I started blogging in December 2011 after my son, Reece, was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disorder. You can read the posts of that blog on www.likeoliveshoots.wordpress.com. After six months of difficulties, complications, and setbacks, he passed away on July 5, 2012. Grief-stricken, we moved forward trusting in God’s sovereign plan for his life and for us.
Less than two years later, on April 15, 2014, my husband died by suicide. I was left alone, with three preschool children and a web of deception that my husband had left in the wake of his death. My secure life–so I thought–really had not been secure at all. The things in my life that once seemed normal were suddenly foreign. I felt like a prisoner to what he had done. It wasn’t the suicide alone. He had spent our money in ways I had no idea (even to this day) he had done. We were in massive debt, unbeknownst to me, and I was left to deal with it. No answers. Just questions. No husband. Nothing. With debt that I was unaware of and little understanding of the choices he had made, prior to his suicide, life as we knew it was over and we were headed into uncharted territory. Due to the many twists and turns I faced, I decided to stop writing. I needed to rest and heal. Even that had to wait, as I was at the mercy of what my spouse had done–some things prosecutable by law–and I had to be the one to deal with them. I spent four intense years working to get my life back in the aftermath of his decisions. Looking back, I have no clue, other than by God’s grace, how I made it through that time. I had no idea what was in store for me.
Uprooting. Grief. Selling a home. IRS. Renting. Paying for someone else’s wrongdoings. Dating. Raising a family. Single-parenting. Re-entering the working world. Remarriage. PTSD. New baby. Military life. Cutting off toxic relationships. Therapy. Loss of friends. Moving. Dealing with what had happened. More uprooting. PTSD. Recovery. Getting my life back.
It has not been easy. God has been faithful.
During a seven-year life desert, God has restored things those things that felt barren and made them new. He worked in my life-spaces that seemed desolate and restored what had dried and appeared to be dead.
I’m the same person, but I’m different. I look normal. I seem normal. Honestly, I am normal. But…I’m tired of not talking about it. It has been too jarring. It has been too life-altering to just move forward. It has not been “normal”.
After a four-year “sabbatical”, I have decided to come back to writing. This life has, at many times, been isolating. It’s hard to find people who can relate to the massive hardship of what has happened. And ultimately, it’s not the hardships that I’m interested in talking with them about, but rather God’s restoration and mercy in the midst of such despair. God’s faithfulness. God’s trustworthiness. God’s promises. God’s character that often gets so misunderstood in the midst of hardships.
I’ve realized I won’t run into many people who share the specifics of my personal journey, but there are many people that are dealing with difficult things. Hardships. Disappointment. Betrayal. Loss. Abandonment. Personal failures. Mental health issues. Trauma. Grief. And no one really talks about them. Well, I’m tired of that. I don’t like platitudes, preachiness, cattiness, or the “keeping-up-with-the-Joneses” mentality. I talk about what has happened, what is happening, things that I am experiencing, and how God continues to weave my life together. I have a passion to share my own journey so that others who are suffering might feel a connection. Because my life isn’t about my hardships. It’s about restoration. Hope. Perseverance. Faithfulness. Joy. Healing. My life is about new beginnings. It isn’t about me making that happen…it’s about Him. I hope my writing brings hope and connection to others who may be struggling or in need of encouragement.
God loves you and has a plan for your life. As hard as it may seem, you need only to be still.