Sometimes, when we are in the midst of a storm, it’s easy to become weighed down with discouragement. At the beginning of April, my sister began choosing one thing that she was thankful for each day and then shared it on social media. Isn’t that…
Over the last two and a half years, I have struggled through gigantic waves of fear and anxiety. Not too long ago, I was waiting for my daughter to get home from work. I had dinner on the table when I realized she hadn’t made it back yet. I called her to see if she was running late; her phone went to voicemail. A few minutes later, I sent her a text asking if everything was okay.
By this time, I served dinner, and the boys were full of conversation about the day. Though I appeared calm on the outside, my insides were in complete panic mode. If you know the story of losing Justin, you understand my train of thought.
As I sat at the dinner table, I was not present, but imagining every worst-case scenario. As the minutes ticked by, a lump sat in my throat like cement. Finally, I whispered to my husband,
It was meltdown central at my house today. Tears were abundant, emotions ran high, and this mama right here was on the verge of losing her ever-loving mind!
I have a feeling I’m not the only one experiencing this craziness.
In all seriousness, it was a tough day. We started off on a good trajectory, but with each outburst, my patience dwindled, and I grew more irritable.
You know the old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey”? Well, there’s a Proverb that says it even better, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
I feel like I need to plaster that verse all over my house, right. Ultimately, I need the Spirit to give me the grace to respond with gentleness instead of reacting out of my irritation.
As I slipped out the front door for my morning walk, my mind was going a million miles a minute. I had awakened feeling overwhelmed and trepidatious for the day ahead.
While I walked, I talked to God. In fragmented sentences, I poured out my heart. Fear was the center of my thoughts. As I asked the Lord to help me to trust Him, Jehosaphat’s prayer came to mind, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12b)
When I was eighteen years old, and one-day post-graduation, I heard from God. A few months earlier, I had attended a retreat with my church youth group. I don’t remember all of the details of that weekend except that the speaker’s testimony mirrored my life.
When I returned home, through tears, I began kneeling by my bedside and seeking the Lord each night. I felt an enormous amount of stress; the majority of my friends had already selected their colleges. I, on the other hand, wasn’t sure if my grades would allow me to cross the stage and receive my diploma. I’d lost track of how many times we’d moved, but it was my fourth high school in four years. Therefore, I had no plan at all and only a part-time job at the local Fish N Chips.
Just as dusk settled over the sky, the six of us piled into our truck and took our long-awaited drive. We had no particular destination in mind, only a change of scenery. In a few minutes, our neighborhood was behind us, and vast fields of green cotton sprouts lined the road.
As we drove, I gazed at the sky filled with pink marbled hues. When we passed the school where Sammy first practiced baseball, all of us grew silent for a moment. That was our before: before we lost Justin and everything changed forever.
When I met Tim, he loved coffee; I did not. Years later, when I went to work for a ministry, most of my face-to-face meetings were held at Starbucks. Much to my husband’s delight, I started drinking coffee. Now, I start my day with a cup of joe, and then later in the afternoon, I reheat whatever is leftover in the coffeepot and enjoy my second round.
One of the upsides of Tim’s lay-off is that now we get to enjoy our afternoon cup together. Speaking of my husband, one of my most favorite things in this life, is having good long talks with Tim. He has a deep well and asks me the most thought-provoking questions. He can see the big picture when I get lost in the details. Also, he’s made me laugh from day one.
If you are at all familiar with Dave Ramsey, you’ll understand my next statement with ease. Tim and I have “done stupid” more times than we can count. Financially speaking, it’s been a long road of learning how to steward our resources wisely.
We’ve put ourselves on many budget freezes, made oaths to each other that we wouldn’t eat out, and for a while, I even ventured into the craziness of price matching. Everyone in our family jokingly uses the phrase in our best Texas accent, “rice and beans, and beans and rice,” but we’ve never actually eaten only rice and beans for dinner.
When I was a new mom, I met an Irish woman at church named Rosie. She had flaming red hair kept in a pixie cut. Her sense of humor was razor-sharp, and she held a wealth of wisdom in her petite frame.
At the time, Tim was taking a full load of classes at seminary and working fulltime at the hospital. Most of my days consisted of just Justin and me. I noticed that Justin started to misbehave in the late afternoon, making the home stretch to bedtime feel like an eternity. One day, I shared my concern with Rosie. She looked me in the eyes, and with empathy, she said something to the effect of, “Missy, no wonder. the hours from 5:00-7:00 pm are known as the arsenic hour.”
At the time, that sounded a little sinister to me, but now, five kids and twenty-some years later, I get it. By dinner time, I come in limping,
All of the unemployment paperwork arrived in the mail today. Things just got real. As I read over the affidavits, my mind got a little fuzzy while the rest of my body felt like I was carrying a fifty-pound weight.
I don’t feel worried or panicked. But, I do feel the gravity of our situation.
At my previous doctor’s visit, I teared up when he asked me if I currently had a lot of stress in my life. For the last year, we’ve been working on getting my body functioning more efficiently. He asked because, at my most recent check-up (before Tim’s lay-off), some of my numbers came back a little out of wack. I was disappointed because I’ve been making significant progress. It was a good question.