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Eight Months

Flipping the Switch

Eight months. 

244 days. 

We are closing in on our first year with Joe’s loss.


Writing that is so strange and so surreal. There are still days where I feel like I’m in this horrible nightmare and I could wake up at any moment.  Those times are usually followed by some sort of big action that I’ve made.  Cleaning out some of the closet, rearranging a room or area in the house, yet another business decision, something with the kids … the list goes on and on.  These changes are necessary and have helped me step forward, as much as they hurt at times.


This past week was a really good one.  I have some exciting news on the horizon and a huge project I’ve been working on that is about to launch.  From the outside in, I had it going on. 


Then I went to the dry cleaners to pick up some laundry.  In there were a handful of shirts of Joe’s. 


Eight months later. 

Talk about a blow.  Picking these up knocked the wind out of me.  I found it hard to breathe. A literal and audible gasp for air when I realized what I had just picked up. 


Those shirts stayed in my car for two days. 

They stayed in my car while I had lunch with a new friend.

They stayed in my car during carpool with the twins.

They stayed in my car while I attempted to sleep inside the house. 

They stayed, just like they had stayed at the dry cleaners for eight months.


…and to answer the question, YES, I have been there several times since June. 


Then two days later, I decided to embrace it.

I got the laundry out, and I put them on Joe’s side of the closet, just where he would have put them, and exactly like he would have.


[ These clothes are doing no good in that closet.  I’ll get to them eventually, but today is not that day.]


I so wish I could have switched the light switch off on all of those emotions that followed that one little trip to the dry cleaners.  To turn them off.  Maybe off forever, but more likely like off for just that moment where it gripped my chest and challenged me to take a deep breath.

All About the Lighting

I led my small group last Sunday, and one of the group members asked me what I do for work. 


I own a LED Lighting Company. 


That feels weird coming out of my mouth.  It never fails, anytime I provide that answer, I get the most perplexed looks. 


How did you get into that business?


(here’s that audible sigh again)


Well … lighting was never my dream, but it was my (late) husband’s dream. He loved lighting so much.  We would walk into stores, it didn’t matter where we were, and he was assessing the lighting inside.  He was counting fixtures, seeing what type of lights they had, counting what outages they had, what solution could he offer them?  A natural salesman. 



Light switch. 


(for context, I use these words daily at work)


But I keep circling back to this idea of a light switch. 

The little switch that we wish would flip and take away all our pain and grief. 


We want God to heal in a poof, don’t we?


But it doesn’t happen that way.

It’s actually not supposed to happen like that.


Don’t get me wrong, sometimes He does heal that way – but most of the time he heals in process. 


This healing journey in and of itself is a process. 


It’s a call and response from God. 

The process requires action and us moving forward in faith.

This literal moving forward in faith, is the foundation of deepening our faith in and with God, and helps us develop a big, bold, audacious and unshakeable faith in our one true Savior.


As we discussed in small group last week, our emotions are not bad things.  They’re meant to be a gauge, and not used as a guide, where we can learn to be directed by them.  As we learn to gauge what the actual emotion is, we can subsequently choose our responding actions. 


Assigning them gives them an identity.  It allows us to define them, and it’s in that definition it gives us the authority to engage with them, and ultimately take our power back over them.  Taking the time to feel the emotion and its subsequent invitation of healing is where we start to realize the healing effects.

Fear is an invitation to trust in God’s protection and provision.  Grief is an invitation to heal and grow deeper.  Anger is an invitation to act on someone else’s behalf.  Loneliness is an invitation to press into the presence of God more and be vulnerable with others.  Depression is an invitation to reapportion our values, priorities, schedule, and identity. - Davey Blackburn, Pain to Purpose

As we engage and label them, we quite literally can flip the script on our emotions and call them out.  This allows us to take dominion over them.     


I don’t know how this sets with anyone else, but this feels like a flip of the switch for me. 


I’m afraid.

Flip the switch.

God is surrounding me with protection and has made a way.


I’m sitting heavy with grief.

Flip the switch.

God is offering me the opportunity to heal my heart and grow deeper in my faith. 


You get the idea.  


Here’s how light switches work though, they go both ways, as I’m sure you already know.  They turn on and they turn off. 


Stuffing our emotions into a box, way down tight to where you must sit on the box just to close it is not good either.  I think that’s what a lot of us would rather do, honestly.  It’s hard to name and identify emotions.  What’s harder is to dive in to where those emotions are coming from and begin to address them. 


Stuffing the box creates its own light switch effect.


Pick up laundry, flip the switch.

Hear a favorite song on the radio, flip the switch.

Make a big change, flip the switch. 

On and off, on and off, like a toddler having a great time.

It seems fair I bring in the idea of our sensors too.


In my industry, the sensors are installed for various reasons, but often they are put into places where we want the lights to turn off after a certain period of time – we do this for energy conservation.


Our emotions have sensors on them too, that turn off during quiet periods, but then one little trigger of movement, and they are all on. 


Doesn’t it seem that way with life? 


You can be doing fine, moving along through life feeling like you’re on top of the world, and then BAM, something hits you out of nowhere – and when you thought you would have one experiencing emotion, all of its friends have come along with it.  They are ready to throw down and party – and we just want to turn them off. 


But something I have learned, is that when we put things in the dark, they grow.  Our emotions, our untidy actions, the things we don’t want to keep coming up – those things grow in the dark.  It’s when we shed the light on them that they can be revealed.


It’s when we shed God’s light on them, that we can begin our healing.

I share all of this in the same breath of saying, my emotions got the better of me for a couple days this week. 


I retreated.

I wallowed.

I disconnected.

I cried, A LOT.


…and then I remembered just who the hell I was, and who my Father is.

I remembered that I had been given the gift of these emotions.

I picked myself up and flipped the dang switch.

What do you need to flip the switch on today?
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