From Memorial Day to Labor Day – something changed in me.
An usually hot summer and busy schedule left little time for relaxation.
Extended time at the River, was rare.
Racing and driving kids to activities was prevalent.
But something changed in me.
God asked me to take some steps out of the comfort zone I was striving to maintain.
Memorial Day found me traveling to Fort Leonard Wood, MO to visit our Marine.
He had an extended leave and wanted to know if I would visit.
I have rarely traveled and only once alone.
The guilt of leaving my family, anxiety of traveling alone sent me into a level of panic and anxiety I have never experienced.
Since the death of our older son, those feelings have intensified and slowly become a part of my reality.
Anxious thoughts of the kids never returning home, invade my routine.
Fear in the middle of the night that my farmer had stopped breathing while the
toxins of chemo and radiation somehow battled the cancer that was raging through his body.
All these had begun to take root in profound ways that I didn’t know.
The trip to Ft Leonard Wood would magnify these feelings immensely.
Pulling a suitcase through the airport, gate changes, the heat, all made for a very stressful trip.
The time with our Marine was amazing and he was a rock through my angst.
The flight home was a disaster with fear and anxiety holding such a grip.
I missed my flight.
I could hardly move.
And I was alone in an airport with thousands of people.
I prayed; but didn’t know what to say.
I called my farmer.That Farmer of Mine
My poor farmer.
I can laugh now.
But then I couldn’t.
He talked me to a ticket agent and I was able, quite easily, to get another flight home; with no added cost.
I came home from that trip defeated.
I had guests arriving for a month.
An incredibly busy schedule.
I had reports to write and book work to do, yet I could barely function.
I decided at that point that I would rarely leave home.
It was safer.
I love our home.
What I didn’t know was that God was doing something in me.
I was changing.
The me I knew was changing.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The ache and deep loss had changed who I was.
Yet, I didn’t know this new me.
I had been defined by deep loss over a 5 year stretch.
I have lost my parents, son, dog, close family friend, 3 dear friends, watched my farmer battle cancer
and then the loss of our 2 main cow barns and damage to 2 other barns and our home.
Loss has been my companion.
Day after day.
It has paralyzed me.
I had come to expect the worst.
I braced myself each day for what new grief would become my companion.
What I didn’t know was that God, with this trip,
was beginning a transformation that I wouldn’t see until the end of the Summer.
I was quite easily able to accomplish my goal of staying home.
With all the drivers in the house, staying home was easy.
Avoiding people and large crowds was a great thing.
I felt the angst subside.
My controlled little world was wonderful.
Until. . .
My cousin and I had a conversation.
A short text about getting together to celebrate our 50 years around the sun.
That text set into motion planning a trip to see each other.
Something neither of us have ever done.
She has been so faithful.
Attending my High School graduation.
Coming both to my moms funeral and then my sons; only 7 months a part.
But a casual comment led to a journey that would change the course of my life forever.
I would need to fly again.
If you have ever dealt with anxiety, fear or panic attacks you will understand the great dilemma I was now facing.
To say no, would be to miss out on time with my dear cousin.
To say yes, would mean the quiet cushion I have placed around me would shatter.
So, adding to the guilt of travelling again, fear, anxiety, sheer panic, I booked a trip over Labor Day.
I had most of the summer to fret about the trip.
I would wake up in a sweat.
During the days I would stop and think what have I done?
I was wasting so much time and energy I didn’t even know it.
The brutal heat the Northeast had made life difficult for me ( little did I know what heat was).
The stress of the upcoming trip added to that made me quite a mess.
Then to my great surprise, my college friends and room mates began a discussion about
getting together for a weekend to celebrate our 50th birthdays.
(Indeed I have celebrated all year)
In me began to stir sheer panic.
I couldn’t go with this group of women.
The enemy threw large darts at my heart.
I can’t leave my family again.
What kind of a person am I?
I need to cancel the trip with my cousin.
Who do I think I am?
And the lies tore at my soul.
I went on that trip with my cousin.
I flew by myself.
And you know what?
I was fine.
I won’t say I was so relaxed that I enjoyed it.
Something had changed in me.
But I didn’t panic.
And I didn’t experience the anxiety that I had had before.
My cousin met me at the airport and when I hugged my dearest friend, I felt a sense of deep peace.
Over the next 5, brutally hot days. . . .yes, heat like I have NEVER experienced. . . EVER, God did a beautiful work in my heart.
I don’t have all the answers and the deep ache and pain are still present.
But the time away, being still, resting and restoring were long overdue.
My cousin is quiet, thoughtful; a beautiful person.
She was just what I needed.
She too has known deep loss.
She too knows the healing power of the risen Christ.
A lover of books and words we talked and refreshed.
We swam in the ocean that doesn’t take your breath away.
We swam in a pool that again, was delightful to enter.
We had times of quiet that soothed my anxious spirit.
I returned from that trip deep in thought and prayer.
I knew something had changed.
That fear and anxiety had lost its grip.
Being defined by loss seemed to have shattered.
The gathering with college friends now loomed.
Yet, the intensity of the guilt of going away had diminished.
I began to look forward to the time.
What a sweet, sweet time it was too.
28 years of friendship.
Many losses and life changing events have passed since we were all together in college.
I couldn’t see what God was doing on Memorial Day.
It wasn’t until Labor Day, Elijah’s birthday, that I was able to see what He was beginning.
I am not defined by my losses.
Grief will always be my companion.
The relief from panic and anxiety is beginning to open a whole new world.
God in his infinite wisdom brings grace and joy in ways I would never have imagined.
Something has changed in me.
A friend posted this song and the lyrics are so beautiful.
Please take a few moments to listen.
There is a face book version of this with the women singing around the kitchen table.
I couldn’t get that to post. You can check out saved videos on our face book page to see that.
Something has changed in me . . .
And I know:
A Day Will Come
I will understand it better
By and by somehow
Heartache will not last forever
And yet for now
His plan keeps unfolding
And glory lies ahead
I don’t see it yet
But a day will come