My mom retired after 35 years of being an elementary teacher. As she was ending her teaching career, I was beginning mine. I loved sharing teaching stories with my mom. She could relate to what I was going through, and on those really tough days and weeks, I always felt better after talking with my mom.
Unfortunately, a few years after my mom retired, she passed away. I expected holidays and birthdays to be hard without her. What caught me by surprise, though, is how much I missed her as I drove to school. And at the beginning of each new school year, waves of grief would roll in and out.
Now, I anticipate the waves, and instead of them overtaking me, I ride them out. As I drive to school each day, I welcome the childhood memories that come to mind....
It’s been 10 years since I’ve heard her voice. A voice that consistently spoke words of love and encouragement into my life. A voice that I didn’t realize how much I would miss until I couldn’t hear it anymore. 10 years later, I’m still learning how to navigate this world without my mom’s voice.
When I started this blog 3 years ago, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read my words….but I wrote anyways. The more that I wrote, the more people shared their own personal stories with me.
Surprisingly, the hardest blogs to write have also been the blogs that people have related to the most.
We often convince ourselves that no one will else will understand what we’re going through, so we struggle in silence. Blogging has helped me realize how much we crave honest connection. Let someone know if you relate to their story. Hope is ignited when we realize we’re not alone.
Or, if you’re feeling really brave, give someone the gift of going second. Share your story first. It will usually give someone else the courage to share too.
Is your life exactly how you imagined it would be?
For me, my life looks very different than how I envisioned it. My dream of becoming a teacher came true, but nothing else has gone according to my plan. Growing up, I thought I would get a job teaching in Northeast Ohio, live close to my family, and be married with a few kids by my late 20’s.
What does my life actually look like? I teach on the opposite side of the state and all of my family lives hundreds of miles away. At the age of 36, I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any kids. In fact, I’ve experienced years of singleness. I’ve heard some people say that singleness is a gift, but many times, it honestly has felt more like a struggle. (Check out my blog series called The Single Life.)
In Annie F. Downs' latest book, Remember God, Annie says, “I struggle so much when my expectations of God don’t meet the reality of my current experience with life.”
Annie then goes on to explore the question, “Is God kind even when my circumstances don’t seem to reflect that?”
You were there
at the beginning
from my very first breath
when my eyes opened to see
the loving family you gave me.
You were there
in the room
when my innocence was lost
your heart broke at the sight
you comforted me through the dark nights.
You were there
at the parties
when we celebrated life
joy and laughter filled the air
surrounded by people who care.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.