Losing Normal

On the outside I look like any normal mom as I pick up my kids from school or sit on the bleachers cheering on my son, but I always feel some level of symptoms.

They no longer disable me, most days. But can I live the way I used to? No, not really. I live differently. I make decisions constantly to push or rest. I can’t zoom through life. I can’t care about things I used to fret about… I just can’t.

And I’m different in my spirit, too. Even when I am having a really good time… like laughing uncontrollably, and I see from the corner of my eye, a person who seems to be struggling… something in me truly aches too.

Going through Lyme Disease changed me indefinitely. It literally broke my spirit at one point. Even though I have experienced so much healing, a part of me is still broken. There’s this ache in my soul that will never go away. And I can never see my body, my life, this world, in the same way. Never. Whatever made me feel “normal” and oblivious before, is a distant memory.

But what can I say except that sometimes life requires us to walk a different kind of path for a while… or (gulp) for the rest of our lives.

One thing I appreciate about living with a chronic illness (and this is hard to say, because there is so much not to appreciate about this!) is that ongoing discomfort rouses and awakens my convictions, and doesn’t let me apathetically coast along the riverbank.

But oh wouldn’t that be so nice? 🙂

riverbank
Image provided by http://www.pixabay.com. http://www.invitedbygrace.com

When life veers out of the calm and out into the unpredictable waters … something happens.

God calls us out, out of normal, out of that lazy river, and gives us an opportunity to ask some very real questions in light of the hefty currents:

How am I going to see my life now?

How am I going to see myself?

How am I going to see God?

Can I still see that my life has purpose even though it is no longer easy? Can I still see that I am completely forgiven and loved despite the pain?  Do I still believe that God is for my ultimate good even though life comes against me?

Because what if we’re facing the very things we’re facing so that we can live differently? What if the world needs less normal and more courage?

Normal may keep the world spinning predictably. It may look great on paper. It may keep our lives in a single file line for a while, but it is an illusion.

If we are honest with ourselves, it’s the uncomfortable, so-called “different” things about ourselves that make us contemplate who we really are.

In fact, they say to know the taste of a tea, we have to immerse it in hot water.  And if we want to know what kind of father a man will be, watch him untangle Christmas lights… 🙂

Because anything that rattles our very core, keeps us up at 2am, shipwrecks our plans… forces us to ask where our convictions truly lie.

It leaves us no other choice but to take our eyes off the masses, off others who seem to have everything tied up in a neat trendy bow, and instead ask the questions, “Who am I? What will I live for? What has God called me to?”

And maybe it is only those who don’t feel normal anymore, who must redefine themselves by something greater than their circumstances… who have faced the reality that they will never be like everyone else… who can truly answer these questions, because they are the ones who have to ask them.

The words of Scripture remind us that for those who trust in Christ, they are new creations… changed, different, set apart.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

Maybe being renewed through the trials of life, though hard, ugly and exhausting, is really an act of grace… an act of this strange grace that works best when we don’t need to be normal… and instead, want to be changed to be more like Christ.

Could it be that losing normal is the only way to begin to live extraordinarily?

And maybe, when it’s all said and done, to want anything less, will seem nothing but strange.

tulips
Image provided by http://www.pixabay.com. http://www.invitedbygrace.com

Blessings all you “strange warriors.” 🙂

As God told the apostle Paul in the thick of the storm, “Keep up the courage.”

You are making a true difference!

Please take the time to listen to this Christmas song “Be Born in Me.” (Click on song.)   And also check out a personal favorite “A Strange Way to Save the World.” These have been on repeat here in my home!

 

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20 thoughts on “Losing Normal

  1. Kim, this is fabulous. This post is stuffed full of one liners. Lines that I think will be replaying in my head. “Could it be that losing normal is the only way to begin to live extraordinarily?” LOVE this thought. Sometimes it is heart wrenching to feel different, yet, I’ve often looked back and felt grateful for those “different” times, because it is during them that I’ve gained more compassion and relied more heavily on God. And come to think of it, wasn’t Jesus quite different? If we want to be like Him, then we’ll probably start “losing normal.” The message in this post is beautiful. Thank you, Kim! 🙂

    1. Marla, you are such an encouraging person, Thank you. I am glad that you enjoyed the post. I had this “written” in my thoughts for a while, but I had to let some time pass before I could actually write it out… You are a compassionate person! I can totally tell… and I do think it’s because of the things we go through that God works in our hearts and changes our perspective of what is truly “normal.” Thanks for your comment!

  2. So much truth here, Kim. Our struggles do force us to question what’s really important and focus on the things that are. Thank you for sharing your story here. You are a light and encouragement to others.

    1. Thank you so much Abby. It means a lot to hear that. You too have encouraged me with your posts. 🙂 So glad we can connect and share how God works in our lives.

  3. Wow! Truly a wonderful post with so much truth and honesty. You spoke, or should I say, wrote this for me…I am sure of it! I struggle with the normal question and my purpose all the time but your words make this struggle okay. Your words actually my struggle…of all things…normal! And I thank you for that!

    1. Your comment truly encouraged me. Thank you! I know you understand what it means to embrace a new normal. I am not saying it is fun to have a health issue that changes so much of your life, but I am constantly humbled by how much I am learning because of it!

  4. Thank you so much for your post. It was very powerful.
    As I was reading I started thinking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how we can feel and be healed in all senses.
    There is a video that I watched (it’s only a couple minutes long), and it talks about the things that are made possible because of Christ. I think you’d like it : https://www.lds.org/youth/video/because-of-him?lang=eng

    How did you come to have such faith in the Lord?

    1. Thank you for your kind words and for thinking to share the link with me. It has been by God’s grace alone that I have been able to hold on to faith in Him. He is faithful and abiding in Christ brings so much joy.

      1. You are welcome.
        There is a scripture that I love in the Book of Mormon that says “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” The only way we are able to continue holding is by the grace of God, like you said. I am so grateful that God is truly our Father and that we can rely on Him.

  5. Kim, these are powerful words. Your perspective continues to amaze me. Normal often feels more comfortable, but our faith is strengthened the most in the uncertain, trying times of life where our dependency on Jesus is at its peak.

    “Maybe being renewed through the trials of life, though hard, ugly and exhausting, is really an act of grace… an act of this strange grace that works best when we don’t need to be normal… and instead, want to be changed to be more like Christ.” – I love this!

    Thank you for these beautiful words.

    1. Hannah thank you for your encouraging words. Yes normal does feel comfortable…but it is in those questioning (and for me) times of fear that I discover more how much I depend on the Lord! How we are so constantly learning! Thanks so much Hannah for commenting. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. It is a simple thing to say… but very hard to live out. But yes I think the world needs more courage… if I think about it, the most impactful people never quite lived like everyone else. 🙂 Thank you for your encouraging words.

  6. Just found your page. I am emotionally affected by your words here. Losing normal is what I have experienced since 2011 when 10 very important people in my life suddenly died (all throughout the year). I was left, a shell of myself. Then I was diagnosed with a blood disorder and to top it off, last April, Lyme disease. I have been non-functional for 17 months meaning I have systemic arthritis and other symptoms but mostly in pain every day. I was a professional ballerina and national ballroom champion. Losing my “normal” body movement has been nothing less than devastating. However, coming across your soft and gentle words here is helping me cope. What a beautiful soul you are. Thank you for sharing. I will look forward to your next blog!

    1. Jessica, thank you for your courage to share your story. It brought me to tears. It really does break my heart to know that your journey since 2011 has been one of such trial and loss. I can’t imagine the pain of losing so many important people in your life… and then to face a loss of health and the thing that you worked all your life for…dancing. I am familiar with Lyme, and I stand with you, to say, it is a very trying illness on so many levels. People have no idea. For me, it took away so much of who I was for years. I know it’s hard to see, but there is hope. I pray for your emotional and physical healing. The two are so closely tied. I pray that you will find God’s grace in all of this. Please continue to care for yourself. You are so brave.

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