It was a hot summer night, 21 years ago. We had just gone to bed when the phone rang. I laid in bed with our oldest daughter who was five months old at the time and Joseph ran downstairs to answer the phone. I figured he'd quickly return to bed, but after about 10 minutes, I decided to scoop up the baby and run down to check on him. When my eyes met his, I knew something was wrong. He said that was my dad on the phone and he proceeded to tell me my sister in law, my brother's wife, was killed in a car accident. I honestly thought he was joking and responded, "That's an awful joke to play on someone." His face told me otherwise and the tears started flowing down my cheeks. Little did I know that in the weeks following I'd lose my papal to unexpected cancer and my uncle to suicide. Looking back, no wonder we had no idea how to navigate so much death and pain in such a short time. We were babies. Little did I know that the year following would shape and mold that young 21 year old and 23 year old with a five month old baby in ways that would change their lives, perspectives, and values forever.
Fear crept in and gripped me. I was so afraid to lose someone again. Not afraid of their eternal security, but afraid of loss. I didn't want to walk that long dark road of grief and pain. If you've walked this road, you know what I'm talking about. Grief is such a funny thing. It comes unexpectedly like an invited guest. It shows up when you least expect it. You can't explain it or wish it away...you just have to walk through it. For that next year, that's exactly what we did...
Shortly after, I started struggling with anxiety over long roadtrips. I started asking my close friends to pray whenever we'd travel because I would get situational anxiety over it. It was kind of embarrassing. When I would pass an accident on the side of the road, silent tears would flow. Now when I see an ambulances, I pray for the person in need and for the heroes showing up to help. My perspective changed from an annoyance backing up traffic to someone's life could be forever altered in the moment. Overtime, I kept surrendering this fear to Jesus over and over and had finally overcome that anxiety before the accident last summer. Go figure. Honestly, this past year, we've all been more jumpy on road trips. God bless Joseph...he has been so patient with me being an expert backseat driver trying to control everything. I've forced myself to travel places knowing I have to get back on the saddle to overcome otherwise it will keep you from truly living. What do you fear? What do you try to control instead of surrendering? What keeps you from moving forward? What is stopping you from doing the next brave thing? What do you need to call a friend about and ask them to pray over?
I've been open and honest about my Cochlear Implant journey over the last year in hopes that it helps at least one person. My recovery was anything, but easy and honestly, was a little slice of hell. I thought I possibly ruined my life at one point. It was an all hands on deck situation for my husband and family because of how sick I was. It humbling for "independent me" to allow friends to help. Fast forward 8 months and it was hands down the best decision I've made. I can't even compare life before and life after. With that being said, I've decided to have my right ear done as well. This is another situation where fear starts to creep in and I can almost paralyze myself from moving forward. November 11 is my surgery date for my right ear. I am so excited and yet, so nervous. I keep handing all my anxiety over this over to Jesus, so if you think about it, please pray for this next surgery and smooth recovery. I've got a wedding to plan with my daughter, fall sports, work, minsitry, friends, and family to keep my fall busy. I want to be present and enjoy these moments without fear creeping in.
One Change a Day,