Vulnerable 

Exposed. Unguarded. Out on a limb.

Naked.

These words don’t conjur the most positive images. But I would pose to you that this is exactly where God does his best work.

(Youversion bible app)
When we are humbled enough to accept all he has to offer, when we let him break down our walls and stop pushing him away because of our self-imposed need to present a perfect self to him, that’s when he can use us.

In our brokenness, in our frailty, in our weakness.

This video is my brave Army guy’s testimony at our church. 

This video took courage. Mr. Wonderful is the guy I’ve been writing about for some time now. My sweet, strong army guy has suffered terribly for years from PTSD, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, even drug abuse.

But. God.

God saved us so he could use our pain for his purposes: to bring light and hope and saving grace and salvation to anyone who is still in that dark and broken place. We still have hard days but we will count them all as joy, becuse we have been snatched back from death’s door.

If you are having trouble with the darkness of mental illness, depression, PTSD, anxiety or anything else that has you feeling like you just can’t go on, please reach out. We will be your people if you don’t have any. I’m also leaving the national suicide hotline numbers in this post so you can reach out. 

YOU DO NOT FIGHT ALONE!

There is still a purpose for you, so please don’t give up. There is still a plan for your life. Even good and beauty can come from pain if you allow them to be used. Let my family stand before you as living proof-

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK

If you’re a veteran: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬

©Meredith Shafer 2017. Connect with us: Facebook (@meredithshaferauthor), Instagram (@mypinkchampagnelife), Twitter (@mypinkchamplife) and meredithshafer.com

Second Chances

Three years ago this very day life as I knew it ended.

All of the hopes and dreams I had for my family came crashing down in our kids’ treehouse, of all places. It was in that treehouse, lovingly constructed from scraps of both lumber and time by Mr. Wonderful, that I found my soul mate right before he was about to take his own life.

You see, life had gotten so bad for him that suicide seemed like the only way to make his pain go away. 

The drinking hadn’t done it. 

The prescriptions and doctors on base hadn’t done it. 

His family hadn’t done it.

He soldiered on so well that I didn’t realize how badly he was hurting until it was almost too late. Minutes were the difference in our case-the difference between our story being about second chances and it being about what life is like as a military widow raising four kids all by myself. The difference between my kids knowing their dad and wondering what he was like.(photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

When I found Mr. Wonderful with a half drunk bottle of vodka writing his goodbye notes, all I knew to do was beg God to save him. To save us. 

I hadn’t even seen the loaded shotgun yet.

I just knew from climbing my very pregnant belly up to that second-story treehouse and feeling the sadness and pain radiate off of him that we were fighting for time.

That treehouse was meant to be our end. Instead, somehow God used it to start something brand new for us, to give us a chance at a second chance. Miraculously our ending was re-written at the last possible minute. We got a second act by the grace of God. 

It’s surely a miracle that the very pregnant girl was able to get the drunk, suicidal 6’6″ 330 pound soldier who was more than twice her size out of the treehouse, onto solid ground and into treatment.

It’s surely a miracle that Mr. Wonderful was sent to a treatment for a few months that would help save his life, restore his mind, begin his sobriety.

It’s surely a miracle that we have had 1,095 bonus days, second chances, extra time.

And though it hasn’t been an easy road over the last three years, I am grateful for every one of those 1,095 days. I count myself blessed despite the PTSD diagnoses, the caregiving, the crushing blows, the doctor’s appointments, the setbacks, the fights with the VA, and the new normal we find ourselves in. Even the worst days in the last three years have been a blessing, because they have been the second chance I couldn’t imagine from my viewpoint in that treehouse.

September is National Suicide Prevention month. Twenty-two military a day take their lives. If more if us speak up, tell the story with no shame, maybe we can break this stigma against mental illness and invisible wounds. Maybe we can convince hurting people to ask for help. Maybe we can reach out to those around us.


Ask someone if they’re ok. Care about people. Walk through this world with more kindness and less judgment. 

You could be the difference in someone’s story-


💗❤️💗

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016.

For more info about our story, to check about speaking engagements or to find me on social media, connect with me at www.meredithshafer.com.

Hot Mess Monday💗

So…

Today I had the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve ever had to the tune of $5,463.81. You read that right, friends.

Let me explain.

I went to one of my fave coffee places to work. Then I ran to the grocery store to get a few important things, like diapers (no, Baby Houdini isn’t potty-trained yet) and bread and milk. You know, enough staples to last us til payday. Then my debit card was rejected.

Wha?!?

I quickly looked at our account and EVERYTHING WAS GONE!!! Son of a biscuit, we were negative and overdrawn and even our savings account was wiped smooth out.

After all of the blood drained from my face and my legs started working again I left the store and called Mr. Wonderful, who raced off to the bank to tell them we had been robbed. Robbed!!

When I gathered myself, I looked closer at my account. That’s when I realized $5,463.81 was taken out of our account for the cup of coffee I had ordered earlier. Now, this coffee is Snickerdelicious and it’s truly my fave cup of coffee in the world. But I wouldn’t pay that much for it. Even if I had that kind of cash burning a hole in my pocket.

So, long story short (I know, too late!), I spent a large portion of my Hot Mess Monday doing things like calling my bank and going to the cafe again and talking to many, so many people about how in the world we can get this resolved sooner than 3-5 days it typically takes. Because I still needed diapers and staples and gas and did I mention they took all my money? And then some?

I’m happy to report the kind people at the cafe went above and beyond, apologizing profusely and offering help and a gift certificate for my troubles. And I was pretty impressed with my bank as well-that fraud department is efficient! By the time I figured out it wasn’t fraud but a (giant) mistake, they had already blocked our account and cancelled my debit card😳

Nothing has gone as planned but we are rolling with it. Only by the grace of God is all our money already back in our account and diapers purchased. I’m no longer driving around on fumes, either. We didn’t have to wait 3-5 days, hallelujah!!

For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram (please do, I’d love to see you over there where I actually post on a daily basis lol), I’ve been doing some YouTube videos on Hot Mess Mondays. Mondays are hard for this hot mess mama, so I’m just trying to put a little encouragement out there each Monday to be sunshine for someone who may also need it. I hope you’ll stop by soon!

This has been an especially Hot Mess Monday but life is good, friends. I have a roof, healthy kids, a husband I really like, and a job. Today I have running water and enough food to last til payday. And most importantly, I have Jesus’ love.

Truthfully, if I only have Jesus, I have all I need.

Blessings, y’all!💗❤️💗​


©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi! Or visit http://www.meredithshafer.com

💗❤️💗

Purpose

I don’t believe in coincidence.

What I know, what I have seen played out in my own life time and time again, is that there is a purpose for pain. So even if you don’t like the place you find yourself right now, take heart. Take hope. Look around and know that this place, too, will be used for good. For God. Somehow, some way.  

Just because you can’t imagine how doesn’t mean God’s plan for you isn’t already set in motion. Embrace the now, watch and see what he can do- 
 (photo credit Project Inspired)

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!
#godspromises #goodfather #godsloveneverfails #seasonschange #holdon #ptsd #ptsdrecovery #ptsdawareness #neverlate #nevergiveup

I Have a Website, Friends!

I’m pretty much a cassette girl in a digital world but I somehow I still managed to get a new website! I’m so happy, there’s finally one place that links to all my other places–and you only have to remember how to spell my name! 

 (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Ok, you could just click on this link:

www.meredithshafer.com

In preparation for the release of my second book, Mad Cow: A PTSD Story, I now have a website. 

Yeah, I’m one of the cool kids now!

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

I don’t have a date for release yet but I’m guessing late summer/early fall. This book was hard to write and gets pretty real about our story. Most of our friends don’t even know the whole story yet, it’s just been too hard to tell.

Now that we’re in a more grounded place and lots of healing has taken place (with plenty more to come), I am telling our PTSD story and airing our dirty laundry so to speak, because I know it will do one thing: point people to Jesus.

Our pain will have a purpose. Our journey to and through PTSD will be worth it if I can tell as many people as will listen about how God miraculously saved our family. HE LITERALLY SAVED US!!! We are a miracle, and He has lit a fire under me to tell everyone I meet.

I’ve been so focused on writing and websighting that I forgot to wear actual shoes when I left the house… 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

So I have a website www.meredithshafer.com and the Mad Cow book to come and I am incredibly blessed. I am preparing for wherever God takes me. I’m excited to tell y’all just exactly how good He has been to us–

Blessings friends!

891

We went to the VA today.  

 (Photo cred beachbrights.blogspot.com)

That’s when we found out our doc moved. Across town.

Then the doctor said a cardio referral for Mr. Wonderful will take up to two months unless we run here and call there and double back, turn around, sit down.

All this to say I can’t stop worrying about Mr. Wonderful just yet. He keeps having the seizure-like episodes and then had some actual heart pains and the neuro guy said he needs to see a cardiologist immediately.

Which will be two months from now if we play within the system. Frustration and honestly, straight up fear washed over me. 

And then. 

 (photo cred allieseidel.com)

I remembered the grace God has offered me. For free. How my good Father has already provided the answer I seek, the resting place I crave. The timing we need. I recall the scandalous grace and the way He has already saved my family.

You see, I have had an extra 891 days with my husband because of God’s scandalous grace. I have had 891 extra days of smiles and hugs and good mornings and prayers and dinner times and memories since that day in 2013 when I found Mr. Wonderful in the kids’ treehouse writing goodbye notes. 

Every day since has been a gift.

Even the hard days.

Even the days where we fight or fuss or learn something new about PTSD or slug it out with the VA. Even when we have more month than money or more kids than time or more pantry than food.

Every day–all 891 of them–have been a blessing from my Father in heaven, a record of his unfailing, unrelenting, scandalous grace.

And I am grateful. 

 (photo cred the WoW Style)

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Angels Among Us

I’m thinking a lot about sacrifice today. I get to live with my Hero–Mr. Wonderful served his country with no thought to cost.  (Photo cred Flickr.com)
There are heroes among us who have given everything, but you can’t know their sacrifices because they are humbly walking around, angel wings hidden under civilian clothes.   (Photo cred MilitaryAvenue.com)
Being a military wife makes me think about sacrifice sometimes, and I’m grateful for this perspective. I’m especially thankful to live in a free country that my very own husband helped provide for so that I can openly talk about the One who paid the ultimate price in sacrifice. Living in America allows me to talk about my faith openly and I do not take this freedom lightly. I thank God for all who have made this possible, may God bless and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and give you peace-

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

#ptsd #ptsdawareness #ptsdrecovery #military #militarywithptsd #army #navy #airforce #marines #coastguard #nationalguard #service #freedom #freedomisntfree #🇺🇸

Crazy Town

My Traveling Circus has been a little crazier than usual so far this year. Mr. Wonderful has been having these weird seizure-ish episodes and we’re still learning how to combat the ADHD and I missed my second book’s deadline by a mile–let’s just say I’m turning it in this week no matter what! (Fingers crossed😁) 

 (Photo cred quoteistan.com)

Despite the crazy and weird, I have to look at my life and be pretty grateful. 

 
  (Photo cred lifelistlust.tumblr.com) 
I am so happy to have Mr. Wonderful at home, my kids are thriving and growing and eating me out of house and home. I won’t even have a teenager til later this year and it’s already happening…I may need another job….

I am getting some wonderful opportunities to speak to ladies groups and tell our story. Can I just tell you how much this blesses my socks off? I spoke to a gorgeous ladies group last week and I am leading a ladies’ retreat in two weekends and though it takes up my time, somehow I get so much more out of these events than I have to put towards them. God’s math and time and blessings are crazy that way. 

All this to say it’s been nuts, I’ve missed y’all and hopefully after I turn in this manuscript (this week dangit!) I will be spending more time with my blog friends doing some catching up.
No promises though, my job as Mayor Crazy Town is very demanding….

Peace, love and blessings to y’all today!💗❤️💗❤️💗

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Health Care

I have to be careful that I don’t go on too big of a rant here–no one’s got time for that!

We’re currently at the VA to get an MRI on Mr. Wonderful’s shoulder. Even though I’ve been working since November to get him scheduled with a neurologist for the seizure-like episodes he’s been having. We aren’t doing an MRI on his brain but his shoulder.

This makes no sense to me at all. The shoulder is not the emergency in our house. A 6’6″, 330 pound man falling on the ground while I, the smaller human in this equation, try to break his fall–this feels like more of an emergency in my book. We’re now up to daily episodes, sometimes multiple times per day. But we gotta get that shoulder looked at.

I made multiple calls to the VAChoice program, which is supposed to help if your appointment is more than 45 days out, which ours was back in late December/early January. I’ve made calls to neurologists. I know he is one veteran in the grand scheme but he’s my vet and I can’t break his fall very well. You should see us–we’re hilarious when this happens.

It looks like we are going to end up keeping our appointment with the VA neurologist in a few weeks.

I already want a second opinion. 

I’m getting all wrapped around the axle on something I can’t fix or change or speed up. I want Mr. Wonderful to see a civilian neurologist last month. I want his crazy scary seizure thingys to stop. I want to be at home on a Tuesday night with my family instead of waiting in a lonely hallway by myself for a late-scheduled MRI that ran even later. 

  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

But what I really want is for God’s plan, his destiny for my family, to come to fruition. I want him to use us–even in the VA–to spread light and hope. God knows they need it here.

I only want what he wants for us. So I will unwind. I’m relaxing. I’m taking a little me-time right here in the VA. And we’ll go get some fried chicken and have a little Date Night on our way back to our family. And I will trust and believe that God works all things for our good. Even if it’s not my time or my plan or my way.

I have enough faith to trust that he’s got this. 

 (photo credit Meredith Shafer 2016)

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

To the One Who Is Struggling:

Dear Friend,

I’m sorry this is all so hard. What you’re going through seems improbable on the best days and impossible on the worst. It’s hard to keep your chin up when life keeps knocking you down over and over again.

Yes, you’re bruised. Your wounds haven’t healed yet. I see your pain, feel it rolling off of you. 

Just when you think you might make it, another wave crashes over you, threatening to pull you under. You’re in over your head and relief seems as far away as the shore.

But friend, I want to tell you that even though you feel like you’re drowning right now, there are plans in the works. Plans to give you hope and a future. I can’t tell you how or when things will change. I just believe with all my heart that they will.

I believe in a good God that goes before us, stands behind us and walks beside us. You’re not sure if you believe, or you haven’t been in close contact with this God I’m talking about? That’s not a problem for him; you can’t do a thing to earn his scandalous grace.

You can have his peace in the midst of the chaos, the crazy, the pain or the grief. You can experience this peace no matter the circumstance. And it’s free.  

 (Photo cred babynameslog.com)

All you have to do is accept it.

Hang in there friend, better days are ahead, and I’m praying for God to hold you in the very palm of his hand.

Blessings,

Meredith

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!