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

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!

Breathing is Under-Rated

  (Photo cred The Berry)
Mr. Wonderful has asthma. This time of year breathing isn’t one of those things we take for granted.

We have inhalers stashed everywhere. We have a plan when the inhalers don’t work. We have lived with the not-breathing thing for awhile and have made modifications to our world.

Because breathing is just something most of us take for granted.

We breathe in and out, go about our daily lives. Live as if we have all the time in the world. And then something happens that knocks the wind out of us and we can’t seem to catch our breath. 

That’s when out breathing becomes labored. When we have to fight just to remember to breathe in.

If you brought some junk with you from last year–hurt, anger, bitterness, sadness, defeat, despair–maybe take a moment today to just breathe.

Remind yourself to breathe in, then breathe out. Give yourself a moment to catch your breath. And then begin to let go of those things that are already weighing you down this year.

It won’t happen overnight, so be sure to give yourself a break. It will happen one breath at a time. 

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

National Suicide Awareness Month

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK

You’ve probably guessed that today’s post isn’t going to be a light-hearted romp with my traveling circus. I’ve been avoiding this topic all of September because September is a rough month around this Casa.

There are a lot of triggers: 9/11, anniversary of Mr. Wonderful’s start date in the military, the anniversary of the day I almost lost him. 

The older I get, the more I realize that if people share their realness and their pain, it can often shine light into someone else’s pain. Help them know they aren’t alone. Guide them to a sliver of hope that this circumstance or season is temporary and it too shall pass.

2013 is a year that I wish had never happened. The short version is that my sweet Mr. Wonderful was on about year twelve of undiagnosed PTSD–way past the time where things begin to unravel. First the undoing was unnoticeable. Then it became unmanageable. Then it became untenable. To the point I knew in my heart that if I didn’t do something, the unthinkable was coming.

The details are still too hard to write about so I’m not going to yet. I’m actually trying to work up the courage to put this full story in my next book but it’s slow going, reliving certain minutes.

What I’m going to tell you today is that you, yes, you who somehow stumbled onto the blog of a woman with a bunch of kids who’s married to a retired military dude that you have nothing in common with, you were meant to be here today reading these words.

You were meant to know that someone else has been exactly where you are: in a dark so black and thick that you can’t breathe, much less see. You were meant to read these words and realize that this darkness that you can’t seem to find your way out of has enveloped others before you. You need to know that there is a way out of that darkness that doesn’t involve removing yourself from this world.

You are necessary here. 

Without you to finish your work, there will be a you-sized hole in the universe that can never be filled by anyone else. I know you can’t see this right now. I know you can’t imagine anything but pain and heartache so deep that you just need it to stop. But if you’ll give the world a chance I promise you things can get better. They may not be better all at once-this may take some patience on your part and I know you probably don’t have any.

But please, stay

As an Army wife, I’ve been through scenarios other families may not be able to fathom. I haven’t even been through all of the typical Army wife life because I came on the scene later. But one thing about all military spouses is that we do what needs to be done. We’ll take care of it so our spouse can do his or her job of protecting this country. 

You hear all kinds of phrases and jargon in this military life. One of my faves is “I’ve got your six.” That means basically, I’ve got your back; I’ll help you and watch out for you and do my best to protect you.

My spouse had this country’s six. He helped keep us safe after 9/11 and our family’s still footing the bill for that freedom. And now I have his six. It’s the least I can do for a man who has made some sacrifices for us all.

Let someone have your six. If you are not okay today, it’s okay. But you can’t do this alone. Reach out your hand and grab onto the lifeline: make a call to the national suicide hotline (1-800-273-TALK) or a friend. Or a pastor or trusted confidant. Or your mom. Whoever you think will listen.

There are approximately 22 veterans who take their lives every day because there is an absence of hope. But for the grace of God, that was nearly us. For those of you who worry about or notice something is off or different about your veteran or family member or friend, don’t wait to speak up! 

Ask: are you ok?

Maybe you won’t know what to do. That’s ok too. Some things need to be handled by professional people who are trained for this sort of thing. But you can ask the most important question–are you ok?–giving them a lifeline of hope. And then together you can seek help.

Just do something.

Having someone’s six sometimes means doing something for someone who just can’t do it right now. Having someone’s six may mean getting out of your comfort zone even if you don’t know what to do. Having someone’s six can save someone’s life.

Babe, I got your six.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

This Book Writing Thing is Haaaaaarrrrrdddd!

Can I tell you how much I do not like 5:00 a.m.?

I haven’t been up this early–or let’s be real, stayed up this late–since college. Which has been a minute. Even with all four of my babies, they at least went back to sleep for a few hours. And now I jump roll out of bed before the butt crack of dawn and I don’t like it.

But I have to do this because I am writing my second book. My sophomore effort. My #2. And 5:00 a.m. is the only time that I ever have a moment to think a thought all the way through to fruition. This is kinda important if you call yourself a writer.

And I am a writer. I accidentally wrote my first book called My Pink Champagne Life a few years ago. I didn’t start out to write a book; I had just been through a lot of changes and truly writing was my therapy. There were no expectations; no one even knew I was writing a book except my husband. And there were no deadlines. I was free to let my creative process go where it may. Which is why I wrote most of the book in late 2011-early 2012 and it didn’t come out until February of this year.

I’m not great with deadlines.

Now I have both expectations and deadlines and I’m a little bit nervous. Not to mention I still don’t really know what I’m doing. My plate is so much more full now that I’m on my next effort and I get a little scared. Since I write about my traveling circus family, I am opening up the door to our complete crazy for the whole world to view, judge, peer into. It’s a bit disconcerting if I think about it too long.

And this time around I’m writing about seriously hard and life-changing things. Life-shattering things. I don’t know about you other writers out there but for me it’s a bit like living through it all again when I write about the last two years of our story. I’m using words like PTSD and traumatic brain injury and financial hardships and four kids and baby spit up and caregiving, you know, real sexy topics.

But I believe in telling the truth. And the truth is our story isn’t always rainbows and butterflies like I would like it to be. My hope is that maybe my truth will help someone else in the midst of a truth they didn’t want any part of. That maybe our story and our crazy and our suffering followed by absolute redemption will give hope to someone who is buried in a dark corner and believes they are all alone.

Have I mentioned how much I hate 5:00 a.m.? For the foreseeable future this is my waking time. But I am trying to appreciate the benefits this provides me. I am watching sunrises that are gorgeous beyond belief. I get to hear and feel and breathe in the silence while everyone else is sleeping peacefully. There is an openness to my spirit at this time of the morning, before the day has corrupted my thoughts or pushed me down or some days, run me over. I am more alive, more vibrant, more me during my quiet time than any other part of the day.

It’s when I’m Meredith.

Not caregiver or mama or employee or chauffeur or wife or maid or any of the other hats that I wear. I love my hats. But sometimes it feels good to just be me.

I am a writer. Of books and thoughts and talks and life. It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s exactly where I am supposed to be.

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) Copyright Meredith Shafer 201

I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, come say hi!

Keep Going

Sometimes survival is the word of the day. Are you just surviving? Are you drowning or overwhelmed today?

Some days, weeks, months, seasons are just too much. But when you’re in the middle of too much, remind yourself to…

Breathe. Rest. Then keep going.

It doesn’t matter if you go fast or slow, it just matters that you don’t quit. Keep pushing, keep trying, keep moving forward.

You are strong and brave and today you are closer to your God-given destiny than you were yesterday.

#NeverGiveUp #PTSD #inspire

(photo credit playbuzz.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Small Things



A note from the owner of Cuppies & Joe, the coffee/cupcake house where I wrote most of My Pink Champagne Life.

I’ve never met her, yet she took the time to hand-write a note to say that the chapter I wrote about their sweet little establishment captured what they hoped to have when they first started this business.

Small thing, big results. Small things matter.

Don’t ignore the fleeting thought. The urge. The whispered voice. It may be a small thing to you but you never know what lifeline you may be tossing to someone else.

Most people are living fragile lives we can know nothing about. Take the time to do that one small thing.

It can make all the difference.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015