Growing Through the Hard Times

A little over two years ago we planted three willows in our backyard.

Weeping willows are my absolute favorite trees! I love them!

We planted one in our last house and it just took off. We wished we would have taken yearly pictures to mark the progress. So when we planted the ones here we did that.

2018
2019
2020

As you can see in the last picture, our tree on the right isn’t doing well. The tree started budding then we hit a cold spell and all the leaves died.

The branches turned black.

We cut off the discolored branches. Hoping to reserve all the energy for the tree to stay alive.

At the base there were a few tree suckers. Normally, we’d cut off them off but the tree had no leaves so we decided to leave them so the tree could get at least some nourishment.

The loss of this tree affected me more than I’d like to admit.

I thought, well, this just fits perfectly into our lives. Another loss.

This summer I watched these suckers grow taller and fuller.

My dad said, “Now you’ve got 10 trees!”

This morning as I examined the suckers I realized we really are like this tree.

Our family has experienced a loss. Such a big loss that it left us bruised and part of us dead.

While in our despair, we find ways to continue to grow.

We cling to each other.

We search for hope.

We rely on faith.

The more we did each of those, the fuller we became as we stretched toward the Son.

The truth is, we’re never going to be the same. Our lives forever changed November 13, 2017.

But that doesn’t mean we’re done.

Everyday we learn more.

We work through the unknown.

And we love harder than the day before.

We might be suckers instead of the trees we used to be, but we’re not giving up. We’re fighting to keep growing.

Faith Over Fear

I’ve seen the statement, “Faith over Fear” mentioned quite a few times on social media.

When I see it, I take a deep breath in. Then exhale exhaustion.

Do they know what that entails?

I walk on the edge of faith a lot of days. I put one foot in front of the other, working hard to stay atop the faithful mountain.

But the truth is: if I side step, I’m falling into the abyss of fear, doubt, and despair.

Having faith means keeping an eternal perspective.

Having faith means searching for hope.

Having faith means understanding that come what may, we’re able to say, “Thy will be done.”

The importance is where our faith is grounded.

Do people have faith that their family will be protected?

Do people have faith that their leaders know what to do?

Or do people have faith centered on Christ and that no matter what happens, they’ll be able to close their mortal eyes and open with eternal ones.

In my experience, the first two have failed. And the third is essential but isn’t easy. It’s continual work.

But on most days I’m able to steady myself on the edge and cling onto faith.

Today, I’m choosing faith.

Getting Stuck in the “Why” Cycle

The last couple of weeks have been hard for me.

They’ve been, “Why Rory” weeks.

Why didn’t Rory have temperature?

Why was she walking around, doing okay-ish until it was too late?

Why did we only get 36 hour from the time any symptoms hit?

Why didn’t we get inspired to do more?

Why were other family members throwing up with her?

Why wasn’t she buckled over in pain?

Why weren’t her symptoms more severe to alert us?

Why is my daughter gone?

Why?

Why?

Why?

I allow myself time to be sad and angry. I allow myself to cry in bed. I allow myself to hit pillows. To scream and shake my fists. Those feelings are real and have to be felt. To do otherwise is just pushing down emotions and that’s not effective for me.

But I don’t allow myself to live in that head space.

It doesn’t bring her back.

It doesn’t change the past.

It doesn’t help me be a better person.

It doesn’t make me a better support for my husband and sons.

In fact, it does the very opposite for the last two. I think if you were to ask Lance, he’d say I’ve been rather irritable the last couple of weeks.

I’ve had trouble fighting my way out of the depths I was in.

But I feel like I’m starting to see lights above the water.

Lots of lights.

Beautiful purple lights.

My Heavenly Father Loves Me

From a very young age, we ask why.

It’s a question that gets asked over and over again.

I think it’s human nature. We want to find meaning. We want explanations.

When something painful, something horrible happens, we want meaning. We want purpose.

It can’t happen for nothing.

This pain.

This suffering.

There has to be a reason for it.

I’ve heard reasons for Rory’s passing. There are a lot of platitudes out there that try to give meaning.

But here’s the problem with all the reasons.

Rory is still gone.

Reasons can’t bring her back.

And that’s all I want.

I want my daughter.

But.

Resignation.

That’s not going to happen in this life.

I can’t answer why.

I don’t have reasons. (Other than a malfunctioning appendix.)

But.

I’m a woman of faith.

This is what I know.

This has been the answer to my life-long search.

That continues to be my answer.

I have a Heavenly Father that loves me.

Not having answers is painful.

But I feel God’s love for me.

My anxiety rises as the questions swirl.

I cling to the knowledge so tight, I know God loves me.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even know how I’m going to get through everyday.

But I do know that I have someone in my corner. Someone that cares for me. Someone that looks out for me. Someone that makes sure I’m not doing this all by myself.

I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.