Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

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I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

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Rough Days, Sleepless Nights

Last night I was kept awake until 5am with nightmares bordering on hallucinations, due to a mild fever. Eventually I managed to fall asleep and slept until 2pm, waking with an insane hunger and being short of oxygen because of the congestion in my lungs.

So, entire holiday weekend taken up by sickness. Yayyyy. Literally nothing I had planned/needed to accomplish has been done. Nothing. Very annoyed by that, but, can’t do anything about it.

Spending several days at home unable to do anything but watch TV and eat things may have been good for me physically, I’m sure I needed the break. But mentally and emotionally hasn’t been good at all. I honestly hadn’t realized how much the business of a full time job, running errands and keeping the house up has kept my mind away from both the continuing grief of being without a mom and the desire for relationship. About four people I know got engaged in the last few months, several people I went to youth groups with or worked with (who are younger than me) are married and about to have their first child. One of my close friends just celebrated her one year anniversary and my cousin’s was today.

Being without my mom has actually made it worse in a way. She was one of the people who never got tired of encouraging me that “my prince will come”, constantly reminding me that I am beautiful and I am desirable. You never realize how valuable that gentle reminder is until it’s gone. God has been so faithful to remind me of these things both through scripture and the kindness of random people I meet. He has not left me through this. If anything, He’s helped me draw closer to Him and learn to long for His word even more. But nothing takes the place of a mother’s love. God designed it that way, and I know He cries with me. He’s holding my heart together when I don’t have the strength to.

Seeing my Dad without his bride is one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. It is not good for man to be alone. (Gen. 2:18) As I’ve written about before, few is the number of people “created for singleness”, God designed us for that intimate relationship. It teaches us to be more selfless, to put their needs above ours, but it also provides companionship in a world where few are trustworthy. “Till death do us part” is a vow that guarantees that even on your worst day, you’ll still have at least one companion by your side. Until death, that is. Marriage is such a beautiful union of two imperfect people learning to love one another with Christlike love. And that makes the loss of a spouse all the more painful. I’ve seen my Dad hurt before, but seeing him lonely is so much worse. He tries to hide it, to smile and be silly and just keep on going. But I can see it in his eyes.

I have no doubt that God has a plan for all of this. I know He’s got a man for me, and I’m certain He won’t leave my Dad lonely forever. He’s already used our testimony in the lives of those around us, people are amazed by the joy we continue to have despite the loss. God has blessed us with a peace that passes understanding and He comforts us in our mourning. We still have our really hard days, but we are making it.

Today just happens to be one of those really hard days…

~TQG

Ambulances

Ever since November 22, 2014 I have had an emotional reaction to seeing ambulances running lights and siren to or from an incident. I’ve always made it a point to pray for police officers when I see them running code or stopping a car, having family members and friends in law enforcement makes you more sensitive to the dangers of their job. And I’ve always made a point to pray for the people I see involved in car accidents along the road, but it hasn’t been until now how important ambulances, EMS, and EMT’s are. My mom wasn’t currently in critical condition when she took her last ride in an ambulance, but that ride marked the last time she traveled anywhere, the last time she sat in a brand new recliner her parents had purchased for her, which had only arrived hours before.

There is something sobering about putting yourself in another persons/family’s shoes. What does that ambulance ride mean for them? I remember looking through the blinds in the computer room of my house, watching them roll my mom, who laughed and joked with them the whole way, out to the ambulance and load her in. I remember a sense of just, complete denial. “This isn’t necessary. She’s being over dramatic. She could have walked out to a car on her own. She’s fine. She’ll be back in no time, she’s getting better.” But as much as my brain tried to convince me that everything was fine, my heart was heavy. I spent the rest of that day alone in the house, listening to the clocks tick, wondering what it would be like to live in a house without her and trying to convince myself that wasn’t going to happen.

And that’s what comes to me every time I see an ambulance. So I take a few moments and pray for them, for the EMT’s, the family. Because I know what it’s like to feel like you’re floating in an ocean of unknown.

I say all this as a reminder, to you, my loyal readers. It’s very easy to get to the point in your life where you just motor along, totally absorbed in your life and your mission and your purpose. Taking time to set all the “you” aside and put yourself in another’s position, pray for them not with pity, but with empathy, is something indescribably valuable. Not only is prayer powerful, and you are no doubt having an impact on their life as they fight the battle of this world, but opening yourself up to another’s struggle helps you better appreciate your own blessings. At least, it has for me.

Second, lesser thought for you along similar lines… I’ve been going on long walks lately, about 2.5 miles. Last time I did this, about half way through, I realized that I was walking along staring at the ground. For good reason, the route I take is quite rocky and uneven in places, and I don’t like twisted ankles. But, when I realized this and looked up, took in the scene around me and looked ahead instead of right where I was, I instantly felt better. Like, emotionally and physically felt a lot better. As it turns out, looking down slightly constricts your air ways, so you feel very slightly light headed if you’re doing something strenuous and looking down the whole time (oops). Seeing the light of the sun and the wind in the trees always makes me a happier person in general. I’m way too tired at the moment to make some great life lesson out of this about not getting caught up in the struggles of the day. Instead, just, look around at how beautiful everything is when you walk and… y’know.. Breathe.. normally… It helps, I promise!

I think I’ll head towards the bed now. heh…

~TQG

This is where the title goes if you’ve thought of one

Yesterday would have been my mom’s 48th birthday. Nearly three months since she went home, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Or maybe it does. It feels like it’s been forever, but at the same time, it still feels fresh, like it was only yesterday.

I find myself being hit with things sometimes quite suddenly… Not long ago I went with a friend of mine to David’s Bridal to pick up her wedding dress. While we were there she saw a thermos that said “Mother of The Bride”, and exclaimed “Oh! I love that! Definitely getting one of those for mom!” Moments like that just ache. I found myself looking around at all the dresses that night, seeing glowing young brides trying them on and their mom’s giving them advice, “Hmm.. I like that one, but I liked the lace better on the other one.” and thinking to myself “I don’t even know if I’ll ever be able to do this without crying…” My mom’s opinion on those things means more to me than anyones. My mom’s opinion on men, her approval, means so much to me.

Yesterday I decided to change my name on Twitter and Instagram, so instead of having my first and last name, it has just the first and middle. Because my mom’s name, Elizabeth, is also my middle name. I’ve always liked it, but in honor of her I’m sporting it even more proudly. Moriah means “The Lord is my Teacher” and Elizabeth means “Pledged to God”. I think that’s a pretty powerful combination.

The Lord is my Teacher,  I am pledged to Him.

Since November, I’ve definitely noticed changes in myself. Good changes, I’d say. Improvements. Ignoring the grief driven first month of eating whatever was in front of me, I’ve made my health a top priority. Doing some form of exercise almost daily and eating much more purposefully than I was previously. I’ve gotten more relaxed around people, become more outgoing, and a little bit better about answering my phone when it rings (It’s a serious problem, haha). I’m less concerned about peoples opinions and I (mostly) stopped hiding from people with cameras, mainly because I wish there had been more pictures of mom. She never liked having pictures taken, so there aren’t many recent ones of her. I’ve also made it a point to do at least one social thing a week. As in spend time with people on purpose not just go to starbucks and sit near people. (Guilty of calling that social time… yup.) Which has helped me immensely, because time around coworkers needs to be counterbalanced with time around those who encourage me with their speech and actions.

I’m trying (still) to find a place to take vocal lessons, but I’m coming up empty on that. Also looking into yoga classes (a pastime I miss terribly, one of my favorite forms of exercise) and still exploring the realm of college classes, trying to decide what to spend my precious few moneys on (I’m aware that moneys is not a word). At 21 I’ve pretty much given up on finding a “career” that I want to pursue, I will argue with anyone who claims that it’s somehow an incomplete view of life to just want to be a wife and mother. Not saying I won’t work, just that what kind of work I do is irrelevant to my dreams. I do love children’s ministry, but in all honesty, I’ve known far too many youth ministers (including my parents) to think for even a moment that you can earn a living that way. It’s a fabulous thing to do, whether you volunteer or do it part-time, but it’s not a career you can live on, in my experience. I’m hoping eventually I can arrange my work schedule in a way that will allow me to do that on the side, because that would really make my heart happy. Kids are such bright stars of life.

Anyway, I’ve been off work today, and gotten almost nothing done except catch up on some missed sleep, wash a few dishes and talk to my dog. He got stung by something yesterday, his ear is very swollen and painful… I keep telling him he’s kind of a dork for managing to get stung by something in 30 degree weather. But he doesn’t seem to understand… Then again, I don’t think clearly when I’m on benadryl either so I can’t really blame him.

Until next time!

~TQG

 

“…groans too deep for words.” (Romans 8)

I have a board on Pinterest that I add to whenever I’m really struggling with missing my mom. Because sometimes I can find words in a pin that I can’t find in my heart, because there are pains too deep for words. If you’re interested in checking it out (warning, it’s probably kinda depressing) here’s the link.

I’m comforted by the fact that even when I have no words to express how I feel, God hears my hearts cry.

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)

I know that there are some who don’t understand why I’m not angry at God for taking my mom. And I’ll be honest, sometimes do get angry, but I always spend extra time talking to God when I am, and He always soothes my heart. I prayed for my mom’s healing, and God healed her permanently. She will never shed another tear, never again will she struggle to breathe. She’s been healed beyond my wildest dreams, and I will get to see her again. And though she’s not right here where I can talk to her and see her anymore, I know she’s still praying for me. Constantly going to the Father on my behalf. And I know she’s watching me try my hardest to be the “woman of the house”, and she’s proud of me.

What hurts the most is knowing that she won’t be at my wedding. She won’t be able to babysit my children, they won’t have the benefit of having her as their grandma. So many people that I know never got to meet her, and that really bothers me. She was so important, such a huge part of my life, that I feel like you can’t really know or understand me unless you’ve met her.

The night she died, I spent almost the entire night sitting on my couch in the dark, across the room from one of my close friends who knew her well. I just sat and alternated between crying so hard I couldn’t breath, and being totally numb. And sometimes I could hear her crying too, and that meant more than anything to me. Because you can’t cry over someone you didn’t love. I needed the company of someone who needed to cry too.

And I always will. Any friends I have who knew and loved my mom have become limited edition. More valuable than they can understand. All people are special and irreplaceable, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t help but want to protect those few that can not only understand my pain, but remind me of the memories that keep her alive in my heart. Anyone can say “I know that must be hard, and I’m here for you”, but only a few can end it with “you remember that time she said____”. There is something so healing about smiling when your heart aches. Letting a memory give your heart a hug when it feels like it’s falling apart.

Anyway, that’s my thought(s) for the time being. I know I’m not the only one struggling with loss, I hope that God uses posts like this to help others going through the same thing. Please, feel free to drop me a comment if God used something I’ve written to comfort your heart. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

~TQG

Jumping In

Starting back to work this evening with a sneeze. Or two. Or ten. Was kept awake much of last night with a cold, and broke out the cold meds this morning. Lots of vitamin C, zinc, cranberry juice, coffee, and water. And so far I have emptied and repurposed one box of tissue. They make great mini trash cans once they’re empty! … I’ll go to work smelling like vaporizing chest rub rather than perfume… Sadly…

These last few days have been a huge struggle. I miss my mom. It all feels so unreal, like a bad dream. The grief roller coaster is rough, laughing one minute and feeling like your chest is about to crack open from sadness the next. Stress of the unknown is constantly knocking at our door as we try and figure out how to manage bill payment. There are 11 different medical bills all needing paid. Eleven. And not little bills either. And on top of that, electric, water, internet, mortgage (why is there a T in that word??) and phone bills. All of this I knew existed before, but never had to sit down and look at the numbers… I’m glad I’m learning it now, but it’s still a lot to take in.

Literally just now I’m getting a text from my manager asking if I can come in early… *sighs* Thus begins my jump off the cliff of real life.

Next Chapter Of Adulthood

Less than one month of 2014 left, and today I started the somewhat daunting but also exciting task of becoming my Dad’s personal accountant. Together we are delving into the dark chasm of bills and debts and setting up a special bill paying schedule for me to work from, so that I may take on my new role as payer of the bills. Though this is a pretty big task, I’m actually happy about it. It’s something I’d have to learn to do eventually, but this way I’m learning it while I still have someone to help crunch numbers and build budgets. Someone who actually knows how.

The last.. two weeks? Has been quite a roller coaster. Lots of family and friends in town, dropping food by, spending time with us, keeping our minds busy. But this week we are mostly (but not totally!) alone as far as company goes. Which is good, we aren’t very good company when we’re trying to pay bills. (Paying bills can make one a bit gwumpy.)

My parents and I have always had a very close relationship. And now that we’re missing one, my Dad and I have stuck close. Both of us have been having dreams lately, dreams that try and convince us that Mom is still alive. Mine often include Mom showing up and saying the doctor’s lied to us, and that she survived, and when I wake up, I feel like I’m still dreaming. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel real.

So often I see or hear of something really fun or cute, and my first thought is “I need to save that and show it to Mom!”. Or I’ll get dressed, and want to ask her opinion on my outfit. But I can’t. And every time my brain makes that subconscious suggestion, the reality of her loss hits me again.

She was 47. Way, way too young to spend her last week of life in a hospital bed, getting stuck with needles multiple times a day. I held her hand for some of those needles. And I was there, in the room when she died. Every memory of that night sits at the edge of my mind, nagging at me. Threatening to show up while I sleep.

The first three days next week, I’ll be home alone for most of the day. I’m intending to go to the gym a lot, read a lot, do laundry and clean. But even so, neither my Dad nor I have any desire to be alone right now. We’ll see how it goes…

 

Just The Beginning

And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures…had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

~C. S. Lewis

Last Goodbye

I love you, Mom. I don’t know how I’m going to do this without you and your gorgeous laugh, your knowing gaze and your corny humor. I wish I had said I love you one more time, given you one more hug. Friday night was the last time I really laughed with you, when I told you I’d seen a cute male nurse and you said you’d give him my number and tell him he had to go through you first. I’m holding tight to that one last really good memory.

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