Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don't get mad at me for this one.

My intentions here are not to offend anyone or to cause jealousy toward myself, but rather I am just continuing to note the things I am grateful for all month. Today I just happened to think about the 'lack of stress' in my life- at least the way I see it and I realized that I am grateful for that.
It may not seem like I live a low-stress life. In fact for some people, the idea of having 4 kids, ages 2 and a half to 7, is enough stress all on it's own, am I right?! Still, I wouldn't have it any other way. Sunday mornings can be our most stressful- I think that is what made me think about this topic in the first place. Yet, in the scheme of things, or compared to some people, I really live a very low-stress life, and I am truly grateful for that. In fact, I wanted to write myself this post, so that I'll have it for future reference on the days when I need a quick reminder. =)
I can't pinpoint an exact day or time when I first started living this low-stress life, but it's been awhile. I do know that I have a 'new definition' of stress since the time of Teagan's death and all the trauma that our family has lived through. Prior to our tragedy I used to worry about stuff or get concerned about things that were beyond my control.
I have sinced learned that a lot of things in life are out of my control, or at least a certain amount of things are going to occur that I cannot control. I have learned to not even waste my time thinking about these kinds of things or wondering how I can prepare myself for them. For example, my kids being sick...that can make a mom worried and stressed out, right?! My kids get sick on occasion. Our daughter, Wyndham was very fragile for a long time after her head injury. She was in and out of the hospital so many times that I lost count. It was emotionally draining and nerve-wracking at times...not knowing what to do next, not knowing what was our best healthcare options for her sometimes, and just the lack of sleep that goes with having a sick child, and the issues of maintaining life...like getting bills paid on time when you're hundreds of miles away at a hospital, and having to depend on friends to care for your other kids, etc. It can be very stressful. And that happened lots of times over the course of about three years.
Through those kinds of experiences I learned that the more I could 'let go', the easier it was for me to get through it. I use the term letting go, but what I am realizing is that I was actually turning my problems and worry and stress 'over'. I realized that stress and worry could literally suck the life out of me, and I wasn't happy with the way I looked whenever that happened. I didn't like the way I felt, or how I talked to people around me, or even how sad I felt inside. I would even get angry at things I had tried to move past- and I'd start a pity party for myself. I'd say things like, "Why does our family have to have all the big problems in life? Why can't other people get some of the struggles we face?" Or my most famous quote (ask Chip about this one) was simply whenever something went wrong- from our furnace not working, to our roof leaking, to Wyndham being ambulanced to Detroit Children's Hospital, I'd simply say, "Just My Life". It became my response to every little thing (even the McDonalds drive-thru order missing my fries!)...and it seemed that life was really piling up on me.
Slowly though, I'm realizing that things have gotten much better and brighter, and it isn't because my life is suddenly so rosy, (just today our McDonalds missed 2 cheeseburgers!) but I have learned to give my worries and cares to God. I have learned to lean on my faith- not just when things get really bad, but every single day! I am much better about handing all of my cares to God- often times before they have a chance to bring me down or cause worry or stress to pile up.
I am telling you, it isn't the most amazing thing, and yet it is! I think there are a lot of people missing out on this really wonderful opportunity in life. It's the chance to live life relatively stress-free. It means that you rely less on yourself, less on the uncertainty of the world around you to create the joy and assurance you want in life and instead, you rely totally on God. That's basically what faith is.
As I said, I am writing this mainly for my own benefit, and even as I write this it's making more sense to me. Of course I had more stress in my life before tragedy struck me and my family. My faith wasn't nearly as strong back then as it is now. And no wonder I am living a fairly stress free life from day to day...I hand all my problems to God and then depend on Him to carry me through or to give me the wisdom and strength to handle them as He would have me do. It's not always easy- sometimes I forget and try to do things on my own. Sometimes I think my problems are too small to bother God with them...and I let them cause more stress than they need to. But, most of the time I know that things will come my way, that "stuff' happens, that my future may be uncertain, but through it all, there is One who is dependable and trustworthy. It's my God, and I know that He has my best interest in mind. That is the key to my low-stress living. It's in the assurance I have that God is in control; it's in the faith that I put into practice every single day. When I keep my heart and mind focused on what truly matters in life, nothing can ever really stress me out. It's true. That's "Just My Life".

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jody: You DONT have to answer this but reading your blog I get very emotional and wonder: Did your family ever get some kind of monetary compensation for the horrible accident and subsequent pains you experienced? Yes or no is okay. I just wonder.....you all would so deserve it, if nothing else, to help take care of Wyndam. If you don't answer it is okay. I'm glad YOU ALL are okay. But certainly, I truly hope that your answer would be "yes".

Elisha said...

Jody, that is such a great attitude to have and such a mature outlook! I'll have to work on getting to that point, because you're right--I hate the way I treat other people when I feel stressed out. It's my problem, not theirs. So thanks for the perspective!

KatieButler said...

Jody, I always feel more balanced after reading your posts--thank you. I had my kindergartener's conference the other day and have been worrying all weekend over some issues he's having in school. Reading your post reminds me to keep it in perspective--to do the best I can as a mom, and give the rest over to God.

Beth said...

LOVE IT JODY!!! You are amazing - here I am - up at 3:05 a.m. "worrying" about something (??!!) that I have no control over and I read this post.....you have such an knack for writing. I, too - have an awesome faith but "forget" occasionally to let go. Thank you for putting "my" thoughts into words for me, because that is what you do ALOT!! Alot of our worries and concerns and troubles must be universal (even though we don't think so) because I can SO relate to the church morning episodes getting everyone dressed and out of the house on time. (oh yes, and the wrong drive thru order from McD's - my best was when my daughter cked her hamburger to see if they left the onions off - and there was NO meat!! Yes, we turned around for that one!!) Have a great week.............

Anonymous said...

I liked your post today. I know a couple people who would rather blame their problems on someone else rather than face up to them themselves or ask God for help. They think other people should get help for "their problem" instead of realizing, hey, maybe it's me. Instead of using their blog as a forum to bash people, stop and pray first. Prayer changes things and thank God for listening.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this this a.m. i'm feeling fragile and also like God's left my side. i know for a fact He hasn't (so guess who moved!)but just feel sad and really need some happiness right now. thanks for putting my selfishness in perspective!

sara b said...

Jody, as others have said, thank you so much for this. I got up and read it this morning and I just prayed last night that I would wake up and give my worries to God. I tend to stress over my kids being sick and it handicaps me. It takes all the joy out of my day and energy that I could put into something else. I want to enjoy the time I have with my family instead of wasting it on worrying. I SO get your post and appreciate you putting yourself out there. My sister is actually doing a Bible study on letting go of stress, anxiety and worry. It says in the Bible - Be anxious for nothing.....Be prayerful about everything.....Be thankful for all things! (summarized Phillipians 4:6-7 (I absolutely love her study, it is called Having a Mary heart in a Martha world. I truly am inspired through you by God to live life fully!!

linda t said...

I sure needed to read your post today. A great reminder that there are so many things that are out of my control and that as I "let go and let God" I am able to know His peace, joy and contentment.

Hey Jody, Yankee Candle has a buttercream scented candle!

Anonymous said...

Jody,

Your post was a Godsend for me today. I have been stressing too much lately. I needed to be reminded to give it to God!

Kristine said...

Absolute truth is amazing.

Thanks for sharing this truth with all of your readers.

It is amazing...

groovy said...

jody,
i hear you. i've got my own four kids--6,3,2 and 1 so i know what sunday morning looks like for you. i've been in that ambulance going to the hospital with my four week old, i've looked at those medical bills wide-eyed and overwhelmed. you hit the nail on the head though--God is in control--thank goodness for that b/c i'd be a mess trying to figure this all out myself. thanks again for driving this home.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I don't get to read your blog often, but God must have wanted to make sure I saw that one. A great reminder that He is in control and I need to let go.