I am by nature a performer, a pleaser and up until recently my life’s mantra could be summed-up in one word, STRIVING. There’s no room for rest and acceptance in that word, no, just: trying harder, being better, tightening the grip, gritting the teeth and pasting on the fake smile; then about a year ago that all began to change. I came to the end of me. I was so, so weary. There was nothing left to do, no more energy to be more or be better, the smile faded and in that very place is where He met me and a seed of hope took root.
I grew up thinking “normal” meant living the dream: two and a half kids with the white picket fence and an adoring husband on my arm. You may be laughing by now because for so many of us that’s not our reality. I’m gonna be totally honest with you though and say that even as I've got a foot planted firmly on the other side of “crazy” and am learning to accept and embrace my width and breadth there are still days where I think that if I just could live in my wish-for “normal” I would be whole, rested in spirit, fully content and happy, ever so happy. Now, if that’s not the biggest lie from the pit I don’t know what is but we all can get snagged on the lies we believe and this was/is a big one for me.
My reality a few years back was this: At the age of 22 after an emergency hysterectomy I was left barren and only able have this one child we’d been given. Her birth was shrouded by loss and grief and yet I there I was rocking this little sweet life to sleep. The guilt of those conflicting feelings made me feel like I was losing it. During those years I experienced a dark overwhelming ache which left me broken and feeling left for dead. I was later diagnosed with depression; going on medication (and even admitting to you now) was one of the most humbling experiences I’d walked through. In those next three years we would discover our girl had emotional/physical challenges that dictated our daily living. I didn't own a picket fence. And didn't think I ever would. My husband and I were both very strong-willed first-born children. Enough said.
My current reality is this: My base circumstances haven’t changed. I am still barren but I no longer feel like I’m wearing it like a scarlet letter. I've been off of any form of medication for about two years and can honestly say by God’s grace there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel which for a time I had stopped believing. In the place of frequent personal melt-downs there is good and healthy processing taking place and living is done out of an opened hand not a clenched fist. It’s not all roses as most of my friend’s lives consist of multiple children and a clear-cut road of mothering to journey down where as I’m grappling with the wide unknown and for my type A personality let me tell you this is a stretching place to rest in. It’s true, that time is a healer. I’m breathing deep of life these days and learning to live out of my personal story, not wishing I could be transplanted into someone else’s. There have been major strides made with our daughter. She is doing amazing well and is working herself out of therapy and a diagnosis. I currently own a 4 foot piece of white picket fence I proudly display in the front of our small-town “starter-home” of seven years. My husband and I are still both strong-willed first-born, but we are learning new steps to this thing called marriage and when the voices raise in the heat of the moment we are learning to breathe deep and try again. But there is also this: my reality is just that… mine. I am redefining “normal” every day as I learn to accept, embrace and see with heart wide open. I’m no longer viewing life through the grid of stolen opportunities but rather seeing my days as given, chosen, gifts. It isn't always easy. But then, I wasn't created for ease. I was made for “such a time as this.”
What is “normal” anyways? The view through your window may look ever so different from what you thought it would or your best friend’s or the people surrounding you. You know what? That’s OK. We all have a story. There are past chapters and parts of it that we write every day. One of the truths I’m realizing is that I can choose what to write today, in this moment no matter what has been written earlier in my story. There is power in the choosing. Not out of my own strength or striving but out of a beautiful place of receiving what I need each moment to choose to live, truly live, wide-eyed and fully present. Tasting of true rest, glimpsing of what it is to just BE.
Time to get your GLOW on
It's SUMMERTIME and we all want to have that sun-kissed look without getting to many rays. Let's talk bronzer. Worn alone it can look harsh or dull but applied correctly, worn with a bit of blush and your golden! The technique: Pick a bronzer color two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Tap off the excess powder from your brush and apply along the jaw, under the cheek-bone (make those fish-lips and you'll see your cheekbone) and up along the hairline; creating a number 3 on the face. Blending and swirling the brush as you go to work it into the skin preventing any sort of line. Finish by adding a pop of pink or peach to the apple of the cheek and you've got an instant sun-kissed glow!
BHG Photo: Jeff Harris