Hey Gorgeous Friends,
It’s been a little over two weeks now since I sat on the side of the road telling EMT, “I’m not okay. I’m not okay. I’m not okay. “
2 weeks since my best bud who followed me everywhere went to heaven. I believe he’s in heaven because our God is able to do anything and if heaven is perfection and all things are redeemed and restored, then my Maxwell is surely there. Jesus created him and all things good beyond what even the eye can see or perceive.
Today, I am reflecting on how I got back up after my whole world turned Topsy turvy and upside down. After a deep tragedy that includes loss, one wonders how they will ever move on. I know I sure did.
For days following my Maxwell’s passing, I told many people that I was not okay. And I questioned in those beginning moments if I would ever be okay again.
The grief was deep, searing, hot, and scalding. I felt like I was being split into pieces. I couldn’t walk or function much. I just cried and slept. The problem with sleeping is the moment you move from sleep to awake, the whole trauma hits again like a crashing wave making it hard to breathe.
Here’s what happened to my Maxwell. Losing our beloved Maxwell
So, here’s a glimpse into our family’s healing journey. I am sharing it as a way to process the past few weeks and also to give hope to anyone in deep pain. There is light and hope ahead. You may not be okay today, but you will be okay someday.
One of the first things that I did was reach out for professional help. I knew that my family and I needed some trauma counseling and tools right away. I reached out to my sweet therapist that has helped us navigate other hard things, and asked for an emergency session. I haven’t seen her in 2 years and yet there she was right away ready to be there with some guidance.
I reached out for spiritual help from leaders in our church. In addition to trauma counseling, I needed some powerful prayer to stand me back up. I felt a cloak of fear trying to grip me right after it happened. Everything suddenly looked scary and I was terrified of something else bad happening. The whole world looked scary to me all of a sudden. I was honest and told people filled with faith and the Holy Spirit what I was feeling.
I spoke with a dear friend who is a pastor and he prayed scriptures over me. I shared what happened and how I was feeling and he gave me timely scriptures that I could cling to. It was calming hearing the promises of our faithful God being spoken to me in such a time of despair.
Two wonderful women from our church called and talked with me and prayed powerful Holy Spirit led prayers over me and with me. They listened and then gave me powerful truths. They reminded me that I had a stronger power on the inside of me than any power coming against me. They reminded me that joy is a choice and there could be joy right in the middle of this pain. They also reminded me of the power of my praise. And their prayers moved mountains. As they prayed, I literally felt the large boulder of grief that had been sitting on my chest roll away. When I hung up, I could breathe in full breaths again. It still hurt, but I had a new well of strength and a resolve to keep going despite the searing pain.
The pastor that performed our marriage ceremony also called me and encouraged me with prayer and scriptures. He had more truths from the Word of God to speak to me. I was clinging to every promise the Lord has spoken and as people reminded me of His truths, I clung on to the scriptures and the truth for dear life.
That first day was the hardest. I didn’t go to work or eat or do much. My friends gathered around me in such a way that I physically felt their love.
Meals started being delivered, phone calls came in, flowers appeared, messages came in, cards arrived, and people were praying for me and my family.
People pressed in and sat with me in my grief. Friends called and listened to me cry and told me that they loved me. Friends at work hugged me and let me cry on their shoulders, literally….
I allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest with people who cared about me.
A few years ago, the thought of such open vulnerability would have me sweating. But God has been working on me and He has built solid support networks around me. I have an amazing Bible study group that rushed right in to care for me. I am part of a prayer group at work that immediately started praying for me and checking in on me. And I have wonderful close friends who stopped everything and just showed up. No perfect words, just showed up and sat with me and felt the grief with me.. These small groups stood me up with their prayers and love.
Almost immediately, I became mindful of what I said aloud. I blog alot about the power of our tongue and how important it is to speak words of life, and now I had to practice walking this out even when I felt otherwise..
I would begin to say things like…
My whole world is falling apart.
I’m never going to make it.
I’m not going to survive this.
And as words and phrases like that tried to leave my lips, I would rephrase them. No way was I going to reinforce those lies and speak them into the atmosphere especially for my kids to hear.. so INSTEAD…. I would say.
We are safe.
We are going to make it through this.
I am going to make it through this.
I will survive this storm.
If God is for us, then who can stand against us.
God still has good plans ahead.
What the enemy meant for evil, my God can turn for good.
I called on the name of Jesus ALOT and still am of course. I spoke to my own soul and encouraged it by speaking aloud the truth of God’s Word right into my situation. I would repeat Jeremiah 29:11 out loud and then Jeremiah 29:12 -13. I would speak the truth right into the dark that was attempting to overtake me.
And when I had no words to pray, again I just prayed the name of Jesus.
And finally, I praised God despite the storm that was raging around me and inside of me. Even in the darkest night, I continued to declare His goodness, His power, His plans for my future, and that I still trusted Him. I have more to share about praising God in the middle of disaster. I will share specifically about that soon. We can literally break the heavy chains and strongholds with our praise.
I am not yet healed. BUT God showed up again and again and again. And there have been moments of laughter. There have been breakthroughs of sunshine. I watched my kids fly kites and I smiled a genuine heartfelt, happy smile. My bestie got a new puppy and I can’t get enough of her sweet pictures. I sat with the neighbor’s dog last night and snuggled her with Addyson. We went to the park on Sunday and I impulsively rolled down a tall hill while my kids watched in shock. Life is full of beautiful moments and they can break through even in the midst of painful seasons like when the sun breaks through and shines during the rain.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for carrying me when I couldn’t stand. For holding me together when I thought I was crumbling. For breathing new life into my soul. For sending waves of comfort and a steady peace. For breaking through the pain with doses of joy. I trust You to carry me forward and to infuse Your joy into my family’s future.
In Jesus’s name, Amen..