There have been far fewer moments these days to just be still. Even in my writing, while I have so many thoughts to express, I haven’t had a clue where to begin. Perhaps there’s been a pressure to have the next “thing” to write about, but really I’m still in the mud of grief some days. In between the ‘there’ and ‘not yet,’ I’m still processing emotions and circumstances and not knowing what to do with all of it.
So while I don’t have much to say, I wanted to check in and say, I’m still here.
Still hanging on, still desiring to share my story with those willing to read.
Fall seemed to sneak up on me quicker than my dog sneaks up on food. One moment, I was outside sweating on my walk, and the next I was cozied up under a knit throw watching the sun fall over the leaves until finally it turned in early for the night. There’s something about this time of year when the darkness lingers just a bit longer than I would like, and the days feel long to endure. Personally, I’m not a fan and after the year we’ve had, I’m not ready for more darkness. I long for the warmth of the light.
It’s been three weeks since I’ve been back at work after being off for three months [since giving birth]. It’s been a little draining, honestly… but I can’t lie that it felt good to have a much needed paycheck come in after so long ha! It’s a huge adjustment to go from having free time to read, write, walk, cook, clean, rest, sleep, socialize, even go to therapy (basically having no one and nothing to answer to), to barely having time to throw on a clean pair of clothes… when I work at home. I know, sad, right? Time management and I aren’t exactly the best of friends.
I will say though, God has been so faithful… even in allowing me to have time off. There was a point when I was set to return back to my job six weeks postpartum. I had to go through the grueling process of filling out paperwork for FMLA just to be met with the following phone call: “Oh, so in the event of losing your baby… you won’t be able to use the remaining six weeks for bonding leave.” That was a blow… boy, what a great system we have.
However, I do thank God that my employers were kind enough to grant me an extended personal leave. Even after our loss, God was the one to provide a full twelve weeks of leave and even though it was largely unpaid, He sustained us every step of the way. He surrounded us with precious friends and family that took care of us in many ways, so thank you for those of you, too.
It’s been easy to get lost in the darkness of this season, to fumble around aimlessly or be weighed down by the burdens of life. But it’s also easy to appreciate the light when the sun is still shining. I think of the shorter days within this season: how much more do I appreciate the sun when the days grow colder and darker? I certainly try to anyways! This season feels like that… though I might be angry, confused or heavy laden at times, I know the sun is still shining down, leaving slivers of beaming light that warms the soul.
So… I am trying to grasp onto the Son as much as I can. For it is Jesus Christ that said, “I am the light of the world.” He also extended the invitation, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened… and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Even when the days feel long and the darkness surrounds me, I am fighting to be honest. I am fighting to see the beauty in every season and to appreciate all that God has given me right where I’m at.
For those who may be struggling to do the same, I invite you to look up the lovely author Ann Voskamp. A woman well versed in gratitude, she writes books, blogs and social media posts, encouraging the weary to give thanks in all. Whether it’s the mundane, the celebratory, or even the darkness… it’s all grace. I read her book One Thousand Gifts this year and honestly hope to read it again soon. It really is like soup for the soul. For now though, she’s encouraged her readers to follow her on a November Joy Dare. Even if we are in the middle of the month, I invite you to join too. I’ll post it below.
It helps my heart to look for the glimmers of light even when it feels dark out. May we learn to still our hearts and minds in the winter season ahead and lean into even the darkest of days by letting the Son shine in our hearts.
Encouraging songs and Psalms below:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 LORD, You light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness. Psalm 18:28
I'll be your lighthouse
When you're lost at sea
And I will illuminate everything - Out of Hiding | Steffany Gretzinger
If you’re stumbling in the dark, run your hands against the walls Find every window, every door, throw them open, throw them open In will flood a blinding light, and it will chase away the night Even if you shield your eyes, let it pour in, let it pour in - Gallows | Jess Ray