Leap of Faith

I hear a lot about people’s pains. I find in my new life that my journey has made me seem approachable to many, like someone who can empathize with their troubles. I don’t mind talking and listening to those who need to talk, for the most part, because anything I can do to help someone is important. I also do see that for too many times, people like to talk and talk and talk. They don’t hear what I’m saying. They don’t want to stop talking about their pain, their loss, themselves.

Herein lies the fence that keeps us gated from the path to self discovery. We like to stay where we are because you can define the place you’re in – sad, depressed, alone, unhappy.

The fence is keeping you from looking at yourself and knowing you have to stop being selfish. The fence is evil because it keeps you from learning about yourself. Self discovery and self examination can be painful – often more painful than where you are now. So, many of us think we have to wallow in our misery. Some of us want to wallow in the dark.

God is on the other side of that fence. He is prodding us to see how life will be better again. He asks us to stop thinking about our pain and instead, we have to think about our place in this world. What can we do for others? What can you do to show others that God is there for them?

It is uncomfortable to move on. Jumping over that fence asks much of us. It requires us to not be selfish, to be more patient, and to be the kind of people Jesus wants us to be.

But it is in allowing ourselves to be fully open to Jesus in our hearts and spirits that we find peace, comfort and yes, purpose. We all have a purpose in this world. We all have so many things we can do for so many. Instead of what we want and what we think we need, you will find in Jesus the happiness that makes all those needs and wants so trivial. The peace and strength and purpose will be clearer, stronger, and more satisfying.

Jump that fence. Work on self examination. Find your purpose.

How to talk to Teens, according to Teens…

Johnny’s Ambassadors is a non-profit group that takes ACTION to spread the word about the harms of marijuana on youth. Founder Laura Stack offers so much information free of charge, including webinars that we spotlight here.

A member of Johnny’s Ambassadors Advisory Council member, Kari Eckert, lost her son, Robbie, to suicide, and TODAY would have been his 18th birthday. Kari’s nonprofit, Robbie’s Hope, is offering an adult handbook for you called “A Guide by Teens on How to Talk to Teens.” Laura, Kari and others request to please honor her son’s memory for his birthday and download, use, and share this incredible guide! It helps parents navigate conversations with their teens on a variety of teenage issues including anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Giving thanks

Our first year of losing Allie was brutal and gave us no reason for giving thanks. I was angry and bitter at everyone else who went about their business after Allie died, as if nothing happened. How dare people mark holidays with festivities and gifts, when there is so much pain and sorrow elsewhere?? I cried to myself why the world won’t just stop turning and moving because I need to just cry and cry and wail. Why don’t people understand how our lives are no longer what they were?

Two years later, and I think I finally have a grip of our new reality. For me, it has taken two years to realize she’s really not coming back. I miss her. So very much, and I need her. I’ve had dark throughts but thankfully have dismissed them quickly. God is kind, merciful and good in blessing us with beautiful children to live for. I don’t know what I would have done if Allie was our only child.

I wish I could tell everyone who lost their child that life can become beautiful again. Life won’t look like the beautiful you’ve experienced in the past; life will look beautiful in the knowledge that everything and everyone has a purpose, that the small issues are not worth the expenditure of effort, that each moment you touch a life is meaningful. Yes, life still won’t always look beautiful all the time after two years. It just becomes bearable enough that I find beauty again in the living.

The journey without a child drags for what seems like 2020 times two. I’ve felt like each day filled me with a dread of pain and anxiety, only to stop and look back at how so many things transpired in that short period of time. And two years is a short time span. For many, two years is the difference between having a high school junior and a college freshman or a baby in diapers to toddler running in circles. But for a parent who lost their child, two years is all to short, all too recent, and all too empty at times.

But in these two years, I’ve seen glimmers of hope and love. Happiness comes, and I have allowed myself to swim in that happiness without feeling the guilt that my daughter is gone and can’t be happy with me. I pray and pray, even when my belief in my faith has wavered. I have to pray and keep believing, because that’s the only way I can know that I have a chance to see my girl again – my happy-go-lucky girl, with her big bright smile, infectious laugh, and boundless energy. I can’t wait to see her again someday.