Blog Time Out

Hello friends,

Long time, no see, right?

I am so sorry for the silence.  I have sat down to update my blog so many times, but then I just draw a blank and feel overwhelmed, and then I just walk away and plan to update another day.

3 months I am.

I recently visited The Holiday Show at our town's convention center.  Every year I look forward to The Holiday Show!  Christmas is by far my favorite of holidays.  The bright colors, the lights, the joy and wonder in the eyes of those around you.  It is truly a magical season, and I love it!

While I was at the holiday show, I was stopped by a sweet lady who said, " I have followed your blog for years!  So nice to meet you!"  This doesn't happen as often as it used to ( started freaking me out for a while), but as usual...I was caught off guard, completely humbled, and fumbled through my words to say, "Thank you so sweet!"  I then went into explaining why I haven't posted anything lately.  It's definitely not that I haven't had anything to post about.  Our lives seems to stay so incredibly busy.  I have really just hit a roadblock with my blog.  I don't have the vision I once had.  I'm struggling with the purpose of my blog today versus the purpose of my blog 4 years ago.  4 years ago, the purpose was clear.  My blog was my outlet - where I expressed my grief and became completely transparent to those out there who might stumble upon my grief journey and the life of our sweet Ayden.  Now, 4 years later....I just don't know where to go with it.  Possibly because the past few months have held a lot of uncertainty...and a lot of self-reflection and soul-searching.

I want my blog to continue to be centered on Ayden.  However, our lives are not centered on Ayden.  Now, before you get huffy and say, "I can't believe she said that!  Has she just moved on and forgotten him?!"  Absolutely not.  He is a part of every single day.  However, he is not the center of our lives.  Jesus is the center of our lives.  And the past 8 weeks have shown me a lot about myself that I was not aware of....or maybe was aware but was just ignoring.  I have spent the past 8 weeks in a book study with a friend from work (Emily -my twin - she has been featured on the blog before ;) ) She and I embarked upon a journey together...blindly.  And I'm so glad we went into it not knowing how we were going to be slapped in the face (numerous times) while reading this book together.  Several of you are probably familiar with Emily Freeman's book, Grace for the Good Girl.

In my 30 years of life, I have always been "the good girl."  I didn't rebel.  I never went to wild parties.  I'm just going to lay it all out there - I've never had alcohol, don't use profanity, and am the ultimate prude. I was a leader in my youth group.  I was told, very often, by the elders in my church that I was an example to the younger kids...that they were watching me. (pressure much?)  I grew up with a mother who told me frequently that she prayed a strong conscience over me from day one and stressed upon me disappointment that would result should I go against the expectations set before me in my Christian upbringing.  In no way am I begrudging my mother. (Her prayers worked, by the way, because I couldn't even look at someone the wrong way without feeling guilty!) This was a smart tactic on her taught me the value in having high standards and the importance of respecting my parents and more importantly - my savior and the unwordly life I am to live as a Christian.  But goodness gracious....that's a lot of pressure on a kid.   And I felt it early on.  It was semi-self-inflicted, but also a reflection of my upbringing.  I don't fault my parents for this at all....I think anyone who grew up in a Christian family, and was involved in church, can relate to the pressure and stress that comes from trying to be "perfect" when it just seems so impossible!  So, you just try your best...and keep pushing through looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Guess's a long tunnel.  With no end in sight.  So, now what?

Reading this book completely opened my eyes.  Week one slapped me around like you wouldn't believe.  I was blind to the masks I had been wearing.  I began to question if I even knew myself at all.  Was the 30 years of my life a total and complete lie?  Was I that good at deceiving myself?  I put the book down after the 2nd or 3rd week and just felt completely lost.  Blank.  Uncertain.  Luckily, Emily felt the same way (that sounds terrible..haha!).  In retrospect, it was good for me to feel so lost. It meant I was peeling back the layers and seeing what was underneath the masks.  I gotta tell ya...for a while I was pretty crushed because I had no clue how to move forward.

After losing Ayden, and then my dad passing away, I got very good at masks.  I can put up a wall in .5 seconds.  I can keep the tears at bay with the flip of a switch.  I can hold back my anxiety, panic, and worry with a "put together" face like a pro.  However, reading this book....broke all of those masks.  I can't tell you the freedom I feel in knowing that those masks are not necessary.  They are a hindrance.  And they do nothing but put my focus on ME rather than on HIM.  The fear...the pain...the anxiety....I shouldn't be trying to hold that in or pretend them away because whether I like it or's there.  There's no quick fix for them.  But I have a savior who says, "Give them to me. Rest.  I will take care of you."

My usual response to that - "But...."

I haven't trusted God for a very long time.  And especially not in the last 4 years.  How do you trust a God who allows your baby to die?  How do you trust a God who removes the one solid rock you have in your life by taking your Dad way too soon?  How do I not move forward with life waiting for the next tragedy...wondering who I'm going to lose next?  Wondering which of my children might be taken from me?  Wondering if my husband will be taken?

"What if" tugs and pulls at me every single day.  And it has weighed me down for so long.  Too long.

This world is not perfect.  It was created by God and it is wonderously beautiful.  But we live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people...and bad people.  It's understandable to question - oh yes, it sure is!  How can you not?  But the root of to just trust Him.  Trust the He will see you through.  Could He have brought Ayden back? Absolutely.  Could He have given me 20 more years with my dad? Yes!  But it didn't happen that much as I wish it would have.  Somehow this was a part of the bigger picture for my life.  I don't understand it.  I'm not particularly happy with it.  But I can resolve myself to find peace and to allow the Healer to bring me comfort in the knowledge of His goodness, His grace, and in HOPE. 

When we finished the book, Emily and I both felt that we were ready for this new step.  A fresh start.  Not allowing our past to determine the way we approach the future.  It's going to be one step at a time, but I find so much comfort in knowing that I'm not stepping out alone.  He will be (and always has been) right by my side.  And all along He has been saying, "Lindsay, you don't have to do it alone.  You don't have to be the one in control.  Let ME guide you.  Let ME walk WITH you.  LET ME IN."  And I'm so ready for that.

If you haven't read this book.  Stop what you're doing, go to Amazon, and order it. NOW.  It is life-changing, and one that I intend to read over and over again.  It's something ALL women - mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, etc. can benefit from.  Please, do yourself a favor and change your life by looking deep into yourself through the pages of this book.  It's scary at first....but I promise you, it's worth it.

I've learned my idea of being a "good girl" and God's idea of a "good girl" are two totally differently things.  I've been defining my life while HE should be defining my life.  And from this moment forward, He is in control.

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