Grace, Gratitude and Being Overwhelmed

Ahhh November- a time for giving thanks and counting your blessings. In addition (at least for me) it’s a time for being overwhelmed, over tired, over stressed and overly worn. The past couple of weeks I’ve looked up a couple of times to see if there was a camera crew filming me. You know, to see if and when I would finally crack. (I did, it wasn’t pretty and I think I’ve apologized to everyone who got a piece of that mess…again…so sorry.)

I’m definitely a work in progress. Someone I love dearly told me recently that I’ve “come so far” in the way I handle my solo parent/working Mom life without “falling apart” like I used to. I’ve thought about that a lot and I truly struggle to see this progress. I know I’m my own worst critic and as I’ve written before, giving myself grace and understanding is a mighty struggle.

There is a pressure that comes with this life that is hard for some to understand. It’s not just the sheer exhaustion that comes from being 100% responsible for the care, food, clothing, shelter and transportation for two other lives. It’s the overwhelming pressure of being responsible for raising both of my children to be kind, loving, independent, socially responsible, free thinking humans who show God’s love in how they live their lives. It’s ALL ON ME and many days it’s a mighty weight on my small frame.

I don’t suppose that heaviness will ever truly go away. This is my life and I accept that it was and is part of a plan I can’t truly understand this side of heaven. My only option is to continue to do the work to manage the pressure. To pray and read and be still (so very hard for me). To take care of myself. To ask God to give me enough light to see the path ahead of me and to make the next decision the best I can.

I am striving to be overwhelmed with gratitude rather than stress when things go haywire and life takes an ugly turn. To be thankful for the journey I’ve been on and the one still ahead of me. I’m thankful for the past, for the battles, for the slivers of hope and for the rebirth of me. I’m thankful I get to breathe in and out and raise my kids. I’m thankful for a multitude of family and friends who build me up and encourage me. I’m thankful for second chances and my Chapter 2. Finally, I’m overwhelmingly thankful for the peace, grace, provision and unconditional love of my Heavenly Father.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

Wash Out Your Heart

Dear Patrick, 

It’s November 5 which is not a significant day or so I thought this morning.  Birthdays have passed for this year.  Holidays are just beginning to loom.  Today shouldn’t matter at all- except it did. 

Today was All Saints Day at our church.  You know that day every year where they show all the names of the members who died the previous year.  Your name wasn’t there.  It was there last year- but not this year. It’s been 15 months it wasn’t supposed to be there- I know this in my head.  My heart felt differently. 

Strangely enough this All Saints Day was more painful, more gut wrenching and heart breaking than seeing your name on the screen last year.  Today, the tears exploded out of my eyes the minute the names came up on the screen and by the time they were done I literally could not see.  The ball of sadness, the chains of overwhelming grief and the  heaviness overtook me in sheer seconds.  

I could hear you telling me that I’ve been through the hard part, I’ve learned to live this life, I’ve climbed out of the darkness and am so much better than I was this time last year.  I could hear you telling me that I’m doing a good job with the kids, that you’re proud of me for what I’ve accomplished professionally and you’re happy that love, laughter and Jesus continue to permeate our home.  

None of that mattered today.  As I dissolved into a mess of tears, as Mollie reached back and squeezed my hand I only thought of you.  I thought of your 41 years- so well lived and full of love yet so damn short.  The unfairness of it all came back to me in deep, powerful waves that made me so weary I could hardly move when the service was over.  

Grief never ends.  It’s never over.  It’s never easy.  I wrote these words to you today with tears still flowing as I try to find some sort of understanding in this mess of emotion.  I don’t know that there is an answer, a meaning, a reason.  I’m not even sure why I’m writing this today- I just know my words needed to flow along with my tears.  

Happy All Saints Day in Heaven honey, 


“Have a good cry, wash out your heart.  If you keep it inside it will tear you apart.”