I was visiting with a friend on the patio of a local coffee shop, when suddenly a piercing loud noise stopped my train of thought. It was noon on a Saturday, the time each week when Oklahoma City tests all the tornado sirens. We looked up and the siren was across the street from us. I had never been so close to one when it was going off so I had no idea how loud they could actually sound. I remembered what I was saying and tried to speak over it. It was difficult. I eventually gave up and we sat and waited for it to stop. Finally, it was quiet once again. My friend turned back to me and said, so this seems like a good representation of your life these last six months. Your plans were totally interrupted and chaos ensued. You were hit hard and fast with a traumatic event, and it seemed like the noise would never quit. Yet finally, it did. Peace reigned. The calm after the storm is here.
She was right.
Milestones are always a reflective time for me. Now that Levi is turning six months old, I can’t help but reflect on the events that occurred, where I am now, and all the time that passed in between. I’ve shared a few reflections I’ve had since, but I am focusing on the big picture for now: I’m going from dealing with it to healing from it, and I’m moving from surviving to thriving. These six months have been with out a doubt, the most emotionally tolling months of my life. My world has been flipped upside-down, and I am still trying to figure out where everything goes. I still get hit with the lowest of lows every now and then, and yet, I don’t stay there as long as I used to. I let the emotion make its home in me, but I make it share a room with joy and peace. Fact of the matter is, my time was almost up, and then it wasn’t, and I REFUSE to let this time given to me be wasted.
I watch Levi’s personality show more and more, and I sit in awe and wonder of how out of all the children in the world, God gave me HIM to care for. He’s incredible. He is perfect for our little family. There is also something about becoming a parent that makes you die to yourself even more than you did on your wedding day. You could be having the worst day, but so could your baby. All your troubles are tossed out the window and your attention is solely on him. Your entire focus shifts to make sure he knows he is loved, cared for and safe. I don’t mean to say I use my baby’s needs as a distraction from my own. I am definitely still discovering needs that I have as well, (emotional and physical) and am learning how to make sure those needs are met. However, there is something so life giving about putting your own needs to the side to care for someone else.
After six long months, I feel like the calm after the storm is finally here. The debris is still falling, but I am beginning to examine my new life. By “new,” I mean looking ahead to the plans the Lord might have in store for us. I am not saying I had my entire life planned down to every detail, but an emergency hysterectomy and the diagnosis of a rare bleeding disorder at age 27 was not a possibility in my mind. Now that what I thought life might look like has totally been swept out from under me, I sit and ponder what the Lord might do next. Rather than different paths at the fork of a road where I have many options to choose from, I see a blank canvas instead. I think this is because I am giving my life back to God much more than I had before. Although I’ve certainly gone through discernment in my life, and I’ve let the Lord show me HIS ways, this is different. This perspective change has come from nothing but disappointment and grief at the events which transpired. It may be painful at times, but my life belongs to God, and I trust that He will fulfill my deepest desires, even if that fulfillment comes in ways that I didn’t anticipate.
My focus right now is trying to live in the present while having healthy relationships with the past and the future. When my mind looks back, I tend to dwell on the past. I end up feeling stuck as I dwell on the traumatic events, completely missing out on the present joys and people in front of me. Yet, when I get out of this funk, I tend to overcorrect it and jump ahead to the future. Dwelling turns to anxiety as I sit and worry about all the possible outcomes of my life. Yet, when I find balance again between the two and remain present, dwelling and anxiety turn to hope. I have hope despite my past. I have hope in what may come in the future and I rest with that hope in the present.
So as the sirens fade and the quiet envelopes me, I will take a deep breath, smell the morning coffee, love on my family and live.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”