This morning, fighting off some feelings but knowing what I needed to do, I walked up to the empty upstairs and prepared to do my Barre3 class streaming with those I used to spend time with in a room where just a few days ago, my daughters slept in. As God would have it, this beautiful song randomly started playing on my playlist. SURROUNDED by Bethel Music and Kari Jobe filled my soul as the words "This is how I fight my battles" filled my ears and I did feel I was fighting my battles the way I knew how at that very moment through worship and movement.
This pandemic has many people struggling with things that aren't often addressed. Depression and suicide rates are high right now. I want you to win this battle. I want you to know you matter. If I have one reader or one thousand.. I want that 1 or 1000 to feel loved. I want you to shake off any assignments or agreements the enemy is trying to place on you. I want you to know your peace blanket can come in the form of dressing yourself in battle gear. Imagine yourself putting on a cloak of God's full armor. Feel it like a warm blanket of comfort and joy. (My own coach left me a beautiful voicemail last night reminding me of these tools to cope).
At 13 and 18, I fought a really big battle and tried to take my own life but by the grace of God, I didn't succeed. The battles continued to follow me throughout my adult life and sometimes they tried to win again. You are out there. The one that feels this temporary feeling is permanent and I want to encourage you to fight your battles with God holding you in His arms until the feeling passes. For some of you, riding the wave of emotions until it passes is super duper hard. You've had reasons for wanting to give up. Satan lies to you. You are confused, torn, feel like you have no worth. You feel as if you won't be missed. You feel you have to DO to earn a ticket to be loved or honored or adored. See these stinking lies for what they are. Raise up your white flag to the enemy and simply say you are done with believing his lies. Sing your worth OUT LOUD. Demand that the enemy stands down, that all agreements he has tried to place on you are broken. Sing. Worship. Pray. Make a schedule and do it when you don't feel like it.
Do not make a permanent decision based on a non-permanent emotion.
The starfish parable reminds us..
One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.
The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”
You matter to me, just like the person in the story that threw back one starfish at a time. If you are struggling or hurting, please believe me when I say I understand. I am here. I will listen and most of all, I will remind you of a savior who can breathe peace, joy and a sense of calm back into you as you ride it out.
Most, if not all, of us are losing something right now... job security, your own schedule, your privacy, your socializing, your friends, your favorite gym, your church, your dates, your family member time, your sanity, your income and for some of you..your health. I could go on and on. As I write, our power has gone off and the candles are lit as yet another "gentle" reminder of things absolutely out of our control.
I want to honor your fear, your worry, your sadness, your feeling of loss. It's real. I have been encouraging my clients this week to just sit with that feeling for a second. We tend to try to avoid the heavy, burdensome feeling in our souls when we try to process loss. We like to fill it with busy-ness, other emotions, wine, coffee.. hey, I am the first one to admit to all of that!
What do we do with this feeling of loss? It may be too soon for many of us to hear this but I want you to do your absolute best to continue to look for the good in this. If you have lost your job, I hope people in your community or circle are stepping up and reminding you of human goodness. If your schedule is a mess because you have kids at home you are entertaining or schooling, I want to encourage you to imagine being an elderly woman sitting in silence most of the day and to maybe embrace the joy in the chaos (after you cry a little) as absolutely hard as that may be. If you have lost your job or your health, I cannot imagine your pain, worry and fear right now. I can simply offer for you to please keep getting on your knees and to allow those people around you to demonstrate compassion and comfort reminding you of God's mercy.
The social gatherings, jobs, schedules, date nights and gym times will return and we will be a different, more loving and even more caring community than ever before.
But again, what about that feeling of loss? How are you grieving? What does that look like for you? Do you have someone to cry with? Are you a fan of journaling? What does setting a timer and allowing yourself to cry for an hour a day sound like? Do you have a favorite Bible App you like to read? How often are you talking to God right now about your feelings? What is one thing you can do that feels "normal" right now?
Each woman I have spoken to this week has a different scenario surrounding the loss they feel. One thing they all have in common is the feeling of relief after simply talking for a bit. The sting is lessened, the burden is shared, the heart is heard.
For me, as your coach, I feel it too and it's not often that I will discuss my own situations with you unless it relates but today I feel as if it does.
My loss will look and sound a little different than yours perhaps. No matter what yours is.. it's just as important and real to you as mine is to me.
The empty bed is what gets me. My oldest daughter was "mine" for a bit after her car accident this past December. For four months she slept in this bed. Nights of pain, tears, laughter, reconnection, healing, joy, sleepless nights and late morning sleep ins seemed to define not only her life but a very large part of mine and I was grateful, not for her pain, but for her presence after such an extended absence due to her addiction.
She made the choice last week after a lot of prayer and seeking guidance to quarantine with a friend who was isolating for two weeks before she arrived (a "normy" as those in the addiction world like to say) and although she's only 15 minutes away, this mammas heart sees and feels an empty room and the pain and trauma and loss of the last several years keeps me up at night. How do I cope? Well, I talk to her daily, I pray for her fervently, I ask God to protect her and I learn to let go. I cry to my husband, I keep my self in check with exercise and I sit in her room and allow sadness for a bit and then I move forward. She told me she loves it here but she sees this as a chance to continue her recovery and therapy and phycial therapy online like she has been doing and she has asked me to believe in her and for all the naysayers (even myself sometimes) I do believe a new light and life shines in her since her tragic accident and awakening. She told me she loves me and our family but that she wanted to figure this out on her own for a bit, enjoying sobriety and real life for a second on her terms, not my 48 year old Wheel of Fortune watching and early bedtime terms and I mean... who can blame her. My loss also comes in the fact that it's a matter of time before my youngest daughter returns to isolate in her own apartment at school and then I'll have another room to walk by and I'll likely grieve the same way. I see a dining room table set for 7 that only seats 3 now as my step boys are still in Denver with their mom until this is over. I focus on the 3 of us here and I don't take it for granted, not for a second.
Grieve it girlfriend. Honor it. Spend some time in it. Look for those wanting to help you. Laugh at this insane time if you have it in you and spend time in honest communication with the man above.