Friday, August 10, 2012

Live in Da Now Instead of Denial

A lot of conversations I've had with friends lately have involved denial. And all of them had negative impacts not only on the people in denial, but also their loved-ones around them. When I thought about what denial means to me, I define it as deception to one's self, whether intentional or's still a lie. Many times I think we confuse being in denial with having faith, but that's not true at all. Usually with denial there is inaction, whereas faith requires action--usually involving prayer and constant searching for truth.
It didn't take long for me to deal with denial and see how negatively it impacted my family.

My real experience with denial was 28 weeks pregnant with my first child and I had all the symptoms of labor, but I refused to believe that I would be having this baby already. I was just going to work through it and deny the signs. Once I was finally convinced to go to my doctor, my life changed drastically when I gave birth to a preemie. It still didn't seem real to me, I just kept thinking that this little 2lb, 14oz boy would be just fine and come home from the hospital shortly and not have anything wrong. It did no good to believe that. That didn't stop him from coming home 6 weeks later on oxygen, needing surgeries and developmental therapy for the next 3 years. Each day I was crushed. I didn't want to believe this was happening to my child. But truth was the truth and I had to deal with it. Once I began to live in reality and accept it, I saw it wasn't so bad. God put people in my path that helped us along the way. Denial only made life harder.

Good thing I started living in the now because 4 years later it was deja vu all over again! But this time it was 27 weeks pregnant with twins. I thought this can't be happening to me again! This pregnancy I took precautions to prevent preterm delivery, but whatever, it happened. But this time my perspective had changed. I had seen God do the impossible with my first child and I knew that if I sought His direction, He wouldn't fail. It may not be in the way that I expect, but when I surrender to His will, then He is in control. The twins were in the hospital longer and it was a rockier road. Still had very similar experiences as far as surgeries and therapy goes, but I dealt with it much better.

My mom was 50 years old and died, 3 weeks after the twins were born, from breast cancer. My dad was in total shock. He admitted that he didn't believe she would really succumb to cancer. He was devastated to lose her, but also felt like it was a lack of faith on his part. They sought treatment. They prayed and asked for God's will to be done...and ultimately His will was done. We were created to serve Him and she had. Our human bodies are destructible and destined to die...and she did. Living in denial during my mom's illness and after her death took a toll on my dad. He refused to believe she was really sick and couldn't believe she was taken away. But what good did all that thinking do? No good. He is slowly going back to church and having a relationship with God as his Father again. And his outlook is changing. He enjoys doing things with our family because we are here. I'm not in any way saying that mourning is wrong, but it's not bringing her back.

Nothing good comes out of denying that we need help or maybe our kids need help. Just accept it and get the help! We can't live in denial if our finances are not good. Find out what we're not doing right and make a change! I'm talking to myself here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Throw Away the Label

The guy in the movie Puncture buys this suit because it’s on sale and is Armani…it doesn’t exactly look great and it definitely doesn’t fit into his work environment. The girls in Sex and the City only wear designer duds and some of their outfits are atrocities! Growing up, I begged my mom to buy me Guess jeans, I didn’t care what they looked like, just so long as the label said Guess. I got handed down a pair of denim overalls from one of my older cousins and I remember wearing them proudly because they were Guess. Even though they were boys and even though I looked absolutely hideous in them!

My mother-in-law was telling me about a guy she saw who was pierced and tatted up, but he was the kindest, most gentle guy who helped her with something. She said she had judged him wrong so quickly and learned a good lesson.

Those labels we want really mean very little and may even project the wrong image to others. But I guess who really cares what others think? So long as we live right and are pleasing to God, His is the only opinion that counts.

I was reading a MOPS publication recently and it was about a mother taking her kid on a playdate and judged another mother for looking stylish and having a big, clean house. She admitted that she missed out on that mom’s friendship on looks alone. I think a little differently…I think that those who are opposite of me- skinny, pretty women with big, clean houses (or guys of any kind) are judging me and therefore won’t waste their time with my friendship or company. So I was intimidated to ever even initiate a conversation with them or even try to be their friend. Since we had kids in the same class at school I ended up being friends with so many of that type of person and it turns out, I don’t think they judged me because I was the opposite of them. They treated me the same as they treated their friends who were the same as them. How stupid was I!!

In the same way of thinking, I need to throw away the perception of myself based on my label. And stop trying to label my family. I have a tendency to label my oldest son as a kid with Rain Man tendencies because he talks non-stop about useless information (useless to me) and can quickly size up a room with burned out lightbulbs…and it just grates on my nerves!! But a friend said to me that it wasn’t a bad quality, he just has curiosity and his quirks just make him who he is. I have this internal label that my daughter should be prim & proper, yet she is so messy that I get mad at her for being so. She has always been messy and not purposely. At least she knows that she is and always eats her dinner with a towel close by! So what if she’s messy? Just teach her how to clean up after herself and never buy her white clothes!!!

Believe me, I can be a label snob when it comes to lots of things. And because of that I limit myself and miss out.