Monday, 18 September 2017


Picture yourself sitting by a lake on a cool September morning.  You are sitting in a circle with a group of women, some of whom you know, others you haven't met yet.  There are about 20 ladies of varying ages, and each of us with different stories.
And then someone brings out a guitar and asks you all to sing workship songs.  Without the lyrics in front of you.  And your heart starts to beat faster and faster.

You DON'T sing in public.  And without the proper words on some type of screen?!?

Well, if you let go and just sing, it can actually be pretty cool.  I didn't grow up with a Christian background.  I grew up singing rock and country, not gospel.  I knew some of the words to sing, but not all of them.  And I've been told I have a less than perfect singing voice.

The thing is, no one asked me for perfect.  All I had to do was be willing.  Willing to worship, and join my voice with many others.  And my voice didn't stand out.  At least, no one complained.  ;)

I couldn't help but wonder as we were sitting there, being stretched out of our comfort zones, how often God only asks us for our willingness.  I'm sure you've heard that God equips the called rather than calling the equipped. 

And it's just that easy.  We put the desire for perfection there, not Him.  Society today has put this need for outward perfection on every Mom.  And most of us feel stuck trying to be everything.  Perfect wife, making sure we are always pouring our everything into our spouse.  The quintessential hockey Mom, joyfully lugging all of that equipment to the rink at all different hours of the day.  The best friend, always having the perfect thing to say, no matter the situation.  The parishioner that always has the time to help with every single event happening.  Taking the time out of our busy days to surf Pinterest and making perfect meals and crafts to adorn our houses according to the seasons.

While my bible certainly says to strive for my best, working cheerfully for my family and to contribute to the kingdom, never once does it tell me I have to be perfect.  It actually tells me I'm not perfect.  That was the job of Jesus.  He was sent to encourage us that times will be hard, we will be challenged, but that He is the only way to make our lives work.  To put Him first and let God work out the rest.

So why do we spend our days, weeks, months and years beating ourselves down for something that we can truly never attain?

My friends, could we all just agree to stop this here?  Can we start off our mornings asking God to prepare us for the day ahead?  And take it one day at a time, putting our best into everything we truly need to do, not all the stuff everyone else thinks we should do.  And play to our strengths.  Let your friends help you.  Let your friends share your burdens as you want to share theirs. That's exactly what they are there for. 

After we finished our worship this morning, I got to see a little into the hearts of these women.  And they are precious.  Each of us shared in feeling like we were being stretched to the limit, constantly pouring ourselves out for those around us, struggling to be enough of everything for everyone.  And we were all feeling like we were failing in one or more area, if not all of them at times.  And we had the privilege of sharing the knowledge that we are not alone in our struggles.  And it was such a weight off of our chests to realize that we all feel the same way, but we are all trying our best.  And that we could all feel that we have someone so powerful on our side that we can't help but be successful in the things that are truly important.  If our voices could somehow blend to create a beautiful harmony singing for him, how much more could we do if we continue to pour into Him and each other?

God gave us each individual strengths and weaknesses for a reason.  Because we are meant to do this life together, contributing and pouring into each others lives and complementing their weaknesses with our strengths.  Not looking at that "perfect" family and trying to be them.

My voice, while certainly imperfect, and unsure at times, was exactly what it needed to be this morning.  Pure.  Filled with awe that even while there are a plethora of days that I feel like I fall so short, He is enough.  He will fill in the important things.  I just have to be willing to trust.  To take that step, no matter how much I want to control it, of just letting go and letting Him figure it out.  The days that I've woken up and handed it all over to him work out so much better than the days where I run myself ragged trying to do it all myself.

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for all of the gifts you have given me, especially the ones that I take for granted.  I thank you that you have trusted me with these beautiful children, and that you are there to fill in any holes that I leave behind.  I am so blessed that you love me, even at my worst, and I pray that you would fill me with the grace you have shown me so that I may show it to those around me.  Help me to see the important steps I need to take through your eyes, not the eyes of the world.  And help me to see the people around me as you see them, imperfect but beautiful each in their own way.  I pray that we could all let go of the notion of perfect and concentrate instead on using our gifts to bring truth and love to those around us.  In faith I pray this.  Amen.

Monday, 4 September 2017

He Gives Power to the Powerless

Our area has been ravaged by natural disaster this summer. Tens of thousands of people are affected by fires. Hundreds have lost homes and outbuildings. 

We have thousands of firefighters sleeping on cots in tents, after working 18 hour days trying to fight these "fire beasts."  We have hundreds of arm personnel coming in for 2 week tours, helping in any way that they can.  We have RCMP volunteering to come into evacuation order zones, spending time away from loved ones so that the homes that do survive the fires aren't ransacked by others.  All of these service people are saying how amazing their experience has been, with the communities supporting them in any way that they can.

People have lost their houses, with all of their possessions inside. Some have built those homes with their very own hands. One family that we know of lost their house in 2010, the last year we had fires. And again this year. Twice they've had to sift through their remaining belongings hoping to save something of meaning. 

Some have lost their livelihood, with countless animals, gardens and fields ravaged by the flames.   Hundreds of thousands of acres of ranch land are destroyed now. 

Some days, it feels like we are walking through a thick fog, just putting one foot in front of the other, searching for normal. 

I have felt few feelings in my life worse than helplessness. We as humans are wired to want to control what is going on around us, and when nature takes over, we lose that sense of control. We lose our sense of safety with all of the unpredictable. 

And do you know what He has done?He has brought people together.  

One of the groups He brought was Samaritans purse, with some amazing volunteers, into our little town (and many others), and gave us the power to help others.  His love is shining brightly through those willing to show up and serve others.  Through the smoke, ashes and tears, people are going to know they are loved, even in their darkest hour.

Until He gave it back. He gave some of my family members back a sense of pride and accomplishment sifting the ashes of houses that were burnt. They were able to return some memories and tokens to those that had lost everything.

My father in law, who himself was evacuated from his house for almost 3 weeks, said he has felt the most beautiful feeling - contributing in a way that would truly make a difference. He said that he felt more in sifting through those ashes, helping out people he has never even met before, than he ever has after a day of work. There is no hopelessness in that. Only power. 

You can drive in any direction from my house and find blackened trees and burnt yards or fields. But through all of that black, you can see life returning.  And all you have to do is look around you to feel grateful for all you still have.

I don't know where you are walking today, but I do know that you are not alone. Even if the path seems barren and hopeless, there will once again be light.  I know we are not the only one facing the ravages of natural disaster.  But you are not alone.  And He will get us through it.  I pray that you can be a light to someone through all of this.  That the love of Christ would shine through all of this so brightly that He could no longer be denied.  That the overflow of water and the reaches of the flames would be no match for the love of His people.  In faith I pray.  Amen.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 
Isaiah 40:29

Sunday, 16 July 2017


These last few days have been emotionally challenging.  I live in BC, Canada, and this particular area is surrounded by wildfires.  Literally surrounded.  North there are several fires that hamper our escape.  East there are fires threatening the homes of those I care about.  And fires to the south that have destroyed the homes and businesses of many.  And to the west, there is a massive fire that has caused some friends to have to flee, leaving loved ones behind to try and save their homes and livelihoods.  

I have watched friends pack up to leave.  I have watched neighbours flee their houses.  And I have sat and explained to my kids to the best of my ability what is going on around us.  We have prayed.  We have asked others to pray.

We have tried to stay strong in the face of constant uncertainty.

But do you know what I think about most in the midst of all of this broken?  The beauty.  How crazy is that?  We are surrounded with plumes and gusts of smoke billowing through our town, and yet there is untold beauty everywhere you look.

All because we have community.   We have friends and neighbours looking out for each other.  Either keeping each other up to date, or watching for the safety of their belongings after they have been evacuated.  We have people doing neighbourhood watch in neighbourhoods that aren't even their own so that people can take care of their families in peace, knowing that everything is being done to protect their homes.

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We have communities coming together to pool their resources to get through to the next day.  There is no "mine", but an "ours" as we help others out as much as we can.

We have taken food to those who are doing their best to protect us, only to have them pay it on to those they are protecting.  We have been humbled when we realize that there are so many people doing so many dangerous things, and yet they still say thank you for something so small as a snack.

We have people volunteering their time at local businesses so that people can get the things they so desperately need.

The communities that people are running to have been outstanding in their willingness to help.  People are freely opening their homes to others, trying to make this whole ordeal the best that it can be.  Donations are pouring out of everywhere.

We have a neighbouring province stepping up in a major way to supply us with equipment, food and basic necessities until the roads re-open, getting them through roadblocks to get to us.  We donated last year during their time of need, never once thinking that it would be returned on this scale.  We did it simply because that is what you do.  You help.  And they have certainly returned the love.  They understand in a way that few other people can what it is that we're are facing right now, and they are happy to help and take time from their own lives to make ours a little bit better.  

We have people all over our own country, as well as in other countries praying for us.  I have a prayer circle of women that have prayed without ceasing, and I've never even met them face to face.  

As I was packing my most precious belongings in case we need to leave, I was focussing on the fact that all of the things I was packing were just that.  Things.  As much as I had my family with me, I had everything I needed.  My stuff can always be replaced if it needs to.  But God has opened my eyes to something else in the meantime.  His love.  I don't know that all natural disasters bring out the best in people.  It doesn't necessarily bring out the best in all people, but I believe it does in most of us.  And it makes you stop and focus on the big picture.  Showing love and grace to those around, just like it has been shown to you.  Doing the little things means so much more than you could ever know.

I don't know what upheaval you are facing right now.  It may be a health issue, or a family disagreement.  Or something else entirely.  But I do know that we have a God who loves us and desires the best for us.  He has never promised that it would be an easy ride, but instead promised that he would be there with us.  As I witness this right now, each day, I ask that you let him reach out to you too.  

I can choose tomorrow when I wake up to search for the ashes.  It would be so easy to look at all of the destruction and miss the beauty in the broken.  I saw a beautiful video the other day by a woman who has struggled, where the woman said to focus on what you can do, instead of what you can't.  There is always something you can do, no matter how small.  And will help you to make a big change.  And I am here to tell you, it works.

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for your mercies.  Even as we walk through the flames, you are here.  You have not abandoned us or forsaken us, but have carried us when we were too weak.  You have been our strength and you have shown your love in the most unbelievable ways.  I lift up those who are struggling to see the light.  I pray that you would give them peace beyond measure and that you would be their strength.  Show them that their worth is in you, not in the world, and that they are loved and worthy of so much more.  Show them the blessings in the broken, just as you have done with me.  In faith I pray.  Amen.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Those Little Letters

It has been an emotional month.  My two oldest have finished their school for the year.  My little boy isn't so little anymore.  He aced Kindergarten though, so there's that!

My beautiful big girl rocked Grade 1.  And we (hopefully) have finished all of her testing to determine what letters get to help us help her.  We confirmed what we had felt since February, that our little girl had High Functioning Autism (formerly known as Asperger's).  

If has been difficult not because she has changed.  Those letters make absolutely no difference in how wonderful she is, or in how much she is loved and cherished.  We were fortunate to have a mostly wonderful team of people helping us to figure out the puzzle that is my Sweetie.  And going forward, we will be meeting even more people who are going to help us on our journey of helping her, and us, help her. 

The difficult moments have been mostly mine I think.  I have had to deal with everyone's reaction when we tell them the results.  They have varied from shoulder shrugs, followed
by statements of support.  To some, her diagnosis is merely a stepping stone to a better future.

To others, it's an awful prognosis.  I have gotten looks of pity from some of those closest to me, almost like I've gotten some sort of countdown to her final days.

I've been told I'm wasting my time getting a diagnosis because she is perfect, and it's all in my head.

I've had people assure me that there are "special people trained to deal with kids like her."  Which I know was meant to be a positive comment, but who exactly do they think she is.  Do they really know her?!?

I think the hardest moments I've had are the ones where I realize that this is part of her life story.  This isn't a stage, she isn't just a quirky person.  She is going to struggle with some parts of her life, for, well, the rest of her life.

And then I remember who she is.  And WHOSE she is.  She was created by a loving God.  And He gave me this wonderful gift in her.  Someone who sees the world so differently than I do, that I can't help but try to see the world through her eyes.  She has a loyalty beyond compare.  She loves to cuddle and just spend time with her people.  She values people more than money.  She actually saves all of her allowance to spend on others.  She knows what it feels like to be left out of activities because people don't "get" her, so she is always looking to make sure that everyone is included.

I can choose to look at those little letters as something that will put her at a disadvantage for the rest of her life.  Or I can choose to look at the unique gifts that she was given, and wonder at how she's going to change the world one day.  Because I am certain that she is going to make an impact for others, and there is really no greater gift than someone who strives to invest in others the way she does.

The Bible constantly tells us that we are loved.  That we are here for a purpose.  And that we are to spread the love of Jesus to others, even when they least deserve it.  

I didn't do anything to deserve this precious little soul, but I hope I can at least show her a little of the grace and love that He has shown to me.

Heavenly Father, there are so many people out there who are struggling to find their place in the world.  Who are wondering why you made them the way that you did, or why you've let certain things take place in their life.  Tonight I lift them up to you Lord.  I pray that someone would come into their life and show them Your love.  To let them know that we are all sinners, saved only by Your grace, and that we are all loved equally by an amazing God.  Father, I pray that they would never let their circumstances define them, but instead would turn to you and let Your unconditional love define them.  I pray in faith.  Amen.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


I've been reading "Listen Love Repeat" by Karen Ehman, and it is a truly inspiring book.  It makes you want to both open your heart to other people, and see the people who have opened their heart to you in a new light.  I have such gratitude for those that have loved me when I was prickly rather than plush. 

Karen doesn't give empty ideas of how to help others, instead she shares experiences of how she has reached out, and the difference it has made in the lives of others.  She invests in them, making sure to remember those little things that will make each person feel special.  She is known as "Mama Karen" to many of her kids' friends.   Many who treat her home as their own.

I have my own special Mama. Mama Cyr.  She is an amazing woman.  She is so quiet, but so strong.  Her life story is a true testament to living a Christ centered life.  And the most amazing part of the story, to me anyways, is that she loved me before she even really knew me.  I used to work at a local bar during the night, and with her at a grocery store during the day.  I wasn't really living a Christ filled life.  Kind of the opposite.  And rather than judge me, or scold me, do you know what she did?  She prayed for me. 

 She didn't even know me.

 And over 10 years later, when I walked in to her church, do you know what she did?  She welcomed me.  She gave me a great big hug.  And she continued to love me.

I don't know where I would be without her prayers.  I certainly didn't have many people praying I would find Jesus at that particular time in my life.  I didn't even know she was praying for me.  Such a little thing that had such a huge impact.

A beautiful spirit who saw someone struggling to belong, to find who she truly was.  Someone who knelt down to lift me up. 

Who can you open your heart to today?

Heavenly Father, I thank you for all the blessings that you have given me.  Even the ones that I don't know about.  I thank you for the challenges that have brought me to today.  I pray for all the people who are struggling right now.  I pray your peace, wisdom and protection over them.  I pray that they would feel your living arms envelop them.  Lord, that you would put someone so directly in their path that they could not help but know that it is You, and that you love them.  Right where they are.  No matter what they have done.  They are worthy of love.  They are valuable.  And I pray that you would give us a heart to see those hurting around us, and to help us to know what to do to ease the burden.  In Your powerful name I pray.  Amen.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

This Beautiful Walk Called Life

I haven't been on here in awhile.  Honestly, because I have been busy with life.  We have been continuing our home renovation.  After 11 years, you'd think we'd be done by now, but we're still slowly plugging away.

We made it to our local Homeschool Conference and took time to visit friends.

We have almost finished our school year.  The kids have been working diligently on their school report's, and that is our last project until we get to yell "SUMMER BREAK!"

And I've been busy with all of the paperwork so that we can get our amazing little masterpiece help to be the best her she can possibly be.  We have had highs and lows on this journey, and it has most definitely been an eye-opening experience.

The school that we are working with has been amazing with their support of helping us.  They have confirmed that she is gifted, and they are helping us pursue more assessments to pinpoint exactly where she is at.  We have an amazing team on our side, and I couldn't feel more blessed to have people that have walked this road before to guide us along.

Most of our family is on board with us and see that she is definitely "more" than an average kid, and agree that there really aren't any other kids around to compare her to. 

Up until a few months ago, we really thought that she was just your normal, everyday kid who had an easier time with LA and math than most other kids.  She talks a lot, but so do lots of other little girls.  She was our baseline, our everyday and our "normal". 

Her brother is quite different in personality, but since most people say that each of our kids is the opposite of your others, it made sense.

I am saying this because I know somewhere out there is another parent, frantically researching their child, wondering if their kid is "normal", or needs intervention.  Who is second-guessing their every choice, unsure if they could have done something better, or if they should have said that different.

I want you to know that I understand having to fight for what you know is best for your child.  I have experienced the quick judgements of doctors who want to run to medication without actually attempting to understand your unique situation.  I know what it is like to look at your baby and know that maybe the doctors are experienced in their chosen field, but that you are the one and only expert on your specific child.  And that you will fight for them. 

I need to remind you that no matter what answers you get or don't get, or the acronym's they may use to describe your kid, that is not their definition.  Those little letters don't change who they are.  They don't have to dull their sparkle.  They are simply a way for you to access the help to make them the best they can be.

I want to assure you that God gave this specific child to you.  He will equip you with everything you need, and He will fill in the gaps that you can't.  You just have to ask.  He has a plan for this sweet little person that is beyond what you could ever imagine.  And He holds you and your child in the palm of His hands at this very moment.  And all He asks?  That you come to him and lean on him.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the beautiful gift of family.  And I thank you for surrounding us with people that love us along the way.  I lift up all of us who are struggling to do this parenting thing right.  I pray that you would speak into our hearts today, that you would give us wisdom in our decisions and grace for both ourselves and our families.  Help us to lean not on our own understanding, but to look to you for answers.  We ask for patience as search for answers, and that we can learn to wait on your perfect timing.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

Saturday, 25 March 2017


We say them. Or sometimes they get caught in our throat. 

Maybe we type them. Or maybe we change our minds and hit backspace until they all go away. 

There is amazing power in the words we choose to say. And equal power in those we don't. 

A few years ago, after working my way through a lot of loss, I decided that I would write a letter to each of my parents for Christmas.  You see, they have all the material possessions they could ever want or need.  But as parents, the one thing you always want is to know that your kids are okay, and that as much as you may feel like it, they want to know they didn't mess you up too badly.

I didn't have a perfect childhood.  None of us did.  But I had something so precious that it took me no longer being a child to figure it out.  I had unconditional love.  And that's as close to perfect as I think any of us can get. 

Sure, I frustrated my parents.  And I know that I disappointed them on more than one occasion.  But the power in knowing that no matter what, I would always have their love is beyond measure.

I thanked them for doing their best as parents, husband and wife, and friends.  I let them know that I know it was hard at times, and that I appreciated that they never let up, they kept pushing through whatever struggle it was that they were facing.  How brave they were to always choose love, no matter how vulnerable it might make them.  I really wanted to say these things to them, not to those who came to hear the eulogy. 

There is such power in your words, whether spoken or written.  And those who have been there should hear them.

This year has already been a year of loss and struggle for many of those around me.  And I know that some of them feel as though they are walking alone.  Maybe you feel like you're in this battle alone.

I promise you, you are not.  There is someone who wants so badly to walk this with you.  Jesus.  There is such power in His name alone.  And even more power in a relationship with the only one who can truly offer the world. 

Friends, I pray that you would stand in His strength.  He is ready and waiting to do great things for you.  Things you can't even imagine.  You just have to let Him.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for my parents.  And I thank you for waiting by my side for so long, waiting for me to turn to you.  I know that I've made the wrong choices time and again.  Just like I know that you love me in a way that no one else can ever compare to.  I pray that anyone who is feeling alone today would turn to you.  That they would have the chance to feel your beautiful arms surround them with a peace and a strength beyond their wildest dreams.  I pray that we would all turn to you for wisdom in these trying times, and that you would open our eyes to those around us.  Let us use our words to build people up, rather than tear them down.  And above all, let us walk in love, no matter how challenging that may be.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

She Is Perfect, Just the Way She Is

Sorry I haven't written yet this week.  I fell last week and hurt my wrist and shoulder.  And knee.  Well, essentially my entire left side.  I was carrying my 2 year old when I slipped on an icy sidewalk and turned to the left so that I wouldn't land on her.  And as it turns out, since I am now in my mid-30's, I no longer heal overnight.
While once again lying on my couch, I have had time to ponder. 

This wasn't the post I had been planning and working on, but it's really all that I've been thinking of, so here we go.  :)

Our daughter is still being looked at as gifted and possibly being somewhere on the autism spectrum.  While I've known she is a little quirky, somehow having someone want to put that label there makes me feel like less of a good parent.  I have a wonderful friend who has worked in this field for most of her adult career who keeps assuring me that I'm doing everything right in advocating for my child, offering suggestions when I phone with questions about what to do next.  And I feel confident.

But then my daughter wants to know why we're doing all these tests.  We started with the gifted tests as recommended by our school, which proved she is ahead of the average for math and LA.  But then we noticed that some of her behaviours were vastly different than those of her friends. 

She has always talked (A LOT!!!), and she loves people.  So that means that she's just a little awkward around people, not really understanding how to draw out others people's interests in conversation.  Since this is something I too struggle with, we didn't really think any more of it.

My daughter was worried that she would have to do more computer tests (gifted testing was online for us), since she believed she failed them before.  What really happened was that it was a long, boring, silly test that had her making up words and then trying to spell them.  And we got bored.  And she got bored.  And she did the human thing and she clicked random things because her attention span was all used up for the day.  And so her teacher wanted to make sure that the test was as accurate as possible and came over to help her pay attention to the test.  Her teacher said that DD was answering questions faster than she could read them herself!  It was not a failure at all, we just needed to make sure that the test was done to the best she could so that she would be seen for just who she was, and where she is academically.

And we've been talking to her about how God makes all of us special.  Some people are made to be great at math and talking, learning to read really early and struggle in other areas.  We all have strengths and weaknesses, but we are exactly the way God made us.  And He made us on purpose and with a purpose.  Struggles make us stronger and give us the opportunity to learn.

I talked to her about the testing that we are considering now and that there would be no computers.  This would be one on one with another adult.  There are no right or wrong answers for these tests, because they are just looking to meet her where she is and help us to make a plan.  We are all trying to figure out how we can help her to be the best version of her that she can be. 

When I told her that we are hoping that we can learn some new tools for making friends better.  And maybe we could find someone to help her to be more coordinated (the girl is just like I was when I was little, which means she is constantly falling over herself.)  And her eyes lit up.  So much.  And it broke my heart that this beautiful little girl, who can speak at a grade level 5-6 years ahead of her age, would cherish being able to walk in a straight line without falling over.  It is so easy to concentrate on the fact that she is so smart and forget that just because she is, doesn't mean that she doesn't struggle or notice that she's different.

The more that we've read, the more we truly see some really cle
ar signs that she fits in the spectrum.  Of the 4 personality marker types we've researched, 2 of them must have been written about her.  I mean, they were her to a "T".  And it got me to thinking that there may be many other people in our boat.  Knowing that there is something a little different about their child but not being able to quite put their finger on it.

Before her, I wasn't a Mom.  She didn't come with a manual.  And for our family, she is just my darling daughter.  I don't want to think of her struggling.  It is so hard to stand by and watch when all you really want to do is rush in and fix everything.  And sometimes, you can't.  And that sucks.

I know that we are in for a long road to a diagnosis.  And that we will have a lot of questions along the way.  And I'm going to try to write about it (while still maintaining my daughters privacy), so that you can walk with us.  And maybe we can walk this walk together.  Or maybe it will just help you to know that you are not alone in this process.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for each of my children.  I thank you that you have made each of them so different, and yet so perfect.  God, I ask that you would guide us in raising them, and that you would fill in all the holes we leave.  That you would open the eyes of our hearts on those difficult days, so that we could see them the way you see them.  And that we would depend on you for strength and perseverance as we advocate for what's best for them.  Help us to find our support network, so that we know we are not the only ones going through this, and that our children are perfect because You made them.  In your name.  Amen.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Mental Health

I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy with my hubby tonight, and it touched on mental health issues.  It's such a difficult subject for so many people.  And unless you've been there and done that, it's one of the most formidable things to try to explain to someone else.

My first husband suffered from depression.  Looking back now, I can see a little more clearly the struggles that he had each and every day. 

We were young when we got together, and I had just gotten out of a tumultuous relationship with a high school boyfriend.   A high school boyfriend who also suffered from mental health issues and it ended with me having to let his mother know that I couldn't do it anymore and that I felt her son was going to need suicide watch.

And in walks this new man, with the best laugh I've ever heard in my life.  I still miss that laugh and that huge smile.  What I would learn over the next couple of years was that smile was hiding a lot of angst.  And worry over the future of everything.  And what felt like the weight of the world on his shoulders.  It was a very challenging relationship, but I was determined to see this one through.  We bought our first house together, discussed children.  I had a ring on my finger that was all we could afford at the time.  And we really worked on making it.  Until we just couldn't do it anymore.   I kept the house since he wanted to go and explore the world.  And he left, just like that.

To say I was devastated was an understatement. 

I spent the next 3 years putting myself back together, learning who I wanted to be outside of a relationship.  I learned how to be truly happy, all by myself.  I found that I could go home at the end of the day by myself, and be content. 

When he returned from his travels, he asked about getting back together.  I had given this a lot of thought and decided that I really didn't want to.  I was actually really happy just being me.  And I wasn't willing to give that up to go back to who I used to be.  I didn't like that girl anymore.

I moved on with my life, meeting my husband, and falling in love with Jesus.  I found a man that loved me, quirks and all, and we had dreams of changing this world together.

He moved on to what we all thought was the perfect girl for him.  They shared all his common interests.  She loved the outdoors.  And they seemed to be really happy. 

Until his Dad walked into my workplace one day. 

He looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  He had just been released from the hospital after a death defying fight with adult mumps, which left half of his face paralyzed, with scabs all over his face and neck. 

And upon being released from the hospital, he found out his son had lost his life-long fight with depression.

He walked up to me and said "He's gone."  Naively, I asked where he had gone.  Had he left on another trip? 

Well, no. 

And my life would never be the same again.  Neither would anyone else who had loved that man at one time or another. 

I managed to keep it together while my ex father-in-law was there, comforting him as best as I could through my own shock.  And then he left and I just fell apart.

All I could think was how could I have left this happen?  How could I have not done something to stop this?  It wasn't rational.  There was no logic to these thoughts.  And to be perfectly honest, I still have days, almost 10 years later, where I wonder if I could have done something differently.  Could I have been his saving grace somehow?

My brain tells me that no, there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome. 

My husband doesn't really know what my life was like before him.  Not because he hasn't tried to understand, but because he can't.  It's hard for someone who has never gone through it to understand that your logic becomes a little bit warped as your mind tries to make your world make sense.  And everyone's situation is just that little bit different.  And it's difficult for me to go back to that time.  I survived, and some days, that's all I want to say about it.

I don't know where you are.  I don't know if you've ever walked the lonely rode of depression, certain there was no help for you, that you were just too far gone to be helped.  I don't know if you've had to watch someone you love struggle with every day life, not knowing what to say or do to make things different.  Please, ask for help.  Do not think that you have to do this on your own, but reach out.  There is someone out there that would love nothing more than to help you, if only you would ask.

I know that writing this has been one of the hardest, most exposing things I have ever done.   I pray that it helps someone out there to know that they are not alone in this.  And maybe gives some insight to those on the outside. 

Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that we are never truly alone.  I thank you for picking me up out of that pit and showing me that I could have so much more, if only I could put my faith in you.  I thank you for your patience and grace as you introduced me to the new me.  I lift up all of those who are suffering because of mental illness.  I pray your strength and peace over them Lord, and ask that they feel your love and grace beyond measure.  I pray that they would turn to you as I had to, so that you could make me whole again.  In your name.  Amen.

Friday, 3 March 2017

They Aren't Little Forever

My Sweetie is about to turn 7.  It feels like somehow I laid down for a nap and now she's more than halfway to being a teenager.  How does this happen?!?

I prayed for this little girl, and after our first round of fertility helpers, we finally got pregnant.  It was almost the pregnancy to end all pregnancies for me.  I was so sick.  I didn't know it was possible to be so sick all the time.  It was definitely not just in the mornings!

I was promised that she would be small because of my difficulties.  It turns out that doctors don't actually know everything.  She arrived into the world with a fight at a healthy 8 lbs 10 oz.  She was so small and alert.  I was so lost.  We learned how to nurse together.  She taught me patience and a love I could never even fathom before she made me a mother.

I watched her eyes widen as she said her first words "wiggle giggle".  And she has been talking strong ever since.  I got to witness her first steps.  And her determination to never let a tower stand.  She would come from the other end of the house to knock down a tower of blocks if she saw me building it.

I watched her fall in love with her little brother, confident that she knew how to do everything for him.  She doted on him like he was her very own baby doll.

It has been a privilege to watch her learn and grow over the last 7 years.

As I watched her play with her little sister tonight, huddled under the kitchen table and giggling, I couldn't help but wonder who she's going to become.

I already know she is loving, caring, loyal and has the memory of an elephant.  She remembers little details for years and years.  She doesn't have many friends, but those she does she is fiercely loyal to.  They are her friends for better or for worse, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

She wants to be a police officer when she grows up because she wants to make a difference in other peoples' lives.  She isn't phased by people who are hurt or seeing blood (unless its her own, that's a whole different story!)

She loves to cook, clean and help anyone in any way she can.  She's not afraid to work to earn her money.  She excels at reading and math, and loves anything to do with science.

I don't know how all these things are going to add up as she grows.  I do know that she's going to grow up long before I'm ready for her to.  I'm not even ready for her to be 7!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Serving Souls or Eating Crow

Today is Day 1 of our "Zip It: The Keeping it Shut 40 Day Challenge" by Karen Ehman.  We have a Facebook group if you would like to join us.  There are almost 3,000 participants!

The very first day is about realizing the power of our words.  The words Karen used that stuck with my the most were, "words are powerful, and they have consequences."

This.  So much of this.

Like everyone else, I've had conversations that have stuck with me over the years, for better or worse.  I remember quite clearly an awful conversation I had in high school with a girl I didn't know very well at the time.  She was quiet, but always kind.  Something was said to me, and I reacted.  And I said some words that still make me cringe. 

I had the opportunity to see this girl, well, lady now, since this was over 15 years ago.  My daughter was having emergency surgery, and wouldn't you know it, one of her nurses was this very woman. 

While I had never forgotten how awful I had been, I had no idea if she still thought of me, or how awful those words were.  I got my answer to that when she came into the room.  One look at me, and I knew that she remembered that day as clearly as I did. 

Now I was sitting by my daughter's bedside with my husband, waiting for the surgeon, and also thinking about how I needed to make things right.

She was quite nice to us, making small talk to help distract us from worrying, and answering all of our questions about what we would be expecting as they got our daughter ready.  She was really professional, never letting on that her last experience with me was not very cordial.

My husband and I sat with our daughter, laughing about the things she was saying after they started the anaesthetic, finding her really funny and encouraging her silliness. 

I don't know if any of you have ever apologized for something that felt like an entire lifetime ago, but I can tell you that the words don't come easily. 

As I sat there waiting for our daughter to be brought back out, I sheepishly told my husband that I had said some unkind words to this woman back in high school and I needed to apologize.  I had been an insecure and foolish young girl with a wisecracking mouth and it was coming back to bite me in the rear.

After our sweet little girl was brought out, I asked the nurse if I could have a minute to just talk to her.  I think we were both so nervous at this point because it was so awkward.  I apologized for my words back then, and told her that she didn't deserve them.  I was so sorry that something I had said in the spur of the moment would have such long-lasting effect, especially when she had been nothing but kind to me.  She thanked me for actually apologizing as not very many people would do that so many years later.  She told me the things that had happened in her life after school, and then asked about me.  I wouldn't say we parted friends, but at least now when I see her, I can genuinely smile, and I hope she can too.

I learned two things that day with regards to my words. 

They can last in both the speaker's mind and the recipients, but you can always apologize.  It is never too late to make things right.

And that I would so much rather speak words that would build someone up, rather than tear them down and end up having to eat them later.  Crow has never tasted good.

Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help us to guard our words.  Let us run them through your grace and love before they come flying out of our lips.  When we are poised to react to a situation, soften our hearts and our minds so that we don't say something that we will regret in the years to come.  Thank you for all the beautiful souls that we have the chance to impact every day.  In your name.  Amen.