Finding a place to keep living in the middle of taking care of my Dad has been hard. Now don’t misunderstand. I am not taking care of him by myself and he does not have to be sat with 24/7. We are not at that stage yet. I mean just continuing to the every day things that need to get done instead of putting my life and everyone else in it on hold so I can just concentrate on him and what he needs and be there for he and my Mom.
I don’t know about you but when something so big comes up in my life I have a knee jerk reaction to look at everything else around me and everyone else around me and say “You all are just going to have to exist on your own because as of this moment I am no longer available.” Granted the way things run will have to change but I just can’t wak out of my life. I still have a husband, a son living at home who just recently got his tonsils removed and needed to be taken care of for two weeks, a house to keep semi straight, animals that aren’t going to feed themselves and a garden that would probably keep Kroger’s produce section stocked for the rest of the summer. I still have to keep living. I’m a fixer. If there’s something wrong well you just sit down make a list plan out how you are going to take care of that and you get it fixed. Follow the list, A B C D or 1 2 3 4. My Mom and my sister are the same way. Fixers. None of us can fix this. You just have to live in this. I’m also a perfectionist. If you don’t understand completely what that means it doesn’t mean that everything I have is perfect all the time. It means that if I can’t do it completely and accomplish it all the way through exactly as I need to I can’t do it. So, the kitchen needs cleaned but I only have time right now to sweep the floor. That’s not going to work because the whole kitchen needs to be cleaned. What good is it going to do to just sweep the floor. It’s bill paying day but I also have to balance my checkbook on the same day. If I can’t do both I will have to do that tomorrow because you can’t do one without the other. Yes I know, that is sounding a little OCD. So I will just leave things undone until I can accomplish the whole task at one time. You see where that would get me. With a big pile of chaos and my anxiety level is just off the charts.
I need to find a place to just live in this. I need to understand I CAN’T FIX THIS!! Ya know it’s still hard to deal with my brain and all the thoughts that go through it. It has almost been 2 years but sometimes it can feel like it’s only been 2 days. The thought goes through my head that I could deal with everything much better if I could just sit down at the end of the night and have a vodka tonic. Then I could just relax. Really, is that how that would go. No, it would start there but quickly and I mean very quickly that would be 5 or 6 VK’s light on the tonic at the end of the night.
A couple things happened yesterday that made me happy to be in the moment. My Mom and I were wrestling this wheelchair out of the back of my car and getting my Dad in it so she could wheel him into the house through the back. Well I was trying to make it easier on her and get him in the chair and wheel him through the grass to the walkway so she wouldn’t have to push him through the grass. It’s kind of hard to do that if you never have. Well I ran over her foot and she laughed and I laughed and it was just kind of comical. I ran and parked the car and came through the front door out the back and she was having a hard time pushing him off the walkway through the grass to the patio. So then we both pushed him and Dad was using his cane like an oar as if he was helping us get through the grass. Uh, if you didn’t know already that was of no help and I let him know that but it was all just funny. The other thing that happened was JT came home last night and I was still up and we just sat and talked a bit. Not about anything in particular but just about stuff. Just talking, he and I on the couch talking and laughing. I love those moments.
I tell you those two things to say I know if I were drinking I would have been moody and irritable with my Mom and my Dad to get them where they needed to be so I could get home and have a drink. I would miss the funny laughs that you have to have through this to keep your sanity. My Dad needs to laugh, we all need to laugh. If we can’t do that this road is going to be longer and harder than we think it is. I would have already been drunk by the time JT got home and would have had little to no interest in talking to him and felt that he was interuppting my me time. What a missed moment. Those are the kind of moments your kids remember when they get older. Not what they got for Christmas when they were 12 or what they got on their 16th birthday but those moments when you laugh and talk heart to heart and you are just loving on eachother.
So reading through all this rambling I’ve done today I come to this conclusion. Find a way to live in this. I’m not going to fix it. Making a list is fine for certain things but it’s going to be ok if you have to move those things from day to day. Doing a little bit at a time is fine, if you don’t do any of it it’s never getting done. Stick with cucumber water it doesn’t make you nearly as moody, irritable or give you the same hangover that vodka tonic’s do.
Things sure have changed for me in the last month. I seem to spend a majority of my time at Dr.’s appointments or hospitals. I’m sitting in the hospital right now waiting on the Dr. to come tell me that everything went well with my son as he had his tonsils taken out today. There is never a dull moment here. I think I had four hours of sleep last night. Ya know it could be worse.
It can always be worse. I guess that’s what I keep stumbling upon. No matter what your circumstances it can always be worse. We checked into the hospital this morning and signed all the paperwork and went over everything including my portion of the bill. Which was not to bad since I’ve used the heck out of my insurance this year and hit my deductible. JT and I were looking at the total of the procedure and thinking, What if we didn’t have insurance? We wouldn’t be able to afford the procedure. What if we couldn’t pay our portion? We wouldn’t be able to get his tonsils out. Now whether we get JT’s tonsils removed or not is not life threatening. Think about other situations. What if we did not live in a place that affords us the opportunity to have his tonsils removed? What if I could never have gotten the antibiotic the first time JT had strep throat? What if? What if? What if? I could go on and on with the what if’s because there are so many. We are so very blessed and most of the time forget that we are. Your situation can always be worse. How? Do you really want to know?
My Dad was quoting some scripture yesterday just sitting in the living room. One such scripture he mentioned was “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perserverance. Let perserverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4. He was kind of talking that through with everything that he’s going through, Is this tumor from God? Is this tumor from Satan? Am I to consider this tumor Joy? Are we to consider our situations sent from God? Are we in them because that’s where he placed us? I certainly don’t consider myself a scholar of the Bible. I haven’t even read the entire thing but I am trying to do that. By the way that still won’t make me a scholar of the Bible. I think each one of us can apply scripture to our lives. There is truth in each scripture. It’s not that it has a different meaning depending on how you read it. I believe it applies differently to your life depending on where you are at in your journey. Does that make sense? Maybe not. Sometimes words in my head don’t make sense on the screen. I think God does place us in the right moment at the right time in order to “fulfill his good purpose.” Phil. 2:13 and “work for the good of those who love him.” Rom. 8:28. I also feel like we well I’ll say me, I have to go about it the hard way. Instead of taking a direct route to where God needs me to be I go around and around the mountain. I can’t remember if I’ve seen that rock before so I take another trip around. But that’s the beauty. Not while you are going through it necessarily. When you get there!! If God wanted us just to get there he would have created robots who could not think and act for themselves. We can, think and act for ourselves, and we fail and we fall and we learn and our faith gets tested and it produces perserverance. That’s when God shows you where he needs you to be when you have matured and you see that rock. You realize you have seen that rock 17 times. If I just would have noticed the grafitti on the right side I would have known I passed that rock 17 times before.
So is my Dad supposed to consider his tumor joy? Am I supposed to consider it joy? All these things that are happening are they from God? My feeling is this, the tumor is not joy, JT’s “faulty” tonsils are not joy. Am I here due to my own choices or because God put me here. I’m here by the grace of God. He brought me through all my terrible choices and he will continue to be a good good father and walk with me through my choices to come. Good, bad, silly and really, are we going to go through that again choices. As hard as it is sometimes I need to remember to consider it pure joy.
Sticking to a schedule can be hard to do. Especially when you feel like you just can’t get ahead. As hard as you try you are moving in slow motion. That’s what I’m struggling with. I feel like I am the proverbial chicken with it’s head cut off. I have been trying to clean my house for over a week. Each night I sit down with my planner and schedule for the next day and have everything all set as to what I’m going to get done tomorrow and here lately it’s just not happening. It seems there is always something that is coming up that is more important than mopping my kitchen floor and cleaning the hardwoods on the first floor.
I am starting this week out again with a purpose and schedule as to when I am fitting in cleaning my bathroom and my kitchen and everything else around here. I think my cats are brushing themselves and just throwing up the cat hair in the living room to see how long it will take to cover the couch. Cat couch motif the newest rage.
There’s one thing that came to my mind this morning. My Aunt Lori. She passed away and battled cancer for I think as long as I’ve known her. She’s seen the inside of more hospitals than even seems humanly possible. One thing she said to me while she was here. She said “God didn’t put me here to clean.” I always thought no he didn’t but keeping everything tidy and clean is just something you need to make sure that gets done. I didn’t understand what she was saying until here recently when my Dad got sick. God didn’t put her here to clean. She was in and out of so many hospitals that when she was home and feeling good that woman was on the go. She was selling things at festivals, she was cooking for other people, she was always helping at church. She was just always doing when she could be doing. She loved to fish and I think she was the first person who took JT fishing. She lived across the field from me( we live in the middle of a farm) and when JT was maybe in kindergarten he got mad packed a suitcase and ran away from home. To her house. He came back after dinner. When he got older and needed to talk to someone that wasn’t me he would go over and talk her ear off. She would do anything for you. I can’t tell you how many times I called her at 7am and told her I couldn’t drive because I had a migraine. Would she please take JT to school for me. She never once made me feel like it was an imposition or I was a bother or for Lord’s sakes it’s 7am can’t you find someone else. She would simply say I got it. What time do I need to be there. She was always helping anytime she could. She would also tell you just what she thought and how things ought to be done. She didn’t have time to mince words. I think she was so outspoken because she never knew when she was going to be sick again and wanted everyone to be clear on who she was, what she said and how she felt. If she had an opinion you were going to know it. Whether you liked it or not. That is why she was so loved. That is why I miss her so much.
So I’m thinking she heard it directly from God. He didn’t put her here to clean. He put her here to serve. What do you want people to think about when you come to mind? Oh, she has an immaculate house. Her yard is to die for. Yes, all those things are great and I’m not saying you should live in squaller. What I am saying is who cares if my kitchen floor needs to be mopped. My bathroom needs a good wipe down. I haven’t been deadheading my Petunias and they are looking pretty rough on the front porch. I would rather be a Lori than making sure my house was sparkling when people came in the front door. Those things aren’t going to matter in the end. Your relationships will matter.
My family, my whole family, is coming in town this weekend and a good majority of them are staying at my house. I hope I get to clean before they come but if I don’t get things looking great and have meals for them this weekend everyone is just going to have to understand. My sister is getting married this weekend. That’s what’s important. Spending time celebrating her marriage. Getting my Dad to his appointments this week. That’s what’s important. JT is having his tonsils removed on Thursday. I’m going to need to take care of him and make sure he is comfortable and healing.
So as I look at my planner this week I have everything scheduled out. I got on the treadmill this morning and spent time with God. Taking care of myself and spending time with God are a must. I can’t help anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself physically and spiritually. I wrote down clean the bathroom then I have to take a shower and get out of here on time to get to my Dad’s for his first Dr. appt. today. So if the only thing that doesn’t get done is I have to put off cleaning the bathroom till tomorrow it will be a succesful day. I don’t think God put me here to clean either. He put me here to serve. I pray he gives me a serving heart like Lori.
I’m tired. I’m sure about 99.9% of the people reading this can say the same. I wake up and half the time look forward to getting back in my bed that night. This last month I’m pretty sure I have been operating on auto pilot. It kind of reminds me when I had my son John-Thomas. You don’t know how you do it but you just get up in the middle of the night and you function on no sleep but you just keep on motoring right along. It’s a special setting that God gives us when we have kids. This is not quite that level, I’m not waking up every 2 hours to feed someone but the stress level is off the charts. When you’re dealing with Dr.’s it’s hurry up and wait. I stated previously my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he is doing just that, going to the Dr. to hurry up and wait. Each one gives him snippets of information each time we go. We learn a little more and find out another step in this process and meet another Dr. They need to streamline this process. You get diagnosed they put you in a room with all the Dr.’s your going to be dealing with and you just have your own panel for a couple of hours.
I can’t imagine how hard this must be on my Dad if it’s this stressful on me. He has such a great sense of humor though. He is the first one to make a joke about his tumor. He really makes us all laugh and I’m not sure I would be able to do that if I were in his shoes. After he had his brain surgery he pulled the Eddie line from Christmas Vacation. “Don’t turn on the microwave or I’ll pee my pants and forget who I am.” As stressful as all this is there is not a day that goes by that we don’t laugh.
I really welcome this season in my life. I don’t welcome the fact that my Dad has a brain tumor but I welcome the fact that I am where I am. For such a time as this. That’s what keeps coming to me since this started. My Mom has said it to. There are no coincidences, or luck or karma. I don’t believe in those things. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 There is God working for our good. This was years in the making. Certain people had to do and be where they were supposed to be for me to be where I was supposed to be. God doesn’t just tap you on the head and say ok you’ve put in your time I think it’s your day go forth and do what you do best. He uses people. He loves people. Otherwise he would have been done with this whole planet a while back.
I know this started with my nephew Matt. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of what was going on with him but I know he was getting his life in order. Matt just really had things working for him and was starting to put into practice things that made his life move forward. He found an amazing motivational speaker, Les Brown and became disciplined on what he was doing with his days. The change could be seen just by looking in his eyes. Well, he shared that with his Mom, my sister. She started really having things working for her. Listening to Les Brown, being more positive, putting God first and she has an amazing gift. She can talk to people like you wouldn’t believe. She can see something in people and talk to them and pray for them. She truly makes me want to be a better person. She and I are horrible about calling eachother actually I will say that I atleast answer my phone but I digress. (Love you Leslie) Two weeks before this all happened with my Dad we had a conversation, a long conversation and we shared some things with eachother and I told her about wanting to write a blog and how it had been on my heart for a long time. She just took whatever was in me and pulled it out. I had been thinking about doing this for almost 2 years. After talking with her I did it a few days later. My whole attitude changed. My whole outlook changed. My purpose changed. I had a purpose. For such a time as this. You see little did we know that in two weeks we would find out my Dad had a brain tumor. I needed to be in a different frame of mind. I needed to have a different purpose. If Matt wasn’t where he needed to be then Leslie wouldn’t be where she needed to be and I wouldn’t be where I needed to be.
“For if you remain silent at this time relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 I love the book of Esther. She had no idea she was going to be thrust into the position she was in but God knew and she was placed in the palace at the precise moment she needed to be to save the people. Now obviously I’m no royal princess but I’m here. God knew I needed to be here. Someone had to impact Matt to start him on his journey so you see we all have someone that we need to touch. You may not know everyone you have an impact on. Matt didn’t know how much of an impact he had made until he was told. That’s powerful. What you do and how you live are seen by more people than you think. You can make an impact. We are not put here to pull a paycheck and just do the same thing every day and go on vacation once a year with the family. We are here to make an impact. We are here to change lives. I’m so grateful that I can be in the position I’m in. I have felt like I have floundered for these past couple of years and I have. I’m sure God could have used me in other ways before this moment but I apparently wasn’t ready.
So yes I’m tired and it’s stressful and I’m worried about my Dad. The alternative is I could still be drinking and miss this last year or so with my Dad. I could still be drinking and not be able to drive he and my Mom to the Dr. I could still be drinking and be emotionally closed off and not be there for my Mom or my sister and brother when we needed eachother. I’ll take tired, I’ll take stress, I’ll take puffy eyes and I’ll take being with my Dad for little moments and laughing with my Mom and Dad at the Dr. when we people watch and crying when the Dr. visit might get to be painful or overwhelming. I’ll take all that and more because I’m so glad I’m here For Such A Time As This.
Drinking does not mix well with depression. Alcohol is a depressant to start with so your not doing yourself any favors by downing a few or six to make yourself feel better because your depressed. Add in the fact that you’re taking antidepressants on top of that and drinking can make your antidepressants less effective. So your just popping pills that aren’t working and drinking to feel better which is really making you feel worse. Then to top it all off it starts to interrupt your sleep. Drinking was great for my sleep in the beginning. I could pass out sleep all night and not wake up one time. After a while it took a lot to pass out and then I was waking up all the time. I couldn’t sleep through the night and would maybe get a solid 1 1/2 hours of uninterupted sleep. So I’m popping pills that don’t work, drinking and becoming more depressed and now I’m not sleeping. This plan is really working for me. So what do I do? I put this party into high gear and drink more.
So I’m in this viscious cycle. The picture that came to mind was a whirlpool in the ocean. We’ve probably all seen one at some point in time in our lives on TV or at the very least in the bathtub. I looked one up and that was definitely me spinning around and around in the center unable to swim out. Everytime I thought I was going to make it and I could see the sky above me, I had this talent for throwing myself backwards into the center and whipping around like one of those inflatable air dancers outside of the car dealerships. I would start drinking again and having a good time, get depressed, drink some more, get depressed, you get the picture. Then there would be the Chernobyl like fall out when my marriage would take a hit or I embarrassed myself. Maybe I could make the neighbors mad. Hey this time I could also hurt myself and fall down the stairs. Then came the extreme depression because I could beat myself up about being a terrible mother, wife, daughter and all around human being. It just got worse every time I took another spin. Yet I kept finding that whirlpool irresistible. The waters up above just looked to calm.
Everyone always says you have to hit your rock bottom. That is true and it is different for everyone. For some it could be jail. For some you may not hit the bottom until you are no longer here. For others it’s a DUI and yet sometimes it seems some people don’t even have a rock bottom. I hit my rock bottom finally. Of course this was after putting my family and especially my husband through a lot of things that he did not deserve to go through. My rock bottom was obviously being drunk but then I decided to take it one step further. I decided that it would be ok if I did some cocaine. I didn’t even think twice about it. I never even paused. I woke up the next day and knew this train had come off the tracks. I knew I had no choice. I had to sit down and tell my husband I had a problem. I was an alcoholic and I was out of control. I knew at that moment if I didn’t and I kept on going down the path I was on I was going over a cliff. I was going to lose my husband, my child, my home. I was going to lose everything I loved and it was going to be me and alcohol all on our own. I didn’t have a drug problem. I could have. I’m glad I didn’t wait much longer to find that out. I was an alcoholic. Now don’t get me wrong. I did take a moment to sort through my feelings and come up with the right words and the right time to talk to him. This involved several soul searching days into the bottom of a vodka bottle. After my deep soul searching (if you not good at detecting sarcasm you need to brush up because my sense of humor is completely sarcastic) I sat down with my husband (Wyatt, tired of calling him my husband) and told him I was stuck down in this whirlpool and I needed his help to pull me out.
It’s amazing how freeing the truth can be. Yes it is true. The truth can set you free. I was hiding behind so many lies and it was taking so much energy to keep everything straight and hide this secret from the ones that were so close to me. On one hand I felt like I could breathe and then on the other hand I was having a panic attack feeling the hurt, pain, guilt and fear and there was nothing to drink to make it go away. This feeling business and dealing with your problems is for the birds. From the word go Wyatt stood by my side. As long as I was willing to get help he was willing to walk with me every step of the way. You know who else stood by my side. Jesus. I had walked away from him a while back and was pretty good at ignoring his gentle nudge. You see he had been asking me to stop drinking as far back as July 14, 2004. That’s pretty precise isn’t it. I found a journal entry on that day. “For some reason I am having a difficult time doing what God is asking me to do. Stop drinking. ” That’s what I wrote on that day. God has been giving me a gentle nudge asking me to be obedient and I keep pretending I don’t hear him. The gentle nudges have gotten rougher over the years and there is one thing about God. If you’re not going to listen it’s going to be painful when God is done nudging and his arm comes out of nowhere and he clotheslines you. Slamming to the ground is never fun and you’re going to get a lot of cuts and bruises along the way. It’s never just you either. You will manage to trip over the ones you love and scrape them up in the process. Don’t miss the blessing in being clotheslined. He loves you enough to knock you off your feet. He could have just said he was tired of dealing with you. I’m sure I made him want to beat his head against a brick wall a time or two or three. He’s greater than us and his love is perfect. So even though he may knock you off your feet and you may land in the mud he is right there loving you as he always has. No less, he’s just waiting for you to look up and grab his hand. Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” How is the Lord’s joy our strength? The Lord’s joy is in forgiving and saving us. He delights in showing love to all that believe in him. Whenever we feel weak or defenseless he loves to step in and deliver us. In that his joy really will be our strength.
So I haven’t missed the blessing in God clotheslining me but listen up. If you aren’t there yet and you still have time I suggest you listen to the gentle nudges. He’s going to get your attention one way or another. It all just depends on how you want to be nudged.
It can be hard to be sober and feel like you fit in with everyone else. Especially if it is new to you. You feel like a freak, the person at the table or the party or in the room everyone is talking about. Maybe you are, maybe nobody really could care less if you have a drink or not. It’s hard letting go of the world revolving around you and realizing there are other people around that might be of some interest. Being an addict can make a person so narcissistic.
When it’s all new and you have just given up drinking that’s all you can think about. Am I right? It seems like that’s all you see everywhere. Everyone on TV is drinking excessively, every commercial is for beer or liquor, everywhere you go to eat everyone in the restaurant is drinking except for YOU!! Obviously that’s not the case it’s just all your thinking about. Now granted, alcohol is everywhere. It has really become a staple in our society. I won’t be surprised when they place it on the food pyramid. When you see a commercial for a subscription to wine you should drink while watching investigative shows on the ID channel I’m thinking, what the world, score one for the winery who partnered with ID. If I was still drinking I would have jumped right on that bandwagon and had my subscription on rush. That would be just another way for me to justify that “I’m drinking with a purpose.”
It’s hard though. You don’t feel like you quite fit in with the people you were hanging out with and your not comfortable going to the places you were going. You may have to change your whole circle of friends and find new places to go. If all your friends do is go out and drink well, that’s not on your agenda anymore. If you only hung out at bars or went to places where you did nothing but drink well, here’s your sign. The friends that understand will go along for the ride and discover these new places with you and respect the safe places that you create for yourself. The friends that don’t will slowly fall off and you’ll realize you never really were that close to begin with. This really is just a process. A life process. Does it get easier? Yes it does. Does the feeling for a drink ever go away? I don’t know? I’m coming up on 2 years and I still have the urge to drink. It’s not as strong but I Do.
I bring these feelings up because I went to a wedding yesterday. It was beautiful. The ceremony was very intimate and meaningful and I cried from the moment the minister started talking until the time he said you may kiss the bride because that’s what I do. Then it was cocktail hour. We all jaunted over to the next building to grab a drink and some hors d’oeuvres. It was an open bar, beer and wine and water for those who were not drinking. I was waiting in line to get something to drink when I realized there was water available on the sides of the table as people were peeling off the front of the line two, three fisted with mostly beer. I think it’s just normal for my eye to follow all the beer flowing through the room. I immediately go back to, that was me. That’s what I would be doing. I wasn’t freaking out. I didn’t feel the need to tackle anyone outside and hide behind the bushes and down several bottles but it’s just the fact that I think about it. Now a wedding I went to over a year ago I did feel like that. I was completely miserable and I just should have stayed at home. You need to know where you are at mentally before you go to your first public outing. If you get there and you’re not ready, it’s ok. Go home. Home is your safe place and you don’t owe anyone out there anything. You can just politely excuse yourself. I’m not feeling well, I have an emergency, my dog bit my neighbor etc. You know things that could happen. So yesterday I had a good time. I laughed. I cried. I looked sometimes longingly at the beer going by as other people passed. I will tell you like this. The best thing someone ever said to me and it hit the nail on the head. My relationship with alcohol is like a relationship with an old boyfriend. We broke up. It was really, REALLY ugly. It took me a long time to get to this point and I’m doing good. I can go out and see him now but it still makes me want to go talk to him. Then I smack myself in the face and know if I even talk to him nothing good will happen and if I even say hi I will end up in a few hours riding the beautiful swan that is so gracefully gliding across the pond behind this beautiful wedding. So I choose to leave him alone.
Once I have these conversations in my head I can start to relax. I look at my husband and my son and know that it’s not even worth flirting with that no good trouble maker if I could possibly lose one of these two handsome men. I had some fun times and did and saw people do some really funny things when I was drinking and I can laugh about them. I had some really bad times and did some things I’m not so proud of when I was drinking. If there is even the remote possibility that I might do something contrary to my morals and beliefs or lose control of myself (like riding on a swan) alcohol and I don’t mix. If I have to drink to have fun then there’s something wrong with me on the inside. I think I like the new memories I’m creating. I can remember them the next day.
These last couple of days that my Dad has been home from the hospital have been unsettling for me. I think that’s the right word. When he was in the hospital I had a mission. Make sure he had everything he needed, make sure my Mom was taken care of just generally do whatever needed to be done and it seemed there was always something needing to be done. I’m good with that. I’m good with, here’s what I need you to do and it needs to be done by this time etc. I don’t do good with waiting.
I suppose no one likes to wait. We are just in a holding pattern now. Waiting to go to the Dr., waiting to hear the prognosis, waiting to hear what treatment is available. When we get that information we will know how we need to proceed. I just need a PLAN!!! Wait a minute. I’m not the one who’s sick. I’m not the one who was told that they have a brain tumor. I’m not the one who had brain surgery. Oh, I would imagine the person that received that information would like to know most of all where he goes from here. What’s next, is there chemo, radiation, what is my life going to be like? I just need a list. That’s the way I operate. I need to know everything there is to know so I am well informed and I can plan and know exactly what to do. Meanwhile, my Dad is sitting here with this inside his body. He is the one who is going to have the hardest part of this whole process. I need to slow down and forget about my lists and being so informed that I know exactly what will need to be done each and every day. This is about spending each and every moment that I can with him and making it count. God doesn’t work on our schedule and in all my 44 years he’s never given me a list so I can be prepared for upcoming events and know just what’s going to happen on any given day. Have you every heard that saying, when we make plans God laughs. I’m pretty sure he does. A lot.
As much uncertainty as there is and I’m still pretty sure God’s not going to share his list with me, although he really should I’m a great organizer, there is one constant. This, God did share with all of us and I can write it down on each and every day of my planner and every list I have. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 That I can count on. Things may change from day to day, minute to minute but he is unchangeable. So I need to embrace the quiet chaos that it is right now and stop scheduling and start being so I don’t miss the moments or the man. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xPzTSpbYmk
I had to take a break from writing and I just got started. Some of you know and some of you don’t. My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo brain surgery last Thursday. This really caught my family off guard and it all took place (diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization) within a week and a half, two week period. Most of all it caught my Dad off guard. He went in for an MRI and found out he’s perfectly healthy in one area and by the way we’re glad you’re here because there’s a little something on that scan that we need to talk about. I suppose no one is ever prepared for that kind of news, but really? A brain tumor? There were no signs. He wasn’t having any symptoms. I guess that’s the blessing. If we would not have known until he started showing signs and symptoms the tumor would have progressed so much more than it had.
The day of his surgery we were sitting in his room listening to some music just spending time with him before he went in and I played Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin. If you haven’t heard it. STOP!!! Go listen to it and come back. It’s an amazing song. I looked at my Dad and my family in the room and those that were on the way and thought of my family who had surrounded us through out the week and the friends and just everyone who showered us with love and prayers and I was completely filled. I knew whatever happened HE is a Good Good Father. I looked at my Dad and loved him so much at that moment because he as well is a good good father and as much as he loves me, which is unconditional, and would give his life for me, how much more does my Father in heaven love me. It can’t even be measured. I want to share something my nephew Nick wrote earlier that morning after sitting with Dad around 6am when it was quiet and it was just the two of them.
“Today I sat with PawPaw in the early morning hours while everything was still quiet. I sat there and prayed for the success of the surgery. I pray for a miraculous healing and I pray that no matter the outcome that not just me, but the entire family still realizes that God is good no matter what happens. It made me realize our hope isn’t in a hospital, doctors, nurses or surgeons although we pray for them and want them to perform above and beyond their best abilities. But our ultimate hope is in Jesus Christ. The fact that HE has laid death in it’s grave and HE is a Good Good Father and we are deeply loved by him. Harper has been singing a song that she learned at church lately and the lyrics are “I know no matter what God loves me” and after sitting and talking to PawPaw I know that he believes that with all his heart.” Nick Bailey
You can’t get any more real than that. I know that no matter what my Dad loves Jesus Christ with all his heart and I can take comfort in knowing that God’s got this. Not just on the surgery day or when I pray extra hard but he has this in his hands. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
For those that aren’t close to the situation my Dad made it through the surgery amazingly well. I don’t know what this next year holds for him but I know I’ll be there with him, with my Mom and as my cousin Allison Kelley stated “although I’ve hated the circumstances I’ve really loved being around family these last few days. #Baileystrong”
When everything is starting to flow and you feel like you are on the right track and feeling good about what you are doing and where you are, you can be certain that there is a landmine maybe even more than one in your path. You can jump over them you can step around them but eventually you will step on one. That is how this life works. I say it is how satan works. Some of those landmines can be self made and some of them can come out of left field. It’s all in how you put yourself back together and how much damage you allow them to do.
I had been sober for about 6 months and I got a Facebook message from a person I had never even met before but we had a mutual friend. This person said he had a package addressed to me that had mistakenly been delivered to his house. I was feeling kind of sketchy on who this individual was so I contacted our mutual friend to check him out and he was real. He wasn’t a scammer and didn’t have $3,000,000.00 he wanted to give me from the Nigerian government just because he liked my profile picture. I messaged him back and he had a whole case of wine from a subscription company from California and he was going to drop it off to me or I could come pick it up. A WHOLE CASE OF WINE!!!! No one would know. There would be no trace. I didn’t order it. It wouldn’t be on my credit card, I could hide it. I mean that’s a great big alcoholic present dropped right in my lap. I agonized over that decision. It was just me and this guy that would know. Was it though? God would know. All the hard work I had done in the last 6 months would be for nothing. The commitment I had made to myself and my family would be broken. The trust would be gone. This would not end here. After this I would be in that hole again and probably grab my shovel on the way down to dig deeper so it was going to take twice as long to get out. After many arguments in my own head, much like having those little cartoon angel and demon on each shoulder, I messaged him back and let him know it was not mine and there was a mistake. I also told my husband so I could be held accountable. Landmines, they just get thrown out there when we least expect them to sometimes coming from the most bazaar places that have to let you know something is trying awful hard to throw you off track.
I feel that way today. I am moving forward, I have good momentum and then an unexpected bomb drops on me completely out of left field over the weekend. Are you serious? I really questioned God and said “Why Now?” God answered through out the weekend by sharing with family and just reflecting. Why not now? Actually if there was going to be any time for a landmine now would be the time. If this would have been a month ago I would be curled up in a ball in the bed. If this would have been a month ago I would not be able to be there in the midst of everything like I need to be and do my part. God put all the pieces in place. He has been gathering and moving everyone and getting them prepared so everyone can be right where they need to be for such a time as this. A moment to soon or a moment to late and things don’t work how they are supposed to. We will never be able to avoid the landmines. There will be seasons where we spot them and are good at going around them and there will be seasons where it seems like every step we take is one explosion after another. What we will be able to do is let God get us through them. Let him clothe us in spiritual armor so that we may grow stronger and turn around and show others how to do the same.
I woke up this morning and the bully was back. It’s not like he went to far and I really didn’t even know he was there sitting in my room. I woke up before my alarm and thought well I could get up now but who wants to do that. I have another hour to sleep so, yeah, sleep is your friend. Then my alarm went off and I was so tired. Just a few more minutes. I felt like I hadn’t slept, depressed, I didn’t want to get out of bed. So a few minutes turned into 2 hours. What is wrong with me? I’m depressed. That’s what’s wrong but why? I do suffer with depression and I’m on medication and have been for a long time but sometimes I think that’s an easy escape. Oh, I’m just depressed today. What’s going on with me? Well when I really search myself and try to find out what’s going on I look across the room and there he sits. Fear!!! I’m afraid. I’m afraid to get out of bed. I did something last night and frankly I don’t want to know what you people think or have to say. I told you all about my blog. I was ok the day before yesterday when it was just my family but oh my gosh now real people know. As if my family is not real. People that will judge and if I just stay here under my covers I will be safe. I can even take it down before that many people will see it. But, and as we always say in my family, there’s always a big but, do you really want to stay under the covers for the rest of your life? I do not!!
You see God blessed me this morning. With your words. I cried. I ugly cried this morning. With some of the things that people wrote and some of the encouraging words that were left for me. It was so freeing. It wasn’t a freeing like oh wow I might not be that bad of a writer. It was a freeing like I’m not hiding anymore. If any of you thought my life was just peachy, haha jokes on you. No really, it was freeing like when I told my husband I was an alcoholic. That was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. I mean if you know Wyatt there is no turning back from that. I couldn’t just say well I was overstating that, I just need to cut down for a while, I’m just going through a rough patch and have gotten a little crazy. No, I had a problem and we were going to face it, head on, together.
We went on vacation in 2 days and boy I thought have you lost your mind. You should have at least waited until you got back to tell him. Now you have ruined your whole vacation because you can’t drink. Way to go genius. Well this genius went to BJ’s and bought those extra large hydrogen peroxide bottles rinsed them out and filled them with vodka. Hey who doesn’t need a lot of hydrogen peroxide on vacation. Not so much of a genius when your eyes are looking a little glassy by bedtime each day. That guy though he’s an amazing man and God sure gave him the patience of Job because he has not once said anything about leaving. Do you know how freeing that is? Do you know how freeing it is to have someone know you, the lies, the ugly parts, the things that only you know about yourself? It is extremely freeing and for the first time I realized what unconditional love for someone other than your child truly was and that I had not been giving it to him. Can you imagine how unloved he must have felt. We alcoholics/addicts think it’s all about us. Can you imagine how free he would like to be from being a caretaker and just wanting to be a husband? You see we need to free ourselves from our secrets but our secrets hold others in captivity too.
Someone wrote this morning the most beautiful way to describe this because I asked for some advice on the blog as they had started with a blog as well. Her advice was “remember that the biggest thing that God probably wants to accomplish in all of this is loving on YOU!! Blogging can be a wonderful romance between us and Jesus.” It doesn’t get anymore beautiful than that. If your sin is holding someone else captive set them free by letting yourself free and letting them in but especially let Jesus in. He already knows everything there is to know he just wants to love on you.
Playing house. Did you ever play house as a kid? We probably all did in some form or another. Even boys, they get roped into it by their sisters or playing with action hero’s. There is always one or two dominant people and the others have certain roles. You get the point. I’m not quite sure I ever felt like I transitioned over from that teenager dating to that young adult being married. I don’t think I ever felt like I was grown up enough to be married. Even when I had my son. I still felt like I was playing house. Just a set of steps to follow. These are the things you do now because you are married. I had this idea in my head that when I turned 30, because that was the magic number, I would have it all together. I would be a WOMAN!! I would be disciplined. Getting up every morning reading my bible before anyone in the house was up, having breakfast on the table for my husband and waking my sweet perfect child so we could all eat together before he went to work. Somewhere in there I think I had a dress on and there were several birds following me whistling as I twirled around opened the windows and talked to the squirrel and the deer. Yes that was to be my life. Hahahaha Disney oh how you tease. Needless to say I couldn’t even manage to read my bible before everyone was up and Wyatt was lucky if he got a pop tart thrown at him on the way out the door. Looking back I just needed to lighten up on myself. Nobody was putting the pressure on except for me. God wasn’t, Wyatt wasn’t and JT certainly was not. I was expecting a strict routine from myself. Routine is good, a schedule is good. Do any of you breathe or get out of bed in the morning? Yes, that’s what I thought. You can have the best schedule or routine in the world. There is always something or someone to jack knife that joker and mess up your whole week. A sick child, sick pet, sick husband, you didn’t sleep, stopped up toilet, car won’t start, I mean I could go on and on and on. Your schedule or routine is no good if your angry and yelling at everybody or you read your bible and have no idea what you read. If you go to work and you are the office complainer every day and everyone sees you coming and runs the other way. God doesn’t want our leftovers neither does your spouse or your children. I put myself under so much pressure to not let anyone see that I wasn’t doing all the things I was supposed to be doing that I had to crack somewhere. So I did. I would crack at night alone in my bathroom, only once a week or every other week. It wasn’t very often. Me and my vodka tonic all by ourselves. Baby in the bed, no husband at home, he had a motorcycle so he would go riding or maybe if he was home he would play poker on line, he’s not going to bother me. I deserved a few moments alone. I had a drink downstairs at dinner or before dinner but this one was mine. No talking, no phone ringing, no Mommy just me. Then I could step out of the bathroom and not worry about being perfect. I’ll think about that tomorrow Scarlett, for tomorrow is another day.
In all of that who was I really working to please. Not anyone that loved me. Myself. The people that love me, love me for who I am not for what I can do for them and God certainly loves me because he created me and died for me and wants me to come to him just as I am. I woke up this morning thinking about what I needed to do today and my schedule and that hit me. You have things to get done but the most important thing is spending time with God each day. If you do that as part of something to get done so you can check it off your list, did you really visit with God? Did you talk to him? Did you pray with him? Did you worship and praise him? I have to make sure I don’t get caught up in checking things off and making people see what I want them to see or I’ll wind up alone with a glass in the bathroom again. I’ld rather be outside with a water bottle surrounded by my family.
I didn’t start out my marriage drinking. I started out dating drinking. I partied quite heavily before I got married, before I met my husband and well while I dated my husband. He however is the polar opposite. He has never done a drug in his life and can count on one hand the number of times he has been drunk. Opposites attract they say. On one of his few times of drinking he decided to play mailbox baseball and fell out of the back of a pickup truck and left one side of his face stuck to the road. Like you could see his skull. When I say he looked like 2 Face from Batman that is not an exageration boys and girls. His recovery was long and this is how messed up and selfish I was. I still needed to get alcohol and he could get it for my friends and I. We were both under 21 but there was a place that would sell to him because I think the little girl who worked there had a crush on him. What did I do, I called him up and asked him if he would go get us beer. He’s layed up in the bed bandaged up and I’m concerned with getting beer to party. What does he do? He gets up and gets it for me. Addict let me introduce you to enabler. At the time I was just doing what teenagers/young adults do, well I thought so. He recovered and his face healed and he doesn’t look like 2 Face anymore. I did not see my behavior as selfish. I asked, he didn’t have to say yes. That really was the beginning of a lot of selfish behavior. It was about me as long as we were doing things I wanted to do, actually as long as wherever we went involved drinking I was usually fine. We didn’t fight much only when he had something to say about my drinking. We had moved in together and the drinking had gotten so out of control that after about a year of living together he looked at me and told me I needed to leave. He couldn’t take it anymore. Whoa there buddy, are you actually giving me consequences for my actions. Uh….. that’s not usually how this works. I drink, you get mad, I say I’m sorry the next day and we are fine. Wash, rinse, repeat cycle. I came to a complete halt and didn’t want to lose him and said I would stop. I would change and that is what I did. It’s amazing when we are faced with real consequences we start to see what we have in front of us. I did this time but this would creep back into my life later on and sometimes we think we are bigger than the consequences. We have more control, we know what we are doing, we are not that stupid. It’s like a weed out in my garden. I planted 48 tomato plants this year. I hope everyone likes salsa. I go out and look and there’s this tiny little weed not doing anything, not hurting anything and they are so small between the plants so i’ll pull them later. Couple days they aren’t that big. Now it’s the weekend and I’ve gotten busy and those weeds need to be pulled but still they are a little tall but not out of control I’ll pull them next week when I have more time. Life happens and next weekend comes and oh great these weeds are out of control and look some of them have actually taken over a couple of the plants and choked the life right out of them. I can’t tell the weed from the plant. That’s how alcohol or any addiction will work in your life. Slowly, gently but all of the sudden it will reach up and choke the life you have right out of you and take everything you love.
That was 25 years ago. I think if I could go back and tell myself to do things a different way to make things easier, would I do that? I would certainly not want to cause the heartache I have caused for the people I love. I know that I would not be the person I am today and through every one of those trials and tribulations, many of them self made, God made me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and I could not share his love with any of you had I not experienced the things I had. I feel like I may have been asleep at the wheel for quite some time and maybe you do to. It’s never to late. I’ll be 45 this year, my life is just beginning. It would really be a shame if God brought me through everything I’ve been through and all the things I’ve learned to keep them all to myself because I was scared of the opinions of people and thought I was to old to be used.
It takes me a while to get where I’m going. Not in the car or going some place. I’m actually pretty good with directions if I say so myself. I mean it takes me a while to get to where I’m supposed to be in life. Where I should be. Where God has been trying to help me move to in a comfortable way. Showing me and guiding me and loving me along the way. Putting people in my life to speak to me and speak God’s word and reaffirm what I think I’m hearing. So a lot of times I have to be shoved. Instead of listening, he is done waiting and he has a plan. A plan for each and every one of us. We can’t stand in his way. He’s going to get done what he needs to be done. If we can’t hear the gentle call then sometimes it takes an uncomfortable shove. That’s me. I get scared on certain things especially when it involves opening myself up for criticism and letting people in past the walls I have constructed.
This right here, typing my thoughts out is pretty frightening. You see I have certain faces I let people see and certain things I let people know. I think we all do. We keep the ugliest, most savage ones for the ones we live with and then there are some we don’t even let them see. We save those for when we are by ourselves. I have a story and I feel like I am supposed to share it with people. At least that’s what I’m hearing. I am running from this because it scares me yet it excites me at the same time. Hebrews 12:1 says “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” Which means we need to pinpoint those things that are holding us back as well as any sins God brings to our attention.
I feel like God is saying “What part did you not understand!?” Just like we say to our children or someone who is just plain not getting it when you have said something very plain and very clear. Like, unload the dishwasher. I didn’t speak in Swahili, what part did you not understand? My 18 year old sometimes gets the english language confused. I think they grow out of it when they have children. Really though, I think that’s what God wants to say to us sometimes. “Are you deaf, what part did you not understand about what I so clearly told you to do?”
August 1st I will be 2 years sober. I thought when I stopped drinking I would get through all of the hard physical, mental and just the downright drag of being one of those people who don’t drink anymore, and I would be rewarded. I did it. I took this horrible ugly sin that was ruining me, my marriage, my relationship with my child, with God everything around me and I gave it up. I went from being life of the party, social butterfly, great figure, great clothes yada yada yada to an over weight, depressed, shut in that had no voice. That’s my reward? That’s what I get? I should feel better, I should be healthier, I should be kicking my heels together. You know what no one tells you? The hardest part about not drinking, is feeling. Not the feeling of wanting a drink but the feeling of being in your own skin. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 2 years and it sucks. That’s the best way I know how to put it. I’m tired of running, I’m tired of just being here, I’ve traded one addiction for another, food (sugar). Which is very common. I’m going to throw off everything that is hindering me and it will be hard. I’m asking God to show me the sins I don’t even realize are there. I’m going to fall but I’m going to get back up. I’m going to open my eyes and ears up to what he’s been saying very plainly and clearly for the past 2 years and finally say “I understand, maybe not all, but this little piece right here that you want me to do. I got that Lord, hold my hand because I’m a little nervous.” Like I said it takes me a minute to get to where I need to be on some things but when I decide I’m going to do something and purpose to do it, I’m all in.
Well I’m finally doing it. Yes, finally taking that step. You know the step we all want to take but we get bullied. Some of us don’t let the bully stick around to long but then there’s others, like me, who wake up and have him on speed dial. He’s the first one you call to make sure he’s going to be with you from the time your feet hit the floor till the time your eyes close at night. I let the bully stick around for years and years and years and well you get the point. I could literally keep that going for the rest of the page. Who is that bully, what is that bully? Fear.
I’m stepping out today and I’ve decided I’m not going to keep fear on speed dial. It is debilitating and I am tired of not living. If you are tired of not living or you’ve ever been bullied by fear, if you are stuck, if you feel like you’ve made so many bad decisions you are beyond saving, if you just want to read someone’s crazy life stories who has a sarcastic sense of humor and an absolutely hilarious family, you found your girl.
I’m Sarah and I’ve been wanting to write to you for quite some time. I’m 44 going on 45, ugh, mother of one 18 year old son and married to my husband Wyatt for for 21 years. I am going on 2 years sober August 1st and I’m ready to live. I have let my fear keep me paralyzed from doing anything but staying in my house for the last 2 years. I mean I get out, I’m not a hermit but I get out in my front yard. I might get out to go to church or a family function. I do go on vacation but on the regular no, I’m in my house. I don’t work and haven’t for about 3 years and I’ve lost my mojo. God has been calling me to write and share my story and fear has bullied me and kept me down and told me I’m not good enough and no one wants to hear what I have to say. People are going to laugh, you’re going to make a fool of yourself. That’s fear and I can just imagine the devil has been sitting around with his feet propped up smoking a cigar and swinging his red pitch forked tail in a circle enjoying how scared I’ve been. Enjoying the dialogue that I’ve got going on in my head. It’s so funny as I sit and write this I am listening to a christian mix station on Spotify. The song, Fear Is A Liar is on by Zach Williams. It says “he will take your breath, stop you in your steps…… he will rob your rest, steal your happiness.” That is so true and so like God to have that playing while I’m writing this. I don’t believe in coincidence or luck or karma I believe in God. We do have a will and God can give us a path to follow or a door to go through but it’s up to us to do our part and take action. Say no to fear and say yes to living.
I hope you will come back and share my journey, past present and future. Share in the Wonders of 1 Woman. You will laugh, cry and rejoice and witness how God has brought me through. He is still bringing me through. Witness how awesome it is that I’m still here. We can help each other. Let’s fight fear together, it’s an every day battle for me.
Sarah – Wonders of 1 Woman