…and tomorrow. And the next day.

Life is unfair, friends.

It takes when we give.
It gives away when we need.
It doesn’t explain itself.
It has no rules.
It has no guide.
It is violent.
It is wrong.

God is just, my friends.

He gives abundantly what we do not deserve.
He takes away and we may not understand.
He holds our interests in his hand.
He is devoted.
He is one with mercy and judgment.
He allows the hurt but He does not ignore it.
It does not vanish, His love for us. No matter the hurt.

Life is unfair, the sin that is in it. The corrupt. The violence. The hate. The ignorance. The adulterated existence we are a part of. The blame we put on God, the one who risked more than we ever would be willing to do. He took the blame. He carried that weight, that burden of our emotional ignorance and pride. Yet He still loves us. Yet He is still here.

That.

That is unfair.

That is just so incredibly unfair.

So today, I am thankful. For what I have and who I am despite the cruelty of this world I have endured my share of. I am thankful for a loving God who has shown me unimaginable, unbelievable unconditional love. I am thankful to those who – while they have endured even worse – have allowed themselves to be an encouragement to me and to others. I see you and wonder sometimes why? And where do you get the strength? And the answer is always the same.

God is just.
God is one with mercy and judgement.
He allows the hurt but He does not ignore it.
It does not vanish, His love for us. No matter the hurt.

So today I am thankful. And tomorrow. And the next day.

Thank you, Lovelies. Please be kind, always. ❤

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I had been warned – I had warned myself – not to reckon on worldly happiness. We were even promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, “Blessed are they that mourn,” and I accepted it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination. Yes; but should it, for a sane man, make quite such a difference as this? No. And it wouldn’t for a man whose faith had been real faith and whose concern for other people’s sorrows had been real concern. The case is too plain. If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which “took these things into account” was not faith but imagination. The taking them into account was not real sympathy. If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.

– C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (pp. 36-37)

If I were to be honest…

I am hurting. I am watching the repercussions of sin take root in the simplest things…. and in the biggest. I am watching what it means to live in a life of imperfections, yearning to live with the God that loves us and can’t wait for a time of perfection and peace with us. A God that hurts with us. A God that begs for me to lean on him and cry when I face the realization that my son doesn’t talk like all the other toddlers. That my son is incredibly intelligent but can’t verbally express it. Not yet.

He’s not mute and he’s not deaf. He will talk in time, through therapy and with the love and endless support of his “momma” and “da-da” and all the loving friends and relatives that surround us. He’s not a serious case and I tend to judge myself over this.

“There are others that are going through far worse.”

Ugh. No. S-T-O-P with the judging of yourself. Why do we do that? Why do we compare our pains, our hurts and sufferings to someone else’s? Why can’t we just allow ourselves to grieve how we need to grieve, over WHAT we need to grieve over? There are parents who have been blessed with remarkable children, children that have been asked to live in a world of autism, where there’s possibly no hope of speaking outside the flapping of their hands and screeches in order to tell you something. That crushes me. I cannot imagine. I pray for these families, pray for courage and strength. You are heroes… I cannot imagine. And that is just it. I cannot imagine. I am not living that life. I am living my life.

Have we ever thought about the fact that maybe that family that has it worse (and honestly? They may not even feel that way… I am not one to judge. That is not my place..), but had they not lived their life and instead lived yours, maybe they would grieve what you grieve as well? 

So let’s stop selling ourselves short and let’s grieve what we are currently grieving, no matter what someone else is going through. This is YOUR GRIEF. This is YOUR STORY. It is okay for you to feel the way you feel. The family that “has it worse than you” would most likely be the first to tell you – or rather, me – that they don’t mind if you grieve that your son isn’t yet talking. Even when they know their’s never will.

So…I am hurting. My son is 23 months old (as of yesterday). Two years old in June. I can’t wait to hear him say “I love you”. I can’t wait to hear my son say “milk” or “dog” or “car” or “please”. But you know what I learned today? I was reading Love, Anthony by Lisa Genova, a book about a boy with autism (and oh my goodness please buy that book right now! Click the link and buy it and read it. You’ll THANK ME!! Anyways…). I learned something valuable.

I don’t need him to speak to me. He doesn’t need to speak to me. I’ve already known for some time that his speech was possibly behind and I’ve known that this was okay. I’ve learned that I can find a precious gift inside the lack of speech – the gift God has given me to help me live through this life of imperfection – and that is I can learn my son even better than I would through speech because I know what every body movement, every influx of his tone, every eye movement means. I know him inside and out. I know what he wants, when he wants it. I know his internal clock, I know his needs and his desires.

Without speech, I have learned his heart.

I want to share with you a passage from the book Love, Anthony that can help you better connect to what I just wrote. To better understand me. Lisa Genova wrote this so beautifully. This is the voice of Anthony, the little boy who was autistic:

“I came here to simply be, and autism was the vehicle of my being. Although my short life was difficult at times, I found great joy in being Anthony. Autism made it difficult to connect with you and Dad and other people through things like eye contact and conversation and your activities. But I wasn’t interested in connecting in those ways, so I felt no deprivation in this. I connected in other ways, through the song of your voices, the energy of your emotions, the comfort in being near you, and sometimes, in moments I treasured, through sharing the experience of something I loved…”

My son will have a voice in time. But for now? He doesn’t need it and neither do I.

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When the Nashville Wife becomes the Nashville Mom (Part I)

As you all know, I moved to Nashville because I made the choice to follow my husband’s dreams. I quickly found my dream job and started working at an animal shelter, to which I eventually became the Assistant Director there. I had my purpose and I was happy. I hadn’t planned on ever quitting my job, not even when I had my son. Truthfully, I didn’t give it much thought (who would? It’s your dream job. No giving up on that!) But then it happened. 

 

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I passionately, deeply loved that little boy. A love that grew so quickly that it took my heart by storm and my work was no longer my driving force. It was still my passion but it wasn’t enough for me anymore. It was harder and harder to swallow the thought of leaving him behind and then one day, the decision was made, and I would no longer work at the shelter.

I was so blissfully happy, but as most of you can imagine, the fullness of love couldn’t always fill the emptiness of solitude.

The constant stretch of days with no other human interaction, no getting out of the house, no me-time, was starting to wear me down. There were days where I felt like I was suffocating. Clawing my way out, I knew I needed something; I needed an outlet. That is when The Nashville Wife was born and so was the flame that ignited the kindling and set my world on fire.

I knew I wasn’t alone in this. I knew I couldn’t be the only mama that felt that way. Starting life in Nashville with no real purpose, finding your own and then letting it be taken away. Every road is traveled differently from person to person whether our stories are similar or not.

 

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We can let our different stories separate us or we can let them build us up. So I started this quest to share the stories and the voices of so many beautiful women who came here, to Nashville, either as a mom or not yet one. Women who came here with a purpose and those without one. Some that have struggled and some that have had the greatest adventure. These ladies wanted to let their words and experiences be available to those that may need to hear them. I needed to know I wasn’t alone. I needed to know there was a community out there where I belonged. So I might not be the only one.

I’ll end this with the first question I asked:

 What was the hardest part of moving to Nashville for you?

Here’s what they had to say:

“Probably leaving family, because everything I knew and loved still lived in Georgia.  I was lucky that my sister decided to move here too about the same time- she was (and is) a lifesaver.” – Martyne Palmer

“Moving to Nashville has been hard only because we moved with very little. We sold everything we owned to move here and it’s been a harder transition for my husband. We are very excited to be here and to see what this city has to offer for us. I think once we get settled it will make everything more of a smooth transition.” – Heather Abbott Burback


“Leaving California & the ocean. I grew up surfing on the beach my entire life…..And yeah, working for me is important. Also childcare is so affordable that moms can have careers and not hand over 85% of their paycheck to their childcare. It’s important! Many other countries have childcare priced similarly to Nashville (vs. let’s say, california) and there is a very high rate of happy moms with less post partum. I found staying home all day and breastfeeding made me sad and getting out for a few hours made me happy!” Allison Klein

“Leaving the only state I’ve ever lived in. Texas….I was leaving my sister which was really hard, but I knew Nashville was what God was calling us to do!” – Vicki Mason Brown

“I had a similar experience as you did with regards to working.  I found a job that I liked and was happy with the friends I met there, but once I became a stay at home mom I lost those friends as we were in different chapters of our lives.  My one piece of advice would be to save money.  We had moved here and had originally saved a good amount of money, but as we were both unemployed for a couple months, and moving into a new home, it was more expensive than we originally intended.  However, once we both started working, it evened back out but it was something we were not expecting as we were always so stable financially and neither of us wanted to rush into a job we were unhappy with. It all worked out but it does take time to get working, settled in a new home and making new friends. ”  – Jamie Angsten

I look forward to next Monday, The Nashville Mom (Part II), where I will continue with more questions and more answers from these women who want you to know you’re never alone. As always, feel free to comment or to send me a message through my Contact page. I would love to hear your thoughts and your stories!

Take care, lovelies.

 

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The Resplendent Bride

“I call her my Resplendent Bride because I have eyes and ears and for a time she even let me hold her hand.”

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My friend died of cancer at a very young age, just a few years ago. Her husband, Evan, wrote a book, Resplendent Bride.

He loved her.

He spoke of her in ways that put many an author to shame.

He wrote about grief and studied the brilliant writings of C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed.

I have wrestled with my own understandings of suffering in this world, especially as that of a Christian, a Christ-follower. A true believer. I have seen the loss in various forms and have worn out the carpet with my pacing of “why, God?”. 

This book has given me so much more depth on the subject of suffering. I have not felt nor experienced the kind of grief this man has endured, and I pray every day that I never have to. Not like that. 

I encourage you to pick up this book. It applies to everyone…

→ if you are suffering

→ if you are a widow

→ if you are wrestling with God on the subject of suffering (as I have now for over a year)

→ or if you simply need to learn how to best understand what to say to someone who is grieving (because many of us inadvertently say the wrong and the worst thing…)

Click HERE to view the book. Perhaps consider a purchase. It’s well worth it.

It’s 151 pages including the epilogue. Another 7 pages of the Appendix which is about ways to comfort the suffering. About 160 pages in all. 

And all 160 pages of well spent, well written love and loss. 

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This is, I suppose, where we will meet again.

“We were Supposed to be Happy.”

Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is. 

Angel Chernoff (partial quote)

I remember grappling with this the year my husband, Eric, had his appendix burst and hospitalized for 2 weeks; losing 25 pounds in 13 days. Driving him to the hospital with one hand so the other hand could hold his head up as he kept passing out.

Then one month later, getting hit by a truck while on his bicycle and forever ruining his foot, even after surgery.

All this only one year, almost to the day, after our wedding on January 8, 2011.

I thought….this isn’t right. This ISNT the way it was supposed to be. We were supposed to have a happy, fun-filled, easy going, get-to-know-each-other first few years. The hard stuff was supposed to come later. Much. Much. Later.

What is that old Yiddish proverb? We plan, God laughs?

Well, this isn’t a post so you can pity me. Or Eric. It’s a reflection on how God turned all things to our good. He didn’t make it easy for us. He let us walk the hard path. He let those things happen for his own understanding and asked us to be patient and to trust and to keep praying and to stay faithful. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t easy.

→ Eric still has pains in his stomach from the scar tissue of all the drains put in and taken out.

→ Eric still has to stretch his foot in the shower every morning so he can walk without much of a limp; So he can chase his little boy or walk his dogs.

→ Eric is here and he is healthy.

So I am thankful. It took me a long time to let go of what could have been, what should have been. But who am I to say what should have been?

I’m not saying someone dying of cancer should be happy their life turned out the way it did. I’m not going to pretend I know how any one of your lives is right now or how to be happy within it. But for me? Happiness is letting go of what I thought our lives should’ve been and seeing it for what it has become.

Through the lows and through the highs, it has been the ride of a lifetime with so so so many hardships. But Eric and I are closer than I ever thought possible. God and I are closer than I ever thought possible. And for that? I will always be thankful.