I Have Learned

I’m doing the best I can and that is always enough; I’m enough. 
My worth isn’t the sum of a number on a scale, what I do or do not accomplish, or how many “friends” I have. 
I am not defined by my past or the mistakes I’ve made. 
Happiness isn’t defined by a life without struggles, found in another person or material things, or society’s unrealistic standards. 
How I feel about and value myself is far more important than the opinions of other people and how they might perceive me. 
It’s okay to not be okay and I don’t have to hide my struggles. 
All of the things that have happened in my life, good and bad, have meaning and are a part of my story. 

I. Have. Learned. ❤️

It’s difficult to find meaning or purpose while in the midst of the pain. Time and reflection birth revelation and it’s then that acceptance, understanding, and peace will come.

CHOICES

Life is full of challenges.

There is no shortage of heartache and pain.

People will disappoint you; they might even walk away.

There are so many things that happen in this life that are beyond your control.

You can’t predict what will happen.

Even if you could, you lack the inability to dictate the outcome.

What is in your control is how you handle and react to what comes your way.

Choose to push forward.

Choose to learn and grow.

Choose to be thankful.

Choose to be kind.

Choose to live life fully.

Choose to love.

Just. Like. That.

Here and then gone.

Just. Like. That.

Life is precious and tomorrow isn’t promised.

When it’s all said and done; it’s not going to matter how many “friends” or followers you have, how much money you made, or any of the things that society deems so important. The most important thing in this life is whether or not you are prepared for the moment you draw your last breath on this earth.

Live this life you’ve been given.

Take the trip.

Make memories.

Take pictures.

Life Brings Disappointment

When life isn’t working out the way you had hoped, disappointment and hurt can take over. That’s okay. Feel the disappointment, recognize and feel the hurt. 
But then what? 
How do you move past the pain? 
You may start to feel like you can’t get past it, that you can’t deal with any more hurt. You may say to yourself, “I can’t do this.” 
What I know personally, especially having gone through so much already, is that I can’tdo it. I then remember that I’m not supposed to. It’s not my burden to carry because I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Instead of being mad at God for your situation, give it all over to Him. He loves you enough to take it on for you.
You might think, why is He doing this to me? First of all, He isn’t. He doesn’t cause our pain, but He does promise to be there with us to walk through it. 
I actually heard a sermon the other day that offers another perspective as well, one that I hadn’t considered. He doesn’t cause the situations that bring us hurt. But, He may allow it. I had to stop and think on that for awhile. 
It’s difficult to understand because we don’t know the end from the beginning like He does. He may allow something so that we turn to Him. He may allow something because there is something we need to learn or an area in which we need to grow. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. He may allow something, knowing that it’s all going to work out in the end, but it’s in His timing, His way. 
So, when you are disappointed and hurt, when you don’t think you’re going to make it through the pain, when you don’t understand why things are happening the way they are… 
Give it over to Him. 
Take your hands off the situation, knowing it will all work out the way it’s supposed to. Don’t carry that burden. Be thankful that you have a loving Father that gave it all so that you don’t have to. That is called faith. Believe that He can and will carry you through. He will walk with you through it, to the other side of it all. 

Not Ashamed

I’m so glad that people are speaking out more about mental health matters. It’s not something that those, who are already struggling enough, should feel that they need to hide.

I’m not ashamed, afraid, embarsssed, or too proud to say that I have struggled in this area; more than anyone could even know.

Years ago, I struggled with situational depression following a really tough period in my marriage. That was the first time I had ever dealt with it first hand. I continued to struggle with this type of depression, off and on, over a period of time. Then, I would notice that even if I began to feel better for a good period of time, as soon as the late fall and winter months approached, I would begin to feel the heaviness creep back in. I couldn’t decide if it was due to the fact that the troubled period (that I spoke of above) began around that time of year, or if it was what I had heard referred to as seasonal depression.

Stubborn and strong willed, determined to push through, and believing all would be well; I didn’t really talk with anyone about it or seek help. My doctor would pick up on “signs” and would tell me that I should try and take something that could help. I refused so many times, somehow feeling as though taking medicine would mean that I was weak or didn’t have enough faith. Finally, knowing that there is a very strong family history of depression, she insisted. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I took the medicine and it helped, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of shame about having to rely on medicine to feel okay. I stopped taking it.

Fast forward to the accident that I was in, the one that killed my husband. I was physically hurt, but even when my wounds were healed, I had to face the invisible wounds in my head and heart. That has honestly been a process over the last seven years and is still ongoing. I was diagnosed with PTSD in addition to severe depression and anxiety.

With the help of my faith, the right kind of medication, and intentional work; I have learned to manage this quite well. There are some pretty big unprocessed things that still need my attention, but that’s okay. It’s a process and I’ve learned to value myself enough to make my mental health a priority.

I share this for no other reason than to add my voice to the ones that are speaking out about this very important issue. Awareness is key. I also want to help other people feel more comfortable with talking about their issues and reaching out for help.

Own your story. Speak your truth. Take care of you.

https://www.scarymommy.com/not-avoiding-friends-manage-anxiety/?utm_source=FB

Once Loved = Hurt/Pain

I have been a lover of music for as long as I can remember.  I can still recall “little” me walking around outside of the place I grew up, by myself, singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” like I thought I was Judy Garland.  Ha!  I was in the local children’s theater.  I was in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.  My husband finally got me singing at Church, where he was the Praise and Worship Leader.

My husband was an amazingly talented musician and singer.  He could play just about any instrument by ear and had a beautiful voice.  He loved music even more than I did.  So, as a couple and as a family, music was a huge thing and an everyday part of our lives.

After my husband passed away, I found that my love for music had now become a great source of pain.  There were so many songs that would come on that reminded me of him.  Songs that I used to have on replay for days at a time were now skipped as soon as I could hit the button.

I no longer wanted to hear anything that reminded me of him. 

It hurt too much.

Songs at church were the worst.  I’m sure, although I didn’t fully understand at the time, it was because of the emotional feelings attached to songs connected to worship.  They were a huge part in my connecting with God; they connected me to Jonathan.  Not only was I worshiping the One who was my heavenly protector and provider, but the one singing them was my earthly protector and provider.  He was gone and I couldn’t understand why God would allow that to happen. (I will elaborate on the subject of God “allowing” bad things to happen in a later post.)  And now, here I am in a place that had been such a huge and significant part of us, without him; listening to the songs that he used to sing.  It was more painful than I can use words to describe.  We no longer attend church there (another post that can’t be elaborated on here) as I finally couldn’t try to find God through the pain, there, any longer.

We are fortunate enough to have so many recordings of Jonathan speaking and playing/singing music.  Although I always knew what a treasure and blessing that was, it had also been a source of deep pain.  Now, seven years later, it is still difficult to watch and hear those things, but I do try now.  I also try not to immediately skip the songs that I once loved.

The pain is and always will be there.  It is triggered by thoughts of him, memories of us, places, smells, people, milestones, and so much more; the biggest one is music.  I’m grateful that I can now feel the thankfulness I have for it all and smile, even if it is only once in awhile.  Just like anything that causes the hurt and pain to surface, it is so important that we feel them; that we face them.  They aren’t going anywhere.  They stay with us and build up and fester without an outlet for them to come out.  It is so difficult but such an important part of moving through grief.  I believe it is something that I will have to continue to work through, forever.  When I get discouraged or the thought of that makes me feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that deep grief is a result of deep love and given the chance, I wouldn’t go back and miss the love in spite of the pain.

The following is sung/played by my husband, Jonathan Roberts, click on the link below:

When I’m Gone

Forever Changed

People who have suffered through the trauma that comes with loss are forever changed. Once they begin the journey towards moving forward, they find themselves tirelessly working towards getting back to who they used to be. The real struggle is that they are fighting an uphill battle, in that, they don’t realize that it’s just not possible. They aren’t who they used to be and they never will be. If they are fortunate enough to fully get that revelation, they can then begin that journey of a new self-discovery. It’s not at all about going back to the person they used to be. It is all about realizing and becoming the person they will be, going forward.