Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reflection: Hanging in there

I sit here tonight thinking back on my life these last five years or so.  And wow...what a roller coaster it has been.

A few years ago my marriage was struggling, we had hit a rough patch.  Then, despite what my doctor said, we found ourselves pregnant with our third (and very unexpected) child.  And the economy was taking a turn for the worse.  And my husband's job took a hit.  He took about a 20% paycut.  And for a family just barely making it, that was enough to send us over the edge.   So pregnant and hormonal, we filed for Bankruptcy.

That year, Christmas was so hard for us.  We couldn't afford to get our kids a thing for Christmas.  And we felt guilty as hell about it.  We felt like they were going to suffer for our mistakes.  It broke our hearts.  I'll never forget the kindness of our family and loved ones that year.  They gifted us the money to buy Christmas for our kids.  And it was the biggest blessing I had ever received.  We never asked or expected it.  They saved Christmas for the kids.

However, shortly afterwards, the bankruptcy went through.  We found ourselves renting a place smaller than our home had been.  It was smaller and we were expecting a baby.  Fun times right?  You can not even imagine how badly it took it's toll on me.  Pregnant woman can be quite hormonal anyway.  Well, I took it too extremes (not intentionally though).  The stress of life was really weighing down on me.  In fact it was weighing on both  my husband and I. 

We were grateful to have a roof over head.  We were also grateful that my husband never lost his job, even though he was working awful hours.  That didn't help much either.

Yes, looking back over the past few years, I'd say we hit rock bottom on so many levels.  There were times it looked so dark for us.  We prayed, A LOT!!  When life seems dark, what else can you do?

Funny how your prayers can change.   Our prayers at this point weren't for specific things anymore.  Instead they had morphed into more of a "Lord, please take care us.  Meet our needs.  Help us." kind of prayers.  But they were very sincere and heart felt.

Looking back, it was hard to see at the time that God had a bigger plan for us.  Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before we get to place where we give up what we thought we wanted, and allow God to do what's best.  And that's not an easy place to be.  And it's not easy thing to do.  I think I had to do it just about every hour at first.  Gradually I was able to give it all to him once a day.  And I honestly think the only reason we made it through was by the grace of God.

We have since built a home we love.  We are making improvements as we can (like a new patio and patio furniture for example).  We even added another "member" to our family.  We adopted a dog from the local animal shelter.  And just last over the weekend, my husband got a promotion.  If you would have told me a few years ago that we were going to build a house, and that all this was going to happen and that we'd be very happily married; I can honestly say there would have been no way I would have believed you.  It was too far fetched.  It was to big to even dream. I was just trying to survive each day.  But now, what I could not even fathom or even dream of, is now my life.  Is it perfect?  Well, is your life perfect?  No.  I have come to the conclusion that life will never be perfect because it has this sneeky way of dropping horrible things on you (economy going to crap, death, money issues, jobs, ect).  But I am happy.  I am to the core, happy.  I don't think I can ever remember being this happy since I was a kid.  And that is saying something.

Our trials and tribulations rarely seem worth it while we are in the midst of them.  We can't see the future.  All we can see is the pain, the anger, the confusion, the worry, the stress.  And when our vision is clouded by those, it's hard to see anything else.  I have been there.  And sadly, I'm young enough to be there again some day.  But once the storm is through and you are at your rainbow, you can look back and say:  "Wow.  If I had only known!  It wasn't easy, but it was worth it".

My family went through hell.  We lost it all.  And we almost lost our marriage too.  And it wasn't easy.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through (and I've been through some stuff).  But if that is what it took to get to where I am now, I'm grateful.  I'm grateful for the grace and strength I somehow had to make it through.  My marriage is stronger than ever.  And we are happy, and we are safe. 

What would you go through to really be happy?  Would you be willing to go through hell to get there?  Not an easy question to answer, is it?  To be honest, if you would have asked me this a few years ago, I would have said no.  And if you would have told me all I would have to go through, I still would have said no.   But looking back, I'm glad I wasn't given the choice.  I may not have chose to go through it, but I did choose how to go through it.  And for me, it was to lean on my faith and loved ones.

Some of you may be in the middle of one of life's major storms now.  To those I'd say: 

Hang in there!!  I know it feels like you are drowning.  I know it's hard and your exhausted and scared.  But hang in there!!  I PROMISE's worth it.  There is no way to see that now, I know.  It's too dark.  But I promise you, it is going to get better.  One step at a time.  Just take it a moment at a time.  And then soon you'll be taking it a day at time.  And before you know it, this too will have passed and hopefully, you'll be better for it.  You'll be stronger, wiser, more patient.  And hopefully, you will be at place where you too are happy.  But it takes faith and not giving up.  And you don't have to do it alone.  Lean on your friends and family and loved ones.  That is what they are there for.  And try to have some faith.  I know it's hard. 

It's okay to cry.  It's okay to yell.    You will have days when you just don't want to get out of bed.  And you will have days when you are ticked off at the world.  HANG IN THERE!!!  This will pass.  This will get better.  IT WILL!!!  You just need to go through it to get there. And you don't have to go through it alone.

Sometimes I can't believe where we are today.  Do we deserve it?  NOPE!!  Not by a long shot.  But we are so grateful for it. 

It's funny the ups and downs life can take, the loop-d-loops, the sharp turns.....  Sometimes life's ride can make us sick.  But thing about this ride is, you never know what's going to happen next.  One minute your down and the next your up.  And when my ride comes to stop, I want to know that I did the best I could.  I'm so thankful for all those on this ride with me.  Thanks for helping me through the downs and being there for the ups.  I'm so thankful for where we are now.  And it's in part because of all those on this ride with us...loving us...encouraging us...helping us.  I'm so glad we don't have to do this alone.   

Thank you God for the loved ones in our lives.  Thank you for answered prayer.  Thank you for the times I didn't have the words but my tears and moans spoke for me.  You were there.  You were with me.  I wasn't alone.  And you gave me others to help see us through too.  Help me to remember that no matter what life throws at me, that I can trust in You to help see us through.  It may not be easy, but I know if we are in Your hands, we will be okay.  Thank you for where we are now.  Help us to continue to grow.  Thank you for your Love.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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