Sifting through ‘muddled messes’…

By nature I am a person that likes things tidy and organised. Complete messes just mess with me. It throws off my mood and general sense of enjoyment. Having had four children under the age of four decades ago I spent morning to night dealing with messes. It was mostly all the practical stuff. Messes spread from room to room while mealtimes consisted of cute little faces wearing food as fast as it was being eaten.  Having mess is unavoidable.  Cleaning up the messes involved some organisation and staging. It seems to work better when we prioritise messes from extremely urgent to ‘this mess can wait’, especially when you are multitasking between young children with different ages requiring different levels of attention.

To let the day go with the flow would not have been as effective. Those types of days happen occasionally, however forward thinking or planning ahead can remove unnecessary stress and save time.

As a young mum in those days I had to be fairly fast with decisions and good at organising. It is no easy job to be a mum of four under four. At various stages I was also pregnant while looking after toddlers. So not only was I dealing with messes I was dealing with pregnancy and everything that came along with that. Naps were necessary and general care of myself was highly crucial. With pregnancy come the sensitive emotions riding alongside your hormones. No matter my emotional state I had to consider what the practical needs of the day were and stick to completing them. There were no options of staying in bed feeling overwhelmed with emotion as young children needed me to take care of them. We all know that young children don’t give you a day off.

No matter what season we find ourselves in there are messes to clean up in life.

Where there are people there will be mess.

In the same way that messes are unavoidable in daily living within a household, emotional mess can build up on the inside too!

Given the past three months or so of my recent journey I have been faced with plenty of mess. If it isn’t my own emotions swinging from one tree to another the challenge of my circumstances can sort of pile up on top of each other and leave me feeling overwhelmed. It is challenging to sift through messy emotions and messy circumstances all at the same time. Unlike Tarzan who loves swinging between trees I can’t say that it is really a skill that I have.

Until you find yourself in a situation such as a 27 year marriage breakdown it is difficult to comprehend all the various aspects one must deal with. There are the concerns you can’t help but feel for your children who are also struggling to deal with the situation somehow. There are the endless questions that pop into your mind which keep you up at night or hold you captive during the day.

In this particular season my four children who were under four decades ago are now adults. I only have my 9 year old with me. In some ways my adult children are now faced with sifting through their own emotional backlog of hurt and pain. I can’t do it for them no matter how desperately I wish I could take it all away and put a big smile on their cute little faces.

As I sift through these muddled messes I consider which areas are the most important right now. The minute I try and deal with everything at once I get extremely overwhelmed. It is essential for myself and my youngest that I do some forward planning and consider which areas are of most importance. While the needs are enormous practically and emotionally I have been learning to pace myself daily in order to accomplish some form of problem solving.

The problem solving is now on my shoulders!

I take my hat off to all the single mums out there who are in the same boat.

When questions or overwhelming emotions start cluttering my mind  I can only resort to looking at the situation by pure facts. It is the facts of this situation that speak clearer to me than my emotions can. Emotions can lead me astray. When I put those messy emotions aside for a moment I remind myself about the reality of what has taken place. Some of those realities or facts tell me that there is nothing I could have done to change anything. There are some messes in life that are out of my hands to clean up or fix. They are messes someone else has chosen to create and therefore it is out of my control.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog I am the sort of person who needs organisation, I can’t handle too much mess. Being in this current circumstance has been challenging as there has been plenty of mess to sift through. Trying to make sense of the mess is impossible. Trying to clean up all of the mess is also impossible. It simply is not in my power to do so.

The position that I can take in this muddled mess is one of prioritising, recognising the facts that can’t be changed and constantly reminding myself that I have no control over other people’s choices or decisions. I do have the power right now to move forward with little steps. To not expect that I can somehow problem solve everything in a day.

That no matter what has happened to me or my kids it is crucial to not let any further mess into my hurting heart. Having boundaries was never really a strength of mine when I was younger and perhaps that has caused me more grief than I can imagine. Having had such little value for myself opened the door to letting other people take control, almost like being tossed around at sea with no anchor of my own.

Whether you find yourself in a muddled mess or feel as though you are being tossed around out at sea I hope that what I have written reminds you to take a look at the facts. Don’t let emotions be your leader. Don’t give all your control to someone else, set boundaries and keep an anchor handy for those moments when you need to stop being tossed around out at sea.

An anchor can be your friends or your family. As a Christian a great anchor is the bible, church and prayer. All of these things are good for keeping you from being tossed around, feeling helpless in your circumstances.

Most of all no matter the mess,

you matter ♥

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Inching >>>F>O>R>W>A>R>D>>>

In the past three months you could say that my life has been a learner driver’s obstacle course. A lot has happened! There have been unexpected pot holes, choices to consider whilst under pressure and decisions to make with hopeful precision. Both practically and emotionally there has not been a quiet moment. Having never been in this position before I feel very much like a learner driver behind a steering wheel for the first time!

An experienced driver would navigate an obstacle course a lot quicker with better control. Experience is not something I possess in this particular obstacle course I am travelling on. In other words this road is foreign to me. I guess this is what happens when you hit a new season in your life. It is all about the unknowns.

When life is making sense moving forward comes without effort. It’s as though everything is aligned. Your emotions are content, circumstances are as they should be and it is much easier to step into each day motivated and driven. You are familiar with the scenery which makes it easier to keep driving comfortably through life.

Life is like that though; you never know what you may need to walk through or in my case ‘moon boot’ through. None of this was planned. It has been a little like taking a step forward and then a step back. It may not look like much progress yet the reality is I am moving forward each and every day.

All of this moving forward has been with a sore foot and sore emotions.

When circumstances are not the ideal it is all too easy to get stuck in the problem. Believe me, I know!

It is also tempting  to get stuck on social media such as face book and get wrapped up in envy as you see how great everyone else’s lives are looking compared to yours. Don’t we all just want a life that is smooth sailing and happy? I know that is all I have ever wanted. Life has proven to me that it is not smooth sailing and happy all the time. Most of my recent blogs are all about my current storm.

Storms come and storms go!

In the storm it is hard to see too far ahead. In the same way as ships use the navigation system to keep heading in the right direction, I mostly have to use my head knowledge to get through this storm. It is about using common sense. It is about keeping to my values and convictions. The values I own help me keep focused in the midst of this storm. If I keep my eyes on what I believe to be true then I have assurance that I will get to the right destination. One that is safe and secure.

It has taken me many years to learn and understand that if something or someone goes against my values and beliefs then I need to consider what is going on. When you compromise your values you get into trouble and eventually you won’t be happy with where you are headed. Your life becomes conflicted. You know what is right on the inside yet for whatever reason or for a person you have chosen to let things slide for too long just to keep peace.

When you are content with your convictions and values they can become your navigation through the storm. For too long my values and convictions were almost turned off. One day I realised that I was not being true to myself. It resulted in a lot of confusion and questions.

As a young person I was all too easily swayed with keeping everyone happy at the expense of my own happiness. By that I mean I compromised what my heart was telling me and allowed others to hurt me. The truth is people will hurt you which is where forgiveness is necessary. However if the hurting continues it becomes damaging. That is when you need to remind yourself of your convictions and values. These convictions and values may require you to take a stand. It is only when you are living to your convictions that you will be truly content.

When we are physically or emotionally hurt it takes time to heal. It may seem that the progress is going too slow. Just like my foot it has taken four weeks with several more weeks to go. The fracture is not visible to me so naturally I can’t see the healing taking place. Some days my foot doesn’t ache and other days it does. As I continue doing what the doctor told me  I can rest assured knowing that eventually my foot will mend and I can kick the ‘moon boot’ off and enjoy wearing my own shoes.

In the same way my emotions are fractured, they are better some days and not well on others days. This doesn’t mean that progress has stopped. We can be healing on days when our heart is aching. While I do believe in miracles, I’m aware that usually progress takes time. Moving forward can be slow yet steady.

Whatever it is that you may be ‘inching’ forward in at the moment remember to stick to your values and convictions.

Don’t throw away common sense, keep your head on.

Holding hands with the future

Our lives are marked by significant events that eventually begin blending in with the ticking of time. Significant events tend to go from one extreme to another. There is the gift of new life and the death of a life lived. There is the excitement of the first kiss to the reality of becoming a responsible adult. A mum experiences the joy of nurturing her newborn baby only to grieve when it comes time for them to leave the nest while a dad painfully walks their daughter down the aisle handing them over to another man.  There is the Joy and celebration of the “big wedding day” to the unfortunate event of a broken wife and husband who must pick up pieces of themselves after their marriage falls apart. Naturally we all much prefer the “happily ever after” versions of significant events.

We often live for significant events!

The “buzzing excitement” of events glues us to our calendars as we do the big countdown. Those types of events couldn’t come around fast enough. They are distinguished with milestones in age, education or career promotion.  You will often see people counting down their much anticipated holiday of a lifetime on social media. All around the world a countdown begins before midnight on New Year’s Eve which signifies the beginning of a New Year finalising the previous one. Most people hold close to their heart dreams and hopes that the New Year will be much better than the last.

On the other end of the spectrum we may find ourselves counting down the days that have marked a very painful significant moment in time.

We may be thinking to ourselves “this time last Thursday” such and such happened, desperately trying to grasp at accepting the reality of how life has changed. It continues into the next week in which we vocalise the fact that now two weeks has passed. The pain keeps us focused on the ticking of the clock from one hour to the next day and the next week!

The realisation that the painful event is heading to the three month mark leaves us surprised. How could it possibly be that long ago already? You may feel a mixture of sweet and sour. On one hand you are grateful that the event is nearly three months behind you. Then on the other hand you may feel afraid. The fear sends you revisiting the past in an attempt to stay with the painful event so that you have something to hold onto as to completely let it go is unthinkable and frightening.

To completely let it go means to move on.

The more time that passes the more the days begin blending into each other. You stop counting the days, weeks and months. That painful day settles in your memory as something that happened in 2016.

Personally I have yet to experience the death of a loved one and I have heard it said that as time passes the person left behind is scared to be happy again. They don’t want to forget their special person but rather do anything to keep the memories alive. To allow oneself to live again means letting go of that special person and moving on with life.

I’ve experienced moments as a mum in which memories of my children being small had me wishing I could go back to those days. The trouble is that the ticking clock kept going. Before I knew it one birthday blended into the next and suddenly four out of my five children are grown up adults. They no longer need their mum in the same way as when they were younger. It takes time to move on from being a fulltime mum and that in itself is a grieving process.

Unlike remote controls that are capable of rewinding, pausing and fast forwarding, as humans we can’t turn back time. Time doesn’t stand still nor can we escape the current moment and just bypass into the future. As each ticking of the clock passes we live through each minute and hour.

Remote controls give you a menu button so that you can choose which movie or t.v. show to watch. Life doesn’t provide us with menus to choose. While we have some control over our decisions we have no control over other peoples. We have no control over life’s tragedies.

While we have no menu to work from there are definite certainties about life. Everyone on planet earth will at some point experience the joy of a happy significant moment in time which is forever etched in the depths of one’s memory and heart.

Unfortunately each of us will at some point experience painful and tragic events.

However,

each person is provided with a brand new day. When one day is finished the next day arrives. Each new day can be a fresh start! As one day blends into the next the painful moments disappear into the past. We may forever remember them yet the pain attached slowly disappears. The sadness fades. The grief fades.  Each new day arrives fresh and new, we have the opportunity of having a better day, month or year. Smiles return to our faces as strong as the sun shines in the morning.

Life hurts there’s no doubt about that!

A new day always arrives there’s no doubt about that!

We each get a fresh start and an opportunity to smile again.

 

In the thick of pain it is very hard to let go yet eventually as each new day comes and goes with the ticking of the clock you will be able to hold hands with the future and let go of the past.

Whats the point !!!

The reality is people everywhere come face to face with unwanted moments in life that initiate the question, what is the point?

It’s a time in which you may find yourself desperately searching for a reason as to why you are travelling on a road that leaves you feeling lonely, confused, sad, rejected, disappointed or even afraid. You may have thought you were heading down a road leading you to all the good things life has to offer. Perhaps it was that way for a while. Life was going ok. It may not have been perfect yet the positive reasons for doing life outweighed some of the negative ones.

Then at some point the scales changed and the negative outweighed any positives. Negative is symbolised by the (minus) sign. If you see a minus in your bank account you know that something has been deducted. Often the negatives we experience reflect a minus or a deduction. The more deductions you experience the more you may end up feeling empty. It is in the emptiness that the question arises, what is the point?

If the balance in our bank account shows empty then the result is that we can’t buy anything, we have no money. Usually this tends to fuel us with purpose, the purpose to find ways to fill that bank account back up making it usable. Everyone knows that without money life literally stops. You won’t be able to buy food or pay your bills etc.

When life happens and something has been taken away from you it is all too easy to give in and settle with the question, what is the point? When you’re feeling empty how can you possibly give much to anyone let alone yourself?  When it feels as though there is no point all of the purpose that once drove you in life becomes silent. In fact it is all too easy in those moments to just quietly settle back into a life which you can just blend into humanity and almost drop off the radar. You may begin convincing yourself there’s no point in dreaming again. There’s no point in caring anymore about anything as it all seems to add up to disappointment.

If you have read any of my more recent blogs you would know that my life has had some deductions of late.  It has left me feeling quite empty. I used to be a mum of five not so long ago. While I haven’t stopped being a mum the circumstance I am currently walking through has meant that I am only looking after my youngest 9 year old. It is just the two of us.  The minute that I start thinking ‘what is the point’ it is my son that reminds me why I need to keep going. He gives me a reason to continue with life even though I feel extremely empty and disappointed with how life has turned out for me and all of my children for that matter.

If I focus too much on my needs and disappointments, my thinking all too easily heads down the path of how unfair life is.  When I shift my focus onto my son I suddenly realise I have a purpose beyond myself. That as a parent I need to take care of him and do whatever it takes to ensure he feels safe, loved, provided for, valued and secure.

When asking what the point is, I can answer with

my son is the point.

When we are living only for ourselves we can become consumed and overwhelmed in what we don’t have and how difficult life is.

When life is weighing down on you and you find yourself desperately asking, what is the point? , consider the people that are in your life who need you to keep going. It is other people that give us the reason for living. At the end of the day whether your bank account is full or empty the value in people far outweighs money. The people in our life can never be replaced. And while you may feel that you have nothing to offer you may be surprised how much your life speaks to other people as you keep going despite the hardship. You may inspire someone in their difficulties to continue on when they see that you made it through your desperate circumstance.

It speaks hope and life to others.

Whether you have crowds of people you are inspiring or just the one person does not matter. It is not about numbers! It is about people.

When I was at school I used to hate mathematics, I did quite poorly. I always found that adding up was far easier than taking away or subtracting.

We all love life when things are adding up! It always hurts when life is taking something from you.

Life is a little like mathematics. We experience additions, subtractions, division and multiplication.

When there are more subtractions than additions just keep in mind that there is a point!

Life can’t keep subtracting forever eventually the additions will happen, *preaching to myself too.

Although life may have taken a lot from you, it doesn’t take away from you as a person. You still have purpose and value.