With our children, it’s always about the ‘why’. Our littles are trying to piece together the world through our answers. So, in raising kids we endure a season where every statement is followed by a question. In a way, it’s good that they trust us and are digging for deeper understanding.
I adopted five kids from foster care. And in raising these little ones, there was one moment I’ll not forget, I was explaining how babies grew in their mother’s belly. And when I further explained that it was in their natural mother’s belly, my little one responded with a sorrowful whine, ‘but I wanted to grow in your belly.’
For the most part though, the longing these children had for their natural parents was never far from the surface. Unable to understand that sometimes people just aren’t in a place where they can raise the children they love. There was a place inside them that I could touch, but never fill, not unless they chose to let me in.
We too can get stuck, focusing on what we don’t have. Thinking that we must have done something to cause life to change so abruptly. Wondering how to navigate through new situations or challenges.
I lost my husband near the end of 2021. Life for me has changed a lot since then. As I was sitting in church on Sunday, I realized I had moved out of my quiet contemplative state and was easily conversing- connecting with people again. It wasn’t that grief had disappeared, but that somehow love had invaded the void, and I was healing.
Looking back at where I had been, I imagine myself a caterpillar that out of necessity had spun a chrysalis. And for a season I had been readjusting inside. Now, breaking free. I’m outside again, airing these new wings.
And in drawing close to my Heavenly Father, I’ve allowed Him not only to touch, but to fill my empty space with Himself. I find I am stronger in many ways, and I trust that when the wind is right, He’ll point me in the best direction, and I will fly again.
#butterflywings #healinghearts #gettingthroughgrief #why #emptyspaces
‘Indelible,’ a rarely used word today, yet a profoundly intimate one. It means we’ve made a mark.
Left an impression. We’re not easily forgotten. There’s power in that.
In life, we don’t start out with a concrete plan or an idea of where we’ll end up. Side-winding our way forward as opportunities arise is the norm. Each decision affecting the next step in our journey.
As I was writing my recently released novel, my personal life was balanced, not always an even flow in my family stream, but I was not often overwhelmed, like we find the main character, Elizabeth, in my book. A stressed-out ER nurse, in a full-blown panic attack.
I began writing this book almost ten years ago. Long before our current state of medical staffing shortages, and record number of high anxiety with the inability to do more than survive the day. The long hours and stress management have always been the bane of the medical field. Add to it the overwhelming sense of ‘battle’. Your life is on the line in this ‘tour of duty.’ (No offense those in military service. I believe this is a definite parallel in the level stress induced.) It has brought the medical community to a breaking point. So many seasoned providers have changed course. So, how can broken people move forward in strength?
In one of the pivotal scenes in my book, Elizabeth is found chatting with the cemetery caretaker, Kenneth Greyson. He says to her, ‘Some people leave an indelible impression and others only a wisp of a shadow… and you, my dear, have left many indelible impressions.’
I believe we’ve forgotten how to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes. And the way forward is by getting back to the basics. Remembering that each life touches another. When this man, the ‘Guardian of the Markers’, took time to invest in this young woman she was able to start piecing together a way forward, toward healing. Someone found her valuable.
I received a moving testimony this week from a woman who was reading my book and encountered a stressed-out medical employee at her doctor’s office. She connected the character in my book with this young woman and reached out to her in love. She offered kind words and prayer. The result was an overwhelming release of the worker’s tension, frustration, and tears. All because one person could ‘see her.’ Someone recognized her inner pain and reached out in love.
Our lives intersect with others… may our touch be indelible.
#softtouch #gentleanswer #walkinlove #stressed #healing
Written in 2021. I hope this will minister to others facing difficulties.
My husband was hospitalized. Intubated because his lungs weren’t able to pull in enough oxygen. I visited him daily. If you’ve never been to an intensive care, it is for the truly sick. He was given medication to allow his body to battle the raging attack on his system, ‘asleep’ on a ventilator for more than a week.
The hospital was gracious in reducing his medication during my visits so we could interact. However, I soon discovered the downside to this medication was memory loss. At about day nine, they switched his medication to one that allowed him to be cognizant. He was shocked to discover that he had lost weeks of his life. Without recall of our conversations, my visits, or my comfort and support, he awakened to a room with a wall of family photos and several reports on his medical status.
Oh boy, did he have questions… many written notes. When he came to a place of understanding the overwhelming battle that he was facing, I could see discouragement in his eyes. So, I began to search my memory bank of the fun things we had done together. In his isolated room, to the rhythm of the beeping machines, I wove our memories back into the forefront of his brain. No longer battling his frustration at this current turn of events that was beyond his control, he now lingered over the adventures of our history together. And when I paused too long between stories he wrote on his dry erase board, ‘more memories.’
Medically, I was unable to help my husband, but God gave me this gift of time to be with him. I too had to let go of many things. Things out of my control, including my frustration at his inability to remember our interactions of the past month. But as revisiting the good times helped him, it also helped me, to focus on what I did have today. That he could be with me mentally, right now, in this moment. That I had the privilege of being able to transport him away from the swishing noise of his ventilator to places where we had enjoyed life together. We were on family trips, laughing at our children’s antics, and dancing in our kitchen to the music in our heads. And when the day was over, we had shared many smiles, and I got to enjoy his silent laughs.
And as I walked the long, lonely hallway on my way back to my car, I was grateful. Even if he didn’t remember this day, I would. I was learning to count my days and to hold precious memories as the treasure that they are.
Whatever is pure, lovely, praise-worthy-Philippians 4:8
Comfort one another- 1 Thessalonians 4:18
#lettinggo #countingblessings #comfortothers #walkingthelonghallway #truetreasures
Dreams and Pauses
Dreams, they’re personal and reveal depths we sometimes have to grapple with. I will admit, I am a dreamer. Having lived in a busy household for decades means that I processed a lot while I slept.
Answers to issues, personal failings, or the direction needed to proceed came in the early morning waking hours… in my quiet times of reflection or through a dream. I’ve had so many dreams that I now log them in a ‘dream journal.’
Lately though, I’ve been in a season of rest. Perhaps you could label it regrouping or pondering, but in essence it’s me waiting for direction. It’s the ‘what’s next, Lord’ question.
Sometimes I get a clear answer like ‘go here and do this.’ Other times the answer comes in circumstances unforeseen. And although I know God is working in these pauses, I’m anxious to get-on-with-it.
Do you ever wonder what is He doing in these pauses? I suspect that whatever lies ahead may need skills I’m to be building now or perhaps strengthening ones that I already possess. So, while I work on retaining what I know, I look for open doors. Discernment is needed before entering any door though, for not every door is open for my benefit.
My current dreams are motion related perhaps indicating that I may be ready for the next part of my journey. Do I have any dreamer friends out there? Remember that Joseph was a dreamer, and it took about twenty years of hardship for his dream to be realized. I’ll encourage you with the thought that God can speak to us in many ways. And not every dream is a direction dream, but it may be. As we prayerfully wait, we can trust that this time of preparation will help us in whatever challenges lie ahead.
Keep on doing what you know is right to do, and He’ll get you on your way soon enough. He leads, He directs, He guides… and it’ll bear fruit all in His perfect timing.
And trust that pauses are part of His plan. You can rest in that. ￼
Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Genesis 37 The story of Joseph the dreamer.
#rest #pause #dreams #SeasonsOfRest #trustthepause
In many ways I’m a creature of habit. I like my day to start with hot black coffee. My breakfast routine is fairly consistent- eggs and veggies. And I try to stick to not-eating between meals. So, why am I so focused on food this morning? Because I also am learning to slow down.
In my busy years, (raising 7 that I homeschooled) life came at a hectic pace. My early hour alone was my place of sanity. And many times, we were eating on the fly as we traveled to sports practices, a music lesson or dropping someone off at work. Needless to say, our meals weren’t always healthy nor leisurely.
The past few months I’ve also been pondering gratitude, which brings me to this morning’s breakfast, but first let me back up a bit to a season pre-kids. I accepted an invitation to an extravagant dinner. A place where men were given a suit coat to wear if they showed up in too casual an attire for the ambience.
If having someone redressed behind you wasn’t uncomfortable enough, having the waiter lay a cloth napkin on your lap, and checking in at least twice during each serving certainly added to my unrest. Every course was followed by fresh water ‘to cleanse your palate.’
Unfortunately, the European-trained chef that showcased his remarkable skills fell on my ‘meat and potatoes’ appetite. Two hours and seven courses later, was enough for me to realize that I didn’t feel ‘polished’ enough to visit such a fancy establishment.
Now, back to this morning’s breakfast. My simple fare of eggs and veggies that fills my belly is more my style, but as I remembered that ‘refined meal’ from years ago I realized that the experience also entailed slowing down to appreciate the combination of textures.
So, this morning, I did that. I paused, savoring each bite. Which allowed me to experience the separate flavors. The pepper, the light coating of cheddar cheese, the various veggies. Unlike the busy years of child raising, I can now slowly chew on these morsels, grateful for not only the provision, but for this season of quiet. A place where hurry is being undone.
I am reminded that God too, offers us His Word in great chunks. Paragraphs, chapters, and books… How do I un-hurry here? Like that meal of long ago, I can nibble a one verse, savoring the various nuances and parallels. Who is this verse talking to? I take a few moments to hunt down the answer by looking up the references. Great, now how can I apply this in my life today? By mentally slowing down and releasing what I think I already know, this pause ‘cleanses my palate’ so God can expand my taste buds with a fresh experience.
Who knows that today’s morsel might turn into a two-hour meal, but now I can appreciate the Master Chef’s recipes. I’m not concerned with embarrassing my companion with my lack of finesse or inappropriate etiquette for He accepts me as I am. Each ingredient He adds and every course He presents is leading me to the grand finale. Where I will stand in appreciation for the refinement He is now doing in me.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
#eggs #slowdown #savor #tasteandsee #cleanseyourpalate
She was only about twelve inches tall, but she spoke to me, and I bought her. Placing her atop my writing area, I hoped that perhaps my words would flow like her long flowing robe.
I loved that she held her heart outside her chest, evident that she held nothing back. She offered love to all who came her way. And as she gave it, her heart enlarged making room for more love.
And how my own heart lurched when she teetered and fell, breaking into pieces. So many pieces… I wasn’t sure she could be repaired. Life was busy then; I placed her broken form back above my writing space and shoved the pieces aside. There she sat for five years until I noticed her again today.
One wing missing. Her base broken and leaning against the books there on the shelf. Missing pieces. What to do with my broken angel? With so many broken places in life could I just let this broken thing go? I looked at her again… she was beyond repair, yet I still loved her.
Now grounded, she could only touch those nearby, but her spirit wasn’t compromised. In her leaning, she found strength in those nearby that supported her. Somehow, in her fragmented state, the bonds of friendship grew stronger.
I lean closer, I see that her heart hasn’t been touched… still complete, unchanged. Out in the open, holding all that she loves close to her chest.
I took her down off her long-standing spot… and dusted her off. Then gently replaced her on her perch, overlooking my words. She is a reminder that there is beauty no matter how broken. And if you can no longer fly, you can still love.
Remember to love…
Owning the Gray
What a difference ten months can make. I decided late in 2020 to start letting my hair go natural. I lightened my brown tones each time so it wouldn’t be such a harsh change. But for those who weren’t around for the process and compared my appearance to the photo on the back of my book, I’d hear, “Wow, I wouldn’t have recognized you.”
So, I had a new photo taken for the back of Book 2 (due out this summer). I’m amazed at how much I’ve aged in the past year. Yeah, I know, gray hair means I’ve lived and apparently, I now have wisdom. Quite a bit of it actually!
But when I see the first photo, I recognize that I was in a state of grieving, almost a numbness. My husband and his beautiful momma had passed within a few months of each other, and I made a decision to just press on. This photo was me shouting to the heavens that I was going to complete what I had started, the book I had begun ten years earlier. I stood on the shoreline of the river we had both loved, in an effort to let my husband know I was ‘letting the baby fly.’ (a reference to my continuing to stall on moving forward with my novel)
Now, months after its release, I face new challenges without the numbness of that initial grief. I don’t have my handy computer tech to bounce things off of. No wisdom on what computer applications to add or to avoid on my webpage. I can personally attest that the adage is true, you don’t truly appreciate all the ways someone is a blessing until they’re no longer there.
In sharing this journey, I know it will help many get through their own season of grief. Some days I can focus on doing the next thing, and on others I simply crawl back into bed for a nap. Honestly, it helps.
So today, I wonder about the ‘wiser looking Debbie’. (I refuse to call myself old- yet!) Learning to do things alone again. Changing the wording of ‘we’ to ‘I or me’. Adjusting your eating, sleeping, and working habits, it all takes time. Just like any other season of life there are trials and errors. Over it all, I try to give myself grace. I’m heading gently into this new year. I wish you all wisdom to fully show your love to those dear to yourself, and the grace to start over gently when necessary.
~ Debbie G
#Grief #ForwardJourney #GivingGrace #GoingGray
Sunrise to Sunset
Highlights of the late day’s sunshine on my trees kicked me into high gear. Quickly, I grabbed my camera. I started my day with some sunrise pictures now it’s time for some evening ones.
As I jog down my stairs and out the door, I realize that I will be standing in last of this day’s rays, and when I see the stump of a tree in my front lawn, I am reminded that these rays will never touch my husband again.
Grief slips in unannounced, and I battle back tears as I snap the first photo. The red tones were already deeper than I anticipated. I focus on getting the right foreground for the next set of shots.
Then it’s as if a voice whispers, ‘Remember this morning’s sunrise?’
I pause and recall the hint of pink I caught on the topside of a cloud through a break in the gray expanse.
Yes, my mind answers in response to the prompt. There was no glorious burst of color, but I did catch the wisp of pink.
Right now, in my evening sky, the sun is shining above the clouds. And not everyone has gray skies tonight. Anyone in an airplane can attest to the beauty of breaking through a dark sky into the glory of the sunshine above. It’s breathtaking.
I continue to walk and snap photos, almost on autopilot, capturing the beauty of my given sphere. Tears seem to ease and then a great sob of sadness again washes over me. He was a good man who loved me. Yes, I am thankful for the gift he was. I remind myself of these truths and am grateful that one of the gifts he gave me was the camera I was holding. I grip it tighter. It somehow reminds me constantly of his love.
Another internal whisper and I am halted by the thought that although my husband will not stand in the shadow of the sunshine here on earth, he is currently enjoying the full light of heaven’s glory. Oh, the thought to never have to face any kind of shadow ever again is pure bliss.
The diversion of capturing tonight’s sunset has worked its magic. From morning to sunset sky, I am not alone. My internal Comforter walks with me reminding me of these truths. I discover that my heart is more at peace each time I let myself grieve a bit. Gratefulness and sadness have become my friends as I journey to wholeness. And the light above guides me on the path ahead.
Peace and blessings, my friend. You are not alone.
Feel free to drop me a line.
#sunrisetosunset #notalone #notSidelinedbyGrief #JourneytoWholeness
Room to room, notes on my phone, sending myself emails. My brain overflowing with impressions, parallels, searching for wisdom beyond myself. Surprised to discover new truths. Age old adages come alive in the light of this day. Heavenly whispers that mark out a new path.
Highlights of light on the treetops – the birds swoop between them without care.
A squirrel slips down a trunk- all that remains is a bouncing twig as he makes an acrobatic leap to a branch on the other side of the ravine.
I sit observing the changes in the defused light as the sun climbs in the sky.
Holy Spirit is opening a way for me. Constantly changing, yet always forward.
The Strength of the Pine
The thin pine swayed and bent in the violent wind gusts pushing her against cluster of fir trees behind her. She was fully exposed to all the elements now that her diseased southern neighbor had been removed months prior. She looked so weak and alone. I thought she might snap from the pressure. I watched spellbound, scarcely breathing, until she bounced back aright after each harsh blow. On one side her branches were stunted from their years in the shadow her neighbor had cast. Now, off-balance and without protection her handicap evident as she tipped.
Suddenly, I realized why I was so concerned about this tree’s ability to survive through this raging storm; we were fighting similar battles. I too had lost my front man, my covering. The death of my husband a few weeks prior, and the challenges of this past week had me leaning heavily on my spiritual family.
I found myself staring out my window, rooting for her, as she bobbed back and forth throughout the day. So grateful for the strength of those behind her preventing her from a fall. I was sure those trees were the primary reason she didn’t break. What a relief it was when the wind finally eased to see that she was still standing.
As I closed my shades for the night I thought ahead to the coming spring. Surely sunlight would help her stunted side to grow even again, giving her better balance. Like me, she needed to lean a bit now, but would soon grow strong again. Perhaps even someday becoming a sturdy buffer for those who were now supporting her.
Storms are meant to challenge us, to grow us, in new directions. This tree’s struggle brought an awareness of just how important support people are in one’s hour of need. I’m sure if the tree could speak, she’d add her thanks to her fellow fir trees for the strength of their entwined roots; and an encouragement for people everywhere to rise up and stretch out to the hurt and needy with hands of love.
A side note: I’m so glad to be back in my writing chair.
Blessings always, my friend.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Cusp of Change
Sometimes it’s desire that brings change, and sometimes it’s born of necessity.
Seasons change and boy, over the winter my body did too! I had to get back to working out. I overheard an older woman at the health club tell a friend she hadn’t exercised in years. Watching her copy the stretches of the young instructor, I could just imagine how she’d feel later. A beginner trying to keep up with this trained mass of muscle is in for a world of hurt tomorrow. The key is in taking baby steps. That trainer didn’t get toned overnight. It took slow, daily growth. And that’s the key to staying healthy and fit. Start slow, keep building, and when you reach your goal maintain it.
Building internal qualities takes time and practice too. Today I’m focusing on my inner spirit. I’m taking a few minutes to read a short devotional and some scripture. Like regular exercise, I plan to increase my quiet time with the goal of gradually reaching an hour a day. I need to be prepared to push back against busyness. To hold firmly the value of time management. To sit up and recognize a holy nudge. And to run the race especially marked out for me.
I may not ever become a super athlete, but I can be a healthier one. I have a firm foundation. Watching my words, my thoughts, and actions are great building blocks. So it’s essential that I know what the Word says so I can battle better.
Whether you’re facing a physical, emotional, or a spiritual challenge, meditation on scripture helps us dive deep and lets truth ripple forth. Basking in His light warms our spirit and prepares us for flight. And like the butterfly enjoying nectar we can taste and see that His words are sweet for the soul.
Are you facing a challenge today? Have you overcome one? If so, please consider sharing it in the comments. You never know whose life your story will inspire. And we’d love to join you in prayer. After all, if faith comes from hearing the Word, I believe we can find hope that way too!
Wishing you strength in the journey. Blessings, Debbie
#Change #Growth #Strong #Health #Hope #inspiration #Time Management #Challenge
Simplicity in Stillness
I love this time of the year. Winter has exited. Spring has sprung and a vast array of colors dot the landscape. And oh, so many fragrances. So many sounds. Bees buzzing, birding chittering, and children out of doors squealing. Yes indeed, this is a most favored season.
I’ve spent the last few weeks cleaning out winter’s remnants in preparation for all that summer offers. Boating, swimming, picnics, walking in the park, nature hikes, and camping. For me, being out of doors is invigorating. Contrasting blue sky against chalky cloud formations. Gentle breezes. Nature sounds, usually muted by the insulating cocoon of busyness. Time to quietly rest in the sun’s blessed rays streaking through the trees as a small animal pauses in your presence.
It’s as if by focusing on beauty, on the sounds of earth, that somehow pressing concerns are erased. That being simply present and aware is a gift that this day offers. Being grateful for the simplicity of shade. For the gentle refreshing rain. For the life cycle of the winged creatures. Remarkably, appreciation helps wash away the cobwebs of accumulated worry. And when we move from our place of observation our hearts are so much lighter.
The days ahead are filled with possibilities, uncertainty, and hope. Isn’t stillness a perfect way to prepare for a season budding with change? Peace for this moment. Grace for this day. Hope for tomorrow.
Wishing you an excellent quietness today.