Tom Cruise Running

Friday was a rough day at our house.

Let me be clear: it wasn’t the kind of rough day we’ve had before. We’ve had the kind of days that shifted our very foundation before and this wasn’t it. It’s easier to maintain a certain perspective when you have had those kind of days where you weren’t sure if everyone was still going to be on this side of the dirt when the day was over.

This was your average rough day and it was all mine. Lately I haven’t been writing much of anything because that would mean I’d have to write true things. And my truth these days is that I’ve discovered that I don’t know how to rest

I have been running at such a hot operational tempo (being married to a military guy tends to rub off on a person’s vernacular) for so long now, my gears have gotten stuck in overdrive. I only know two speeds at which to plow through my life: fast and the even faster Tom Cruise run.(photo cred The 10- Minute Ramble)

I’m just going to be frank right here and say that this discovery about myself sucks. The meltdown of epic proportions at our house Friday was similar in scope to what you might see a tired, cranky, overwhelmed hangry three year old have in the middle of the Target aisle that’s suddenly populated with other parents whose children are actually behaving. And it was all mine as well. 

I was the one who was having worry-related stomach aches for the third day in a row. I was the one losing sleep and not stopping anywhere on my journey. I was the one who had the full plate and the fuller burden for all the people who are relying on me. And without pausing, without rest, I was running on empty.

My husband, Mr. Wonderful, is like a giant St. Bernard in these situations. He’s born to rescue people. Before he dove into the situation though, he prayed for us. For me. For all the crazy glue that was slowly coming undone in all those places I had so quickly run by the past few years.

As we talked I began to realize that because so many of our family’s burdens have been on my shoulders the last few years, I’ve gotten really bad at asking for help. And along the way I have forgotten how to slow down, how to really give myself permission to let things go for a little while and rest.

I used to be the Nap Queen. This was my actual nickname in college. My roommates were amazed at the chaos and crazy I could manage to sleep through and that I would just crash whenever I needed to.

Fast forward a few years (ok, obviously more than a few but don’t tell my kids-they think I’m 28. I’m rolling with it.)–

I. Can’t. Rest. 

I’m talking physically, but more importantly, mentally. I can’t stop Tom Cruise running through my mind or my To Do List. My caffeine consumption is enough to single-handedly keep Columbia in business. In fact, what we spend on caffeine is probably nearing the gross domestic product of several small countries.

I have managed my juggling act for quite some time. But then I dropped a ball. And another and another until now our floor is littered with them.

Friday felt like I was in the middle of one of those giant ball pits that are in kids’ play places. You know, the ones you thought were the best time ever as a kid but now that you think of it as a grownup it kind of makes you throw up just a little bit in your mouth?(photo cred weheartit.com)

Mr. Wonderful did something that allowed me to stop drowning in the ball pit of my own making. He wrote down each worry I have been juggling–including the ones on the floor. Then he told me just for the weekend, he was going to take them and work on whichever of them he could help with. And I was not to do anything about them. In fact, he took that notebook so I couldn’t even look at them.

The act of putting everything on paper and then physically giving them to someone else for awhile sounds really simple. But don’t mistake simple for easy. Many times this weekend I have wanted to look at that book, cross things off the list, take them all back and start worrying about them but since Mr. Wonderful is way to big for me to wrestle the notebook away from, I couldn’t.

I have rested and relaxed. I got sleep. I finally did with those worries what I should have done long ago–I gave them away to my Savior. Though Mr. Wonderful was my earthly guard over that notebook full of my anxieties and what ifs, Jesus was the one I really entrusted it all with. I know better, but sometimes it takes a Mr. Wonderful-sized reminder to actually do better before we give it away.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So if you see me Tom Cruise running, you have permission to tell me I need to slow down-

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2017. Click here for my new book, Mad Cow: A PTSD Love Story or connect with me on Instagram or Twitter.

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)

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Welcome December!

 (Photo credit pennielily.tumblr.com) 

We did it! We got our Christmas tree up before the week before. And it was kind of a miracle–we found two tree parts but neither was complete. We were going to have to have a mixed tree but then the eight year old checked in the “basement” (he meant the attic–we don’t have a basement) and voila. One complete tree.

There were a few meltdowns (on my part), two seriously shattered ornaments, some Christmas music and kids putting things everywhere they shouldn’t but we somehow managed. And I’m sure the baby–I mean now two year old–will have his way with the ornaments left too low. I guess it’s about time I stop calling him the baby. In my defense I just don’t want to.

The top part of the tree is pretty good, the bottom is sparse and it looks like a kindergarten art class threw up all over it. I can’t help it–I’m sentimental. I have saved every macaroni ornament and handprint reindeer my kids have ever made. With four kids that’s a lot of macaroni. 

 (Photo credit Meredith Shafer)

And I think it’s the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

4:36 A.M.

I never have trouble sleeping. Yet here I am, two hours til wake up and I can’t seem to turn everything off. Shut it down. Let it go.

Any other insomniacs out there?

If so, I’m sorry-this is terrible! Knowing you need your precious sleep but not being able to get it because your brain is wrapped around something so hard and so tight that there’s no hope of dislodging it anytime soon.

I thought if I wrote for a bit maybe it would help ease me back to center. I’ve been a little off balance lately. Not so much as anyone in my world would even notice. Just enough that it feels like I’m leaning. 

My life is amazing folks. I’m grateful for every breath I take, every heartbeat, every moment that I get with my four healthy loud rambunctious kids. Every date night with Mr. Wonderful. Every meal I eat, night I sleep in my own bed and paycheck I receive.

Things are good. No, things are great. Mr. Wonderful is home, sleeping peacefully beside me. He has been feeling good enough to drive fancy horse trailers from Point A to Point B to help earn extra money to take care of our family.

I’m not even sure my early morning ramblings will make sense, but I just feel off. Like there’s an invisible wire that runs through me and the current that is zinging and arcing along it now is worry. Worry about my seven year old who has a heart bigger than most grownups but who struggles with sensory issues and fine motor skills and outbursts when things get too overwhelming for him.

I have a sliver of worry for Mr. Wonderful. He’s so much better now. I guess I still have scars that are still healing from 2013 when he was so not ok and when life unraveled so quickly and so horrifically that I couldn’t do anything to stop it. That year seems like it tilted my whole world and though we have healed and moved forward and learned and experienced growth and found joy and love and hope again, I’ve never been righted completely since then.

Maybe that’s how traumatic or difficult or even wonderful times are supposed to work. Maybe they’re supposed to catch you off guard and leave you breathless and give you a case of life vertigo. One that occasionally flares up, leaving you grabbing for something to lean on until you get your bearings.

I have been looking for my wall to lean into lately. My rock. My steadying hand. Though I haven’t tried to use another human being for this purpose as it might send them careening off their own trajectory, I’ve been going about it all wrong. I should lean in to my faith during good times and bad. Really press in close to the one who brings comfort and healing and hope.

Instead, I’ve been trying to do this all on my own.

When will I learn? I’m such a puny human as my seven year old Avenger watching, hero-wanna-be boy would say. 

And he would be right.

Because I am weak. I am flawed. I am tired and I can’t ever seem to find my keys. I am a hot mess and an impatient fool at times. But all I have to do is turn around and ask for help from the one who is ever present. The calm in the storm. The only one who can right me.

So I think I’ll go do that. So I can join the land of dreams and rest and renewal. Have a good sleep and an even better tomorrow! (Photo credit livelifehappy.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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