The Value of Hope (When You're Struggling)

I'm still determined to rock this year of my life. This year the girls and I are moving. This year so many things are already falling into place, and so many more look like they're going to work out just right. Other things, I'm still not so sure about, but for the most part it's beginning to look like there's light at the end of the tunnel the last few years have felt like.

But this season of growth has been hard, and to be honest, I'm struggling. I almost didn't get this blog post done in time to keep my blogging schedule, and all I have is a list of excuses.
  • No matter how excited I am about the upcoming move, I'm still stressed and scared and nervous. The changes coming have seriously triggered several long-dormant PTSD symptoms, and as a result, I'm barely sleeping at all. I'm exhausted, and the exhaustion has led to a very strong feeling that I'm coming down with something. Plus I got a kidney infection.
  • I'm stressed over Josephine wearing a 30 day heart monitor that may or may not explain certain symptoms she's been dealing with. I'm also stressed over the 72-hour EEG she'll be doing next, because the recent MRI of her brain didn't give any answers. What if there are no answers and she's just stuck dealing with what she's dealing with? On the other hand, what if there are answers? What could that mean for her?
  • I'm stressed about getting Eden's freshly grafted eardrum through allergy season. She's sick right now, and I'm terrified she'll develop an ear infection that will throw her healing (and subsequent surgical plans) completely off track. In the meantime, her ADHD symptoms are worsening, she's struggling with depression, and between all the various factors, she's not sleeping all that well either.
  • With the trouble I've been having with my van's transmission, I don't trust it to go on long trips anymore. As a result, I rarely ever get to see my mother - and while we have a complicated history and an equally complicated relationship, she's still my mother. Her health is still getting worse (which I wouldn't have even thought possible considering all her health problems), and I don't think I'll have my mother much longer. Her major organ systems are failing now. And she's having vascular surgery tomorrow. I'm afraid to try to go because of my van. But I'm afraid not to go because it's my mom.

But sometimes, you just have to spend a little extra effort to find the silver lining, the disguised blessings hidden in the chaos of your life. Today the girls and I were out in the van when one of my tires blew out. It still feels like a disaster, because what little money I had held back for the move will likely now go toward tires for the van.

But we didn't crash. The tire blowout didn't damage anything else. I had a decent spare and a good jack. And it didn't matter that I'd never changed a tire before because I happened to cruise into an Advance Auto Parts store, where I encountered the sweetest good Samaritan I've had the pleasure to encounter in a long time. He took my tire off, put my spare on. But he also did so much more than that ...

He empowered me by showing me how to do everything, walking me through the process, talking me through everything he was doing and why. He changed my tire and got the girls and I back on the road, yes - but he gave me what I needed to be stronger next time, to be less afraid, less anxious. He gave me what I needed to move forward into the next crisis - what I needed to stay undaunted.

And that? It gave me hope. Strength. Courage. And a reminder that I can handle so much more than I ever expected.

So can you.

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