4/14/16

{death.changes.life}

once again, i'm blogging after a brief hiatus. i often struggle with knowing "what" to blog. i always feel inadequate to blog.  my first post back in november of 2011 said,

"This may be more for myself than anyone else, but if you'd like to read, you are invited to come along for the ride.  I make no promises that it will be pretty and rosy and it might get a little messy! I do hope to dig deeper into God's purpose for life and for death.  For hurt and for heartache as I write.  Here we go!"

that was 267 blog posts ago; 4 years and 5 months ago; 218.5 weeks ago; 1,610 days ago; 38,640 hours ago; 2,318,400 seconds ago. through every one of those posts and those years and months and weeks and days and hours and seconds, GOD has never left my side. He has been the only CONSTANT in all that time. you may not have read my past posts, or you may have read all of them, either way, it has been a journey! there have been good days and bad days and there surely have been messy days.  i have learned about life and death and hurt and heartache, and i'm still learning. i usually feel very inadequate when i sit down to type. while i desire to shine God's light and His grace and love and mercy, sometimes i struggle because some days life just plain hurts! even though i know deep in my soul that He is always there some days are harder than others.

i have learned that {death changes life}.

this past month i had the honor of pre-reading and being on the "launch team" for gary roe's book, "please be patient, i'm grieving" {you can get it HERE!}. it was an amazing read, a must read if you are grieving or you know someone who is grieving {so that means it's for just about EVERYONE!} but, it hurt to read it because i could have written it! everyone has their own grief journey and through it, good will come but we can also make some pretty big mistakes - either in how we grieve {or don't grieve} and how we respond to the grieving.

for the past couple of months, i've been in a "funk" and this book was really an eye opener {here comes the "messy" part, so you can quit reading now if you'd like!}

today in my devotional "scary close" by donald miller i read,

"it's true what I'm saying. if your identity gets broken, it affects our ability to connect. ... i wonder how many people are withholding the love they could provide because they secretly believe they have fatal flaws."

ouch!

"if your identity gets broken" ...

{disclaimer: this is not a "pity party" post ... i'm guessing that if donald miller wrote those words he has felt this way and i know that i have felt this way, i don't think that he and i are the only ones who feel we've had "broken identies"}

so, what does that mean to me, to my family, to you?
well, it may mean nothing to you, but i'm hoping that if i share a peek inside my broken-ness, it may help someone else in theirs, so ... here goes nothing!

for almost 20 years, i was "rickey's wife". for almost 18 of those years, i was also "tessa, taya and kajsa's mom". i was grand-daughter, daughter, daughter/sister in-law, wife, mom, aunt, friend. in the blink of an eye and with 6 words spoken by a doctor, i was stripped of my identity as "rickey's wife". there was no longer a rickey & sheila, we were no longer a "we"; "i" was an "i" ... and who was "i"? while i was identified as a couple for all that time, i also realized {after rickey was gone} that my priorities had been out of order. where i should have had God first, then rickey, then our children and so forth, rickey often was 5th or 6th or 10th on my list ... after the children and work and the church commitments and friends, and, and, and ... we didn't go away alone together, we didn't spend quiet time with God and each other, we didn't, we didn't, we didn't ... because there was PLENTY of time for that after the kids grew up and moved on ... only, we never got that time. God blessed us with the most amazing kids in the world {o.k. so i'm a little biased} but ... rickey should have been a little higher on my priority list ... and now, now it was too late ... and my identity was broken. i have {foolishly, i know} begged God to just let rickey come back for one day, for one hour so i could say the words i should have said, do the things i should have done, apologize for all that i needed to apologize for. of course, i know that isn't possible, but it leaves a broken identity, it leaves regrets, it leaves what feel like "fatal flaws". it leaves me reaching deeper, trying harder and striving more to do things that in my own strength i cannot do. {death changes life} 

amazingly, God still loves me, broken identity, mistakes, regrets and "fatal flaws" ... all of it. His love is constant and i'm never out of His reach {even when i'm trying to run}.  in that love, He allowed me to love again. He brought my "new" rick into my life. we pledged before God and our children to love, honor and serve one another. we made a covenant to stick it out through good times and bad {and we've had both!} ... in that covenant however, came changes. i was told that i didn't give others long enough to grieve. i shouldn't have re-married so soon. i was no longer their daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend. identity broken. pain inflicted. loss felt. more "fatal flaws".

after loving and losing {death changes life} i had realized that the Godly order of life should always have been:

1. God
2. Spouse {and as a female, he is the head of the home and i need to submit to him - a HARD concept for this strong-willed stubborn scandinavian}
3. Children
4. Family
5. All the rest of it!


that looks nice on paper, but {insert} another "fatal flaw" ... now i am torn ... i feel a God led need to honor and submit to my new husband, to allow him to lead and to put him before my children ... BUT ... they came first! how do i do that, how do i balance it all, how, how, how? and through the process, i feel i have failed. failed miserably. i have not loved, honored, served and submitted to rick well, i have not loved, honored and served my children well. while i have tried to "do it all" i have failed, i have hurt those the i love the most, the most deeply. another "fatal flaw". i was raised a "good sunday school girl", i know the "right" words and verses and answers, but i'm not always sure how to put them into practice and live them out. i struggle and beat myself up when i let my "human-ness" get in the way of my God-likeness!

"if your identity gets broken, it affects our ability to connect."

i crave connection. i feed off of that random text in the middle of the day that says "i thought about you", "i prayed for you", "i love you" ... my last text to rickey said "where are you?" ... and he didn't answer it because he was already in the presence of his Lord and Savior in Heaven. but because of that, i crave connection, oftentimes too much. i "expect" others to understand that need {though maybe unreasonable at times}. because rickey couldn't answer that text, when i don't get answers to my texts i fear loss, i fear abandonment i push for connection, and in the process, i push others away because my expectations are greater than their ability to fulfill them {in the manner i think they should be fulfilled}. another "fatal flaw", another way {death has changed my life}.

i'm really not sure where this is going ... it probably sounds totally random to you if you've stuck with it this far and for that, i apologize! 

in this process of {death changing life} and grief {which i have not done well} i've made some pretty big mistakes. i've pushed away those who love me most. i've expected from others things they cannot give {because how can they give when they don't even know my need} i have said things and done things and acted in ways that aren't pretty and aren't God honoring and that i am not proud of ... i have been "tough" because i don't want to appear needy. i have been sassy when i should have been sweet. i have put on a smile to hide tears. i have felt my identity broken and i have felt that i have "fatal flaws".

i have struggled with how to "fix" things and i have battled demons that aren't mine to battle {i need to GIVE IT ALL TO GOD}. yesterday, a very wise person said to me, "you can't go back and say 'i should have', you can only move forward". so, while there are so many things that "i should have" done or said or thought that i can't change, i plan to look forward.  if you've stuck with reading this to this point and i have in any way hurt you by my words, my actions or my attitude, my sass or my silence, i do apologize. i ask that you pray for and with me that i can allow God to fully take control of those words, actions, emotions and responses. i want to let go of my expectations of others and i want to love as He loves, freely and without reservation. i can't go back and un-do or fix past hurts, but i can with God's love and grace and forgiveness move forward and look to Him to help me speak in love, react with grace, control my often out of control emotions and respond in His way, not my own. as i worked on this post, i prayed that anyone reading it would only hear what God wants heard, that it would not be "me" but "Him" ... after i finished that last sentence, a friend sent me a text, and within that text was this {which i'll leave you with}:

"BE KIND ... 'she opens her mouth in skillful and Godly wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness {giving counsel and instruction}. proverbs 31:26 ... Lord, make my heart to be kind and compassionate, so that it overflows in kind words to others. may my words have the power of life in them to build up others and encourage them. amen."

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if you have followed my blog at all you know that my heart has always been to share God's grace in the midst of human tragedy ... or wh...