ο»ΏBroken Merry-go-Round

I have been pretty health conscious for years. However, for some reason, I seem to lack the discipline to stick to a routine of any kind. Partly because my life is so UN-routine. Every week is totally different. I need to come up with a plan that I can stick with. I’m not totally out of shape, but I have definitely lacked motivation for awhile now. I no longer can fit in the size 4 skinny jeans that I was so excited to purchase. Now that the ultimate season is over, I need to add more activity to my weekly schedule. There are no excuses!

Okay, so maybe the depression is a legitimate excuse. I’m lonely. I’m sad. I feel intense sadness over what my sister is going through, and helpless when I can’t make it better. Most days I know I should get up early and at least go for a walk… but I just can’t bring myself to get out of the comfort of my warm bed. When I get home from work, it is the same story. If I don’t have bootcamp or a game to go to.. I end up sitting on the couch. Eating popcorn. (no joke).

On top of that lack of motivation, I am trying to force myself to re-enter the dating world. This is probably a bad idea. I feel really reluctant to go and meet people, so maybe I’m just not ready. I just want something to happen naturally, and even casually going on dates with new people isn’t going to help my loneliness.

I’ve just been stuck in the same cycle, going round and round… I just want to break away. Jump off the merry-go-round! Sigh… I think that maybe it will be a domino effect. Once I start working out more, I’ll feel better about myself, I’ll be eating better and then I will probably meet my Prince Charming!

Why can’t that be enough motivation!?! I’m going to start keeping track of fitness and food at myfitnesspal again. Maybe that will help. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

keepin on

Aside

Wanna see some photos of the cutest baby who ever lived?Click here!
My sister also re-told the story through the posts that her, Steve and I made on facebook of the time we spent in the hospital. Like my sister mentions in the end of her post, there are still so many things that happened and emotions felt, but it is just too painful to write about. (And it is probably painful to read as well)

I know that my sister is still having a really hard time. I wish that I could be there for her more than just on the weekends. I feel like every day I am getting a little bit stronger, and the depression is loosening it’s grip on me. I know that my sister is dealing with a thousand times greater pain than I can even fathom though and I just wish that I could take some of the pain away. There is a reason that they call grieving a process. It is a journey that needs to be taken one step at a time. Sometimes you take steps backwards, or end up going in circles. All you can do is move one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on.

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Where I need to be

I have joined an online community that is part of the website incourage.me . My community group is called inJoy and it is for single women. I am really looking forward to learning from this group of women, getting support when I need it, and lifting others up as well. The facebook group is where we are doing most of the sharing, but a lot of women have blogs, and I am going to check them all out and start to interact more with them soon. I am planning to add a sidebar of links to my inJoy ladies!

I know I won’t always be able to personally write about what we talk about in the group, but when I can, I hope to jot down a few thoughts here. Years from now, the conversations will be buried on the facebook, and I wanted to be able to reference it in the future.

For today: Question Monday
Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Let’s talk about this verse. How do you interpret it? What does “delight in the Lord” look like practically? What are the “desires of our heart”? How does this verse leave you feeling?

There were quite a few responses so far, and my response was this:

“I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I struggle with this all the time. It is not easy to let go of what WE think we desire. Surrender is allowing God to lead our hearts to where HE needs us to go… then delighting in Him will allow us to joyfully pursue those God-given desires. SOOOO much easier said than done. I constantly pray for God to LEAD ME! USE ME!!! Here I am!! What are you waiting for!? I need to realize that I AM exactly where He needs me to be right now, and be content in this part of my journey.”

I have done a lot of thinking about this lately, and I have to say that I am incredibly thankful that I am NOT in a relationship right now. The most important thing for me right now, is to be available when my sister needs me. While she has tons of supportive friends and co-workers, there isn’t anyone else besides her husband that has been there every single step of the way. This is quite possibly the most important role I have ever had. I’ve had to make some sacrifices… but I know in my heart that I’m right where I need to be.

I’ve also struggled with the notion that my life has no meaning or purpose. That I am not contributing to something bigger. But that simply isn’t true. I need to embrace that I am where I am and know that there are very specific reasons for it. God is doing work in me, even if I can’t understand it or see the results from it yet. I need to make the most of the opportunities He presents me with every day that might seem insignificant. We all have the opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s day. Whether it be a genuine comment on a fb or blog post, or a smile to a stranger in the grocery store.

In addition to these small things…I also need to re-focus my time and energy into doing activities and spending time with people who DO add meaning and value to my life. For example, I did not travel with my competitive frisbee team to play in the SW regional tournament last weekend. My sister’s husband was going on a camping trip and I didn’t want my sister to be alone. There was no question that I made the right decision. I just knew I wouldn’t have been able to stand on the sidelines knowing that my sister might have been having a hard time by herself. I just don’t make that big of a contribution to the team for it to have been worth it.

My sister and I spent time with a child-hood friend who is going through a difficult time, made ribbons to give to other bereaved families for a memorial on Oct. 15th, and baked a desert for a neighbor as a thank-you for making her and Steve meals during those first few weeks back at home. So yeah… I feel pretty good about the way I spent my weekend. πŸ™‚

The life that was and the life that almost wasn’t

It takes incredible courage to share your story with others. Especially when that journey is hard. When people might judge you… For a long time, my sister and her husband didn’t tell people about the trouble they were having with their baby. During all the tests and appointments and un-known, no one really knew what was going on. It was difficult for them to even tell members of our family. It was so hard to have hope, or even know what it is we COULD hope for. Eventually though, after the difficult decisions were made, and the path lay before us, it was time to invite others along. The support and fellowship of friends and family (and friends of friends and family) has been priceless. It takes strength to reach out to those around you for help, and I’m so glad that my sister did that when she needed it.

So many people were touched by Michelle and Steve’s journey to bring their son into the world. Although he was with us just a short time, he managed to touch the lives of a huge number of people. He LIVED. I got more than a few messages from people saying that they hugged their kids a little tighter, or called their mom to tell her they loved her. Randy’s life was immediately meaningful not only to us, but to the people we shared him with. That in itself is a blessing.

Little did we know at the time… but another woman was facing a journey of her own. Yesterday, a woman my sister knows had the courage to share HER story. She had discovered she was pregnant and was unsure about keeping the baby. It was un-planned… and for whatever reasons, she was considering abortion. When she learned of the struggle Michelle and Steve were going through, she realized that if they could make it through something like THAT, then why couldn’t she take on the challenge of raising her baby? She was inspired by their strength and love and decided to keep her baby.

My sister texted me this story yesterday, and I know we both sat in our cubicles, miles apart, with tears rolling down our faces. She said, my baby has already saved 1 life! There really are no words to express how this makes me feel. How HUGE this is. I know that the life of my nephew has inspired and encouraged others… but THIS!? I mean…WOW! A tangible person who will be living and breathing who might not have been… God bless the life of that little boy or girl.

I told my sister that that baby isn’t alive today just because of Randy, but also because of HER. Because SHE had the courage to share her story. I am thankful for the power in which God moves, and connects us to each other. I am also thankful that that woman had the courage to share her story with my sister. To show her once again how great of an impact her precious son has made in the world.

grace

One of the things I have been struggling the most with over the past several months, is my faith. My faith in God has not wavered per se… but I am not going to lie and say that I have not been angry with Him. I wish that this has been an opportunity to grow deeper in my faith, and lean into the comfort of God’s love… but sadly this has not been the case. There is nothing I can do about it, so I have accepted it, and I know that ultimately my relationship with God will be stronger for having been through this. But I’m not there yet. I did make a big step this weekend, by going to church for the first time since we found out we were going to lose Randy.

One thing the pastor touched on during the sermon was Grace. It is like the delightful surprise when you are treated with un-expected kindness. This definitely hit home for me, because one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is that we are not entitled to Grace. That’s what makes it GRACE. It is un-expected. No one deserves to be blessed with children. If that were the case, then why are so many “deserving” parents still without children? So many people have told my sister, “when you have another baby…” or, “I KNOW you’ll get pregnant again”… etc. It makes me angry, because HOW DO THEY KNOW?!

In a way though, I don’t know if I will feel better or OK about what happened with Randy until they are blessed with another baby. They call them “rainbow babies” for a reason. It is the sign of hope after the storm that has devastated your lives. I cannot wait for the possibility of that hope being fulfilled.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that some of the most beautiful things in our lives are also the most fleeting. Yesterday I was driving home during one of the Arizona desert’s beautiful sunsets. As the sun sank lower and lower, the colors grew more and more vibrant. I practically held my breath, knowing that such incredible beauty would soon be gone, and I didn’t want to miss a second. And it was just a sunset. There will be another one tomorrow. Probably not as beautiful… but maybe more so. Who knows?

But…If every day ended with such beauty, we would take it for granted after a while. We wouldn’t stop. Breathless. We wouldn’t appreciate the beauty in that experience. We wouldn’t give it a second glance.

It wouldn’t feel like Grace.

Michelle, Steve and Randy