired mind wonders
& my selfishness seems rampant
remind me
You understand
Every strange emotion all akilter
Every tear sweeping down my face
Every single thing I know that I'm losing
(for a mother is far more than just one)
Every heartache I seek to abate
Every unexplainable moment
You know it all
You listen to every fear
You wrap Your arms about me
& remind me
the Hard will continue
grief may linger
but each step of the future
You are here
& that will NEVER CHANGE.



I'm sitting by her bedside
her heart slowing
her hands now laying quiet
(after so many days of unrest)
& oh! the peace on her face
She's bravely fought
day by day
with a body that felt no longer her own
Yet her smiles burst out
(even through tears)
& though frustrations came often
Courageous & Fearless
she'd make the struggle
Bruised though she may be
yet the victor still
For He is waiting in the wings
arms open wide
& giving us just one moment more
to love her on up to Jesus



Sometimes all the crazy in the world is far away
& life is just
The wild unknowns have circled and spun in a myriad of directions
& as the dark pulls hard
Hope refuses to give up
the thump of a heartbeat
the whoosh of a breath
the fingers gripping hard
the strength of a thousand in one tiny, frail frame
As each strand gently breaks
sweeping her into a glorious Forever
He is near
& that makes all the difference.


the journey

Mom's gone.

That's hard to believe, to be honest. I know it's true, but somehow it still feels all unreal. Like this isn't really my reality, even though it is. My mind is a wild, unpredictable, unknown at the moment.

Remember back a few weeks ago when I wrote about a friend who is Not Okay? Little did I know that I would be talking to myself in just a matter of days! Because I'm Not Okay right now. It's such a weird thing, to lose a mother. And as I process the journey, I'll probably need to post stuff. Hopefully it won't be depressing because even though it hurts, mom's journey to Heaven is SO not depressing! It was a beautiful and amazing experience. But now it's the After and I have to learn to deal. God has been so gracious throughout the last three weeks and He will continue to get me through. I don't doubt that for a single minute.

I don't really have any words of wisdom right now, I simply have my emotions all haywire and my thoughts running all over. And I need to find the words and put them in black and white. If anyone is reading these next posts, however many there are, I hope you don't mind. Like I said, I need to process and this is one way that helps.

Thanks for listening.



Sweet smile
Beautiful heart
Stubborn mind
Gentle eyes
That grin!
How she giggles every time I scratch her head as I ready her for sleep
Or beams when someone visits
Laughing at the dog's silliness
Her sweet-tooth never failing
Determination in every hindered movement
That chair so confining, yet freeing
The wheels that move for the body that doesn’t
The frustration that must be, yet in she goes
Every. Single. Time.
Enduring Pain and Hard
tears dripping
and onward she goes
The memories so fleeting, yet oh the stories she tells
The important things never forgotten
(even if buried deep)
The hugs always ready
The hands trembling, yet reaching, reaching, reaching
Always ready to help
Always ready to do
In the moments she can’t, letting others who can
(perhaps grudgingly at times, yet still she allows)
The search for conversation
The joy over-spilling
Never unimportant
Never insignificant
It shines bright in her eyes
She may seem weak
Her strength of will is Mighty!
Her quiet faithfulness shouts
even in her whispers
Words describe, but not define
Look deep, you’ll see
She is



Being Okay With Not Okay

I spoke with a good friend recently who's struggling with Hard right now. And she mentioned something that I'd been thinking about, but hadn't put into words, so I knew exactly what she meant.

Sometimes? It's going to hurt for a good long while.

Sometimes? What's meant as encouragement doesn't help.

Sometimes? All we can do is just breathe.

Sometimes? It's okay not to be okay.

Because we're not.

When the Hard Thing comes, when the pain is overwhelming, when we barely can function, when all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and move forward, when the joy isn't coming, when the smiles seem far, it's okay not to be okay.

Now granted, we shouldn't wallow in Not Okay forever. At some point in the near-ish future, life should hopefully be coming back in our lungs and we'll be able to breathe without thinking about it. And if, months or years down the line, you're still treading water instead of swimming, then yes, friends have the duty to hold you accountable and seek to help. They should do whatever they can to shake you up and get life started again.

But until then? Your friends are just going to have to wait. They are going to have to learn to be okay with the fact that you're not okay. 

Because grief is personal. It's a process that every single person on the planet handles completely different. There's no hard and fast rules we can follow when it comes to handling Hard. It's. Just. Hard. We need to give each other grace. And mercy. And TIME. There will eventually be a point where talking about the Hard won't automatically bring the tears. There will eventually be a point where thinking about the Hard won't send a sharp pain through your insides. There will eventually be a point when the Hard will hurt less, smiles will come easier, and joy and life will begin anew.

Jason Gray's song 'Not Right Now' speaks poignantly about this very thing. {click here to listen if you care to} While researching the story behind that song, I stumbled across this article which had a paragraph that struck me:
It’s an important song for me as a Christ follower because it’s a reminder that Jesus is well acquainted with grieving and understands everything I’ve struggled with.  More importantly, he wants me to take time to grieve, and there is open permission to not be okay. Jesus doesn’t spout off platitudes in an effort to put a band-aid on a person’s pain. Jesus WEPT.
Jesus is well acquainted with grieving.

Let that sink in for a bit. He knows. He understands. He's felt the same.

We know this. As faithful believers, we have (hopefully) read Redemption's Story and we know the passages about Jesus on the cross. We know He died for us. We know He was left alone by the Father. We know He felt pain. We know His heart hurt. WE KNOW.

But do we really?

Do I really?

To be truthful, I forget. I get involved in life, and when the Hard comes, I forget that He knows. But oh my friend, He does! He truly does. That moment when He chose to keep going, even knowing the grief and pain to come, and He chose it again and again and again, oh how my heart sings when I remember that. The amazing thing is He keeps choosing it! If you think about it, Jesus had umpteen different moments when He could have chosen a different path. But He didn't. Because He knew we needed a Savior. And particularly we needed a Savior Who would understand. Who would experience all we do, plus more and beyond, so that we could find comfort there. And rest.

So in those moments when you're Not Okay.....it's okay. Cling to Jesus. Rest in His Presence. And trust that He has big enough shoulders to handle our questions, our doubts, our fears, our raging, our pain. Give it all to Him! He can handle it. In fact, I believe that He wants it. He wants us to trust Him with it. He wants us to trust Him with ourselves. He wants communication and communion with me. And with you.


Intimacy means there's no part of your life that He doesn't know and isn't a part of. So that anger you're feeling? That doubt? That fear? That frustration? That I-don't-know-what-to-do? That grief? That loss? He wants to know it. In fact....He already does. He just wants to hear it directly from us. Because when we can share it with Him, then we begin to heal. Just a smidge.

So don't put a time limit on your Not Okay. Just accept it for the moment. Be okay with Not Okay! And someday? You'll look up and realize that Okay is here again.

And it will be glorious.



Do you ever feel unknowable?
deep spaces inside
emotions a tangle
craziness circling
      (ready to dive in for the kill)
heart fears shouting
chaos everywhere
Unable to even explain in your own mind
Searching for Known
but this world doesn't carry it
And then...
a gentle knocking
a quiet whisper
all you have to do is...
Encircled there, embracing Light
all the dark feels drenched in warmth
deep means Strength
feelings are Conquerable
crazy finds Balance
heart at Rest
chaos is Calmed
and there
oh yes, there!



a Curious Inbetween

There's a Curious Inbetween where I stand on a precipice
Behind is a mountaintop, bold and glorious
Below is a valley, desolate and gray
time spent both places has been filled with Hard and Wonder
yet both are transient
(for what is time really?)
So here am I, a whole world of curious
wanting so badly to stick out my foot and calmly move forward
fear? doubt? a peculiar mix of emotion even I can't explain holds me bound
Love knocking, shouting
Friends encouraging, reaching
Secure and Safe are holds that must be broken
new words
new steps
new life
heart wildly beating
squeezed with paralyzing excitement and insecurity
This stationary bicycle life is deemed un-enough
no thought
no plan
just spindiddly words that gather
I fling out the hazy possibilities
in the Quiet
in the Waiting
(for no shouting fanfare happens here)
fall where they may
I am left with Hope
(sometimes the Curious Inbetween is precisely where He needs me)
HOPE, though small, glows bright
Ever Onward


{I recently challenged myself to see beyond the poetry I've always loved and written. Here's one of my first efforts. Do let me know what you think? It took a bit of brave to share.}



At that moment
                                  (that most unexpected moment)

when all the world was seemingly asleep
                                                                     (except me)

the phone rang
                                  ( :: missed call :: )

a message was left
                                      ( :: voicemail :: )

my heart sprang up with delight
                                                      (quickly dialing and .... *smile*)

and for just a few minutes
                                                 (a happy few minutes)

the sun was shining bright even in the dark



There we were, all six of us. Sitting at a table together, partaking of lunch, and searching for things we had in common. Considering that of the six of us, we attend five different churches, and also the fact that we didn't all know one another, we understood from the getgo that we had differences. But the one who had brought us together had her commonalities with each of us, so surely the rest of us could find them with each other! Finding similarities though...? It takes commitment. It takes time. It takes listening and talking and opening of hearts and fears and hopes and dreams.

It takes the heart stuff.

It takes skipping past all the weather questions and the "how are you"s and the general small talk that some are so good at. Me? Not so much. Give me your hopes and prayer requests and the parts of your life that you struggle with. Because that's where I'm going to understand you. That's where the other five ladies and I understood one another today! We sat and looked at each other and decided we were just going to go for it.

The eyes, they looked at your face as you spoke.

The ears, they listened attentively.

The mouths, they spoke confidently sometimes and hesitantly others.

The hearts, they opened and love fell in.

And the commonalities? They rushed in like the wind. The heads were nodding, the smiles of understanding popped up, the hands reaching out to reassure and simply administer touch. (The feel of another person who cares can make a world of a difference, can't it? Whether it's a squeezing of the hand, hugging tightly, a hand on the shoulder, or even a hand around the shoulder. Touch heals.)

Just a simple lunch and yet oh so complicated. Because the heart stuff? It's hard, my friends. Sharing the struggle, searching for words to describe all the feels, it requires vulnerability and giving up of self. And self does not like to be given up, let me tell you! But you look into the eyes of another person and you see the love there, you see the gentleness and the sweetness of persuasion, of someone who truly wants to know, and the fears can slip away like water.

Relationships were meant for this! Relationships were meant to go deeper into the heart and soul of a person and draw out the fear, doubt, pain, all the hard, and replace it with understanding and hope! Because hope makes such a difference. And we all need reminded of this. We forget, we make the struggle and loneliness comes, and our hearts build walls. Tall ones. Big ones. Thick ones.

But love?  And hope? And people who understand? And who seek to know and help and pray? Walls come tumbling down by those things.

And hearts are knit together, eyes are lifted up, and God is smiling.



Jesus sees

It's so interesting how God works sometimes, isn't it? After pondering for a few weeks, I finally wrote about goodbye's last Friday and then.

Oh my heart, and then...

Another goodbye is happening right now. I woke up yesterday morning none the wiser, having just read a couple sweet stories the night before, all ready to go through my day happy, only to hear the news of a dear friend's passing. And how my heart was a mess the rest of the day!

Long goodbye's are hard, that's very true. But so are short ones. And when they're completely unexpected? When your heart has no preparation? It hurts, friends. I distracted myself with work, with review writing on my book blog, with any number of things that allowed me not to dwell on it. (Because if I'd dwelt on it all day, I'd never have been functional.) But once I was finally driving home, my heart wouldn't be denied anymore. And the tears....oh the tears.

Goodbye's stink!

There, I said it. And it's true. But what I cry most about is for her family. Her children and her husband who have a huge crater of a hole in their lives now. It'll get easier. I hope. But it'll never go away. Because mom's are special people. I was blessed with an amazing mother and even having time to prepare to say goodbye to her is not fun. If I had no preparation time? Ouch, ouch, ouch.

And yet...

I discovered a song last week. It's Jesus Sees by Meredith Andrews and truly this discovery could not have happened at a more perfect moment. I had another dear friend struggling with health problems and heart-fears last week and this song was perfect for her. I had my own heart-fears over the weekend with some hard in my family life and this song was perfect for me. And then comes Tuesday. And oh this song has blessed me, my friends.

When you're shattered by grief, 
Can't find a reason to sing. 
On your hardest of days, 
When you're fighting for faith, 
You are not alone here. 
You are not alone here! 

How comforting that is, to know we are never alone. Jesus is always right there, ready with arms open. With a hug that draws you inside until you're so enveloped in his warmth and you can hear his heartbeat in your ear. Isn't that a beautiful thought?

Though you question, though you doubt, 
He is running to you now 
With perfect love and perfect peace. 
He is everything you need. 
You are not forgotten, 
No, you are not forgotten!

How often do we feel forgotten? Especially in the midst of hard? Yet He never, ever has! He knows our smallest and deepest heartbreak. Even the tiniest tear in the dark of night is known and understood. He knows, my friends.

He is near to the brokenhearted. 
Closer still than the air you breathe. 
Every tear falling in the darkness, 
He is faithful in every season, 
You are never beyond His reach. 
Every hurt that you thought was hidden 
He meets you in your pain, 
He calls you by your name, 
He sees, He understands, He holds you in his hands. 

We'll make it. God's right there. Always beside us, reminding us that this is a goodbye for now, not a goodbye forever. Someday we'll see her bright smile again! And yes, it doesn't make the hurt go away. But it makes it easy to bear. Because anticipation and hope make our hearts happier, don't they? And our Father is all about HOPE!

"Resting in the hope of eternal life, which the ever truthful God who cannot deceive promised before the world or the ages of time began." Titus 1:2 amp

{Shout out to another friend who posted some hopeful thoughts on this over here.}


The Long Goodbye

Goodbye's have been on my mind lately. I've had two close friends have to say goodbye recently, one to her mother and the other to her father. Losing a parent, I can't imagine what that must feel like. Well....I can imagine it! But I know that I can't truly understand. What I can understand is that it's hard. Goodbye's are always hard! Whether they come quickly or over a prolonged period of time.

In fact, I've thought about that very thing several times. Because of my mother's situation, what my family is really dealing with is a Long Goodbye. It's a watching of her slowly going downhill and feeling helpless to make it easier. It's living with the knowledge that she may be here for years and years and end up at the point where she may not know her own family and will definitely be physically unable to even care for herself (she's pretty much at that particular point already). It's a not fun thing, for the record.

But it's a necessary thing. (Why are those sorts usually of the not-fun variety?)

I can't say as I understand why God allowed my family to go through this. But I do trust that He has his reasons and they are good. They are good.

God's Plan is always, always, always for our good and His glory! And as I type those words, as they sink in my heart and mind, I smile. Because that is one of the amazing things about Him. How good He is! How his love is so gracious and kind, even when we struggle to see it. It doesn't always feel that way, does it? Watching a loved one suffer makes you want to do something. You want to fix it! That's a natural reaction, and when we can't fix it, oh how it hurts. We cry out to Jesus and want to know "WHY?!" Sometimes He tells us why, sometimes we have to wait and then He'll tell us or show us, and sometimes we simply may never know.

But someone does.

Have you ever thought about that? Our lives impact everyone around us. Every single person we have any sort of contact with is affected by what we say and do, and how we respond to things. Most of the time we have no idea of this. I'm positive that I've affected several someones that I will never know about. Perhaps in good ways, perhaps not, but the effect is still there. Whether I know it, whether I don't, that doesn't matter. The action and response is already there and gone. And it's important! Every action I do, every word I say, it affects! God created us that way.

So why should my mother's Long Goodbye to this world be any different? It's not. Someone, somewhere, somehow, she's affecting them. She's affecting us! I can see the differences in our own family because of this. Some are good, some not so good, but the point is...we're affected. And if we are, then I'm sure there's other people. I've had multiple people tell me how much they admire her and how she's handled her limitations.

Which leads me back to my original point. Long goodbye's are hard, but necessary. And whatever reasons God has for them, as hard as they are, as much as you wish it wasn't happening, still God is good. He's got this. He'll be with us every step of the way, surrounding us with His love and His care. All we have to do?

Is trust.


Real or Not Real?

Now that I've reached beyond the two year mark on my Big Move, I've been looking back at the past two years a lot. Truthfully? It's been rough. (It has seemed exceptionally hard.) I knew, deep inside, that moving wouldn't be easy. I knew that I don't handle change very well. But I never realized exactly how hard it would be! In thinking about it, and in talking with some dear friends about it, I've come to realize that what I'm really doing at the moment is trying to find myself.

Who am I?

I thought I knew. But the past couple years have taught me that I didn't. I had this thought the other day that I think for the past several years I was in a very comfortable rut. I had my comfort zone and there was nothing pushing me out of it. I was content. I was floating and bobbing along, no huge worries, no major plot twists. Life was pretty good. Even though I had concerns for my mother, she was 3000 miles away, so it was incredibly easy to distract myself and not think about it. In fact? I think I was truly excelling at that. Not thinking about things. Which made it easy to just be. To not worry overmuch about who I was or what I wanted. Oh, I did think about it occasionally. But those happened few and far between.

Then I moved.

I shook up my pleasant little world. Every. Single. Entire. Bit of my life was shaken. There was no part left unchanged. All of a sudden, my comfy little rut had completely disappeared. I had new people to work with who demanded different things than I was used to. I had family depending on me for certain things. Things I hadn't had to think about on a daily basis for 11 years. 11 years is a long time to be in a rut! No wonder I miss it. It was a habit and I wanted it back, but had no idea how to even begin to do that.

So I drew in. Like a little turtle, I built my shell home and surrounded myself with things that made me happy in the past (books mainly) and I drew my head inside and there I stayed as much as possible. It has become my coping mechanism. Being solitary. Spending time alone. Crowds of people I know have come to intimidate me even more than it used to.

How crazy is that? That I tend to be more comfortable in a crowd of strangers than I do in a crowd of people I know? Because in the crowd of strangers, I can be alone but not alone. I'm with people, but don't have to actually interact with them unless I choose to. But in a crowd of people I know, I'm constantly self-conscious of what they think. I feel like it's a requirement that I talk with them. I worry that they'll judge me for not coming over to their group and saying hello. That they'll think I'm odd. That they'll find out exactly how bad I am at small talk. (I'm bad at it. Really bad.) On and on my mind whirls until I reach the desperation point and decide to just go home.

I'm getting slightly better at holding off that desperation point, but I still find myself there at times.

And yet!

For all the confusion and wondering I've done, God has been SO, so good to me. With a different job, that I love. With choosing to realize that the Enemy has been on my tail and I need to show him Who's Boss. With friends, new and old, who have made their love and concern known. With my niece accepting Jesus and making a whole new life change! (That one is extra special nice! :) And with these words of comfort from a favorite movie:

"I'm not perfect. But through it all, I have learned how to hold firm in a storm. Not by holding on to whatever I can find for as long as I can. But by trusting that the one thing that matters in this world will never let go of me. And Shane...that's what love is. Perfect love casts out all that pain, all that fear, and replaces it with hope." ~ Signed, Sealed, Delivered For Christmas


That's real.