I've really been forcing myself to pause more. At home. At work. With God. If I'm being truthful, that sentence should actually say I'm trying to pause more. I'm not always successful- ok, truth be told, most of the time I suck at it. But it doesn't mean that I'm not trying. The need to pause didn't come easy though.
After my last post I realized some things that started to cause me a bit of discomfort (as if I am not feeling a ton of discomfort anyway). It actually was January 2nd that I found myself smacked in the face once again, and I've had several of those moments like that one since.
My husband and I were invited to a friend's birthday party, we accepted the invitation and even went as far to invite some friends over to our house prior to the party. Sounds like fun, right? It was, we had a great time but the whole night I couldn't help but realize that we didn't need a babysitter. We didn't have to worry about who would watch Olive while mommy and daddy enjoyed a night out. We didn't have to check in with anyone or worry about her wellbeing that night.
In fact, I haven't had to find a babysitter for the last 6 mos. We haven't had to worry about rearranging our schedules to make room for my business trips. I can stay out late on the weeknights and sleep in on Saturday mornings.
Nothing has changed.
But everything is different.
A simple birthday party, business trip or even just my daily routine - all of these things are constant reminders that my life doesn't look at all like it should right now. At this point in life I find myself getting up, working out (if I'm lucky to be awake enough), heading into work, meeting with clients, going home, making dinner, chatting with my husband, reading and going to bed.
The normalcy of my daily life was starting to make me feel like Olive was just a dream. You and I both know she was not a dream, but I'm honestly telling you that the past three weeks I've found myself having to search for reminders that she lived. I have pictures in my house, on my phone and mental pictures that creep their way into my quiet moments throughout the day. But I still found myself wondering how my life could feel this normal and yet be so incredibly different.
The nursery is packed up. I wasn't crying myself to sleep every night. I wasn't even smelling her blanket every night- not because I didn't want to feel close to her, but because I was exhausted.
I was tired of hurting. I was tired of not hurting. I was tired of dreading the questions and then, when they came anyway, I was tired of answering them. I was tired of being strong and I was tired of being a mess.
I needed pause. And that's exactly what God gave me.
Early on after Olive passed away I found myself in this same spot- wondering if she was a dream. I beat myself up day after day, sabotaging my good days because I didn't think I shoud be having them. The months that followed were gut-wrenching. I was a mess, a ball of emotions that didn't know which way was up. I would cry out to God to save me, to give me some relief. I just couldn't take it.
I have tried, as I'm sure you can tell, to re-establish a closer relationship with God. While my blog has been such a huge part of my healing, sharing my most vulnerable feelings with God is what I really needed to focus on the last three weeks. As I mentioned, I had been praying for relief and when I really stopped to think about where I would truly find it, I knew in my heart it was to take a step back from my blog and to make time each day to spend more meaningful time with Him.
In the spirit of honesty, I was dealing with some inner demons too. I've been battling jealousy, hurt feelings and a constant anxiousness regarding some thoughts about what our future family looks like. These feelings were consuming me. I knew I needed to shift my focus off of myself and back to God.
It's taken awhile. I'm still broken and sad. I still have days where I'm confused and consumed. Most days I still don't know which way is up. But there is a new kind of peace. An honest to goodness peace. And hope. Two things I haven't felt in awhile.
A long while.
In addition to spending time with God each day I've been reading a book by Lysa Terkeurst, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, and there was a chapter that really spoke to me. It helped me to see that I needed to stop asking why all the time. "Why me?" "Why now?" "Why not this?" You get the picture. Story of my life, I tell ya.
She has a chapter entitled "When God Hurts My Feelings" that talked about her sister's death. Her words reinforced my need to pause, and to continue to pause every day for the rest of my life.
"In most situations, nothing positive can come from whatever answer there might be to a why question. If God gave us His reason why, we would judge Him. And His reasons, from our limited perspective, would always fall short. That's because our flat human perceptions simply can't process God's multidimensional, eternal reasons. God describes it this way. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9). We can't see the full scope of the situation like God can; therefore, we must acknowledge that His thoughts are more complete and that He is more capable of accurately discerning what is best in every situation."
She went on to say, "It takes time. Even when you love God and believe in His promises. Even when you know without a doubt that you will see your loved one again. Even when you know hope is still there.
It takes time.
It takes wading through an ocean of tears."
"It takes prayer. It takes making the decision to stop asking for answers and start asking for perspective."
"The why questions have been replaced with truths from God's word. Verses that stung to read at first have now become the very lifeline you cling to. God's presence has fallen softly upon you and helped you see that good can come and will come in you and through you." (Emphasis added)
Tears fell from my eyes when I read this. I needed pause and pause was what I began to do. What a difference it has made. I'm happy to be back to blogging. I'm hopeful that I can get back to this part of my healing journey and that my words can be used for good - in a way that gives glory to the One who has give me pause and peace.