I set out to have a blog that would encourage people. I’m very new at this and have to be intentional to not question the validity of my sharing. Since doing so, I’ve experienced one personal frustration after another. I’ve tried not to tally the things we’ve faced. I’ve tried to stay positive, choose rest (as much as humanly possible with sick and demanding off-spring), tackle it one step at a time and remember it could always be worse.

That said it isn’t always easy to encourage someone else when you’re having a hard time encouraging yourself. We have, nonstop, had ailments since before Christmas. It’s almost embarrassing… like we’re a dirty family. But I’m clean. Sanitary even. I boost their immune systems. I make sure they don’t live on sugar and eat healthy foods. I avoid dyes, artificial sweeteners and limit their processed food intake. They take probiotics when they’ve had antibiotics.

I just don’t get it.

One virus, bacterial infection, stomach bug, pink eye, broken leg, morning sickness, smell and food-induced vomiting (from me), tummy aches, weird appetites, major digestive pain, fatigue and deep chest cough after another. This doesn’t even touch on the financial things we’ve faced!

I rolled my ankle on Friday, strained ligaments in my foot and now I’m on crutches. This week alone I’ve shampooed diarrhea out of my carpet twice, bathed littles covered in it multiple times, given countless breathing treatments, antibiotics, fought fevers and now two have pinkeye. And I can’t even begin to address how much laundry my champ of a washing machine does every day.

This has been the norm for months.

I love it when people are like “just rest” when they hear that my kids are sick. Have you ever tried to sit down when you have four kids? It’s an invitation for someone to need something! Plus all the incessant wiping of noses, tears and table tops.

The most frustrating part is having to cancel plans day after day, week after week. To put in the work for an upcoming event or prepare to teach a class and then at the last minute have to cancel. To find sitters, arrange schedules and plan complicated days…. All canceled.

There are moments when I want to laugh because it’s so RIDICULOUS but there are far more moments that make me want to cry because I’m overwhelmed. Especially today when I’m on crutches and in pain and two of mine are running around the house with something very contagious (and they touch everything!) and one has to go to urgent care because his cough is relentless and not improving.

My husband is trying but he’s overwhelmed and disappointed too. Aaaand now he’s taking care of me…

What the heck?!

Yes. It could be worse. Yes. We could be fighting something life-threatening. Yes. We have each other and family and it’s just a season, right?!

Why does that not comfort me anymore?! Enough is enough! So… how do I encourage you today to overcome life’s hardships, take each day by the fist and make the most of it? How do I tell you to walk it out in peace, but you must walk it out!? How do I tell you it’s worth it to step out of the pattern of addiction and poor communication because you CAN, and life is infinitely better on the other side? How do I tell you to lift up your head and keep going when today… today I feel like going back to bed… for the day.

It doesn’t matter how we feel.

Boom.

What matters is what we choose to do.

Yeah… coming from me. I’m the most empathetic person I know. I cry at every movie… like… all of them. I’m the one who walks into a hospital room and asks how you’re feeling and do not mean physically. I’m all about the feelings! There’s so much information in how we feel. There’s so much healing when we are honest and open but our feelings cannot drive our lives.

I saw a post by a motivational speaker that I follow that said something along the lines of “there is no ‘it’s hard’ or ‘it’s heartbreaking.’” (He was more eloquent) BUT he specifically said those phrases. What you choose to land your thoughts on will direct your actions. You have to be convinced of the path or you’ll always waver. “Hard” is a mindset. It’s either hard or it’s just something you have to do. “It’s heartbreaking” or it’s something you haven’t learned how to do yet. Quitting can’t be an option anymore.

If you aren’t convinced yet that you belong here on earth and you were made with a purpose, pause all other inquiries and missions.

You were born with purpose. You were intentionally designed to live on purpose. You are woven together with the fabric of a creator who looked at his masterpiece upon completion and delighted, pridefully at his perfected work. You were put into a broken world because that is where you were conceived. It is for this broken place you are designed.

It is imperative that you live at your surest self to have the greatest impact. Your absence would leave a gaping hole. If you’ve ever experienced a lost loved one than you have considered only the surface impact but your impact goes deep. It’s eternal. Do not leave a wake of pain behind you. Instead, leave a wake of goodness unique to your design. Be free to be you. Let others be free to be them… at whatever stage in life and understanding that is.

Pause to contemplate that this world is both collective and cumulative. We are never truly islands. There is no expectation over your head except to seek truth and become freer every day. To be. To be in communion. The communion.

So, in the practical… freedom is, in fact, a state of mind. So is peace. We are only bound by what we allow to bind us. It is my challenge to rise above my circumstances and remember my sphere of impact begins in my home anyway.

To walk the waters of stormy winds and not be shaken. To stand within the hurricane and be the eye, the calm. I’ve before expressed this desire. And here I face my own personal storm. What response will I choose?

I choose to learn how to be the eye of the storm. Stable. Ever moving forward.

 

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