Today, no this last month, has been one big challenge. I’ve even looked up to the sky, asking if I am ever going to catch a break. Ever been there? Life can definitely try to knock you down and dull your spirit at times, that I know for sure.
BUT, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger right? Absolutely. As I always remind myself, this is when my growth happens [not when you’re on top of the mountain]. So, trust that. Say ‘thank you!’ for these experiences, because as Joel Osteen would say, each life moment – bad or good – is part of a larger plan leading you to your true self, purpose and destination. Is it hard? Yes. Is it a constant practice? Yes. But, I’ve come to a place of peace when facing obstacles in my path.
The more stressful and chaotic things are on the outside, the calmer you need to be on the inside. It’s the only way you can connect with where your spirit is leading you.” ~ Oprah.
Gosh, Oprah is so smart. I’m in awe every time she speaks, because most of the time I feel like she’s speaking directly to me!
What she’s saying here is that no matter what life throws at you, understand that there is a larger purpose at work. If you can stay calm, grounded and at peace internally, trusting in this higher power and grander plan, your spirit will lead you to where you are supposed to be.
A few [personal] examples. I was laid off from my amazing public relations job in February of 2014. I managed sports and lifestyle brands, athletes and celebrities when it came to their TV appearances, magazine features and special meet-and-greets. Pretty cool, right? It was. On the outside. On the inside, I felt conflicted. I drove an hour to and from work, losing a total of two hours of my life [time that I’d like to have spent with my hubby, going for a long run in the cool evening air or trying a new recipe with a good glass of red]. The culture was stuffy; toxic, if you will. It’s almost as if you had to push the egos, politics, sliminess and competitiveness out of the way just to get to your desk [metaphorically, of course]. I would look at my bosses [although they were wonderful people who were fabulous at their jobs] and say, ‘I hope to never be you!’ Some would work until 10 p.m. every night and others never saw their kids. Not the life I wanted for myself. It started to affect my health – mentally, physically and spiritually. I put on weight, stuffing my face to feed my emotions. I became depressed and anxious, eventually leading to meds [I’ll admit it. I wanted anything to alleviate how I felt]. My home life diminished quickly – I fought with my husband, lost interest in daily activities, like exercise, cooking and doing laundry, and wanted to sleep more just to escape reality [if you know me, you know I think sleep is overrated. The more you sleep, the more life you miss, IMHO]. As you can see, looking back, getting laid off was most definitely a blessing in disguise.
Another life event I’m still trying to make sense of: losing our first baby at 16 weeks [four months]. Kyle and I unexpectedly got the surprise of our life in April of this year: a visible ‘yes’ on not one, but 12 pregnancy tests [I wanted to be sure ;)]. At 6 weeks, I had complications and went to the doctor to ensure the pregnancy was still on track. All was good in the womb and I even got to see our baby and hear its heart beat! What a miracle. Fast forward 6 weeks: Kyle and I marched into the same doctor’s office for our first big 12 week check-in. I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s face as she told me that they saw something ‘very concerning’ on the ultrasound. I didn’t know much at the time, but I left balling. Knowing that there could be something wrong with our baby hurt my heart more than anything ever had before. After many ultrasounds, genetic testing and constant meetings with the amazing Maternal Fetal Medicine team at Duke, we lost our baby after 4 months. The light in all of this? We know that He [our higher power] brought the Duke MFM team into our lives more than a month before this heart-breaking event, giving us the time to find peace amidst the hurt and to heal just a little bit every day prior to losing her [yes, a baby girl] for good. Looking back, our baby girl was very, very sick and would’ve had no life if she had survived. Kyle and I choose to look at this tragic event as a blessing too – for our first baby girl and for us. You think you can never survive something like this, but guess what? You can. And you will. We have a emerged a more solid unit, connecting on levels we never knew possible. I can say today, 6 weeks after, that my husband and I are stronger than ever! I also know personally, that I was on a downward spiral before finding out I was pregnant. My eating disorder was starting to peak it’s ugly head again, controlling every bite and move I made. I was letting the stress of every day life lead me to drink 2 + glasses of wine a day, spiraling into bad sleep, no exercise, weight gain and a lousy outlook of myself and the world around me. This pregnancy, I now know, was a wake up call for me! And you know another thing – heaven received an angel that will now look over other babies and parents in the same boat. And at the right time, we will again have the joy of a new pregnancy and healthy baby. And then, all of this will completely make sense.
Unfortunately, you can’t make sense of unplanned or unwanted events in the moment [usually], but you can choose to accept that these experiences have a mission. You just may have to wait a little longer to find out what that mission is. Which, in my opinion, is actually pretty exciting: knowing in your heart that there is something bigger and better coming your way!
Amidst all of the baby chaos, I was watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN [thanks to my sister in law, Chelcie, for introducing me!]. Her special guest that day was Devon Franklin, author of Produced by Faith, who talked about how to get clarity on the intention of your life. He says to start living the life that was intended for you [and to rid yourself from anxiety – a big issue for me], you’ve got to do three things: control what you can and how you respond, and then let go of the rest. You can control your role: if you’re getting ready for a meeting, a big project or in my case, a wedding, prep and plan as much as you can. Whatever happens in the middle – bad or good – accept it [it’s out of your hands!]. Then, control your response. It’s in your reaction that will determine how the universe will lay out your experiences to come. Essentially, YOU determine where you’ll go and who you’ll be.
Two more things he says are just as important when dealing with life challenges:
- FAITHFULNESS (Matthew 9:27-29: ‘Trusting in the limitless power of God is a fundamental requirement. We must believe that our circumstances do not restrict God’s ability to bless us. The only thing that restricts us is our lack of faith in him. Big faith equals big blessings.’
- SUBMISSION (James 4:7): ‘We have to give ourselves over to God’s authority. We have to let him develop and the produce the story he wants from our lives.’
[Me: My mom always says this, but she’s right: let your higher power take the driver’s seat. You don’t have to be in control all the time!]
With all of this said, I leave you with the below passage from my favorite devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. If you too are feeling the storm around you, dig deep within to find the calm and peace you need to endure the immediate moment. There is a method in the madness! We only have this one life, so let’s be grateful for all it brings – the rain and the sunshine 🙂