Change and Balance

Change and Balance

Change. It’s inevitable!

Sometimes change is exciting and at times, scary. It can be tough and uncomfortable to navigate through. It can also be easy to be derailed in transition. I’ll give you an example.

When I started this blog it was at a point in my life when change was exciting. I had a job that gave me the freedom to start dreaming. It came with the gift of time. I was being creative and starting new things. I was writing again. I was finding myself in a new way, working through hurts and things that had been holding me back, and finding God in a new way. There was a renewed sense of hope.

Fast forward to this past February…

The company I was working for was dissolving and I found myself in a place of uncertainty. Change was happening again and I wasn’t excited. I spent the next four months looking for a new job, trying to have faith that God would carry me through; that He had a plan.

A lot happened in that four months as I was stretched in many ways. I’ll write about that in a different post.

I started a new job in June. More change. It was a big transition, coming from working from home and having so much freedom with my time. My focus became learning and becoming acclimated to a new career. It’s a great job, a great company to work for, and I love the people I work with.

I realized something today. I’ve been so busy with my new job that I haven’t had time to write, do anything with my apparel company, or much of anything else really. Most importantly, I’ve not made time to maintain my relationship with God like I should. How quickly we fall away from that if we aren’t careful.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m reminded how important balance is in life. Instead of saying that I don’t have time to __________________; I need to MAKE time for the things that are important. I need to make time for God. I need to make time to work on the creative projects that I started that made me happy. I need to make time to write. I need to make time for me!

There are only 24 hours in each day and most days that definitely doesn’t seem like enough! But, it’s up to me to prioritize and be disciplined enough to use the time I do have in the best way I know how.

Here’s to attempting to find that balance that I so desperately need!

xoxo Joni

Deciding Pain Away

Deciding Pain Away

So many well intentioned people will give you advice based on the thought that you can simply make a choice to not grieve. As someone who has been walking a painful road for almost 6 years, let me tell you, we really do wish it was that easy.

Can you choose happiness? Yes, I believe you can. That being said though; I can wake up in the morning and choose to be happy, but that does not make the pain go away. The cause of the pain, the root of the emotions, is still there.

You must walk through it.

Now, how long does it take? That’s just it; it is different for everyone. Loss and the journey to healing is so very personal. We all deal in our own way. Some don’t deal at all and therefore, their path is going look very different from someone who is feeling their way through.

So please, for the love of God, don’t try to rush someone through their pain. Love them. Show compassion. Be there. They will find their way to healing.

Lastly, healing doesn’t mean the void is gone. It means that they have finally learned to live. They have finally come to a place of acceptance of the pain and can move forward, hopefully, using it as the fuel that drives them to live a life full of purpose.

“Pain, you just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, Hope that the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just have to breathe deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed but sometimes, the pain gets you where you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn’t let up. Pain, you just have to fight through, Because the truth is you can’t out run it. And life always makes more.” Meredith Grey

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.

Broken Glass(es)

Broken Glass(es)

I did something today, something very simple, that actually holds great significance. I ordered new glasses. Big deal right? Yes. Yes it is.

I had my yearly eye appointment to get my contacts. I wore my glasses there because I was actually totally out of my contacts. While I was there they had me read the chart with my glasses on first. That didn’t go so well! The doctor said, how old are theses glasses? I hesitated but replied, “9 or 10 years old.” He didn’t ask why but said, “wow that is surprising, especially since your prescription has gotten so much worse.” I quickly changed the subject, we finished the exam and then I went back into the main room to talk to the ladies about ordering my contacts. One of them pointed toward a section of glasses and told me that insurance would pay for two pair of glasses in that area. I didn’t say much but humored her leading and looked through the glasses, finding something wrong with each of them. I finally gave in and let her choose the ones she said would be perfect for me. I then sat down across from her as she was processing my order. At this point I am wearing contacts that the doctor gave me. I look over and see my glasses sitting there. The lenses are so scratched up I don’t know how I saw out of them at all. One side of the glasses would close in but the other side would not because of my famous superglue repair jobs.

Get to the point already Joni! 😂😉

The reason I hadn’t replaced those glasses is because I was wearing them the day that my husband and I were in that horrible accident that claimed his life. The craziest thing is that they were one of only a few things that made it out of that vehicle with me.

I remember going off the road and hitting the ditch, closing my eyes and bracing for impact, and then…the scene before me as I opened my eyes. This isn’t the post to spend too much time describing that scene but I will say, because it’s relevant, I saw destruction. I saw a seemingly endless amount of broken glass, among other things. I look to my left and sure enough, there beside me I see those glasses, surrounded by destruction but just sitting there.

So, I hadn’t realized it but I have held on to them for that reason. I couldn’t let go of them. Until now. What may seem small to most was huge for me.

I don’t let go of Jonathan because I let go of those broken glasses that I found amidst that broken glass. I hold him in my heart, forever. As I continue to pick up the broken pieces of my heart and allow God to piece them back together, he is with me. I’m moving forward, without leaving him behind.

And guess what?!! My vision is improved….

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.

Is There Really a Choice?

Is There Really a Choice?

I’ll be honest, there have been several times where I truly wanted to throat punch someone who said to me that happiness is a choice. I often thought to myself, “how in the world is it as easy as saying that I choose to be happy when I feel so bad?” I have even told myself several times, “just make a decision to be happy!”

Ugh, if only it were that easy!

It didn’t matter how many times I told myself that I was going to be happy, the weight of the reality I was facing and the feelings I felt weighed more in comparison to that choice.

I finally realized though, it really is as simple as making a choice. I can wake up each day and entertain all of the feelings I am faced with, all of the thoughts floating around in my head or, I could just tell myself that none of those things matter and it was going to be a good day. Now, I might have to tell myself that very same thing 20 times in that same day but, the attitude I was choosing was much better than the alternative!

Long story short, here is what I tell myself now: “Joni, you either trust God or you don’t.” So yeah, it’s not easy but I am making a conscious decision every day to put my trust in the one who actually has a say in what happens!

One day at a time. Sometimes, one hour or even, one minute at a time.