Posted in Everyday Life, Overwhelmed

Living in Denial ~ Part 1

brick wall

Somewhere along my journey, I became a little too acquainted with denial.

It began several years ago when financial ruin stood hovering over me like an angry wolf.  I felt paralyzed by fear.  Fear of being unable to pay this or that bill. Fear of losing my home, vehicle, and much of everything else. Fear that losing these things would somehow make me, as a person, less valuable, less loved. This fear gripped me tightly, threatening to strangle the very life from me- life as I knew it anyway.

Some days the best I could do was breathe. And go through the motions. And hope for a miracle.  My current reality in no way resembled the visions I had conjured up in my mind of a beautiful future.  No, this was a hard place. Harder than anything I had ever experienced. And humbling, oh so humbling. Learning to accept help from others. Sometimes needing to ask for help from others.  This is not where I wanted to be. This was not my idea of living.

So how did I respond? 

I unconsciously created a wall of defense around myself. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that wall was called denial, and it was my coping mechanism. I began to deny or ignore everything I considered too difficult to deal with -anything I could not tolerate -anything which led me to anxiety.

At the top of my list was the tall stack of bills accumulating in my mailbox.  I had no means to pay them so I left them stranded in the box, hoping somehow they would not only vanish, but actually fail to exist. Wishful thinking, I know.  But see, that’s what you do in denial.  Intellectually, you know ignoring the bills will not make them go away. Yet emotionally, you live as if you don’t know.  You live as if ignoring your issues will eventually give you the results you want. And if you live in denial too long, you risk making a bigger mess of things. 

That particular season of hardship and denial passed, but I still find myself running back into the arms of denial from time to time.

Lacking courage to face reality.

Refusing to see truth.

Failing to choose honesty before my bump-in-the-road problem grows into a huge-impassable-mountain-of-a-problem.

Going about my daily routine appearing normal to outsiders, knowing all the while a quick peek inside my head would reveal my true state:  curled up in a fetal position, hands over my ears, eyes closed tightly, humming something – anything – to drown out the noise of harsh truth surrounding me.  

And I wonder to myself …  Can anyone else relate?

 

Posted in Family

A Letter to My Mom

old swing

Dear Mom –

Sometimes I get the feeling you’re not so sure you were a good mother.  You probably recall every mistake you made, every word you wish you had not spoken, every “yes” that should have been “no”, and every “no” that should have been “yes”. Like most moms, those memories tend to stand out the most when we ponder our role as a mother.

But please allow me to reflect on my growing up years and share with you what I remember. 

I remember feeling loved and valued and protected.

I remember a mom who allowed me to sleep on the floor of her bedroom when the darkness in my own room scared me.  A mom who never humiliated me during those years of bedwetting (even though you must have thought it would never end).

A mom who was always watching from the kitchen window as I made my way home from the bus stop.  One who listened – really listened – as I chattered non-stop about my day. 

I remember a mom who always believed in me, long before I believed in myself. My biggest cheerleader. My greatest supporter. One who often told me I could do anything I set my mind to and believed I really could.

I remember a mom who was my greatest advocate, whether it was trying to talk dad into buying me the latest name brand jeans or making sure my sleep was not interrupted after a long, stressful first day of work.

And then there’s that mom, the one who let me go when letting go was the hardest thing ever.  One who delighted in giving me my fairy-tale wedding, then secretly mourned when I moved hours away with my happily-ever-after. The one who opened her heart – and her home – to us when we returned to Arkansas a few years later.

The mom who was there for the birth of every grandchild and great grandchild, regardless of how long the wait. The one who continues to hold a special place in the hearts of her grandchildren because her grandchildren first held a special place in her heart.

This is the mom I remember. This is the mom who remains today. This is the mom who still makes me feel loved and valued and protected – and that alone is proof that you’re a good mom. 

I love you, mom.

Posted in Motherhood

It’s Okay, Sweet Momma

tea party

So you had a bad momma day.

Maybe you yelled at the kids. Or left one at church, thinking he rode with daddy.  Perhaps you neglected to sign the permission slip, causing your kid to miss out on the class field trip.  Or there’s that funny story you told about your teenage son, only to realize he was embarrassed – and not the least bit amused by it. Maybe your forgetfulness caused you to break a promise. Or you failed to notice that pretty yellow flower she so carefully picked for you.

If you’ve been mothering long at all, chances are you’re guilty of at least a few of these (and could add to this list with little or no effort). Truth is, as much as you love your darlings and wish to be a perfect mom, you are not perfect. Neither are the rest of us. And that’s okay.

What makes it okay is this:  you refuse to give up.

Sure, some days you want to quit. Some days you may check out, but you never completely opt out.  You pick yourself up and begin again.  As hard as it is, you keep moving. You keep changing those diapers. Wiping those noses. Correcting that sassiness. Attending those ball games, piano recitals, and band concerts. And holding on to that discipline, even though it’s sometimes tough to be tough.

I’ve watched you hug those babies, young and old alike. Your smile and tears both resonate, “they are mine”. You offer forgiveness and grace. And you love, sweet momma – oh how you love!

You search for better ways to handle that same old issue.  You determine what battles are worth fighting and which don’t really matter.  You learn to say, “I’m sorry”, modeling love and humility to your children.

You delight in teachable moments. You involve yourself.  You show up and stick it out.  You allow yourself to look ridiculously silly – all for a little laughter and a memory your kids will never forget.

You pray, and pray, and pray some more.

You do mounds of laundry and dishes. You answer tons of questions, or the same question tons of times.  You give – so much at times it’s as if you have nothing left to give.  But may I whisper something to your heart, dear lady:  it is so worth it.

When you feel you can’t do this motherhood thing anymore – step back, take a deep breath, and allow God’s word to spread grace over your weariness. This is where you plug back in, recharge, and vow again to never, ever give up.

Because you love, sweet momma – oh how you love.

And the One who loves you and called you to this task sees your efforts, knows your heart, and enables you to finish well.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Posted in Faith, Family

Grandma Didn’t, and Neither Should We

image

I remember vividly my grandma cradling me as we rocked back and forth, back and forth. I must have been only four or five at the time. While the words she spoke and the songs she sang escape me, I recall feeling loved.  Safe. As if I belonged there, in her lap.

I think back to when I first grasped the idea she was sick.  My cousins and I were sent upstairs while the adults awaited the arrival of paramedics.  We peered out the windows, hoping to spy the emergency vehicles as they pulled in front of the old house built years before by grandpa and his boys.

As they wheeled grandma out on a stretcher, I was one of the few children allowed to venture downstairs to see her.  They paused long enough for me to look into her eyes, into the heart of this woman who meant so much to me.  I wondered if I would ever see her again.

My grandmother only lived a short time after that day.  At my young age, I was unable to fully understand what death meant. So I just continued on, living in my own little six year old world.

It wasn’t until many years later that I began to see the role my grandmother played in my life.  You see, although I can’t tell you specifics, I believe with all my heart my grandma prayed over me as we sat in that old rocking chair.

I am certain her prayers were answered the day I started attending church as a young teenager.  They were answered again when a cute boy at that church took notice of me, eventually becoming my best friend and later my husband.

I had no idea God was using that boy to keep me in church. I had no clue I needed God, nor did I realize the path I was walking would lead me to Him.  Through God’s goodness, I believe grandma’s greatest prayer was answered on a beautiful Sunday morning when I committed my life to Christ.

Thank you, grandma, for loving me enough to pray. Your prayers have indeed made a difference in my life. And because my life is different, my children have also been impacted by your prayers, as will their children someday. There is no greater gift you could have given us.

Friends, what we pray today will benefit those we love for years to come.

May we not become so busy, so complacent, so satisfied that we fail to prayFor our husbands. For our children. For our friends and co-workers.  For our extended family.  And most of all, for those who have yet to know Christ. 

May we never stop praying.  Grandma didn’t, and neither should we.

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The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16b