Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Normal Life? What's that?

Returning to normal life after the extreme roller coaster ride of Dad's illness and death has not been an easy task.  I'm not sure it is even possible.  That's OK.  Some days are fairly easy so to speak and then there are those that it still requires effort to breathe.  Anyone that has been through grief knows that it can hit you out of the blue and the sadness can knock you off your feet from the oddest triggers.  About the time I think I have a "grip" on how to handle all of this, I soon find out I never had the grip at all.  Again, that's OK. 

I think besides the loss itself, the hardest part of returning to a "new" normal is keeping a healthy emotional balance in the upheaval.  When I'm stressed out over an issue, I find myself having to stop and ask myself if the stress is coming from the new situation or because of being emotionally wrung out over the last months.  If I'm angry about something, which I admit is more often these days, I have to ask if it's a situation that TRULY has me agitated or is it the frustration of how drastic life turned suddenly.  I even think it through to the point of asking is the situation I'm angry about giving me an excuse to not focus on the grief....an avoidance tactic.  Many times the anger comes as a result of people and their lack of response or "concern" for us during all of this.  Some people are truly selfish and cold-hearted and I'll just leave it at that.  However, for every one of THOSE people.....God has blessed us tremendously by those that have blessed us beyond what I ever dreamed.  Those are the people that have let God use them in amazing ways and literally blown us away! 

In this storm, even from the first moment we heard the initial news, there has been a calm that only can be described as the Holy Spirit taking over.  Though I've been an emotional wreck at times (just ask my husband, kids, or those friends that have had to come in and rescue us!), there has still been an overwhelming strength and focus that can only have been God given.  Specific moments keep trickling back into my memory and I wonder how I was able to do that or who was that person, she surely wasn't me! 

For such a long time, Kevin and I knew that some of the battles we had faced and the unbelievable twisting and turning God had been giving us was for a purpose.  We know that some of that purpose was to prepare us for this storm.  Had this all happened three or four years ago, it would have destroyed me and I know my faith would not have been strong enough to pull me through.  No doubt. 

Looking ahead to the future, we are finding ourselves on very uncertain ground.  Though our marriage and our family are more stable and solid than they have ever been, we are restless.  We are pleading with God for Him to reveal our purpose and to put our feet on that path.  It has been years of earnestly seeking and we are getting restless in waiting.  Restless in waiting either means that He is about to give us another heart "transplant" and bend us and shape us more like Him again OR He is about to unleash His plan for us.  All I know is that we are ready for either one and waiting to see where He is leading us.  We don't want to sit still and we have an urgency like never before. 

Part of that urgency has lead us to make some tough decisions in regards to our family.  We feel He is asking us to step out of our comfort zone and move in a different direction in a certain area.  I'm not one for starting over.  I'm not one for stepping out of the box and my comfort zone.  "This" request of us is not one we are taking lightly.  Sometimes growing in Christ HURTS because we become too attached to things (people, "ways", emotions) and we still want to do things our way.  Sometimes He asks us to do things that make no sense to us, but the more we "run" from His request the more relentless He becomes in his pursuit.  Growth isn't always easy and sometimes stepping out in faith is the hardest thing.  

A few months ago, we finally followed through on God's request for dumping cable TV (which for us also meant "normal" TV as well).  I was MORE than addicted to countless shows and the conviction in watching most of them grew DAILY.  Shows that many Christians find no problems with, but for us God had asked us to "shut it off".  We wrestled with His request for WAY too long and once we finally became fully obedient, blessings began to pour out every direction.  We became reconnected to Him in deeper ways than we expected and our obedience has paid off in such tremendous ways. 

His latest request of us has left us wrestling with Him and struggling to find exactly what He is asking of us.  Though we know how He is leading us and the general direction He is asking us to go, we are still prayerfully seeking out the details and we are still praying for the courage to take those steps.  In the end, when we are fully on track with His plan, I know that we will look back and know that we did the right thing and I can only imagine where He will use us and how our lives will change.  Hopefully we won't wrestle with Him as long as we did with his last request, because we know now that we just wasted time and blessings.  I just want to make sure that we don't MISS His blessings by our lack of obedience or by being partially obedient (which you know I think is still DISOBEDIENCE). 

Is this "new" task just something that is coming out of the phases of grief?  Is it a focus that is keeping us from focusing on the grief.  NOT in the least.  We had already been wrestling with these issues before our world was turned upside down.  Perhaps, it has given us a sense of urgency because we fully understand how short time is....but THAT is a good thing. 

The word we chose for 2011 as our "mission" or as our description word was PURPOSE.  We are choosing to be purposeful in every aspect of our lives and that we do everything we can to remain on the path that allows God to use us in HIS PURPOSE.  Sometimes doing so may be a little or a LOT uncomfortable and uncertain for us because of our human hearts and eyes, but because our faith is in Christ who sees the ENTIRE full picture....we can trust the plan He has for us.