The Empty Shoes

I have been in a really dark and angry place for about two months now. I wish I could give you the good Christian response that “I have never lost faith,not even for a second,” but somewhere in the pits of my emotions, I did. I’ve been looking at holiday after holiday, birthday after birthday, and seeing how my grandmother is still not there here, yet my tears still are. I have been looking at how she had to get sick just to die, and how empty her shoes are still underneath her favorite chair. Like those shoes and that chair, my life has also felt completely empty. Despite my big ole support system I have felt completely alone. Despite friends and family reaching out, I have still been deep in my feelings and no way to really express what the heck was going on within me.

My grandmother had a way with words, sometimes a little more wordy than I would have liked, but she knew how to get through to me. In my darkest moments she would let my grown, adult, post-two baby body, crawl in her lap, let me cry for a bit then say, “Alrighty, now you’ve got to get yourself together. I don’t care if your leg is hanging out your ear, you have got to get yourself together.” Well, in all honesty, I have not been able to “get it together.” I have cried…a lot. I have not been able to sleep, and my prayers resemble something of a “LAWD JUST TAKE ME NOW.” I have had no energy or desire to go anywhere or do anything. I think it is so easy to tell someone after the fact, “Always ask for help.” But the fact of the matter is, when depression hits sometimes it blindsides you and the next thing you know you are caught up in a riptide. Still when you know the patterns and you have lived with cycling moods for years you learn to adapt which can be good and bad because sometimes you don’t even realize you’re being swept to sea. I can keep a relatively clean house, cook, get the kids to school on time, and still really be suffering. What a talent! Thankfully before I lost my grandmother the Lord took precious care to send me and show me, “my people.”

Yesterday my friend “subtly” dropped me a text that said, “I’m out do you want/need delivery service?” She picked up what I needed, came to my house, listened to me mutter things from underneath double blankets, and finally said, “Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to watch Emily. You are going to take a shower and I will pick you up 5:45 for church.”

Last night as I listened to my friend teach, one statement rang through my ears all the way into the carpool line this morning, “If we focus on the weeds we can never see what is actually growing in our lives.” I have been staring at the weeds in my life instead of looking at the beautiful blessings growing all throughout them.

The woman who once wore those shoes made me the woman I am today. She taught me how to be the wife and mother that I am today, but most importantly she loved me with a love that lasts a lifetime and an eternity after that. I am married to a man that I constantly wonder if it is even normal to still be so into after 11 years. I have kids so attached they freak out and get offended if I even close the bathroom door. I have friends who care enough to force me into the shower and drag me out of the house. And Family. So much family that surrounds us with love, encouragement, and so much help each and everyday.

If falling into this hole of feelings has taught me anything, it is that sometimes the darkness we are feeling is really just the shadow that gives us rest, a place of safety, and a hiding spot underneath His wings. Those shoes may still be empty but the memory and the life she left behind is still so full.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalms 91:1‭-‬4 NLT

5 thoughts on “The Empty Shoes

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      1. Taralyn, I feel every word you wrote about the empty shoes.You write so beautifully! Anne’s light still shines in you. I treasure what you said about in the shadow of God ‘s wings you can find rest. Thank you for expressing how all of us who love and miss Anne feel deep in our hearts. Love you, Donna


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