Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dear Sophie

Dear Sophie,

This week you would be 5 years old.

I can imagine we would have had cake and ice cream, maybe a trip to Build-a-Bear.

I am confident you would be sweet and precocious and a joy to your older siblings as well as your father and I.

When it is quiet at night, like tonight, and everyone is asleep, I can almost hear the pitter-patter of your little feet running through the house and your sweet, melodic giggles.

There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. At least not in my lifetime here on earth. Every day I grieve your loss. I grieve the life that I had growing inside me, but never got to hold. I grieve the loss of all of the wonderful memories we would have made. I grieve the loss of your life here on earth. But, I know you are in a better place.

I believe that my sweet grandparents, who never got to meet your brother and sisters, are there with you, and this brings me great comfort.

It has been over 5 years since we got the devastating news that you would not be born alive here on earth. I will never stop grieving. I will never be whole. But I will be okay. And I will have joy and peace even in the face of such loss and grief.

Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Until we meet again,

Momma

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Love In Action

There is this friend of mine. She is pretty amazing. Sweet, funny, smart.

But mostly, she is living her faith in a way I rarely witness. She is a shining example of Christ's love in action.

It has been a rough couple of months for our family-surgeries, travel, illness all accompanied by exhaustion.

Today, as I was texting with this friend from my husband's hospital room (he is recovering from surgery), she kindly asked if I needed anything-to which I responded "I am good...unless you know a cleaning fairy!" (please note this was entirely in jest as we all know cleaning fairies are simply the adult version of the tooth fairy).

At this point I should tell you that this friend of mine has just returned from a week-long mission trip and has four children of her own to care for.

So, imagine my surprise (and God's perfect timing) as I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex after spending four hours at the hospital to see her pulling in as well!  She shouted out her window "the cleaning fairies are here!". 

I went upstairs, sat on my bed, and bawled.

While I settled in-changing clothes, eating lunch, getting started on some work-she and her children (and my children as well) tidied, vacuumed, took out trash, did dishes, cleaned toilets and did laundry.

Y'all. I have no words.

This is love in action. This is Christ's church caring for the body of believers.

Thank you, my sweet friend.

Blessings,

Meri

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Other Side of the Coin

There is no doubt who the strong, dependable, reliable, and steady one is in our marriage....my husband takes that title hands down.

I am more along the lines of broken, unreliable (due to my chronic illness) and maybe even a bit flaky. I definitely don't see myself as strong by any stretch of the imagination.

This guy. He has sat through countless doctor appointments, ER visits, surgeries, and medical procedures. He takes care of me. Makes sure I get the help I need...or at least tries his best.

But today I was on the other side of the coin.

He was the one in the hospital gown on the gurney getting prepped for surgery. He was the one in pain. He was the one whose hurt I can't fix.

I have so much more appreciation for him (not that I didn't have plenty of that before!). While many days I struggle to manage with my chronic illness, I never understood what it was like to desperately want to take a loved one's pain away from them and not be able to.

Today, I understand.

I am not good on the flip side of this coin. I am weepy and emotional. I am broken-hearted. The idea of spending two more nights without him by my side tears me apart. The thought of him being in pain and alone in the hospital rips my heart to shreds.

I have to be completely candid here. I am worn. My broken, busted body that is exhausted every day from fighting this chronic illness, is just not up to the challenge.  If it were not for very dear friends that are more like family, I am not sure what I would do. Even then, just the hours spent at the hospital and running back and forth have completely drained me of all of my energy....and then some.

So many times I have had to put on a brave smile in the face of excruciating pain, crippling anxiety, and mind-numbing exhaustion. But so far, I have persevered. I have no choice-the man who is always my rock needs me to be his now and that, my friends, is a no-brainer.

This guy I love. This man I married. This amazing, kind, strong man has spent years caring for me, now it's my turn-ready or not.

I can't hope to come close to what he does for me on a daily basis, but I can pour into him during this time.

Blessings,

Meri

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Never Forget

Since 1868, our country has honored those killed in military service.

I am blessed to be from and to have married into a family of warriors. Men and women who stood up and fought for this country, many of them when it wasn't easy or popular.

Each year, I struggle with how to honor these men and women-concerned that I will inadvertently leave out a name of a friend or family member who has served our country.

We live in controversial times. We are entangled in political debates, moral issues, and ethical questions.

But Memorial Day is a day to push the pause button. To remember the men and women who have paid the ultimate price to allow us to continue to live in a free country-even if it is controversial.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating this holiday with cook-outs and beach trips. There is nothing wrong with buying a new car or new furniture because it is on sale for the holiday. But that is not what this holiday is about.

It's about the father who will never meet his baby girl.

It's about the girl will not have her father to walk her down the aisle.

It's about the father that will raise his children alone.

It's about the mother who clings to the carefully folded flag that covered her child's coffin.

It's about all of the veterans that came home and wonder why their fellow soldiers did not.

Enjoy your 3-day weekend. Grill, swim, and sleep in on a Monday. But know that somewhere, there is someone for whom Memorial Day is not just a day off from school or work, but a day of mourning, grief and remembrance.

To all of our friends and family who have served. Thank you.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Kind of Mom Are You?

I am not a perfect mom.

(I will give you a moment to let that sink in.....)

But at 37 years old (gasp!), I have finally become comfortable with the mom I am.

Society likes to categorize mothers:
  • The "Crunchy Mom" who makes their own baby food, wears a baby body-wrap, and only shops at farmer's markets and Trader Joe's.
  • The "Corporate Mom" who works full-time immediately after their 6-week maternity leave is up, often spending weekends trying to "make up for lost time".
  • The "Homeschool Mom" whose children are terribly under-socialized and will likely all become sociopaths someday (I can say this because I am this mom right now).
  • The "Health Nut Mom" who watches every.single.calorie that crosses their precious babies lips and has never ever fed them nuggets from a fast food chain (or would at least never admit it).
  • The "Sports Mom" whose children each play at least 1 sport every season of the year, she is the team mom for almost every one of their teams, and her minivan always smells like a locker room.
  • The "Southern Baptist Mom" whose daughters wear matching, smocked, monogrammed dresses with bows bigger than their heads in their curly blond locks every Sunday. They go to a good SBC church, eat Sunday supper with family (during which time their daughters change into matching, monogrammed "play clothes"). They only listen to K-Love Radio in the car and are on at least 2 ministry teams at church, one of which is ALWAYS child-related.
I could go on and on. And if you were offended by any of the above generalizations 1) good-you should be and 2) suck it up, buttercup!

I fall into several of these categories and a few more. I have tried desperately to be several of these "moms" and failed miserably. And I have finally learned that we are all individuals and there is more to us than what the world sees from the outside looking in.

I have tattoos. Several. And I plan to get more. I like them.

I listen to a wide variety of music and some of it not at all appropriate for children (I do try to skip anything that is not the 'radio edit' on my playlist). The fact that my 8 year old knows all the words to Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and the fact that my 13 year old knows and loves Metallica and Danzig and can identify Smashing Pumpkins "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" within the first bar is a personal point of pride for me.

I have let my children watch movies that I probably shouldn't have.

I have been known to drop the occasional f-bomb in earshot of my children.

I pretty much lack any type of filter (which I recently found out is not news to most people that know me).

I love God. And none of the above prevents me from teaching my children to love God.

My imperfections and mistakes, even some of my poor choices, can serve a greater purpose-they can point my children away from the world's teachings that you must be every kind of mom to be the perfect mom, toward a Perfect God who teaches us there is no perfection except in Him.





God can even use this hot Southern mess of a mama for His good!

Blessings,

Meri


Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Open Letter to My Teenaged Son

You are smart. Handsome. Funny. Sweet. Compassionate.

You are such an amazing human being.

I see you struggling in the in between. In between a boy and a man.

Some moments I still see the sweet blond-haired, blue-eyed little boy who loved toy trucks and cars. The boy who loved to watch cartoons on Saturday morning in his dinosaur PJs eating a bowl of cereal.

But more and more I see glimpses of the young man you are becoming. The kind and compassionate young man who wants to also be tough and hard. The smart young man I know you are who doesn't always want to put the effort in to excel where I know you can.

I can't say I know exactly how you feel. I was never a teenage boy.

But I was a teenager, and I know what it feels like to be stuck. Stuck between then and now. Stuck between child and adult. Stuck between putting down roots and taking flight.

You are desperate to grow up, to experience all of the excitement and privilege of being an adult. But you are not ready for the enormous responsibility that goes along with that life. As much as you don't want to, you still need us-your parents-to guide you through these sometimes tumultuous years.

You have so much potential. You have a heart that truly seeks God. You have a heart that truly cares deeply for others-almost too deeply. You are smart-sometimes too smart for your own good.

There are so many years ahead of you for you to grow up and be a man. To carry the burdens and enjoy the privileges of manhood. But right now, you need to slow down. Stop plowing ahead into the unknown and slow down and listen to those around you.

You are so very blessed to not only have a family who loves you, but to be surrounded by good, godly, Christian men who are willing to pour into you. Listen to them. Learn from them.

I can't put into words the love I have for you. You won't understand this kind of love until you have a child of your own, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate it.

This time in life is not easy for anyone. And I now know that it's even harder to parent someone during this time than actually be that person.  Again-something you will not understand until you have children of your own.

You are a gift from God. You belong to Him, and we are simply His ambassadors here on earth. We are here to guide you to the light of your Heavenly Father. Never forget that. No matter what-God is always there for you and so are we.

I love you more than I ever thought possible.

-Momma

Friday, March 11, 2016

God Works All Things For Good

Five years ago this past November (right around Thanksgiving), I suffered a miscarriage. I was about 12 weeks pregnant, we had seen our sweet baby on ultrasound and were excited to add a new member to our family. And then I started to bleed and eventually I lost the baby.

I was heartbroken. I was devastated. I was lost.

I did not understand why God had allowed this pain in my life-I could see no good coming from this, only pain and heartache.

At the end of 2015, I joined the Prayer Ministry Team at Thrive Moms which is a wonderful Christian resource for moms in all stages of life and motherhood.

This week I was on the "team" to answer the prayer requests that come in via e-mail and one caught my eye. A mother of 4 was pregnant with her 5th child, but was having complications. Over the course of a few days we communicated back and forth and I prayed continuously for her, her family, and her unborn child.

Today she e-mailed me to let me know she had lost the baby.

My heart broke. It hurt almost as much as when I lost my own sweet baby in 2010. I responded with some words of encouragement and my phone number so she could call if she needed to talk.

And then I saw it. I saw the purpose in the pain. I saw God's plan laid out beautifully in front of me. Had I never had a child born into Heaven's nursery, I would not have been able to connect to this mother on the same level. I would not be able to share my story with her so that she would know she is not alone in her grief and it is okay to grieve. I would not have been able to tell her the pain will never go away, but it will get easier and she will learn to live life with joy again. I would not have had the opportunity to tell her she needs to give herself time to grieve and it is okay to be sad and angry and all of those things we go through when confronted with death and loss.

I feel privileged to be able to witness God's work in this manner and to be used for His purpose.

Blessings,
Meri

Monday, March 7, 2016

Walking Through the Hard

I am not a 13 year old boy.

I have never been a 13 year old boy.

I have exactly 0 experience with the psyche of 13 year old boys.

This makes me feel incredibly under-qualified to be responsible for the eternal soul of a 13 year old boy.

But, when God was assembling the cast of characters in our family he included a funny, goofy, smart, kind, sensitive, compassionate boy.

Lately, our family has faced some significant challenges and those challenges have deeply impacted my sweet, funny, intelligent and slightly aggravating 13 year old boy. I have to be honest and admit that I don't know how to process many of the things that have happened, and therefore I feel utterly worthless at helping him process these things.

I don't remember ever walking through the hard when I was a child. Not to say I grew up in a fairy tale, but I had a wonderful, safe, stable childhood and my parents kept me carefully shielded from anything that was beyond what they felt like I was old enough to handle.

Maybe that is my mistake-being too open about this hard time we are walking through.But I also feel a need to model transparency to my children so that they are able to model it in adulthood.

So I am walking this hard road with my son. We fight, we make up. We yell, we say things we don't mean, we apologize, we forgive.

I can't give him the world, and I don't think it would be good if I could-he needs to understand that this world is of no eternal value to him. So what I am trying to teach him, while learning at the same time, is that the hard is temporary. It is the blink of an eye in the eternity of our future with God.

Being 13 is hard.

Being 37 is hard.

So we are learning to survive the hard together.

Blessings,
Meri


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Study of Job: A Little Friendly Advice

So, it's been several months since I started this study of suffering in Job, namely because I have been distracted by my own suffering. I think perhaps there was divine guidance to this study....but that's just my opinion.

So, when we last left Job and his friend Eliphaz in chapter 4, Eliphaz was having a sort of crisis of faith. This man, Job, his dear and righteous and upstanding friend had suddenly incurred what seemed to be the wrath of God.

But this is where Eliphaz goes off the rails a bit-it is not the wrath of God that has afflicted Job, it is the scourge of Satan. It is the physical equivalent of the lies you and I hear every day-"you aren't good enough", "he doesn't really love you", "you are failing as a _________." See-Satan doesn't have his own power....he has to take it from you. He has to use people to accomplish his evil, he uses our fears, doubts, anxieties, and anger to accomplish his purposes.

So on to chapter 5. Eliphaz has apparently recovered from his crisis of faith and now calls Job foolish.  He admonishes that there is no one safe from the plights Job has experienced and no man on earth can help him or undo what has happened. This is a kind of epiphany for Eliphaz, he is realizing that if this can happen to Job, no one is "safe". 

Then Eliphaz gives Job a little friendly advice:

But as for me, I would seek God. And to God I would commit my cause-who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.
-Job 5:8-9 

Finally, Eliphaz encourages Job to not despise God's discipline. He reminds Job that is this pruning and refining process, which can be painful and difficult, that God is shaping us into the creatures He we were created to be-His children.
Blessings,
Meri

Scattered

I do not do well with chaos and confusion.  I get sensory overload very quickly and get very frustrated when I cannot accomplish all of the tasks I have on my lists.

Wife. Mother. Home-school Teacher. Consultant.

These are roles I play each day. But there is one role I wish I didn't play and that causes all of the other roles to be exponentially more difficult.

Chronic Illness Sufferer Warrior.

When I get worked up with anxiety and stress, I need to remember to call on Jesus. Call on Him to help me prioritize what needs to be done, have the strength to get it done, and know when I need to stop.

Part of living with chronic illness is knowing your limits. Sometimes I ignore them-so now I pray..."Lord Jesus, remind me that resting to renew my body's strength and energy so that I able to serve You and my family in the ways you intended."






Tomorrow is Monday. Usually Monday's don't bother me as we have a less-than-conventional schedule and lifestyle. But tomorrow is different-I am still recovering from recent surgery and my health has taken a serious turn for the worse. Tomorrow is the first day my husband will be gone all day.

I know for a fact I do not have the strength, energy, or stamina to get done all of the things I need to. But I know someone who does and He will hold me and guide me if I make every thought, every action, every "to-do" obedient to Him.

Blessings,
Meri

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jesus, I Need You

I am an introvert (surprise!).

So when there is trouble in my life, I tend to turn inward. I withdraw from family, friends, and, truthfully, God. I clam up, even when friends and family try to draw me out to try to help. I distract myself with TV and work so I don't have deal with what trouble is in my path.

Lately, there has been trouble, but the specifics aren't important here, the bottom line is-I have withdrawn.

By withdrawing and moving further from my Heavenly Father I wonder-what has He tried to tell me and I haven't been listening? What has He tried to show me that I have not seen?

In my darkest moments, I have felt alone, ashamed, worthless, and hopeless. I have heard the lies of the enemy and I have believed them.  The only way that is possible is that I have pulled away from the Lord so far that Satan's voice has become louder to me than my Heavenly Father's.


But I have hope. I have a dear and wonderful husband who cares deeply for me and my well-being, physical, emotional and spiritual. I have good friends who are willing to take my late-night, nervous breakdown phone calls. I have community for what feels like the first time in my life that has wrapped their love around our family like a warm blanket.

And I have God's promises:

The bottom line here is, I need Jesus.  When I am not actively pursuing my relationship with Him, when I am pushing away instead of pressing in, I am not following the path the Lord has laid before me.

Friends, press in, don't push away. You will always find exactly what you need in His word and through a healthy prayer life with the Lord.



Blessings,
Meri

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The One Who Knows Me

Today I am distracted. Scattered. Unable to concentrate. I tried to work, but couldn't focus. It feels like I am just 1 step behind life today.

My thoughts are on tomorrow. Will my procedure go well?  Will I be in pain? Will have have sufficient medication to manage my pain? What will the results be? Are these the last few days before I find out that cancer will be part of my life? How are children feeling? Are they scared? Do they understand?


Lord, You know my words before I speak them, so you must know all of the questions racing through my mind. And what You do to comfort me, You-the God of all creation, You place your hand of blessing on my head.

I envision this as an image of a father comforting his daughter in times of trouble, his gesture of placing his hand on her head one that says, "It's going to be okay, no matter what happens, I will be here with you."

Tomorrow will be a challenging day for me as well as the rest of our family.  I am thankful for the friends who have reached out and helped us with housework and cooking and just caring for our family. I am thankful for the friends that have offered to continue helping until my health is restored. I am thankful that my Momma is coming to be with me and support me. I am so very thankful for my husband who has walked this weary path with me.

Blessings,
Meri

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Connecting With Our Kids

One of the "benefits" of being sick and eternally exhausted is you get a lot of quiet time. And when the stars align just right, you can spend some of that quiet time connecting on a deeper level with your children.

Normally, our house full of five people and a dog rarely allows for private, intense conversations. However, over the past couple of days, I have invited my two oldest to come join me in rest and conversation in the cool quiet of our master bedroom.


In the environment of quiet tranquility, one on one, without the distractions of cell phones, tablets, television and the general chaos of life-I get a brief window into the souls of my oldest 2 children.

From Logan (my 13-year old) I learned that my struggle with chronic illness and recent health crises has contributed significantly to his anxiety. I learned that he feels the safest at his church youth group meetings and at work with his father. I did my best to ease his worries about my health while remaining honest about what lies ahead. We talked about what he wants to do with his life and how I can help him deal with his emotions here at home.

From Emma (my 10-year old) I learned that she is struggling-feeling stuck between growing up and wanting to be my little girl. I have always known she struggles with the "middle child syndrome" and I worked very hard to encourage her-reminding her of all of the wonderful, special things about her that I love so very much. We talked about her relationship with her little sister-a subject I have absolutely no experience in as I was an only child. I learned that, while she has her moments where she is ready to grow up and leave her sister behind, she loves her deeply and would never really be happy without her in her daily life. In fact, they are not even ready to split rooms yet (they have shared a room since Kenzie was about 18 months old).


What I have learned overall is that God creates good out of all things. And in this case, He gave me the opportunity to connect with my 2 oldest children in a way that I would not have otherwise had.

Put down your phone.

Turn off the TV.

Turn off the computer.

Take a few minutes to just talk to your children. And for those of you that have more than one child, the time you take to connect with each of them individually is so valuable to both you and them. It is something they cherish-even if they don't have the words to say that right now.

Blessings,
Meri

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friendship

I know I have written about this topic before, but I have few more thoughts to share.

First, a little background....
I struggled to make and keep friends all through school, college, post-college, and even after. (I know-with my charming personality who WOULDN'T want to be my friend, I mean-seriously!?)

I remember in 5th grade each week one student had to select a famous "quote of the week".  Mine was almost always "A friend is a present you give yourself" (Robert Louis Stevenson).
Well, Mr. Stevenson, I call bullshit.

Believe me-I tried and tried and tried to "give myself" the gift of a friend for years, for decades. There was always something wrong with me, though-not pretty enough, not wealthy enough, not athletic enough, and my personal favorite-trying too hard. I just never seemed to fit in anywhere.

But in the past few years, God has blessed me beyond what I could ever hope with not the number of friends, but the quality of the relationships. He has placed people in my life who love me for me, just as I am.

I love the song by JJ Heller "Who Will Love Me For Me?"
I know that God loves me for me, but as an awkward, struggling, lonely teenager-I was looking for a more tangible love. I have spent almost my entire life trying to be someone or something I am not so that others would like/love me, but I have finally learned (clearly I am a bit slow) that I can only be what God created me to be and that is so much better than anything I could possibly mimic or copy.

So I want to say thank you to my friends. All of you that read this blog, that call or text to check on me, that pray for me and my family, who listen to me whine, who walk with me through the weary land and rejoice with me in the abundant times.

God's timing is always perfect. God is always good. God loves me for me.

Blessings,
Meri


Friday, January 22, 2016

Unbelieving Believer?

I think at some point I stopped believing. (I will pause here to let that statement sink in)

Through the financial struggles, health issues, and just plain daily life struggles, I stopped believing in a God that would never fail me. A God who will someday end all suffering and take us all home in sweeping glory. If that were to happen in the recent past...I feel like I would have been standing on the sidelines unsure of whether or not I belonged in the Kingdom.

This was not the overt sort of non-belief. I did not suddenly become agnostic, atheist, Buddhist or any other -ist. I continued to go to church (even singing heartily with honest tears streaming down my face), I read my Bible, I worked on my prayer team ministry, I prayed.  But I felt removed from the presence of my Savior. I felt far away.

My mother has a sampler that her mother stitched that hangs over her bed that says, "If you feel far from God, guess who moved?".

I had moved. Not Him.

Now, let me pause here to state, this is not about loss of salvation. That is a topic that is beyond my theological understanding and not something I have any authority to speak on.  What I am talking about is a period in my life where I grew cold. I still believed, with all of me-every single ounce (and there are a lot of them), but the fire had cooled to smoldering embers.

There is a song by Laura Daigle that describes exactly where I was-where I am slowly emerging from:
I am guilty
Ashamed of what I've done, what I've become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be, how can it be?

I've been hiding
Afraid I've let you down, inside I doubt
That you still love me
But in your eyes there's only grace now
 
Like Adam and Eve in the Garden-I was hiding myself from God because I felt ashamed and guilty for my sins. I was afraid I had disappointed my Heavenly Father. I doubted His love for me. I couldn't grasp the idea that He knew all I had thought and done and still loved me unconditionally.
 
But there is a better end to my story than Adam and Eve's. Because of the gift our Heavenly Father gave of His son on the cross, I do not have to be ashamed. I do not have to hide. I can lift my hands and face to my Lord and gaze into the grace in His eyes.
 
Blessings,
Meri
 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Truth About Teenagers

"10 Things Your Teenage Son Needs to Hear from You"

"5 Ways to a Happier Home"

"The One Thing You MUST Do to Have a Happier Family"

My Facebook feed is filled with articles like these. Mocking me. Reminding me that, on most days, I do one or more things that require me to fall on my face and beg forgiveness from the people who share my space....my family....my tribe.

There are days you could cut the tension in our house with a knife.

Oh-there are dozens of things I could attribute this to...homeschooling 3 children, working full time from home, health issues, having a teenager, having girls.  But, the real reason is that I am still learning how to parent. I have not even gotten to the "How to Parent Well" courses, I am still in "Parenting 201" (I did pass "Basic Training" by keeping all 3 children alive through infancy and toddler-hood). 

Here is what all of those "How To" articles will not tell you, though-
Teenagers are jerks.

There. I said it. Shocking, I know.

There are days (lately there have been A LOT of days) that I do not like my teenage son. I don't want to be in the same hemisphere with him, much less the same house.

Teenagers have the unique ability to reduce a normally well-balanced, educated, stable adult to a whiny, bitchy, angry adolescent. Upon engaging in battle with my 13 year old, I seem to lose all sense of rational thinking and turn into the 8th grade version of myself slinging insults and swearing I will never ever be his friend again ever.

Ridiculous.

I am fairly certain that I am either creating a psychopath, sociopath, or at least funding some future psychotherapist's country club membership.

I have no words of wisdom for dealing with teenagers. I am brand new at this twilight zone of parenting. But, if you are currently in the same season of parenthood, you should know that it's okay to dislike your teenager. They are jerks. They are not nice. They are a pain in the ass.

You are not alone. We should have a support group, we could call it POTs (Parents of Teenagers).....is that acronym a coincidence?  You decide.

POTs Unite!
-Meri

Monday, January 4, 2016

Courage in the Mundane

Today, I was blessed by a visit from a sweet friend who has been and continues to pray for me during this time of illness and uncertainty.  We have not known each other long, but we have quickly found that we are kindred spirits...separated for most of our lives by an entire ocean!

In this day of texts, e-mails, and social media it takes a certain amount of courage to reach out and connect with someone on a personal level...actually IN person.

As I write this, I am less than 4 hours from leaving to go to the hospital for a procedure to obtain a biopsy of my uterus. Just before Christmas, I received a call from my GYN at which time he told me they had found a "spot" on one of my scans.

From experiences through family and friends, I know it is never a good sign when the doctor calls you less than 24 hours after a test and especially when he calls you himself.

I struggled to file this information in the back of my mind during the Christmas holiday, but somehow this year the turkey and pies didn't taste quite the same and there was a cloud hanging over each and every moment of joy.  My heart was heavy and troubled.

Since returning home from our Christmas vacation, my body has given me clear signs that something is wrong...fatigue, nausea, pain and other symptoms have become daily routine for me.

I knew I needed support. I wasn't sure what that would look like, but I knew I needed it as much as the air I breathe.

So I took a chance. I stepped out in courage (trust me-for an introvert with anxiety disorder, it was a big step).  And God stepped up. He sent me a caring, sweet, kind friend who listened, prayed, and chatted about topics from the mundane to the spiritual.  She came to my home with no expectations, with a clear understanding that I was a hot mess.  She did not expect to be entertained. She did not expect me to be the consummate Southern hostess. She came for me. To comfort me. To care for me. To pour into me. She came to be the hands and feet, and heart, of Christ.

Friends, don't wait. Trust me that there is someone in your life right now that is suffering. They may not have the courage to speak up. They may not have the ability to ask you to show up. I urge you to do it anyways. Just show up. Be courageous. Go first. Reach out.

Blessings,
Meri

(Special thanks to my sweet friend Anneleis....love you more than Belgian chocolate!)

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Joy of Ordinary Days

It's a brand new year. Time for a fresh start, resolutions, and looking toward the future with unfettered enthusiasm.

But this year is different for me.

I remember 12 months ago saying I was ready to put 2014 to bed-it had been a tough year and I was ready to move on to the hope of 2015. But, in a conversation with a girlfriend at lunch over the holidays, I remarked that I felt the same way about 2015 to which she responded "Doesn't it seem like every year is like that as we get older?".

This remark caused me to think about the whole phenomenon of the new year.

Every year we gather together to ring in a new year. Resolutions are made, promises and hope for change in the upcoming 12 months. We determine to put away the mistakes of the past and take on new challenges.

This year I have decided to do none of that. After 2 years of hoping for better days in the coming months, I have decided that perhaps the changing of the date on the calendar is just that...another day in this journey of life.

I have been struggling with health issues for several years, but they seem to have come to a head in the past few months. Just before Christmas, I received a call from my doctor during which the dreaded "c-word" was mentioned. Truthfully, prior to this call it had never crossed my mind that I may be facing a cancer diagnosis at this stage in my life.

Before you jump into panic mode (as I did), please know that there is a very good possibility that the "spot" they found could be a benign polyp.  But it could also be pre-cancerous tissue or even uterine cancer.

So rather than setting lofty goals for what I want to accomplish in 2016, I am determined to take each day and find the joy in the little things. Snuggling on the couch with my youngest, helping my oldest daughter braid her hair, watching funny videos with my teenage son.

I want to choose joy each and every day. I want to love deeply. I want to be okay with the fact that every day may not be a great day, but every day can have great moments. I will give myself grace. I will give others grace.

I will wish you a Happy New Year, but I will also wish for you the joy of ordinary days.

Blessings,
Meri