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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

My New Normal

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

I vividly remember when I first heard “new normal” used as a way to adapt to a world turned upside down. It was right after 9-11. Jill Briscoe, a Christian writer/speaker I have followed and respected for years, shared her take on adapting to drastic change by calling it “new normal.” While I suspect she borrowed the term from someone else, I will always credit her for giving me direction for times that challenge the definition of normal.

That’s where I’m living these days, in new normal.

Our daughter, Lisa, after two 10-day hospitalizations has a new diagnosis to live with: heart failure. Lisa’s big, generous, sensitive, creative, child-like heart is in trouble. The mechanical valves that saved her life sixteen years ago are failing. Because of the devastating heart infection that damaged heart tissue and valves, there is not enough tissue left to replace the valves. It means we live to manage symptoms. It means we live in new normal. For now.

How does one make something new, normal? I’ve come to understand it is more than a head journey. It is not mind over matter because matters that change the way you live from day to day, matter! You can’t reject a reality that stays in front of you like your own mirror image.

I do understand that if I don’t accept new normal, I play the denial game. As I told the medical team that met with us to explain implications, the life verse I have always believed would take me through anything with Lisa is “the truth will set you free.” Nothing enslaves you more than a distorted perception of reality that is nothing more than denial.

I’m not the only one to meet a sudden life change. I’ve walked beside so many who received devastating news that stole dreams, changed life spans, re-ordered daily routines. I will always remember what Mark told me about what he and his first wife, Kay, did soon after receiving their world-changing news of her inoperable, fast-growing, lung cancer. They went out and bought a recliner because Kay didn’t want to spend the rest of her life in a bed. That’s the way you deal with new normal—head on!

How will I face my new normal and be the mother Lisa needs, the wife Mark married, and the writer God called me to be? I’m still getting directions, but here are some of the truths that set me free to adapt in all the right ways:

  • I will not fear what God already knows.

  • I refuse to waste emotional and spiritual energy with what-ifs.

  • I will ask for wisdom to balance responsibilities in ways that will not interfere with relationships.

  • I am willing to share my journey because of the surprising ways God seasons it with His presence.

  • No one loves Lisa more than God. No one!

So here is my first prayer for this journey of new normal:

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