Sharing · Thoughts

Pain and Promises

We call 2014 – The Year of Pain.  It is also the year we decided to be baptized. Isn’t everything supposed to be glorious when you decide to come back to God? I never expected death and devastation, trauma and pain to be a part of my pathway back. Yet there it was overwhelming me with pain and promising everything in return.

We started attending in December 2012. By December of the next year we were ready to move toward solidifying our relationship with God within a church community.  We had been attending regularly and had just joined a small group that I was asked to lead.  It was a privilege and an honor to be asked but we were told that since it was a couple’s group we were both required to be baptized and my husband had not been at an age of understanding.  We were ready for this and looked forward to it. Then the year changed to 2014 and the world began collapsing.

In January one of my daughters, then 22, had to be hospitalized for something that can only be explained as a nervous breakdown. In February my sister, only 48 years old (two years younger than I am), passed away unexpectedly. In March our 23 year old son (my step-son), a recovering addict, began stealing and pawning valuables from our home and cashing thousands of dollars on our stolen checks. Our business took a nosedive and it was then I began grappling with depression.

My husband began to be absorbed by his son’s day-to-day life and that took it’s toll on us.  In April we started writing our baptism script; the words that tell those baptizing you that you understand what you are doing and for what reason. I realized then that I was not completely over my frustrations with Christianity. It may have been due to the bouts of depression. As my husband finished his script I began arguing with someone about my own. By May I had decided to wait to be baptized, thus causing my husband to pull back, and we turned over the small group to someone else. Probably a wise decision in retrospect.

Holidays were horrible that year.  Each one more uncomfortable than the last. On Fathers Day our son nodded off in addiction, in the middle of his dinner plate and I watched my husband go pale. This was destroying the family.  I was in a major confusion funk. I doubted my life purpose, my ability to be a good parent, a solid wife, a practicing Christian, and an inspired business owner. I was expected to help others suffering with horrible life-choices but all I could see were the ones in my own home now.

My oldest son decided to marry his sweetheart that month.  They lived on the other side of the states from us so travel would not be easy. The truth is I couldn’t do it; financially or emotionally.  I thought my oldest son, always so understanding, and his fiance would understand.  They did not. My son took it as a sign that I didn’t approve of his decision and they became bitter.

In July my step-son finally entered rehab but quickly came home when he was able.  Much too quickly.  He started up again almost immediately. At that point I wasn’t sure how much more the marriage could take either. In September he asked to spend the night.  The next morning we found him on the bathroom floor. After performing CPR, following him to the hospital and sitting with him for 2 days he passed away and my depression became full blown.

All I could wonder is if people younger than me could die what in the world was the use of the rest of my life? Then I began to doubt how much of it I had left and determined there wasn’t enough time to care about anything anymore. My husband, dealing with his own sorrow and grief, struggled for normalcy. Our business, which had started to thrive, suddenly became difficult to keep up with. We were both exhausted, both trying to recover, and we both began making dumb mistakes and bad decisions.

I was not emotionally ready for either the news in October that ISIS was killing children or that I had a long-lost brother who insisted on getting to know me.  It was a tight-rope every day. Breaking up dog fights between our huge German Shepherd and our son’s Pitt-Bull was also not an event we needed.

Needless to say, ending the year with the holidays, minus two very important people you love, has got to be the hardest way to say goodbye to the most difficult year of our lives.  It felt like all the promises had been forgotten and only pain remained.

And yet, reviewing this horrible year I noted a very important thing; God had not forgotten us.

If it were not for the small group we joined, regardless of the direction it took, we would not have had the support we needed through the most turbulent year anyone could imagine.  With our son’s tragedy came clarity in dealing with clients we could never have otherwise understood. His death unexpectedly brought our family closer too. We began to hold tightly to those things we appreciated about each other and to be more patient with the grief of loss we recognized.

And what about my questions and frustrations with Christianity? I am convinced that it was a very necessary part of my own personal growth. I believe if I had not been dealing with so many other things I might have glossed over this discomfort and pain and missed the very things that would bring me comfort and strengthen my faith at the end of that year.

God is good even when life is bad and He has a plan.  Always easier to see in retrospect, we must learn to focus our eyes on the Father rather than on the events and people around us. We must first have faith that He can do all things, and then we must believe that he will do what is best for us.

Sharing · Thoughts

Are You a Mom or a Club Sandwich?

Motherhood can cause either dread or anticipation and sometimes both at once. It is all-consuming, for sure. Your brain knows this truth but I’ll say it anyway, being a mom doesn’t end when your children turn eighteen.

 

My children are between the ages of 21 and 36 as I write this and I am still the one flying to see them, helping with college expenses, and sometimes feeding them when the paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough.  My grandchildren are between the ages of 1 and 14 now but live in another state and my own parents are still alive but not able to travel so I’m still flying and checking in there also.

Sandwich Generation

I am now part of the “Sandwich Generation” and more specifically, a Club Sandwich. But even if we’ve felt the pinch of living between the slices and are just bone weary, it is warming, in a way, to know you are dedicated to your family in all it’s forms.


What’s the Sandwich Generation?
The Sandwich Generation is people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
–Wikipedia.com

We are all parents, at some stage of life, who teeter-totter through life. We want to be patient but also can’t wait to see our children grow up to become amazing adult contributors to society. We wistfully dream of where we want to go and what we want to do when we are not as necessary to everyone’s world so we can concentrate on our own.

So, as we barely have enough time to catch our breath between babies and the day our parents become the focus of our worry, we reach out.  We take care of our families willingly and lovingly because we care so much but we become tired, discouraged and sometimes depressed. But we feel you! You are welcome here!!! We can all come here for support. Other moms; sisters of substance and full of experiences.

Whether you are a young mom or are part of the Sandwich Generation I hope you will find many ways to engage, find friends, learn new things that apply to all moms, and generally feel at home in your corner of the world. Thank you for spending time here!

Logo-white-100x74

Sharing · Thoughts

Lonliness; a Prescription for Dementia

I feel so strongly about this subject that I wanted to share this TEDx Talk with you. Here is Shasta Nelson, Founder, and CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com:

Published on Dec 15, 2017

Our world is getting “better” at connecting us and yet we’re reporting feeling more disconnected than ever. The issue: loneliness. The solution: understanding the 3 actions that lead to belonging.
Shasta Nelson is passionate about all things friendship. As founder and CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com— the female-friendship learning community—she speaks and writes regularly on this important topic. She is the author of two books: Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girl- Friends and Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness. Her spirited and soulful voice can also be read at Shasta’s Friendship Blog and in her relationship health column in The Huffington Post. She’s been interviewed on the Today show, Katie Couric’s show Katie, The Early Show, and on Fox Extra. She’s been consulted on friendship matters by writers and reporters from such magazines as Cosmopolitan, More, Real Simple, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping, and from such newspapers as The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx