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Normal ...

Normal is not my favorite word ... and honestly shouldn't be part of my vocabulary.  I remember when I first heard the quote above from one of our middle son's therapists.  I was sitting in their office trying to make sense of all they were sharing and all the delays he had and everything he would need to catch up.  I remember saying, which I completely regret, I don't understand how to process all of this, it doesn't seem normal.  Her response ... normal is just a setting on the dryer, it doesn't define anything else.  It was profound and helped me so many times when I was walking the path with a child who needed intervention (a lot of it) and had so many feelings.  I was young, I was unsure of how to handle it all, and most of all I was dependent on my faith.  

Not much has changed in the years since I sat in that office and tried to process all of what she was saying to us.  At that time she was sharing all the help our precious little one would need to be successful mainstream and I was overwhelmed.  We took it one day at a time and time flew and as it did he progressed and we all grew.  It was a hard time, but one I will never forget and honestly feel honored to have been chosen to walk. She also told me something else I will never forget ... special people are chosen to raise special children. 

It has been an honor. 

Flash forward many years and many trials and we found ourselves dealing with his mental health crisis in December of 2017.  He needed help, time stopped, and what was "normal" would never return.  It would instead be replaced by intense love, immense grace, patience, a more real understanding of what was important, precious relationships, a testimony, and more laughs than I ever thought would be possible in a crisis.  And then cancer four months later ... chemo ... then surgery and the horror it brought ... and then the miracle of Nathan's healing.  Normal was gone ... completely and utterly gone.  It would never return and truth be told I am not sure it ever existed. 

I recall a few weeks after Nathan was released and we were all taking care of him and I hit the wall.  It was hard and awful and the trauma washed over me.  I had heard to expect it and still could not prepare for the nightmares, the panic attacks, the sweats, the fear, and the huge desire I had to find anything that felt familiar and had since long gone.  I craved normalcy, something that truly felt normal.  I do not know how else to describe it.  My therapist was amazing and never addressed my requests for normalcy ... instead telling me that I could not expect anything to feel familiar or normal during a time of trauma. I waited patiently for that to return. 

And it never did ... and now months later I can tell you I no longer crave that but instead am thankful for the lack of normalcy.  I know that sounds strange but hang with me through this thought.  Merriam-Webster describes normal as ... "conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern".  When you really let that soak in you realize you don't want normal ... but instead you crave growth and change.  What I realize after many months of thought and rest and perspective is that I was so wanting to fit my new life into the old one and was so very frustrated when it just didn't work.  I was trying to take the new me and shove her back into the old one and basically angry in a lot of ways it didn't work.  I was not understanding that the new me (the one with all the memories and change) would never be the old me again and I should have celebrated it as it is how it was all meant to be.  I will never look at anything the way I did before I had children and would never ever want to do so.  I will never be the woman who didn't walk through fire with my family as we helped my son heal after a horrible experience.  I will never be the woman who's husband was diagnosed with cancer or who walked through fire and the valley to healing. 

And I do not want to be. 

The new woman is stronger than she ever thought possible.  She made mistakes and learned from them.  She learned expectations are silly and will always disappoint you.  She learned Jesus will never leave her and in the darkest of times she would feel His presence most of all.  She watched her children grow and flourish and be brave.  She faced her fears and survived.  She doesn't sweat or stress over silly things all of the time.  She knows the value of true friendship that love all your bumps and bruises.  She is flawed and still perfect in His eyes.  She is changed. 

A few weeks ago I was direct messaging with Natalie Chang about something she shared and she returned my comment with the quote about normal which I had shared with her years ago.  In that moment I heard God speak to me reminding me of what normal is meant to be, and everything it is not.  I immediately knew how wrong I had been hoping and wishing for normalcy in those months he was healing.  I realized how much I was meant to walk boldly in these changes and not look back.  It was the most amazing God moment which I shared with her and immediately asked if she would letter the quote for me.  She truly did a beautiful job, as she always does and I hope to see it make the rounds as God uses it to bless others. 

We aren't called to live normal lives.  We aren't called to be normal people.  We are meant to stand out ... and to stand tall ... and to grow daily in our walk with Him. We are meant to stand up for change and growth.  We are created to be extraordinary.  We are meant to fall and mess up and then stand and do better. We are meant for so much more than normal.  I am proud to do so and will forever say ... 

Normal is just a setting on the dryer. 💗


  1. THis is exactly WHAT i need to hear. I really appreciate all your posts and all you say and do. Keep being awesome and thank you.

  2. Thank you for your honesty and for pointing to Christ, our true help in all things.

  3. Paige, thank you for this. Your words cover so much territory. I’m struggling. Different circumstances from yours but still the same. I needed this today.

  4. I absolutely loved reading this post from your heart, Paige! Thank you for sharing and for pointing us back to Him! :)

  5. Powerful post tonight! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Powerful! Thank you for sharing this Paige and reminding us all how to move forward during these times. XXOO Renee

  7. Oh Paige, I so needed these words today. Eight years ago, my husband and I fostered, then later adopted two sweet girls ages 5 and 8. They had experienced some horrible things, but we felt that with enough love and consistency we could help them overcome this.

    They are now 13 and 16 and while we are a solid family unit, we are certainly not the “normal” family I envisioned. We have had some really tough times, especially with our oldest daughter, who struggles with her mental health. Both my husband and I still feel very overwhelmed and underprepared at times. Yesterday was a particularly hard day, and I found myself praying and crying multiple times, and I do sometimes crave “normal”. Your words and experiences have truly spoken to my heart today. Thank you!



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