Through to the Other Side of Crazy–3

“HALF MEASURES AVAILED US NOTHING. WE STOOD AT THE TURNING POINT. WE ASK HIS PROTECTION AND CARE WITH COMPLETE ABANDON. “Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) 

 

As I sat with my daughter in her car that cold January day, it became clear to me that by my coming clean to her I was marking this place in time with a very defining line.

And there was no going back after I answered her hard question of: “Had I ever watched the kiddos under the influence or driven them in an inebriated state. Anything short of complete and total honesty would not be acceptable, so I answered, my head hanging low, “yes.” That was all I could say and all she needed to hear.

She told me in no uncertain terms that if I ever wanted to care for my grandchildren again I was to get help for my problems. She was very calm, cool and collected about it all. She even stated very clearly and in no uncertain terms that she would tell my son and daughter-in-love of what I had just revealed to her; if I didn’t let them know myself and soon!!!

God has an interesting way of getting His way with us. Here I thought I was just simply giving up on living and would eventually end up sick like my sister and die an early death too. But He obviously had other plans for me.

As I am recalling this pivotal time in all of our lives, the next thing I recall was a scene I still have etched in my mind that I know will never leave me:

It was of my husband and I as we sat on the bench, on the porch of the house, that would soon become my second home. This being the residential detox and rehabilitation facility called The Ashland House.

Here I was, again leaving home to care for someone. But this time that person was me. For the next thirty days my focus would be only on myself and the job of getting clean, sober and healthy.

This new reality would become the new and much improved “Debi project.

 

I don’t know what was racing faster, as we sat there waiting for nine o’clock to come; the thoughts in my head or my heart.  Nervous and anxious does not do justice to how I felt in that moment. I was entering a strange place with no idea what to expect. I would be there for thirty days!

But there was Peace beyond all my understanding. I was ready for this new unknown and I knew God wanted me there. My family wanted me there.  For the first time in a very long time, I felt hope for my future. I was ready!

All I could think was, “This is my last shot at figuring me out and I have to do it, because if I don’t I will lose everything and everyone I love!!!”

This time I would “change” for real. This time will be different than all those other times I tried to change and failed.

And it was!

I had not been clean and/or sober for so many years I couldn’t even figure it out accurately in the beginning, but everyday I was there it became clearer and clearer as the fog lifted from my messed up head. I became healthier. I could see what I had done and the pain I had caused.

In those thirty amazing days I discovered that:

  • I was wrong.
  • I had done bad things that were insane.
  • I was a very sick girl.
  • In finally realizing those truths about myself  it put me on a new path to real peace and happiness.
  • I was safe here at Ashland and I could be sane again. 
  • I discovered the Debi that God had designed her to be.
  • I was an alcoholic and a drug addict.

During my time at the Ashland Home I also I realized I wasn’t alone in my crazy thinking and insane compulsive behaviors. There were other sick girls here and we were all on this journey of self discovery together.  I had a disease. I had an addictive personality, with symptoms and character defects that were common among us all.

It was truly liberating to understand why I did the things I did. Why I was the way I was. It was all such a crazy experience. But this was the good kind of crazy!!!

The other amazing thing I found was that God still loved me and that even though I’d walked away from Him, He was still there with open arms ready to show me how much He loved me. During those thirty days He would guide me through daily journaling, devotional times, tons of praying and our 3 required AA meetings a day, to become the woman I had always searched to be but could never find.

It seemed that for my whole life I longed to be this woman after God’s own heart. I had always desired to be the wife and mother and now grandmother that I knew existed and that I saw lived out in other women I admired. I so wanted that life.  And I did try.  I just hadn’t found that last missing piece to the puzzle that was my life. But now it all made sense!

All the things I learned and re-learned in those thirty days about life, myself and God helped put my broken life back together. I learned to really like the person God had designed me to be. I realized that if I stopped blaming everyone and everything, that life was then in the right perspective. This was huge because now I knew that I was to blame.  In taking ownership of that fact I could really make the necessary progress I needed to make.

I clearly saw the work I had to do in gaining back the trust I’d lost in myself and that my family had lost in me. While at the same time prove the kind of life I’d only dreamed of having, but was learning was possible.

Today I am strong, stable, sane and most definitely sober.  Today I am ever-growing and changing. I plan on continuing this path in life for as long as God sees fit to keep here on this earth. Today I want to live. I am a new creation, who’s been born again, into this woman God designed me to be from the time I was conceived.

The journey of my life has been a long and winding one. But with each new adventure I get to experience on this sober and healthy trip called life I get to experience a new aspect of who I am truly meant to be.  Today, I am a new wife, a new mother and the grandmother to my family I always dreamed of being.  I am a better friend and colleague to those I work with. I am an encourager and sponsor to help others on their journeys through life.

I love my life; and for today at least I am mostly sane:))  And to stay that way I’ve learned that the “Debi Project” will never end.

For we are ever evolving as the people God intends us to be.  We should never stop listening to His still small voice, because there will always be something He wants to refine in us. And that’s good. It’s OK!!! Hearing from God should be desired, no matter how smart or sane you think you are.

God has most assuredly saved me from that sinking ship I was going down in and He continues to reveal to me more of what He wants to refine and polish in me daily. It is a life worth living for sure and I never want to turn around or go back to whence I came.

And today It is very well with MY soul!

Posted in Alcolhol, Change, God, Grandkiddos, Marriage, Me--Debi, My Hubby, Pain, Prescription Drugs, Recovery | 2 Comments

And More from the Backwards “L” Saga

“She’s been here now for going on 4 days!!  I tell my husband. “It seems strange to me that she’d still be around but I guess she’s not hurting anything by staying. After all Anabelles been having fun with her and she seems to really like it here, so why not let her stay till she’s ready to go.”

Two months ago the drama and trauma that comes with breaking your ankle in 3 places began.  And now I’ve been out of my hard cast for almost 2 weeks now and hopefully Dr. Peng will release me this next appointment to start putting weight on my healing foot and walk again with 2 legs.

Then I’ll be able to retire my ride.  Although I’ve become very attached to my scooter, and it’ll be scary to retire her to the garage,  I am ready, yet again to begin another phase of this very long journey.

A journey that began with anger and sadness for all I thought I’d lost, has turned into more of a peaceful retreat of sorts. I’ve spent lots of lovely times praying, reading, writing and listening to that still small voice of God. I’ve also spent a lot of the time being still and waiting to hear from Him in regards to all my “why and what now” questions. And I am happy to say that a few of those questions were answered as my time rolled along these last months.

One morning during my quiet time God led me to list the things that I’ve discovered and experienced during these down days of recovery. Turns out the list was longer than I thought it would be. Here are a few highlights of my time:

  • I’ve had visitors. Some more than others; which is a major blessing to know who you really matter to. Then there were some I thought would call or come by, but nothing. This is the saddest realization I’ve had during this time:(((
  • I’ve become a much more compassionate and thoughtful person with a ton more patience. Especially spending a bit more time on FB, I’ve read what others life situations are like and have decided my situation has nothing on most! It’s given me perspective. This has given me the opportunity of having more folks to pray for:))
  • I’ve become more grateful for the little and simple things in life.
  • My hubby and I have fallen into what some would call an “old folks” rhythm. Eating in front of the TV has been apart of that. But we are ready to move back to a more advanced way of dining as soon as the elevation thing isn’t as important anymore and I again have 2 good legs to use.
  • I’ve grown more in love with said hubby Skip; and appreciate him so…. much more than I think I ever have!!! He has been chief cook and dog walker extraordinaire. I can’t wait to be able to wait on him again:)
  • I’ve exceeded my own expectations for my tolerance for pain.  And that after almost 5 years of sobriety I am proud to say that I am still as dry and clean as before this began!!!  This is huge for me and a real testament to relying on God’s strength and power to get me through some hard days and nights.
  • I’ve been available to listen to those that needed an ear and a shoulder to cry on: Seems people think since you are “off your feet” with only time on your hands that you are there for them. Which I loved that I was available! Through this situation God allowed me to be that listening ear and shoulder; and I am still being blessed by such people today!
  • I gained a new appreciation for exercise, since all that mine consists of is prone position leg lifts and foot rolls.  I am looking forward to more intense work outs like walking:)
  • I planned and re-booked our Hawaiian vacation of which we are looking very forward to.  Yippy!!

AND the most exciting is that I have spent quality time making new friends like “She.” You remember her from my opening paragraph right?

“She” was a fly that got into our house and actually lived for 4 days. Yes, the same fly!  “She” just kept hanging around and so she kind of grew on me. “She” continuously kept Anabelle busy by trying to catch her. She was courteous as flys go, never buzzing by your ear or landing in your food. She’d sit politely near by watching you eat, but not annoyingly so. But she is gone now, having drowned in Anabelles water bowl.

And so to complete my list of what I discovered and experienced:

  • I befriended a fly;  then regaled Skip with the days tales of “She,” me and Anabelle for 4 days in a row!!!! He laughed hysterically as I told him about her death.  “What’s so funny about that I thought?” Then almost spitting said to me, “You know you’ve spent too much time cooped up recouping, when you’ve had fun with, and talked to, a fly for 4 days running!!!” Ok, so you’d had to have been there. It really was prime time funny:))
  • And lastly that I am a bit nuts, but that’s ok because it makes life fun and sometimes makes other laugh. Although it be at you sometimes:((((

Yep! I’m done with all this sitting around talking to flys. I’ve loved the time I’ve had to grow closer to the Lord and closer with friends old and new; but I’m ready to move on to more out-going kinds of activities, like taking a walk outside.

And hey, how about driving a car again?!

And so that is my update and though I still miss “She,”  it is well with my soul:))))

 

Posted in Alcolhol, Bible, Change, God, Living LIfe, Me--Debi, My Hubby, Pain, Pets, Prayer, Prescription Drugs, Reading, Recovery, Who Debi is | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s the Question?

 

Just a quick but powerful read. One I opened up to in Mike Erre’s newest book-Astonished, this morning as I cried out to God another of those, “Why Lord?” questions.

 

“God takes us to places where we can’t figure it out or depend on our resources or intelligence. He does it because he wants us to trust Him, not our formulas, spiritual disciplines or knowledge of the Bible. He draws us onward using the acute sense of limitation and sorrow we feel. To bring us to the place where we “don’t know and can’t see” so that we’ll reach for Him and grab hold of Him after there is no other place to turn.”  Mike Erre-Astonished

Where do you find yourself in this today?  What why questions are you asking God to answer?

Are you wanting to reach out and take a hold of God’s welcoming hand and walk with Him through whatever it is you are going through?

The Bible teaches to seek, and that you shall find all you need. But you have to take the Lords hand and let Him lead you.

“KNOW GOD AND KNOW PEACE and answers.  NO GOD AND NO PEACE or answers.” dw 

I don’t have the answers yet that I need to some of my inquiries, but I trust God to lead me to them. Won’t you?

IT is WELL with my soul, how’s yours today?

Posted in Bible, Change, God, Living LIfe, Methods for Doing Life, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

More from the Backwards “L” Saga

 “I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6

 

They Say, it takes “twenty-one days a habit to make.” Well this my twentieth day of practicing the “toes-above-the-nose” lifestyle.  I’m almost to the mark. Yippy! But now that I am those twenty days in, I’ve decided that maybe joining my hubby at his 6 am boot camp classes, with the trainer from hell would be easier than dealing with this broken-in-multiple-places-ankle. At least twenty-one days of that torture would possibly have produced some stronger tighter abs and thigh muscles!  All I have now is multiple scars, misaligned hips (from driving my knee scooter from the bed or couch to the bathroom) and one very saggy calf muscle:(

Truth be told this is actually day twenty-two in the books, but I don’t really count the first two days of this, my latest trauma, because sleeping was about the only thing I did those first hours.

And then on day three, I met the most amazing doctor I’ve ever come to know.  Dr. Peng.  Doctor-toes-above-the-nose-Peng!

It wasn’t until this day that I actually saw the damage I’d done in the fall; saw and heard how long the healing would take; and saw THE cast. Dr Peng’s “Magic Cast!” Large isn’t a descriptive enough word for the size of this thing. Everyone I’d talked to during the course of discovering this godsend of a man kept talking about his “Magic Cast.” Now seeing it on my foot, all I could say was, Wow!!!

The next thing I learned was what a godly and prayerful man Dr. Peng is. I saw that first day that He was going to be the perfect doc for me! He is a man who speaks right to my heart through his firm, yet kind and gentle ways.

His fatherly methods and true concern for me remind me of my Father God. The Lord of my life that always knows what’s best for me. It doesn’t matter if I don’t want it or like it; God my Father always has the bigger-and-better-down-the-road-picture in His sights. And He’s patient with me even when I’m bucking His methods.

He simply repeats over and over till I believe Him, “Be still, trust me. Be still and know that I am God.”

From that first day, when Dr. Peng chose to begin his day earlier than he had to, to fit me in, I knew there was something special and different about this doctor. As we shook hands “Hello,” it was as if he was saying in that moment that he cared about me. Gently squeezing my hand as he consoled the distraught mess that I was. He then, while holding both of my hands, looked me directly in the eyes and said:

“Trut in the Looord. Do you trut in the Looord?”

He continued to stare into my tear filled eyes as if waiting for an answer.  So I said through sobs, that “Yes, yes I did.” He then stood up tall and said, “then trust me!”

And so began my treatment with Dr. Peng, even praying with Skip and I right before they wheeled me away for surgery!

So far his methods have been spot on with his “Magic Cast!” Just like he told me, I have had no real pain to speak of since about day three after the surgery. He also informed me that I would only need to use ibuprofen and acetaphetamine for whatever pain I did have. He told us that if he had his way, he’d never write another script for narcotics. Rather, prescribing lots of rest and prayer!

I often hear in my head, with that obviously Chinese inflection, Dr. Peng repeating his favorite combo statement/question:  “Trut in the Looord. Do you trut in the Looord?”

Hearing him in my head on a regular basis, has come in handy, as I am a recovering alcoholic/addict.  And with my additional lower back pain issues, pain medication could be an issue for me.  So I listen to that voice and say a quick prayer to the Lord to help get me through whatever discomfort I am in. The Lord has me covered even in these little details.  He knew I’d be better off with an orthopedic physician that wasn’t  heavy-handed with the drugs:))

Just like God my Father is always there for me, Dr. Peng, seems to be there very often as well, with personal calls to both Skip and I the night before the surgery, to make sure we were ok and ready for the big day. Mentioning at the end of the conversation to, “Trut in the Looord and all will be fine.” He called again the evening after my surgery as he was driving home. “Just checking to make sure everything is going good. That you are keeping your foot up right?” I give him an update and tell him thanks for calling.  He says “get some sleep and keep truting the Looord!”

How many doctors do that?! I have been and will continue to be truly blessed in having Dr. Peng as my physician. I do trust him and his thirty-five years of working on feet and ankles to care for me, to teach me new habits, to bring the healing to my ankle that there needs to be. No matter the several screws and plates that hold it together. No matter the number of days I have to keep my “toes-above-my-nose.” I trust him.

Another thing the good doc reminded me of, is that now I have lots of precious time to spend with Jesus. Time to rest in His loving arms, letting Him sooth me, teach me and love me.

But, I can’t seem to relax. I’ve been pretty antsy much of these last days trying to figure out all of those, “Why did this happen” questions. Anxious to know, “So now what Lord? What’s this time for? what do you want me to do? what can I accomplish? Etc etc.” 

Well after only about fifteen of these last twenty-two days of whining to Him, I think I know! After all these days of developing the physical disciplines that need to be in place in order for my ankle to be renewed, I think I now know what God has whispered in His always gentle voice to me about how He wants me to spend the rest of my recovery months.

But not wanting to run ahead of God and declare to the world my new resolution or anything, I cautiously yet confidently after hearing the Lord’s leading to do so, went back over the last days journal entries since my accident. I did so carefully knowing what had happened in my past when I thought I knew what God was telling me to do, and it ended up not even being close! I slowly and prayerfully looked for a pattern in all I had written in my journal. In all the points and scriptures that had jumped out at me. Not wanting to assume anything or hand-pick my will and not God’s, I spent a few days going back to those scriptures and spent more time praying about what it all could mean.

As I did so, I also heard Dr. Peng’s recognizable voice in my head saying, “Trut in the Looord.” I then circled all the words and phrases that I’d noted multiple times. It turned out there weren’t any patterns that spelled out to do anything. No get busy kind of phrases. But there seemed to be a prescription to “Be still and know that I am God.” To wait quietly before Him. That my hope and my peace were in Him alone. Over and over were the words: WAIT, BE STILL, PEACE.

I recognize this method of recovery. I’d done it before. I think in all the drama and trauma of these last weeks, I kind of lost that stillness and peace. That trust in Gods will.

I don’t know what my Father, my God will teach me during these next weeks of continued healing, but I know it will be exciting to be still. To wait and watch what He does. I’m sure on the other side of all this I will undoubtedly be impressed with what ever ‘it’ is that He’s taught me; that what ever we’ve come through together will have been life changing!

I know my ankle will heal, but the rest of these next few months I have no idea about all that will occur. But I do know one thing for sure. I will,  “Trut in the Looord!!”

“And it is VERY well with my soul!!”

Posted in Alcolhol, Bible, Change, God, Jesus, Living LIfe, Me--Debi, Methods for Doing Life, My Hubby, Pain, Prayer, Prescription Drugs, Purposeful Posts, Reading, Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Backwards “L” Saga

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will NEVER leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:16-17a.

“My back! No! Not my back.” These were the first frantically panicking thoughts I had yesterday as I tripped and toppled down the last of the three steps of the stairs that lead to my hubby and I’s master suite.  

I’d been having severe problems with my back and had very recently received a pain blocking epidural to be free of the constant pain (if just for awhile) that has plagued me since having two falls in a six month period, a little over two years ago.

My my back seems fine, but the recent term ‘cankle’ did nothing in describing my “deformed” ankle. The paramedics used that term during their assessment of my injury. 

My description would be more that of a fat backwards letter “L.” Not pretty at all! 

As I sit here now, my leg propped up in my “toes above the nose” position, I can’t help replay the whole embarrassing, excruciatingly painful and mostly maddening scene.  

As I lie there in the hallway, now strewn with the last of the laundry and other trip necessaries that I’d knocked off the stairs as I went down, I remember looking at that very ugly ankle thinking, “No Lord, no!!!”

It was in that moment that I realized what had just happened, wasn’t a dream scene re-enactment of one of the medical emergency shows I watch now and again. No, this was real life and this looked serious.

In that moment sounds came out of me that I only remember making one other time in my life. Sounds so guttural and agonizing, I didn’t even recognize my own voice!  With the sounds then came the swearing and the pounding of the carpet. I now knew this was real and that this would probably at least, delay our travels to Hawaii.

The two week, very badly needed vacation Skip and I had planned, and worked for, for month. Now possibly over before it started:(((

This morning in my Charles Stanley devotional I read this sentence. “The Holy Spirit is intimately involved in our life. He is more a part of us than our bones and blood. We are privileged to have a divine Helper guiding us on the path of God’s will.”

Then after another out-of-body experience; that of riding in an ambulance as the actual victim and then spending my time in the ER hallway, (“Busiest day ever.”) we got the news that I feared the most. No, not, “You broke your ankle in three places.” Nor, “You’ll have to have surgery; but not for a week.” But, “You won’t be going to Hawaii!!”  This was the worst news ever!

Well, at least that is how I felt as I looked up at my now, sad, husbands face:((

Plans scrapped we started moving ahead. Crutches and the dreaded pain med prescription (narcotics are not the best thing in the hands of an almost five year sober and finally (I think) sane individual) in hand we went home:(( 

Today as I thought more and more about the intimacy of the Holy Spirit, and that He is more apart of me than any of the physical, I am confident that my bones, nor my sinew, nor my flesh aren’t what makes me who I am. Rather it’s God’s Spirit alive in me that counts. His Spirit alive in me that guides. That He’s always there for me. That the Holy Spirit is my helper and that over these next weeks of this, my new journey, He will be teaching me and showing me Gods will for me.

It evidently wasn’t in Gods divine plan for us to go (at least now) to the Islands. But maybe it’s in His plan to use this time for something bigger. Something even more exciting. Maybe it’s some truth the Holy Spirit will lead me into.

We’ll just wait on Him and see:)

                                   And yes, believe it or not, it is well with my soul:)

Posted in Change, God, Holy Spirit, Living LIfe, Marriage, My Hubby, Pain, Prescription Drugs, Travel | 2 Comments

HELP!!!!!

The Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper that is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18

 

                             What does it mean to be a helper to your husband?

Don’t help him the way YOU THINK he should be helped, but the way YOU KNOW him to need help.

Ask him:). But with a quiet and gentle spirit. 1 Peter 3:4

Allow him to be honest and tell you without editing, correcting or interjecting your opinions of how HE needs YOUR help:)

Then prayerfully ask GOD to help YOU help the MAN YOU love:))))

 

And it is VERY well with MY soul!   How’s yours today?

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The Gift of Yourself

“Just because you are in someone’s presence, does not mean you are present”.

 

Today. Where ever you are, whoever you are with, be there.

TRULY be there:))))

It is well with my soul.  How is yours doing?

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Let’s Be Clear

“The prudent (wise) understand where they are going and what they are doing. But a fool deceives themself.”

Anxiety and Confusion come and make camp in our minds and hearts when we mix-up what we want with what we need.  Pray for the wisdom to know the difference and find peace that flows like a river.

 

                         It IS very well with my soul today!

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SHORT AND SWEET

“Tired of reliving the past. Done with   dreaming of what the future might be, she embraced the present for the gift it is.”

Won’t you join me in living that which is today.

And as always, it is well with my soul:)))

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The Empty Nest

As I awoke this morning I realized that it is still raining!  “Great,” I think.

This is a pretty big deal.  You see, here in Southern California we have been in a drought season for some time now, so this watering is very needed.

“Thanks Lord,” I pray as I sit here watching it come down. I’m thinking about how pretty the rain drops are, as the water glistens from the bit of sun shining on the bright green leaves, of the tree outside my window.  Next my prayers to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are for my relief from the drought I feel in my soul.

The Merriman Dictionary terms drought as “an excess period of dryness,” even one that can cause extensive damage. It is also said to be “a prolonged or chronic shortage or lack of something expected or desired.”

Hum?! Dried up is very much how I’d define how I feel right now.  I also feel very damaged as well. I feel as if I’m out in one of our deserts here in California.  Alone and parched.  I need some refreshment for my soul.

You see, I am officially and probably forever an “empty nester.”

I’ve decided the definition for the term “empty nester,” must be similar to a desert drought.  At least that is how it feels to be one. Dry, empty and void of life.

Walking out to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee, I stop and stare into the room that used to be colorful and filled with the evidence of life. And it hits me that it really is  empty. Sure there are signs someone used to live there. There are nail holes, blue sticky gook where the posters hung and a few small items that had been left.

You see, my youngest daughter, lived the past 7 plus years of her life there in that room and others just like it.

I’ve always wanted this time to come for Alyssa. And I knew this time would come for us as well. The day Alyssa would move out our home. That the time would come when she’d finally be ready to step into a life of her own; on her own.

That she’d leave us alone.

Recently I’ve had so many mixed emotions. Ups and downs over her leaving. One minute I am so excited for her and in the next the gloom roles in like a foggy day and I’m left feeling all alone in my sadness.

I find myself not thinking about her at all and then breaking down in tears as I notice her empty closet. Or the space at the kitchen counter where she’d join us for a quick dinner before running off to work or church.  Then there’s that spot on my bed where she’d sit and tell me about the latest “cute” boy she met or the wacky customer she had at work. Then the tears start flowing again. Or maybe it’s a TV show that we both watched together. Or that I’d taped for her is no more to be saved. And there is no more picking out Mangoes at the farmers market for her either.

Alyssa’s hearts desire had always been to meet the man she’s been writing to in her ” to my husband” journals for many years. The man she doesn’t know yet, but knows God has for her. To fall in love and get married to this forever love. But now at age twenty-seven her man is still out there somewhere waiting for her and she for he.  And her prolonged desire, as the second definition of drought states, has still not come to fruition.

For either of us.

You see, this was something I’d always dreamed would happen while she still lived at home. That we’d experience her special day the same way I did with her sister and brother.   I dreamed of sharing this time of her falling in love with the man that God has for her. All the fun we would have sitting up late talking about him and perusing all her wedding magazines.  Making plans and tasting cake. Then as time went on I’d be there as she got ready for the day she’d always dreamed of.  That she’d ride off and out from under our protective wings in the arms of her forever love.

But this is not to be.

That is not how she left us.

I praise my God and the Father of my soul that like other parents of children that either were taken away for some reason or died, Alyssa left of her own accord. She left our home healthy, happy and ready to take on the world! Ready for a whole new beginning in a new place. Her own place. Alyssa flew out of our nest to feather her own in Nashville Tennessee.

I don’t remember having this drought kind of feeling when she was away at college.

Of course she was only a few towns over and we saw her regularly when we went to watch her Basketball games. She was close by. She came and she went and all was well.

Until it wasn’t!

Through the years since Alyssa was fifteen years old she has battled a mental illness called Bi-Polar and eventually 7 and a half years ago she had to come back home to live. There were times we thought she might never lead the normal life of a vivacious and sane young woman. But God is beyond amazing and He has allowed her to be the woman she has always wanted to be. Now she’s living life to the fullest!

My Alyssa is now on her own and so am I.

The busyness of the planning for her move. The research. And the legwork I did for her is over.  

She’s settled, she’s busy with work and making new friends.  She’s met a “cute” boy that’s invited her to church. She’s even loving the soft snow that falls there in Tennessee. Who’dathunk? A Cali girl enjoying scrapping ice off her car!  

I have heard it said that whether a child actually dies or simply leaves home for good, that the emotional feelings are the same.  I believe it.  It still hurts a month later.

While Alyssa’s new life away from Mom and Dad isn’t exactly the way we’d envisioned it, her days of drought are ending. And it feels like mine have just begun.

Her dream of life on her own is now being watered by the excitement of new experiences and friendships.

She’s still writing her letters to her future husband, just in a new nest still believing he’ll soon walk through some door one day. I pray he will. I believe he will.

Life was a constant buzz of busyness getting Alyssa ready to move away.  But now it’s not. Like a heavy storm, when it ends here in California, I am left wanting it to still be raining. To have her still here in the midst of what was.

I’ve decided that I am in mourning. I am grieving being Alyssa’s every-day-hands-on-kind-of-parent. It’s a dry desert kind of place in my heart. This space that caring and helping her daily held. But I think the sadness has finally been replaced by acceptance now that she is really gone. But where does an everyday hands on mother go from here? What do I do with the new found time I have, not doing for her anymore?

The depth of this pain I’ve been experiencing is similar to the desperation I felt when we first heard Alyssa’s diagnosis.  I fought the truth and the facts of this new found reality. But this time I am not really desperate for the diagnosis to be different, just for the pain of this new life I have without her to stop. My eyes nor my husband can take it any longer. I want and I need to feel alive again.  And I don’t think staying in bed and crying all day is what Alyssa would want for me either.

I thought about it one day and realized she certainly wasn’t sitting around in a pool of tears and lonliness.  So I begged God to show me, “What is next?”  And because He is so faithful He’s answered me. I believe the Lord is calling to me to spend this time I now have with Him. He’s invited me to come and spend this desert experience with Him.  In His Word He tells us that He will never leave me nor forsake me and will always be by my side.  I believe Him, so I think I’ll take Him up on His invitation.  Sounds good.  Some slow and quiet time just Jesus and me.

Time to cry and remember, but also to regroup and recharge. Time to spend time in His Word, time to journal and to pray.  I guess I need it.  I guess I’ll take it.

It’s strange though. I feel like I’m in this place of prolonged waiting too; although she really hasn’t been gone that long. It’s strange how long the days are with nothing to do. I used to crave these slow empty kind of days, but now that I’m in this space in time I’m wanting to feel alive again. Feel like I have a purpose. Feel the joy that comes from whatever that purpose is again.

Jesus spent forty days alone with the Father when He was in the desert, so I guess I shouldn’t hope for my time to be any less or anticipate the length of time this grieving thing may take.  So I’ll patiently try to be at peace with the necessary time this process takes.  And then I guess I’ll move on.  But move on to what I’m not sure yet.

But I am sure of this. God will reveal to me what His purpose is for me when the time is right. I know all things are best served in His time not mine, so I’m ok with the waiting.

And I am sure Alyssa is fine. Is happy. Is wanting me to be happy again.

So until the desert flowers bloom for me in my new life whatever that’s to be,  I’ll watch the  taped show of the Bachelor with Jesus by my side.  He and I will sit together on my bed and He’ll speak to me of the wonders of His great love. And as I shop He and I will converse about what avacados to choose. And then I’ll FaceTime with Alyssa about it all!

You see, no matter where my children are.  No matter where your children are.  The Lord will always be there right beside us to fill that void they left. To help us re-feather those nests.  To give us a new purpose in the life He created us to live.

There is more He has for me.  There is life beyond my children. Beyond my daughter.  Wow!  Did I say that?

Maybe I am really moving on through this process!  Maybe I’m almost ready for what ever it is that God has for me beyond being a mother!

But for now I’ll stay right where I am and watch the rain knowing that God’s love is still watering that dry and dusty spot of loneliness.  And as I wait for the spring of my new life as an empty nester:

“It is well with my soul.”

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