Geography

2020 was a booger.

I said booger instead of a string of curse words because I’ve been asking God to help me tame my tongue. There are days when I think the only way that will be accomplished is if He pulls it out. I have a flair for dirty words and I like to say them. So I’m working on that diligently.

So I chose the word booger, you can interject your word in if you think it’s more appropriate.

It was a booger way before October 17th, that date just put things in complete perspective. I wish now my biggest problem in life was wearing a mask and/or staying home. Perspective.

I keep saying, “I’ll be so glad when this year is over.” I’ll be glad when this year is a memory, an afterthought, dust.

This morning, as I was listening to a lesson on God’s word, the Holy Spirit smacked me around a little. He does that, you know. I liken it to that biff on the back of the head you got from an upper classman on the school bus. The unexpected flick that causes you to duck your head and brings tears to your eyes. Sometimes tears of pain, sometimes of humility.

When my kids were young, I would tell them to pick up their things. Socks, dishes, toys…whatever. And they would quickly pick it up, but instead of putting it where it went, they would just move it to another spot. I’d tell them, “That’s just geography.” All they did was make it travel from one location to the next but the mess was still there. Geography.

And then they had to do it right. Usually with an eye roll or a foot stomp, sometimes with mouthy words that brought out a Tracey Soden episode. But they still had to do it again, and sometimes again after that. Until it was right.

2020 has been a booger. And 2021 is so close now we can see the ball being raised.

But the challenges and the heartbreak will still be there on January 2. All the ‘fresh start’ I beg for is still going to be marred by the absence of my son.

So what do I do with that. That’s what woke me up this morning at 4:00. That’s what I’ve been chewing on. What now? Where from here?

I’ve picked up my sadness and depression and I just keep setting it down in different places. Moving it from obstacle to obstacle with no end in sight. It’s just geography.

God’s plan for me isn’t despair. I have suffered the greatest loss you can experience. I am not going to wonder around for 40 years looking for an answer. I have to pick my cross up and figure out what to do with it. Not because it’s a New Year. But because that’s what God expects me to do.

I know he will make a way for me. I know part of that is going to SUCK. It’s sucks right now. There are so many days I wake up and wish I hadn’t. Meals I cook that remind me of Kade, favorite foods that he would have asked for Ken to drop by on his way to work. Movies and tv series that I can’t bare to watch. The Stand series just dropped and I was so excited to talk to him and Kendall about it. He was in the middle of reading The Hobbit and I’ll never get to talk to him about it. I have an emptiness and I have all of this pain.

Like it or not, I’m going to drag that into this new year. The country is still in turmoil. Covid. Job loss and financial hardships. Fear and uncertainty. All of that is going to trudge right along behind us as 2020 becomes 2021.

But what are you going to do with it?

I know what I WANT to do with it. I have a plan. I have things I’ve resolved to do or not do. I do every year. I make a list…

Then tear it up about January 15th in defeat.

So this year my plans are to pray and listen. That’s it. Just those two things.

Then follow through with the help of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to just keep picking all of this up and putting it down in a different spot. That’s just geography.

I don’t know if 2021 will be better in any of the areas we are struggling in. In fact, maybe it will get worse.

But in this chaos, there is opportunity. You can keep picking up the negative and laying them down where you must pick them up again.

Or

You can pick them up and listen to what God wants for you to do with them.

The hardship will still be there, but I have faith that peace will surround it. Hope will follow.

I have peace about Kade . I know where he is and that he is whole. My hope is that in my grief, something good comes of it.

And even though 2020 was full of so much heartbreak for so many, there was also incredible blessing.

May your 2021 be full of blessings. May your heartache turn to healing. May your peace and joy outshine your sadness. May your prayers be full of Thanksgiving.

But may your life be full of the Father and His Son and your companion, the Holy Spirit. No matter what year it is. Pick it up and put it where God directs you, then you won’t have to pick it up again.

That’s what new really is.

Christmas

We made the decision early on that Christmas would be super different this year because of the COVID situation. We decided to forgo the big, traditional gatherings we usually have.

We have several ‘Christmas’ days to accommodate everyone’s schedules. We chose a long time ago to be the ‘easy’ house when it came to when you could come and see us.

I had no idea how different this year would be. How difficult this year would be.

Even though we decided to keep our distance this year, we decided to go ahead and have our annual Pancakes and Pajamas party at Kyler’s house. This was the only time in the last few years that we were all able to be together at the same time. It was the last Christmas-time function that all except Kendall were there for.

I’ve been dreading this day. Just such a heaviness about us all being there without Kade. I woke up and there has just been a wet blanket on my whole morning.

Then someone said, “Things will just never be the same, this has broken your family”

And I got defensive.

It’s true. Things will never be the same. A hole has been torn in the fabric of our family. This has broken our family.

But we won’t stay broken. God promised me in His word. He has assured me that anything I’ve lost, anything that’s been taken, anything that has been unfair

He’s going to put that all back.

And maybe not here, but absolutely there.

I know he will give me things daily to be thankful about and joyful over.

But I have to expect them, then watch for them. Expectation is faith. I have the expectation of God’s work in my life, which shows Him I have faith in Him.

I’ve been working really hard on what I allow my mind to dwell on. I pray about that more than anything right now. What sets up a tent in my brain. Thoughts lead to emotion. There has to be a thought before there is an emotion. So I’m constantly careful about what’s happening up there.

So I’ve let dread take hold for a few days. Because of all the ‘hole’. And this morning was pretty rough.

Then I was doing my hair and God started talking to me. Or rather, I began listening. I got 28 Christmases with my son. They were filled with fun and joy and love and stress and orneriness and yelling and laughing and so much wonderful. We are all so close and we all have such a good time together.

I want that to all continue for the rest of us.

And I know I’ll not have my son back here, but I also know God will bless me so abundantly and He will send things to me to lessen this blow. He will treat me with gentleness and soothe my heart and soul.

So I’m changing the way I’m looking at today. We will all still get to spend the day together, and we have added touches to ensure Kade is with us in spirit. I thank God on my knees every day that I still have so much. Many don’t.

I will be looking for blessings today. Things that I know were sent to me to make me smile and have a moment of just pure joy.

Continue praying for all of us. Your intercession is something we simply must have.

Merry Christmas from the Soden Family. Thank you for all so many of you have done these last two months. It speaks so highly of everyone’s feelings about our sweet Nathan Kade Soden.

Repeat the sounding joy 🌲

and it doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all…..

Today has been a bad day. I have bad days a lot, but today has been a doozy. 😳

Yesterday I finally started Christmas shopping. I can’t buy for Kade this year, so we need to camp out there a minute.

I was sending out a group text and because I have so many kids and almost kids, I always do it by age. Kendall, Kade, Kennedy, Kyler, Belle. Then I add on Katelyn and Whitney and Ethan. I’ve just always done it like this.

I was making Christmas lists, because that’s what I do. Again, by age and with significant others and children.

I’m trying to make menus for our parties and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I list everyone’s favorites, they each have an “I want…..!!!” And they all get it.

This year, each step, each list, each present

There’s this HOLE

I can’t fill it in, it’s not finished being dug up yet, I don’t think

I don’t want to do it differently so it’ll be easier. It won’t be easier just because we scrambled things up differently this year.

I’m super angry today. I’ve been reading a lot and talking to a few close friends who have had to go through this hell and I know now that I’m allowed to be mad. Thank God, cos I am.

I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to not have him here. It makes me almost insane some times. I don’t know what to do with all of the emotions.

I started a new thing yesterday, journaling in an app about my “pain number” several times a day. It’s too soon for that I think, because I just want to throw my phone. Seems like a good indication I’m not there yet.

What I’m slowly feeling today, is that my focus is on the secular part of Christmas. I have felt a not-so-gentle nudge all afternoon to turn my focus to Jesus and what his birth meant for me.

So I’m taking a hot bath and I’m going to scramble some eggs and I’m going to settle back into reading the gospels. Kennedy, Belle and I had a plan to read Luke this month and I’ve been letting myself get so overwhelmed that we haven’t even started. I’m going to tonight.

Focus on what counts, the rest is just a distraction from your loved ones and the One who loves you.

I’m sure this is why I’ve lost my footing, I’m not seated next to “the reason for the season” (I absolutely hate when people say that 🙄😉)

Writing this has calmed me down and sometimes just saying the things you know, but have forgotten or ignored, will change what your heart can stand.

I have found out a heart can be so broken you don’t think you’ll survive it. I thought I knew heartache, I didn’t.

But.

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth again you will bring me up” Psalms 71:20

Pray for me. Pray for my other children. Pray for their father and step-father.

Reflect on your children. I wish my biggest problem was what I couldn’t get Kade for Christmas.

Search for what matters ❤️