undone - 134A while back John and I were talking about this time of transition in our lives, as well as some worries and decisions that were on minds.

He commented that even in the midst of the worries and decisions we were facing, he felt the last 10 years had been good ones.

I scoffed and said, “The last 10 years have been a disaster!”

  • I had cancer,
  • I was chronically ill, sick often and so badly that I couldn’t talk, walk, breathe!
  • I lost the quality of my life, my work,
  • I was so sick some days that I was unable to be active and involved with my kids..

John looked at me in surprise..

In that moment of stark honesty, I looked at my life in reality, rather than what I had hoped my life would look like – and my sadness and disappointment fueled the intensity of my statements.

When life throws you curve balls how do you respond?  Do you fight back, give up or pretend everything is fine?

I realized that as great as it was to be physically well again, I hadn’t accepted or grieved the truth of the past 10 years of struggle… the highs, lows, the places I handled it well, the times that I blew it…

I was pretending that I had moved on, that in my gratitude for being well again and the miracle that God had worksI was not willing to be honest about the sorrow and anger I felt.

 But it had been creeping out…feeling unmotivated, afraid to make plans, was resentful of the things I had missed out on… guilty over being sick:

While I was so sick, John made kids lunches and did the morning routine with tour kids. The steroids gave me insomnia, so sleeping was iffy, often coming between 5-9am. I was grateful for him doing this and how their relationships got stronger. And, I was angry and sad that this was reality for so many years.

For a long time, whenever the kids talked about this, I would get defensive or begin explaining, feeling diminished and like I had failed as a mom. Over time, I learned that they weren’t saying anything negative about me, but praising their dad… my story and my anger and sadness, got in the way.

As I begun to realize this, I have been able to stop myself when these topics come up and just let them be.  It still makes me sad, and I still battle feeling like a lousy mom, because moms do the morning routine and make lunches- isn’t that a rule somewhere?

Being honest about this struggle and the uncomfortable places God has allowed me to wander into and stay has helped with healing, letting go and growing in my faith.

Through the process of owning my story, which includes dealing with a chronic and debilitating illness for 10 years, I am accepting the reality and slowly making peace with it and learning from it.

It is hard.

Painful and grueling and sometimes I would rather just pretend.

Recently I read Undone: Making Peace with an Unexpected Life by Michele Cushatt and it is one of the BEST books I have ever read to understand the reality of living through and in the midst of struggle or difficulties.  Here is my review!  If you preorder the book you get a free print of her cover – a great reminder that God with you is in the midst of the unexpecteds.

Can you relate? I would love to hear your stories and how you have handled struggles in your life… Please comment below.

6 Responses to “When Life Throws You Curve Balls”

  1. Jen

    struggles.., have I had struggles?… Illness, loss of loved one, divorce, tragedy, I come up empty.. short. And sometimes I even think struggles are what makes you stronger and then I think that is why I feel so weak. I should be jumping for joy praising God for all the blessings and yet I almost feel like I am missing out. Not sure why that is, I almost feel guilty around those who have had such pain in their lives. I guess that is my struggle in itself. Accepting who I am just as I am. Without great feeling of triumph or sense of self ..just kind of going through the motions and keeping up with the craziness. Wasn’t I suppose to be more at this age? More than just a mom..a better mom…a more prepared mom.. A Mom who felt confident in her abilities, who was living out a passion and who is abundantly showing her kids and her husband how much she loves them. And what about dreams and making them come true..shouldn’t I be a 10 year veteran at something? Something, anything? How can I be expected to “grow children” when I feel I have such much more growing to do myself. I know I should try to see myself as God sees me but I find that hard. i know i am supposed to believe that this is exactly where I am supposed to be but sometimes it is hard. All part of the process I hope. Afterall He has plans for me…in His time not mine. If this is the fastest curve ball I get, I’ll take it.

    • Susie Miller

      Jen, everyone has struggles, they just look different. Please don’t diminish yourself or the battles you face. The things you share are a battle. It may be inner, but those are no less difficult. I don’t think we ever arrive as moms or feel fully confident. I think we get to a sense peace at times, but we are always growing and then there is the reality that every kid is different- so the things we learn with kid #1 don’t always apply to kid #2 🙂 irony at its best! I do think its important for moms to have something for themselves that is personally fulfilling besides our kids. So go for it and pursue yours! And yes…it is a process and thankfully God is in the the midst of it. Hugs and love and cheering you on to pursue your passion!

  2. Linda

    Eleven and a half years ago we had it all. Savings, great businesses, regular travel. All our kids were in good shape and all relationships were working. Eleven years ago Dominick started experiencing recurring infections, flu, etc. After 8 months of that we stepped past our GP and went to a specialist. Four months later he had surgery to remove bladder, prostrate and all the associated parts. Three different kinds of cancer were found. He had a very successful ten hour surgery and a day later developed DVTs. Long story short, a month later I brought him home, AMA and we began a six month battle to walk, pee, regain self sufficiency. In the middle of that recovery he was diagnosed with larynx cancer and went through surgery and radiation. Chronic and devastating sepsis, kidney blockages sent him in and out of the hospital, sometimes as often as 10 times a year. There’s more, but you get the gist of it.
    I took care of him. I left my companies in the hands of my staff. When I returned to work six months later, it was to a very different scenario. The savings were gone, lines of credit maxed, backlog of work lost, key personnel bailed, founded competing firms. Within four years I had to close five different companies, one I had run for over 25 years. My credit was ruined and we only held onto our home by the skin of our teeth.
    There was more. My life was turned upside down and pulled inside out. The loss was staggering. The loss of the things wasn’t the hard part. Things are just things. The hard part was (and still is, at times) the humiliation of being sued, of having to let good people who worked hard go, the sense of betrayal, the loss of freedom and possibilities. I’m an achiever. I don’t fail gracefully. I take my responsibilities very seriously. I don’t let people down or fail to meet my obligations.
    I failed. I lost. I hurt. I was responsible. I lived through the should haves, could haves, would haves.
    Any and all hurts from previous losses, mistakes, betrayals came back with a vengeance.
    How to not just survive, but thrive? How to overcome the humiliation? How to avoid the bitterness?
    I gave it all over to God. My choices were not always stellar, but choosing to take care of Dominick was the only choice I could make. Time, forgiveness of myself and others, humility and being honest with myself and others has given me the freedom to rebuild a fulfilling and full life. I’ve walked in the shoes of defeat, failure, hurt, pain, grief and sadness. It has brought me compassion, tolerance, generosity and changed my heart.

    • Susie Miller

      Oh Linda, I learn something from your wisdom every time!! Your honesty and transparency will encourage many, as they have me…
      I sooo get not failing gracefully… especially when there is inner blame and shame, and awakens the old lies, tapes and condemnations like a sleeping dragon. Shoulda woulda couldas are lethal and I try to avoid them as much a possible. As you say, Being kind and gracious with yourself and leaning into God is the best way to handle the chaos -even when it is hard to do. Replacing lies with truth helps too. Sometimes when I am being hard on myself, I ask myself, would I say these condemning and judgmental words to a friend?… no..? then i ever say them to myself… Your courage, grace and wisdom are an example and a blessing to me! thank you.

      • Linda

        Giving yourself the benefit of the doubt, cutting yourself the same slack you would extend to another is really importnt. I was 23 when I married Dominick, who was 39, retiring from the Navy and had 3 teen aged daughters. His daughters were the ages of my siblings. Clearly, I wasn’t going to be a ‘mother’ to them. I found a way to relate that worked. But, as my own daughter grew, I couldn’t relate to her. Her father had deserted us when she was ten months old. She was so like him and I came to understand that I was afraid she would also desert me. When I struggled with the relationship I realized I needed to treat her just as I treated her step sisters. I called it loving indifference. Not because I was indifferent, but because she was her own person and while she is like her missing father, she isn’t him.
        Her uniqueness needed to be respected and cherished. The realization that our relationship problems were the direct result of my fears of further rejection was startling. Thank God for that realization. She is a devoted and loving daughter and our relationship is easy and loving.

        • Susie Miller

          Aren’t relationships tough… good ones anyway. Our hearts are tangled up in love, fear, hope and hurt… There is no easy way or one right way to “do relationships” right!!? I love the way you examined your heart and didn’t demand she change. That is a lesson I took longer to learn and had to go back and repair with our daughters. They are gracious and forgiving and we are close, even when I annoy them or mess up royally! and I am grateful! I talk about this in my upcoming book, Listen, Learn, Love and I hope you read it and share your wise and poetic thoughts with me.


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