Saturday, March 23, 2013

Suicide

My dad's sister took her life today.  My mom's brother took his life 10 years ago.
 

One of the last things I said to them:

Auntie,
We would love to see you guys too! Know that you are always welcome here in Maine. We think back fondly to the time that you guys visited
Thanks for checking in Aunt Kay. Love you! Hope things are going well on
your end.

Uncle,
Nothing.

What I wish I would have said:
Dearest Auntie,
Things have been really busy here in Maine, but I am thinking about you and praying for you.  How are you doing?  I know pretty much everyone asks that, but I really mean it.  How are you, really?  It must be hard taking care of Uncle every day and night.  Are you able to get out for a breather every now and then?  I hope and pray you have a chance to get out with a friend who can offer you a smile and a hug - and maybe even a cup of coffee.  If I was there, I'd sure love to do that.  To tell you the truth, I'm only just learning how to love.  Sometimes it is so easy to get so wrapped up in my own little world that I forget that I have friends and family who need to hear they are loved.  You are loved, Auntie.  Do you know that?  I mean really know that?  Not only do I love you, but oh what a wonderful blessing you are to your mom.  She loves you so much. You take the time to call her every day, you make her smile, you give her hope.  And Auntie, I'm not trying to be preachy or anything - but God loves you so much.  He really and truly does.  He loves you right where you are at, for who you are - warts and all.  Do you have any warts by the way?  That sounds funny, but I really don't know the answer.  To be honest, I've recently realized I don't know much about you at all.  I hope over the next few years we can get to know each other better.  You don't really have to tell me if you have a wart or not :), but I sure would love to get to know you more.  What kinds of things do you (or did you, when he was feeling better) and Uncle do for fun?  One of our favorite things to do is spend time outdoors...well, at least in the summer.  It is so nice to let the kids run off some energy and to breathe in the many blessings God pours out.  Well, I really should run because it is 3:00 in the morning and I should probably get some sleep.  I just wanted to say hello - and let you know how much you are loved.

Love always,
Valerie

Dear Uncle,
I have been thinking about you a lot these days.  It is funny, when you are a kid you don't ponder the little things that people do for you - but lately, I've been thinking about that a lot.  You were always so kind, so generous and had such a big, beautiful (ok, ok, handsome) smile.  I know I don't often take the time to thank you for, well - just being a great uncle.  You are so funny - I honestly can't remember a time when you weren't making someone laugh...even our waiters or waitresses (ok, mostly just the waitresses :).  I know things have been really hard lately - I have to admit I don't really understand exactly what you are going through with your physical and mental health.  But, I just want you to know that I love you.  So much.  Our whole family does.  And, I know you already know this - cuz you tell people all the time - but God loves you too.  Even on your toughest days.  No matter what sin you are struggling with or what fears you hold on too.  I am thankful for you, Uncle.  I sure hope we can spend time together soon.

Love always,
Valerie


What I would say to them now:

Dear Uncle and Auntie,
I am shocked.  I had no idea how much you were struggling and how deep your pain was.  I am so sorry that I was too busy to take the time to notice, or even to take the time to find out.  I wish you were still here so I could wrap my arms around you and tell you that I love you.  I wish you could hold little Teal and notice, as I do, how his smile takes up three quarters of his face.  I wish you could chase the boys around our kitchen island and hear how their laughter fills a room (often a little too much so :)  And Avonlea, I know she would give you the biggest hug ever and make big kissing sounds as she kissed your cheeks.  I wish I could share my blessings with you.  We all miss you more than we could ever express in words. Oh how I wish you wouldn't have given up.  I don't know if I will ever understand the choice you made.  But, I still love you.  We all do - and we always will.

Love always,
Valerie

If you are struggling and/or are ever tempted to take your life:
 Dear, dear, dear one (and I mean that - you are dear...dear to God, dear to friends, dear to family)   
     Your loved ones are too busy.  They probably haven't told you lately how much you mean to them - or how much they love you.  Honestly, they probably don't even realize how much themselves.   Please, I'm begging you - give them a chance.  Tell them you are struggling.  Tell them you are lonely.  Tell them what you are tempted to do.  Let them in.  Even if they aren't asking.  THEY DO CARE!  If you take your life, they will spend the rest of their lives wishing they had told you, wishing they had hugged you more, and wishing they had known.  Sometimes the hurt will be so deep that some of them may even be tempted to do the same...and for my loved ones that are reading this - don't worry, I am in no way tempted to do so.  Hurting one,  please, please, please reach out.  Don't take your life.
     And, if you don't have anyone - if you are truly by yourself in this ugly/beautiful world - don't give up.  Keep looking for a friend, keep praying.  Even when it doesn't feel like God is listening, He is.  Beg God for a friend - and if you don't know God...tell Him you want to know Him.  Keep telling Him.  He DOES love you!  It doesn't matter what you did (or can't figure out how to stop doing) - or how messed up your thought life is.  He loves you.  Exactly as you are.  He has more to offer though.  You don't have to stay the same.  He can and will change you, if you let Him.  It might be a slow process (or sometimes it is immediate), but there is hope. There is hope.  There is hope.  There is hope. PLEASE, don't give up.

Hurt & the Healing - by Mercy Me


Friday, March 22, 2013

I thought I knew Him then

     Yesterday when we got home from grocery shopping I carried Teal (our 2 month old) & Avonlea (our 2 year old) inside and proceeded to unload the groceries while Blake and Cole got out of the car by themselves, or so I thought.  Blake helped put the groceries away but Cole was taking quite a while to get out of the car.  When I went back out for another load, and to check on Cole he was still sitting in his seat.  Waiting.  He was waiting for me to unbuckle him.  He didn't realize that his brother had already unbuckled him.  So he sat and waited - it was as if he was strapped in, even though he wasn't.  I said "Cole, you're already unbuckled - you can get up."  He smiled, got up quickly and ran inside.  It immediately made me think of how often I do the same thing in regards to my faith.  Jesus Christ has so much to offer me - so much power, so much grace, so much love - and yet I often live my life as if I'm strapped in.  He has broken my chains and set me free - and yet, so often I just stay seated.  This week, after being reminded of the power we have in Christ (at the Homeschoolers of Maine Annual Convention) I was able to draw from that strength and power so much more.  I was far from perfect, but in those "I can't do this, I have no idea what to do" moments that I'm confronted with so often in this parenting adventure - I stopped myself and prayed IN FAITH, "Lord I KNOW I can do this in You.  I am IN CHRIST and I know you can and will give me the strength and ability to do this and do this well."  Sometimes it wasn't in so many words...like I may have just prayed/thought I am IN CHRIST...and in the some of the same situations that I monumentally failed last week, I saw extreme progress.  I know I'm just at the very beginning of experiencing what God has to offer.  It is amazing to me that I have been a Christian for most of my life and yet I am just beginning to "taste and see that the Lord is good" Ps 34:8
     Most of you know that I have four young kiddos.  Almost everywhere I go (when I have them with me) people say things to me like, "I don't know how you do it", "I could never do what you do" "wow, you must be a saint" and even - "your crazy".  I'll admit, it used to bother me.  But it doesn't any more (well, most days) because I have finally realized that they are right (well, I don't know about the saint part...or the crazy part ;).  But as far as the first two statements go, I absolutely, positively in NO WAY can do this - in my own strength.  That very fact however, sends me clinging, begging, grasping for God in a way that I have never had to do before...and because of that, I have more power, more strength, more energy, more passion than I ever have before.  The verse "my power is perfected in weakness" 2 Cor 12:9, finally makes sense to me.  Please don't think I'm saying that I've got this thing down and/or that I don't have my weak moments.  I definitely do.  And, there are often times that I don't draw on the strength that Christ offers.  I have to admit, though, that I am really excited about discovering, enjoying, and relying more and more on His incredible strength.  And, I have a feeling that in a few years I will look back and think to myself, as Brad Paisley sings,  "and I thought I loved knew her Him then"  And, a few years after that, I'll think "and I thought I knew Him then"  and that pattern will continue until one day, when Heaven's gates open wide and I  see Him face to face - and know Him fully.

 A verse from Brad Paisley's "Then"

"Now you're my whole life
Now you're my whole world
I just can't believe
The way I feel about you girl
We'll look back someday
At this moment that we're in
And I'll look at you and say
And I thought I loved you then"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blessings (Ugly/Beautiful) 1834 - 1844

Well, it has been a rough couple of days - so I decided to go for an Ugly Beautiful Blessings list today.  Each of these things seem yucky at the time...but If I dig deep enough I can find some beauty in them.

1834. Ugly - Cole cutting off almost all of Avonlea's hair
Beautiful -
Avonlea is just beautiful in general
She didn't lose an eye, or even get a cut
I got to see a friend I hadn't seen in a while (my hairdresser)
I heard lots of encouraging and funny hair & scissor stories

1835. Ugly - A very sore foot for more than a week
Beautiful -
My mom being here to help
My pain is temporary - I still have two feet and will soon be able to walk, run, skip & jump.
I told Matt I wanted to get out of the house because my foot hurt too bad to work around the house, and we ended up visiting grammy, seeing good friends, and enjoying a meal at moodys (which was ironic since I was feeling pretty moody)

1836. Ugly - Getting overwhelmed with my constantly messy living room & kitchen
Beautiful -
Deciding to move all the toys into the bedroom
Matt building loft bed!!!
My mom helping move an art table & supplies in their room
The great feeling I have when I pick up the living room and/or kitchen now - I know it will stay that way for longer than 5 minutes :)

1837. Ugly - Teal puked all over our couch
Beautiful -
It inspired me to take off all our couch cushions (we have 3 couches) and give them a much needed washing

1838. Ugly - Blake and Cole have been arguing more than usual 
Beautiful -
I came up with a fun proactive game to work on it...they loved it.  And, it seems to be making a difference.

1839. Ugly - My kindle fire broke
Beautiful -
Matt bought me the newer version for a late Christmas/Valentines/Early birthday present...and I LOVE IT!

1840. Ugly - Getting a bit overwhelmed with all our stuff 
Beautiful -
Finally deciding to start de-cluttering

1841. Ugly - My sin 
Beautiful -
God's grace
God's love
God's forgiveness
Imperfect progress
Salvation

1842. Ugly - My children's sin
Beautiful -
The opportunity to teach them about their need for a Savior
Their interest in learning more about Him
Learning more about my need for a Savior as I grow as a parent & a person

1843. Ugly - How little time I have to blog (which I thoroughly enjoy)
Beautiful  -
The people & things that keep me so busy ...
Matt - Avonlea, Blake, Cole & Teal
Time in the word & prayer (though that is definitely limited too)
A wonderful home
A fun business
Wonderful friends
Cooking (and having the food and supplies to do so)
Cleaning (and everything I own/have been given that needs cleaning)

1844. Ugly - Whatever you are struggling with today
 Beautiful - I don't know, you tell me :)