Best Days Ahead...

"Your best days are always ahead of you." Perspective on 2016 and the brightness of 2017. Water color and stencils by Bo Downes (10 yrs old).

"Your best days are always ahead of you." Perspective on 2016 and the brightness of 2017. Water color and stencils by Bo Downes (10 yrs old).

{I know, I know…I am LONG overdue for a much needed update to my blog. I would like to think that I have been too busy living life to write about it, which is a good thing. But from now on, I really will try to do better about chronicling our lives and sharing what God is doing!}

Recently, we passed the one year mark of my husband’s return home after being away for several years, due to complications from Bipolar Disorder.  His return last year coincided with Holy Week, which is this week! What a year it has been! This beautiful artwork to the left, drawn bythe 10 year old daughter of a former ministry colleague, pretty much sums up what life has been like for us. "Your best days are always ahead of you"...that perfectly captures what this past year has been like, and what I hope for as we look ahead to the future. I know 2016 was a tough year for many, but for us it was an amazing time of reconnection, restoration, and recovery. My family, which had been broken for so long, was miraculously put back together again. It has been a year full of adjustments on several fronts: medication, family and household dynamics, relationships. There were some ups and downs all across the board, but in the midst of it all, PEACE.

So here we are, a little over one year later…and I firmly believe with all of my heart that our best days are indeed ahead of us. In the meantime, here is some insight into what’s been going on with us, and what the Lord has been teaching me…

Recovery from bipolar episodes can take quite a bit of time, effort, and concentration. My husband spent several years in prolonged state of illness, and along with that came trauma. So I knew that it would take, at the minimum, at least a couple of years for him to heal. There is no “bouncing back” from this, you just have to walk it out day by day and let time and medication and care do its work. In this past year, his meds were adjusted at least 5 times. Recently, due to some alarming side effects, his care provider made the decision to switch one of his medications, which if you know anything about the Russian Roulette that is psychiatric medications, can produce a lot of anxiety. It’s one thing to change medications that simply don’t work. But this one was working well, so it was nerve-wracking to have to switch. Yet it was potentially causing some long term physical damage, and he had no choice. Fortunately, so far the change seems to be working out, and may even be a better fit for him. But, it takes time to fully adjust to having a new drug entered into your system, and in some ways, it’s almost like starting over. The good news is that he was already stable when the new meds were introduced, so that has been to his advantage.

In the midst of all that, we have managed to create…or re-create…a life for ourselves as a family and as a couple, that consists of what I call the “extraordinarily mundane”. Life is quiet, simple, peaceful, calm, and yet miraculous, simply because of the fact that we are together. It may seem perfectly normal, and perhaps it is for most people, but for us, in light of all we’ve been through, it is quite an accomplishment!

I am a professional musician and music teacher, the main breadwinner and the only driver. My schedule is sporadic, but it allows me free time to take Scott to his many appointments, spend time with him, take my daughter where she needs to go, and yes, take care of myself. My husband comes to my concerts, which is something he enjoys immensely. Music is a type of therapy for him, (and for me!) so it works out great. My students are all thriving, and I derive great pleasure seeing them grow. We live simply and frugally…our needs are met, and God makes provision for any extras that come along.

Date Night

Date Night

We go to the grocery store, run errands, and basically just hang out as a family. We watch TV or movies, go for drives, walk the mall, and occasionally splurge with a meal out. We go out as a couple to Starbucks or the local piano bar, or for a cheap dinner for two while our daughter does her thing. She was doing color guard for her middle school, so for awhile we would schlepp her to events, which was nice to do as a family. He rests, oversees our daughter when I’m not home, and may read or watch old movies. They are rebuilding their relationship, and finding their way with one another. He has a DVD that plays the Bible while the words flash on the screen, and recently he has managed to go through the entire Bible! We meet with a local pastor once or twice a month just to chat. He is taking care of his body, his mind, and his spirit, all of which need massive amounts of healing and rest.

As for me, it has been an interesting time of just learning to live in the moment. I’m the kind of person who likes to do a lot of dreaming of the future and reflecting on the past…but God has been teaching me about something called “liminality”. A liminal space is that awkward time between “what was” and “what will be.” We are not where we were, and it yet remains to be seen where we’re going. No longer caterpilar, not yet butterfly...in transition. For much of the past year, I’ve been trying to make sense of the past and figure out where we’re headed…but God has had me slow down, and learn to just BE. I used to travel a lot, all over the world. As much as I love to go to new places and see new things, being trapped in a tin can 30,000 feet in the air is NOT my idea of fun. When you’re in the air, you are essential nowhere. You’re not where you were, and you’re not where you’re going. You’re stuck, and only the grace of God and skilled pilots and well maintained planes will get you to where you’re going. It can be scary and yet exciting at the same time, because as much as you look forward to your destination and will most likely arrive in one piece ( planes are, after all, the safest way to travel!), it seems like you’re within seconds away from potential disaster. The best you can do is sit back, relax, and wait, and try to pass the time, and TRUST that you will land safely.

That’s where I’m at these days. Life seems to have finally taken off for us, but we still have a ways to go before we arrive at our destination. This is not the time to make any major decisions, or try to find answers to lingering questions. Even my writing, which it seems I have been waiting SO long to finally devote the time and energy that my heart desires to give it, has taken a back seat. Alas, now is not the time to attempt to launch a new career in writing…instead, it is a time to simply sit back and relish the miracle of being together. A couple of short years ago, even this was nothing but a dream. Now is the time to TRUST the Lord more than ever, and continue to rest in Him.

Psalm 37:7King James Version (KJV)

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.

Amen!!