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Complete this sentence: “I know I’m overwhelmed when _______.” For me, I most frequently realize I am stressed after I start exhibiting all those negative effects of stress. Then I finally figure it out…”I am so overwhelmed, and that must be why I ____.” Over-reacted. Said that mean comment. Ate your box of cookies.

You see, it takes a lot to send me over the edge, but when I go there I seem to take my time coming out. For a few weeks I have been there, in that state of being too full. Full of emotion, full of worry, full of sadness. The sources of these emotions are a complete range from serious issues to petty problems (that feel like serious issues) I guess what’s happening is that I am trying to balance the emotions held in the hardships of this world with the truth that there can be and is hope. How do I balance the knowledge and experience of the hurting and depraved world we live in with a belief that there is love and a chance for rescue? My emotional state started with local community awareness, primarily through my job, that filled my heart with pain and confusion for others. Then it moved national, then global. Take the recent surge of awareness of the plight in Africa, for example. Except horrible atrocities happen all over the world.

This is my man coming home from deployment #1 for which he left about 30 days after we got married. The problem? Some wives’ husbands don’t come home.

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This baby girl, as sad as she was? Some people can’t have them. That mommy who loves that baby girl with all that she has? Some baby girls don’t get to have their mommies.

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I won’t keep going lest I send you into my same state.

Some things that have caught me off guard are small and pale in comparison to other situations. Making Taylor’s bed into a toddler bed was one such change. I was very surprised at how sad it made me. Suddenly I see her as a toddler and not a baby and I feel like those “baby” memories are out of reach and she’s growing up too fast! As a result I have been holding on to Brendan tight, cuddling with him and staring at him because he’s going to grow up at the speed of light too. That sadness makes me want to stop time, but I can’t!

Balance. That’s what I was missing, am missing, when I get to caught up in the hardships and the fear. Remember those 1000 gifts I was beginning to make? (Miriam Louise & Eucharisteo) I think that’s where those come in to play. Right when I feel that there aren’t enough gifts to go around, I need to take notice of my gifts and share the wealth and the joy they bring. Instead of living in the “what if” or the “how come” I need to tackle what I have right here.

“From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another.” – John 1:16

I am going to continue to work with the wounded and the hurting and send them out of our doors with more hope and more tools to face the day. I am called to. I will nurse my wounds and pains too. I will also proclaim the hope and the story of rescue because that is also a reality. Sad things happen all around but to get stuck in them prevents me from addressing them with triumph. So instead of looking at those pictures with a sadness, I can see them as my gifts. I was gifted with a husband who came home. I was given the ability to have children. I wasn’t given all gifts and I’ve had some taken away, but I was given what I have for a reason and a purpose. My heart is still heavy, but I know that once I get out of this one I’ll have a stronger more purposeful outlook.

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This baby girl with her three blankets and two special sleeping buddies IS growing up, but it’s so precious! That baby boy IS growing up! But it’s okay. Every day of growth is a new day of blessings: Of hearing “hungry, hungry hippo” in princess language or seeing a miniature prince sitting up all by himself with a big smile. Of my hard-working husband going on work trips but coming home to me. Of me learning about and responding to pains that should never have happened but they did.

Thank you God for my gifts. Their message – that you love me and care for all – are carrying me through.

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