"Let it Go" {no this isn't a post about Frozen!}

I've gone back and forth on whether I should post or not, and I guess if you are reading this, it means I decided to share.

A little over 3 years ago, I started this blog and in the first couple of sentences I said:

 "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."

The last 3 years have not been all pretty and rosy.  We have seen good days and bad days.  "Life" gets messy at times.  God's purpose for life and death still isn't crystal clear to me, but I have seen lives changed because of God's sovereign hand in everything.  To say I understand hurt and heartache would be a lie, I don't believe that I will have an understanding of that until I stand before Him in Heaven someday and He can explain it to me.  All I know is there are more good days than bad now.  Time doesn't "heal all wounds" but it takes the sting away from them.  Grief isn't something that you process the five steps of and then tuck away in a neat, tidy little package never to be revisited again.

Wikipedia defines {grief} as:

"a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions"

In a great article I found on grief, a couple of statements jumped out at me:

The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving.

God has BLESSED me beyond measure by allowing Rick into my life, and bringing me LOVE again. Though I NEVER EXPECTED to love again, and surely not so soon after losing Rickey, i have come to realize there truly is no timetable for grieving.  I believe with my whole heart that I have grown in my walk with Christ because of the influence of both of the Rick{s} in my life.  Rickey has gone on to a WAY BETTER PLACE than I can ever imagine, and I have the assurance that he is at home with his Savior.  Rick is here for me now, bringing joy back into my life, and walking alongside me as we "do life" daily.  He has helped me as I've grieved, and he journeys through each day patiently at my side {and some days it takes way more patience than others}! I'd like to add here though that just because I have "moved on" it does not mean that I have stopped grieving or that there is not still a hole in my heart from the loss of Rickey

MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

I.DON'T.CRY.  I just don't.  Now, I might cry over a sappy Hallmark movie, or a sad Disney tale, but when it comes to the "big" stuff.  I don't usually cry.  I just don't.  I guess it's from years of being "tough", and being told that I was "tough".  I've been told, "you're strong, you can handle it" about many situations over many, many years.  I've somehow, over the years, {learned} not to "cry over spilled milk", or strained relationships, or broken promises, or unfulfilled dreams and hopes.  Crying didn't change or fix such circumstances, therefore, why cry? I've learned that crying is sometimes seen by others as manipulative, and I don't want to bee seen that way. So, why cry?  I remember when my dad had his heart attack, was taken on the Flight For Life to Green Bay, went into open heart surgery and had complications a week later, I never cried.  Never.  I watched people all around us in that ICU waiting room crying, boxes of Kleenex everywhere, wondering why in the world, they were crying, after all, their tears wouldn't change anything. Through all these situations and more, my "mantra" was "just suck it up".  "Be brave".  "Be strong".  "Trust in God, it's all in His hands anyway .... crying won't change it".  So I didn't cry. ... all in the name of being strong.
{which is the PERFECT segue to the next and final statement I'll share from that article}:

MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

Um, wait a minute.  Sad, frightened, lonely is o.k.?  Sad? Even when I'm happy about where I am in life, excited about new doors that God is opening every day and the fact that for the first time in my life, I feel like I know "what I want to be" when I grow up?  Frightened?  Even when I don't know why?  Lonely?  In a house filled with kids, and pets and a new husband?  Crying doesn't mean I'm weak, I don't have to put on a brave front?  I've heard all this.  My mind tells me that I {know} all this. Still, I don't "practice" it.  I smile even if I'm sad!  I act brave even when I'm scared.  I feel guilty if i feel lonely, in a life filled with wonderful friends, family {and pets}! 

So, imagine my surprise the other morning when I found myself on my bed, curled up like a child, sobbing like I don't ever remember sobbing.  Crying so hard my chest hurt and my eyes burned and i couldn't catch my breath, no matter how hard I tried to remind myself of the {proper} way to breathe that I teach my students at Broga. Crying like I've never cried before.  I am not sure what triggered it but in those moments, I knew that I just couldn't {always} be strong anymore.  I had to allow myself to be weak.  I had to say it was o.k. to be vulnerable.  I reached out to some good friends who covered me in prayer.  I admitted to them that I WAS weak.  I shared with them my fears, and my anguish, and yes, my grief. And, guess what?  They STILL LOVED ME!  They didn't turn away because I was weak.  They didn't think less of me because I wasn't strong.  Even though we weren't physically together, they held me.  They held me in their thoughts and more importantly they held me in their prayers.  They LOVED ON me even though I was a wreck!  Later that day/evening I did my best to explain it to Rick {who bless his soul is a man and didn't completely "get" it} and he held me as I fell asleep .... tucked in my "safe place".  

So, why share?  why this long post now, at Christmas when we should all be happy and jolly?  Because I really want you to know that it's not always pretty.  That way too often I {and probably you too} hide behind our smiles, and our pretty packages under the tree, and the plates of cookies we have baked.  We hide behind the facade of "nice" so people don't have to see that we are real ... because if they know the "real" us, then they might not love us.  Guess, what?  That's not true!  In the middle of my "yuck" of a few days ago, a friend sent me a Facebook message that said, "Hope you are ok? Hang in there. Praying!!!"
She had NO IDEA I'd had a "yucky" day.  She is a precious sister in Christ, but honestly, we've had very little contact recently, yet, God prodded her to message me .... Oh sweet sister {or brother} as the ever famous song from Frozen says ...

LET IT GO ..... 

Really, let it go!  Stop pretending, be weak if you need to be weak.  Be vulnerable if you need to be vulnerable.  Those who TRULY love you will still be there.  You'll find out how much they really do love you.  You'll discover how much GOD really loves you!


So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...