Healthy Soul

Grief and the Coronavirus

 

I look around my world right now and I see a society that is grieving.

There are people grieving the loss of freedom, expectations, incomes, careers, health, and life itself.

I do not consider myself an expert on grief, but unfortunately, I am familiar with it.

One thing I know to be true is that people grieve differently. Some people process things quickly, some slowly. Some mask their hurt with humor, some lash out in anger. Some people want to talk about it, some people want to talk about anything but what they have lost.

When you are grieving, you want other people around you to grieve like you. It is upsetting when you are sad and someone else makes a joke about the situation. There are times people are being so serious and you just want to lighten the mood.

Grief sucks you into your own world and makes it tempting to think only of yourself and your own loss.

I think one of the hardest things to accept about grief is that there is no cure. Sure there are stages to grief and you can cycle through them. But there is no quick cure-all to get over your loss.

There is not a cure, but there is perspective.

Loss is loss. What is hard for one person may not be hard for you. That doesn’t discount the fact that it is hard for them.

Today, as we are isolating and canceling events, plans, work environments, schools—it’s hard. Those are memories that will never be made, incomes that may never recover, and expectations that will never be met. I think we can all admit that is hard.

Today as people all over the world are losing loved ones to a virus that is rapidly spreading—it’s hard. There is no “at least…” when it comes to death. We can choose to focus on the moments we got with a person. We can choose to be grateful for the impact they had on our life and on the world. But when you have experienced the unexpected death of someone you love, you will never be okay with a trite explanation of why they are gone or comforted by the fact that it doesn’t happen to many people.

As I watch people grieve all around me, I hurt. I know the pain of unmet expectations. I know the pain of cancelled plans. I know the finality of death.

I also know the hope of Christ.

I was just going to leave this with a plea to be kind to each other. And really, we need kindness and gentleness right now in our world. But we also need the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We need the peace that only comes from knowing this world is not all there is. We need perspective on eternity. We need to believe in something greater than all the hurt we see around us.

We need to see it in people that call themselves Christians.

 We need to give each other grace to grieve our own losses while keeping in mind that others are experiencing loss right now as well. We need to keep in perspective that this quarantine will not last forever, but some of the impact from it will.

It’s hard.

It’s okay that it’s hard.

You have permission to grieve your loss.

 

 

Healthy Soul

I Continue to Hope

 

114 days.

Beckett passed away when he was 114 days old.

Tomorrow Rylee will be 114 days old.

This date has perhaps wrecked me more than any other date we have faced the past three years.

This day has brought out more fear, anxiety and emotional breakdowns than I’ve had in a long time.

It comes at me from all angles:

I look at our strong, healthy little girl and I think, ‘Surely we are safe this time. It won’t happen again.’ Then I remember walking to pick the kids up from school hours before Beckett passed away. His eyes were shining so bright and he was so cute and alive. I never looked at him and thought our time with him would be short.

I don’t want to put her down and walk away. That old thought reenters my mind constantly; ‘What if I had just held him all evening that day?’ and I can’t let myself take that chance again.

I trust my husband so much, but currently I am out of the house and he is with her. My mind is constantly wondering how they are doing. I keep glancing at my phone hoping for cute photos and no frantic phone calls.

It hurts that after tomorrow, each day Rylee lives is a day that Beckett didn’t get.

The crazy part of all this is that I thought this would be regular life the past four months. I had almost accepted that motherhood would be full of fear and sadness this time around.

I think I am being honest with myself when I say, this fear has not ruled my life. I have been exhausted, riddled with guilt over everything I’m not getting done, and emotional—but I have not let the fear of the ‘what ifs’ rob my joy of the ‘what is real’.

But two weeks ago it all crashed in. And it’s been heavy. It’s been exhausting.

 

So I told people I wasn’t okay.

 

When friends asked the casual question, ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘how is your week going?’ I told them I was a mess. I told them why. I said things bluntly to my husband that I usually try to tip toe around. I let other people in on my mess.

I haven’t let everyone in. I haven’t broadcast my turmoil. But I haven’t hidden it either.

I love the guideline of: You don’t have to say everything that’s true, but everything you say should be true.

This is my truth right now. It’s heavy. I don’t want to be ‘that friend’. The one that people don’t want to invite along because they always bring the mood down. The one that people have to filter their conversation around. But sometimes life is just heavy and there is no way around that.

 

And then finally, I let God in on my mess.

 

Sometimes I want to scream when people say I am so strong or compliment me for always pointing to Christ. I am not and I do not.

I am so, so weak.

I don’t know what I’m doing or if I’m responding the right way.

I choose to zone out and quiet my mind with music, fiction, sitcoms, scrolling. . . anything to keep myself from facing my thoughts.

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and I want to close my eyes and just pretend like life is fine instead of facing my situation head on.

I don’t want to think about the underlying fears and emotions because it takes effort. It takes emotional and mental energy to stop numbing my mind and let those raw thoughts rise to the surface.

As hard as it is to get real, I can’t pretend like this is just how life is and muddle through.

In those moments that it all becomes real, I know there is an answer to my suffering.

I know that Christ is the answer.

I know this because it’s the only thing that ever makes a true difference in my life.

When I turn to Him, my troubles don’t disappear. My circumstances rarely change at all. But my heart changes. My heaviness becomes lighter. Sometimes I physically feel it lifting off my chest.

Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I close my Bible and feel exactly the same as I did when I opened it just 10 minutes later. Sometimes this goes on for weeks.

God is not a mystical wish granter. There is no perfect prayer + bible reading formula to get what you want out of life.

When I let myself get honest, I admit that life isn’t about what I want to get out of it anyway.

Christians love to talk about this ‘free’ gift of salvation—that we accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross and that’s all there is to it. We talk about a ‘relationship’ like we have equal footing with God, a 50/50 partnership.

But when I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for my sin, I gave Him my life in response. I said, God this life isn’t about what I want anymore, it’s about what YOU want.

Sure, I get to enter into discussion with Him. I get to argue and yell and tell Him how I want things to go. But I also have to trust that He is a God that knows the whole picture while I only see part. I have to trust that He is a God that loves me. I even trust that He is a God whose heart breaks with mine.

And when I give Him my troubles, fears, doubts and heavy emotions, He can handle them. Sometimes it’s immediate sometimes it’s not. But His peace is present. It’s present because I invited the Holy Spirit into my life almost thirty years ago, and He hasn’t left me yet.

Whatever phase I go through, whatever emotions I throw at Him, God is steady. He is true. He is there.

This isn’t just my truth. I don’t believe He’s just good for me.

I think He’s available for you too. I think He’s willing to listen to your troubles and your heartaches. I think He’s willing to take your life and give you His in return.

A life lived for God—it’s not free of trouble. Worldwide health epidemics still exist. Innocent people still die. It’s hard and it’s real and it’s full of trouble. But more than that, a life lived with God is a life that has the potential for joy and peace even in the darkest of times. It’s a life that knows this isn’t all there is. It is a life of hope.

 

When the days get hard, when the fear, anxiety and emotional breakdowns come:

I continue to remember that God gave me the gift of my son for 114 days.

I continue to choose joy in this motherhood journey I am on.

I continue to trust that He loves me.

Above all, I continue to hope.

 

-Rebekah

Healthy Soul

How to Help a Grieving Introvert

me introvert lighter

I often call myself an introvert. And this is what I mean by that:

After being around people, I need time to just be still and quiet.

I am constantly analyzing myself and other’s response to me. An ongoing conversation in my head goes something like this: How am I coming across right now? How will this statement make that person feel? If I respond to this text right now, will they expect this to turn into a long conversation I just don’t have the energy for at the moment?

This is exhausting!

I need time alone to recharge and also to sort through all the thoughts in my mind. I love people. I love good conversations. But I crave alone time.

When I lost my son, the world changed. I changed in many ways. But at my core I was still the same introverted person.

And I think it was confusing for quite a few people who really loved me and wanted to be supportive for me, but had no clue what it was I needed from them.

I know all grief is different, and I know all people are different. But my hope is to give a few basic thoughts to help those of you that love an introvert who is grieving.

 

  1. Don’t Expect Them to Fall Apart in Front of You

After the death of my son, people often asked me how I was doing. That’s a natural question. I wasn’t offended by the question.

But my answer to that question was almost always vague. “We’re doing okay.” Or “God is my strength”.

And then I was often left with this feeling that I was letting them down with my answer.  I got this feeling that people wanted me to fall apart and share my deepest fears and feelings with them at the drop of a hat. Or at the drop of a simple question.

That is simply not me.

A week after Beckett passed away, I poured all my emotions into a public blog post that anyone in the world was welcome to read. I cried while writing it, I cried many times reading it later. It was my heart, my true emotions laid out bare.

Writing that post was my way of processing my emotions and also my way of answering the question, “How are you doing?” It was exhausting.

So in the following weeks, when someone asked how I was doing, I really wanted to tell them to go read about it themselves, I did not have the emotional energy to go through all that again!

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to let them in on how I was feeling, it was that I really could not physically bring myself to go through the emotions verbally over and over again.

Please don’t take it personal when your introverted friend doesn’t open up to you about their grief. I mean it when I say: It’s not you, it’s me. Go ahead and keep asking the question, just be prepared to quickly move on if they make it clear they don’t want to dwell.

coffees

  1. Don’t Apologize for Falling Apart in Front of Them.

I am not very emotional in front of people. I don’t know if this is an “introvert” thing or just a “Rebekah” thing. I have often felt envious of my softhearted friends. These women see a photograph of an orphan and are suddenly a sobbing mess.   They hear a sad story on the radio and they can’t even repeat the story to you because they are so choked up.

As a woman in ministry, I have often sat across from a woman crying over the state of her marriage, her rebellious children, her mess in life and prayed that God would just make my eyes squeeze out at least one tear so I wouldn’t appear so heartless.

Try as I might to change it, I am just a weird crier. But this doesn’t mean that it upsets me when other people cry in front of me.

Many times in the first months after losing Beckett, my friends would begin crying when they hugged me or talked about him. And then they would inevitably apologize.

Please don’t apologize for grieving over someone else’s loss! It shows you love them, it shows you care.

 

  1. When They Start to Talk—Don’t Stop Them!

Grief is a weird thing. It often shows up when we least expect it. Your friend might have some feelings and thoughts they need to process and they don’t even realize it until the conversation is started and the words come spilling out.

I often bring Beckett up in the middle of a non-related conversation. I am sitting and talking with a friend over coffee and my thoughts just start spilling out. I feel comfortable, I feel safe and I let my guard down.

If you want to be a safe place for your introvert friend to talk about their grief, be a safe place for them to talk about life in general.

Last year, on what would have been Beckett’s first birthday, I told my friend I was going to come by her house in the morning. Neither of us knew what that day would be like for me, but she was willing to put up with whatever I felt like on the day. I needed to go to a place where there would be no expectations placed on me.

I knew this friend’s house was the place to go because it had been the place to go for the past year. I had sat on her couch with a cup of coffee balanced on my pregnant belly and talked about motherhood many times. I had sat with that baby in my arms and talked about tired newborn life.

Then when my world changed in an instant, she was the one that held me in her arms as the paramedic took my baby from mine. The one that opened her home when I couldn’t face going back to mine. The one that saw me fall apart and didn’t expect a thing in return. The one that never had to ask me how I was doing, but always listened when I told her anyway.

Fortunately, I can say this about many friends not just one. I know I can text my parents and tell them to pray and they do without needing a lot of background. I tell my husband I’m having a hard day and he pulls me into his arms without a question. I cancel dinner plans with only a few hours notice and our friends understand without a complaint.

Then at other times I start talking and they just let me go. They don’t try to tell me how I should feel or drag more out of me than I am comfortable giving. They just listen and tell me they love me.

I have pretty great friends.

brook boston beach bw

  1. Let Them Know You Have No Expectations

In the first days and weeks, many people asked what we needed and said to let them know what they could do to help.

I had no idea what I needed. I had no idea what people could do to help. But suddenly this felt like a job to me. I needed to give people something to do so they would feel like they were helping. I took it as my responsibility to make sure they felt useful.

I know this sounds messed up. I am aware it is not at all what those people intended to happen. They genuinely wanted to help and would hate to think that put stress on me.

We had several friends that just stepped in and did things for us without asking and without making it a big deal. That is what I needed.

I needed to know there were no expectations on me as a friend to include other people in my grief.

chill afternoon
My idea of a perfect afternoon.
  1. Offer Non-Contact Support

I have listed several things not to do so I thought I would end with some practical things you could do to show you care.

The thought of making plans for a person, even a close friend, to come over to my house just to sit with me terrified me in the first phases of grief. Planning ahead of time meant I had to mentally prepare for what the conversation might be. I had to use energy to sit and talk and come up with conversation or process through my emotions out loud. I did not want to make plans to get together with people.

But if someone dropped by with a gift, that would be totally okay. That feels selfish to say, but it’s the truth.

I love hugs. I love feeling connected without a lot of words. A small gift and a hug at the door can be a huge encouragement without forcing your friend to use a lot of energy socially.

If you have trouble thinking of something to give, try one of these:

— A hand written letter or card.  If letter writing is not your thing, don’t stress yourself out trying to come up with the perfect words. Just buy a card and sign your name. It really is the thought that counts.

— A journal.  Many introverts process their thoughts by writing. I obviously fit into this category. Plus I love stationary and office supplies—Win/Win!

— Coffee.  Give a mug with a scripture verse on it, inspirational saying or cute design. You could also buy some nice tea or specialty coffee they can make at home. Or skip the at-home stuff and get them a gift card to go out for coffee with a note that you hope they enjoy some time out and an offer to tag along if they wish. You have offered a listening ear in a non-committal way.

— Small Personal Gift.  You know your friend. What will make them remember their loved one? A piece of jewelry? A figure or box to set out? A picture frame? What is something small and personal that shows you actually took time to think about them and the loved one they lost?

— Massage or Spa Treatment.  This is a bigger gift financially, but would a gift card for a massage be relaxing and welcome for your friend? I love to lie in a dark room and not make conversation for an hour. My mind actually goes quiet during a massage.

— A Cleaning Service.  The entire first year I was grieving my son, I constantly felt behind on household responsibilities. I just wanted someone to come over and clean my house and do my laundry. But I didn’t want to ask anyone to come over and clean my house and do my laundry because I did not want to have to make small talk with them while they worked, and I was too prideful to admit I needed help in this area.

Thankfully I have an amazing husband who starts cleaning when he has no idea how to help me. There were many months he kept our household functioning and took a lot of pressure off of me. If your friend lives alone or their partner isn’t super clean, chances are they are in dire need of some practical cleaning help.

If you can’t afford to pay for a cleaning service, give them that gift card for a coffee shop, send them out of the house, and clean while they are away. For $5 they are getting some alone time and you can give them some practical help.

— Prayer.  Seriously.  This is the greatest gift I have received in the past eighteen months. I have had friends pray over me in-person, but our family has had an army of people praying for us throughout the world. And we feel it. It’s not last on this list because it’s the least you can do, it’s last because I want it to be the one that sticks in your head the longest. If you are a praying person, pray for your friend.

gift guide for grieving frined

These thoughts have actually sat in my computer for months and I have struggled to finish writing them and post it.  It’s not because I’m an introvert and I’m analyzing how they will be taken.  I have an internal battle with this post because, regardless of everything I have just said, I really don’t love labels. I love discussing personality type. (I’m an enneagram 5 and an INFJ if you want to comment on that below!) But I get frustrated when people excuse their behavior behind a personality type. Ironic? Probably.

The bottom line:  give your friends grace to be themselves when they are grieving.

Don’t expect someone to react the way you would, and don’t expect them to react the way an article on the internet says their personality type should react.

God has created us unique and complex. And I believe we are the most helpful when we give people the space and the encouragement to be that person that God created them to be.

— Rebekah

Have you experienced grief?  What is something someone has done for you or given you that has helped you?  I would love to read your comment below and hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Soul

When Life Isn’t Fair

family in front of lake small

“This is our life, and it doesn’t even seem fair.”

I was standing by Brian one night recently and confessed this thought of mine to him. He nodded and agreed. We both often wonder what we did to deserve this life we live.

If you look at our life from the outside, you might see our current location.

We are almost exactly 3,000 miles from my parents. We are a little further from Brian’s family and a little closer to my hometown. Regardless of the mileage, there is an ocean that separates us from the people we came from and grew up around.

We devote a lot of our time to other people.

Three or four evenings a week we have people in our home sharing meals and lots of cups of coffee. We give every Friday night to running a youth club and countless hours to our church.

And then there is our family dynamic.

We lost a child. Our kids lost a sibling. We all four loved that kid with a fierce love. Grief is a part of our everyday life. Beckett is mentioned in our house almost on a daily basis. And even if his name is not said in a day, his memory is there.

Some people would look at our life from the outside and say, it’s not fair. Why does a good family have to go through so much heartache?

wright-family-2016-51

But that’s not what I meant when I told Brian that our life didn’t seem fair. I see something else when I look at our life.

I see our location.

brian with kids small

Earlier that same day we had driven a short twenty minutes to a lake in the middle of the mountains and gone on a beautiful three-hour hike as a family. Then later that evening we walked across the road from our house and played on the sand as we watched the sun set on the sea. We live in a ridiculously beautiful part of the world. It almost doesn’t seem fair that these adventures are right on our doorstep.

I see our home and our opportunities to serve others.

making pizza small

God has blessed us with resources and a schedule that allows us to have time for relationships. We can have people into our home and open His Word and see lives changed. Yes, sometimes our commitments mean we don’t always do whatever we want with our time, but when we get to be a part of what God is doing in other’s lives, and when we get to point out that opportunity for our kids—that’s special.

And then I see our family dynamics.

family selfie small

We are raising two kids that love each other and generally get along very well. They are both out of diapers, we don’t have to plan around their naptime, they can walk long distances on their own without strollers, they eat the same food as us, and they sleep through the night.

Brian and I have communication that is more open and honest than ever before in our marriage. We are working through some tough stuff, but we are working through it together.

I am getting healthy again. I have energy to go for hikes, to cook healthy meals, to keep our house clean, and still have time to go after some dreams in the meantime.

Our family is in a pretty sweet spot right now.

beach silhouette small

And all of that is what I meant the night that Brian and I stood on the sand with the waves gently coming toward our toes and the sun setting a bright orange in front of us. I wondered how this could even be real life. How did we get so fortunate to live this life?

As I said it out loud, the phrase felt familiar and foreign at the same time. It’s a thought I had a lot before we lost Beckett. I almost felt guilty for our beautiful life. I often asked him in complete awe, “Why are we the fortunate ones who get to live this life?”

Then we went through tragedy and suddenly life didn’t seem quite as fortunate anymore. We were the ones living the nightmare, not the dream. Why us?

Through all these stages of abundance and loss, I have known one thing to be true: It’s never about what I deserve.

I don’t deserve to live close to my family. I have not earned healthy, beautiful children. My nice home is not my prize for saying yes to God’s plans for my life.

It’s all grace.

And God has poured out that grace on my life. He didn’t pour it out through a beautiful home, or loving husband or fun family time. He poured it out through His Son, and specifically His death for my sins.

That truth doesn’t change when my life circumstances change. His grace is constant and it is for me.

 It’s been almost a year and a half since we lost Beckett. In that time, I have struggled a lot with the thought of losing someone else in my life.   I tell God that I have clung to Him through this whole thing, but please don’t take any more. And He has repeatedly put one question on my heart, “Am I enough for you?”

Is God enough for me? If He takes away everything I have in this beautiful life, is He enough?

I have meditated on this a lot since then and I don’t think I am done asking myself this question. But on good days, the answer is yes. Yes, He is enough.

I have not become angry with God over the loss of my son. I have not turned from God because “my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:3)

2 Sam Verse Image

I refuse to turn my back on my source of strength.

I can look back now and say, God has been enough for me. I fully believe He has sustained me and carried me through my grief up to this point.

But that still leaves the question, what about the future?

What if we try to expand our family again and again we experience loss? What if I lose another person I love? Can my faith handle that? Can I still trust God after that?

For me, it all comes back to this: I don’t deserve anything in this life. I don’t say this in a woeful, hopeless way. I actually say it with joy. I say it from a heart that is starting to embrace that this life is all His grace anyway. If I can cling to God and believe that He was in control in the past, I have to believe the same for the future.

Friend, life is not fair. Sometimes we get abundantly more than we deserve, sometimes it seems like we get hardship on top of hardship with no warning at all. Let me encourage you to step away from those scales of justice we like to use to measure fairness. Please, leave the “deserve to” life behind and step into the grace life.

There is freedom in grace. There is joy. And there is perspective in grace.

This life is a gift. I don’t deserve this life, but I am sure thankful I get to live it.

 

— Rebekah

healthy family

The One Phrase that Upsets this Grieving Parent

 

me beckett beach square

I am a mother who has lost a child.

I am reminded of this every day.

I don’t say that to get sympathy. I am simply stating a fact.

I know some of you reading this know what I am talking about first hand. You have lost an unborn child, an infant, a toddler, a teenager, or an adult child. No matter the age, if you have lost a child you don’t forget that. Others reading this thankfully do not have personal knowledge, but you can imagine that you would never forget losing a child.

Sometimes I remember my sweet Beckett when one of my other kids mentions him. Sometimes I remember him when I see another child around his age and think of what he would be doing now.   Yesterday I found one of his big green pacifiers under our bed.

We have photos around our home and multiple boxes full of memories. Remembering Beckett is special. It’s something I WANT to do.

A year and a half into this life, I know people are still nervous about saying the wrong thing around me. I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around me. I like remembering my son. I don’t mind if you, or your child, brings him up in a conversation.

Obviously, every grieving parent is different. But as for me, I’m not easily upset or offended. People around me say things without thinking and it normally doesn’t bother me. They can talk about their kids annoying them, and I don’t secretly shame them and think, ‘They should be thankful they have kids’. Listen, my kids annoy me sometimes too. It’s life. It’s not perfect, we aren’t perfect. I’m okay with that.

But there is one popular phrase that I just can’t stay silent about any longer.

It’s something I see on memes, t-shirts and coffee mugs. I hear it in conversations around me. It’s become the funny catch phrase of mom’s everywhere. It comes in many forms, but the punch line is usually:

“I kept the kids alive today, go me!”

or

“Goal: Keep the tiny humans alive”

google and pinterest search
If you are unfamiliar with this phrase, do a quick Google or Pinterest search and you’ll see it.

 

I get it. There is this whole mommy war/mom guilt culture going on where moms feel pressure to perform and live a Pinterest life. These memes are trying to put the pressure to be perfect to the side and focus on what’s really important in parenting.

But let me tell you, from my angle—these are painful.

The biggest thing I struggle with in my grief is a sense of failure. My job as a mom is to protect my child. And my child died. I know in my head that his death was not because of something I did or did not do. It was not my fault. I know that. But I still struggle with the nagging feeling of failure.

I have hesitated to write this post for so long because I do not want sympathy. (I’ll take prayer any day!), and I do not want to shame really good moms who I have seen jokingly use this phrase.

My aim is simply to make you think twice and make you think deeper.

I mentioned a sense of failure I feel. Failure is directly related to what we believe the goal is. If your goal really is just to keep your kids alive, then share the meme, buy the coffee mug—go all out. But when I look deep inside, that’s not my goal. And I’m willing to bet it’s not really your goal either.

Brian and I have a mutual goal in parenting, and it’s this:

We want our kids to experience a great love.

First, we pray they know the overwhelming love that comes from our Great God.

Then we pray they are secure in an unconditional love from their family, no matter the circumstances around them.

We also want them to display a love for other people and to love and enjoy the beauty of the world around them.

parenting goal

When your goal is for your child to experience love, you can accomplish this no matter how short their life is.

And if you show this love to your children, don’t be ashamed of it and don’t minimize it! In aiming to not shame other moms, I fear that we have gone too far to the other extreme. We are almost afraid to share the really good moments in life because we are afraid of sugar coating our life, or coming across like we have it all together. Let me put your mind at ease: nobody thinks you are perfect all the time. (And if they do, that’s on them—not on you!)

If you think I am perfect all the time, come live in my house for a day. It might not take that long, come visit for a few hours. In that time you will see me lose my patience, you may see me staring at my phone instead of the Lego creation my kid just made. You may find them sitting in front of the TV instead of a book.   You may see me eat a piece of chocolate instead of a carrot!

But you will also see me hug and love my kids. You might see me get down on their level and listen to a story they want to share about their day. You could see me work for an hour on a really healthy meal that will nourish my family. And you would be invited to sit with us around the table as we engage in real, meaningful conversation. And I’m not embarrassed about any of this. Because the truth is, you might be inspired to do the same in your own home!

I hope no one ever feels shame or embarrassment that they don’t measure up to the Wright family. Goodness, we should not be a ruler for anyone! But I do pray that our lives point to a God who gives us strength to live an intentional life full of His love.

Sweet struggling mom, I don’t want to call you out, I want to call you up.

I want to challenge you to pray and set some goals for your family that go a little further than just staying alive. Yes this life is hard. There are seasons of survival. I have been there. We have walked through that time. But that is not the season I want to live in forever. And it’s a season you don’t have to live in forever. There is hope. There are glimpses of really good even in the middle of bad. Open your eyes, sweet friend, and give yourself some credit when you see it.

Let’s start now and let’s start here. Comment below and tell me a parenting moment you are proud of or something in life you have succeeded in recently. Don’t do this to show the world how perfect you are, do it to encourage the rest of us.

Let’s be people that inspire each other!

—Rebekah

Healthy Soul

The Life-Giving Gift of Rest

wright-family-2017-198

Every year Brian and I choose a word for our family. It’s a word that we want to describe our family or that we want to learn more about. In general, it’s the tone we want to set for our home for the year.   We have been doing this for a few years and our previous words were exciting action words like experience and thrive. They were concepts that pushed us out of our comfort zone. We made hashtags and took lots of photos of our experiences. They were fun for us as a family and fun to share with others. With excitement and anticipation, we sat in a coffee shop at the beginning of January together and discussed what our word for 2018 would be.

Before going into this year’s word, I feel like it’s important to mention last year. If you have been following this blog, or our family’s story, at all, you know 2017 was a hard year for our family. That is an understatement. We went into the year on an extremely high note. God had been teaching us many new exciting truths, we had a growing little family with three kids that were so demanding but so rewarding. We went into the year expecting to continue right along the same path we were on. January 4th we went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows when our baby boy passed away. The year that followed was so very different than the year that we expected.

You may not have lost a child, but I’m fairly certain you know what it’s like to have your expectations unmet. It can crush you or it can make you stronger. For us, it did both.

We depended on others as grief settled heavily upon us. We slipped into survival mode and we used all our energy to get through the days. Brian and I grieved very different, but we kept talking. We kept discussing and somehow we even kept dreaming for our family. It wasn’t instantaneous, but eventually we made the choice to thrive in our current circumstances and looking back we feel like we did that. It was not a year of incredible goal setting and attaining. Thriving for us looked much different than it might look for someone else. The year was not all forward progress, there were a lot of setbacks. But God faithfully carried us through the year and allowed us to come out with a growing excitement for a new year.

I think it’s natural for us to long for new beginnings after a hard phase of life. We like fresh pages, Monday mornings, January first. They hold the promise of a new start, new week, new year to do things differently.   This is true for me. Our one-year anniversary of losing Beckett lined up with a new calendar year. In no way am I saying that after a year I was done grieving. Grief is something I will carry with me the rest of my life. But I am saying that the one-year anniversary and a new calendar year seemed like a time to set a new tone for our family life.

wright-family-2017-205

So there we sat, in a coffee shop on January 4, 2018, discussing what we hoped 2018 would hold for us.   A sense of excitement began to grow as we allowed ourselves to dream and look forward. There were many areas of life that held an excitement for the future. A word seemed to surface over and over and the word we chose for the year was Expectant. We paused in talking and I wrote a blog detailing why we were choosing expectant as our family word for 2018. This is a small part of that blog:

I am expectant.

Expectant that God will change my heart.

Expectant that God will grow my relationships.

Expectant that God will renew our marriage.

Expecting God to give me wisdom as a mom.

Expecting God to use me in a fresh way.

Expecting a change in my health.  

I don’t mean expectant as in, ‘I will tell God what I want to happen and then expect Him to work in exactly that way’. That is having expectations. Expectations set me up for disappointment and ruin things.   I mean I am expectant for God to work in His own way. Maybe this seems like a petty difference, but to me it feels very different. I am done with expectations. I am ready to be expectant. I am expectant for God to show up in my life, in my relationships, in my ministry in 2018.

But I never published that blog about being expectant.

I really planned to publish it, but something held me back. That day as we sat together and talked about the coming year, Brian said God kept bringing the concept of Sabbath to his heart. Sabbath—the Old Testament principle of rest. The fourth commandment we learn in Sunday School, “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”. Between expectant and Sabbath, the first seemed way more exciting and challenging to strive for. To be completely honest, I felt like we had already spent a year of not doing much. I did not want to focus our family on taking a break. I wanted to focus on looking forward to God working in our lives!

So I started the year ready for God to show me new and exciting things. And He did. Right away. The next day, actually. I listened to a podcast about the practice of Sabbath and I knew—this is it. I knew I had no idea what Sabbath truly meant, but I knew we needed it. Like I said, we didn’t need a break, we didn’t need a day off, we didn’t even need a vacation. We needed to experience the glory of Sabbath that God created for us.

I needed to practice Sabbath.

Somehow over the next few months our word changed, or more importantly our focus changed. I began reading, researching and praying for Sabbath in our home. God has overwhelmed my heart with a fresh concept and a fresh fire. I don’t even think I’m exaggerating when I say: Sabbath is changing my life. I know that Sabbath is not an irrelevant Old Testament law, but a life-giving gift. I’m learning how to make Sunday a day of Sabbath while being in the ministry. I’m learning how to prepare the night before. I’m learning Sabbath is just as important to my health as eating well. I’m learning how to teach my kids to Sabbath. I’m learning to use Sabbath as a verb instead of a noun!

Can you be this excited—this expectant—and rest all at the same time? Yes, I think you can. And I think that’s the point.

When we truly expect God to work in His own way, it may not be what we are looking for. It’s going to be better. It’s going to be what we actually need.

I don’t think this concept of Sabbath is just what I need or what my family needs. As I look around our 24/7 society, I think we all need it!

wright-family-2017-228

Please take a minute to subscribe to this blog and follow along this journey with me. You can also follow me living this out in photos on Instagram.  All of these things I’m learning, I’m excited to share them with you in more detail. I’m going to share the victories and the failures and together maybe we can experience some real enjoyment and rest in the midst of our busy lives. It may be odd that I am posting about a ‘word for the year’ when we are well into the year. Not all fresh starts begin in January. Those blank pages and fresh calendar years, they are great. But we can experience a fresh start any day of the year, any time of the day.

Today seems like a pretty good day for one to me!

— Rebekah

P.S. I Don’t want to confuse or offend anyone, I want to be clear from the start that I am not practicing orthodox Judaism.  I am a Christian and my viewpoint will be from that.  What I am describing and will be sharing in future articles is not an official Jewish Shabbat.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

 

 

 

Marriage, Parenting

Resting While Moving Forward

wright-family-2017-198

Every year Brian and I choose a word for our family. It’s a word that we want to describe our family or that we want to learn more about. In general, it’s the tone we want to set for our home for the year.   We have been doing this for a few years and our previous words were exciting action words like experience and thrive. They were concepts that pushed us out of our comfort zone. We made hashtags and took lots of photos of our experiences. They were fun for us as a family and fun to share with others. With excitement and anticipation, we sat in a coffee shop at the beginning of January together and discussed what our word for 2018 would be.

Before going into this year’s word, I feel like it’s important to mention last year. If you have been following this blog, or our family’s story, at all, you know 2017 was a hard year for our family. That is an understatement. We went into the year on an extremely high note. God had been teaching us many new exciting truths, we had a growing little family with three kids that were so demanding but so rewarding. We went into the year expecting to continue right along the same path we were on. January 4th we went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows when our baby boy passed away. The year that followed was so very different than the year that we expected. You may not have lost a child, but I’m fairly certain you know what it’s like to have your expectations unmet. It can crush you or it can make you stronger. For us, it did both. We depended on others as grief settled heavily upon us. We slipped into survival mode and we used all our energy to get through the days. Brian and I grieved very different, but we kept talking. We kept discussing and somehow we even kept dreaming for our family. It wasn’t instantaneous, but eventually we made the choice to thrive in our current circumstances and looking back we feel like we did that. It was not a year of incredible goal setting and attaining. Thriving for us looked much different than it might look for someone else. The year was not all forward progress, there were a lot of setbacks. But God faithfully carried us through the year and allowed us to come out with a growing excitement for a new year.

I think it’s natural for us to long for new beginnings after a hard phase of life. We like fresh pages, Monday mornings, January first. They hold the promise of a new start, new week, new year to do things differently.   This is true for me. Our one-year anniversary of losing Beckett lined up with a new calendar year. In no way am I saying that after a year I was done grieving. Grief is something I will carry with me the rest of my life. But I am saying that the one-year anniversary and a new calendar year seemed like a time to set a new tone for our family life.

wright-family-2017-205

So there we sat, in a coffee shop on January 4, 2018, discussing what we hoped 2018 would hold for us.   A sense of excitement began to grow as we allowed ourselves to dream and look forward. There were many areas of life that held an excitement for the future. A word seemed to surface over and over and the word we chose for the year was Expectant. We paused in talking and I wrote a blog detailing why we were choosing expectant as our family word for 2018. This is a small part of that blog:

I am expectant.

Expectant that God will change my heart.

Expectant that God will grow my relationships.

Expectant that God will renew our marriage.

Expecting God to give me wisdom as a mom.

Expecting God to use me in a fresh way.

Expecting a change in my health.  

I don’t mean expectant as in, ‘I will tell God what I want to happen and then expect Him to work in exactly that way’. That is having expectations. Expectations set me up for disappointment and ruin things.   I mean I am expectant for God to work in His own way. Maybe this seems like a petty difference, but to me it feels very different. I am done with expectations. I am ready to be expectant. I am expectant for God to show up in my life, in my relationships, in my ministry in 2018.

But I never published that blog about being expectant.

I really planned to publish it, but something held me back. That day as we sat together and talked about the coming year, Brian said God kept bringing the concept of Sabbath to his heart. Sabbath—the Old Testament principle of rest. The fourth commandment we learn in Sunday School, “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”. Between expectant and Sabbath, the first seemed way more exciting and challenging to strive for. To be completely honest, I felt like we had already spent a year of not doing much. I did not want to focus our family on taking a break. I wanted to focus on looking forward to God working in our lives!

So I started the year ready for God to show me new and exciting things. And He did. Right away. The next day, actually. I listened to a podcast about the practice of Sabbath and I knew—this is it. I knew I had no idea what Sabbath truly meant, but I knew we needed it. Like I said, we didn’t need a break, we didn’t need a day off, we didn’t even need a vacation. We needed to experience the glory of Sabbath that God created for us.

I needed to practice Sabbath.

Somehow over the next few months our word changed, or more importantly our focus changed. I began reading, researching and praying for Sabbath in our home. God has overwhelmed my heart with a fresh concept and a fresh fire. I don’t even think I’m exaggerating when I say: Sabbath is changing my life. I know that Sabbath is not an irrelevant Old Testament law, but a life-giving gift. I’m learning how to make Sunday a day of Sabbath while being in the ministry. I’m learning how to prepare the night before. I’m learning Sabbath is just as important to my health as eating well. I’m learning how to teach my kids to Sabbath. I’m learning to use Sabbath as a verb instead of a noun! Can you be this excited—this expectant—and rest all at the same time? Yes, I think you can. And I think that’s the point.

When we truly expect God to work in His own way, it may not be what we are looking for. It’s going to be better. It’s going to be what we actually need.

I don’t think this concept of Sabbath is just what I need or what my family needs. As I look around our 24/7 society, I think we all need it!

wright-family-2017-228

Please take a minute to subscribe to this blog and follow along this journey with me. You can also follow me living this out in photos on Instagram.  All of these things I’m learning, I’m excited to share them with you in more detail. I’m going to share the victories and the failures and together maybe we can experience some real enjoyment and rest in the midst of our busy lives. It may be odd that I am posting about a ‘word for the year’ when we are well into the year. Not all fresh starts begin in January. Those blank pages and fresh calendar years, they are great. But we can experience a fresh start any day of the year, any time of the day.

Today seems like a pretty good day for one to me!

— Rebekah

P.S. I Don’t want to confuse or offend anyone, I want to be clear from the start that I am not practicing orthodox Judaism.  I am a Christian and my viewpoint will be from that.  What I am describing and will be sharing in future articles is not an official Jewish Shabbat.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Body

Life Between the Before and After Photos

blog cover photo 1

Something amazing happens when you lose a significant amount of weight. You have a confidence and belief in yourself that is sky high. You have just done something hard. Real hard. When you start seeing results from hard work that you have done, it makes you believe that you can keep doing that hard work and you can keep getting those amazing results. Weight loss is addictive. At a certain point it turns fun! Passing up baked goods and sweet coffee is no big deal because you know you are on track. You start to believe that healthy feels better than junk tastes.

I was there two years ago. I had lost 60 pounds in just 9 months. (I even wrote a blog about it.) I didn’t do any crazy diets or ridiculous workouts. I just changed my habits. I ate good, nutritious, real food and I moved a lot. I was changing my mindset not just doing a quick fix.

This phase of losing weight is usually documented by lots of full-length mirror selfies.

Then I got pregnant. It was planned, it was wanted, but pregnancy changes everything for me. Actually, it was a pretty healthy pregnancy but I still did not move as much and I did not eat as healthy. But all of that was easily excused by a little human growing inside of me. I could say, this isn’t forever, just nine months—and then eat the brownie.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase of life is often documented by lots of growing belly shots.

Pregnancy alone is a short phase and in my opinion, it’s doesn’t have to sabotage healthy eating habits. It’s the post-baby newborn phase that does me in! Combine the lack of sleep and lack of time to prepare healthy meals and all of my hard work just a year ago was gone. The scale was back to where it was pre-weight loss and I was drinking lots of coffee with sugar and eating all the pastries. But again, I could tell myself, this is only temporary. Babies are only babies for so long.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase of life is documented by lots of face-only selfies at a good angle that also include the cute baby as a distraction.

Then came the unexpected tragedy. That baby that I had sacrificed my weight loss for, the one that I lost countless hours of sleep over, the one that I was willing to change my life for—was gone in an instant. Suddenly my life was about one thing: grief. All of my energy went into making it through each day. Healthy eating and an active lifestyle weren’t really important factors in my mind. Grief is overwhelming and it affects everyone differently. I went through a lot of phases with grief.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase is best documented with photos of things that really matter. Things that still make you smile on the darkest days.

A few months into the grief process, I had gained about 40 pounds and I was smacked across the face with the fact that I am an emotional, comfort eater. I have a memory of a clear, defining moment when I came to grips with this. I was staring at a photo taken of our family on the day we had a memorial service for Beckett. A lot of people had prayed for our family over the past month. A lot of people had prayed for that specific service. I wanted post a photo on social media to thank everyone for their prayers and tell of God’s goodness on that day. The problem was, I was not at all happy with how I looked. I debated for longer than I care to admit about just posting a comment with no photo or not posting at all.   But I finally told myself, this is reality, people see me look like this every day, and I am not changing anything by refusing to post a photo of how I look. I was in essence saying, this is how grief has physically changed me:

Wrights-47

I would love to say that moment was a wake up call and I took control of my health after that. But I didn’t. That moment lead to a few brief healthy months, but it was exhausting. People continually made comments about how strong I was. I wasn’t. I was in shock.  I honestly don’t think I truly started to grieve Beckett until about 5 months after he died. Then it hit me hard. I stopped caring so much about eating healthy and working out and instead focused on starting to actually work through my grief.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase of life was not photo documented too well. It was spent writing, praying, reading and tucking myself away for a little while.

IMG_7299

Around September I knew I was at a pivotal point. We were 8 months into grieving and we were approaching Beckett’s first birthday—a moment I knew would be emotional for me. Not only were we approaching what would have been a birthday celebration, but we were sending our other two kids to school. I would be alone in the house each day and I would be faced with the fact that my baby was not there with me. There also came a point when I knew I needed to get healthy. This was not because I was unhappy with how I looked (I was), it was because I realized how much life I was missing out on by being constantly tired and not feeling my best. I knew grief and a busy life contributed to part of this feeling, but I knew what I was eating and putting into my body contributed to a large part as well.

If you are—or ever have been—overweight, I’m sure you have come to this all-important moment as well. You know you need to change, you just aren’t sure if you can. Maybe you’ve tried before and haven’t been successful. Or maybe, like me, you have tried before and have been very successful. But you know how much effort and work it took to be that successful and you just don’t know if you have it in you to do it again.

Despite a very low confidence in my self-discipline, and the knowledge that I was an emotional eater, I decided to go big. I suggested to Brian that we do a Whole30 for the month of September. Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into an advertisement for Whole30. In a nutshell, Whole30 is thirty days with no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, no legumes, and no added sugars. (It is so much more than that and I do have SO much to say, but I’ll save that for a different post) I won’t try to sell anyone on a certain program, but it was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.

I didn’t just read an article and jump into a crazy strict diet. I bought the official book about Whole30 and I bought fully into the concept of rewiring my eating habits. I went through a month with a lot of emotional triggers, and I was forced to find different, healthier ways to deal with my grief and stress than my normal choice of coffee and chocolate.

I celebrated what would have been Beckett’s first birthday by serving cake to close friends and abstaining myself.

I took a bath at night to relax instead of going to food or drink.

I promised myself I would walk the kids to school every day, no excuses—and I did it!

I started shifting my focus from weight loss to enjoying a healthy life with energy and focus.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

And sometimes ‘the best you can’ is pretty freaking awesome!

This phase of life was documented by photos I took but didn’t share. They were the “before” and “during” photos that would one day look great next to my “after” photos.

I should have written and shared my journey at that time. I was excited and I was going a new direction. But I didn’t. It’s scary to share a journey when you are still in the middle of it. I like to write about lessons I have learned once they are over. I really wanted my next health post to be, “5 Things I did to lose 60 pounds…Again!” and be able to show the success of my hard work once again.

I don’t have that success story yet. But I do have a success story. I am daily making healthier choices and I am more convinced than ever that what we put into our bodies makes a huge impact on every aspect of our lives. This time I’m not waiting until I have arrived to look back on the journey. I’m taking a step out there to share the ups and downs.

My hope in sharing this whole story is that someone might see themselves in one of these phases.   And if that someone is you, that you would be gracious with yourself and do the best you can. New mamas—that might mean slowing down instead of racing forward right now. If you are grieving, give yourself time and the emotional space to do that. And by the way, grief doesn’t just come from the death of a loved one, you may have experienced the loss of a job or the death of a dream. It all sets you back. There are legitimate reasons to prioritize other parts of life and take things easy.

While I believe this with all my heart, please don’t park your mind there. There were a lot of people who assured me I was right to focus on my grief and not care so much about my physical health. The month that I was facing a lot of emotional triggers that I talked about earlier, it would have been acceptable to those on the outside for me to ‘take it easy’ through that time. Only I knew the inside. I knew I was ready to handle more. I knew I was ready to make a change. I knew my health and my quality of life needed a change. You know if you are in a legitimate season of taking it easy or if you are in a season of excuses. If you are at a point where you know you need to make a change and you are just scared, quit saying you are doing the best you can and take that first step out into the journey. Make a choice to get healthy and tell a friend or your spouse. Find support of some type and start to share your journey. Don’t do it to look better or to compete with someone else, do it because your physical health is important.

I would love it if you even let this be your first step—comment below and tell me what phase you are in. Is this your first time trying to get healthy? Have you been down this road only to come back again? I would love to be able to tell you that you can do this! Let’s be people that can do hard things and let’s do them together.

Let’s document this phase of our journey with “in the middle of it” photos and not wait for the “after”!

in the middle 5

— Rebekah

 

healthy family

Four Ways Grief has Changed Our Family

wright-family-2017-121

Today marks one year since we lost our baby boy, Beckett.   In the past year we have learned a lot about grief and we have been changed by grief.

Our family has changed 4 different ways this year.

1) Brian
2) Rebekah
3) Brooklyn
4) Boston

Probably one of the hardest things to handle for Brian and I was this summer when four-year-old Boston started verbalizing his questions and grief. For a few weeks straight he prayed, “God, please send Beckett back to us.” He told us each on different occasions, “I didn’t know Beckett was going to die.” We have patiently explained that we didn’t know either and answered questions to the best of our ability.

We have prayed as seven-year-old Brooklyn has become more introspective and less talkative about her grief.

I am an introvert. I don’t feel comfortable talking in depth about all I am feeling. It takes an intimate setting and a lot of trust to pull these conversations out of me in person. But I also process my thoughts with a cup of coffee and a keyboard. I have found comfort in writing privately and publically throughout the year. Being around people often drains me.

Brian is more extroverted than me. He might not like to talk about his emotions, but he is energized when he is with a group of friends having fun and deep conversations about other aspects of life.

We hit ten years of marriage this year. I had long thought this was a milestone that would put me in the “expert” category. (I’m only slightly joking) Instead of feeling like we had things figured out after ten years of marriage, we found ourselves feeling more like we had no idea who we were anymore.

Grief is as individual as the people experiencing it. I don’t feel I can give any advice on how to comfort someone else going through the same situation we did, unless I know that person. It’s not about what has happened, it’s about whom it has happened to.

I don’t know what to say to anyone else, but I know how we have handled this year.

We have loved each other where we are. It’s been hard. But when Brian looks at me, or hears what is coming out of my mouth, and doesn’t recognize me, He has shown me love anyway. I don’t expect Brian to be the same husband today that he was a year ago. I don’t expect myself to be the same mom I was a year ago.

This is true for us in grief, but I think it’s a good rule for all relationships. People change. Hopefully we are changing and growing in good ways, sometimes we aren’t. But life is constantly changing and people change with it. In friendship we have to give people room to change. I love the friends that I can sit and talk with and explore new thoughts and concepts I am learning and not feel like I have to apologize for contradicting something I previously said. I’m not talking about being inconsistent, I’m talking about growing and changing as people and leaving room for others to do that in our relationships.

Grief is not something I like experiencing. But change—that’s becoming exciting. As we round the one-year corner, we are starting to feel a fresh stirring in our souls. I am starting to feel expectant for the year to come. I know God has not left us this past year, and I am excited to see what He has in store for the coming year. And I am excited to share those lessons with others.

Rebekah

healthy family

Celebrating and Grieving at Christmas Time

IMG_6563Christmas Baking Day 2016

Today was our 3rd annual Christmas baking day. The kids were excited, we had fun and we carried out our plan. We enjoyed the day. We have had a lot of fun this Christmas season already and we have a lot more plans for even more fun. When I smile and enjoy Christmas this year I am in no way being fake, I am enjoying the present.

But each new memory we make brings back memories from last year. Memories with Beckett. Sometimes we talk about those memories. Sometimes we just all get quiet and know what we are each thinking. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get a bit hard to live with.

We are going to the States for Christmas. I am so excited to see my family! The kids are so excited to see grandparents and cousins and we have plans. I made an itinerary. For real. I am excited. But I am not going “home” for Christmas. I am home right now.

I am home because this is where God has placed our hearts. This is where we have a house that we have made memories in. I am home because this is where Beckett lived his life. As I walk the streets, as I do routine things, I remember him with me as I did those things a year ago. I daily see people that knew Beckett too. They held him, they cuddled him, they loved him. It keeps him close. I don’t have to talk about his memory, because it feels alive. It feels like it’s here. I had an irrational pain when we went to the States last February feeling like I was abandoning my baby. It didn’t make actual sense, he was gone, but the pain was real.

I know grief is a weird thing. It’s different for everyone. It knows no time boundaries and it knows no rules. I know if you are human, you have experienced loss in your life. Loss of a child, a parent, a friend, a person, a pet, a job, a dream; none of us escape grief completely. I also know Christmas is a time when people struggle more with handling this grief than most other times of the year.

As Christians, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is no small thing that He was called Immanuel. Immanuel means God with us. As much as I grieve Beckett no longer being with us, I celebrate that God is always with me. He came in the form of a baby so many years ago, and He comes to me continually in Spirit form. He is the Comforter.  I don’t say this lightly. I say it because it’s His power that saves my life daily. ‘God with me’ is what I celebrate when I celebrate Christmas. And as hard as this Christmas season has been and will continue to be, it also has held a whole new meaning and specialness in my heart. I’ll say it again, everyone grieves differently and I certainly do not want to shame anyone who is struggling to celebrate this Christmas. But for me this Christmas, I’m not just putting on a smile for the kids. I’m not just faking my way through the holiday season. I feel like I have tried to be pretty transparent all year long and this is no exception. This Christmas I am celebrating. I am celebrating memories in my heart, new experiences, special time with family, and most importantly I am celebrating God with me. Thank you God for sending us a rescue plan!

Rebekah