Trust Yourself

I debated on exactly how in-depth I wanted to get with this post based on my own privacy, I suppose. After giving it a lot of thought for a few days I decided to just begin writing to see where my words would take me.

My thoughts begin with the word honesty. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you ever expect to be honest with anyone else? For those who know me well, they understand one value that I hold incredibility high is trust. It is impossible for me to be involved in a good friendship or even more so relationship without the feeling of mutual trust.

Your word is only as good as your actions.

Trust can be very complicated. It takes a while to build, but can be broken within a matter of seconds.

Throughout the past five months I have been dealing with debilitating pain. My body has felt trapped within a state that feels extremely unhealthy. I have felt fatigue, along with an assortment of chronic pain that has been capable of controlling my life both physically and mentally.  And at times it has. However, I’ve felt determined to overcome this sick feeling no matter how much it would take out of me.

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I had to trust myself. I would remind myself of this daily. There were multiple times I recall crying out to myself or some of the close people in my life… “Am I crazy?” I wasn’t even sure if I was asking myself or if I was waiting for someone else to declare it. I had to be crazy. I’ve felt physical pain before, as losing my mom took over both my mind and body for a while, but this was something much different. I almost felt in some ways like I couldn’t manage to function.

I knew something was going on with my body, I just wasn’t sure what it was. As I went from doctor to doctor, I would find myself in tears recalling the same story. I would read my journal to them where I kept tabs of what I ate, how many hours I slept, the medicine/supplements I would consume and what I was feeling. I took multiple tests where minor abnormalities would pop up but nothing explaining the deep and controlling pain I knew I was experiencing. It quickly became a nightmare.

I could feel myself losing patience; but that wasn’t even the worst part. I could also feel people, who meant so much to me, pushing away from me because it began to consume me. I wasn’t fun, I sure wasn’t happy and it’s very possible, it was quite difficult to be around me.  People at work began to recognize I was in pain. They would complement me with how well I was coping. They’d even make mention of my positive attitude and devoted energy to my work. But inside I could feel that it was fake and draining me. I was giving it all I could just to make it through a day of work. One day at a time.

Finally one night I was absolutely hysterical. I was crying out to my father and friend, “I am in so much pain, I can’t do this anymore.” And in spite of what they may of thought, I truly felt this way. I was losing hope because I was trying desperately to find some sort of answer and relief. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t happening.

Very shortly after that night, I think God heard my cries and answered my prayers. I met with an extremely talented and generous doctor. For once, in this journey, I felt that he actually wanted me better as much as I did. I knew he was determined to help me and lead me to recovery. Within a few long months he connected me with a very special lady. She was a specialized in the area he felt I needed to be connected in. He was right.

Within a month of my first visit with her I was getting put to sleep for surgery. I went into the surgery nervous, but anxious with some sort of excitement. I was looking for answers that I so desperately needed. My first memory after recovery was the voice of the sweet lady doctor. She held my arm and said “Randi, my dear, you are not crazy.” It turns out something had been taking over my body and was causing me intense and terrible pain. If they wouldn’t have found it, it would have only gotten worse for me and could have resulted in a lot of permanent damage that would have been devastating for me.

I am still recovering, I have a long ways to go, but I know now how important it is to always trust yourself. You know your own body and needs. Don’t ever sell yourself short by not acknowledging what you feel. Be your own advocate and fight with every ounce of hope that no matter what you are facing there are better days ahead. Healing will come for those who believe.

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A Tribute to Nan

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of you is your laugh. It was inevitably contagious. There was always a smile on your face, a cup of coffee on your desk and some sort of yummy treat in your hand. You were passionate, enthusiastic and determined. Most of all you were kind. In the years of knowing you, I can’t think of a moment in time that I ever recognized a mean bone in your body. Yet, I have all the faith in the world that if any stupid boy did me wrong or broke my heart, you’d let em’ have it. Your words, not mine. I loved sharing my stories and shoe fetishes with you. You were a sucker for a fabulous pair of heels. I don’t blame you. Your favorite outfit, a Red Wings jersey. You were so simple, but elegant. I always felt comfort and love in your presence. Maybe it’s because you always genuinely cared to know what was going on in my life. I am so thankful you made it to my college graduation ceremony. I will miss our frequent lunches at Focassia’s. Their lobster bisque was your favorite. It will hard to go back there without you. I know with all of my heart, the ‘Nut House’ will never be the same without you. You were deeply loved by everyone who crossed your path. And will forever hold a special place in my heart. You will be missed. But I remind myself of your faith and rejoice knowing that you are with the love of your life again, Howard. I hope you’ll go visit Hawaii again with him.

I will always love you Nan.

Please give my mom a hug for me.

P.S. I know you both will be watching over the stands on October 10th for the boys’ football game.

Nan

 

Be Vulnerable for the People You Love

Death is such a hard concept. I have learned something: no matter how experienced you are with dealing with the circumstances tied to death or rather how inexperienced you are with all of the emotions attached with the unavoidable, it hurts. Losing someone you love is painful. Watching others lose someone they love is also painful.

It is tragic adjusting to having a person’s physical presence to not. No matter how young or how old, when you lose someone it is impossible to comprehend why. Why now? Why did it have to happen the way it did? As human beings we are never ready to say goodbye. Change is not a comfortable feeling. Being forced to stray from a familiar routine is uncomfortable. It just doesn’t feel natural.

The past week has sort of been a whirlwind for me. I have watched people I love and care about suffer. The mourning and grieving has been from two different families, both of which are near and dear to my heart.

One family forced to putting their sweet loved one into hospice; forced with coming to acceptance that from this point on each day will be consumed with the painful wonder of if their loved one will make it through the day. The other family, waking up on Sunday morning to learn that their loved one has passed on to Heaven, a better place.

How is it that even if we have faith, we know that heaven exists and we also believe that all that belong in heaven are free from any sort of pain, it still hurts us. If death is unavoidable, why does it have to hurt so badly?

At some point in our lives we will all have to deal with people we love passing away and in time leaving earth ourselves; it seems to me it should be easier to cope with. Though, through my own experiences I can reassure you there is no easy way to handle death. It never feels fair.

After losing my mom I never imagined having the ability to be a part of other people’s loses. I felt so broken from my own loss that I thought I would never build the strength to be strong enough to comfort and grieve with others. I was wrong. Faith is such a powerful thing. With puddles of tears, sleepless nights praying, and time, I have found it within myself to do so. It doesn’t make it easy, but as I’ve said, I don’t think it can ever be easy.

trust in the lord

Someone I deeply care about is grieving this week. His heart is sad because he has lost a person he looked up to and loved. I have spent hours this week talking with him about all of his thoughts, feelings and memories. We have been put in a position to lean on one another many times throughout the course of knowing each other. But this week, it’s been different.

For the first time, I think he’s had a glimpse of what it feels like to lose someone you love. I would never wish this pain on him or on anyone. But we have learned how to grieve with each other. We have learned how to communicate about things that are never easy to discuss. And I have learned that when you care for someone there should be no pain you aren’t willing to take in order to give the gift of guidance and comfort through a difficult time.

For twenty-two I have lived through a lot of moments of darkness. I have had to deal with and experience many difficulties tied with death. I am very familiar with the feeling of losing someone you love. I live with it every day. This week I have been blessed to comfort two very different groups of people who are dealing with death; one family who is preparing to lose their loved one and another who has already lost theirs.

God is good. He puts us in the right places at the right time.

My advice: Never be afraid to be vulnerable for the people you love, it can be painful but worth it.

 

This is What is Real

I can’t seem to focus right now. So, I am not even going to try. All I can think about today is her. Maybe it’s because this week is her birthday; Thursday, June 23rd.  She would be turning fifty- three this year.

So much life still left to live.

So much joy left to be felt.

So much love left to give.

But instead of celebrating another year with me, with her family, she will be somewhere that feels so far away from me right now. I know that she will be in heaven. She’s there right now. I bet it’s beautiful, painless, something like paradise; but it’s a beautiful place that right now feels so far away from me.

This will be her third birthday spent away from her three children. We are sad…we miss our mom. Not a day goes by that we don’t wish to have her here in our presence. Life isn’t the same when you lose someone you love. Life isn’t the same without a mother around to care for, protect and love on you.

It is so frustrating you know; when you lose someone like her. As time passes on people move on and sometimes you can’t help but almost wonder if they have forgotten. You still feel overwhelmed with the loss. You grieve frequently over what you no longer have. But it seems for most people, life goes on. Their families are still whole and their mom still has life. You almost panic because as the time passes you hear less of her. People stop checking in, they even forget important dates like Thursday and it hurts.

You don’t want to be bitter. You don’t long for pity. You are just sad. You’re sad because no matter how much time passes, for you, the void is still there. The hole is left aching in your heart. You want something simple, something every twenty-two year old girl should desire. You just want to spend your mom’s birthday with her. You want to see her face and hear her voice. Would a simple hug be too much to ask for?

Today I am grieving. I am grieving so bad. I miss my mom and it hurts. I wish I had more to say, but today this is all. Because this is what is real.

From our favorite author, Nicholas Sparks. “Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”

 

Utilize Your Gifts

This morning at work I noticed a familiar smiling face in which was not smiling. It was abnormal to me to see this sort of expression on this individual’s face. With a feeling in my gut that something was wrong I proceeded to ask the person how their weekend was. I actually received the response I was expecting; something was wrong.

This person had been informed just yesterday that a close friend had unexpectedly passed away. I could immediately relate to the feelings attached to death. It might be the hardest concept to comprehend and accept. I know that it is for me. Nothing about death has ever seemed fair to me. However, I know that it is a natural part of life and often times it is something we just cannot control.

It bothered me seeing this person in pain. It bothered me knowing I could relate so much to the heartache of death. In part, that is why I decided at some point in my day I needed to make an attempt to reach out to this hurting person in order to express my condolences and concern. More importantly, I wanted this person to know, that they were not alone in this feeling.

I am hesitant to become personal with people in my work setting. I am very comfortable with the concept of keeping my work and my personal life separate. I think it just helps to remain professional and productive while at the office. I do believe there are exceptions for this behavior and this time, today, would be one of those.

The moment I walked away from the individual the phrase “Utilize your gifts” came to my mind. It was almost like God was speaking to me as a reminder for me to not ignore reaching out to someone in need…especially someone I knew I could help. I know the good Lord understands better than anyone else that I could relate and offer some sort of encouragement or comfort in this time of need. And so, I didn’t ignore Him or my heart.

Sometimes using our own personal gifts is sort of a hard thing to do. But why is this? They are a huge part of our purpose in this life. They are the best way we can make an impact on this world.

First, I think it is important to clarify what exactly I mean by ‘our gifts.’ I think our gifts can be found by taking the time to recognize something you are naturally good at, a part of your own testimony, something you have been through that changed your life in some form. I believe our gifts can also be something we are extremely passionate about; something that makes us who we are. Sharing your gift is using yourself to provide for someone who is need of whatever it may be that you have to offer.

Unfortunately, sometimes these gifts have required a lot of heartache; for instance, losing my mom unexpectedly at nine-teen years old. It has been the most heart breaking journey, I hope, I will ever have to take. I wish that no other teenage girl in this world would ever have to experience what I have. But throughout this journey I have developed a set of skills in order to overcome the heartache that trapped me in darkness for far too long.

I find myself in a place now where I have hope in peace and I can feel joy again. I understand the true significance of feeling broken; I know what it is like to receive comfort, guidance and encouragement and I also know what it is like to not. But more importantly I have learned how to give all of those three things and more. I understand the true importance of giving when someone needs it the most. It has created this strong feeling inside of me that wishes more people in this world would not be afraid to GIVE. The reward is unimaginable.

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That is why I now decided in my life to make a commitment to myself and the people I come across. There is no exception to not giving and utilizing the gifts that God gave you to help another human being in need. His purpose for our gifts is to reach out to one another and help each other to live this life to its fullest.

At the end of today, I had a visitor at my office door. The person had a smile on their face as they thanked me for not only reaching out to them on a day they needed it the most, but also for being brave enough to share my own heartache in order to make a difference in the person’s day.

You Can Make a Difference

People will hurt you.

But always remember: two wrongs don’t make a right.

I remind myself of this golden rule countless times throughout the week. I don’t know about you but I find myself frequently feeling disappointed or sensitive towards the actions of the people around me. It is not because I think I am perfect or that I believe I always do right. I know I don’t. I think it is more because I am very observant and aware of how the decisions and behaviors of one person can affect another human being.

Whether we intend to or not; people do hurt people. This is a concept I have never really understood. Why do we hurt people… especially the ones we love? There is so much hurt that already exists in this world. Couldn’t we just be a little more careful about protecting one another? That is something I continuously hope for. When I say my prayers I ask God to help the people in this world to find more kindness, peace and love. I think the world would be a much better place if people focused more on positive actions.

However, as well all know, we only have control of one person; and that is you. This brings me to another point; I have heard people say “one person cannot make a difference.” I call bullshit on that one. I know that one person can make all the difference. It can take one act of kindness to turn around someone’s whole day. It can take one message of hope to encourage someone to not give up. I have people in my life that it simply takes being in their presence to give me the peace and happiness I desire to feel. That, my friends, is making a difference.

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I have been in an all-time low. I have been in a place where peace and happiness did not exist.  My world felt upside down. It took beautiful people in my life that made a commitment within themselves to continue to remind me that peace and happiness would come. It took me making the decision to want to find that peace and happiness in my life again, but it didn’t happen overnight.

I recall a very sad moment for me. It was the summer after I lost my mom. I had anxiety racing in every part of my body. I felt claustrophobic; in my mind I was trapped within a state of pain and was desperate to feel some sort of relief. However, no matter how much I cried or screamed…no matter what I tried to do to comfort myself from losing my mom; I couldn’t find relief.  I had been sitting in her closet surrounded by her clothes; I had her pictures on my lap and was sobbing into her bath robe when I felt like I couldn’t take the pain for another second.

I got up and ran downstairs and out the door. It was the middle of the night and I began running down my driveway. I continued on down the road, running and screaming. Every part of me hurt. I kept running and running until I almost couldn’t breathe. Maybe I thought I could run from and escape my pain. It didn’t work like that.

I look back at this moment and tears fill my eyes. I can feel the intensity of pain I had in that very moment. But I can’t help but look at where I am now and almost smile because I know how much I have had to overcome to get to where I am. I cry thinking about my journey, even the days to come without my mom. But I will always rejoice in the strength and peace I have found within myself.

Having to face such a tragic time in my life at a young age has helped me to form a very unique outlook on life. I have felt pain and suffering. I know what serious hurt feels like. Feeling the deep emotions I have has given me a better appreciation for the people around me and the way I choose to treat them. You never know what other people are facing, how difficult it might be for them to get through the day or how desperately they need to feel some sort of relief, like I did.

I never want to intentionally be the individual who adds negativity to another person’s day. That is why I feel it is so beneficial to always be aware of your actions and how you are treating others. You can make a difference.

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Fear Can Be a Beautiful Thing

Two years, two months.

My heart is sad today. I woke up very sad. I am actually not feeling very well because of it. I wanted to post this blog today because I think it is important to share with everyone that sad days are okay too. They are completely natural. There are days and moments that are harder than others for me to accept not having my mom around. This sort of makes my life a roller coaster, but I am alright with that too because the ups are better than the downs. They make it all worth it.

Next week is the fourth of July. I recall last year and all the other years of my life going up to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes with my family for a long weekend to celebrate together. The past few years my mom hasn’t been here to make the trip with us. However, our very first trip to the dunes without her we brought her ashes and shared a very indescribable and heartfelt moment together as a family. That was one of her favorite places in the world and we wanted to make sure that she would always be there with us. We did and I will never forget embracing that time with my brothers and dad.

Dunes lake pic

This year is the first year we are not making the trip. It is sort of bittersweet. Nick and Nathan have football and are unable to come home. So Dad and I decided to part from our trip and make other plans. It isn’t the same up there without the whole family. I will greatly miss experiencing the sparkling fireworks over the great big sand dunes reflecting into the beautiful lake. It is truly a sight to see. I realize in my heart it has never been the same since I have been there without my mom. I don’t think it ever will be. Our memories there are so good that I can’t help but always ache for her to be there with me. Maybe a change in direction and taking a different trip will be good for me. I am not sure yet.

There’s something about summer that has become very hard for me. My mom loved the sunshine, flowers, butterflies, bonfires, cookouts, rollerblading and taking family trips. My summers still consist of all of those activities but each one feels different without her. I know she would want me to enjoy all of her favorite things, even without her. I try to remind myself of that often.

There are many times that I fear doing so. I create this image in my mind that it is not right to enjoy my life without her. It brings guilt to my heart because as much as I do believe she wants me to be happy; it hurts me to be happy without her. I am assuming that anyone who has ever lost someone close to them could in some way relate to that feeling. There are people who believe fear is a bad feeling to have. Throughout my journey with and without my mom I have come to a point where I strongly disagree.

Fear can be a beautiful thing. It can resemble what you have and what you don’t want to lose. It can signify what you had and what you are scared to go on without. In order to inquire those feelings one must have loved and loved deeply. That is exactly what I have felt and feel about my mom. I am not ashamed to fear my life without her in a sense. It is proof of how important she was and always will be to me.

We have to find healthy ways to live and cope with fear. I believe I have. I acknowledge my own personal fears, I am aware of them and I overcome them each and every day. To me, that is what is real. I do not envy a person who claims to live without any fear. This world can be a very scary place, it is unpredictable. And let’s be honest we aren’t superheroes.

Taylor Swift quote

So, basically this post is meant to be real. Today I am sad. Today I miss my mom so badly. And today I live with some fear, because no matter how bad I want to spend my weekend with her…and no matter what I would give to take a trip to the sand dunes with her to watch the fireworks; I can’t.

 

What is Hope?

I have finally come to a point in my life where I believe in a bold statement that I’d like to share with you. It is my hope; no cliché intended that someday you might believe in these words too. Please take a moment to truly think about the deep significance of this sentence:

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.

The words are strong and for some the six words might be incredibly difficult to believe that they could be true. But I can tell you from my own personal experience, the words “once you choose hope, anything’s possible” can be real and true. It may take the toughest fight you’ve ever experienced and I think you have to be willing to let hope exist in your life no matter what you are facing. You also must make the choice to believe that with hope there is no circumstance, amount of heartache or darkness you cannot overcome.

I was in a place in my life, shortly before losing my mother where I could see myself losing hope. Watching the person I loved the very most suffer with immense pain and heartache knowing there was nothing I could do to take away the physical and emotional pain became very trying after the many years we faced this together.

I wanted to believe more than anything that we would get through it; that we would come out better and stronger from this battle. I really wanted to. But it became so hard and people began to doubt us and doubt her. Having hope was almost a chore. It was extremely exhausting. However, I will tell you that until the day I lost my wonderful mom, I never lost my hope.

The night I lost her, my life truly came crashing down. I felt nothing but emptiness, confusion and heartache. I couldn’t understand how we could have struggled for this long remaining faithful to reach this point. That point that we would no longer be side by side; fighting this battle together. She was now in a better place, in peace and paradise. But I was left here, to suffer and pick up the pieces of my heartache and life. I didn’t want to. I had no desire to fight the battle without her. The moment I knew she would no longer be living with me in my world, I honestly lost hope.

With time (months and months) that included a lot of crying and soul searching. With great friendships, my faith in the Lord and my incredible family (my dad and brothers), I found a way to choose hope. It wasn’t easy and I would never want to relive that period of time in my life.

This is a complete understatement, but I was left with two choices: I could give up or I could continue on.

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There were points where giving up felt like the better option. There were moments that no matter what anyone said to me, no matter how much hope they had in me that I would get through this that I felt there was no possible way. In part, I think that maybe hitting that “rock bottom” is a way to solidify the true hope we need as human beings when our world has changed and our hearts are left feeling devastated and broken.

I can’t exactly explain what did it for me. What made me reach this exact point, but I will share with you that it took several rock bottom moments. I had a few moments where I almost scared myself with how terrible and empty I was feeling to reach the opportunity of choosing hope. I came to realize that if I didn’t choose hope and wanted to live I was going to be very miserable. Not only was I going to be miserable but so were the people around me. This is something I never wanted.

I have two amazing brothers who are younger than me. They looked up to me and depended on my strength and love to continue on without our mom. I knew that I needed to find the strength for not only myself but for them because they needed me. I couldn’t give up because I couldn’t give up on them. What an incredible love that is to feel. To love someone (in my case my two brothers) more than I could ever love myself. That was a huge motivator for me to overcome this dark place that almost became comfortable for me to be in.

I would encourage anyone who has ever felt or dealt with something similar to do the same as I did. Find something/someone, whatever/whoever it may be and let them be a reason to not give up. Allow yourself to feel the love and joy that exists for the reason of that person or thing and make the decision to not give up on that feeling. That is exactly what I did. I reasoned with myself that “yes I had lost my mom and it was miserable,” but that I had other wonderful things in my life that made it worth living. But not only that, it made it worth living with hope. Someday, with patience, healing and a lot of work I would feel love and joy again because it did still exist in my life. I believe the same can happen for you.

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Planting Seeds

It’s been a little while. Seems like it is one thing after another lately. But that’s life isn’t it?

A crazy but amazing rollercoaster.

I have been pondering a few thoughts lately… Have you ever heard someone say God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle? Or how about God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers? I know I sure have and come to think of it, I bet I’ve said them a few times myself. But truly, have the phrases ever brought an ounce of comfort or encouragement during a difficult time. Does that sort of “motivating” line give explanation or provide comfort and reasoning when someone is facing something incredibly difficult in their life? I am sure the answers can vary to these questions depending on a number of different factors. A few I have in mind are the circumstance, the attitude of the person and how far along they are in the journey that has caused heartache.

I had a very intriguing lunch yesterday. It was sort of a blind date. I had met this girl once only momentarily where we had exchanged numbers to possibly meet up again.  She seemed friendly enough. I knew very little about her besides the fact that she had lived out of the country for a number of years and was struggling to connect again with girls our age. I could imagine she was experiencing some loneliness and thought maybe I could help. We decided to meet on my lunch break so she kindly picked me up from my office. Within minutes of being in her presence I could sense the feeling of vulnerability she almost wanted to feel around me. I instantly knew that God had plans for us to meet and that something big could come from our conversation at lunch. It sure did.

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With this thought in mind I didn’t allow myself to feel any pressure. I actually said a silent prayer to myself that the Lord would guide me in conversation to follow my heart and know the right things to say to her. Very quickly in our conversation we began talking about our faith. The topic was brought up right after she shared with me her struggle to make new genuine friendships and develop a feeling of stability back home. I could relate to these feelings in a weird way; though I had never experienced something exactly similar. I had this sense that she couldn’t quite figure out what home was and that which was supposed to feel like home didn’t. Of course, I had been in that place. In fact, I am still working to cope with being in that place.

Feeling that way isn’t an easy task to deal with. It is actually very hard to describe. It feels like there’s a void and you aren’t sure what to do about it. I am going through similar feelings right now as I have many other times in my life. But currently I am going through a time in my life where I could really use a woman. But not just any woman, I could really use the woman who knew me best, the one who created me and could guide me in the direction I need. We all go through times in our life that can be trying and uneasy. I bet there is a special someone that comes to your mind right away when considering who helps you most when facing the difficult seasons in life. For me, that person was definitely my mom and since she has passed away I haven’t been able to find someone who can come close to filling her void and probably never will…at least not to the degree that she did.

I believe in life we experience many voids.

Throughout the journey of coping with a void there is a lot of heartache involved. I am very familiar with this feeling from losing my mom. But even long before this loss I came across other voids much smaller and easier to deal with. Each time I did, it left me thinking that the more we try to fill our voids with something that isn’t what is meant to be there, the more the pain actually hurts…especially if the “filler” is negative or unhealthy.

Things are meant to be temporary in life until eternity that is. Beautiful flowers do not last forever in a vase as much as we enjoy them in the moment and wish that they would last much longer.

This realization is something that takes time to come to acceptance with. But what has helped me is focusing on the more simple things in life (such as my flower example) to understand that life is meant to be appreciated while it lasts. That is why when we lose things it hurts so bad…especially when we lose the people we love. Unfortunately as we can go back to the flower store and buy another bouquet we cannot do the same with such things as people. However, what we can do though is hold onto our faith that God has a greater plan and that someday we will be reunited with the people we once lost. In that very moment we will never have to spend another day in heartache and away from the ones we love the most. That is what keeps me going; not those silly phrases that people share with us when we are hurting the most. It is faith. My faith in knowing there is something bigger and better. That God has a plan and in that plan there is absolutely no pain or suffering. There is no loneliness or heartache.

Believe it or not this is the very conversation I had yesterday during my lunch hour. It was so uplifting and rewarding. It was a reminder to myself that God is using me and that my testimony is important. By the end of our conversation she looked at me and smiled. With confidence she said, “I know that if you are overcoming your season of loneliness without your mother that I can overcome mine too.”

My advice to you: do not be afraid to share who you are and the journey you are going through to help those in need. God is using me to plant his seeds in those who are in need of them the very most. Always follow your heart. The reward is truly amazing.

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Time.

Time post pic 2

Time is a funny thing isn’t it? Sometimes we find time that passes by very quickly; too quickly. Yet, time can also drag on and things around us can make it seem as if time is passing by extremely slow. I am certain we have all experienced a moment we wish could last forever. On the flip side, who hasn’t experienced a day (or days!) that feels as if it’ll never end. Or what about when you are waiting for something that you’ve really been looking forward to? Time sure feels slow then too; doesn’t it?

Regardless, one thing I have had to learn the hard way is that time is invaluable.

The time we once had we will never have again. There is no price tag on time. There is no amount of money in this world that can ever buy us the time we desire; no matter how bad we want it. Trust me, I’ve wanted time desperately. I have cried and screamed for it and I’ve even found myself begging for it. The hardest one for me was praying for more time.

But why? Shouldn’t I have found it easy to talk to God about anything? Honestly this concept is one I have felt hung up on and struggled immensely with. It has even made me angry…very angry at times.  I could not understand why and how if I wanted something so desperately that he could not just give it to me.

“Didn’t I deserve to have more time with her?”

It is very possible that I still haven’t found the answer to my questions; maybe I never will. However, I have come to a place where I am beginning to realize that I have to be okay with not having an answer for everything. No matter how bad I want it. And trust me, more than anything I’d like to have the answers…

I have spent hours, days and sleepless nights searching for the answers in hope that somehow in some way they could ease my pain. But truthfully, could they? Would ANY answer ever be good enough?

Thinking this way is easier said than done and is in part one of the reasons why I have waited to start this blog. As soon as I lost my mom, I knew that I would need to find a way to keep her alive through me. I knew that I would have the desire to use my testimony and heartache to reach out to others.

However, it takes time to even begin the steps of processing when facing a life changing experience like I have. For so long I knew I wasn’t ready and realized that I had to cope with this devastating loss at my own pace. I questioned myself countless times: if I could not process the feelings I was experiencing and how it was truly impacting my life… How was I going to be in a place to share my story? I wasn’t.

I knew that I needed to find a way to grasp what had actually happened to my life; that process took months for me. I then needed to learn how to accept that she was not coming back to me. Truthfully, for the first year I could not bare to admit this to myself. For some that might seem a bit outrageous, but for me it almost seemed normal. I was waiting for her, whether anyone knew it or not, because I could not cope with the feelings of being without her.

Dealing with this experience I had to learn self-patience. I have now realized that patience is a divine necessity in this life. I have found that having patience is truly a requirement and at the same time a blessing to the characteristics of a loving human being. I gave myself patience in order to process, grieve and begin the steps of healing so that I was completely ready to fully embrace what I was determined to do. I am very thankful for the deep reward that came from the commitment of having patience with myself. I learned more than ever who I was as an individual and that I was capable of more than I could have ever imagined.

It is my hope that now that I have I have taken some time to truly reflect on the past two years of my life that I am able to share the experiences I have gone through, the emotions I have felt and the battles I have fought. One of the hardest parts for me during this journey was feeling alone. This is something that in part I should probably take some blame for. I felt as if no one could possibly understand me. I had lost my mother and best friend. I was bitter and I did NOT want to show this side of me to the outside world. For me, it was easier to feel alone. But the truth is, I never was alone and that is exactly why I have come this far.

I want my blog to become a place of refuge for people; a place to read words of encouragement. So if you happen to feel a little like I did and you feel as if you are alone. I want to be your reminder that you are not alone.

This world can get so busy. People have jobs, families, and responsibilities. It is often times a struggle to make time for the things and people who need us most. But I am here to reassure you that whatever it is that you are experiencing, what you feel is real and it is important. It is my goal to create Hope of a Butterfly to become a support system for those in need of one, for whatever the reason might be. It will continue to be a priority of mine to reach out in ways that come to my heart so that you are never alone.

Time post pic