Confession: I didn’t know for a while if I was going to make it. But I am. Each day I am stronger, by the matchless mercy of Jesus. Some of you have been through deeper waters with less noise, and my hat is off to you.
I’d like to share a few of the things that are helping me walk with Him toward healing, but I want to be clear that any beauty or goodness in this story is entirely because of Him. For some reason this post feels really selfish to me; please forgive.
Buying a treadmill
You thought it was going to be something otherworldly, didn’t you? But I needed something physical to do with the anger. I’ve always hated working out; I don’t like sweating; I never experienced the good euphoria of exercise; I just felt whupped and red-faced and futile.
Fresh air has been good therapy for me. But when you live on a steep hill in the middle of northwestern Pennsylvania’s winters, without sidewalks, with slush and delivery trucks and curving roads and no great visibility… you sometimes need an indoor option.
Alternately walking and running on a treadmill has given me a good sense of power over my own body and my time. I can pick the speed, the distance, the calories burned. I can stop any minute, when a child needs me or when I wear out. I’m right at home, still on call. The wonderful thing about pre-scheduled exercise is that you don’t have to want to do it, you don’t even have to believe in it, you just have to do it. (Which is excellent life training just now.) And I feel exercise endorphins for the first time in my whole life. YAY!
Update: I was going to include an affiliate link in case you want to hear my endorsement on WHAT treadmill. But I forgot. This XTERRA model has been working beautifully for us, and costs less than most.
Talking with a mentor every week
The woman who mentors me, Irene, has known me since I was a teenager. About eight years ago, I started meeting with her once a month to talk about life and struggles. Since then, there have been seasons where we went months without talking, but other seasons where we’ve met often. She is there when I say Can we get together to talk?
Around November and December of last year, when the hard things in my life hit, I knew I needed to be meeting often with someone. I asked Irene if we could talk every week through the winter, at least.
I don’t want to be melodramatic, but there are few things as life-changing as regularly dumping your junk to a safe person, who will listen well, ask good questions, and pray for you. It has changed my perspective and my life.
Later this week, I’d like to offer some thoughts on a question I’ve been asked. “So how do you go about finding a mentor?” It’s a good question. Let’s talk.
Rearranging my furniture
Despite trying to get comfortable with resting in the Lord, I will go mad if I do nothing. So I’ve sewed a few dresses, gotten together with friends, babysat, and (best of all) reorganized spaces in my house. It’s the best feeling: being able to control a few things in this messy world, and to make something beautiful at a time when my creativity is at a low ebb.
I could write a whole post on Ways to Support a Family in Distress, because we’ve been given so much by our family and community. In fact I will do it. Enough said. They have been amazing, in the middle of grief and joy and needs of their own.
Talking to God when I don’t feel like it
There’s a bit of a wall there, in my heart. But sometimes I make myself talk anyway. It’s easier when I’m doing something physically active – see point 1.
I just say things. It’s not very organized prayer, but I speak the names of the people who come to mind, and I talk about what I feel. I try to say both sides to God: what I feel about Him, and what I know to be true.
Jen Miller. The Wengerd family. My brother. Alma. The Lost Boys. I have no idea what you’re doing in my life and I’m angry about that and I don’t know if you’re going to take care of my kids because you don’t always protect the people you love. But I know that you are up to something in this story and I know that you are good and trustworthy and I am going to keep walking forward in faith that you have a plan. I wish I could see you.
I hope I will find more things, too. But that is what I know to do for now. What are your coping secrets?