Finding Comfort in the Silence

I wrote last week about being physically stifled by the silence of my summer, and in doing so, I allowed those closest to me to know what I was feeling and had been unable to express. Breaking my own silence, allowed those individuals whom I love and who love me, to truly know what I was enduring and pray for me… help me to be able to pray for myself, once again. It has also been in this last week that I have stepped outside of my comfort zone a time or two and allowed for more of the people around me, to really see me. I have never underestimated the power of prayer, but in this last week I have certainly felt the comfort of prayer more than I have in a very long time.

It has been in this last week, that I was reminded by others, as well as myself that silence isn’t always a bad thing, in fact… just this morning I was reminded that I need to remember to “be still” in His presence. Allowing myself to meditate in the silence with Jesus and listen to His direction in my life.

 

So, I sit here this morning, coffee at my side, and listen… listen to what the silence has to offer. Nearly all sounds averted, yet, there are some that are reminders of all I have in my life. First sound, is that of the clock on the wall–ticking away, rhythmically, like a steady pulse; reminding me that within me, my heart too, beats with a steady pulse because God has given me the gift of life.

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Next, there is the sound of the rain that has been falling most of the morning… as it taps on the roof of my home, I am reminded that I have a roof over my head, I have a home that provides me with shelter and a gentle reminder that not all people are so blessed. As the rain falls on my lawn, I am reminded of our farmers in the community, harvest will be here before we know it and this rain will help them to have a bountiful crop. This crop will help provide many of us, even those beyond our little community with food for their tables. Listening to the rain fall, I am sadly reminded that there are so many who do not… that there are small children who might go without eating today.

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Then there is the sound of a train as it blows it whistle, as it passes through our sleepy little town. This is a reminder, not of the “noise”, but of what the train signifies for so many. Without trains, it would be much more difficult to transport so many different and important provisions all over the country. Whether it be food or fuel… the trains are vital, as well as providing jobs for so many people, allowing them to be able to provide for their families.

The next sound that breaks through the silence of my morning is actually that of two different sounds–first the dog quietly growling/barking at the noises and activities that our occurring outside our front door, and that of my daughter (who fell asleep on the couch) telling him to “be quiet”. It is through these two wonderful sounds, that I am reminded of all that I have that is comforting in my life, in this very moment. Today, I have my sweet daughter here at home with me. And even in her absence this summer, I had the comfort of our dog, to provide me with his unconditional love and protection. It is this thought, that of “unconditional love” that further reminds me of the One who also provides an unconditional love, if we so choose to receive it.

My devotional this morning (Jesus Always, Sarah Young) request that we “Come Rest With Me“, asking us to put aside some of the the tasks that may be urging us, to set them aside, ever so briefly and spend a few moments with the One who knows what we need. “I know what you need most” He tells us, “to be still in My Presence“. When we allow ourselves to take the time to find our balance, to set our feet on solid ground for the day; when we do so by meditating with Christ and doing so by reading His word… we equip ourselves to take on any given day, no matter how loud or how silent it may be. The Living Word of God gives us the necessary strength we need each day, as it “infuses” fresh life into us; moment by moment, throughout a given day.

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Once we are fueled by His Word, we can take on our day, and if we allow ourselves to–we can bring what He placed on our hearts, what He showed us in His Word; into our day, sharing and spreading His light and goodness to all. When you reach a moment that seems to hard, too difficult to get through on your own, whisper His name; quietly speak the name of Jesus and bring Him ever closer to you, His nearness will then provide you with the strength you need to move forward, stepping over any stone or hole in the path that lies before you. “In everything you do, put Me first“.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” ~ Psalm 46:10

 For the word of God is alive and active… it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:12

He will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:6b

So I ask you, no I implore you, to embrace the silence, not the darkness, but the silence that will always allow you to find comfort in Him. Let Him speak to your inner most being, listen to His prompting; as He guides your soul… When you allow yourself to spend those first initial moments of your day with Him, He will provide you with what you need to guide you through anything that may be a part of the day’s path. Trust in what He shows you, allow Him to bring you through the silence and darkness, into His warm and loving light.

Until the next moment,

 

 

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Never Alone… Then why do I feel so lonely?

As I sit down to write, I remind myself that it has been another extended period of time since I have written, nearly two months. I really do want to try to work on that, writing more often… but I continue to allow my life to get the best of me and I fall silent. A silence that mostly suffocates me and makes things worse. I have been wallowing, stuck in the mud and muck that surrounds me as I try and deal with the storms of life, most of them natural and even expected, that continue to come my way. I feel broken, and the broken pieces have fallen into separate sections of my life–leaving me all the more disconnected. In my last entry I shared the joyous moments of my children’s lives, two college graduations, as well as my oldest daughter and her husband purchasing their first home.  Joy. Happiness. Contentment. Yet, if I’m honest, I only experienced those feelings briefly and then they were quickly gone.

My summer has been quiet, something I am not used to. In the past there have always been a plethora of activities that have kept me busy, kept my mind out of the dark place it tends to go. But as we all know, life changes; especially with age. My children are older and I am slowly loosing the one job I depend on to help me move through this life, the job of being “mom”. Oh, then still call and text, and ask me about the important stuff… Send me a silly SnapChat, but it’s just not the same. Today, they make a lot, if not most of their decisions on their own; able to do so because I prepared them for the next stage of their lives. I wish someone would have better prepared me for this stage of my life.

I have always struggled with depression and when I don’t have something to do, especially with my children also being gone; my life gets a little darker and I all to often surrender to that darkness. The sort of surrender that leaves me stuck and motionless, the sort of surrender that keeps me from leaving the confinement of my home unless I have to work, or when I go to church.  I wish I could tell you this is an exaggeration, but it is not… My youngest has been gone a total of five weeks this summer, off at camp, serving the Lord as a junior cabin leader. The weeks that she has been gone, I have only left the house when I had to work at my part-time job at the local hotel (12-15 hours each week). When there, depending on the time of day, I may not speak to anyone, not even answer the phone. A sort of solitude that only exasperates the problem.

I realize that this is no one else’s problem but my own. It has become easier and easier as the summer passes, then last week something happened and I realized I really needed to do something, or I am most certainly going to become one of those crazy cat ladies who orders in her groceries and doesn’t have a real or meaningful conversation with anyone unless it is via a keyboard and computer screen. So last week, I had a meeting that had been scheduled since the week before that I was supposed to attend. However, when that day came, I didn’t make it to the meeting; I didn’t ever make it off my couch. I got stuck, the darkness swallowed me up that day, more than it ever had before; leaving me numb and feeling more alone than ever. I did nothing that day, nothing. I laid on the couch, drifting in and out of sleep, with the TV playing episode after episode of a program I was barely paying attention to. I broke down emotionally when it came time to leave, I absolutely could not do it. I sent a text apologizing, and continued to stay confined within the walls of my home, sitting there on my couch.

Being alone has always been a part of who I am, growing up, I secluded myself from others when I could, feeling safer alone; not wanting them to learn my secrets, to know who I really was, all that happened to me. During that portion of my life, the silence and solitude represented what I perceived as one of the only safe parts of my life. I am now discovering that it is that early conditioning which I unwittingly did, that has predisposed me to some almost anti-social behavior and is keeping me from being the light He wants and needs me to be.

Then something occurred this summer, that is helping me to move away from this self-sabotage of sorts. A dear friend lost her husband in a terrible accident, leaving her much too young of a widow, and very much alone. He was a wonderful man, a surrogate brother of sorts… an annoying one at times, opinionated and often larger than life, yet I loved him, as so many people who knew him did. Yet, he was instantly and oh so unexpectedly taken from all our lives, from her life, and that of their son. While, I did not loose my husband, the father of my three oldest children to death; I remember those first few months, even the first couple years trying to adjust to him being gone from our lives. He too, was permanently gone, yet there is not the closure that death unfortunately brings; and the void his absence left often swallowed me up. Yet, I had three small children to care for, and that gave me a sense of purpose, as well as the necessary strength to move forward, to keep going.

So, God placed it on my heart in those first moments to reach out to my friend and to try and be there for her. Their only son will be heading back to college soon, less than two months after his father’s accident. Not an easy task for this young man, but my heart aches for my friend who will then truly be alone in her home. So, I have been reaching out to her on a regular basis, an encouraging text throughout the week and we have been walking. I told her while I don’t know her specific pain, I do know the loss of that person you love more than life itself, the void it leaves… and about feeling alone. I hope it is helping her… I pray that the specifics of our friendship will continue to grown and change and I that can truly be someone she can turn to and find comfort and strength.

This morning, my devotion reminded me that God will always be a part of our lives, that HE will never leave us, even when those around us might. He is our forever-friend, the eternal lover of our soul… It is in His goodness and righteousness that we will find the security that we need to get through the storms and trails that life brings our way, providing us with a comfort that man can not provide, assuring us that we will someday live with Him in paradise.

No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you… I will not fail you or abandon you.” ~Joshua 1:5

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9b

 Be happy with what you have. God has said, “I will never leave you or let you be alone.” ~Hebrews 13:5

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God is always with us, even when we are lost or in too much pain to notice. He is moving in our lives, mightily, and with purpose. His purpose for each us may not be easily understood, but should be embraced… May the first thing we think of as our feet hit the floor in the morning, be the simple truth that He is with us. May His love and the presence of His Spirit, be what guides us through our day, reminding us, moment by moment, that He most certainly lives within us–never leaving us alone.

Until the next moment,

 

Cherish the Moments

As I approach nearly a half-century of life on this earth, it should be noted that I have spent 25 of those years as a mom, and over 21 years on my own, in the adventitious life of single motherhood. I started this blog roughly three years ago and admittedly have not written as much as I intended or would have liked. All I can say about that is, I’m working on it! 😉  I started writing it because I was at a very pivotal time in my life as I was sending yet another child off to college, (the third in four years) and I was overwhelmed by the concept of having only one child at home… a nearly empty nest.

Today, I sit here still recovering from my very busy weekend, which included two, excuse me THREE college graduations; all on the same day! Truly epic moments in two of my three oldest children’s lives. I am somehow managing on adrenaline, caffeine, and the pride I feel for their accomplishments. I think back to months ago when we realized that my two oldest children would be graduating on the same day, at two different universities, three hours apart… I couldn’t imagine how I would make that sort of choice, which direction to travel, who might I be letting down. As their graduations grew closer, in these last couple months, I knew I had to make some sort of a choice; it was so unfair, but as I have tried to teach my children, life isn’t always fair and I did have to choose.

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Three years ago, a year ahead of schedule, my oldest daughter was graduating from college, receiving her Bachelors in Psychology. However, she was out of state, and I was unable to attend due to back problems I was having at the time and I was unable to make the trip because I could not travel. It broke my heart, and hers as well.  I believe it was that quiet heartbreak that perhaps led me to make the choice that I did to attend my daughters graduation. The thing that also made this decision bearable, is that I knew I could send his sisters to help celebrate my son on his own special day.

It had been crazy week at work and I was more than a little exhausted come Thursday afternoon, when it was time to get ready to make the two hour trip to my daughter’s apartment so that I could be there for her ceremony Friday morning. I’ll be honest, at one moment I almost changed my mind… my momma heart was breaking because I could not attend both and I was trying to find a way to do everything and be in both places at one time. It had been suggested to me that I could attend my son’s graduation and then the reception my daughter and son-in-law were having later that evening. It sounded all good and fine–but I knew my daughter would be heartbroken again, and I knew I couldn’t do that. I texted and talked to my son a few times and he was in good spirits, excited that his sisters were coming and that he would see me later in the day when he joined us for my son-in-laws ceremony in the afternoon. Then we could all celebrate together Friday night as a family.

The real craziness began when I had texted my daughter letting her know when I planned to leave so she could know when to expect me. Instead of texting me back she actually called, wanting to know if I could please come earlier. I told her how tired I was and that I hadn’t even started getting ready, but she was really persistent and I agreed to leave much earlier than planned. I was tired and a little frustrated when I climbed into my car for the two hour drive, yet, somewhere in the first ten minutes or so this sense of peace came over me (an answer to earlier prayer) and I was happy and looking forward to arriving and having a late dinner with my daughter and her husband.

I stopped for Starbucks and gas and continued down the interstate, singing along with My Bridge as I drove along. Every song just continued to lift my spirits and fill my once conflicted heart with peace and joy. As I entered Omaha, I was actually glad she had encouraged me to come early. It was just starting to get dark and I have terrible night blindness. I listened to my GPS as it told me which direction to go as she had asked me to meet her at a friends house. I was a bit unhappy at this, as I really wasn’t much in the mood to meet anyone and just wanted to eat and go to bed. As I arrive in what was a very nice neighborhood, I was perplexed, I couldn’t see her car, nor read the house numbers, so I was having trouble ensuring I was in the right place. Then I see her, she was waving her arms, so I stop. She tells me to park in the driveway and I do, happy to be able to get out and stretch my legs.

What happened next was one of the most exciting moments of my life as a mom. My daughter preceded to tell me that the home we were standing in front of was not her friends, but instead her own… they had bought a house!! It took a few seconds for it to sink in, but then I was so excited to see the entire house and really enjoy the moment!

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She then gave me a tour of their beautiful new home and I just couldn’t believe that one of my children had been able to reach a milestone in their life that I have yet to meet myself. My daughter and her husband are homeowners! I am still so in awe and just so very proud of their hard work and determination that has allowed them to keep reaching for the stars and achieving their dreams.

Now for graduation!!

What a day it was! Her husband, David, made us an early breakfast as we had to arrive at the event center an hour before the ceremony began. Thank goodness for technology, as we were able to text and Snap Chat with her leading up to moments before the ceremony began. This same technology also allowed me to stay in touch with her sisters as they were celebrating with their brother as he prepared for his own ceremony.

 

It is also with this wonderful technology that I was able to watch the live stream of my son’s graduation ceremony, 165 miles in the opposite direction. It worked perfectly, shortly after Carrie’s name was called and she received her diploma, her brother received his and I got to see them both! ❤ It was about this time that we left for lunch and Guy and his youngest sister got in his car to make the three hour drive to join us for my son-in-law’s ceremony.  They arrived just in time and we were able to watch as David received his diploma as well. Shortly after his name was called Carrie and I, along with her siblings, headed back to their new house to finish preparing for the reception and awaited the arrival of family and friends. Kayleigh was able to make it after returning to work for part of the afternoon and I was able to meet some of Carrie’s friends and co-workers.  I was even able to talk the graduates into putting on their caps and gowns for a group picture… making my momma heart smile.

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Jess and I would drive home so that we could head back east to help my son move into his new apartment. Our only cargo… the family cat (who will be 18 this July), who somewhere along the way adopted Guy as his human and their lives forever changed. He was in some of my son’s senior pictures four years ago and was noticeably sadder when Guy went away to college. They both cherished the times he was home and I knew all to well that the day would come when Gonzo would no longer live with me. He tolerated the trip quite well and was instantly thrilled when he saw his boy when we got out of the car! He wasn’t to sure about the apartment until we started moving in the boxes, many were from the basement and it was almost comical to watch him sniffing them and realizing all was well in his world. A boy and his cat reunited. ❤

 

This weekend was more than eventful… it was unforgettable, and I am so glad it went exactly the way that it did. With every worry that I had before it began, I can’t imagine it not happening just as it did. Which only reminds me of what the Bible tells us in Psalm 139; that He knows us from before our beginning, He knows what we will say or do… long before we do. He has already written our story, we just need to spend time with Him, listening to His direction and following where He leads us.

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So don’t let the worries of how a moment will or won’t happen keep you from really enjoying that moment, from cherishing the memory that it will become. Live in those moments, share them with the ones you love and hold on tight to each and everyone. Because life changes too quickly and you wouldn’t want to miss it along the way.

 

Until the next moment,