"Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Faithful Friday: Trust God

When I think back to last October and all the change that has come, I'm amazed.  Life isn't anything like I'd expected or planned it to be.  But still, life is good.

Last fall was a major life change for me, leaving a job after 16 years.  For the first time ever, I was unemployed.  And instead of providing, helping, doing, I was on the other side.  It was a scary, uncertain future.

For a girl with a slight case of OCD, and one who surely likes to be in charge and control, not having a job was like setting out in a boat on choppy waters.  For awhile, I didn't know where I'd end up and it felt like I'd been abandoned.

Our finances took a hefty ding and, at times, I felt like God let us down.  Hadn't we suffered enough on this earth?  Why must we struggle again so soon?  How were we ever going to manage?

Eventually, with my hubby's loving reminders, I let go and just trusted God.

The past year hasn't been easy.  There have been huge adjustments, changes, of figuring out who I am in a new career, and a shifting of priorities. Not that we ever lived extravagantly, but we lived in excess.  Now, we've learned that less really is more.  There's a tremendous difference in needs versus want, something the kids have been somewhat less eager to learn at times.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, 
to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” 
~ Will Rogers

Change has helped us to refocus and reminded that God is in control.

What's been wonderful is that somehow, every need, every time, God has provided, often to the penny.  There's been unexpected blessings and many lessons along the way.  What we know, no matter what, is that we can trust God with our tomorrows - and our todays.

We may not have a lot but we certainly have all we need.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Faithful Friday: Support in Childloss

If you've been following me on Instagram or elsewhere, you know I'm participating in the #captureyourgrief project with CarlyMarie.

Day 10, today, is Support.

That's a tough one for me to verbalize because, in many ways, I've felt alone while navigating my way through child loss.  One of the most popular posts I've written about support, or rather lack of, can be found here at Still Standing magazine.

What I know six years later, is the majority of people just don't know how to begin to support someone who has lost a child.  Because, for the lucky ones, they've never experienced the horror.  To step out into that possibility is just too scary.  So most just avoid it.

Where I found the most support {from people} was from those who had already walked this dark path.  Even from those first days at the funeral home, I recall every heart-aching face that came out to relive their nightmare, just so they could hug us and let us know they were here.  The pain was tangible, even if their loss was years prior.  With so much truth in their faces, we knew what we were up against, seeing their lingering grief; but we were grateful for their help and guidance.

Where I found the most support {online} was through child loss sites.  Message boards, where I could pour my heart to strangers who knew my pain, helped me cope in the middle of the night. Websites specific to child loss gave me a connection, an understanding that others had experienced what I was going through, hope to see how other's had survived. Reading and researching grief, watching for the signs of depression in my family, how to help my marriage and prevent the staggering divorce rates shown on Google, and what to say to my little boy grieving his brother helped me process, plan and prepare.  I was in charge online and could choose when and where to go, what to say, and when to shut down.  Online, it has been easy to share about Austin and our child loss journey online, but face to face, my emotions usually fail me.  Online, I have been able to bare my soul and heal with each typed word.  Along the way, I've been blessed to gain many new friends, members of a club no parent wants to join, but united just the same.  One such friend has about the best collection of what to do for grieving parents I've ever read.

Where I found the most support {from community} has been our current church home.  We wouldn't find this home until we were 3 1/2 years out from losing Austin, but the timing of when we found them was impeccable.  We joined our church in what would've been Austin's graduation year from high school.  So many milestones and missed moments, heartaches we could have never anticipated, and pains, like a wound ripped open again, led us to covet the many prayers freely given for us by our church family.  It touched our hearts even more that we were so new but they welcomed us with open arms, and treated us as if we'd been members for years.  The church typically gave all students a gift card the Sunday after graduation.  For Austin, they made a donation to his scholarship fund.  That first year, we also joined a Lifegroup, something foreign to us, but that close knit group of friends surrounded our family with love and support in a time we needed a sense of belonging most.

But how I've survived most, where I've found the biggest comfort, solace, peace and support is {spiritually}.  Even when I pushed Him away, God was there to hold me through the darkest pain my soul would ever know.  He has been my guide, the place where I find rest and compassion, where I could pour out anger, heartache, questions, and tears, yet still find kindness and understanding.  He carried me when I couldn't take the next step, held my hand as I braved another day, and nudged me to help others facing this loss as I began to heal.  I cannot imagine my life, especially these past six years, without Him by my side.

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