My broken certitude.

One of the many things that happened when John died was my certitude about things was smashed to pieces which if you have read through my blog I talk about a fair bit. The most worn out phrase I use since John passed away is “yeah….I’m not sure about that anymore.” And while at first it felt like a horrible curse, because the things that I were so sure were black and white suddenly paled into grey, and I was scared. Very scared. However, I have recently discovered it has turned out to be a blessing in the most unexpected ways.

Because I know hold so many things loosely and withhold my judgement I have been able to experience things I never would have if I had labelled and shut things out of my life. I have had far more experiences of God because of it, and I’m very grateful for that.

It’s almost like a whole new world has opened up to me, and it’s a kinder, friendlier one than I ever could have imagined. I have done things I wouldn’t have done a few years ago, I have had conversations with people I wouldn’t have entertained for half a second a few years ago, and they have been some of the most beautiful conversations I’ve ever had, I’ve read books I would absolutely never ever have read and the one I’m reading right now I have to keep putting down cause it’s more like it’s reading me than I am reading it… which makes for an even more interesting read…

So even though my own life feels very much like a train wreck still, I still have no idea what I’m gonna do or where I’m heading and it doesn’t look great right now to say the least, somehow in all of it? God is showing me Himself time and time again, and I just want Him to be first in everything I think, say and do. I want Him more than I want anything else. That is my new certitude now.

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Lyrics from a song can be so powerful and this one spoke so much to me:

“I walk through desert plains here in the open range. Feel like a renegade looking to runaway. Here in the wilderness I’m coming face to face with all that I have done and who I will become.” – In the Grey -William Matthews.

This is so on point right now. I feel like I’m crawling over my whole life AGAIN and trying to work out who I will become. I’m so frustrated that I feel in the same place as I have already been in a few times since John died, and I don’t know whether Paula passing away has churned this back around which could well be likely or events that are rumbling on in my life are triggering it, or a mixture. Regardless it’s a scary place to be, I don’t want to review my whole life again and go over things, I also have no idea who I will become but I am trying to surrender everything to God so that He can make something beautiful out of me. I love Him so much and desire to be close to Him at all times and in all places. I can honestly say I have never wanted The Lord more than I want Him right now…. what does that even mean? I want Him? These are phrases I say without reviewing, and now I have thought about it, what does it mean? I want Him closer than ever before, I want Him in all His fullness, (but that would kill me so..). There are so many times when I feel like a little lost girl not knowing what I’m doing. My only option is to trust God. It’s a scary world without your mum, your husband and one of your sisters. And worse still no other person can give me the answers I’m looking for in terms of what I do and who I become. It has to come from The Lord. And I wonder why I can’t concentrate on anything?? I just want to fast forward this until I’m out the other side and life is better and clearer.

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Tidal Wave.

Yesterday was a day for reminiscing, I went back to the Cathedral I used to work in, and then I went to see my first Vicar and his wife who I adore and It was so good to catch up with them and talk about the years where I was in his congregation and I felt so loved when I left their house it was beautiful. I miss them a lot. Then Keeley and I went out with Dad and we had a toast with him to Paula’s as today should have been Paula’s birthday. Such a hard day. Yesterday I stayed at Keeley’s and then we drove down to Cambridge this morning to be with my nephews and her husband. We went for something to eat together and then we let off a balloon and threw some purple glittery flowers in the canal. Then we left and I dropped Keeley back home then I started the 2 and half hour drive back to Manchester when boom, a 2 hour tidal wave of crippling grief enveloped me. Thank God for cruise control, as that’s what got me home. There is so much going on in my life and things rumbling on (that I can’t go into on this blog), and work, and Christmas and still grieving for John and now grieving for my beloved sister Paula that the pressure is at possibly the maximum that I can handle. The grief was terrifying and lonely, and at times I couldn’t breathe (I knew if I pulled over I may not get home tonight). It took me 35 mins after I’d pulled up at home to gather the strength to walk in the house as my legs were like jelly and I feel like I might have pulled some muscles in my tummy from crying so hard. However…. since I came in I have been showered with constant cuddles and kisses from my Yorkies Alfie and Eric, who have helped cut into the awful gloom and dread I was feeling. I am now absolutely exhausted and feel a little nauseated. Praying I sleep.

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It feels like forever since I wrote my last post but in reality it’s only been a week. It has been marked by kindness of the Lord. I have seen His kindness so evident and tangible. One of the things that to me was the most attractive element to John was his kindness, he was one of the kindest persons on the planet and I had the privilege of seeing it day in and day out and it truly was a supernatural kindness that could melt me in a second. Part of me is not surprised that the Lord would use kindness to woe me to Him, as John’s kindness could push past any part of me that might have been angry or upset with him and I would fold immediately on seeing his kindness towards people. The Lord has been so kind to me this week. He has shown his gentle specific attention to me in ways I can barely articulate. I’ve been asking for God to give me eyes to see Him and ears to hear Him and I believe He is answering my prayers. Very specific things have happened that I have told no one about before, things that I haven’t even asked God for but just thought about have happened. Seeing the Lord’s kindness in such an extraordinary way, has totally made me fall in love with Him so deeply. I literally want to do nothing other than spend all my time with Him. I am barely sleeping and eating is nominal which those two things for me played huge amounts of time in the day…

I asked the Lord to give me structures to help me base my life around Him and to enable us to have a relationship again after the devastation I encountered when John died and I think He has revealed them to me. So much so that I actually want to get up in the morning… this is a thing I never thought may come back. God keeps reminding me how He knows me completely. How else could I respond other than to give Him all my life? All my love? All my hope? All my devotion? I am really serious about Him.

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Weekend away was sooo good. Loved it, it was like bright warm sunshine breaking through the clouds of a foggy dark miserable day. Saw old friends which was really really lovely. Learnt about the beautiful Gospel and was taught how to use liturgy in prayer. Liturgy is like a train track, you jump on it and it takes you on a journey that you don’t have to drive yourself. I think that topic might come up in a few blogs time so I’ll leave it there… a lyric popped into my head just before I began writing this and it summed up the last few days for me well. “Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet.” (Lauren Daigle) The truth is I loved John so incredibly much, I loved being married to him and I loved our life together. Yeah sure at times it was incredibly difficult but I still loved it. And letting go of that apart from the everyday loss of John, this for me is the second hardest part. I don’t want to let go of the life I used to have with him, seriously I don’t, I’m clinging to it for dear life and yet it’s already gone… it went when he went to be with God. And it smashes me to smithereens. I knew my place with John, I knew what I had to do, where I had to be, what we were doing, and even going to be doing. Now I know flipping nothing. I haven’t got a clue. And that in and of itself is terrifying. Let alone the fact that John is not here. That is like doubling down on all of it. A couple of things I know: number one, I do not want to get stuck in the past and not be able to move on. Number two, even though it grieves me deeply and I go in and out of denial about this from moment to moment, the truth is my life with John has gone, and it’s kind of like a crumbling monument. Number Three, I HAVE to move on. I know it will take time, my gosh, it is taking time. I would give anything to fast forward this process, really I would. But I can’t. I just have to move when I can and for how much I can. The other lyric’s which are helping at the moment: “If you can calm the raging sea, you can calm the storm in me.” (Skillet) I think I may have written them in a blog back in the spring, but they’ve come back around again. If you were to listen in to my soul you would hear a violent tempest, things are being thrown (mainly by grief, but sometimes by theology and anthropology) about and this line of the song is so apt right now. I have to trust myself to Jesus cause He can calm the storm. The third set of lyrics: “Lord I will wrestle with your heart, but I won’t let you go.” (Rend Collective) I have been through such a lot with God that I know I ain’t letting Him go, not now, not after everything. So whatever lies ahead… whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, I’m not letting Him go.

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Small wins.

After a weekend of an avalanche of grief, when in the valley of the shadow you have to take the “small” wins. My wins today are I am up, showered, dogs have been walked and fed and I’ve made and eaten breakfast, all of which felt impossible at 8:30am this mornings. They are wins no matter how small they feel. There’s a church near me that will be open in a bit for quiet prayer so I shall go there if I have the strength to get ready after I have tided up after breakfast. Going away at the end of the week which I am really looking forward to…I just wish I didn’t have to get ready for it as that feels like a huge chore and effort for it. Just wish I everything could be ready and I could just leave, but before that I have work and a few meetings with various people, plus I need to get all the dogs stuff together as they are going to stay with my sister and then pack my own stuff. Tired just thinking about it. There is such a lot going on in my mind and my heart at the moment I am overwhelmed. It will probably all tumble out in this blog in the next week weeks or months no doubt, but this much I can tell you, it’s very heavy whack.

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Trying to keep going

Didn’t go work on Saturday. Just couldn’t. I had seen something in a shop the day before that had reminded me of John (still can’t bare to think of it to write what it was here…) and it knocked me for six, it literally took my breathe away, I was out with my sister at the time and because I didn’t want her to see how upset I was I just hid that I was crying but inside I felt like I was plummeting to a depth I’ve haven’t been to for a long time, so when Saturday came about 2 hours before I was about to go to work and when my sister had gone out I lost it, I was howling and sobbing and a total wreck, there was no way I could go and that made the whole thing worse as I wanted to. I managed to ring them in between sobs ashamed at the state I was in. Sometimes I feel I need people to know that even though I am quieter than I was (which is so evident) I am trying my hardest to grieve well and still function but it is not always an easy balance. At the moment it is such a bumpy ride, I’m back to not knowing how I’m gonna feel from one moment to the next, and it’s frustrating as I can’t plan anything again, cause I just don’t know. I have been soooo tired the last 2 weeks, that at every available opportunity I have jumped in my bed and slept. I went away at the start of the week with my sister to London as she really needed a break, it was good for her but it wasn’t like it used to be, as we are both grieving our sister so while we had a good time it was also strange and somewhat flat. But I’m glad I did it for Keeley, she needed it. When I came back however, I was exhausted which might not have helped me towards the end of the week and my emotional state. Today I have my 8 hour shift and I’m praying I’m going to be busy cause if not I fear a meltdown on the shop floor and I really don’t need that. Counselling tomorrow, haven’t been for 2 weeks as I was away in London, grateful for that, we have a lot to talk through once again. This feels like such a long road and recovery feels so slow. I know the sudden death of my sister has pushed me back but I’m still in denial about that so….

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