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Transparency time…again.

I know….I’m the one that says when something happens…we need to not delve into what the person was thinking when they did something destructive….because we don’t ever want to be able to think like them…. And I still truly believe that.

BUT…..

Today…my mind went there. And it wasn’t good.

You see, today…my sister was in town! I love it when we are together. We don’t get much of that time…so we enjoy it when it happens! But..our dad wanted us to come to his house because he just returned from a trip. He had taken my grandmother’s ashes back to Connecticut to be buried next to my grandfather. He had driven….and upon his return…he brought back some things that had belonged to my grandfather…and my great-grandfather.

These “things”….were guns. 

Now….let me tell you that I think old guns are really cool. I love the look…the history….a lot about them. These each had some history with them. There were six…and my dad was keeping two of them. My sister and I were to choose two each…to take to our perspective families. 

As we sat in his living room…with these six guns…..I started to get nauseous. These are some of those moments…where on the outside…I look and seem fine.  But truly…on the inside….I’m all messed up! 

I sat there…and when it came time for me to not just look…but to actually pick them up…touch them…and hold them….the nausea got worse. Inside my mind….became a battle field. The battle was between me listening and being a part of the conversation going on between my dad, my sister and myself (basically…being “present” in the moment) and me listening to the conversation of questions going on inside of my own head. 

I could hear every word my sister and dad were saying. I could even keep up with the conversation. But in reality…I was very much also inside my head. I had to step away for a minute. I chose my “two”…and then we had lunch. 

A short time later…I had to leave for work…and in that 20 minute car ride…..I cried. I felt like I was having an out of body experience….almost like an anxiety attack. But at the same time…I was perfectly ok. 

My two worlds collided…again.

Here is where my mind went….

Was it a 22 or a 20 gauge he used? I honestly don’t remember.

 How was he able to look down the barrel of that gun and take the lives he had helped create?

Why…did he shoot one of them more times than the others?

Did he regret it? After he killed one? Or the second? Or the third child?

Did he hesitate? The first…second….third….fourth…or any subsequent time he pulled the trigger?

Did he feel anything while he was doing all of this?

Why did he want to hurt me…so badly? 

WHAT.WAS.HE.THINKING????

You see….I can’t look at…see one….or pick up a gun….where those thoughts don’t enter my mind! It’s a mental trigger for me. Movies, tv shoes…can be just fine sometimes….but other times…the internal struggle is real. The thoughts that go through my mind are horrendously difficult. And if you are with me when this happens…you will probably never be able to tell!! 

I’ve come to the conclusion…again… That…

I.WILL.NEVER.UNDERSTAND………AND….I have to be okay with that. I have to trust the sovereignty of my God. As I was driving….crying…and muddling through all these thoughts…the song….”The One Who Holds the Stars” was playing. I stopped to listen. Then I began to worship. If He…who holds the stars in place…who tells the sun when to rise and set…the one who does all the “big”…can do that….then certainly…He can hold me…my heart. He holds my yesterday…my today…and my tomorrow.

Actually….may I share a bit more? A sweet friend just shared an article she found about my story. It was on a page I’m not aware of…and it answered my curiousity on why my blog was being read so much lately. It showed me He is still working….through my story…through my sweet boys and my family….even when I’m completely unaware. It came at just the perfect time!

You see….He doesn’t need me…to complete His purpose. But I need HIM….to complete mine! 

So…again…I’m going to choose to not need to know the answer to my question. I’m going to choose to force my brain into a place that is present with my family now. I’m going to TRUST….that He is walking with me…and I will choose to walk with Him.

So thankful that He is so full of grace and mercy. May I be that way as well. 

Thanks for letting me work my way through…. I pray somewhere….in this rant…you’e realized just how human and real I am. You’ve gained some hope that He is always for you….even when it doesn’t feel like it! I pray that you see that even when the internal battle is hard…your CHOICE…is what it is going to take to win. Don’t sit back and thank you have to stay in the battle….and wait to see what happens. CHOOSE … My friend. CHOOSE. Choose HIM. For He…has already chosen you!

Much love!! ~c

May 23rd…1985….2:55 pm

There were two births at this exact time. 
One…was my sweet, brown-eyed boy…Cody Brian! He came into the world 31 years ago this afternoon….and this is how the second birth happened…

I became a mother. 

Let me add that I wasn’t ever one of those girls that planned her dream wedding…that knew how many kids she wanted and dreamed of a family. NO, this girl dreamed of New York and dancing….or possibly being a CPA….(what can I say? I like numbers! ) I never gave having kids a thought…or really thought I wanted kids…a husband…or a family. It was never something I thought about.

But God…..

He decided to allow me the beautiful joy of becoming a mother. I was only 17….but my “mommy heart” was born that day.

I can remember after delivering this beautiful boy….them wheeling me back to my room..and the doctor coming in. I remember thanking her for helping me bring him into the world. I was overwhelmed…but in a good way! I couldn’t imagine my world without him in it….

He brought so much joy and fulfillment into my life. I never knew….what I didn’t know.I never knew I’d want nothing more…than to be a mother…and want my “mommy heart” to continue to grow. From that point on….I only wanted to be a mom…and nothing else. 

Cody was such a joy. He smiled ALL THE TIME! His big eyes and that big smile…with those chubby cheeks….he just knew how to melt my heart! 

He continued to melt my heart for 11 years…while he was on this earth with me. He and I grew together. My “mommy heart” was his….and his heart was mine. He held a special place in that mommy heart…the one he set into motion. 

It’s amazing to me….that I didn’t ever think I wanted to be a mom. 

But God….

God knew…. 

Now….my “mommy heart” has grown by leaps and bounds! My “mommy heart” turns 31 today. Today…my “mommy heart” holds 5 biological children….2 Angel babies I never met…..and countless others that endearingly call me “Momma Cheli”! My “mommy heart” bursts with love! 

Today though, as I celebrate the milestone of being a mommy for 31 years….my “mommy heart” is also broken. The hole that is there…having to celebrate this “birthday” of mine without the one who made me a mom….just hurts. It isn’t the first time I’ve celebrated without him..and it won’t be the last. But it’s amazing to me…that no matter how many I’ve had without his smile and his hugs here with me….just how hard it still is.

The man, that would be my son now….never was. NEVER. It’s on days like today…that it all comes swooping down and just…..hurts. To celebrate him….is easy. He loved big…he loved like Jesus. He wanted others to know the one who saved him! He was baptized on an Easter Sunday! So….I know…we’ll be together again. 

I never wanted to live without the one who made me a mom…..I never imagined I could still live….without him.

But God….

God has walked by my side and strengthened me. He has shown me so much in the past 19 years…without my sweet ones. God has shown me the “bigger picture”. He has allowed me a glimpse into His Kingdom-mindedness. That my story…my comma….has mattered. By sharing…by continuing to love….I’ve been able to become “Momma Cheli”…..to so many. I’ve been priveliged to see…how my part….in His story….has changed lives.   IS CHANGING LIVES!!!! 

But God….

He knows my heart….and I think that…even though most days…I’m still so thankful for this life He has given me.  He knows…on days like today….I’m just a momma…with a broken heart. Even though my “momma heart” has expanded and is ministering and loving so many….that one part of it….will only belong to Cody. and today….God understands….that Cody’s hole in my heart….hurts. 

Cody, thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for allowing me to share your birthday. I can’t wait to celebrate with you…in eternity..and tell you just how truly thankful I am…that you helped me to birth my “mommy heart” that day. I’m so thankful for the smiles…the brown-eyed grins…the love and protection you gave so freely…and the way you helped me to grow. I love you….more than I can say. I miss you….my heart aches…and my arms hurt…wishing they could wrap around you…just one more time. 

I wouldn’t be who I am today…had you not…unexpectedly…been brought into my life.

But God…..

God knew I needed you. I still do….always will.

So today…I’ll celebrate for both of us. Trying to not cry all day….but the tears…they are there.. My “mommy heart” loves you. So big…and forever. Until we can celebrate in worship together……

Always your momma “first”! ~mom

Wearing my blue today! #remembercody

STRENGTH & SURVIVAL

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve posted a couple pictures that have had some very heavy meaning in my life. I’ve posted a lot of pics on social media…. but these 2 are ones that truly have a lot of “back story” to them.

The first one I posted was on April 19th and it was this one…..

  
If you aren’t familiar with what this is…..it is “The Survivor Tree” in Oklahoma City. April 19th was the 21st anniversary of the day when 168 people were murdered in a terrorist attack in Oklahoma City. This day is one I remember vividly…as do most from our area…. You remember where you were..what you were doing…at the exact moment of the blast……I also remember the days after. The news coverage…the talks with friends…watching and hoping for a survivor to be found.  This is very similar to the way I remember the days leading up to and after my own tragedy. But the Oklahoma City bombing impacted a whole city, state, country…and more. The families torn apart, the lives lost…the lives forever changed. That day….was horrific. 

On this particular anniversary, so many were posting pics and comments…”We will never forget”…was the resounding cry of so many people. It is a comfort to families and friends of those who didn’t make it and those who were a part of this tragedy to hear that people won’t forget. Won’t forget what they went through…won’t forget their loved ones…or the lives they lived.

When I posted this photo…it was with no words attached….just the pic. I know, I know…so NOT like me! But I didn’t have words. Not at that moment… Not yet.  There were so many photos that represented that day…but this is the one photo that resonated with me…..   

Why? Because to me..this picture doesn’t just represent that day….It’s also about what has happened since that day! It’s about survival!!

This resonates with me. This tree wasn’t anything anyone paid attention to before. It grew in the concrete jungle of the parking area and wasn’t really even tended to. But then….even with glass and shredded pieces of the Murrah building embedded into it’s bark…..this tree….kept growing. Not only did it keep growing…but it became a symbol of hope…of survival…because it “made it” through this even and has gone on to grow into a beautiful tree.

This is what I believe to be part of my message. It isn’t always about what happened the day…the moment…tragedy strikes. It’s about the moments and the choices we have to make after the tragedy!!! There are tiny moments and small choices….that can seem so insignificant in themselves….but when you put them all together…it adds up to parts of your story…your survival.. It’s about how this tree…continued to grow…continued to bloom…continued to survive. It didn’t wilt away in the difficult situation it had been through. It continued to seek the sunlight, the soil…and the water it needed to grow. It didn’t give up. It 

I truly believe…it’s not about me…it’s not about the tree……It’s about the way God uses each of us…to reach others…to show hope through our stories. Sometimes…it’s about others hearing that I can still get up and have have a life…not just a regular one….but a wonderful, joy-filled life! AFTER a tragedy! Just as this tree shows there is still MORE……room for growth….a place for beauty….a way to thrive….even after what may seem like the most horrific thing in the world has happened to you….. Sometimes…I’ve come to realize…just getting out of bed…getting remarried…having more children….still praising the God who allowed the tragedy to happen….is enough to give others hope that there is a way for them to get to the other side of whatever difficult situation they are facing!

If you are still here…..if you are still breathing….THERE.IS.MORE!!! And even better…it can be OH.SO.GLORIOUS! 

BUT….you must CHOOSE to see it as such! You must CHOOSE to look for the silver linings…. YOU must CHOOSE…to continue to live. 

Is it easy?? 

Well…maybe this next picture I posted will answer that…

  
I’m just keeping it real. 

Yes…I’m strong….I see that now…even though I haven’t always felt it. Yes…I know I’m a survivor….even when I haven’t always seen myself as one! Yes…..my life is awesome in SO MANY AMAZING ways…..but it doesn’t mean it isn’t still hard.

Yes….I am thankful to be here…to be where I am in life…with my faith, my family…and all that is happening around me. 

BUT….I grow tired…and weary…and even worn sometimes. Sometimes I just don’t want to any more. Don’t want to “what”? You might ask…..    Anything. Sometimes I just am tired of making the choices I need to…..in order to continue to survive.

So….What do you do when those times hit? 

Well… Here are my “go-tos”. (Not in any specific order!)

1.) You allow yourself to be tired. There. I said it. Give in and feel what you are feeling. Go ahead and realize you need a break. You can be tired….be sad…be mad at the situation…….whatever it is you are feeling…FEEL IT!

BUT!!! 

2.) You HAVE to remember….IT’S OKAY TO BE DOWN….BUT IT ISN’T OKAY TO STAY THERE! Ask anyone who I talk to and they will probably tell you…I say this… A LOT! Because it’s true. You have to allow yourself time to feel what you feel. But you can’t “unpack and stay there” as I’ve seen some posters talk about! You must find a way to get past those feelings and start looking for good…for hope…and feeling other feelings too…not just the ones that have got you down!

3.) Call someone in your “safe”circle of friends. Be real with someone and let them know you’re struggling with being strong. Let them know you are weary and need some help. This is hard to do…especially if you are a giver. Don’t let the fact that others view you as strong….let you feel like you can’t be down or have a time when you are the one who needs lifting up!!!   It’s okay…it’s even biblical! “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

4.) PRAY! Remember….God is with you…He has never left you! He doesn’t expect you to be strong all the time. He has told you to allow HIM to carry your burdens! “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19. I emphasized the DAILY…part. Let that sink in…He is there for you daily!!! 

5.) Remember….if you try to do it all in your own strength….you will always feel weary. It isn’t something we were meant to do. We cannot be strong, all on our own….for the rest of our lives. We were created to rely on the strength the Lord gives us. And He does….give it to us. I know…because in all the times I’ve felt strong…yet tired…HE has lifted me out of it! He has carried me in the times when I could no longer carry the weight of my life….    “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31.

So….use the POWER He gives you. Make the choices to go on….but know…that it’s okay to take a break…to ask for help….to take the “super cape” off for a while. Allow others to minister to your soul. Refill the cup of your spirit until there is once more…an overflow and abundance to give to others! That is where I am. I am allowing others to fill my cup again…. That is what has taken me this long…to be able to put the words….with the pictures.

Love you friends…and I pray you release your burdens to Him who loves you so….and know I will pray for you as well…that He will guide the perfect one to you…to help you refill your cup…so we can both give out of overflow and abundance again! 

~c

I work in the Real Estate industry. I sell new homes. I see possibilities in our new homes for families all the time! I walk into empty houses every single day. But I’ve never heard from God in an empty house until just a few days ago….when I walked into my own.

The last 4 weeks have been a whirlwind. Losing Gramma….closing on the new house….moving day was a disaster!!….and add to all of it…the 19th anniversary of losing my boys! Mix it in with trying to live a somewhat….normal life…you know, everyday stuff like work, kids and family!!!  To say crazy is my life is normal..this was over the top crazy though!

This past weekend my husband took advantage of the good weather and finished moving everything out of our garage, shed and attic over to the new place. **side note** It is utterly amazing to me how much crapola we’ve accumulated in the past 15 years!!😉 I’m not sure if having 3 weeks to move everything hurt us or helped us. It seemed never ending…but it is done.

Well…after his busy weekend…my busy began Monday. I put aside the whole day to go to the “old” house and clean it! (I mean, I couldn’t let people know just how badly I’d let my house go after it sold!) So I pull into the garage….and it was empty. No biggie…I expected that. Then I walked into the house. The kitchen first. There were still things on the counters ( my sweet love left paper towels and cleaning supplies for me to use!). Then I just walked through….one room at a time. The living room…hall…kids’ rooms…then my room…my bathroom…my closet. By the time I reached the back of the house and saw my closet….it started…full.on.bawling. I mean, the ugly cry. I sat on the side of the bathtub and just…cried. I couldn’t stop it. My mind LITERALLY was saying, “Just cancel it…just cancel everything. This is my house. I want this whole process to stop!”. 

And then after my cleaning day…we went back, my husband and I…one last time. It was clean…it was beautiful…it’s the house I made a home…and I couldn’t do it. I left him inside and went and sat in the car alone. I cried again. And then again later that night…cried some more.

I brought my baby girl home in that house. I kissed boo-boos and made cookies for my babies in that house. I fought for my marriage in that house! Dreams were made in that house. Friends and family were in that house. It represented the largest amount of time in any part of my life I’ve lived in one place. 15+ years….I was in this house!!

But then…during my prayer time…and seeing the young couple who was buying this house be so excited and almost “giddy” about moving into “my” house…God spoke to me.

He shared with me how we hold on to what is comfortable. We resist change…no matter how good it may be for us! How many times…when He has a huge blessing for us…are we so wrapped up in where we’ve been and how comfortable it is….to allow ourself to feel a little momentary pain of learning something new…and open ourself up to His blessings??!!

He shared with me how…even in the emptiness…I was so caught up in looking backwards….instead of looking forward into where He wants to take me! For a moment…I was prepared to abandon His future blessings…even in the emptiness…for the comfort of something I’d HAD……!!

He shared with me….how we need to remain forward thinking…not backwards looking…in so many parts of our lives. Then…He completely sealed this thought when a friend shared that when she was being raised…her parents wanted to make sure you remembered your sins…so you wouldn’t repeat them. But as an adult…she was realizing it actually HURT her instead. Because… as she constantly remembered the sin…even though she knew she’d been forgiven…it kept her in a place of also remembering her guilt…her not feeling good enough…and the negative feelings the enemy uses against us! So in LOOKING BACK…she was attacked…and not walking in the fullness of HIS GRACE!! 

Friends…I know so many of you have walked through some tough roads…but they are in your past. I know some of you are walking through some tough times right now…but keep your eyes focused on what’s in front of you! Just like I told a friend today….the bigger the blessings God has planned for you…the bigger the attack the enemy will have on you! DON’T get comfortable!! Even in the uncomfortable emptiness…I was tempted to look back..instead of forward! I spent so much time in the past thoughts…I wasn’t trusting HIM with my future! 

It’s hard….especially…when there are parts of my past that haven’t followed me into my future. My boys…my mom…my grandparents…friends…. I know it’s hard. I walk into my new home…and the thoughts can overwhelm me that it is another “new” part of my life they will never get to experience or be a part of. It hurts. I’m not gonna lie. I feel robbed of the opportunity to share this part of my life with them…. So I want to go back. I keep…looking….back.

But God says….look at what you have now! Think of how proud they would be of me….think of them smiling at my new accomplishments! Change my thought process…to think…instead of how many days and how many events I’ve lived without them here…at how many events and days I am closer to being with them in eternity! Change your thoughts….it’s all up to me…and you. It’s some of that “power within” I keep trying to tell you about! It’s about making the choice…to trust Him…with my future. To believe in what He has in store for me…that it truly is better than anything I could think or imagine. 

There is only one constant in this life….and that is the unfailing love of God…and the sacrifice of His son.   “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 This is the ONLY place…where looking back or looking forward…won’t look any different. It doesn’t matter what your yesterdays look like..not to God. He already knows. It doesn’t matter what your tomorrow looks like….not to God. He already knows that as well. His love never changes. His mercy never ends. His grace is abundant. Let yourself KNOW that… Let yourself know…and believe…that your tomorrows…are always better than that empty house…ever could be!!! Oh wait…that one was just for me!!!🙂

So thankful for the new house….the new memories yet to be made…the giggles of teenage girls…the laughter of teenage boys….the planning of graduation parties…weddings…grandkids!! This house might just hold the times Bryan and I are empty-nesters….and we start to enjoy “just us” time again!! I choose to praise HIM for the uncomfortable times we are experiencing….knowing He’s got this. He knows…He cares…His plans are greater!!!

No…I don’t have tons of pictures of the old house while it was empty. That is for my mind’s eye only…and…I don’t have a pic of the new house yet either….it’s A MESS!! So…use your imagination!! 

And the next time you’re tempted to stay where it is comfortable….even if it also feels empty…remember this lesson. Remember that the discomfort of change…might just lead you to something better than you could ever imagine! God’s got this!! God….has YOU…dear friend! 

Love ya! ~c

  

19 YEARS!! 

To say today is tough..well..it would be a gross understatement. 

I could never have imagined being here. I could never have imagined living 19 years of my life without 3 of my children! But God knew…..

Remember when I posted about my 28 day journey?..well..today isn’t even day 28…that would be the day of the funeral. I really thought I’d be blogging and walking down a path of remembering…but God knew different. 

In the past 3 weeks my life hasn’t been anything I thought it would. But why does that surprise me? My grandmother unexpectedly went into the ER…and they were actually going to release her…but then her primary doc said to keep her for observation. Six days later…she left this earthly life and went to be with all her loved ones who had left before her! She was ready. But we weren’t. 

Then we were also moving..but it hasn’t gone smoothly…not like I thought. It’s a blessing…this new home…for my family. And I feel a lot of wonderful “new beginnings” here in this place… But quite frankly..it’s hard to start in another place…when so many in my family will never see or be a part of it.

If I think about it…the last 19 years hasn’t been anything I thought it would. I thought I’d get to watch 3 wonderful boys grow up…experience their teens…grow into wonderful men…have families…so much. But I didn’t get what I thought would happen…but once again…I’m reminded.. God knew.

As I awoke this morning my phone was already buzzing and beeping with sweet messages of encouragement and remembrances. Friendships I’m thankful for that help to carry me through. But my morning time with God looked a little different this morning. I usually wake up and thank Him and praise Him for new days…new blessings. But this morning…today…as I acknowledged the newness of today…it also meant I had to thank Him for what today was…what it represented in my life… And to be brutally honest.. I HATE that! To acknewledge His goodness today…means it is good that it is the anniversary of my son’s deaths! It has taken me a long time to be able to do just that…

In my hurt and my emotions I want to cry out…

It’s been 19 years since my sons were murdered! It’s been 19 years since they took their last breath on this earth! It’s been 19 years since I’ve heard their sweet voices and laughter! It’s been 19 years since I’ve been able to put my arms around them and hold them…or hug their necks! I was robbed of their life…of getting to see them grow…that is what happened 19 years ago!!

but what God gently reminds me…is this…

It’s also been 19 years since Jesus walked with them…hand in hand..introducing them into the Kingdom of God. It’s been 19 years since their pain stopped…no more tears…no more pain! 

  
It’s been 19 years since they began true and total worship..among angels and saints..of the one true God! It’s been 19 years since God started carrying me…in my grief and pain..into His path.

For me…it’s been 19 years! Some of it…has been brutal torture on this momma’s heart. 

For them…it’s been less than a blink of an eye in their eternity of glory! 

For my momma’s heart…God has been good. He has blessed me with two more beautiful children. Each of them has placed their trust in Him..so I KNOW our eternities will last forever…together! My heart has hurt…and aches…for there are places in my heart nobody can touch…not even my two kids now.  3 hold..for 3 boys…It is a place my heart holds for them and only them. 

On days like today…I let myself go to those places in my heart that are only theirs. 3 holes…from 3 boys. I let myself remember, feel the happy and sad…the pain and the tears…the hurt and the anguish. But during these days…God always replaces it with truth…..and that truth is that He truly does have a plan for me. Jer. 29:11. And that HE truly does use everything for good. Rom. 8:28. 

He reminds me of my favorite verse… Hab. 1:5. For if He had told me….19 years ago and a day…what was getting ready to happen…what He would ask me to walk through…what HE would carry me through…and that 19 years later I would praise Him…and give thanks for this day…I would have NEVER believed it! 

But what I’ve come to learn and trust is ……. He knows…

Music has ministered to my heart in so many ways…this is by Jeremy Camp.

“He Knows”

All the bitter weary ways

Endless striving day by day

You barely have the strength to pray

In the valley low

And how hard your fight has been

How deep the pain within

Wounds that no one else has seen

Hurts too much to show

All the doubt you’re standing in between

And all the weight that brings you to your knees

He knows

He knows

Every hurt and every sting

He has walked the suffering

He knows

He knows

Let your burdens come undone

Lift your eyes up to the one

Who knows

He knows

He knows

We may faint and we may sink

Feel the pain and near the brink

But the dark begins to shrink

When you find the one who knows

The chains of doubt that held you in between

one by one are starting to break free.

Every time you feel forsaken

Every time that you feel alone

He is near to the brokenhearted

Every tear

He knows

He knows

Thank you for walking this journey with me..with my family. To watch my children now..how they love..how they remember…I know I am blessed! I hurt…but I will be okay. My heart aches…but those places will continue to heal. I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt..that I will see my children again..spend my eternity with them and all my loved ones…and for that…today…I am thankful!

Much love! ~c

I don’t even know where to begin. I thought…this month of posts would be reflections and healing…but once again…

Man plans…God laughs.

When I posted last week about Day 1 of this 28 day journey..I was speaking of the beginning (the divorce finalizing) to the the end (the day of the funeral) of where my mind wanders during this time. But what has happened…is so much since that post.

It has been obvious to me that God doesn’t want me to be so focused on the “then” of my journey. Not only do I realize…the days after the divorce being final… I truly don’t have vivid memories of exactly what we did or specific happenings for a while…but it has shown me I need to be present in the moments I am living now….that maybe I wasn’t fully present then…and I SHOULD be! ALWAYS!

So let me start with my Saturday night (Day 2)….I went to church…I was sitting between my son and daughter. My husband was on the other side of my son. We were all worshiping together. Now…when I say that…I don’t mean to say we were all sitting there listening to the music…I mean…we were all standing…with eyes closed…hands held high…WORSHIPING the risen LORD!! It was one of the most awesome moments of my life! I realized had I decided to stay in my past…to not allow myself the choice of moving on….trusting…loving…having another family…I would never have had this awesome experience! He showed me I belong in the now……not in the what was.

Then on Monday morning (Day 4) I went to the adoption finalization of one of my best friend’s baby! I got to stand in the courtroom  and watch them vow to love her…good or bad….and allow her to break their heart later on…and fully commit to her! NEW BEGINNINGS! It was an awesome moment to be a part of! What a blessing!! But I also listened to another sweet friend share her feelings and experience this way (she is the adoptive mom of 2!)….it’s a bittersweet wonder…kind of like the feeling of a heart-transplant recipient. In order for there to be such joy and blessing…something bad…something hard…had to happen first. A terrible ending. What a picture. Sometimes endings can orchestrate new and wonderful beginnings.. But sometimes…we who are experiencing the ending…don’t always see the glory of the new beginning.

Then…as I was at the courthouse…my grandmother was being taken to the ER. We had received a call she was not eating and her oxygen was low. She needed to be seen. I met them in her ER room and waited with her, my dad and stepmom. While we waited….she was her usual spunky self. She sang “Hey look me over” by Louis Armstrong. I sang with her! But she sang it three times! We laughed. They almost sent her home…but after consulting with her Dr….they admitted her. 

Did I mention it was also my wonderful husband’s birthday? It was. He is! (Wonderful, that is!) and I’m blessed! I have a whole blog on that…and him…but it will have to be later.

I came back to the hospital after dinner with family Monday night…it seemed Gramma had gotten a bit worse. Not doing quite as well..but still her usual self. 

Yesterday, Tuesday (Day 5) I came back to the hospital. It was after lunch. She wasn’t quite herself but still talking and asking questions. I stayed a while. Dad and I talked and she was definitely not doing as well as she had been the night before. My sister came in town, and we went back up to the hospital. It seemed in just a few short hours..she had gotten worse. We were now having very hard, very real conversations. After my kids and hubs came in we had asked them to go in the other room. We discussed with Gramma what her wishes were. It was such a difficult time and I can’t yet bring myself to tell you about it… But we now know what she wants..and doesn’t want. We told her we loved her and would respect her wishes. HARD.

Today, (Day 6) I tried to go to work. I was there less than 2 hours and then back here at the hospital. Since I’ve been here…she hasn’t opened her eyes or responded to me. I sit here….holding her hand anyway. We have family flying in from far away to be here to say their goodbyes. She has gone from singing with me just two short days ago…to laying in this hospital bed…breathing with the assistance of oxygen. Struggling. 

I am sitting here in her dark room with her. I cannot fully express my emotions. I have realized just how much God wants me to be present in the here and now of my life. I realize He is with me…in all of this I am walking through. I am realizing, yet again, of how fragile life truly is. I am seeing…very clearly…beginnings and endings…and even some of the “in-between”. But I am confident..HE has orchestrated them all! It is hard for me to express the peace I have right now. Yes…there is A LOT going on! Yes…I’m worn and frazzled! Yes…I’m supposed to close on a new house on Monday. But that is Monday…and it will all work out!

For now….I am here. I honestly have had to count back…to be able to know which day of my journey I am on. I don’t think it is truly fair to say it is a certain day of my 28 day journey…because it is truly just part of the day to day journey of my life! We are each on a journey. Some of you…might be on part of an ending…some on part of a beginning….some…in the “in-between”.

Or…some of you might be like me…and be smack-dab in the middle of all three! 

I say…embrace it all! Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. But do it…knowing you are not the one orchestrating it all! You are not the conductor of how your life is playing out! Yes…you are a very important instrument…but without Him…it would be just a mess. 

Believe me…I’ve been there. I’ve been a mess. Now…I’m just trying to be an instrument and be part of His message. I’m trying to be present in the now. Learning from my before…and looking forward, with hope….to my going -to-be!

Tonight…this is my present.

  
Today, this sweet lady turns 94! So…Happy Birthday Gramma…this ones for you!

Hey Look Me Over

Louis Armstrong

Hey look me over

Lend me an ear

Fresh out of clover

Mortgage up to here

But don’t pass the plate folks

Don’t pass the cup

I figure whenever you’re down and out

The only way is up

And I’ll be up like a rose bud

High on the vine

Don’t thumb your nose

But take a tip from mine

I’m a little bit short of the elbow room

But let me get me some

And look out world

Here I come

Yes, hey look me over

Lend me an ear

Fresh out of clover

Mortgage up to here

But don’t pass the plate folks

Don’t pass the cup

I figure whenever you’re down and out

The only way is up

And I’ll be up like a rose bud

High on the vine

Don’t thumb your nose

But take a tip from mine

I’m a little bit short of the elbow room

But let me get me some

And look out, world

Here, I, come…

Yesterday…..I shared with a friend something deep within my heart…something I don’t usually share with anyone. God keeps prodding me…I haven’t posted in a while…but there has been so much in my heart..in my mind. So please bare with me….for here is where I will purge my heart. Here is where I’ll share some real…some raw….some healed…parts of me. 

Yesterday…was Day 1. 

Day 1 in a 28 day journey my head..and heart…go on…every year. 

You see….yesterday was the anniversary of something I don’t celebrate. It’s an anniversary…of sorts. It’s the beginning of a journey…I thought I knew about…but little did I know…I knew nothing. 

Yesterday…is the day…19 years ago…my divorce was finalized.

To some…it would mean a day of freedom.

To some…it’s a day of relief..and release. 

To me…then…I don’t know what I thought it would be. Maybe…new beginnings…time for me…time to take care of my boys…and “start fresh”.

Wow…little did I know…it was going to be a journey…towards..literally…starting over.

This is a time in my life…I thought I knew God. I thought I had learned about Him and who He was. Looking back…I had no clue…how He was going to carry me…how He literally was going to be the only thing I felt like I had left. I had a “knowledge” of God…but not a true, daily relationship with Him. 

Day 1….I went to to the courthouse…alone. I met my attorney there and we walked into the judges chambers. It wasn’t even in the courtroom. It was in her office. She asked questions..I don’t remember what they were. I guess I answered them properly…because she put some papers in front of me to sign…spun them around towards her…signed them herself…and handed them to my attorney. She looked at me and said, “Congratulations, you’re officially divorced.” I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know then….how my life was getting ready to change.

I thought the struggle was going to be how to survive….as a single momma. Financially….socially…mentally…I thought that was going to be my biggest struggle. 

I got in my car. I remember feeling foggy..but happy. Happy that part was behind me. I remember pulling out of the courthouse and turning onto Porter Avenue. Funny…don’t you think? That is now my last name…and now I work in the very town this took place in… I went from it being such a foreign place…to it is now one of my “comfort zones”. 

Looking back…I see so much of the path God laid for me. Looking back…I see His hand at work…in every little detail. Looking back…my heart hurts…at thinking I was in charge of my life…only to be taught it is His life I live…and He orchestrates my steps…not me! 

Today I remember…the first days of my 28 day journey….the journey that would change the trajectory of my life…more than I could have ever imagined. I remember…because it hurts so badly.. I remember…because it reminds me of my healing….I remember…because it is part of me…this journey. I remember because…just like we read the bible over and over….each time you read it…remember it…feel it…it hits you differently. It never goes away…this feeling I feel when I remember…but instead…it changes. Not just the feelings…but me. It changes me. It has changed me…It will continue to change me.

But…

This 28 day journey…it doesn’t DEFINE me. 

It isn’t who I am. 

It is just part of my story.

Part of my journey…

I invite you to come along…I’m going to share a lot….of this journey.

What’s interesting this time…is we are getting ready to move! During the remembrance of these 28 days…I’ll be packing. I’ll be going through things I haven’t seen in years. I’ll be going through, touching things…I’ve put away. I know God has it all coinciding for a reason. I’m not really sure what that reason is….or what I’m supposed to learn..or feel..during this journey…but I’ll share. I’ll be real…and raw.

I appreciate your prayers. He is doing a work in me that is more than I’ve seen in quite some time. I’m praying for you as well. He is calling me…to lean into Him…and as I do….I go to Him boldly…for you! 

It’s dangerous…to be bold with the Creator of the Universe! It’s a dangerous place…to invite Him in…especially for me…during this 28 day journey. I’m anxious to see Him through this. I’m expecting Him to show up..for me…as well as you!

Just as yesterday…19 years ago…for me was an ending..of sorts. But with every ending..is a beginning. Or at least…a transition time. Even death…isn’t an end… It’s the beginning of eternity. For me…something I look forward to…more now than I ever thought. 

I’m not where I thought I’d be…but I’m definitely where God knew I’d be. I trust him.

“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1

This is the image my friend sent me yesterday…it sums up so much…

  
 
Thank you…from the bottom of my heart…for being a part of my journey. I am blessed by you all! ~c

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