Church Girl Blog

Let’s be honest.

I didn’t have a “word” or a goal for this year on January 1st, let alone a resolution. I’m just glad I survived 2018!

This post might not initially seem very motivational, I know, but maybe some of you are where I am now, suffering some pretty substantial losses. You feel like you’ve been slide-tackled and you’re not getting up from the pitch very fast.

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We yearn for Him here. It’s there that we beg for Him to show us the way out of the grief, sadness, or loss.

Depression or anxiety? Miscarriage or diagnosis? Loss of friendship or divorce? Betrayal or unmet expectation? Death of loved ones or disappointments at work, home or in life?

#imsorry

I feel ya, BELIEVE ME – I do.

▫️

Listing the lessons I learned in the last year and being grateful for them was the start to letting pain and disappointment go. Though they were really difficult, I realized once again that God was preparing me in advance for struggles on the horizon. Here are the three majors He shared.

I need to care for myself first so I can care for others.

Before June, I faced

✅cancer diagnosis x2 family members,
✅my boss almost dying from low potassium levels,
✅a major (voluntary!) house downsizing,
✅a move,
✅one child being bullied,
✅deaths of multiple beloved pets,
and
▪️a growing sense of panic,
resulting in
▪️fear and sleeplessness,
manifesting itself in
▪️an almost crippling depression.

My fight-or-flight brain chemicals are messed up; I have regularly struggled with it my entire life and I am usually able to mask it really well. But this year, the tipping point came for me.

I wasn’t handling life well.

At all.

I am truly grateful for a great care team that works with me to seek medicine that helps me manage and regulate my levels. When one child struggled later in the year and the other was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, both needed me at my best. And I was.

My Resolution: Diet, exercise, sleep, regular Bible reading, taking my vitamins and medicine, and getting regular physicals are all definitely on my action list for the year.

You don’t outrun grief; you eventually face it one way or another.

My father-in-law died suddenly of lung cancer in November; it was eight days from diagnosis to death. Our entire family still reels from shock.

Usually, I would being DOing way more to keep my motor fired up as hot as it can to try to outrun the sadness, and as the engine eventually burns out big time, I fall flat on my face and curl up in a heap.

Not this time. Maybe I am finally growing up at 47 or perhaps I am just feeling my own mortality.

Feeling quietly introspective and sad about such a great, godly, and gentle man gone to heaven, I miss him. We talk about him often. Emerging like an underground spring breaking through the soil, I suddenly cry as the memories and realization, yet again, of his absence begin to flow.

Truth be told, I’ve never handled grief in such a straightforward way. But I take such comfort in knowing that beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’ll see my father-in-law again in heaven.

My Resolution: Comfort those who are troubled with the comfort Jesus has given me. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

People and relationships are what I want to invest in this year.

Downsizing and moving from more than 3000 square feet into about 1500 and getting rid of half our belongings last spring was superiorly difficult. Who knew we had collected so much stuff over the last 25 years?

In a much tighter space now, the way our family lives is right on top of one another! It is teaching us to live more gently, gracefully, and respectfully amidst all the teenage hormones and tween drama.

We want to be a primary influence in our children’s lives. In order to have influence, you have to show up in people’s lives, and physically, emotionally, and spiritually BE THERE for them.

I realized this at my father-in-law’s funeral last month as so many came to honor this beloved, award-winning, NCAA and NAIA National Hall of Fame college soccer coach. Throughout his 43-year career for Quincy University, he invested heavily in hundreds of young players who became coaches, doctors, lawyers, and mayors and is one of the most winningest coaches of all time in collegiate soccer history.

My Resolution: I want to be intentional about creating/maintaining friendships and family relationships this year. I am putting it on my list to call and text my mom more, and to reach out to others as God prompts me. I want to be a better daughter, sister, friend, and encourager.

▫️

God is with us on the mountaintops, but we learn more from Him as we walk through the valleys. We yearn for Him here. It’s there that we beg for Him to show us the way out of the grief, sadness, or loss.

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

(Psalm 126:5-6 NIV)

Let’s carry our seed and sow what the Lord teaches us into others. Let’s remember the lessons of His goodness. One day we will reap the harvest as the lessons of today reach their full potential some day in the future.

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To read more:
Light, Don’t Let Go, Downsize, Spring Clean Out, Untangle, and Hold On.

 

4 Comments

  1. Trish Douglas

    I just now am reading this post. Don’t know how I missed it , but believe it was for today! Thank you for sharing your heart, for as you do, I always hear HIS heart. Don’t ever stop writing! ❤️ I need what you share!
    Great love to you, my friend.

    • Leigh Mackenzie

      Oh, Trish! Thank you for always encouraging me. We are entwined as sisters in Christ for all eternity… ? xoxo

  2. Terra Heck

    I didn’t know him personally but I heard a lot of great things about your father-in-law. Sorry for your loss. Sounds like you’ve got some good goals and motivations for 2019.

    • Leigh Mackenzie

      Thanks so much, Terra! All of the experiences and opportunities from last year will help me grow! ?

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