SCARS

There is a quote that I love that always makes me think. I have a big ugly scar on my leg. That’s what I think when I look at it. Ugly. In the past I have been really self conscious about it. Most summers I wore long pants to cover it. I hated when I noticed people notice it. I didn’t want people to see it. So I hid it.

But I realize some things…

  • We all have scars; both physical and emotional
  • We typically hide our scars, I know that I hide mine
  • Our scars make other people uncomfortable so, we don’t show them; for fear of what others will think, fear of seeming weak, of being judged, being misunderstood, _______________________.

But our scars tell a story. Mine tells a story.  Scars originate with pain, whether it be physical or emotional. Sometimes, and in my case, the origin is both. My scar began as open wound. A literal, physical open wound. The instant I received that physical wound was the instant my heart became an open wound; both resulting in the most unexplainable pain I had ever felt.

The wound on my leg took a long time to heal. I use the word heal lightly because I wouldn’t say that it actually healed.  After a long and painful period of time, it closed up.  But it left a big “ugly” mark on my leg that will never go away. It has changed and improved over the last 6.5 years, it has faded, although it is still very visible to the eye.

The story behind that scar is one that tells the story of the open wound in my heart, the wound that is not visible to the eye.  This wound is much more painful. It is a story of loss and sorrow, of suffering and grief, sadness and anger, fear and isolation…

This wound isn’t so easily “closed.”

Neither will ever fully heal. They will never go away.

You see, for whatever reason, I am supposed to be here. I’ve often wrestled with the burning question, why?? That is a question that I will never truly understand on this side of heaven. I do know that there are two young people that almost lost two parents in the same day. They needed me. I also know that my work here isn’t done. I don’t fully know what that entails but I do believe we all have a purpose. I also know that life is precious. I know that our days are numbered, tomorrow is not promised.

We can choose to let the pain behind our scars keep our wounds from closing. We can choose to hide our “ugly” scars and live in fear; fear of judgment, fear of being misunderstood, fear of being seen as weak and vulnerable. We can let the pain overtake us and keep us from fulfilling our purpose.

Whatever pain and scars you are trying to hide, may not ever fully heal. But, when you face them, when you show them, when you overcome them; there will be a story, a testimony of what you have made it through. That story just might help someone else who would otherwise be overtaken by the pain, that otherwise might choose to lay down and quit living.

I’m don’t hide my visible scar anymore. It is a constant reminder of loss and pain for sure. But, it is also a reminder of where I’ve been, what I have made it through and of what should have, could have, but did not end me.

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” ~ Steve Goodier

Choosing to Live

www.facebook.com/819327172/posts/10155133339482173

Two Years Ago Today

Haven’t made a lot more stops (yet) but I have definitely made a lot of steps.

I still have a long way to go in healing the broken places in my heart, but I can’t negate the progress thus far. Honestly, I think that part is truly a life long process.

This journey has been, ironically and so much like, a roller coaster; so full of ups, downs, twists, and turns. The ironic part is that roller coasters were our absolute favorite thing. While most couples plan something romantic on special occasions, we went to Kings Island on ours. We loved to laugh and have fun, being goofy and like big kids. As much as that is who I am, I lost that part of myself when I lost him. I’ve had to intentionally work hard at trying to find that in myself again. I’m not there yet, but again, I’ve made steps in the right direction.

Ive learned to be grateful for the ups as well as equally thankful for the downs. That might not make sense, but it’s in those times that I’ve learned to put my trust in God. It’s in those times that I’ve allowed Him to not only walk me through, but to teach me so much in the process. My faith has increased and I’ve discovered so much about myself and who He created me to be.

Now to, hopefully, begin to add more of those stops I was talking about in the FB post above.

Choosing to live is a decision. I like to think that I can, eventually, be so genuinely happy that I can live enough for the both of us.

We always went to Kings Island for our anniversary. The last time we went, he stopped me as we were walking and started dancing with me in the middle of a crowd of people. One of my best memories ever ❤️

Living for Two

My heart continues to look for you. It doesn’t understand the physical separation and wasn’t ready for you to go.

My soul knows that you are at peace and assures me that we will meet again.

As difficult as it is to accept, I won’t see you again this side of heaven. I will try my absolute best to live, this earthly life I have left, to the fullest.

The Empty Chair

Today is a day to be thankful. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for! However, this also a very sad day for many because someone will be missing. I always remember both. My heart for today is that we all remember what today is really about. Hug those you love and don’t leave things unspoken, for tomorrow is never promised. If you are one with a heavy heart because your person is missing, I will say a special prayer for you today. Again, there is always something to be thankful for, but that in now way negates the fact that you are missing someone, that there will be an empty chair.

Wishing all my friends and family a beautifully blessed day ♥️

Letting Go 2.0

On this day 6 years ago, I had no idea that in one short week, our lives would be forever changed. In an instant.

Some days it feels like yesterday while other days it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime since I’ve seen you.

So much has happened.

You’ve missed so much.

What I’m finally realizing?

I’VE MISSED SO MUCH

The majority of the last 6 years has been spent going through the motions, getting by each day, surviving. We have come so very far, but the fact still remains that I haven’t been able to truly live.

Why haven’t I been able to live?

I haven’t been able to let go.

I wrote a post about this very thing nearly a year ago (click Letting Go to read that post) and I have done what I said I was going to do. I said I was going to try and give the pain over to God with the intention of moving forward.

How is it that I have been working at “letting go” for almost an entire year and my hurt is still so present that I’m wiping tears as I write this?

It’s a process. A long process. It takes intent. It takes work. It’s not easy.

I feel like I’ve done the work, but now what?

I have to make an actual decision, speak it out loud, and really let it go.

I know what this looks like in my mind, but my heart just can’t do it and mean it.

But I have to.

Stay tuned, friends 💕

How do you let go of someone who was so much a part of you? How do you let go when your heart still loves them with every beat? How?

Joni Grief to Life

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 ♥️

The Next Chapter

There are things that I need to do and things I need to finish in order to move forward into the next chapter of my life. I’ve been working hard at this.

One of the most important things that I need to do is proving to be extremely difficult. I need to finish the book that I started several years ago.

Most people would assume (after hearing I’m writing a book) that the idea came to me after losing my husband. I actually felt led to write a book two years prior. I wrote, off and on, up until I got to the point of writing about our accident.

You see, my husband and I went through a lot of trials throughout our marriage; many of which could have ended it. But, we never gave up in each other. That, to me, is a story worth telling; a testimony.

What sort of testimony did I have now?

Here I am, almost 6 years later.

My story isn’t at all what I thought it would be originally. But, I definitely have a story to tell. It’s just a different one.

I have struggled in trying to understand why I haven’t been able to finish, but I think I know now. Finishing the book might just mean the literal finishing of the chapters of the life I once knew. I know in my heart that this could be a very important part of my allowing myself to move forward. As much as I want and need that, the truth is that I’m scared. I want to let go of the the pain, but there is a part of me that holds on out of fear of letting go of him.

I actually wrote on the subject of letting go awhile back. It couldn’t be more relevant than it is now. You can read that post here: Letting Go

I’m going to do this.

I need to do this.

Wish me luck, my blog family.

xoxo Joni

Purpose over Pain

It’s one thing to think it. Some days you just need to say it out loud…

“My purpose is greater than my pain.

My destiny outweighs my history.

My hope is greater than my hardship.

God’s grace outweighs my shame.

My blessings are bigger than my burdens.

God’s favor outweighs my failure.”

Joni 💗 Grief to Life

Feeling Guilty For Grieving

Did you know that the majority of people who have lost a loved one are made to feel guilty about their grief?

Did you know that someone grieving often isolates themselves, disconnects from people, because they feel misunderstood?

Unfortunately, a loved one left behind will often suffer in silence because they have been told:

It’s time to move on.

Aren’t you over this yet?

You need to stop dwelling on this.

It’s been long enough, it’s time to let go.

Aren’t you ready to get on with your life yet?

Or, some of my favorites:

He’s in a better place.

Time heals all wounds.

God needed another angel.

Everything happens for a reason.

Although, some of these things are said with the best of intentions, let me make this clear, they just aren’t helpful! At all!

We didn’t lose something that can be replaced. We lost a person. For a lot of us, this person was an every day part of our lives for many years. This isn’t something you just “get over.”

You are missed

You were special

You were beautiful

You were important

You are not forgotten

Your life had meaning

You were so very loved

You are more than a memory

~Joni ♥️ Grief to Life

Grief is a very personal thing and it is unique to each Individual person. There is a long and painful process you have to go through in order to learn to live without a person that meant so much to them. The path they have to walk isn’t going to look the same as it will for someone else. We have to work at finding our way in a new life that was not chosen or planned.

So, wherever they are on their journey…

Don’t judge. Don’t tell them what to do. Don’t tell them how they should feel. Because let me assure you, those things will hinder their grief process, it certainly won’t help it.

Be there. Be patient. Encourage them to talk about how they feel. Love them right where they are. Repeat.

For those of you who have lost an important part of your life, your loved one…

Take all the time you need. Don’t feel guilty for feeling however you feel at any point on your journey. Those that don’t understand, unfortunately, will someday. This is your life. Nobody is walking this road for you. Do it your way! And lastly; acknowledging, feeling, and expressing your emotions is an important and extremely critical part of the grief journey. Without that, you remain bound and unable to grow and work towards emotional and spiritual health. Yet, it’s one of the most difficult things to do, for many reasons.

For me, I have found that writing is my best outlet. It’s my therapy and where God most often speaks to my heart. I encourage you to seek out the way that best let’s you feel and express your emotions. It’s crucial. xoxo Joni ❤️

 

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