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.

Advertisements

Who Is Your Tribe?

Who are your people? Who do you surround yourself with? Are these people lifting you up, encouraging you?

Your tribe is important. Who you spend time with, who you allow into take up space in your life is critical to where you are headed. If you have goals and dreams, you better have light-givers, encouragers, destiny-builders in your circle. There has to be someone in your world who believes in all you are capable of, someone who sees all the potential inside you.You have a choice. The people in your life will either build you up or tear you down. You can’t force them to do either; what you do have control of is who you allow in.

(photo cred Facebook.com)

Let’s choose our tribes carefully. I’m trying to surround myself with people who pray, love, and bring light into my life and into the lives of everyone around them. People who challenge me to be better, who are challenging themselves as well. I love friends who make me think deeply, laugh uncontrollably, strive greatly. I’m also trying to be that for them. 

Who is with you? 

Who is not? 

To reach your God-given destiny, you need your people to be on your team. Look around: if you’re successful are they clapping? If you fail are they offering a hand up? If the answer is no to either, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate who is in your tribe-

💗❤️💗

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

#mytribe #mypeople #support #friendship #makeorbreak #success #successbuilders #tribe #friends

To All the Waiting Mamas

I hesitated to write anything around Mother’s Day, but after reading some lovely ladies’ blogs at My Perfect Breakdown and Waiting for Baby Bird (y’all should go check out their very poignant posts), I really felt it pressed in my heart to add to the discussion.

There are many roads to motherhood. I’m convinced there’s no one right way. I’m also certain that the path to and through motherhood is often full of pain and waiting.

And it’s the Mamas who are in the midst of the pain and waiting that I wanted to talk to.

You are important.

I know a lot of Mamas who are currently waiting. Waiting to hear from the adoption agency. Waiting to see if their fourth round of IVF has worked. Waiting to see if the vasectomy reversal is an option. Waiting to hear when their son in another country will get to come home.

I know Mamas waiting for test results, waiting for a phase to pass, waiting to hear from their kids’ fathers, waiting to hear from the adoptive parents, waiting to hear from their kids.

We Mamas, in all our forms, have the really tough job of standing in the gap for our children, often before they’re children: when our bodies fail us, when the adoption falls through, when the baby is born sick or isn’t born at all.

When the child isn’t home yet or we can’t be with them. When life happens and we just want to know why but probably never will.

This waiting we do as Mamas isn’t a wait the rest of the world understands because it is a waiting of the heart.

This is the hardest kind of waiting because you have to go all in.

100%.

Which pretty much guarantees that we will get our hearts broken somehow. At some point. In some way, probably unforeseeable to us at the time.

And yet we do it anyway.

This takes bravery on our parts. And faith that something good will eventually come out of the situation somehow. We wait even when we don’t know what else to do.

Mother’s Day has been a source of pain for me at various times throughout my grownup years. Even when I wanted to celebrate my own Mama sometimes it was difficult when I was in a place of waiting. 

Motherhood has not come to me easily.

And I wondered if I even counted as a Mama before I had a baby in my arms. Did it matter that I had a Mama’s heart with no baby yet? Could my waiting and my pain make any difference?

I believe it does.

Many become Mamas in their hearts long before their child is present. And on a day such as Mother’s Day when we’re all celebrating Mamas everywhere, this might cause pain for those Mamas whose hearts are full but arms are empty.

So to all the Mamas who are waiting-waiting for a phonecall or paperwork or their fertile days or a letter or email or hug or travel plans or to see their own Mamas again someday-you’re not alone.

I’m praying for all the Mamas in my life who are waiting for something. I’m praying for strength for you, for courage, expediency, protection and hope, and for all you need at this point in your journey.

Blessings to you, Waiting Mama, and Happy Mother’s Day-

  
(Photo credit brightboldbeautiful.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Rejection

Big sigh

Twice today I’ve been rejected. I admit, I have really thin skin. I’m tender-hearted and sensitive and definitely should have picked a different kind of career than writing. Aka, putting your heart on paper only for people to use it as a welcome mat for their muddy shoes.

Did I mention I have a flair for the dramatic?

Ok, it’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be. I just naively thought that once I got my book published (you know what’s coming: shameless plug. You can purchase My Pink Champagne Life here and here) the rejection would end for a bit. 

Wrong.

Not all books are meant for all venues. I totally get that. Within my niche I have been trying to get the word out. Talking to my contacts, using social media, begging my friends to buy my books. My little snowball is starting to have some momentum. And I’m totally excited about that-I have five events scheduled. Five! Me!

As an unknown author, this is the only way to sell books. And until I suddenly morph into John Grisham (Mr. Wonderful would be so disappointed!), or get Oprah to read my book, I’m going to have to win over one reader at a time. I am totally up for this challenge.

Sidebar: this is an exhausting yet exhilarating process. I had no idea what it meant to market your book when I signed the contract with my publisher. Can I just tell you that though I love my day job, I really love this writing gig.

To dispel any rumors, My Pink Champagne Life is not about alcohol. Some of you will stop reading at this point. I’ll holler at you when it’s time to time back in. It is about the act of celebration no matter what’s happening: during the good, the bad, the boring. It’s about grace and gratitude. About my crazy traveling circus of four kids, my mid-life love and subsequent marriage, what it was like to be a single mom, adoption, and how God has been with me. Every step. Even when I didn’t know it or feel it or even acknowledge it.

Within my niche market I got told (nicely and by people I know-I’m not sure if I feel better or worse about that) that my book, the thing I poured my heart and soul into for three years and then took another year to publish, wasn’t good enough right for their audience. Maybe I’m reading into it a bit. It’s possible I’m reading into it a lot.

And those two rejections opened up a crack in my mental door for every critcal thought and negative, self-conscious flaying I’ve ever given myself. Who are you to write a book? Look at all the time you’ve wasted! Who on earth would read such drivel?

Mr. Wonderful stopped me in my tracks when I confessed what was going on inside my head. He did his usual propping up of me and my sagging little spirit. And then he prayed. Just a quick prayer and he probably didn’t think another thing about it. But in that moment to have my man acknowledge my insecurities and then to take my hand and take a moment was extraordinary for me. 

Everything isn’t magically cured. I still want people to like me and think my book is exactly the kind of encouragement they need. I’m sure I’ll still have doubts and crazy thoughts-I’m still me after all. But I know that I can’t keep doing the right things over and over without getting good results. 

Ok, time to come back, I’m bringing it home. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ll tell a few more people about this book I wrote. Some will like it, some won’t, and that will hurt my feelings. But it’s another chance to enlarge the snowball, and share this little dream with others. I will follow my own encouragement and remember to celebrate.

Even if I get rejected.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015