Thursday, February 06, 2014


Last October, I started seeing a counselor (we'll call her "M" here).  My awesome sister had been seeing someone for awhile as she struggled with her own demons, but I always thought you had to have "real" problems to see someone.

Never in my life had I been so wrong.

In our society, and especially in Christian culture, seeing someone for counseling/therapy means you're crazy and there's something wrong with you.  And you're obviously not being faithful to the Lord, because He wouldn't let you suffer like that and should be enough to "fix" you.  As I've continued meeting with M, I've come to see more and more that this stigma is just that - a stigma - and it needs to be done away with.  We've sectioned off health into different categories, and don't admit that they are all intertwined with each other.  Your physical, spiritual, emotional, and, yes, mental health are all connected and affect each other.  Being mentally healthy is one of the most important things you can do for your friends, family, and most importantly, yourself.  Its influence on every area of your life, health, and the decisions you make every day is astronomical.  And while God is certainly enough, He also gives us doctors (including counselors and therapists), medicine, and other tools for a reason.  We live in a broken world, and there are many different people who have been gifted in different areas in order to bring about restoration.

While I grew up in a mostly loving family, I've come to recognize that we all made mistakes.  My parents are far from perfect.  My family is far from perfect.  There are definitely things from my experience growing up that I want to be different for my children.  But that's the great thing about life.  If you want to change, you can.  It's hard work.  There will be blood, sweat, and tears (okay, maybe not blood).  It will be an uphill battle and you'll likely want to give up more than once.  But it is so worth it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


It rained the day after Poppy died.  An icy cold, drizzly rain.  It suited our moods perfectly.  I remember sitting in Grammy and Poppy's living room, not feeling.  Just being.  So much of the weeks following the day he left earth is a blur.  I remember being really thoughtful about the reality of death and what our souls face in eternity, and just working up enough energy to do what I had to do.

I poured love into my dog, Molly, who in a way became a surrogate for the love I feel like I didn't get to express to Poppy before he died.  I knew Molly's life was coming to a close, so I could do something about it.  Pet her longer.  Take her for extra walks.  Give her a few more treats.  In a way this was really therapeutic, but it also delayed the hardest parts of the grieving process that I didn't realize were coming anyway.

After Molly died, a sort of stillness entered my soul.  There was no more surrogate to focus on.  It was just me and my fellow family members who were grieving as well.  We were like individual bubbles of oil in water.  In the world, but not able to join it like we used to.  I felt like this would go on forever.  When would I want to do things again?  When would going to small group, youth group, hanging out with friends, and all the other activities I loved become enjoyable again instead of a chore?  I felt like there was no possible way anyone could understand what I was going through.  I was alone.

But in this aloneness, there was still hope.  I see this now.  The community of people that I had immersed myself in two years before stood by me.  Knew when to speak and when to just be there.  They engulfed me in prayer.  If it weren't for them, I don't know that I would have been able to continue on in my grief.  I will be forever thankful for their outpouring of love and support for me in that time of darkness.

Now, back to that icy cold rainy day.  As I sat on the couch, my dad's cousin arrived to bring us dinner.  When she came in the living room, she told us we had to come outside to see the rainbow.  And there wasn't just one, but two rainbows.  I couldn't see where the sun was coming from to create them, but they were there and they were bright.  Hope for a hurting heart.

Monday, January 20, 2014

new beginnings


The year started out innocently enough, but turned out to be the most difficult year of my life thus far.  I still feel like I'm drudging my way out of a muddy pit in the rain, but I can see a glimpse of clear skies on the horizon.  Thanks to a few key people in my life, I've decided to start blogging again.

I hope and pray that my journey will help anyone who may read the pieces of it that are written here.  

Last year, I lost my Poppy, great-Grandma Lil, and my dog, Molly, in the short span of three months.  Poppy is one of the best men I've ever known, and if I'm honest, my favorite grandparent.  Don't get me wrong - I love all four - but Poppy was a special kind of person that you only get to know once in a lifetime.  I still feel a gap in my life and heart where he fits perfectly.  I'm sure I always will {until I get to join him with Jesus}.  Grandma Lil was mentally lost due to dementia years before we physically lost her, but to see someone you love slowly dying is something I would never wish upon anyone.  We knew Molly was going to leave us at some point last year as she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in January.  She outlived the vet's expectations for her by three months.  She was the sweetest dog that ever lived, and I think she knew we were going to need her around for those extra weeks.

Grief piles up.  It isn't easy.  It resurrects demons that you thought were gone forever, and doesn't apologize.  In the coming weeks, I'm going to share more of my story, but for now I'll leave you with a quote a friend of mine shared the other day:

"Grief never ends, but it changes.  It's a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith . . . it is the price of love."