Monday, July 4, 2011

Give it up

It's not always easy to admit our faults.  One of the biggest ones I have is trying to always be in control of things. If something's broke I want to fix it. If a friend is having a problem or a bad day I want to make it better. When things seem to pile up in my life I think a positive attitude is going to make all the difference.  I know when life seems to be piling up that God just wants me to give it up to Him.  There have been times when I thought I was letting Him have it all but in reality I was giving a little while still holding on.  Recently I have had several things "pile" up, and God has used it to teach me something I desperately needed to learn.  I have been on a journey since late December to lose the excess weight I have and become a healthy person.  It is the one thing that I have to do for myself and it is so important to me.  I feel it is the one thing that has held me back from truly living life.  The first 6 weeks was really rough and I wanted to quit at least once a week but thankfully with very encouraging friends and a lot of prayer I didn't.  I started seeing results.  A few months ago I started having trouble with my thyroid which the doctor said may be an obstacle in my weight loss journey.  I also was a little tired and have been anemic for a couple of months.  Last week I was excessively tired and couldn't get out of bed on a Sunday morning.  I had to go to the doctor and was diagnosed with Mono.  I was told the only thing I could do was get plenty of rest and fluids and hang in there because I would feel yucky for 4 to 6 weeks.  On top of that the doctor said no exercise.  I didn't need another obstacle.  The frequent doctor visits and testing have caused me to encounter a little over $2000 in medical bills that are my responsibility to pay.  I was doing a few side jobs to make payments towards this but due to the restrictions I am not allowed to do until I recover from the Mono.  Although I had prayed every day and felt I was doing all I could, my circumstances were getting worse instead of better.  This was what I felt was my breaking point.  I didn't know when I began crying that this "breaking point" would be a "break through point".  I cried and prayed for several hours over two days.  When I went to church on Sunday I talked to my Pastor and explained how broken I felt and how I just needed him to pray because I couldn't take anymore.  God showed me that He would take care of things but I had to give it up......truly give it up and not hold on to it.  I decided that is what I was going to do.  I truly gave it to God and I'm not picking it back up.  I felt the burden was lifted.  I don't know what all God has in store for me and my life, but I do know that no matter what His plans are I have to have faith.  I know that through Him I will have success in my weight loss, my health issues and my financial burdens.  I learned a good lesson that God has been trying to teach me for a long time.  I also learned that although my problems seemed excessive to me, there are many people who have it a lot harder than I do.  I also began thinking about how many things there must be that God shields me from on a daily basis.  I count those as unknown blessings.  I pray I continue to grow spiritually and learn the things God wants me to learn.  I want to be the person He has planned me to be, but most of all when He says to give it up, I want to do just that!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Legacy of Love

It is Mother's Day weekend and as always I have been thinking so much about my Mom.  My Mother passed away 12 years ago this month.  Her last Mother's Day was spent in the hospital.  I was glad she was able to be awake on that day even if only for a few minutes.  Sadly, that was also the day they told us there was nothing else that could be done except to make her comfortable. That didn't seem to settle in with me.  I heard what they said but in my heart I kept thinking God was going to provide a miracle and make her better.  My mother was always the strongest lady I knew.  She had so many difficulties in her life and she survived them all and shined.  Surely if she survived all that she would survive this too.  I couldn't leave the hospital and found it harder and harder to leave the room.  I just stayed by her bedside and pushed the way she always did with me.  I knew she would prove the doctor's wrong and I had to be there to see it.  Sadly, 12 days later I found out they were right.  She passed quickly, no struggle, she just simply quit breathing.  It was hard for me to fathom that she was gone.  How could someone whose hands were still so soft and warm be gone?  Suddenly I had all kinds of questions running through my head.  There were things that I had forgotten to ask her, now I would never have the chance.  There were all kinds of things I wanted to say to her and couldn't remember if I had said them or not.  For the first time in my life I was completely numb.  I didn't know where to go, what to do or what to say.  I didn't even know who I was.  I lost the one person who gave me my identity, who made me who I was.  Now what would I do?  I went home and just stood on my front porch.  I froze for some reason and couldn't go inside.  Fortunately I had a good friend who was there.  He was a friend from school that dearly loved my Mom.  He took my hand and made me go inside.  I just looked at him and said, "What do I do now?"  He put his arm around my shoulders and said just let it out.  I remember I laid my head on his shoulder and cried for over two hours.  He never said a word, he just let me cry because at the time that is what I needed.  I thank God for putting him there at that moment.  The next day I had to plan the funeral.  I wanted to make sure everything was perfect down to the smallest detail.  It was important to me to honor her the way she deserved.  So many people came and said such great things about my mother.  There were even people I had never met that talked about how kind she was, things they learned from her and also how she made a lasting impression on their lives.  I think about my Mom every day and miss her as much today as I did the day after she passed.  Looking back I see that God did provide the miracle that I so desperately prayed for.  I wanted my Mom to be better and she is.  She is in Heaven and has no worry, no heartache, no pain or sickness.  She is happy and never has to struggle or overcome obstacles.  There are many times that I have questions or situations when I'm not sure what to do.  I miss her more at those times than any because she always had the right solution.  I am thankful for all she taught me.  Today I am a Christian young lady who tries very hard to live up to the person she expected me to be.  I'm left with her values, her love of people and her compassion to always try to do the right thing.  I may not be able to honor my mother with a fancy dinner or a thoughtful gift on Mother's Day but I know that I can honor her everyday by striving to be a person who loves God and puts him first, who lives by their morals and values and who does her best to be a good friend and love those around her.  That is the example she set for me and I only hope I can be 1/2 the woman she was.  She left a legacy of love that in my mind is unmatched by any other.  I'm blessed and thankful for the time I had her and look forward to one day seeing her again.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stay tuned and trust me

There are several things in life that at the time they happen we don't often understand the reasons for why they happen the way they do.  I seem to have more than my share of these moments.  God in His infinite wisdom sometimes lets us in on the plan and then other times He just says "stay tuned and trust me." I have often had a hard time with why people I love have passed away or why relationships that I wanted so badly to work just didn't. God has shown me that while I miss people like my Mom and my Nanny terribly, they were suffering while they were here.   They are in Heaven now without pain and I will see them again so it's not the end.  As far as relationships go, sometimes God takes people out of our lives that are not good for us and then other times He puts people in that are truly blessings.  A little over two years ago I received a call from a guy that said my Aunt Carol had given him my phone number.  We exchanged pleasantries and only talked a few minutes.  I didn't hear from him again so I didn't think anything else of it.  A little over a year later he called again and said he would like to meet me and have dinner.  I thought, you can't meet too many new people or have too many friends so why not.  I went to dinner and we had nice conversation.  He said we would talk soon.  We maybe talked once more and sent a few texts but nothing beyond that.  I wondered at the time what God had in mind.  Was this person meant to be a friend or what was the reasoning for all the time in between?  I thought about it a little more this time than last but didn't dwell on it.  Then almost a year later I received a text asking how I was.  I answered and the texts continued occasionally for a couple of months.  After a few phone conversations we decided to meet for lunch and exchange Christmas presents.  Something was different this time.  We began to talk a lot more and through conversations, lunches and a movie here and there started getting to know each other.  For some reason we are able to tell each other anything including our deepest hurts, our hopes for the future and everything in between.  I have gone through a lot in my life and haven't always had much confidence.  I feel like I have just existed mostly instead of really lived.  This person has added so much to my life by praying for me, accepting me for who I am and most of all for encouraging me with all the positive changes I have made in my life. I can just be myself and that's enough. It makes me want to be better and to do more.  I have always felt like you should tell people what they mean to you because you never know when they will be gone.  I don't know if I can articulate what this person means to me or if he will ever know what a true difference he has made.  I do know that he is a welcome blessing that I am truly thankful for.  It's one of those situations where God said "stay tuned and trust me" and I'm so glad I did!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Amazing Grace

My group of friends often teases our friend Ben because he sings so many songs with amazing grace in them. Two of the most popular are Grace Like Rain and my very favorite Amazing Grace My Chains are gone.  We often listen to and enjoy these songs but do we ever really sit and think about the true meaning of them?  Today I began thinking about amazing grace and what it truly means.  The word amazing means astonishing, awesome or wonderful. One definition (which was my favorite and I think the only meaning) of grace is freely given unmerited favor from God.  It really hit me what a truly wonderful gift it is.  God created us to be different than what we have turned out to be. There are days when we are truly pleasing to God and I'm sure he smiles when we are.  There are also days when we fail him terribly and I'm sure we are a disappointment.  Still when we make those mistakes and have those days when we fail miserably, God's amazing grace is still ours for the taking.  God in His infinite wisdom knew that we would not be perfect and that we would have many days when we would fail.  If we realize our mistakes and ask forgiveness God is there to grant us mercy and give us that unmerited favor.  Although I have been a Christian for 25 years, it still is hard for me to fathom how God is there for me no matter how many times I disappoint Him.  I used to think I had to earn everything God does for me but I now know that is not true.  If I had to deserve it, I would get none of it.  That's what makes it such an awesome gift.  My relationship with God has grown a lot since I was first saved and every day I continue to learn more and more about His plan.  For the new year some of my friends and I have decided to not set resolutions and instead to set goals.  Some of them even have a keyword for the year.  My word is let-it-go.  Now I know that is three words but not the way I say it.  I am praying specifically that God will help me to let go of things that hold me back from being what He has planned me to be.  I'm also learning to be more forgiving and to know that others have to be responsible for the things they do and that just because they hurt me doesn't mean that I am less than what I was before it happened.  God is the ultimate example of freely granting unmerited favor to those who don't deserve it.  So all I have to do when I need a reminder to do the same is to say those two famous words...........Amazing Grace.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Daddy's Little Girl

Every little girl has a desire to be "Daddy's little girl."  You want to be protected and guided and to be the light of your Father's eye.  I see a lot of my friends who have strong fathers who love and protect them and who try to guide them in their decisions. They try to mold them into fine young ladies who are independent enough to survive on their own but soft enough to let someone in to help share their lives.  I think that is a quality I envy most.  I of course had a father but mine was not a typical circumstance.  My father was married to someone else when my mother became pregnant with me.  My mother was unaware of his marriage at the time but she decided to make the best of the situation after she knew.  My father was a truck driver and often traveled quite a lot.  I was told he came to visit almost every day from the time I was born until I was about 7 months old.  My mother said he even called me "Daddy's little girl" and seemed to be so proud.  I don't know what happened to make him have less frequent visits after that.  Throughout the time I was growing up I hardly ever saw my father. I only remember twice when I did see him.  I do however remember him calling.  At first I would talk to him and let him know what was going on in my life at that time.  He would always ask how I was and then he would want to speak to my mother.  I eventually stopped answering the phone when he called because I didn't think he was interested and was only calling to speak to my mother.  I started having a lot of anger towards him.  I wanted him to be around to teach me things and to get to know him.  People that knew him always told me how much I looked like him.  That even made me angry.  I thought "How come they get to know that I look like him but I don't get to see it?"  My mother being the sweet woman she was always told me I should not be so angry with my father, that I needed to try to understand and give him a chance.  I would just think why should I give someone a chance who never gave me one?  I tried several times to contact him.  I sent a letter and made several phone calls, only to be rejected every time. I finally quit trying and just let the anger build and build.  My father became very ill in 1998.  He was hospitalized several times but I never had the opportunity to go see him because his family would be there and they wouldn't allow it.  Plus I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to go.  In January of 1999 I got a call from my older sister who was working as an EMT at the local hospital.  She said my dad was there and had taken a turn for the worse.  She said he wanted to see me and that his family had gone home for the night so it shouldn't be a problem for me to come.  The problem was I still had so much built up anger that I really didn't want to go.  My mother was devastated that my father was so ill and pleaded with me to go.  She said she didn't want something to happen to him and me to have regrets for not going.  I said I would go but I was only going to let him know how angry I had been and how much he hurt me by not being around.  I was nervous but when I walked into the room I was floored.  I finally saw what everyone had always told me.  I did look so very much like him.  I have his eyes, his nose, the shape of his lips.  Our smile is practically the same.  He immediately started to cry.  He told me how much he had thought of me over the years.  He said he had so many regrets for not being the Father I deserved and needed him to be.  He didn't offer excuses, just regret for his actions.  He also told me that he had accepted Jesus as his savior and that helped him see how wrong he had been.  Although I always had so much anger and resentment for him not being there, at that very moment it didn't seem to matter.  To me that was the precious time I always longed to have with him.  It was an hour of honesty and true emotion that I consider a priceless treasure.  My father died 2 months after that visit.  I never got to see him again.  I do consider it a blessing that God allowed the time and that He changed my mind when I walked into that hospital room.  Although I still look back over my life and miss having my father be a part of it, I am thankful for the lesson.  God taught me to be forgiving and has helped me move past it.  I don't have much left of my father, except his eyes and his smile, but I do have the knowledge that he is in Heaven and one day we will get to finally know each other.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

He's Still Working On Me

I have such a love for creative writing.  I am new to blogging and due to the suggestion of a friend who has done it for a long time, I have decided it would be a great outlet for me.  I have been through many things in my life and I have survived all of them but only by God's grace.  Because of some of those things I have often felt inferior and as though I am not worthy of the good things in life.  I have prayed very specifically for the past two years for God to teach me how to be the person He created me to be.  Two weeks ago in our evening church service our Pastor gave invitation for anyone who needed to pray to come forth and do so.  I felt an overwhelming urge to go and pray.  While I and a friend of mine were praying the Pastor said he felt like some of the church members should come and pray with us.  This is not something that happens often.  Usually whomever needs to pray gets to do so and the Pastor will sometime pray with them.  I felt like a weight had been lifted when I finished praying.  God really spoke to me and I felt like He was letting me know that now is the time for the transformation to begin.  I know God has always had a plan but I didn't understand how He would not let something I prayed so hard for happen when I needed it so badly.  I understand now that when we hear that everything happens in God's time, that's really the way it is.  It is not going to be an easy transformation for me to go through and I know I will have many lessons to learn, but I also know it will all be worth it.  Maybe God saw that I was not ready for the work to begin until now.  I don't know what God has planned but I know that whatever He holds for me will be the right thing and I am open for it.  Today is the first day of a new year and I don't make resolutions but this year my goal is to let God work.  God made the whole world in just a week.  I believe He is going to take His time with my transformation but as long as He is still working on me, I will eventually be the person He meant me to be.  I look forward to the journey...........................