Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reality

It's happened twice now. That huge dark cloud that suddenly presents itself- it hangs there above you and furiously envelopes you. It sucks you in like a cyclone and sends you spiraling out of control. That panic- the all-encompassing fear that no amount of reason or logic can send away. It's painful and distracting. It's annoying and leaves you with a great sense of guilt.


The most recent occurrence happened Saturday evening. My husband and I planned an entire night out to celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary. We made arrangements for the baby to have a sleepover with his grandma, reservations for dinner and a lock-down of cell phones. I had been craving this quality time with Craig and the opportunity to sleep in. About 40 minutes into our adventure I started to feel my brain going in all kinds of suspicious places. Thoughts of: "what if something happens to us- no one will know what to do with Ryan." "We don't have any plans prepared- do we even know what we want?" "Mom is sick, will she be able to communicate to other family- will they say she is too sick to take care of Ryan?"...

Since the diagnosis of mom's ALS and the birth of Ryan- all kinds of fears have crept in on me. They come as quiet whispers in the shower and loud thumps of tragedy in my sleep. It's a constant tug-of-war...that fear and I... it pulls me in and I pull back fiercely demanding that it lets me go. On Saturday, my strength was gone and instead of pulling harder I let that fear drag me deep into its black hole. I cried in the car as the panic stole every breath I had. As my heart pounded louder and louder I gave in. My husband patiently listened to me, reminded me of every promise we have been given and that though it seems impossible and scary right now, everything will in some way or another be OK. We called and checked in on Ryan and found that he was sleeping soundly in the arms of his grandma- a reminder that there is an unseen blanket of peace and comfort always surrounding us- even in our fear.

To say that we all cope differently is an understatement. Maybe instead of a panic attack- you hide and close yourself off from the world. Or, maybe you turn to comfort in the form of a bottle or sarcasm. Maybe, you are angry or sad and cope with endless amounts of sleep... whatever your form of "coping" looks like each mechanism begs to remind us that we aren't in control. How great to know that we don't have to be in control. The nuances of this world are always going to bring about a situation that require us to "cope". With the right amount of support, forgiveness, and prayer we can turn those harsh unhealthy mechanisms into healthy positive forms of grace.

I'm a work in progress and I struggle all the same with this horrible disease that has stolen so many aspects of my mom. But, today- I walk in the peace and comfort of Hope even in the midst of panic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Let's Celebrate!

Do you know what a genuine birthday celebration can do for your soul? It breathes life into the dry cracks of your bones. It sings gratitude over your heart. It claims a sweet victory over a life you have no control over. It whispers a sweet reminder that you are loved, cherished and given great purpose. It shouts a sweet promise that you were gifted another year to make a difference.


My beautiful mom turned 52 on Monday...a triumph in so many ways! We celebrated with a girl's day out; manicures and pedicures- a decadent lunch, shopping for new shoes and a quaint family dinner. We spent each moment soaking in the day, creating new memories and re-living old dreams.

I sat in awe at the miracle of the night as we sat outside beneath the string of vintage lights. The smell of wood-fired pizza, hazelnut and caramel lattes encompassed our senses. The laughter of a two year old boy filled our ears with joy.


I am slightly ashamed to say that two years ago I never imagined that we would be celebrating in this manner. I never thought that my mom would be walking to her place at the table or that she would be able to eat a bowl of minestrone soup. I fell victim to the statistics and predictions of the medical community. I doubted the tenacity of my mom and the powerful miracles that were stringing themselves together beyond what I could see. I am so thankful that when it feels like you are falling over the edge there is always reason to celebrate. I know that in my doubt and anger there is grace. I also know that no matter the circumstances- a birthday is always worth celebrating!

In the future our celebrations may look different but they will always mean the same thing- a gift, a promise of hope and a breath of life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Be Still & Know



I saw Les Miserables yesterday. After a very emotional and hard few days I decided to take a day for myself. A day to rejuvenate, refresh my soul and stop the endless negativity that was filling my mind. I slept in, drank my coffee in bed as I browsed the web, and just let myself be. No agenda, no to-do list and no one to care for.  As I walked up to buy my ticket I felt such a strange sense of self-confidence. One I haven’t felt in a very long time. I didn’t care that I was there to see a movie by myself, I didn’t care that people lingered about watching me. I finally felt secure enough to stand boldly in my decision and honestly I think it made the whole movie-going experience a success.

I cried as I watched the most beautifully tragic story unfold before me- A story of anguish, fear, redemption, grace and unconditional love. There was so much symbolism wrapped up in the lives of those characters. I saw the love of God drip endlessly out of that story; I felt the unexplainable desire to do anything to protect your child- even in death. I saw how one transformed life can affect countless other lives. How selflessness even in heartache gains a fresh new beginning. I found a new appreciation for the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, I let myself be vulnerable. I opened myself to see new surroundings and to feel life in a very raw manner. I stopped the busyness of life to find peace and allow my soul to be refreshed. I quieted my heart to find grace and to be filled with an overwhelming sense of true love. In my rawness I was able to find the exact healing I needed to continue to give myself to those around me. To be the support and strong tower for my mom, to see the intense unspoken heartache felt by my dad, to be the loving patient and playful mom to Ryan and to be the encouraging and supportive wife to my husband.

I pray that as you read this you will know that in the midst of whatever you are facing- large or small- the outcome is the same… there is a love waiting to envelope you in peace and joy. Take the time to embrace it- I promise you it’s worth it.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10