Oh The Thoughts I Think

So. One of the things I have learned is that the mind is a battle ground greater than any other one we can face. No matter what, the enemy wants our minds.

Or at least he wants MY mind.

And at first I really wasn’t sure why. But I’ve come to realize that thoughts take on life. In fact, they take on a life All.Their.Own. So inconvenient. Rabbit trails when Im trying to focus. Thoughts of old pain and anger when I’m trying to pray. Angry thoughts when I’m in the middle of a worship song.

Literally, I am constantly praying against the thoughts that want to consume me.

Makes me wonder at times if there’s something wrong with me. But then it dawned on me that if my thoughts are not  won over to the dark side, neither can my actions be won over. When I am praying for Mister, if unresolved pain creeps up or  anger rears it’s head, the prayer changes from seeking for complete freedom from old stuff and inviting God to do something new in our relationship as we move forward to me blasting God with a whole lotta “why would yous” and “this ain’t fairs” and “i don’t wannas.” Totally steals my prayer thunder.

IF i let it.

Or.

I can take that same set of thoughts, give them to God, and say Lord please get rid of the remains of all that hurt and anger so that I’m not lost in that emotion. Help me to focus my heart and to move past the hard stuff into this new place You keep tellin me about.

But uh. Lest we think I’m somebody special – I don’t always travel that holy road.

I’m just sayin’

Some days are easier than others.

Waaaaay easier. 🙂

Truthfully, though, in all this learning, what I’ve probably learned most is God’s grace in the places where I’m just not there yet. Freedom to be who I am and where I am and to know that I don’t have to conquer my own flesh in my own power or by my own will. Confidence that, little by little and slowly but surely, things have shifted and we’ll be fine.

I’ll be fine.

LIFE will be fine.

And really. THAT shift in mentality is where victory is found. That certainty that at the end of the day, it’ll all be fine. Because that belief in your heart lets you wade through the inconvenience and fight through the harder moments.

That shift in mentality is what let’s you do more than just ‘make it’. It lets you LIVE.

Thrive.

Grown.

Become.

I can’t say I’ve been a fan of all that’s been life, but I can say that as God moves me fully from one place to the next, I am grateful for it all – not because it’s been a joyride getting here… oh no :-/ … but because I’ve seen the face of God and uncovered the greatness that exists in me.

It’s the adventure of a lifetime and Im looking forward to finding even more unexpecteds along the way.

Love ya’ll.

Ro

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Changing Seasons

Spring. It seems like it’s comin’ early here. It’s sunny out and beautiful. Somewhere around 60 degrees most days – one day it even got up to the mid 80s.

Gorgeous.

But. This winter. It has actually been COLD. Not the mild Texas version of winter. But genuine winter weather. Below freezing. A little ice a little snow. A LOT of wind. And a LOT of cold.

AND I was sick. For several weeks. Very sick.

And cold.

Sick and cold.

It’s made me really appreciate such beautiful weather. The sunshine and the birds and the newness.

And then I realized that its the same with my life. Winter lasted so damned long. Really. Im just sayin. :/

It seemed like FOREVER.

But now. Spring. It has finally come on the scene. And it’s beautiful. But it comes with it’s own rain and growing pains. And I’m really pretty grateful for every last ones. Because growing pains means one thing: GROWTH. Change.Transformation. Newness.LIFE.

I cant even describe the feeling when one of these pains shows up. So cool that even in that aftermath of the storm, the foundation remains in tact.

so so cool.

There is laughter and freedom and friendship and fun in this place.

God is good.

The seasons are changing and Im grateful and excited and appreciative of all that it brings.

just wanted to share… I’ll be back soon. 🙂

Ro

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Self Discovery

This whole thing of seasons changing and everything being nothing like what it was or what I expected (or even hoped) it to be by now… it overwhelms me…

I have so many blog posts living in my head but i can never get still enough for long enough to get them moved out and unpacked. So much stuff has been goin on around me. So much stuff is still so daunting for me. So many things are things I still dont quite get.

But what I DO get, what I DO know, is that I’m not who I was. I am learning to (truly) forgive. I’m learning to let go. I’m learning to trust again. I’m learning to love freely. Im learning to pray boldly. I’m learning to give honestly… I’m discovering the ‘me’ after the storm – the ‘me’ that I’m now realizing has always been hidden away by all my coping mechanisms, security blankets, walls, & fortresses…

I gotta tell ya. I’m a pretty cool chick. 🙂

My current favorite lesson:

Live Unapologetically…

Now that I am on the other side of a storm that has ravaged my ENTIRE life, I have discovered and decided one thing: I don’t owe anybody ANYTHING – including an explanation- for the choices I’ve made or the way I live my life – not then, not now, and not going forward. Nobody’s paid the cost for the life I live but me, and nobody gets the privilege of navigation on my behalf now that the sun’s finally starting to break through all the clouds.

If you know me at all, you know that that’s a bit daunting for me… I’m not one to care about outsider’s opinions, but family and friends… they carry a tremendous amount of weight… HOWEVER, this time around, the above statement applies to them too. They have been with me, walked with me, cried with me and for me, prayed with me and for me… And I appreciate every.single.ounce. But… I owe it to God and me both – not to mention my future – to live a life free of the need to satisfy others’ expecatations & ideals.

Out of all that I dont know yet, one thing I’m sure of is this: I am a much better version of myself than I have ever been before. I love me and I can look at me and know that I am well on my way to a life I never imagined…

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An Unexpected Journey

2 weeks ago, Thursday we laid my grandfather down beside his parents to sleep. Longest. day. ever…

My family went down the day before but I stayed back because I just wasn’t ready yet. Wasn’t ready to face all that sympathy – because it made our pain so real. Wasn’t ready for all those words that would rest on the surface – because the truth is that, although every word people spoke was probably true, my heart didn’t want to hear how he was in a better place and all that; it wanted to hear him chuckle at me like he did the night i stayed with him at the hospital because i was soo sooo sleepy but I was determined to stay awake with him and keep him company til he fell asleep. I just really wasn’t ready…

This loss has taken me down a different road. Not just in knowing how our family dynamic is changed or in seeing my grandmother’s loneliness or the rest of my family’s pain. It’s been different because it has taken my down a road in my own heart that I have very studiously avoided most of my life:NEED.

I have needed great support; i really struggled. Because really, in the line of all else that I’m still not quite right from, God adds this big huge thing on top then says, “keep living in the face of the pain. I know how badly this hurts, but you must move forward now into your new life.”

My mind got it. My heart? Not so much.

BFF. She has been a trooper, there every step of the way in any way possible to make this better for me. Needing a sister-friend, this was ok. This is where i’m comfy. Right here in that zone…

But me and honey. We have never walked this road of significant loss together. Figured early that I would need him in a whole new way. And then promptly tried to push that set of feelings away… Except, he wouldn’t let me – and even if he would’ve, I couldn’t do it. He left town for just an overnight trip and I was so wound up – because i didn’t know how i’d react when my PaPa slipped away; i just knew that the only set of arms i wanted to feel would be his. I have never in my life been so glad he was home again… Even the night before I left to go be with my family; i just needed to feel safe for a little while before I had to figure out how to start processing all that was happening…

It’s been busy and those little moments have been fewer than we like lately, but as all this has unfolded, God has restored something deep inside me for this man that I’ve loved for so long now. Slowly slowly slowly walls have come tumbling down, and finally vulnerability (the real sort) with him doesn’t make me wanna run away – instead it invites me to give him more. And he’s giving it back in return.

It amazes me that even in the face of loss, we are finding new life. It amazes me that what I feared would tear us apart seems to be a catalyst to really put us back together again…

I have not grieved yet. I think I’m still in emotional shock. It’s all still pretty surreal to me. But I know there will come a day when I finally feel it – really feel it – and I’ll need to be loved and comforted in a significant way. It’s a comfort to know that the one who holds my heart understands this part of me. He understands my need to talk. He understands my need to be busy. He understands my need to be left alone. He understands my need to get lost in something other than my own thoughts… he gets it. because he gets me. Such a huge huge blessing.

Needing, inviting, accepting,it’s all part of this new road I’ve just started walking. And I’m not real sure how it looks, but I’m real glad I don’t have to go it alone…

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It Is Finished

My grandfather went to be with Jesus late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. Somewhere around 1:20 a.m. the phone rang… It was my uncle calling to tell us to get to the hospital.

We dressed and left to pick up my grandmother and my aunt. Thankfully we only live 5 minutes apart – and the hospital is right in between…

I guess I could say a lot, but what’s really on my mind, what has been really on my heart is that God is faithful, God is sovereign, and God is gracious. He loves us so and my family has felt that keenly this last few weeks as we have walked this road.

The hospital staff were amazing. My Papa’s Dr’s… words can’t even begin to express my appreciation for the way the cared for us as a family. That every day of his hospital stay was a day that we had full access. Such a gift. No ICU, no machines, no visiting hours or limitations. Just as much time as we needed to love him and to say our good-byes. That we knew early enough to get everyone home who needed to be home. We were all together and he was lucid and able to enjoy that time seeing the richness that is our family. And maybe the greatest gift of all for us: his illness didn’t linger and the Lord didn’t let him hurt.

God is good.

Even in the face of great pain.

God is so so good.

This past few days have been busy… each day is a bit tougher than the last and as the day draws near to lay him down next to his father and mother, I find myself beginning to really grieve. Little by little my heart is forcing it’s way past my attempts to stave off this part of the goodbye…

But in all that, all I can say is that God is so so good. So good. He is great and greatly to be praised. He IS great, and greatly to be praised. HE is great and greatly to be praised. Even when my tears fall, even in the moments after life goes on for our family, I know beyond a doubt that God is great and greatly to be praised.

I know that my grandfather entered His presence early Thursday morning and that he has been praising Him every moment since. His mortal body is gone, but his spirit is in the presence of His Lord. His Lord who saved him from addiction, his Lord who restored his marriage and preserved his family. His Lord who gave him many years full of joy and love and generations that are equipped to carry on the legacy that he and my grandmother worked so hard to solidify. And I know that he is saying ‘my God, You are great and greatly to be praised’.

God gave us each the gift of knowledge that day. Somewhere around lunchtime, I knew with certainty that we were at the end of the road… I will be forever grateful that I was able to be there with him and spend the last few weeks loving him as much as I ever have before. I am thankful to the Lord that, in His Sovereignty and Omniscience, that even this is an act of kindness towards us.

I am grateful that He is oh so faithful.

PaPa, I told you before you left to be with Jesus how much I love you. No words are adequate right now to tell you more… I couldn’t say good-bye then and I can’t now, because I know that one day before it’s all done, I will get to see you again when I come to be with Jesus. I cherish you and I appreciate your deep abiding love and friendship…

Lord, You are great and greatly to be praised. We have said it again and again, but we humbly submit to Your will. We worship you now, as we have in easy times and we cherish You today even more than we did yesterday. You love us well and there is no shadow of turning within thee…

You are great. And greatly to be praised….

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Heaven-Bound

I have started this post so many times and for so many different reasons that I’ve lost count.. but finally… the words are coming…

Life really has been pretty mundane. Normal ups and downs, nothing special. Learning how to navigate new territory and taking baby-steps into a future that I can be ok with now… then sickness comes…

Not for me. For my grandfather. And it’s tough. Real tough.

His time here is short and we are doing our best to walk this thing out…

I remember losing my dad’s parents within months of eachother more than ten years ago now. That was hard. It hurt and it took me some time. But I was young(er). I didn’t know what death really did to a family, what it could mean, the toll it could take. I had no concept of all that comes with losing your headship, as a family…  But this time, looking at it through mature eyes, with a heart that has lived a lot of life in a condensed time – one that understands weariness and being too tired to keep goin’ and just wanting to be done with this part of the journey… this time it’s resting on me in a completely different way.

I am sad. So so sad. But I’m not angry. My heart hurts but there isn’t any feeling of regret or ambivalence about what we are facing. Because God has taught me in no uncertain terms that He is sovereign and that what He does is ALWAYS for our good – whether or not our feelings echo that sentiment. He’s God and He knows. And in this situation I am genuinely ok with that.

I have had time with my grandfather to love him and to know him and to care for him. I have confidence that he knows he’s one of my favorite people on the planet. So no regrets… I also know that his eternity is sure. He is a believer and he will meet Jesus face to face real soon. So no ambivalence.

I knew the moment that I saw God’s peace rest on him in his hospital bed, that it was time to start saying all the stuff that matters. And I knew that he knew as well. No need to feel bad for him. He’s getting the very thing we all strive for in this life: eternity with His Lord.

What makes it so tough is that it changes the landscape of our family. My grandmother’s whole life will be something it hasn’t been since she was 16 years old: separate from my grandfather. Caring for her, comforting her, loving her, falls to all of us in a whole different way now. Our live will be different in just a myriad of ways and I think that we’re all unsure and afraid of how it will look and the toll it will take…

This time of his transition; it’s such a letting-go for us all. What do we cling to? Who is our head? How do we hold all the pieces together? And then for my PawPaw, what about his wife? How will she handle this? Will the kids be strong enough?

Then God whispers to my spirit: My Grace is sufficient for you.

And I know that it is. Beyond a doubt, I know that it is…

***grateful, Lord, for the time to give him our love now. grateful for all the graces you’ve given us this last few weeks. grateful for the people who care for him personally and don’t see him just as another patient to bill the insurance company for. grateful for his salvation and the legacy of faith that is being shown and strengthened right now. grateful for the worship that is resting in us all in this final leg. grateful that You are so faithful. grateful that we are not alone. thank You for being our God. we love You and we choose service and submission to You even in the face our our pain. we grieve Father, but we do not mourn – because he is not dead; he will only sleep. We revere You and we respect Your sovereign will and reign for and over our family. Thank you Lord for the way that You love us…***

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Just Thinkin’

One of the things I’m learning about restoration is that it doesn’t allow room for suppression or lingering in the past. If you’re gonna fully reap the benefit and the blessing, you really have to face and deal with the old things – otherwise the new is tainted…

I woke up this morning thinking. A LOT. Thinking that instead of fighting myself and begging God to just take away the rest of the thoughts that plague me and hurt me, maybe I should just try something new. Maybe I should just talk to him and tell him what’s in my head. Maybe I should just give him a clue and explain some of what makes me tick these days so that he’s not at a loss or feeling neglected when I pull away. Maybe if I just say ‘babe, i know i seem distant but it’s not because i’m angry; it’s because blah blah blah’, it’ll help him not feel like i’m punishing him for the stuff that is quickly (gratefully) becoming not worth revisiting or replaying.

Maybe if i just invite him into my headspace it’ll work to our advantage.

Novel idea, right? Yeah. I thought so too.

Recovering. Recapturing. Rebuilding. Restoring. Somehow it’s a lot more joy than I thought it’d be. A lot more fun, getting to know eachother again in the aftermath. A lot sweeter grabbing hold of little moments full of big meaning.

And it’s taking a lot more courage than I expected. Before, I just stopped dealing because it seemed wasted; that didn’t help us. It really probably only made things worse. Now I’m dealing honestly and forthrightly – and gently (all Jesus 🙂 ) -and it seems to be building a bridge and making communication something we both look forward to as opposed to something we’d rather avoid at all costs.

We’ve come so far… we have so much left to face, but man. We’ve come so far. Now we’re really getting to the good stuff. Now we’re finding the sweet spot. Now things are falling into place inside for us both and I gotta say that it’s the best thing I’ve experienced in a long time. We might not be unscathed, but we are definitely on the way to an unfettered friendship and intimacy – in all it’s facets.

It’s amazing what happens when all the pieces work. It’s amazing what conviction, commitment, consistency and obedience yield – even at a price you never thought you’d be willing to  pay.

I’ve got my friend back and my love.  It finally feels safe. It finally feels like rest between us. It finally feels like the right thing to have weathered the storm.

I’m a grateful girl in this part of the journey; a grateful girl with a heart full of bubbles and butterflies and rainbows.

it’s a beautiful place, this happy. A beautiful full intoxicating place.

I wouldn’t change a thing. And maybe I should tell him that, too. 🙂

ro

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