Finding Balance When Life Throws You a Curve Ball
A Few Things I Learned During a Hard Season in Life!
There is nothing easy about losing a loved one–expected or unexpected. It's like getting sucker punched in the gut. In the first few days following the loss of my father-in-law, I remember thinking that there had to be an end to the amount of tears that my body could produce–but there didn't seem to be.
My “dad”-in-law was an incredible man. He was healthy and strong, so his heart attack hit us from left field. He actually came out of surgery just fine, which I think was what hit us the hardest. We were waiting to see him post-op, but something went terribly wrong. It was like being in a bad dream that you know you'll never wake up from.
Many of you knew about this part of my family's hard time, and we've appreciated all your prayers and support–but there was more going on at the same time that I didn't share.
What I Haven't Shared…
You see, I had found a lump in my breast a few weeks before all this happened and been praying it would just go away or that I was imagining it. But it didn't, and I wasn't. After seeing a doctor and getting a mammogram and ultrasound, it was confirmed that I did have “something” there and it was not totally normal. I had to have it biopsied and wait for the results. It ended up being benign, but the waiting was so hard as the “c” word lingered in the back of my mind.
It almost felt like everyday brought more news of more crazy things. You may not know but my summer got started off with an emergency trip to Spain to be with my mom, who ended up in the hospital while vacationing. A few days after my father-in-law passed away, someone on my side of the family had a mild stroke. Some dear friends of ours were given a not-so-fun diagnosis. Oh, and bonus, a doctor found a lump on my thyroid, too. I'm told it's probably nothing, but I had to have that spot biopsied as well. As I type this I'm waiting for my biopsy reports to come back. They expect it's nothing, but I'm tired of the roller coaster of emotions. It just has seemed like I've had a lot on my emotional plate lately.
So, what do you do when life just seems to keep throwing curve balls at you?
It's really hard to find balance when everything seems to be going crazy in your life. I don't know your story, but I'm sure you can relate to times in your life that were high stress. Here's a few things I found helpful as we chugged along and tried to get back into our “normal” routines…like starting our homeschool year.
1) SLOW DOWN!
I dropped off the internet for a while, mind you being online is part of my business. It really didn't matter to me. We needed as much off our plate as we could possibly get off. I cancelled appointments and most plans we had. We were even supposed to host our church's Life Group. Everyone was very understanding and someone else stepped up to host. I wanted to be available for my family at any moment. There were so many little things to take care of. I was so grateful we didn't have any commitments those first few weeks. I knew we needed a chance to catch our breath.
2) FOCUS ON YOUR PRIORITIES!
It's really easy to let your priorities slip when there is a lot of stress. Yet, at the same time, our priorities seem so much more important to keep while we are grieving. We have been very intentional about having our own quiet times and have been doing a ton of praying together and Bible studies as a family. We know we need the Lord to give us strength and to heal our hearts. I also knew I needed Him to steady my nerves as I dealt with my own health scare. My focus was on caring for my husband and kids…and my mom-in-law. We have been so aware of the impact that Grandad had in the lives of our kids, but also in my nephews' and nieces's lives and so many other family members. So, we've put extra effort into reaching out to them as well.
3) INVEST IN REST!
Grieving and stress are exhausting. It's so important to make time for sleep and rest. I actually took a long, hot bath with some epsom salts and oils. Okay, I also made some cookie dough. 🙂 I even made time to read a fiction book, which is really rare for me. I just knew I need to find things to do that promoted rest–hindsight, I should have “invested” in a massage. Honestly, I was afraid I'd just lay there sobbing. I may have to circle back to this idea now that it's a little easier to hold it together (at least most of the time).
4) TRUST AND HOPE!
As I already mentioned, leaning on Jesus is so important when life is hard. But beyond that, we need to trust Him–even when things seem unfair. I don't understand why my father-in-law's life was not spared, but I do know that my God is worthy of my trust. Sometimes that all we have–trust and hope. (See Jeremiah 17:7-8 below) I have hope that I'll see him again. God was not surprised by this day. He knew the number of days my “dad” had, just like he knew the number of hairs he still had left on his sweet, fuzzy head.
Giving Myself Grace…
I tell you, I am really grateful that I have so many systems in place that have helped my family and our homeschool keep going these last several weeks. But laundry piled up and didn't get folded as quickly. My normal meal planning went out the door. We ate out A LOT, which is not normal for my frugal family. Our church did set up meals for us for several nights, which was such a blessing. While I'm confessing, I'm not sure if my kids ate any vegetables for weeks. But you know what? I'm giving myself grace. I'm doing what I can do and giving grace to my family since I know all of us are hurting right now.
[Tweet “Sometimes giving yourself grace is the best thing to do to find balance.”]
Every birthday, holiday, wedding, and graduation will be missing our family's patriarch going forward. These past several weeks have been so hard, but we are seeing the incredible impact my father-in-law had on so many lives. He truly loved the Lord, which was evident in the love that he had for all his family and friends. He has left us with so many wonderful (and some really funny) memories. He left a wonderful legacy. He will be missed until we get to see Him again in Heaven. Our hope is in Jesus. Our strength comes from Jesus. Our eternity will be with Jesus.
You will be greatly missed, Dad!
God has been teaching me so much. I hope this post encourages to throw your roots deep to experience His sustaining Living Water!
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