Gripping it

pexels-photo-556663.jpegI learned a lot yesterday…. Thankfully I opened my eyes to this wonderful Monday! Here are my thoughts from last night.I’m usually pretty care free, and a go with the flow person. At least I like to think I am. I like to think that I allow things to unfold, and believe the universe is unfolding as it should. Sometimes I am that way, but mostly, even though I look as if I’m a mellow wife, and mom to my four children, (two adult children and 13 year old twins) homeschooling, going for runs, practicing yoga and all, I am not always that way. I sometimes find myself gripping  things really tightly. I hold on and have a hard time letting go. It’s been my battle in life, and a real struggle for me some days. I do know why, and I see it all so clearly. But sometimes it just creeps up without my knowing. I’ve been through some awful times. Some horrific things have happened to me and my life has been very out of control in the past. You’d think I’d know better, and that I’d get it by now. Well, I sort of do. But, it doesn’t always stop me when major change happens, or when things get difficult. My need to hold on and prepare myself for what ever may be coming my way, creeps back in and I feel the grip begin to happen. The only difference, is that now I do my best to make it look as if I’m at ease through it all. I’ve always done that, but now I know how to make it appear natural and as if it’s the norm. The house is perfect, the chores are always done and I have everything planned and together. I guess I’m a pretty successful control freak! See, I like to keep things in order, and having everything just so. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But, If I have things in order and looking flawless, maybe, just maybe, no one will know that really, on the inside, I’m stressed or worried or overwhelmed. Or maybe I’m none of those things, but unknowingly, preparing myself for when I will be.

You think I’d know better after being through all I’ve been through. Being through a divorce, and having my ex-husband and the father of my two older children, lose his mind and completely become psychotic. You’d think that after having to leave our home for safety, being completely dependent on friends to shelter us and keep us safe, til I could get back on my feet to care for my kids and start over, that I would realize I have no control. None. I came to a point where I had to completely let go, and let God rule over me. I had to get flat on my face and surrender.  Just for my sanity, I had to let go. Maybe it was because I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Maybe, I knew I needed to be held up and carried.  I did, and I was. I have tried to stay there, in that sweet spot. Praying to Him, surrendering to Him. depending on Him. Sometimes though, I do it obsessively. Praying for peace, and asking over and over again, in a desperate way, is not praying for peace. It’s really being controlling and faithless.

A year ago our family made a move. A HUGE move. I had to say goodbye to my older children, who I never thought I’d be apart from, and never had until this point. They had lived at home for their entire lives until this time. We said goodbye to friends, our hybrid homeschool we loved, all we called home and all that was comfortable for the last 20 some years, and moved away for a new job, for my husband. We moved to a new state not knowing one person, a street name, or anything. My older daughter moved in with friends, started planning her wedding and new life without me. My son found a place to live with friends, became independent, and we all went our own ways. Painfully, but  joyfully as well, as we all looked at it, as if it was meant to be. We all forced ourselves to look at our situation as if the glass were more than half full. For the most part, it has all been good. Many life lessons have been learned, and many needed moments have come about that have challenged and changed us all for the better.

Right now though, today, our family is going through another change. And the worst kind for someone like me. It’s all unknown. Totally, completely, unknown. As in, everything is changing again. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, with where we will live, or what we will be doing, and it’s freaking me out. It was just week ago, when I was cheering everyone else on, and being the upbeat positive one, keeping it all together.  My older son teases me for being a hippie, philosophical, Jesus loving yogi, that has to find the good in everything. Well, not so much today. Everything has changed. The job that brought us here, and took us away from all we loved is now no more. And I’m gripping and holding on again. Holding on tightly to the point where my muscles hurt and ache. My dreams are chaotic, I’m controlling every little detail of my life, and I am praying obsessively again. Just in the last two days it has all come to a head. And I finally, out of no where, allowed myself to say, “this sucks!” And for me, who doesn’t curse, that is saying a lot! (well, I lie. I drop the F bomb in an argument with my husband once in a blue moon. lol!)  This does suck. It’s not easy. It’s not all good. And maybe it’s not all meant to be. Maybe we aren’t walking in His will. Although, I’ve been told we are always in His will. I don’t know. I’ll never have the answer to that. I do know, that I need to listen to my spirit.  I need to let go. Sometimes I need to get flat on my face. Head down. Face in the carpet. Not in a child’s pose doing yoga, not cause I’m tired, and flopped down on my pillow, but completely empty, completely wasted away, completely dependent and humble with my face flat down on the ground seeking Him.  I’ve given my husband advice, cheering him on, telling him to remain humble, and put his arms out to receive, and let the rest go. I told him to find the goodness in it all. It was as if I didn’t even want him to feel, or worry, or be upset. Which is so unlike me. I’m all about everyone having their feelings heard, and met, and cared for. I’m all about tending to everyone. But, with this one situation, this time, I didn’t want him to feel upset or worried.  I knew that if he did, for some reason, It would make ME feel. I knew it would unravel everything that I had been feeling, but suppressing, about all the changes that have happened because of the move, and how it has affected me. But I know, I do know, that most of this is not even about me. It’s was about my daughter getting married, and being able to plan her wedding, on her own, with me being so far away, and removed, and having everything be totally and completely out of my control. And then realizing that she could accomplish so much without me. How beautifully humbling. It all turned out to be so beautiful, and perfect, and treasured, and that our time together was more meaningful than if I had ever been with her, every step of the way. It was about my son moving out, and living in an area that I thought wasn’t safe, or right for him, yet watching him grow and face challenges and become a strong young man, independent of me.  I would have tried to “rescue” him, and change things, and comfort him to make things better. But, that controlling way would have kept him from experiencing all he was able to do on his own. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. I was away. I was removed. Hidden. God took me out, and He pulled me aside. He knew I would grip to tightly, I would have suffocated them, and not let them blossom and grow and let them be who they needed to be. I wanted everything to be smooth and easy. I didn’t want them to hurt or struggle. Why?! Why would I want that? They needed to lean on friends, and do things on their own, and pave their own way.  They needed to do things without me. I know where this flaw of mine comes from. I do. When life fell apart for us, I protected them and tried to make things just so, so they would never be hurt. Well, being hurt isn’t a bad thing. It’s how I have grown and blossomed. So why wouldn’t I want that for them?

I have learned so much. Yet, while in a whirlwind of change, I have been gripping again. I’m still trying to make things right, comfortable and easy for everyone. I’m trying to have everything just so. But, a couple days ago, I hit a wall. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I was so worried, and upset and stressed that I said out loud, “this all sucks!” and with that, all my emotions unraveled in a horrible way. I became angry, and bitter, worrisome and fearful. Mostly in my head, cause you know, I still had to appear to have everything under control. But, I held on, so much so, that there couldn’t be a crumb on the floor, a chore undone, or a thing out of place. What is that all about?! So much so, that there couldn’t be any room for anything out of order, or out of my control. But what good is that?! God can’t do anything with that. He can’t. (Well, of course He can! But you know…) And even when I think it’s me doing what needs to be done, or me keeping things just so, for everyone else, well, that gets a little tricky, a little messy in my mind. Because I know that really, its a lie. See, I don’t want anyone, or myself being uncomfortable. But things right now are uncomfortable, and they are painful. Being away from my children, friends and life I loved, is difficult to say the least. My heart aches, and I am stressed. But I’m realizing today, that it’s okay to feel this way.

So I sang, and I ran, and I did yoga today. And I might even have a little tequila later. But, none of these things are going to be the answer for me. None of these things solve a problem or make it easier.  They may help for sure, they do!  I certainly will not be satisfied, and I certainly won’t be okay for the long run. They are temporary. What is not temporary, though, and is eternal, and is at my fingertips every moment of the day, day or night, is Him. At three in the morning I can’t go outside for a run, (it’s too dark for me.) and I probably won’t be practicing yoga in my living room either, cause I’d be to tired. And I probably won’t have a drink of tequila, cause I’m not a drinker, and I’d rather have peanut butter and almond milk at 3am anyway. What I did do today, that is eternal, is get on my face, again. I got on my face, flat on the floor, and I emptied it all out.  And for that moment, it was so good. For that moment I could feel Him fill me. I felt Him restore my soul. I felt Him shape my thinking, I felt Him give me strength, and a reason to smile. I saw His purpose, just for today, not for months… how silly is that to think? Not for years… how lofty is that? But just for today. Just for today, I turned to him and found what I needed most.  When I laid there, and opened my arms, and said, “fill me, just for this moment God, let your spirit fill me, and take away what I don’t need. Take away what is not good for me… I surrender it to you. I surrender the negativity. I surrender the fear. I surrender the judgement. I surrender my critical spirit, that pretends not to be critical.” I found my peace. All I have to do is close my eyes, and I wait, and I rest. Because tomorrow, will come, (God willing) and  I’ll wake up, take a breath, loosen my grip a bit, and allow things to be. Things may not be better, and I know there will be difficulty ahead. My problems are little in comparison to so many.  Yet, I know, that no matter what comes my way, and no matter how drastic the changes are, I can remind myself that I have been carried before, and I will be carried again. I just may have to lay down, and get on my face and loosen my grip.




Breaking Free

tree-oak-landscape-view-53435.jpegToday is another rainy, dark day and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed after being inside for weeks now, because of the cold winter weather. Id’ give anything to go for a long run in the warmth of the sun. Running is therapy for me. It’s my go to, for all kinds of reasons. I know you’ve heard that before, but let me tell you, it works. I began running at a very early age. Much like most kids, I loved to run and play. But for me, running developed into an entirely different thing. Running for me, was being free.

My father, mother, and two brothers and I moved to the garden Island of Kauai, sometime in 1972. We were living in a small house in the mountains, while our new, home in Wailua homesteads was being built. I remember eagerly anticipating the move daily, as the home we were in was uncomfortable, and I felt like it was pressing in on me. I don’t remember how many rooms there were, but the space was small and simple, unlike the spacious, open, pole house that was being built for our permanent home. We visited the site surrounded by miles of pastures, often with my dad, from the time the earth was churned up, and the foundation was being laid. I was excited and in awe of the way this home was designed and constructed. My father seemed to be the leader of the entire building project. He spoke with the various men on the site, weekly encouraging and directing them through the process of the building. Even though he was a busy doctor, working endlessly at Wilcox Hospital, in Lihue. I was counting down the days, until we would move to this amazing new home.

The small cottage like home we were living in the mean time, was beautiful and quaint. It wasn’t the home, that made me uncomfortable, for it was a beautiful, bright, island home. Rather, it was my mother inside, who in some way, made me feel as if my lungs were being pressed against, held down and smothered just by being in her presence. She was however, a beauty, with long silky hair, flowing down her spine, with a smile that would light up a room. She made pretty clothes for herself, and the very clothes I wore for school, play and even the bathing suits for the beach. Her cooking was desired by everyone, and I was amazed at such a young age, to see the colorful creations she would come up with from the local fruits and vegetables she grew in her very own garden. You would think I would follow her about, wanting to emulate her, and be with her to learn her special ways. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Her lovely smile, wasn’t for me. Her creations and talents had nothing to do with me. Her gifts, that others were fascinated by, had nothing to do with me. There was something very wrong, and I didn’t know what it was. But, I found a way to deal with her disdain for me. I would sneak out the back door leading into acres of green lush pasture lands. I would disappear in the early morning hours to run through the misty grass, and climb lichee and mango trees, surrounding our home, never wanting to come down. I found myself walking barefoot through streams and creeks, picking up tadpoles and geckos on the way, to sneakily bring back and hide in my room. There was nothing I wanted more than to be away from her. It hurt too much to be in her presence. So I would run and get away.

As long as I can remember, I felt this way. My mother didn’t have a gentle, kind way about her. I’ll get into that another time, but for now, let me just say I didn’t know the loving warmth of a mothers touch, hug or kiss. I was afraid to look her in the eyes. For her look was disapproving and made me feel like shrinking so that no one would see me. Her voice made me squirm and panic within, as I knew there was something about to be said that would stifle the air I breathed, and bring a sense of uneasiness to my spirit. I was always two steps ahead of her, watching where she would be, so I could figure out a way around her, so that we won’t cross paths. If at all possible, in a very small house, where she could hear me and see my every move, I would try to disappear.

One day, my brothers and I were outside waiting with excitement as our two dogs, Misty and Mandy were to arrive after a long time of being quarantined, since our move from our New Port Beach home, in California. It must have been months before they passed the rabies safety test, to be allowed into the state of Hawaii. I remember my dad driving up to the house as we all ran out to greet them.  They were in their crates, shaking and looking fearful, yet full of energy and excitement. Before I knew it, they were set free from the crates, as they charged off, running into the pastures, they dashed this way and that, rolling in the grass and squealing, and barking so loud that you could probably hear them for miles! We couldn’t catch them or stop them for one moment. They were elated and free, and wanting to run until they dropped into exhaustion. They were out of breath and panting with excitement and joy. They were finally free! I watched them having that same desire they had, to dash and prance about with nothing holding me down. The crates that were small and confining, that pressed into their bodies without room to move, or find comfort, were now a thing of the past.  I watched them and smiled with pleasure as they seemed to smile and laugh in their dog way of communicating their happiness.

I remember wanting what Misty and Mandy had. I remember a slight bit of jealousy for their freedom. I knew in my spirit, as I walked back into the house behind my mother, wearing my perfectly crafted dress, trying not to get too dirty, to practice reading aloud with her alone in the kitchen, that I was missing something. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I  longed for the freedom my sweet dogs experienced that afternoon. It didn’t exist then for me, and I knew I was trapped and without a voice in her presence. But I knew, that if I could find my way to the back door, without her asking where I was going, I’d be running as far as I could, hoping to find a moment to yell and breath and be free. Misty and Mandy had something I longed for. I knew though, that they had to endure a long journey, of so much unknown, with little comfort or understanding of what was happening to them. I didn’t understand at the time, that I was on a similar journey. I would be trapped for a while, with little comfort or peace. But to be outdoors, in the warmth of the sun, running as long as I could or wanted, was freedom for me. So I ran often.

Today, as I skip my run, (because I’m just to wimpy to get out there in the cold), I think back to those days when I was just a little girl who would give anything to run. I am grateful, that even though I was hurting, I was able run free. I didn’t know it was therapy then. (Now there are bumper stickers for that.) But I knew what it did for my spirit, and that was all I needed.  It did free me….But I soon found, it was just for the moment. It was temporary, until I walked back into that little house, and back into my every day life.

I know we all live in situations that can be uncomfortable or stifling for us. Sometimes we will feel lonely and unloved and it’s painful. And sometimes, our situation may truly feel like it is never ending. But in that time, where things are weighing you down, remember that you can run. Not away from, but into. Not physically, but spiritually. Run as slow or as fast as you like, but run… run into the presence of the one who is free.

Much later in my life, I heard these beautiful words from Psalms 23: 1-6. I couldn’t believe the words I heard. “The Lord is my Shepard; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my up overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

So amazing right?! He literally led me out to the pastures and through the streams. He was right there with me, on this far away island, reaching down to me from above. He restored my soul. He loved me when I didn’t even know him! He was with me in the valley and gave me no reason to fear. Please know that you are loved and able. Know that you can run when it gets tough. But run to him. Know that He has you, and has prepared a place in advance for you, and that it is so good.





Can you hear me?

My earliest memory is one of when I was still young enough to be in a crib. The memory is more like a reoccurring dream, yet it was real and confirmed to me after finally asking if such a memory could be true. My father assured me it was, and for me, it explained a lot.

I was wet, hungry and tired. Tired of yelling, screaming and begging for someone to come to me. My frustration was one I had no name for, or understanding of what was causing it, except I needed to be heard. I can still see myself shaking the wooden slats of the crib, holding on to the sides as I jumped and fell over my clumped up sheets. Why was no one coming for me? Why was I alone? Could anyone hear me? I cried for what seemed to be hours wanting my mom to come to me. Somehow, I knew though, at such a young age, that she wouldn’t. I remember this not being the first time, and that it wouldn’t be the last. As I lay there exhausted, covered in tears, and weeping, I saw my father come into the room, lean over to me and pick me up to hold me. It was my father that came to me, not my mom. I don’t remember what happened next. I just remember relief.

This early memory is one I have gone back to in my mind many times throughout my life. It’s the beginning of understanding my desperate need and desire to be heard. I know, we all desire to be heard, and I think that it is a natural and healthy desire. But for me, throughout my life, I have really struggled with believing that my thoughts, opinions and ideas didn’t matter. The truth is that I was silenced many times throughout my life either by others, or my own doing, and it has always left me feeling just as I did that morning long ago, in my crib – alone.

I would like to share stories of my life with you, and share with you how my fearful lonely view, through the wooden slats of my crib, has shifted and changed through the years. I would like to share my journey with you of how my loneliest moments have shown me that I am most certainly not alone. Those slats no longer grip me, they have empowered me. It’s taken a long time to get here, but I’m here. My story is not special. It’s probably quite a bit different than yours, but it’s by no means important or more meaningful than any one story out there. I want this to be a place where I can be raw and real, and break down all walls and barriers. If we were sitting face to face, we would be saying, “really”, and “me too” and “can I share something with you?” It would be a time of growth and meaningful conversation, with tears and laughter, anger and regret. We would be real, hopefully, and share our stories together. So here, when I share, please know it is with you in mind, sitting with me, (but behind your screen) living our lives out loud. I want to hear you too. I want to know your desires and needs, hopes and fears. I am not sitting here about to do this, to just tell my story. I want your story to unfold for you, just as mine has for me. I have realized that the first step to healing, is to have a voice. Sometimes though, our voice comes through a pencil, a pen, or a keyboard, long after we wanted or needed to be heard.