Struck Down But Not Destroyed

Sigh.

Back in September, Little Man and I had to stay home while Little Miss and Hubs attended the wedding of our dear “Cousin Uncle Travis”. (No, it’s not a backwoods relationship – just a funny story with a name that stuck.)

Once we got well, I got sick again. Once I got well, Little Miss got sick. Then I got sick again. Then Little Man got sick. Then Hubs got sick. Then I got sick. Then Little Man got sick again. And on. And on. And on it’s gone.

I’m sitting here today, behind my keyboard, nursing a horribly sore throat, and a bit of a bruised ego.

Physical illness wears on me mentally in ways I can’t aptly express. On top of the physical aches and ailments, I feel helpless, vulnerable, weak, and useless.

Since I’ve been sick more times than both my hands can count within the span of only a few months, you can imagine the emotional toll it has taken on me.

I’ve got lots of things going on and brewing and coming into light for the year ahead. The more momentum these things gets behind them, the more I feel we’re derailed. This morning in the shower, I was reciting – through incredible frustration – “I am His. He is for me. Sickness is not His will.”

I believe it. I proclaim it and share it and receive it and all those other religious phrases. But I believe it.

Y’all, I am being very transparent here. I am worn. down. I feel like a big pile of doo. Because I’m sick, yes, but because I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t shake these ailments. It has worn me out. Completely. Done. Exhausted. Spent.

I am struck down.

But I am not destroyed.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Though I’m so tired of this hamster wheel of illness, I’m not going to be stuck here.

The “rat race” so to speak is no longer part of my routine. Planning for my life outside of the rat-race is a big part of my year ahead (and I’m excited to share all of it with you in the days and weeks ahead) and I can promise you a hamster wheel is not part of my decor!

We’re going to move into more of a tortoise race. Slow-going, but purposeful. Then, when we’re healthy and further along than we were the day before, we’ll kick it into whatever gear we need to for the time and purpose we need to.

So right now, I’m going to focus on getting healthy. Then I’m going to focus on staying healthy. As a family. Then, we can focus on staying healthy and doing everything we want and need to do, one thing at a time.

Our plans are changing next year. My blog is changing next year. Our focus is shifting in the year ahead. And it’s all awesome.

I am being renewed, even the midst of my cyclical illness. What I’ve got going on today is all part of the bigger picture. What’s most important is I look at it all through the lens of eternity.

Take that, sore throat. Take that, weary mind. Take that, embattled spirit.

I do not lose heart. I might lose my voice – for the third time in four months – but I do not lose heart.

Val, What Are You Doing?

It’s a question I ask myself almost every time I begin a post. “What are you doing?” Sometimes I’m asking because I’m not entirely sure what topic I’ll cover or how to get my point across. Other times I’m asking because I’ve overshared (again) and that publish button could mean more embarrassment. (Yet for some reason, that’s never usually a deterrent…) Sometimes, though, it’s a deep and reflective question. Why am I blogging?

I thought I’d make a post to answer exactly that.

Val,  What Are You Doing-

I’ve always loved writing. I used to write family members letters. Up until my great grandmother died in 2006, I tried to write her five or six times a year. English was my favorite subject in school. I love reading almost as much as I love writing. I’m a story teller. I love to recount events that happened, and I love – LOVE – making people laugh. I don’t consider myself a funny person, but sometimes I am able to make people laugh. When I hear their giggles – or especially when I hear their roars – after something I’ve shared, it fills me with butterflies of the best kind.

I also have a bit of a teacher’s heart. I love sharing lessons, points, and take-aways from my own experiences. I love to help people find their a-ha moments. Whether in grief, marriage, or something I didn’t even realize I was helping them with, I love it when I can play a part in someone pursuing the answers they’ve been seeking.

In 2008, I started a blogspot page and decided I was going to share the silly things about my life. I think my first post was about doing situps in my living room in an effort to show my sister I was tougher than her. (I’m not.) I dabbled in it here and there, but was never consistent. Once we had Little Miss (see the deets in my about page), I used the blog as an update venue, to keep friends and family in the loop and to request prayers. I didn’t really find my voice until 2013, however.

I spent a lot of time trying to be either really poignant or really funny, and I spent more time on those focuses than on actually telling my story. In 2013, the night we lost Harlynn, I blogged from the innermost depths of my soul. It was raw, it was real, and it was me. I wasn’t concerned with anything other than sharing my heart.

The loss of my daughter was a turning point for me in a lot of areas of my life. My blog was certainly one of them.

I still share silly stories, and I still get caught up in what will or won’t make people laugh (and truthfully, I never know. My husband reads most my posts totally deadpan, and the things I crack up about, he might crack a smile.). But mostly, when I ask myself “Val, what are you doing?” my answer is: sharing my heart.

I blog about marriage. I blog about parenting. I blog about family. I blog about faith. And my heart is poured into each of those posts. I blog to encourage others, no matter their circumstance. I blog, not to just to give hope, but also validation. I blog to bring authenticity back into relationships. And I blog because sometimes I’ve just gotta share a story or two.

What am I doing? I’m sharing. And I’m so very thankful you’ve decided to stick around. xo

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