Thursday, January 12, 2017

Battling the Balrog

Life has been full of turmoil. I'm not talking just hard times of, "Oh, it's been stressful." No. The past six months sent me into full-on warrior mode and I've been taking a beating!

Remember in the Fellowship of the Ring movie when Gandalf battled the Balrog? That's fitting. Dark shadow, fire and smoke stepped towards me. Certainly, I gave my mighty shout to its sure defeat and I fought to protect my loved ones...yet as it began to fall into the abyss, it totally caught me in the thongs of its whip and pulled me down too!

As the battle rages, I find that many of the weapons I typically use during hard times are not enough. After all, I'm in a battle with a Balrog...just look at it!! So I have scrambled for better armaments. 

My Personal Balrog Weapons:   


Personal counseling: I signed up for weekly appointments (yup, that's right..weekly!) Life was coming too fast. I needed someone with whom I wasn't obligated to meet their needs. Speaking to friends and family during hard times is a lifesaver but those are two-way relationships. I am gaining a profession perspective and support from someone who can bear the FULL weight of my situation and does not expect or require any emotional support from me in return. Invaluable!
  • Septic people and negative social media. I recently culled almost 60 people and 10 groups from my social media. I keep my social media small anyway but somethings still needed to change. Many of these people were "somebody that I used to know" people while others are ones who create drama and breed unrest in my life. Bye.
  • Inflammatory, depressing, or violent news reporting. Talk about information overload! Being "in the know" was actually making things harder. Flash news has become an everyday occurrence. Instead, lighten your information intake. Turn off none essential notifications. I'm finding that TV news, email updates and trending links are often like a soap-opera. You can take a break from it and even when you do come back, the same things are going on. You won't miss much.
  • Conventionalism. Because my preteen son is going through medical and emotional challenges, there are conventional expectation I've had to release for both for myself as Mom and for my children. You ready? Showers and brushing teeth every night, clean room, eating perfectly balanced meals...whatever! When you are in this kind of battle...think big picture. Battle your largest enemy. You can handle the smaller street fights all in good time.

Reboot: Although big changes can be stressful, sometimes a big change can lighten your load and be highly beneficial. Do you need to change jobs to lessen your stress? If you move to a different neighborhood would you gain a new beginning? For me, the reboot was spiritual. By August of 2016, I'd been following hard after God for over 17 years. When this battle ensued it took the largest toll on my relationship with God. Your Balrog battle may require you to take a hard look at your spiritual support system. As a single mom, my little adoptive family simply needed more support than my long-time, long distance church fellowship provided. For my own spiritual relationship with God and for my children's emotional and mental health, I transition us to a closer church to worship with a smaller, group of disciples. 

Many will battle a Balrog eventually. Ultimately, in this battle one of the most powerful weapons has been to remember who I am truly fighting relationship with God and my children.

"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers  

Friday, November 25, 2016

When Silence Is Loud Enough Your Inner Voice Whispers

"Words, words, words! So many words! 
They are wearisome things; and yet people cannot refrain from speaking."
~ Ecclesiastes 1: 8a 

Silence. My ears rang loudly as I sat in my room this morning. Ears get so used to continuous sounds that in the absence of noise, they strain. Why are my surroundings so quiet? Well, the kids are with my parents and for the first time in awhile I've more significant time to myself. So I spent much of today taking a break from my own physical voice and from the voices of others. The megaphone of facebook media and news is too brazen for me at the moment. Today, silence was loud enough.

So I listened to coffee brew and my stomach rumble. I heard my cat softly walk through our home today. Do you know how quiet it has to be to hear those little pads connect with the carpet? Wow! Sounds that often take a backseat to the day have been ushered up front and placed center stage. Especially nice was simply hearing my own mental voice. I listened as my inner voice read Ecclesiastes, as it pondered Sarah Kay's "Useless Bay" poem and contemplate how there is no map in life - only a compass, as shared by Jason Silvia in his video, "The answer is love. The answer is yes." This day has been about me and taking time to ring out the sponged up emotions I've absorbed from others over the past few months. And at the end of these hours my little inner voice whispered, "you are doing just fine." *deep sigh*

You see, true reflective perspective reminded me of this truth: I'm not the cause of all the problems going on around me nor am I the solution. Trivial? Obvious? Well, maybe. But for this problem-solver's mind, a mind who has spent too much time lately hearing everyone else's voice shout over her own, that simple truth brings me deep, joyful peace today.

I'm thankful to God for time of silence, the time of metaphor musing and for the Compass. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Journaling Between Generations

Yesterday, my daughter and I went shopping together and, as always, I had such a great time with her! We shopped for Christmas gifts at a local book store, had several mini-heart palpatations over prices of different STEM games, and loaded down our rolling baskets with way too many cute items from a store called "5 Below." Do you have that store where you live? *Beware*

At the beginning of our mother daughter time, among a bunch of other eye-catcher items on clearance in the entryway, we found this journal. The timing of this little treasure was perfect because we had just talked about starting a journal of some kind together. (Thanks YaYa for that idea!) I love this idea of journaling between generations because it allows each of us to express ourselves in a deeper way and creates an heirloom piece of sorts. By comparing generational perspectives in a journal, I hope we can continue building safe places for us to express all the things we are going through in our lives at the moment. Plus, this journal has prompts!

I wrote my first entry this morning and will pass it on to my girl today for her to jot down her thoughts. Maybe this creative idea would be ideal for someone in your life too? After all, anyone could do this...father-son, sister-sister, best friends, or wife-husband. :)