This is Not a Sunshiney Post

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2013 has passed a lot more quickly than I thought it would. I think that the past year and a half has been the most challenging of my life. I keep wondering why it’s been so very difficult, then I remember:

My father died.

My mother is a widow.

My sisters both moved, so that none of us are within very easy reach of one another.

Depression and grief.

The counseling that has opened my eyes to issues I didn’t know I had.

Homeschooling has been tougher this year, as I find it hard to maintain daily motivation, and consistency.

My work has picked up. I have had my first two truly traumatic experiences with clients that have left me a little more emotionally shaken than I’d care to admit to the whole wide world.

Friendships and relationships growing and stretching and challenging me as I struggle to be more real and honest about what’s really going on in my mind and heart. (Has anyone ever told you that growth hurts? Well, I am telling you now. The more you know.) This whole “learning to be real” thing is hard. Especially when I thought I already was being real…

That voice in my head that yells at me all the time about how worthless and lazy I am. How I am always talking about doing things, but never doing them. I thought that voice was silenced a few years ago, but it’s rearing its ugly head again. Where’s Chuck Norris when you need someone/thing roundhouse kicked in the face?

I have faced challenges all year that have left me feeling empty of all energy, weak, tired, and ready to just lay down and sleep for six months.

I keep voicing to my friends that I just don’t understand what’s going on, and they all remind me: “Your year has been really tough…look again at everything you’re dealing with.”

Then, when I do, I think to myself, “Wow. Yeah. I guess it would be okay to give myself some grace.” Then, I don’t.

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for. So many blessings and Good Things this year. However, I talk about those all the time, in the effort to stay focused on the positive. I will continue to do that this year. It’s the only thing keeping me interested in my life. Interested in continuing to grow and change and keep moving forward until I am more like my Savior.

Still, it’s unwise to ignore the pain and sorrow and struggle.

I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned this year.

It’s okay to NOT BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME. It’s okay to take off the mask and cry my eyes out. To kick and scream and to not understand everything. To not have all the answers.

To make mistakes. To ask for and accept the forgiveness of friends. To walk boldly into conflict rather than let it roll off my back again. (It never really does – it soaks in and hurts, no matter what I say.) To stop saying “It’s okay,” when it’s really not.

It’s okay to not have your needs met, and to be unhappy about it. It’s okay ask for people to meet those needs in me. Yes, all I need is Jesus, but guess what his preferred method of comfort and help is?

Human hands, feet, and arms. Human hearts. Human relationships.

I am not an island.

American independence is overrated. It leaves us all alone. Bleeding and bruised with no one to dress the wounds. Marines don’t leave a man behind on the battlefield. Why do we expect each other to suck it up when we hurt? Why do we tell people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and deal with it?

When someone is broken on the battlefield that is this life, bleeding profusely and weakening every minute, we force them to get up and keep moving. “You’ll be fine. You’re such a strong person.”

I am too weak to do that. I need someone to put some pressure on the wound and stop the bleeding! The only trouble is…I don’t quite know where the wound is.

For so long, everyone else has been allowed to need me, but I have not allowed anyone else to be needed. The idiotic thing about it, is that when people offer to help, I have no idea what to ask!

Yet, I think I do know…

I need people. I need them to understand that I have almost nothing left to give right now.

I need time alone. To really and truly just be by myself.

I need time with Levi, as he and are going through a major change in our relationship. (A good change, never fear.)

I need help and advice sometimes with parenting. New perspectives are especially helpful.

I need to be taken care of for awhile, instead of being the one to take care of everyone else.

I need to be given the benefit of the doubt. I know I’m not entirely myself, and I haven’t been. I know I say stupid crap without thinking sometimes. I know I forget birthdays, and it doesn’t always cross my mind to step in and help someone without being asked, and that I’m just not all here all the time.

I know I hurt people. (If you’re reading this, I’ve probably hurt YOU at some point, haven’t I?)

I try. I really do. And I need GRACE right now, more than anything. Lots and lots and lots of grace and understanding.

I need to know that even if you don’t understand, that I’m accepted anyway. That it’s okay for me not to have it all together, and that at least some of you really do believe that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

There. I said it. I need total acceptance. I need to feel like it’s okay not to smile in your presence. That it’s okay if I don’t want to talk. That it’s okay if I do want to talk. That it’s okay for me to not want to be around people. That it’s okay for me to say, “No,” and not have to explain or give a “good” reason. I need to know that people are thinking of me.

Above all, I think, I need to know that what efforts I am able to exert are Enough for now.

I need to know that now, in my weakest hour, there are others willing to be the strong ones for awhile.

I can barely type that. It sounds so selfish. Frankly, I’m tired. Really, really tired. And I just want to be held, and to know that I’m loved. This is my reality right now.

My real, raw, gut-needs. Unedited.

Out here for anyone to see.

So, there you go.

I want 2014 to be truly a New Year. I want to wake up Wednesday morning looking forward to Good Things, knowing that Good People are standing with me, holding me up and helping me walk for awhile, until I can take firm, strong steps on my own again. I want to stop performing, and doing, and trying, and just … BE.

Some of you already know this. Some of you don’t. Some of you already understand this, and are already helping me, praying for me, and loving me. Some of you may have a hard time reading this. A hard time believing me. Some of you may be thinking that this really is just a plea for attention.

That’s okay. I don’t mind if you think that.

You could be right, for all I know.

All I know is that this all just flowed out. My fingers kept moving, and now I am crying as I type. I feel sick to my stomach, wondering if I should really hit the “Publish” button or not. Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this 1300+ word post. I’ll try not to write such long ones any more.

Grace & Peace,


14 thoughts on “This is Not a Sunshiney Post

  1. And when I say “I Love you”.. I mean YOU, completely and unconditionally, no matter what. Accepting you where you are, each moment of your journey, and wanting nothing but the best for you! I am always here for you!

    • I believe you. You, of all people, are the one I can always count on for compassion and empathy. Your gifts.

      I love you back. 🙂

  2. Thank you for pouring this out. You will never know how many hurting souls need these words.

    You are so very loved Tiff. You are being prayed for every day.

  3. If I was near, I would totally let you come over, make you a cup of coffee and you never would have to say a word unless you wanted to. I’ve been praying for you and I like to think I am there for you in spirit, I hope you know that. I also hope you know that if you ever need to talk, I am here for you, just a phone, text, email away. I have nothing but respect for you and though we have been through very different challenges, I am dealing with some of the same type of growing pains. I see my children having physical growing pains and while I wonder why our little ones have to go through that, I realize that growth never really stops on this earth and it is rarely –if ever– painless. That is why we have each other.

    You are loved and accepted!

  4. One time I had an incredible dad, not a father, a dad/daddy. He had a massive heart attack on Christmas morning (you know how I LOVE Christmas). I ended up spending that Christmas and many more days in the hospital helping make life changing decisions for my family. We removed my dad from the ventilator and he didn’t die and I was mad. I know that sounds horrible, but he didn’t. He laid on the bed, rolled his eyes, couldn’t talk, couldn’t walk, couldn’t do anything but breath. That night when Brian took me home I threw a huge fit. Yes, I stomped my foot, literally, at God. I screamed and I cried because it was so wrong, unfair, and unjust.That was 21 years ago. My Dad recovered to a point, but he was never again the man we knew before that day. It was another two years before he finally went home to Jesus.

    I tell you this because I want you to know I know. No one can truly walk your experience. No one can even truly understand. I get some of what you are saying, but I don’t get it all because we are all unique. You get some of what I am saying, but not all because we are all unique. You don’t have to apologize for your feeling or even lack of feelings. You are who and what you are supposed to be. You will challenge and you will be challenged. Do you remember in the Bible when Jesus swept the tables over? Do you think he was feeling love and compassion right then. Nope. He was feeling raw emotion. He was giving us permission to feel passionately, and to even respond to those feelings. Not apologize because we aren’t what man thinks we should be, but striving to be what HE wants us to be. God expects you to love yourself (because that is the measure you can love), others, and Him. Not works based, activity based, or even giving based. Just love. You do that so well.
    This is way too long for a comment, but I am going to hit the button anyway because even though I may not always see it your way I accept and love you anyway and always.

  5. Tiffany, I so wish I could put this on my email list. It’s exactly what I feel. I’m so tired of pretending that I’m doing ok, just so that people can feel comfortable around me. I’m tired of not having anyone to take care of me. I’m so tired of carrying this very heavy, heavy load. all. alone.
    Love you and wish we were closer. Maybe someday.

  6. Thank you. I would have t say this is the best thing you’ve shared this year. YOURSELF. unedited. And the freedom it gives the rest of us to be ourselves also. I love YOU, Tiff. Not the Tiff writer, not the Tiff home-schooling mom or the Tiff laughing through trials when I know she’ s crying instead. Be you. Be you all the time. My year sucked too. I’m not about to act joyous over losing my only son and all of my grandchildren. Six months now and could turn to 6 years or forever. Too painful to look back. And to look forward? I shudder. Today is all I can do. And even that is one step at a time, one minute at a time. I love you for who you are…who you really are. And I can so relate because if I share how I’m really feeling on FB, it will just bum people out. Maybe that says something about who I’m friends with. I know I always hear I’m such an inspiration because of all the pain I experience yet keep a good attitude. That statement isn’t true. It’s a mask I where to make sure everyone else feels good. I’m exhausted of making everyone else feel good when I feel terrible. I share your tears today. I am crying. And that’s not something I do. But it’s needed. Thank you for being you nd giving me permission to be me.

  7. Hey, though it’s difficult to know how to respond to this blog, it is far more difficult (ethically) not to respond at all and I apologize for having to think about it for a couple of days. I can’t and won’t say that I know how you feel because I can’t even imagine going through all that you have gone through this past year, but I can thank you for sharing.

    Occasionally, people ask me which blogs I read and I list out various travel blogs as well as some focusing on international politics…then I add that I also read one by a woman who lives in Colorado who is married and lives in a house with her husband and four kids, whom she home schools, and yeah, she is really into birth stuff too. Inevitably people raise their eyebrows, surprised, and ask something along the lines of “…why?” I explain that its a good blog and that I went to high school with the author which is always a satisfactory response.

    This response however, is certainly not the most accurate response (although obviously if I had grown up somewhere else, I would not have ever known about your blog, so it isn’t entirely inaccurate either). A more accurate response though, would be that you are an excellent, excellent writer. You capture very well the emotions of a thinking, self-examining (and self-critical) woman who tries so hard at life that you can’t help but like her and root for her at her every endeavor.

    From an outside perspective, my life bears exceedingly little resemblance to yours (baring similarities regarding origin). We simply have nothing at all in common (which is the reason people are so surprised when I list the thematic content of your blog). But still, I can relate to your words because I can relate to trying REALLY, REALLY hard at everything and constantly, daily, hourly letting myself down because I just can’t accomplish all I set out to do. I can never move fast enough and sometimes I stop altogether and then subsequently seethe with fury at my own sloth. Realistically though, the bar is set too high. every. single. day. And yet it is me who sets this bar in place each optimistic morning and envies (in a way) those who are not compelled to do this to themselves.

    Because I would never be able to articulate the struggle as well as you do, I read your blog. And I root for you. And I see that I am not the only person who fights, within themselves, a violent civil war. And that recognition helps.

    So thanking you for sharing seems too small, but I’m afraid its all I have. Thank you and I wish you a better 2014.

  8. Let me first begin by telling you that your dad had an amazing impact on my life growing up. He was always there for me as a coach and advisor. His faith was unconditional and solid. He was a true example of how to live life. I was unaware of his death, and for that, I find myself extremely sad. So to you, I pay my respects. Respect for a man who had a part in making me who I am today.

    With all of that said, I thank you for your words. I have been glued to your blog and captivated by your posts. I find myself currently in a situation where a family emmer has had a traumatic event and may not survive. Daily I am pressed to find the faith to not waver in my walk. I am not wavering in faith myself, but rather over analyzing everything to be sure that if miracles are not achieved, that I will not lose those close to me to the lies of the enemy.

    So thank you again, Tiff. Thank you for being a light in the dark. Thank you for being strong in faith. Thank you for being a real person who shares her struggles to help others overcome. Thank you.

    With the love of Christ,

    • Thank you, Nakiah, for taking the time to comment, and to encourage me. YOU are a light yourself. All I can say is that Faith really doesn’t have anything to do with how you feel. IT’S OKAY to doubt and struggle, because those things ARE just feelings. Your faith is made manifest in what you DO – clinging to Jesus like nothing else, and taking all your struggles to him.

      ((hugs)) I’ll be praying for your family member.


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