After the Storm (Photo Friday: Become a Gift)

Sometimes, it's difficult to believe that we have anything to offer. Like, at all. Life can beat us down so far that we fail to see any value in ourselves at all.

I've been having a year week like that.

I haven't told very many people this, but I have been juice fasting since July 1st*. For July, I was fairly strict with it, but since the writer's conference I attended at the beginning of August, I have slowly been working real food back into my diet.

Last Saturday, I thought it would be fine to eat kinda like I used to eat. Not completely, but kinda.

I was so, so wrong.

By 10 p.m., my body was letting me know just how wrong I was. I was in so much pain that I didn't sleep that night. Like, at ALL. Lucky me, I was leading worship the next morning. Somehow, I got through it, came home, had a juice, then slept for five hours.

Although my body eventually worked that naughty food out of my system, it has been sore and in recovery ever since. No, I will not ever forget how bad of an idea it was to have waffles with peanut butter and cream last Saturday (after having almost no fat, wheat, or dairy for two months.)

I've been hobbling around like an invalid, trying to complete basic tasks while my back feels like it's in a vice (because gall bladder pain manifests in the middle of your back), managing to get my family fed and my chicken chores done and my kids prepped for their first day of school. And yes, I have even been getting my writing done.

But when it came time to sit and write my "inspirational post" for the week, I felt anything but inspired. I could barely think, let alone think positively. So, I wasted time for a couple of hours working on a post idea I had a while back, "10 Reason Mermaids Could Totally Exist". I got to number 7, each point getting more sarcastic than the last. (I mentioned to Jason later that for someone who likes mermaids as much as I do, I was sure getting snarky about them. It only has a little bit to do with the pain and exhaustion--there are some really, um,"interesting" things about mermaids on the internet.)

Last night, when I came here to finish it, I realized that I had neglected to save my draft, and the only thing that had auto-saved was the number "10" in the title. The rest? All gone.

Maybe it's for the best. :-)

My point is, I've been beating myself up all week for not writing the post I had intended to write, not being able to think of anything great to write instead, and feeling generally crummy.

On top of it all, two other factors complicated my emotional state:

  1. Facebook kept reminding me that at this time last year, I was in San Francisco, assisting my sister in post-op care instead of home with my kids as they went off to school. My emotional state while there was pretty bad. Looking back on that trip stirred up some of those old emotions.
  2. On Tuesday, I had a dream with Levi, and he kept disappearing. Eventually, I couldn't even find him. In my dream, it didn't even occur to me that there was a real-life reason for that. I had blissfully forgotten that he would be gone when I awoke. But then I did wake up. And he was as gone as gone can be.

Yep, life has been kinda miserable for me this week.

Remember my post last Friday? All sunshine and sunflowers and focusing on the positive? I kept trying to do that, but failing miserably.

At the same time that my body was revolting last weekend, we were being buffeted by a horrible windstorm. Oddly for this time of year, the wind was from the north. And after it was over, my sunflowers--you know, the ones that had just started blooming?--looked like this:

These sunflowers? They've seen better days. I won't be getting any cool sunflower carcasses poking out of the snow this winter. :-(

Yesterday, when I finally stopped moping about the sunflowers I wouldn't see outside my office window for the next few weeks and took a closer look, I realized that most of them were not only alive, but still blooming.

I had to admire their tenacity. And the lesson wasn't lost on me, either. I mean, really, these sunflowers were like, "Okay, guys. We've got one job. We're not going to let a little adversity get in the way of that. So let's do it."

I know that sunflowers think their job is to propagate their species by creating seeds. But yesterday?

It was to teach me that even when we've been hammered by life, and everything seems wretched, and we are broken all over the ground, we can still be beautiful.

Even when we’ve been hammered by life, and everything seems wretched, and we are broken all over the ground, we can still be beautiful.

We can still bless others, shine our light, and keep searching for the sunshine.

...So she sat down and wrote her post after all.

Are you caught in the windstorm? Has life beaten you to nothing? Do you wonder if you will ever be able to have a life of meaning and purpose again?

I say to you, as someone who has experienced tremendous loss, that you can. No matter what your wound is, you can still bloom, even from the ground.

So go forth, and bloom on!

 

*I've been doing this for several specific reasons, and I believe that it has been helping in the areas that needed it. I'm not doing this as some trendy "diet" thing, because I don't believe in trendy. Or diets. ;-)

(Please feel free to pin these images!)

"Open the bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world." - Bryant McGill. Image copyright Talena Winters. Get as a free desktop wallpaper at www.talenawinters.com/desktop-wallpapers.

Glow in the Dark

by Jason Gray

Sometimes the world feels like a mess
Full of drama, full of stress
And life puts a fist right in your ribs
You can hide if you choose to
And no one would even blame you
Or you can let them see how you deal with it

That even in the darkest place
His love can make you radiate

(chorus)
Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark

Don’t be ashamed of your past
If you’re shattered like a piece of glass
The more broke you are the more the light gets through
Show your wounds and your flaws
Show them why you still need the cross
Let them see the work He’s doing in you

That even in the darkest place
His love can make you radiate

(chorus)
Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark

(chorus)
Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark
Glow in the dark
Doesn’t matter how
Glow in the dark
Doesn’t matter how

© 2015 Centricity Songs & Graybird Songs (BMI) / Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Pub, D Soul Music (ASCAP)

"Open the bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world." Bryant McGill. Free inspirational desktop wallpaper, 1920x1080 px resolution. Get more free wallpapers at www.talenawinters.com/desktop-wallpapers