Unbalanced, yet hopeful…

….yes, you can be both!  How do I know this?  ‘Cuz, I am living a life that is completely unbalanced as life I’ve always known it, and yet, hopeful!

I recently fought with a blanket while attempting to launder it.  The blanket is large and during the spin cycles would become heavier on one side making the washer get unbalanced and eventually stop….until I’d readjust the blanket and the machine would start again only to repeat this at least twice during each spin.  Frustrating!  I just wanted the damn blanket to be washed so I could throw it in the dryer and get on with the rest of the mounds of laundry!  (how do two people create so much laundry?!!, but I digress!).

After the blanket was finally in the washer, and I sat down to look over some social media, in the background I heard playing a song by Tenth Avenue North that I hadn’t heard for a bit.  Or, rather, hadn’t paid close attention to it.  It’s entitled, “I Have This Hope” (check it out on YouTube!).  It’s been out for a few years and I remember that I’ve always like the melody, but I’m not really sure I have allowed the lyrics to resonate with me as it did today.  Here’s the lyrics:

I Have This Hope  by Tenth Avenue North
As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?
I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?
But I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
Yes, I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
So, whatever happens I will not be afraid
Cause You are closer than this breath that I take
You calm the storm when I hear You call my name
I still believe that one day I’ll see Your face
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Michael Donehey / Jeff Owen
I Have This Hope lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

As I’ve shared, my husband has a progressive, terminal illness.  There are days when I don’t think about it, then wham – he has a rough day or I stub my toe on the oxygen machine, or we have an appointment in which I kind of hold my breath hoping for good news, all the while trying to prepare my heart and head to hear bad news.  It’s kind of hard to explain.  There really isn’t any explaining, but as I’ve spent several days in a lot of quiet time while my hubby was on a trip, I’ve been led to read over notes in my journals, notes I’ve taken while attending church and trainings the last several years and I feel God encouraging me to be “ok” with being unbalanced while  having hope and to get comfortable with being unbalanced and vulnerable so that I may grow closer to Him, as well as my husband.  Oh, I’ve wrestled with God over this.  Yesterday while tending to my flowers and enjoying some time outside I was just arguing with the Lord!  Saying things like: “why, Lord, are you leading me/us on this path?”  “what is our purpose in this?” “how can we honor you and bring glory to you through this?”; which led me to reading over some notes I took at a retreat I had several years ago at the Inn at Honey Run in which I wrote: “I want to encourage other women so that they may feel the love and acceptance of the Lord in a way that makes them reach their potential and more”.  Reading over that, again and again, it kind of took my breath away!  It was kind of like God just sitting right beside me having a conversation and a “parental-like” discussion.  So, instead of making excuses, I continued reading and pouring over notes in which I read things like “use me mightily Lord”, “help me to shine your light”, “lead me to whom you want me to help”.  Mind you, it was now like 1 am, I’m still pouring over notes, reading scriptures, listening to music, and at some point I fell asleep.  When I awoke this morning at 5, my light was still on, the dogs were snoozing (one snoring!), so I took some time to just lay there and listen to the quiet and prayed which led me to looking at where I left off….. interesting where that was and why my heart and mind must have felt so peaceful and comforted that I drifted off to sleep  and slumbered on this verse:

     “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him”. ~Psalm 62:5

and, my phone had gone into sleep mode on the YouTube video of “I Have This Hope”.

So, while it was a short night, 4 hours of sleep!, I awoke refreshed and calm in spirit.  THAT is a true gift!  I have many days that I have to intentionally reach for “calm in spirit” and fight the devils temptation to allow my feelings to be driven to chaos.  So, as I began my day, humming some hymns, feeding the dogs, taking a short walk with them in the yard with the heavy morning dew chilling my bare feet, I smiled both inside and out.  I’m grateful that I’ve had a few days of reflection and I know it has been God designed.   I haven’t worried one bit about hubby while he’s been gone.  My heart is glad that he had time with family and friends to make memories for himself and them.  And, I’m grateful that I’ve had time to have some spa treatments, soul reflection, time with family and friends, and time to just “be”.  And, now, I’m declaring that I will continue to work on being comfortable with unbalance and demonstrate that in the flood or the fire there is grace, humility, peace, and love.  But, before I draw this to a close, I want to also go on record regarding a few things (not justifying, just want to be on the same page here as we do life together!) :

1.  I’m NOT an angry woman!  I am heart broken!  I am failing at becoming “ok” with being vulnerable and showing sadness, but I’m trying!!!  I have always felt that by crying, saying I’m sad, or being vulnerable was a sign of being weak – and I am by far weak….I’ve worked damn hard to be a strong, independent woman.  Yet, I’ve become very aware that in my attempt at becoming strong and independent I have often come across as angry and/or intolerant/disagreeable.  To those who felt that from me “I’m sorry”!  I never want to appear intolerant and please know that it is not intentional.  However, I vow to be very intentional in trying to be more graceful and comfortable with being vulnerable.

2.  Please don’t tell me how to feel and/or think you know how I feel.  Perhaps you have experienced a loss of a relative, friend, pet or had a near death experience with one… that does NOT in any way equal what I’m going through.  I acknowledge that any loss that any of us have ever felt prepares us for another loss in the future, but please hear me, nothing can prepare you for the loss of your soulmate.  It’s hard.  It’s sad.  It’s gut-wrenching.  It’s humbling.  All the while it’s a gift to capture more moments – it somehow makes all the moments shared sweeter.  And, as I read over this paragraph I realize it’s probably going to come across bitchy. Sorry for that!  All I’m really trying to say is:  please don’t tell me to look for the “silver lining” when I’m sad, please don’t tell me to put my game face on and be strong for my husband (trust me, I’m doing that, but there are snippets of time that I just can’t!)…..in other words, just please WALK BESIDE ME!….don’t judge me, don’t pretend to know how/what I’m feeling, don’t try to be my cheerleader…..just hold my hand, give me a hug, sit in silence, be present.

3.  And, finally, know that I know you, our family and friends, are experiencing a loss too.  So, there may be times (a lot of the time) in which I don’t share because I truly do recognize this is a loss for you, too, and I’m trying to be considerate of you.  So, it’s ok for you to not be strong each and every second, too.  Now is the time to just be authentic.  Don’t be shallow or pull back…..just LOVE!

And, finally…..really, finally this time!  I’ve opened my blog back up to being public.  I believe God gave me the gift to gab/write and is leading me to share this experience to bring glory and honor to Him.  Which is my hearts desire.  While reading over notes and things last night I came across hubby’s and my 25th wedding renewal vows and sermon notes.  I’m so glad that I found them and I plan to keep them close by to reread for encouragement.  I find great comfort in the following words shared by our pastor:  “it is evident that love has brought you together, and it is love that will sustain you. Love is an eternal triangle.  God is at the apex, and you two are at the base of the triangle.  When man and woman are joined together with God at the top, they will not be separated from each other at the bottom.  In genuine love, two persons look out together in the same direction and direct their lives together toward common ideals and goals”.  And THAT gives me the hope of today and has given me hope with this man I call my husband and best friend for the last 32 years.  I am a lucky, lucky woman.  I am loved and adored by my heavenly father, my earthly father, and my husband!  That is so comforting.

God does not promise that our lives will be without pain, but He does promise to never leave us.  He will carry us and continue to give us hope, as we have the hope of spending our eternity with Him.  I have this hope….do you?

Love,
Jackie

 

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