I'm talking about a chip on your shoulder. The kind that exudes an attitude of, my life has been marked by some sort of hardship, I demand special treatment and consideration! That kind of chip.
I don't want to live that way.
I don't want my experience with Evie to define me. I don't want to view others' hardships in comparison to mine. I don't want to give friends the impression that they can't talk to me because they can't imagine that I would want to shoulder their burden as well. I don't want to use Evie as an excuse to not continue to grow or learn or stretch myself in ways that will better me. Or worse, make me feel entitled to demand things from the Lord - Lord, I've suffered x,y, and z ... can't I catch a break already!?!
It's sort of complicated though. Because losing Evie has changed my entire view on life. And truly, the journey I walked with her was, and still is, an incredibly emotional one that cuts right down to the depths of my soul. Not a single part of me remains untouched by her, and I know I will never be the same.
So I'm trying to learn what it means to bridge those two thoughts together - to always keep my love for Evie and the lessons I've learned because of her in the very forefront of my heart, but be brave enough, strong enough to move on and embrace this world and however many more trials it will bring me.
Truthfully though, I haven't felt this "normal" in a really long time (click here to read what my early days of grief looked like). Pain certainly still remains, like my longing to know who my baby girl would have been, and my longing for another little life to love. But the Lord is helping me carry those things better.
And I think I have taken a step in the right direction. I have taken up some new responsibilities at church, which I am equally as excited about as I am nervous! But it's good. And I know those were leadings from the Lord, so also, good.
Step by step I'm learning to really live life with this pain in my heart. As Jennifer Rothschild has said, allow your painful experiences to refine, not define you.
Lord, let it be.