Give me all things funny, motivational, wise…you name it! Inspiration on a daily basis especially on social media is a top priority. It is important. It is life-giving. One of these inspirations for me is author, Susie Larson. I mean, anything with the hashtag “FULLY ALIVE” is going to get my attention! Receiving the news Mike had died was like a bomb going off in my body. I am still trying to reassemble my pieces over 5 years out. One of the author’s posts awhile back really got my attention. In it she says, “The storms reveal the lies we believe and the truths we need.” I know this to be true, as I am sure many of you do, all too well.
It is the storms that will reveal to you who…you…are. Grief, seasons of despair, loneliness, anger, secondary losses too long and entangled to list, financial setbacks, health scares, longing, exhaustion – they will all reach in and stir up your depths.
Storms teach us what we are no longer willing to accept and what we will gladly welcome into the lives of ourselves and our children. Storms clue us in real fast who our people are: those who will love and stick by us in our pretty and our ugly.
I have often heard people say that grief will really show you who you are and who people are. I have found this shockingly true. The disappointment in people and the secondary losses that followed my husband’s death were unexpected storms. At times, I felt like they were an ocean threatening to swallow me alive.
One of the biggest was the loss of relationships once held so tightly. Not always lost entirely, there were lots of relationships that no longer existed as I once knew them to be. There becomes this space where you are not quite sure where you fit and who you are after loosing a spouse. I’ve learned that this is normal and that it will take time to discover who I am and where I fit with those people once again. Some relationships are not able to withstand such shock and trauma wether from the death itself or from the changes that have occurred within me. Other relationships needed an overhaul and hopefully will develop newly with time.
When our world is shaken to its core. When we are stripped of all that defines for us our sense of comfort and security. There are two things that become very clear when we experience grief and whether storms. Seemingly simple but eternally complex: the lies that we believe as fact -and- the realization of the truths we must hold sacred.
These lies can be how we see ourselves, our roles in people’s lives, and on an on. Our perception of ourselves, others, our world, our God, are all interwoven into the lives we create. Storms expose it all! They rip off all false exteriors and expose your strengths and weaknesses. They leave it all out there in the open. Grief drains you of any energy to keep up fronts.
It will bring out your ugly and your humility.
It will show what rocks you stand upon and where you struggle to have faith.
I have found all of these things to be so true and so challenging. I have remarked that so much of my work in counseling and soul work ever since becoming a widow has been not so much to process loosing Mike and my grief in that but rather, to process all of the changes that have occurred in me and in others since that horrific day.
There is some clarity that comes when you experience such upheaval and shock to your core. You don’t go back-and-forth between things. You do not have time for nonsense and inauthenticity. So many things do not get your energy because “now you know” that so much that we consume ourselves with really doesn’t matter.
I don’t doubt for a second the fact that my young children really did sharpen that all the more for me. There was no way, to the best of my ability after they lost their dad, that they were going to loose their mom to grief. That does not mean that it has been easy or perfect. I’ve always made the best choices I was capable of at the time. From the start, I was intentional with surrounding myself with support and a “second set of eyes” whether it be through church, counseling, schools, or wise individuals we were blessed to call friends.
Now, to the truths we need.
There is something so weighty and beautiful in that statement. Like air essential for survival, is truth for our soul. Truths are the foundation that we rebuild upon after weathering the storms.
My God is good. Always. Even when my world came to an end. Even in the depths. He is. I know this truth now more resoundingly then I ever did in the “good” times.
My instincts are pretty darn accurate. I need to remember to trust and listen to myself. Instinct is a gift of womanhood.
I am equipped for this life. I certainly couldn’t imagine this would be my story. Yet, there is something about it that I know I’ve been built for. Something that feels familiar in some odd way. All the past heartache, joys, overcoming since childhood has all led to refining me for this time.
Incredible people throughout my life, have and continue to, speak life and wisdom into me to serve me on my journey. I reach back often into all those talks that I had with my husband so that I can bring forward his wisdom. It is essential to honor him as to how he wanted his children to be raised. He had some exceptional insight into our children, wisdom of a father, about very specific things that I am forever thankful he shared with me. That “daddy wisdom” has guided me tremendously.
I have no doubt that more storms lie ahead of me but with these coming storms, I approach them each time a little more confidently, a little more whole.
What lies have been brought to the surface for you in your grief, in the storms you’ve weathered? What truths have anchored your soul and kept you afloat?