Courage To Play Again.

I sit next to my grandmother, affectionally known as Grimmas, staring in awe at the keys. Nearby, I hear someone say, “Grimmas will show you how to play.” She smiles and after a little prodding shows me how to play my very first “real song” on the piano. A little fun black key song using my knuckles. In this moment, I believe Grimmas is a master pianist, although I don’t know that word, yet, and I’m determined to convince her to teach me the piano. This is my first memory of my piano.

After slight disappointment upon discovering Grimmas would not be in concert anytime soon, I began to ask my parents about lessons. At the time, lessons were only offered to 1st graders. So as soon as I reached 1st grade, I was signed up for my first lessons and fell completely in love with notes, octaves, theory, rests… you name it and I was trying my darnest to learn it. I loved the way octaves could be the same notes but sound higher or lower. I played with the pedals learning the way they affected my music. I think I learned RBF (resting B face) from trudging through Classical songs, which I hated. I smiled in delight as I mastered harder and harder pieces and found myself a little as I picked songs that meant something to me. I even learned how to play a few songs backwards (laying with back on bench with head under the table and hands positioned thumbs out on keys) after watching someone do it on Double Dare on Nickelodeon. ps. I can still do it. 😉 As I grew up, the piano was an enjoyable time on good days and an escape on bad ones.

This love continued until college, where I stopped taking lessons and did not have easy access to a piano. While in college, some of you know I went through a few very tough experiences, one of which ruined the piano for me for a while. I lost the joy I had felt when I played, joy which was replaced by memories I didn’t want.

And so I fell out of tune with the piano. I had moved it from my Grandpa’s house to mine about a year prior and had barely touched it. That is, until the most unlikely of people reminded me how much fun it was to play. In that moment, as I sat there playing and laughing, I remembered how much I loved it and that I could still enjoy it, even if it would be a bittersweet experience from time to time. So I got it tuned and started playing the songs I still had memorized and felt that drive to learn come back.

And so now here I am, awake at 1am excitedly browsing through sheet music, planning the next pieces I’ll learn, all because of a random moment at a painted piano on a sidewalk. Sometimes when life knocks you down, you, too, might need a moment to remember what you love. Maybe you need to set down your passions to heal for a season like I did, but when that unlikely person or moment comes knocking to remind you, don’t be afraid to reignite that fire.


Courage and Grief and Love.

An innocent birthday reminder. An all too relevant quote for the week it lands on. As I soak in the presence of the two on the same page, I feel nothing and everything at once.

To be honest, forgiveness isn’t on my agenda. Some not close enough to even say such things have tried to tell me its my duty to forgive. I find it strange how it’s always the holy people without the personal connection trying to tell you what Jesus wants out of you. I must admit, I almost exclusively have bad words for these holy crusaders, which is rather counter-productive. Strangely enough, Jesus and I have our own growing relationship and I’ve yet to see anyone else added to the Trinity. **kermit sipping tea** and yes, I do fall back on humor at the worst times.

I find it impossible to forgive that which I don’t fully understand yet. How do I forgive the hundreds of things yet to come that I still have yet to grieve, all stemming from the loss of the person I held the most dear? The children one day you’ll never be uncle to. The graduation cap you’ll never wear. The boot camp you’ll never graduate from. The Marine Corps photo frame and ornaments I bought you’ll never use. The empty place at the table that should be yours.

I’m not bitter, at least not yet. I’ve allowed my heart-holes to breathe fresh air and have even allowed love to continue to seep through them. My focus is not on that which took, but instead on that which was taken. That which was loved. Even still, I look forward to justice, as slow as it may be. It’s hard being the “hero with a badge” and not being able to save the day when it mattered most. It’s hard to wait on the justice system from the outside. But it gives me perspective.

That perspective has tilted. Hell my identity, too, sometimes. Life is divided into two sections, pre- and post-. The days of being a sister who had a brother and the days of whatever I am now. Some days, I’m fueled to take on the day. To use that which hurts to heal. Other days, I feel like I’m right back at the beginning, hurt as hell and overwhelmed by my loss.

This week has been especially hard. You would be 18 Saturday. An “Adult.” I should be buying your first legal can of Skoal dip instead of buying one for your grave. I should be picking out embarrassing pictures of you and framing them for a party, instead of searching for some type of closure. I should be awake with anticipation of how to surprise you, instead of tossing and turning with the reminder you’re gone.

It’s weird, you know? You’re easy to talk about and hard at the same time. Everyone wants me to sit down and discuss your death, but all I want right now is to be able to bring up that one time I put you in the dryer without a sympathetic look. I want to be allowed to still bring you up, because you’re a part of me and you matter. Or to spend your birthday doing something fun, because that’s what you would have done. I want to be able to cry, because it’s okay to still miss you 10 months later. You just don’t fit in a neat box, broski. You can’t be compartmentalized and I can’t be “healed” from losing you in one quick swoop. You’re simply too much a part of me for that and you were simply too loved for that. Grief is just all that love with nowhere to go, anyway.

I’m bawling tears I’ve probably held back all week writing this. I just want you to still be here. For this to just be some terrible dream. Sometimes its easier to write to the whole world than it is to reach out to try to explain yourself to someone. Of course, you still need those people to talk to. And the right people understand that and are ready when needed. They even understand when that moment isn’t yet, or when you need to just cry and be held without the talking. Those are the important people.

There is a certain courage that has come with your loss. The courage (maybe even out of necessity) to be vulnerable. I still have eons to go, but these heart holes don’t afford me to luxury to live without exposing parts of myself. I’ve never felt I had to act like a badass and the “tough” girl for people to think I’m strong (who cares, right? When it actually matters, they will find out either way), but even still, admitting I’m hurting doesn’t come easy. I’ve cried in front of people. I’ve even let certain people hold me as I bawled, which never would have happened before. Ive accepted comfort after tough days and embraced that strange feeling that comes with depending on and accepting comfort from someone you care about and trust. I’ve stayed up with friends till 3am drinking beer and discussing life, things we love, things we lost, and things that affect us. I have this stronger courage to stand up for the right thing and for people I care about. And I’ve felt a new courage to talk to others who seem to be having a hard time or even send a message or bring them a coffee to let them know I’m thinking of them. It’s scary, being more vulnerable. But, strangely enough, it’s actually okay. In all the weakness I feel, surrounded by the right people, I still feel strong.

So, to end my ramblings, all I’m really trying to say is I miss you. I wish life was just like it was when I penciled your birthday (first) into my new planner and we were about to celebrate. But, no matter what, I love you so very much and will still celebrate you for the wonderful person you were to me for 17 years and the blast you’re having up there. Love you a bushel and a peck.

Courage Found In The Darkness

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When I was little, I read a book about this girl’s life back in the days of horse-drawn wagons and boiled water baths. At one point in the book, her dad died. Where there was once laughs and daddy-daughter dances through the kitchen, there was now only pain and shattered dreams. The morning after her entire world came crashing down, she woke up to the most beautiful day. The sun came peeking over the land, scattering gold and orange splendor all through the sky. And she couldn’t figure out how in the world the birds could be chirping and the world carrying on as usual. How could anything be beautiful when her world had come to such a sudden stop and shattered to pieces?

I failed to fully grasp then what I understand now.  In the dark moments of my deepest heartbreaks, I, too, have stared at a breathtaking sunset, unable to fathom how such a thing could exist in the middle of such pain.  How did the sun rise when I barely have it in me to leave my bed?

At first, it killed me. I remember the first time I got back on Facebook after my brother died. Heartbreak I had not experienced before set in as I browsed. It hurt seeing so many people carry on with their lives as tho nothing had happened. I saw posts of my brother’s death mingled in with happy, smiling faces and funny memes. Raw and exposed I sat, while conflicting emotions overwhelmed me. Of course I wanted others to be happy. I wasn’t mad at anyone for being cheerful or untroubled, but to be faced with such happiness so soon after being smacked in the face with my own grief, it was hard. Like a bright light being turned on after a while spent in a dark room, stinging the eyes as they attempt to readjust, their happiness burned a bit too bright in my current darkness.

But, over time, I actually found hope and healing by seeing genuine happiness in others. Hope that said there was still life after being shattered to pieces. Hope that said I wasn’t alone. I saw people who had walked through devastation and their own dark times of loss; heroes who didn’t just survive, but somehow managed to thrive. People who praised God with both hands, despite the sorrow they lived through.

I was blessed with multiple coworkers/ people close to me who braved their own heart holes, reopening their own wounds, to let me know I was not alone and would make it through – that my grief would not be the end of me.  They somehow summoned the courage to heal and love life again, and that gave me courage to face a life without my brother in it. Courage to live a life with loss and still find joy, even if it would forever mingle with pain. J.R.R Tolkien said it best:

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”

I don’t think you ever really “get over” losing someone you love, but I think you learn to carry them as love in your heart instead of a load of grief on your shoulders. After all, “The ones that love us never really leave us.” – J.K. Rowling

So, as it turns out, our worlds will shatter over and over again, and yet, the world will still continue to spin. Flowers will still bloom. And on our worst days, birds will still sing. And maybe, that’s just the kind of consistency we need to believe in better days ahead.

Wildflowers in the making ï»ż

My life is a series of unfinished projects. Friends and family joke about my dozens of “things in the making.” Shelves to make, rooms to paint, dinners to prep and freeze, ceilings to scrape, and even little finishes like a board to put up here and there or a dish washer to secure. There was a time not that long ago that I had a dozen unfinished works going on at the same time. And a dozen half-written blogs to match. Through the playful semi-serious joking and my own thought-processes, I realized by trying to complete everything, I completed nothing. Slowly, focus was given to one project at a time and before too long, beautiful accent shelves replaced rough wood crates, walls were painted a perfect cool grey, paintings hung, and the dreams of a cozy home began to take form. 

It makes me think about God’s work in me. He has beautiful plans for me, perfectly-timed projects, but I rush them. He is patient and content to work on me little by little: stepping out in faith here and saying no to gossip there, a month learning to give him an area of my life followed by a time of worship. I, however, get frustrated by my lack of perfection. I see so many things I fail at in this Christian life and am discouraged that I’m not “there” yet. While focusing to perfect everything, I miss the little works in me that equal the big things. 

I’m learning to let him lead me on the things he is seeking to teach me in the moment. This season of life is about being content where I am and embracing fellowship once more. It’s about being intentional in my walk with him and keeping focus on my Savior while letting go of my own plans for my life and lots and lots of forgiveness. There are many other sections of my soul to cultivate beauty from, but for now, I am going to enjoy the cozy home God is creating there. It’s not a neat flower garden. There aren’t perfectly-aligned tulips and daisies. He’s growing wildflowers to match my wild, untamed self. Beautiful chaos. Raw and fierce and in his own time. 

Perhaps you’re in the same boat. Stay in there, friend. Don’t doubt your worth or your progress. If you’re needing prayer, please send me a message. I would love to pray with you and for you. 

The power of a memory.

Memories are a funny thing. They can be our stepping stones to propel us into the future, empowering us and making us feel secure. They can also be crippling, as we try to sort out what went so wrong or how to put the pieces back together to what we once knew.

It’s infatuating in it’s darkness the way a perfect and blissful moment that will never happen again can be just as cold-bloodedly heart-wrenching to recall as a person’s darkest and lowest moments.

I struggle with memories. Not so much the horrible ones, although I do have the occasional nightmare. No, those are easier somehow to move on from. The worst things are the little things. The nicknames. The traditions. Talks sitting on the piano bench or a card for every holiday. Card games. Old pictures. Tension where a warm hug once was. The moment you forget they aren’t in your life anymore, at least not the way they once were, and you go to text them about something. The autopilot blissful moment your mind goes to before it remembers. My worst nightmares are the ones where I dream of my best memories and wake up to face all over again that those moments so dear to me will NEVER happen again. That is the fate of no closure, no explanation, no solution. Your brain can’t process why, so it autocorrects to how things should be.

The truth is memories, good, bad, or just different from the reality we now know, can’t be our guide. A life spent looking back to what we once knew will only stunt our future. Perfect memories can’t dictate a perfect future anymore than horrible memories dictate a horrible future. People change. Situations change. You can be absolutely sure of something and it can be gone the next minute and you may never understand why.

I’m learning that people are only reliable to a point and through this, God is teaching me to rely on him. We all have backgrounds… insecurities… triggers… that while we have the potential to overcome, these things also have the potential to overcome us. “Hurting people hurt people” isn’t a quote from thin air. It’s from situation after situation of someone who has experiences their own horrors who either wouldn’t or wasn’t given the support to work through those traumas in a healthy way, and now the cycle has continued. I’m learning empathy and forgiveness go a long way to my own healing and sound mind and I can’t have the latter without the former. I’m learning I need less me and more God. Less how I feel and more of His guidance. I’ve got miles to go before I sleep on that journey, but I’m learning, albeit slowly, to take that road less traveled by and try to understand. I have acted far less than a great person in my worst moments. I am a person who has hurt others from my own hurt. I am a person that God has brought to my knees to heal and redeem from bitterness and unforgiveness and the ways I acted because of it. It’s a process and a hard one and I am not there. To forgive is to give up what should have been and to move on to what is. To forgive is to accept. And that’s pretty unnatural for me lately. But I also know I need to learn to forgive as I’ve been forgiven and risk the vulnerability that comes with it. It is starting to sink in that the only true freedom comes from a heavenly perspective instead of my learned responses. 

I don’t have any neatly-packaged answers. I have no quick fixes. I see a long journey of learning to trust and rely on God and a whole lot of blunders and wrestles along the way. If there were quick fixes, I guess we wouldn’t need God. I do trust Him tho. That I do know. And I know if there is anyone who should be leading and directing my life, it should be Him. So I’m just gonna start that journey into the great unknown and trust He will sustain me and truly works all things for good.


Celebrating Women’s Day

Women’s Day was a pretty hot topic this year, overshadowed by the ever lovely “without a woman” protest. As a woman, I found countless woman celebrating by skipping work and for the day setting us back 70 years to the days of few women in the workplace, well… you could say I found it counterproductive. I celebrated International Woman’s Day by waking up early and doing my job. A job in some ways no one else could do that day. A job that involved directly standing up for protecting women as well as children and men too.

Because I could not stand to wait until the afternoon, even though I’m on night shift, I started my celebrations early in the morning at Circuit Court for a Domestic Violence case along with a female Commonwealth Attorney who ALSO showed up to work and female Deputies running the court and female Clerks of the court who all showed up. I spent my morning protesting against domestic violence and the offenders who commit it. Then I  returned later for another case and then worked a 12 hour shift. Instead of protesting FOR women, had we not all showed up, there is a good chance that domestic violence offenders would have never had to face any type of accountability for their actions. Had we not shown up, there would have been no one to advocate and fight on behalf of FEMALE victims we were defending that day.

I believe that women are extremely important. I believe the jobs that women do are extremely important, which is why I showed up to work. I also believe that no one is irreplaceable, men and women alike. I consider myself a strong, independent female. I pursued a job which required a strong, independent, and brave person to do the job. I pursued a job that requires me to be so strong that I can be empathetic and tough all in the same day, even in the same minute sometimes. I have encountered sexists, racists, and all other biased and discriminating people in my lifetime, many of which have been women.

I was raised by men who never told me there was something I couldn’t do because I was a female. I didn’t even know there were issues like that until much later. For all I knew, women were the amazing ones taking on the world. I was raised by a daddy and a badass great-grandpa who believed I could do anything and everything and valued me as their brave, strong-willed wild child. My other grandpas thought the world of me and always believed in me. I was gifted with a second daddy down the line who celebrated my strength and independence and demanded I be a warrior princess and never back down from anything because of my gender. I had professors, especially Dr. Bowers, who also invested in me and really believed in me and valued my input. My best encouragers and helpers along this journey have been men who love the strong, independent females in their lives.

I know this isn’t the experience of everyone, but I see so many entitled people out protesting over small matters in the name of “women” when there are seriously issues, atrocious crimes that victimize women, that are left unprotested or talked about. I don’t feel like they are advocating for women. Maybe they are so important that they can get away with protesting and skipping work (where do these people work??), but I’m pretty sure not only would I lose my job, but I would also be letting down my coworkers and potentially putting my coworkers and citizens at risk by leaving the town understaffed. I did happen to notice that the world did not implode because women didn’t show up to work, just like the world wouldn’t implode if a bunch of men didn’t show up to work. Because at the end of the day, we are not as important as we think we are and are all replaceable.

I think Women’s Day is great. I think women should be celebrated. I think we should have a day to remember we are all in this together and celebrate each other instead of compete with each other. I think there should be a men’s day for men to be celebrated too. I want my daughters and sons to be raised knowing they are important and celebrated every day of the year. I want them both to know how valuable and loved and wonderful they are and how much they can make a difference. I really don’t think we need a day for them to know this, but I do still like having a day to reflect the strong women in my life who influenced who I became as well.

Maybe I didn’t protest or do anything special for women’s day. I just put on my uniform and went to work like I do every week. But isn’t that what makes women worth celebrating? It’s the tasks and occupations we perform day in and day out that make us so special and necessary.It’s not when we don’t show up, but the fact we DO show up every day rain or shine. It’s the children we raise, the people we are there for, the jobs we do, and the lives we live investing in others and changing their lives for the better… That’s what makes us so special and valuable in this world.

Until that day comes.

There will come a time when I will feel at peace again. That day is just not today.

I know somewhere down the road my heart will find rest again, and I’ll feel less weight on these shoulders. That day is just not today.

I know these tough days pass and that I’ll find balance between wild and free and responsible and settled again. That day is just not today.

One day, I’ll look back and be thankful for the troubles I’ve had and the tears I’ve shed. That day is just not today.

One day. One day soon. Just not today. And that’s okay. To everything there is a season and a purpose including pain and unrest. So I’ll learn to find solace in my God in the meantime and appreciate what I do have just a bit more. I’ll praise a little more. I’ll worship a little more. I’ll try a little more to brighten someone’s day. I’ll try a little harder to reach out to someone having a bad day. Someone will tell me they are just having a bad day, and I’ll understand. I’ll completely understand.

One day the next season will come. That day is just not today.

Dark Thirty, we meet again.

“Your love for me was so great that You, the God of the whole universe, went on a personal quest to [love me] … and grab hold of me with the whisper, ‘I will never let you go’.”

“I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do. I lay down my fears about others walking away and taking their love with them. I lay down my desire to prove my worth. I lay down my resistance to fully trust Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your plans, Lord. I lay down being so self-consumed in an attempt to protect myself. I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection. I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes.”

I have a special relationship with 230am, 0230, dark thirty…. To most, this is the middle of the night. To me, this is dinner time, my evening, prime time. Today tho, I have to be up at 0630 like the people of the light and encounter actual sun and civilization. ** This morning was brought to you by coffee, and now a word from my personal sponsor… coffee** 

Occasionally, this frustrates me as I try to will myself to sleep, checking the time every 5 minutes and calculating how much sleep I will get. But tonight, as I read my book, Uninvited,my soul drank up those words above like much needed water for my dehydrated spirit. I’m in a weird place spiritually, if I’m honest. I’m in a holding pattern of sorts, figuring out where and how I’m going to land, knowing I can’t stay there forever but not really wanting to touch ground just yet. Really, I enjoy the view from up there, looking from a distance for a change, not really ready to dive back in.

God has been pursuing me in the midst of the mess, in the midst of my distance, anger, and indifference, much to my delight and maybe more than occasional annoyance. G-man’s a persistent one and hasn’t been leaving much open for interpretation or to wonder if what I read/saw/heard was Him speaking to me or not. And I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m happy He’s reaching out to me, especially so frankly and directly, and embracing me despite myself…  and on the other hand, I don’t really want to listen to what He’s saying. Or at least, that’s how I have been feeling lately. My heart has slowly been softening back up, and I am starting to feel the determination and passion I usually have.

I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily ready to say those words above for myself in every area. But now I finally have a tangible, readable goal, to work toward, where before tonight, I felt a little aimless, grasping at straws. I’m not there yet, but in the last week I have felt my soul start to awaken a little bit again, rousing the sleeping wild child who looks challenges in the face with a devilish grin of her own,who doesn’t give a $#!{} how tough it is, she knows she’ll overcome it. The young woman who remembers where she came from and how God has carried her through. The lively girl with proud scars who is thankful her experiences bring her better understanding, empathy, and passion, knowing those scars are merely the result of true badassery battling life’s demons and difficulties and winning.

I can’t say that God doesn’t ever piss me off or confuse the heck out of me, ^^ Obviously there has been some of that ^^ But I can say he’s never let me go even when I am absolutely terrible and rather unpleasant to be around, even in my rants, ramblings, and roars, even in my mistakes and misgivings. And that kind of consistency, to have someone you know will never let you go…Who is always working things for good, even when it’s baffling, that’s amazing. Even in the midst of not being too happy with Him, I don’t understand how people make it through life without God.

and now it’s REALLY dark thirty aka 0330 so I MUST go to bed or the rather unpleasant person mentioned above is going to make a guest appearance 😉

That’s going to leave a mark.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

And speaking of vulnerable…

Two months or so ago, I broke my wrist. While, I wish I had an exciting tale, there was no tackling and arresting a wanted fugitive or saving a child from a burning building. Unfortunately, I have no cool war story… I was in a car accident. On top of which I broke my wrist, leaving me with a very obvious sign of my wreck for at least the next 6 weeks (ended up being 5 weeks thank Jesus), not to mention bruises and a concussion I preferred to pretend didn’t exist. It was a pretty humbling experience.

What I am about to share with you was not something I learned immediately. In fact, the first week, the concussion and the event left my emotions a little wild… and I cried… a lot, and didn’t really see anything good about my wreck. I felt awful, physically, emotionally, and my pride felt rather bad too. I was reduced to one usable arm and two fingers I could kinda sorta use that stuck out of the cast. I had no car and all of my plans for the next two weeks had been suddenly killed. But with a little time and perspective, while I would still very much choose to not have wrecked, good did come from this.

The first immediate thing that happened was I was forced to slow down. Quite literally 40mph to 0mph instantly (too soon?) but also in the weeks that followed. Because of my concussion, I couldn’t work for a couple weeks. My body demanded rest for healing and I slept a lot those first few days, something I later realized I had needed. I was also forced to slow down my thoughts and just relax. Something about a traumatic brain injury makes it a little harder to think deep intellectual thoughts ;).

I also learned a lot about who really cared for me. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people sent me texts and messages, stopped by, and called me to check on me and offer to help. People who truly cared and just wanted me to be okay. People who remembered when my doctor’s appointments were and asked me about them afterwards. People who didn’t owe me a damn thing who went way out of their way to care. I blame it slightly on the concussion, but I cried from how many people cared. And then there were other people who in all reality should have cared who never even asked if I was okay, which hurt and left some scars, but it gave me insight into which ones I should be focusing on and who I needed to prune out of my life.

I was forced to ask for help. I had to ask multiple times for rides. I needed help rewrapping my soft cast. I needed help car shopping. I needed help buttoning my pants. I even needed help doing my hair one day. As someone who prides herself on doing everything herself, it was humbling. But those things, asking for help, allowed me to bond more with those people. Especially asking someone to button my pants… you get real close real quick.

I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend with my family for Thanksgiving. While I had taken a day off before the wreck, because of my time off, I was able to spend more time with my family and especially more than a few hours with my San Fran family who flew in.

I got to work in a different area and learn a completely different side of policing, and I found that I really enjoyed it. Now, I can not only use what I learned as I go back to the streets, but it gives me motivation in my career to learn more and work harder and smarter.

I learned a whole lot about how a bone heals. I’m slightly obsessive and learned not only how it heals, but all the nutrition that plays into it and what supplements to take to heal faster.

I gained some winter insulation… Not being able to workout for over a month + my appetite = a few extra temporary curves. Keeps me warmer. Don’t be jealous.

I also had the opportunity to go to church consistently for a few weeks. I had previously prayed for some stability with church/fellowship. Working every other week and being on nights makes it difficult to make it to church and fellowship becomes almost non-existent. But my temporary “normal” work schedule gave me the chance to spend a few weeks to get my spiritual ducks in a row a bit before my schedule went back to topsy-turvy. And to be honest, God used that time to catalyst some construction in this soul. Not really fond of the demo work going on, frankly, but we will see where it leads.

I’ll probably never know if that wreck was merely an unfortunate event or if it kept me from something else happening. Maybe had I continued down the road, I would have been in a worse accident or maybe my mistake put me in the right place at the right time later or maybe I just had a dumb moment. No matter the reason, I found myself at a detour having to take the long way around to get back to where I wanted to be.

” Detours are a good thing that often feel bad. This is because it’s in our detours that we’re developed for our destiny. Because of the detour, we must go off the beaten path, take longer than we had wished, and be inconvenienced more than we had hoped. “- Dr. Tony Evans

I’ve had many detours in my life, few of which I enjoyed… at least in the beginning.My need for control is a daily struggle against God’s call to submit. But I’m learning… slowly… that detours may just have some good in them. Some detours gave me exactly the skill I needed for my next thing. Other detours, I have yet to see the why, and thinking about them kinda gives me anxiety all over again.

No I’m not trying to paint my car accident as some miraculous event and try to make it seem like it’s a good thing. It’s not. And Yeah, I wish I hadn’t wrecked. I wish a lot of things were different than they are. That’s life. But I am learning to recognize the insight and experience that only comes from unexpected events whether they are your mistake or something someone else has done to you, and while I may hate the situation, I can still use what I learn as fuel to better my life. Terrible things happen, far worse than car accidents, and they give us experiences we wish we didn’t have, depth we could do without, and understanding and empathy we would prefer to just read about. BUT, while we can’t always pick our course, I do believe we can use our experiences to enhance our lives and the lives of others.


ï»żThe Lemons of Life.

Now, in general, my solution to being given lemons is to make use of them. Use them in a recipe. Use them to clean something, to make the house smell nice, or if nothing else, throw them at something to blow off some steam. Lemons can be a short-term nuisance that benefits you greatly in the long-term. Sometimes, life even gives you a lime, which puts you one step closer to a margarita so who’s really winning then?

However, sometimes, life gives you proverbial lemons that have somehow formed themselves into a lemon-brick wall directly in your path. You know what I’m talking about. You were happily living a full life, pursuing your dreams, hanging out with your friends, living passionately when all of a sudden you run smack into this wall that knocks you down and turns your world topsy-turvy. A wall of lemons. Lemons that cannot be used or traded for a long time. Lemons that stick around and somehow keep squirting you in the eye every time you turn around. Huge lemon-causing tears of sadness, frustration, heartbreak, or just downright anger.

These lemons are not for the faint of heart. These lemons suck. Whether it’s a loved one dying, a caustic parent, a broken relationship, a pink slip at work, etc. These lemons have no conceivable use and yet you can’t even throw them somewhere else (or at someone else). They’re stuck. What good comes from a broken relationship? How can I possibly benefit from being laid off at work. What could I possibly gain from my loved one dying. Nothing. The answer is those situations aren’t going to bring happiness and love into your life. This isn’t some small fight with a boyfriend you can kiss and make up on. This is the long haul. This is a long twisting road of tears and bloodshed. This is a big, superglued together  brick wall of lemons and it ain’t going nowhere.

So what do you do? There’s a lot of things you can do. You can ignore it and hope it goes away. You can sit in front of it and cry big lemon-hating tears. But let’s be honest. You’re still getting lemon juice squirting in your eye, so you can’t really ignore it. And when you cry, your face gets puffy and your nose runs and you’re as miserable as ever. And at the end of the day, you still have an army of lemon bricks in your path. At some point, you have to get over that wall. No matter how it hurts. More importantly, you have to look to God to truly get over the wall. In Him, you will gain the strength to climb your wall or maybe even destroy it. Your wall-conqueroring won’t come without scars, I promise. And it will take you a long time to find any good from those lemons. But you’ll be over that lemon wall, stronger from your experience, and on with your life. It doesn’t mean that the pain is suddenly gone, or that you are not allowed to grieve your loss, but you will no longer be stuck.

I can’t say that I’ve learned these things easily or quickly or always done the right thing. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, and God is continually teaching me, reeling me back in, and molding me. I’m not the perfect, meek, Christian woman. The good news is I don’t have to be.

My chaotic, messy life can be used just as much for God’s glory than anyone else’s. God not only CAN use all types, but DELIGHTS in using various types of people, not just the predictable ones.

Relying on God doesn’t come easily to me. But I can say that those moments of just me and God, me learning to find comfort, peace, and healing in God’s presence in the midst of my world turned upside down… those are some of the sweetest memories I have. I wouldn’t wish to ever go through those storms again, but I wouldn’t trade those moments.

You won’t actually benefit from that lemon the way we think we should benefit from things. These lemons aren’t like muscle soreness that accompany building stronger muscles. The actual situation may not benefit you. You’ll probably never look back and be happy your husband cheated on you, your friends deserted you, or you lost your child in a miscarriage. That’s not to say these moments cannot place you on a path of good, that these heartbreaks cannot be followed by great joy, because they absolutely can and will be, but the pain itself is not a joy. These dark moments are not pleasant, but God is in the business of making beauty from ashes. In your darkness, as you turn to God, you’ll come to rely more on and trust Him while learning how to accept and move on from the said lemon.

Sometimes, lemons make no sense at all and I wonder why God would allow such a thing. Sometimes, lemons come as the result of other people’s actions. No matter the cause…

From your deepest pains in which you allow God to mold you instead of letting the situations make you bitter and resentful, you’ll learn compassion for others, patience (which is the most frustrating), and among many other things, you’ll learn to depend more on God instead of your circumstances and people who change with the wind.

Lemons are unavoidable in life. Walls are going to smack you right on your butt. But they aren’t the end of your road. Never give up. You have a full life ahead of you, so don’t be defeated! God won’t leave you at your wall, and he “won’t allow pain without causing something new to be born.”