Recovering People Pleaser

Recovering People Pleaser

I’m a, what I like to call, recovering people pleaser. I no longer feel bad for saying no to things that I don’t think I should do. I no longer give of my precious time to those that are negative and toxic. I no longer force my kids to be around people that haven’t actively been a part of their lives. I decided to stop explaining and defending myself to people who will only see from their chosen perspective anyway. I no longer make decisions based on how others might think of me. I now make myself a priority rather than being the last on the list. And you know what? I don’t even feel bad about it!

Kids and Grief

Kids and Grief

I was reading a post recently of a fellow widow and it broke my heart. It broke my heart for her and her child and it broke my heart for my own children.

It is a fact that often when someone loses a spouse, they lose many people that were in their life pre-loss. I’ve written about this before and given my thoughts and perspectives as to why this might happen. But, quite honestly, it is just plain sad.

This woman made a post on her personal FB page stating that she was tired of people disappointing her child. Now, normally we save that sort of thing for our widow support groups where we can freely talk about things with people who truly understand. She was brave enough to just come out and say it. GOOD. FOR. HER.

People should know that their actions (or lack thereof) have real and damaging affects on children who have already lost so much. It’s hard enough for us as adults, children should not have to suffer so much loss.

Children who have lost a parent should be shown MORE love, not experience more loss.

PERIOD

Some might not like to hear that but they need to.

I’m gonna go ahead and leave this right here.

Unapologetically Me

Unapologetically Me

I love this so much!

I remember a time when my Mom said, stop apologizing! I said, what do you mean??

She told me that I apologized for everything, all the time, even for things that I shouldn’t. What’s crazy is that I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I became so accustomed to saying I’m sorry that it basically became a habit.

I’m what I like to call a “recovering people pleaser.”

I’ve spent most of my life trying to make other people happy, a lot of times at the expense of my own happiness. What I realized is that, in striving to be everything to everyone, I forgot about me. I was like a chameleon, changing (sometimes moment by moment) to adapt to who I was around; just being who they needed at the time. Well, you do that for long enough and you can wake up one day with the realization that you don’t even know who you really are.

Losing one of my identities only complicated this further. I was Jonathan’s wife. So, when I lost him, I really lost my sense of self. For almost 6 years now, I’ve been on a journey of grief, only parenting grieving kids, trying to maintain a household by myself, navigating my way through changed relationships, deconstructing (and reconstructing) my faith, and trying to learn to live again.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to face is seeing myself for who I really am. I realized that I felt my worth was all about what I did for others.

I was Jonathan’s wife

I am Chase and Brenna’s Mom

I am a daughter, a sibling, an aunt, a friend

I am still all of those things and they are important, but above all else, I’m Joni.

I am not what has happened to me

I am not who I used to be

I am not the mistakes I have made

I am not who others think I am

I am not invisible or anonymous

I am not what I look like

I am not what I do

So many of us practically kill ourselves trying to be something or someone else. Desperately and tirelessly attempting to fulfill this imaginary list of qualities or capabilities that we think will make us feel loved or happy. And then we have to spend a ridiculous amount of time tearing through the layers of unrealistic pressures and expectations we have put on ourselves. It’s exhausting. I know because it’s what I have done.

I am the daughter of the most high God, who created me in His image. He doesn’t make mistakes. He formed me with His very hands. He loves me. He created me completely unique, down to my fingertips. So why shouldn’t that be good enough for me??

I am… ENOUGH

Be unapologetically YOU ♥️

Power in Being Real

Power in Being Real

Awhile back I had finally worked up the nerve to watch one of the sermons Jonathan preached. I knew shortly after turning it on that it was something I needed to hear. My counselor once said that God knew back then what messages to speak through Jonathan, what people needed to hear. This one was all about being yourself, being real. He spoke about how God truly does create each one of us unique and with purpose. Jonathan used an analogy of how people always want to be someone like else. Like him wanting to have the gifting of teaching and knowing the Bible inside and out, like others he knew. Or, someone wanting to be like him and having the gift of being a great musician. If we are always looking to be more like someone else, we are missing out on doing the work God has for us to do. Much like a machine having many parts that need to perform a specific function in order for the machine to properly work as a whole, we as individuals are needed to use our own special gifting in order for His plan to come to pass. We are all pieces of the puzzle that are put together to do God’s work. My husband was far from perfect and he was the first person to admit that. However, he was courageous enough to often make public the mistakes he made. In that honesty, people’s lives were touched. People felt free to be themselves and know that no one is perfect. You don’t have to live in the shame that was your past. You aren’t defined by the mistakes you make. God can clean up and heal the mistakes we’ve made. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need him right?

I am reminded of the following Bible verse: 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God…

In the darkness lies guilt and shame. The light brings grace and mercy. The light brings forgiveness and freedom.

I am still traveling through this painful path called grief. But, being able to share Jonathan’s words and stories makes me feel good. His life on this side of heaven meant something. And the revelation that his life can continue to touch others long after his eternal journey in heaven began, gives me hope, even if for now it’s just a glimmer. We may not be able to see him. We may not be able to hear his voice. But I assure you that he is not gone. And as much as I would trade anything to have him here with me now, I am honored to be able to keep his memory and powerful testimony alive until I’m with him on the other side. So, that is what I choose to do.

Be confident in yourself and who you were made to be. Know who you are, own it and be proud to be unique. Don’t hide, put on a mask or play a role. Be the same person Monday -Saturday as the the person who walks into the church building on Sunday. When you are real, others can be touched by your imperfect life and journey.

The Pain is Worth the Cost

The Pain is Worth the Cost

The pain of losing a spouse and watching your kids grieve the loss of their parent, brings a sorrow that I can’t quite put into words. It’s unlike any feeling I could’ve ever even imagined.

It is said that “it” gets better in time. Just give it time. Time heals all wounds. As well meaning as the one saying these things might be, it’s just not true.

“It” doesn’t get better and it most certainly doesn’t go away. But, you do learn to live with it. It becomes a part of you. Just as the person you grieve leaves an unexplainable void in your heart and life, the impact they had while living leaves an imprint in who you are. As you carry the pain that their loss leaves, you also carry them with you.

Deep grief is the price you pay for deep love. It is always worth the cost.

The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore

The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore

When you don’t fit where you used to, you grieve that like any other loss. But, if you don’t fit anymore, you don’t. Move forward. We aren’t supposed to have to fight for a place in people’s lives.

I was talking to one of my long time friends today and we were talking about regret or being able to go back and take certain things back. I told her that every little bit of our lives along the way, bad and good, make up where and who we are today.

When you feel like you don’t fit where you used to, it can take you to a really low place. It hurts! The thing to remember is; it’s not your fault, don’t stay there. Move forward knowing that God will place you where you fit, perfectly.

A Split Second

A Split Second

For those of you that have lost someone… Do you ever have moments where it hits you, out of nowhere, like a ton of bricks?? I do and it’s a terrible feeling. There are actually lots of mornings that begin that way for me.

The worst is what just happened to me. I was sitting in my car, waiting on my son to get his hair cut. I’m busy working on something on my home but I still notice people coming and going around me. I see someone out the corner of my eye and I happen to look up. My heart stopped. Or at least it felt like it. The man was walking toward my car, his head tilted down with a hat on. I had. Second where I thought it was Jonathan. I really thought it was him. Obviously had I not been caught off guard, I would have had the presence of mind to quickly know it wasn’t him! He looked up and that reality struck me. Ugh. He’s gone.

That might not make a lot of sense but, for a split second, things looked different.