Friday, January 24, 2014

Let's take it a step further

So in my last post I discussed how I've realized there is a big learning curve when it comes to relating to a spouse that is in EMS. Since then I have read a couple of really good articles that have added to my head knowledge concerning this matter. The first one a fellow Paramedic wife showed me, and the very next day when my husband came home he was pulling it up for me, saying they were all so true! lol the link for it is here. This lady definitely knows what she is talking about since she is a former Medic she has "been there." The second article is about a topic that I have been wanting to research closely because I think it is a major factor in why marriages in this line of work take a real beating. It's called Burn Out or more specifically Post Traumatic Stress. This has been on my heart lately because I feel like as a wife I need to be acutely aware of my husband's emotional, and mental health with work. They endure so much every shift with all of the highs and lows in adrenaline, and then with what they see. It's enough to make any person exhausted. So here is the link for that.  It is a long article but definitely worth the time it takes to read it. I'm bringing all of this up because I'm seeing my focus shifting. I don't want to just survive everyday in my marriage and life. I'm not saying that things are bad. They are actually very good, but if we aren't careful we can become complacent. And I think that is a very dangerous place to be.

My friends I want to take things a step further. In my life and in my marriage. What better time to start then at the beginning of a new year! There aren't very many resources I've found for couples in our position. But I found one that I am wanting to dive into and that is The Love Dare. If you have never heard of it it's based off the movie Fireproof. It's not designed specifically for EMS spouses but I feel like it is a perfect fit. The whole movie is about true, committed love. And that is exactly what is needed for our calling! It's a forty day challenge that I admit I am most nervous about embarking on but I think it will be oh so worth it. So that is the challenge I am giving myself. 

Are you looking for a change too? What are you going to do about it? I would love to hear what you want to aspire to in the new year!

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How well do I really relate to my Medic?

It is very important to me that I am being completely honest on this journey in my life and marriage. If you read my last post you know that we have had a rough year and I have been doing a lot of self-evaluation. At the peak of our hardship my husband and I started tweaking things in our marriage. It's not that we weren't happy before but there was so much stress that things began to take a toll. I can't really put my finger on the exact moment when I decided I needed to change my attitude. But I am so glad that I made that choice. Without realizing it I had become too involved in my own inward turmoil that I was literally sucking the joy out of our marriage. I didn't see all the things that my husband was doing to help me and encourage me. It breaks my heart to think about it. He is such a good man, and the best friend I could ask for (love ya babe!). So I remember thinking, "You know, life really sucks right now, but maybe I should try practicing being thankful, and grateful for what I have." So I started doing that, and even when I didn't feel like it on the inside, I tried to smile more and encourage more. It just began building on itself and I noticed some major changes in our relationship. First of all my husband was happier, haha! Instead of my usual pestering of, "Why are you doing that?" or "Can you please not wash clothes that way/put away the dishes like that/forget everything on the shopping list/blow your nose that way?" the last one is a joke. Okay maybe not. I think I did get annoyed with him once for "blowing his nose too loud and waking the baby." Sheesh! would you want to live with that person?! I know I wouldn't! (I promise I'm a good wife! lol) So I began swapping those grating comments for ones of affirmation. Thanking him for loading the dishwasher, taking the trash out, playing with our daughter so I can have some free time, etc. And the biggest thing of all: letting him be a leader in our home.

The other day we were having a heart to heart conversation about some things that had been going on recently and he shared how he was struggling with the assurance that he was making the right moves in areas pertaining to our family and other things. So I was trying to be encouraging and pointed out that he handles things so beautifully at work that he needed to trust in his capabilities to make good decisions in stressful situations. He nodded his head and agreed, saying, "You know, you really have no idea what I do at work. I want you to ride along with me sometime so you can see." I laughed it off with a comment like, "Yeah, that would go over real well." And he just stared at me with those clear blue eyes of his and replied, "I'm serious."

*Gulp* Could I really handle that? I know for a fact that he doesn't tell me a 1/4 of the things he does at work. How would I handle seeing someone's arm chopped off or throwing up blood or worse, watching someone's life slip away? I can tell you right now that I couldn't. Not at all. So now I'm stuck thinking, "How well can I really relate to someone who goes through that?" I don't think you really can. You know how they say, "Don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes." I think that applies here. 

If you were to ask me if I knew then what I know now would I still choose to marry a Paramedic I wouldn't hesitate, I would answer yes. It is hard a lot of times, but what I'm beginning to realize is that there are only certain types of people that can do this job, and they usually have these qualities:
-Love to help others
-Have great leadership skills 
Looking at that list, wouldn't you want to have those qualities in a spouse? I do!
They say that the divorce rate of people with spouses in EMS, the Police Department, and the Military are the highest among the national average. I used to think, yeah duh, it's the crazy hours and life threatening situations, etc. But I don't think that's it now. I think maybe we have been looking at it all wrong. I didn't marry a job description. I married a man who courageously uses his skills to help others, to build up his community, and to make a difference in the world. I think it's time to stop looking at all the pitfalls of long shifts, and wacky schedules, and really get to know what makes these people tick. And let me say that I am preaching to myself right now. Just think about love. Love is not just a warm feeling we have towards another person, it certainly is part of it but that isn't what love is about. Love is about sacrifice, and putting the other person before yourself. When I look at my husband's character that description fits him to a T. What a great example of Christ's love for us. 

When I look at my husband I don't see being a Paramedic as just the way he provides for his family, I see it as an extension of who he is. His personality, his strengths, and his passions. Seeing the whole picture in that way is helping me realize this way of life is truly a calling. Not for the faint of heart, but for those who are seeking adventure, and life lived at it's fullest. 

Maybe now I can begin to relate to my Medic. How about you?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Moving Forward

As I'm sitting at my kitchen table writing this post I'm looking out at the quiet gray sky outlining the bare trees surrounding our house. We've come through the coldest week on record here in our part of the south. Although we didn't receive ten feet of snow like some of our western counterparts it was interesting to say the least. I can't help to compare our weather situation to what seems to be my real life situation right now. The past two months I have gone through the hardest trial of my life. One that shook my faith to it's core and rocked my family, and marriage life. So, while I was sitting, curled up in a fetal position in my bed I couldn't help but wonder, "Where do I go from here?" "How does God rebuild from this?" 
Well I have the answer. Sort of. He DOES rebuild. But it is a very painful and sometimes exhausting experience. 
I will not name names or point fingers or say exactly what happened because I don't believe that letting angry fester into bitterness solves anything. And though I have been terribly hurt by this person I still love them and wish no ill will on their life.

I found out quite a while ago that someone was saying things about my husband that I knew were untrue and completely unjustified. Hoping the problem would just go away (yeah not so much) I never confronted them (I hate conflict). But through circumstances  I don't care to divulge it came time for me to jump in and ask the questions that I didn't want to ask. The answer was not what I dreamed or imagined and completely shattered my heart. Into a million tiny pieces. Why? why why why?? I mourned over our relationship that obviously would be irreparable unless divine intervention rendered it whole again. It is a very hard situation because you see, even if I tried, there is no way that I can truly separate myself from this person.  I wouldn't want to. Blood is thicker then water. I'll leave it at that. 
On top of this another close relationship of mine, well over 15 years in the making, crumbled as well. And did I mention that I was hardly seeing my husband for all the over time he was clocking? I didn't? Well, I hardly saw my husband. 

I felt like I had gone through "The wringer" so to speak, time and again. Blow after heartbreaking blow it seemed it wouldn't end. I knew darkness was knocking on the door of my heart and if I let it depression would do it's best to consume me. But this time I wasn't going to let that happen. I decided to fight back. I will admit at first it was on my own strength and from that mistake anger began creeping in. But my dear family, my father, mother, and little sister reminded me that anger only hurts one person and that is you. The person you are angry with goes on completely oblivious while you are consumed. 

So this week I have asked God to be brutally honest with me, and I am beginning to realize that every trial that comes my way is to shape me to be more like Him. The other day when all of these thoughts in my head were threatening to consume my day and my night I began praying. And through that time I began quoting in my head, telling God who He is to me and What He has promised me: 
1. He is good
2. He is faithful
3. He loves me
4. He will never leave me 
5. He is my Father who protects me
6. He is my God who works on my behalf 

I'm realizing that you have to be truly broken before any real change can happen in your life. Am I right? I don't want to give up a certain food until I find out it's no longer good for my health. In my life I have done two things: 1. Try to be in control of everything and 2. Care more about what people think of me then God.
This can't happen anymore. All of this I have learned and yet I feel like I have just scratched the surface of my problems. I am so thankful that through this trial God has shown me how much I was living in self-preservation mode. But by His grace, slowly the pieces are coming together. I have joy in my marriage again (I will expound on that way more later but it is for another time) utter satisfaction in my role as a mother now, and I am beginning to love myself. For who I am and not who the world says I am. That is so freeing! 

Each day is different, sometimes hard. But always a blessing. I'm so thankful to be alive, and it's all thanks to God. So here is to a new year and moving forward. May God lead us down the path we are meant to walk on.

In His peace,

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Dawn of a New Beginning

I'm realizing how serious all my blog titles are, haha! I guess being an English Major I like describing things so something like "January 3, 2013" doesn't really cut it. Not that there is anything wrong with using a date for a title. I get away from myself. Anyway...

Friends, I am going to be honest and say that 2013 was a bad year. As in it sucked BAD. In a earth-shattering, faith-shaking sort of way. For a while there I wasn't sure I was going to make it. But by the Grace of God we made it through. After all of this I have decided to keep the blog because:
 1.) I need to have honest self reflection in my life
 2.) A chance to record this time in our life 
 3.) I like to write :) 

So there you have it. More to follow. Until then enjoy this picture of our family that would have gone out on Christmas cards if I had actually sent them out this year *sigh*