The godwink

Divine alignment and godwinks

I have been reading “Divine Alignment: How Godwink Moments Guide Your Journey” from Squire Rushnell, and this book literally is what’s happening in my life right now. It hit me on the very first page when he says, “Each of us is born with a built-in GPS. God’s Positioning System. Right from birth, we come equipped with a highly sophisticated navigational package that  – through an internal voice of intuition and godwinks – divinely aligns us with people, as well as events, who assist us in reaching our destiny and keep us from losing our way.”

This whole life, I’ve had my own personal Navigator in God. So have you. However, it’s up to us whether we listen to the GPS and follow the journey. For years I’ve been asking myself “what is my purpose in life?” I think we all ask ourselves that at some point in life. I’ve always felt like I was meant to do something bigger yet didn’t know what that was.

And then Nikolai died.

Instead of running from God, I ran to Him full tilt. My heart was broken. I was broken. I didn’t know where to turn to make sense of what happened, except to God. The immediate weeks after Nikolai took his life, I started to feel peace, but not in the sense you think. It was more like someone putting their hand on my shoulder and telling me it was going to be okay, and it was a constant. And because I had decided therapy wasn’t for me, God was the only one I was talking to. All the raw emotions I was feeling – the guilt, the sadness, He got it all. Through that process of grieving with Him, I came to slowly realize my journey had just begun.

My first godwink was when a colleague of mine called me up one day and asked to go to lunch. Julie and I had talked to each other many times at Chamber of Commerce events; however, we weren’t on a level of hey, let’s have lunch, outside of business. Something in my gut told me to go to lunch with her.

That lunch has changed my life. Julie proceeded to tell me that day that she felt I had something to share with the world and she wanted to help me do it. Would I be open to putting myself out there in a blog to help others cope with their grief? I said yes. In a few whirlwind weeks, Julie not only set up a blog platform for me, secured a domain and built a website and social media platforms for me, she also found businesses to sponsor my blog to help with the costs of all that was about to occur. Divine alignment happened and thankfully we both acted upon the godwinks that were presented to us.

My second huge godwink came at a networking event for the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce. I had been thinking for weeks prior to that event that there was something even bigger than my blog, bigger than all things onadragonflyswings that I needed to be doing to really make a difference. The minute State Representative Andrea Schroeder stepped foot through the door, I knew I had to connect with her. I was drawn to her for some reason and decided to just go for it. We exchanged contact information, but honestly, I really didn’t expect a call back.

In less than a week, Andrea reached back out to me. She had talked to people in both school districts and was ready to move forward with my idea to put the suicide crisis hotline numbers on the back of 6-12th grade student ID cards. Not only that, her and her husband paid for all the stickers and got them to the right people in the two school districts to make sure conversations were being held around them. I then told her I wanted this to be required of all school districts. Guess what… she’s making that happen. We are only a Senate vote away from making the Save Our Students Bill a law. Did you also know that Andrea shares her birthday with Nikolai? Did you also know that her daughter’s birthday is on Nikolai’s death date? These are not coincidences… these are godwinks. This is Divine Alignment.

In the book, Rushnell is talking about the death of a young filmmaker, Zaki Gordon. He states, “You are still struggling with the tragic loss of Zaki’s life, asking yourself why a loving God would allow such a bright light to be extinguished so horribly. But we can make some suppositions. Suppose God sees things from a wider perspective than you and I. Imagine that we are like ants at the bottom of a giant redwood tree in the midst of a great forest while God, from above, can see everything with great clarity. If that’s the case, would it not stand to reason that something that doesn’t make sense to us, way down here in the weeds, actually makes perfect sense to God, as He sees it, as part of His perfect plan?”

Through the inner compass of Zaki’s dad, God was able to implant ideas, allowing his spirit to prevail, while touching the lives of thousands. Look up the Zaki Gordon Institute if you want to more about this particular story. However, my point is, without my Navigator (God) and my willingness to put on my bravery boots and act on some of the godwinks, we may not have We may not have a Save Our Students Bill. I’m listening all the time. I know there is so much more in store for me, all in God’s timing. I just have to be open to all the godwinks.

I could go back the last 12, even 24 months of my life and see all the godwinks placed in front of me. I am definitely on a guided journey constantly asking, now what? There is much work to be done in the world of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. My impact right now seems so insignificant some days. I’ve always said if I can help just one child, one family. I know I have at least done that, yet I want to save them all.

One baby step at a time, following my GPS.

Let me leave you with one final quote from Rushnell, “Day in and day out you nonchalantly encounter one person after another as you bound from one event to the next, casually accepting life as a series of accidents. Only when you stop to open your mind to the immense possibilities of Divine Alignment do you begin to see the marvelous connections and invisible threads that connect you from one person to another. You begin to understand that your life is not an accident at all.”

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

Have Faith

Have faith in God

Friday was March 20. This date marks 9 months since Nikolai left this physical world. Every month when the 20th rolls around I brace myself for an emotionally draining day. You would think I could better prepare myself for it. I know it’s coming. The 20th happens every single month. For me it marks another month gone without our Beans. It’s the countdown to that dreaded year marker.

This month though everything was different. The past week has been the most mentally exhausting for me since the week of Nikolai’s funeral. I found myself bouncing between desperately trying to find moments of joy amid all the worry, anger, sadness and tears. Oh the tears this week.

My job is communications for a hospital. While I am able to work from home and not be on the frontline, it was a whole different level of Hell. I was scared for my family – would we have enough food, would our power stay on, would my oldest son and his pregnant girlfriend still have jobs, my parents who are two hours away (but thankfully near my sister), my friends, my co-workers who literally are on the front line every single minute trying to save others while trying to calm their own worries about their families.

Imagine all of this and then on top of that having to be the calm and comfort for not only your immediate work family but for the thousands of people in our communities who need information and comfort from the hospital.

When I was at my most vulnerable is when I had to step up the biggest for others. A friend told me that God put me in this exact place because He trusts that I could and would say just the right thing. Joe told me to simply write from my heart. Write what I need to hear. So, I did. I took a deep breathe and wrote exactly what I needed to hear. I can only hope that it was enough for others.

Before the 20th came, I was destroyed. Every night last week I spent falling asleep in Joe’s arms crying – no, sobbing.

This weekend, I have finally been able to decompress. Joe made sure that our house was filled with food as well as my oldest son’s refrigerator. We cleaned, did laundry, did a puzzle, read, took a 5-mile hike in the woods with our youngest and one of our dog’s. I have been able to really take a good hard look at this past week. Now that I am in a better place mentally, I can honestly say, the things I put into place in my life last week literally saved me from a total breakdown.

I kept to a pretty strict schedule every single day. I didn’t dare fall into any “traps” that didn’t seem part of my “normal”. So, every single day I got dressed first thing. And after I closed my laptop at the end of the day, I did what I always normally do – I worked out, made dinner, watched a little TV or read and went to bed at 9:30, my normal bedtime. These are all things within my control. I needed to keep things consistent to help me through my day.

It’s the little extra things I added into my day, that when it comes right down to it, really saved me. All of these were God things, or at least that’s what I like to call it. My friend Greg started a 7am prayer service every day. It was less than 15 minutes long and I never missed it. Not a single day. That afternoon walk I took with Daisy at lunchtime, was my time to cry and pray out loud about anything and everything. My sister sent me a playlist of comforting Christian music and I put it on loop in my headphones while I worked. God saved me this week. When I fell into the darkest of places, is when He lifted me up.

By the time I got to Friday, the 20th of the month, I actually was in the best place I’ve ever been on the 20th of any month. I woke up that morning and felt as if something very heavy was being lifted off of my chest. I could breathe a little bit better. And I don’t have to ask why, I know why – God was lifting some of that burden I was carrying. He had my back.

I don’t know if any of you have watched the Amazon Prime show “Hunters”. If you haven’t, it is a really good series (only one season out right now). Last night we binge watched the last four episodes. The second to last episode included a scene between two parents and their son who had died as a young child 30 years earlier. It was the absolute most beautiful creation of heaven. In this scene the son assures his parents that he is happy and doing well. This was absolutely what I needed to see. After a heartbreaking week and a 20th, this was the reassurance I needed for all things. I faithfully believe this scene we watched was God sending us a message.

Have faith, rise up, go hard and believe with all your being – God will not abandon us. God will save us. Do not be fearful. Let go and let God. He is talking to you. He is talking to me. Every single day He is speaking to us in so many different ways. Be still and listen.

I know this past week was one of the most trying for all of us. We each had our own struggles with moments of joy and heartache all mixed in. We have no idea what this next week will bring. We have no idea how long this quarantine will last. However, I do know one thing – my God, your God, He loves us and will help us through it. You just have to let Him in.

I wish all of you a blessed, joy-filled week. Spend it doing all the things that light your heart on fire and let God carry your fears.

My new “normal”

I am tired of being bereaved. I want my life back.

“I’m tired of being bereaved. Tired of my son being dead. I want out. I want to go back to being a “normal mom” who didn’t make decisions about end of life, or what to do with ashes, or how to celebrate birthdays for a child who isn’t here to celebrate. I didn’t sign up for this life, and I’d like the one I planned for back, please.

Give me the uncomplicated small talk, the easy play dates, the simple family photos. Bring on the joyful holiday celebrations.

Return me to that place where sad stories were sad stories, not triggers reducing me to a pile of tears one day or a disassociated robot the next. Make me strong again, in the way only the ignorant can be.

Paint the world in black and white, in simple colors and shapes. Good things happen to good people, bad actions have consequences. Restore order and balance. Make sense of things.

Because this randomness, this roulette wheel of tragedy, it is heavy.” – Elizabeth Thoma

This is exactly how I feel. I could not have said it better than she does.

This isn’t how my life was supposed to go. I had other dreams and plans and all of those included having Nikolai physically part of my world.

I was not unfamiliar to grief before Nikolai died; however, the death of my child is vastly different than the losses I have experienced. For 15 years I raised this child. I read books to him, we ran together, went to the park, Pontiac Lake in the summer to swim. As a family we did vacations, camping, hiking, movies, hanging out at home. We laughed, we cried, we argued, we loved. And all of that is over. There will never be another day with him, another hug, another stupid joke.  

I just want my life back.

I am tired of this pendulum between grief and joy. I’m tired of having a day full of amazing dissolve into wracking sobs for what feels like no apparent reason. My anxiety is at an all time high. I worry every time Joe leaves on a business trip that something bad is going to happen like it did that day in June 2019. I fear every day the loss of another child because I honestly don’t think I could live through another. I am a colossal mess of what if’s and worry and damn it, it’s exhausting!

I have built up walls and I’ve mastered the fine art of pretending. I’m an extrovert that has slipped into an introvert. My circle has significantly shrunk and very much on purpose. I need to feel safe and I don’t mean physically (although that’s important to) – I mean in groups of people and conversation. Self-care and protecting my family is at the absolute forefront of my mind at all times.

I am a self-proclaimed hot mess! And yet, as much as I fight against this new life I have been forced to live, I know that this too shall pass as I evolve into God’s plan. The goals and dreams I had for my life were clearly not God’s. He has a different plan for me. In Genesis 1 – “His plan is good because of the purpose it will serve. It is good because of the hope it will give. It is good because of the lives it will save.”

On a dragonflys wings and a prayer, I find myself living on faith. Faith that the advocacy I am doing is educating people, bringing more awareness to grief, suicide and mental health. Most days I am full of hope and know that even in those moments of desperate heartache, I cannot quit.