Monday, January 16, 2017

...who is...okay?

Three years.
How can that be??

How is it that I’ve arrived at this point?
I just knew three years and one day ago that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY I could live          
              without my husband Michael as a part of my world!

How is it that I am not only living but doing so with some degree of success?

How is it that in this moment, as I sit here surrounded by reminders of Michael,
that I’m…
Is it okay to be “okay?”

I say yes. And not just “yes,” but YES!!!


Because it means that God. Is. Answering. Prayer!
All the hundreds of prayers that have been prayed for my kiddos, for me, for our well-being, 
for our comfort, for our healing, for wisdom, for grace, for strength, for protection…
Yeah. THOSE prayers.

The prayers prayed by my parents and siblings.
The prayers prayed by my in-laws and extended family members.
The prayers prayed by our church family families…
because this extends far beyond our local congregation!
The prayers prayed by my dearest friends…
those on whom I dump when things get kinda crazy in my brain and heart.
The prayers prayed by neighbors and friends of friends.
The prayers prayed by folks whom we’ve never met.

These have been all been answered!
God may have allowed challenges we would rather not have to face,
but He has never once abandoned us.
God may not have chosen to remove every thorn,
but He has strewn our pathway with MANY roses for us to enjoy!

He has sent us blessing and encouragement through smiles and hugs…
            Emails and messages…
                        Phone calls and texts…
                                    Songs and sermons…
He has granted help and assistance through new acquaintances and old friends,
            Family nearby and family far away…
Next door neighbors and random strangers…

Now, listen…I get it. There are few of you who still pray for us by name every day.
That’s TOTALLY okay.
I promise.
The crisis has passed.
So I don’t expect it.
Because I know that you HAVE prayed every time things have been tough for us.
Because I know that when we DO come to mind, many of you DO still pray for us…
            and that means so very much!
Because I know that there are other desperate needs that arise daily and 
            require much focused prayer effort.
Because I know that it’s my turn now to pray for YOU!
            And I will…and DO!

Three years.
Seems more like three months in some ways.
There are so many ways that Michael still influences us.
There are so many reminders of him in the personalities of these amazing kids of ours!
There are so many ripples of his impact still being seen and felt.

Three years.
What have I learned?
OH, MY! So much!!! So very, very much!

I’ve learned more about finances and taxes and investing…
I’ve learned more about vehicle purchasing and maintenance and repair…
I’ve learned more about computer purchasing and maintenance and repair…
            (I even replaced a power supply all by myself!)
I’ve learned more about shopping wisely…
(Okay, I’m still working on that one. Lol!)
I’ve learned more about managing and prioritizing my time…
            (There are new and different demands on it now.)
I’ve learned more about grief and control and acceptable ways to release emotions…
I’ve learned more about making mistakes and which ones don’t really matter in the end…
I’ve learned more about saying no and releasing unnecessary stress…
(Okay, okay! This is another one that still needs work…)
I’ve learned more about my children and the amazing people they are and are becoming…

I’ve learned more about duty…and responsibility…and grief…and persistence…and diligence…
             and trust…and patience…and faith…and blessing…

            …and God.

My God has never once let me down.
My God has carried me, cradled me, chastened me…
            Saved me, sustained me, strengthened me,
                        Bolstered me, blessed me,
                                    Forgiven me...
                                               Loved me…
Just as He promised. 

He has given me so much!
He has opened doors and given me words to say.
He has granted me wisdom for decisions and peace when making them.
He has calmed fears and soothed away worries.
He has never let me go!

Are there still tears? Of course!
Are there still painful and tender memories? Of course!
Are there still feelings of sheer terror followed quickly by panic? Of course!
Are there still lonely nights and difficult social situations? Of course!
Are there still days controlled by brain fog and stress intolerance - 
            otherwise known as the CRUDOf course!
Are there still moments when I desperately want to pull back the curtain of Heaven and shout
that it’s not fair that we’re here and he’s there? Of course!

They just don’t come as often as they used to.
They just don’t stay as long as they used to.

The memories have shifted to the sweet, the fond, the funny, the inspiring, the precious ones…
            Their arrival brings soft tears rather than sobs, smiles that ease the heartache…

I'm sure there is a better word choice for this statement, but since none comes to mind, 
            I'll just say this...

I feel incredibly blessed to have known, loved, married, and spent half my lifetime with the 
             amazing man we all know as Michael Wright.
Now I am incredibly honored to be traveling life's pathway with his four precious children. 

I’m grateful…
So deeply grateful…

Grateful that I’m…okay.

Deeply indebted to each of you for your prayers,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

...with the CRUD?

It’s back. 
The CRUD is back.
I hate it.
At least I dislike it very, very much.
By CRUD, I do not mean the head-stuffy, chest-congested, fever-raging flu bug.
I mean the Contrary Relentless Underlying Disturbance of stress-paralyzing grief junk.
(And I don't mean the sweet, romanticized, misty-eyed longing type. I mean the ugly, painful, piercing, hard type.)

It’s Contrary - it will NOT go away no matter what I try to do.
It’s Relentless - it lasts far too long and controls way too much.
It’s Underlying - it lurks just below the surface…even when I ignore or stuff it.
It’s Disturbing - it pushes peace and joy and calm right out the door when it attacks.

It lowers my stress tolerance, raises my irritability level, and steals my emotional control.
It leaves me wimpy, weak, and wobbly.

I wish it didn't have to try to ruin this wonderful, cheerful, Jesus-focused time of year that Michael loved so very much.

My to-do list terrifies me because I have lost all confidence in my ability to manage those tasks successfully. My failures would be okay if they just affected me. But this stuff matters to other people in my world. So, I suppose it’s time to pull out the trusty guns of self-discipline and will-power and push over and past and through…the CRUD.

But. I. Don’t. Want. To.
I WANT to sit in a comfy chair in my brightly decorated living room, poring over memories, drinking Michael’s favorite drink, wrapped in a blanket that sports my three favorite pics of the two of us…
writing if I want, coloring if I want, painting if I want, reading if I want…crying if I want.

I WANT to feel it all and stay right here in the middle of the pain.
Because if I feel the pain, I know I’ve not forgotten.
I don’t want to forget.
I want to be okay, I really do - in a way. But I also don’t want to forget the pain.
Because I don’t want to forget him.

It’s an odd balance to try and find.
I can’t just quit life and sit this month out.
I can’t stop trying to provide Christmas memories for my kids.
I can’t stop working on the church Christmas program.
I can’t stop trying to manage the household while tracking down all the right gifts.

I really don’t want to do this without Michael.
I don’t want to be alone – but I want my husband back…not just anyone.
Having other people around isn’t always helpful. I’m an introvert through and through.
So trying to do crowd events while dealing with the CRUD exhausts me and makes me feel vulnerable and weak…AGAIN.

And the brain fog is back...the CRUD’s partner in crime.
It’s eerily reminiscent of those first few torturous months.
I’ve had so many good days this year that I’ve been able to pretend the CRUD doesn’t affect me anymore.


And most likely it is here to stay until mid-January.

So. What to do…what to do…

I HAVE to be here for my kids. They still need me to be fully engaged as mom.
I HAVE to continue reaching out. 
                   There are others who need prayer and encouragement even more than I do!
I HAVE to help with school work and projects. Who else is going to pick that up?
I HAVE to deal with the finances, vehicles, and yard work. It sure isn't my neighbor’s job.

Deep down I WANT to.

But those things may be ALL I can do for now.
I may never ever write a book or compose a hit song or speak anywhere or have
         anything much of value to offer society…
I may never paint anything worthwhile or have a social media post go viral…
I may never be a great cook and hostess or have a Pinterest-worthy home…
I may never be sought after for advice or consulted by others as an expert on any subject…
I may never be famous or sport a killer wardrobe…

But if I can manage to come out of this still loving Jesus,
still feeling His presence and smile in my heart, 
            and still enjoying a good relationship with my kids, 
                                               I will deem it a success.

They say Jesus uses cracked pots…broken vessels.
They say Jesus can take tragedy and turn it into triumph.
They say Jesus can coax beauty from ashes.
They say Jesus turns sorrow into joy.

They say it’s about WHO GOD IS – not what I’m not.

That thought, my friends, brings true comfort!

So, what will I do?
I’ll try to get adequate rest.
I’ll tackle those lists one tiny bite at a time.
I’ll turn on my favorite Christmas music and the lights on the tree.
I’ll bring school work upstairs so we can sit by the big windows and soak up the day’s light.
I’ll walk over and check on my elderly, widowed neighbor and text my hurting friend.
I’ll rejoice in small victories along the way!
I’ll revel in the blessings our Heavenly Father has dumped all over my family!
I’ll bask in God’s promises of provision, protection, and grace.
I’ll praise Him for the day’s renewed mercies and my treasure box of memories.
I’ll remember that this, too, shall pass

And…I’ll survive! In Jesus’s embrace.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.              2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Crawling up 
into Jesus's lap,

P.S. In Michael's memory as well as because many people miss it, I'd absolutely LOVE to get his internet radio station up and running again. So I would totally appreciate prayers that I can find the right people to help me with this project. Thanks...