I sit and think back on the winter that has just past and the spring that is now bringing forth new life and see how it is reflective of life over the last 6 months. It has been a time of stress and deep emotion, a time where the needs of my children have been great, a time of worry for several of my extended family who are experiencing significant medical issues, a time with the unexpected loss of Bruce's best friend who was very near and dear to our hearts, a time where my best friend has needed a listening ear as she deals with the devastating effects ahlzheimers is having on her mother, a time where some staff at the shelter have had difficulty with change that is greatly needed.
Yes, it has been a winter where as a mom, wife, sister, cousin, friend, and boss, I have felt inadequate and ineffective at times, after all, as strong women, aren't we supposed to be able to make things better, right? I can't count the number of times where I would have given anything to take away Jenn's grief, sorrow and pain. I would have done anything to make time stop forever so that Jason didn't have to leave on his deployment to Afghanistan (although Alyson and I did talk about kidnapping him and hiding him), I have wished over and over again that I had arms long enough to stretch across the miles just to hug James, just because, I constantly role over in my mind 'is there anything we could have done so that Wayne didn't have to die alone", I wish daily my arms were long enough to hug Liz, I pray on an ongoing basis for my brothers and cousins, yet although I know that is all I can do right now, it has still felt inadequate, I have tried to hold my head high and say what I mean, mean what I say and be a woman of integrity with my staff, but at times it has felt that no matter what is done, some will continue to push back. Through it all, I have shed many tears behind closed doors and have had many internal doubts and struggles.
Hope does spring eternal though. As a woman of faith, I have relied on God to give me strength when I wanted to stick my head in the sand or run away. My nephew Josh recently reminded me of God's deep love for us with a posting on face book: " 'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' " Jeremiah 29:11. Yes, it has been "winter" in many ways for me over the past 6 months, however:
- I look in amazement and great pride at Jennifer, my wonderful, bright, strong daughter who has emerged from a time of hurt and sorrow that no woman should ever have to go through and see her blossom as she is bringing the pieces of her life back together. Although there are still challenges ahead, she will continue to rise to the challenge and grow.
- I look in amazement at James as he reaches for the sky and continues on his life journey of living a social justice lifestyle.
- I look in amazement at Jason's maturity as he supported other soldiers who were confronted with the reality of deployment, while preparing himself.
- I look in amazement at Alyson, as she has supported Jason. She truly is selfless and strong. I feel so very honoured that she is my daughter (in law).
- I have watched with great pride at how Bruce has worked through his own grief and hurt over the winter, yet he has been strong for his children and grandchildren.
- I am blessed to have an extended family who although many have their own concerns to deal with, they have also reached out to support my children.
- I am blessed to have a friend that is more my sister, who God has openned doors for so that her mother is well cared for, who has her own direct line to God and supports me with prayer.
- I see God honouring my attempts at being a woman of intergrity with staff, as 90% are now on board with the changes we must make.
Yes, my life has been reflective of the seasons of late. Now that spring has come, that's not to say that struggles are not there. I still wish there was more I could do for my brothers and cousin. I am impatient at times with wanting the changes I need to implement at work to go faster. I still get angry and become a mother lion when my children are struggling and hurting. But that is all human nature. God has been there throughout my "winter", he continues to provide hope and a future. Thanks for the reminder Josh!
My amazing kids (Alyson was working)
My adorable grandkids Owen & Ethan