Thursday, October 28, 2010


I'm feeling overwhelmed.  I don't like feeling overwhelmed and it seems that lately it's been lurking around every corner.  There is still so much on my plate and I wonder when things will start to thin out.  I feel like I'm tired ALL the time.  I go to sleep tired only to wake up tired only to do it all again the next day with the same results...being tired.  My brain is still mush and on a good day I feel that I might retain 50% of what happens.  When will this end so things can return to normal...or is this it?  Is this my new normal?  Lord, I hope not.

Some times I feel confident about the future and other times I go to the gym, look around, and then quickly pray that I'm not looking at a random sampling of what's out there in my age bracket.  Are my choices like this:  bald head or mohawk?  meat head or mushy belly?  tattoos or tank top?  Ugh.  No thank you.  My choice:  none of the above. 

Then I realize that I'm borrowing trouble.  This is nothing for me to concern myself with right now - this is for me to put in the Lord's hands and trust that He has guided me this far and will continue to do so.

However, in the meantime, some days are hard when I realize what I'm up against.  I was eating sushi with a friend the other night and all of the sudden I realized that I don't know how to eat with chopsticks.  Well, not all of the sudden, I've always known I can't do it, but it never mattered.  Keith would always order the kids chopsticks for me or the little plastic spring you can attach to regular chopsticks.  It wasn't a big deal, it's just something we always did.  But now I realize that I would look pretty lame being thirty-one asking for the plastic spring so I can make my chopsticks work.  And I would look EVEN LAMER asking for a fork at a sushi restaurant.  It's here - this moment - that I realize I'm starting over in more ways than just life without Keith.  I'm entering a scene that I have been away from FOR YEARS and I have no idea how to do it.  So I trust.  I trust in the One who has brought me here; I lean on Him knowing that I can't do it by myself. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I had some time to read earlier so I pulled out one of my devotionals.  I didn't feel like flipping to today's date, so I flipped to the day Keith died.

From Streams in the Desert:
August 28
There he tested them.  (Exodus 15:25)

I once visited the testing room of a large steel mill.  I was surrounded by instruments and equipment that tested pieces of steel to their limits and measured their breaking point.  Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and then were labeled with the level of pressure they could withstand.  Some had been stretched to their breaking point, with their level of strength also noted.  Others had been compressed to their crushing point and measured.  Because of the testing, the manager of the mill knew exactly how much stress and strain each piece of steel could endure if it was used to build a ship, building, or bridge. 

It is often much the same with God's children.  He does not want us to be like fragile vases of glass or porcelain.  He wants us to be like these toughened pieces of steel, able to endure twisting and crushing pressure to the utmost without collapse. 

God does not want us to be like greenhouse plants, which are sheltered from rough weather, but like storm-beaten oaks; not like sand dunes that are driven back and forth by every gust of wind but like granite mountains that withstand the fiercest storms.  Yet to accomplish this, He must take us into His testing room of suffering.  And many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God's testing room of faith.

It is quite easy for us to talk and to theorize about faith, but God often puts us into His crucible of affliction to test the purity of our gold and to separate the dross from the metal.  How happy we are if the hurricanes that blow across life's raging sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious to us!  It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him.

I know I was tested, but I wonder if Keith was tested too.  I wonder if there were marked times that his body was failing and his sheer will to live, along with the help of the Lord, kept him alive.  Part of me thinks that even when Keith was totally unresponsive that we were still working as a team.  I feel that we were both on a journey and that the Lord took us - or brought us - to a place where we were both ready to be released from it.

I have heard about the joy of suffering, and I wonder if the person who coined the phrase truly suffered - or if they just thought they had suffered.  Because to me, as one who has suffered, there is not a joy of suffering.  I believe that joy can be found while suffering because I experienced true joy while suffering, and this was a joy given only by the Lord.  I felt this joy in the midst of my pain, this honest, pure feeling of joy, but I would never say that I experienced the joy of suffering.  Suffering does not equal joy to me.

Regardless, Keith and I suffered and I can only hope that we suffered well.  If I had to lay us to rest, I would say the following:

Keith and Judy Beasley
December 1999 - August 2010
Together as one July 24, 2004 - August 28, 2010
We loved each other and lived well.
We were blessed; we were tested.
We suffered; we were released.
And because of the Lord's love for us,
We will see each other again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

hope for the hopeless...

Wow.  This is great.  The man, Chip, is the elementary school principal at Carrollton Christian Academy which is where I went to school from 4th grade until I graduated.  I do not know him or his family, but heard about him shortly after his incident from several different people and it makes my heart happy that his family will live happily ever after.  Miracles happen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

a slow fade...

I woke up this morning trying to figure out what to do with my day.  It seemed like there was so much going on and the day could have played out in a million different ways.  I was planning on taking Brooks to a fall festival, my brother and his two kids were coming over this morning, I had plans to meet up with two friends later in the afternoon, my mom was babysitting for my other brother so depending on what time we got back Brooks would either come with me to see my friends or go with my mom so he could play with his cousins, he is spending the night with my sister tonight so somehow among all of this I had to find a good time to drop him off with her, and then Mariana told me she had an extra ticket to the Tech game at the Cotton Bowl so of course I wanted to add that to our plans today as well.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out how I can make all of it work, when I realized that I can't, so I then had to eliminate possibilities that complicated the plan.  While trying to plan all of this out my thoughts stopped abruptly and all I could think was, "When did I get my life back?"  I didn't even see it coming - it's been a slow fade back - a really slow, slow fade back, but it's back.  The crazy, chaotic, busy life that is busy with fun things is back.  Today I wasn't busy with phone calls, insurance claims, lab work and chest x-ray results; today I was busy living my life.  And I liked it. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Not for me...

I went to a grief group on Monday - just to give it a try. For two reasons:
1. I just got out of a 3 week funk where depression and I were battling it out big time. I won. And I plan on continuing to win.
2. There are many times where I think " wow, I am kind of living my life too normal right now...I should be in a grief support group or something". Because when I do realize what has happened I forget to breathe.

So I went. And I left 30 minutes later. Why? Because as I sat there I realized what little hope filled the room. All I have time for is HOPE. Not grief.

In the first 20 minutes we put up on the board all the feelings and symptoms associated with grief (physical, emotional and spiritual). As you can imagine it was a long list and very depressing to think "wow my situation does suck and it is mega depressing!". Don't get me wrong, it was comforting (I guess you could say that) to acknowledge that other people feel or have felt these crazy feelings before. BUT there is a difference in letting those feelings consume you or not. And that was the difference in me. I do not have time to give to grief. Of course I miss Mark and and I think about him in just about every move I make every day and night - literally. I feel him so close to me probably not 5 minutes go by where he is not in my thoughts.

I know these groups are extremely beneficial to some, but for me it just was not going to work. The first 3 weeks you talk about your loved one and you introduce them to the group. Then you acknowledge the loss, and you discuss how you will spend holidays and all the firsts. The facilitator basically said that it is very hard to go through and the toughest is week 3 - 6. The course is 6 weeks.

My grief comes out when it needs too. I can not let it get to me all the time, and for sure not for 6 weeks straight. It would be like opening a can of worms that is not ready to be opened yet. And then what do you do after the 6 weeks? Just deal with it I suppose because it is not going to go away.

So I preferred to leave and continue on the way I have. Letting grief out when I need to in small increments. I have come a long way in 6 1/2 months. Sharing his memory with my girls daily, and with friends and family too. But I choose to get out of bed everyday and enjoy life while I am here. Most importantly, I have HOPE. And if I have hope, then I have God with me at all times.

They gave us a handout with a comic strip on it that said:

Things to do:
1. get out of bed
2. survive
3. go to bed

Everyone related to it and I did too for a second. You can choose to make this your life. God is not going to come down and get you showered and out the door with a smile on your face. What does that is the attitude you choose. I choose to let joy in and not depression. Then I thought how my girls bring joy to my life, how we play in the park, we grill out, we do crafts, I have friends to see, and just kept on seeing the blessings in my life and thought my "survive" is pretty exciting. It is hard, but it is my life and I embrace it.

I pray for the other people in the group and ask you to please pray for anyone that is going through a tough time and has lost hope or is having a hard time seeing it in the fog of grief. I know I will reach a low again, and when I do, I will ask for your prayers. But it is up to me to get out of that low for my life and the lives of my girls.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

what once was...

Sometimes, not all of the time, I find myself missing my old life - the life I lived a million years ago it seems.  It will hit me at random times with random thoughts and then I feel a emptiness...a longing for another time and another place...the place I was before my life was totally derailed. 

The other morning I found myself missing taco shops.  Taco shops.  Of all the things to miss about Southern California my brain pulls out taco shops.  I don't just stop at missing taco shops - I allow myself to think about ALL the things I miss (and there is plenty).  As I continue down this slope, I'm not surprised to find myself lurking around a potential funk by focusing on how badly my life sucks.  Funks are no bueno and I'm beginning to believe that many of them are self-induced.  It all comes down to our choices.  Is it normal for my thoughts to drift back to my times in San Diego?  Yes.  Is it normal for me to be super sad about what once was and is no longer?  Yes.  Is it healthy to stay locked into that time not wanting to move past it?  No.

It's difficult, if not impossible, to move forward if your heart and thoughts are nailed to the past.  Allow yourself to grieve those times - just don't plan on staying in the past forever.  It's like my pajama theory:  Pajama days are necessary from time to time, ESPECIALLY when hit with tragedy, but if you find yourself having a pajama week then there might be a problem.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

go ahead, i dare you...

My cousin's friend sent her a daily devotional she receives.  She wanted her to email it to me and it's the perfect response to THIS BLOG I wrote the other day...

Dare to Hope
1 Oct 2010
Wendy Pope of Proverbs 31 Ministries

"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this." Lamentations 3:21

Have you ever cried until the tears would no longer come and your heart was broken in tiny pieces? Have you ever uttered, "Everything I hope for from the Lord is lost?" Then you, me and Jeremiah make three.

I won't ever forget those long nights of crying myself to sleep. Some nights only silent tears would fall; other nights loud wails accompanied questions and prayers. "Why Lord? What am I doing wrong? Why won't you just fix his problems?" The prayers would end with "if it is Your will," hoping that His will was different that what it appeared to be.

On these nights I would curl up in a ball under my covers, face the wall and hope this time there would be a break-through in my prayers. Many nights, as I cried myself to sleep, I believed everything I had hoped for was lost and the situation was hopeless.

Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet, found himself in a hopeless situation as he watched the Temple of the Lord being burned to the ground by the Babylonians. His heart broke. The elements of the Temple such as the water basin and lamp snuffers were stolen, taken to Babylon to be used to worship false gods.

Jeremiah prophesied God's words to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The Lord's immediate future for His people was one of discipline and the utter destruction of Jerusalem as well as His holy Temple. Jeremiah was chosen by God to deliver these words to His people. He did his job and did it well, but not without punishment, ridicule, insults, and imprisonment.

Jeremiah cried until no more tears would come (Lamentations 2:11, NLT). His heart was broken for Jerusalem and for God's people, his people. In anguish he lamented the words, "Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost" (Lamentations 3:18, NLT).

Then, out of the midst of his despair, he dared. He dared to hope in what he remembered.  Many of us know someone who needs hope; perhaps we ourselves need hope, therefore it would serve us well today to know what Jeremiah remembered. What he remembered as he lamented gave him the courage to dare to hope again. The remembrance changed his perspective on his present situation. Jeremiah dared to hope and so can we, regardless of our circumstances. In reading Lamentations 3:21-24 you can hear the expression in Jeremiah's "voice" change from that of lament to that of optimism. In your mind's eye you can picture his facial features transforming. What Jeremiah remembered was the key to elevating him from the pit of despair to a place of expectancy. It is our key as well. Jeremiah remembered this about his covenant Lord:

• His unfailing love for him
• His new mercies meant for him
• His never ending faithfulness toward him
• His inheritance due him

God's Word is alive and active. It is designed to transform us from the inside out. Reading and applying its truths will change the expression in our voice and redirect our perspective for the future. During my desperate nights I longed for my circumstances to be different. I cried until the tears would no longer come. Many times I tarried in the pit of despair much longer than necessary. But when I remembered God's faithfulness and mercies to me, my expression changed.

Did the circumstances surrounding my sorrows change because I remembered? No. What changed was my outlook. Hope means to wait with expectation, and this is what I chose to do during those hard nights.

Are you in need of hope today? Will you choose to remember His faithfulness, love, and mercy despite the despair and destruction around you? Will you dare to hope?

Dear Lord, I want to dare to hope but life around me seems uncertain and tentative. Will You help me dare to hope? Will You help me remember Your faithfulness, love and mercy? Thank You advance for what You are going to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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