Struggle To Marvel

It is a struggle. I’m trying to act like it’s not but my heart just isn’t all the way in it. I’m ready for January to be here but I’m not sure a new year will be any easier. Getting through the holidays when you have lost someone is hard. It’s hard enough just doing life on a daily basis. We all have struggles we wake up to every day. Pain in one form or another has me debating whether to put my feet on the floor each morning when I open my eyes. Dealing with the physical pain is enough to make me want to shut down and then my brain kicks in and tells me all kinds of lies to make my struggle even harder. Near the top of the list of coping skills is pulling the covers over my head and not facing the day. I won’t think about that today. I’ll think about it tomorrow, after all tomorrow is another day my dear Scarlett.

I found myself on Thanksgiving wanting to fast forward to the end of the day. It just seemed like a chore. My Dad was not there and you could feel it. There was just that certain something that was missing. I keep trying to think about his pain and how thankful I am that he is not in pain anymore. It’s very hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he is in Heaven. That may sound weird. I know that’s where he’s at but that’s something we talk about. That’s where we are going to go when we die if we believe in Jesus Christ. If we have accepted him as our Savior. It all seems so very far away. Death seems so far away. For me at least. I know some people have experienced loss all to often and you truly don’t understand that feeling until you experience it yourself. We talk of dying or what will happen when we die, to our possessions, to our bodies, to our loved ones and what it will be like in Heaven. It’s such a different conversation when someone so close to you dies and their physical body is not here with you anymore. It is just so amazing and grand for my mind to grasp that my Dad has moved from his physical body on this earth and is now in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! He is in HEAVEN!!! Maybe that doesn’t strike you the same way but it has me in complete and utter awe. When I think about my Dad that way I can’t help but smile. I can even laugh out loud because I am overcome by the joy he must be experiencing. Sometimes I cry being overwhelmed by the feeling that comes over my whole being of pure happiness. Happiness doesn’t even describe it. I don’t actually think there is a word that can describe what I feel when I think of what my Dad is experiencing up there in Heaven with God. Whoa! Electrifying!!!

It’s here on earth where I miss him. I miss him being here for the traditions our family has created. I miss him being here to complete us. He is our leader. Our Big Giant Head. (Third Rock From The Sun joke) He is our touchstone in our family. I don’t think January is going to make things any better. I don’t think you ever get over losing someone you love. I think you learn how to live better with it. There is no magic time frame that will make this not hurt. There will always be a hole where my Dad should be. It’s a bitter sweet hole filled with the longing of wanting him here but the knowledge of knowing where he is and that I will see him again.

During this Holiday season I get it now. It’s like a club. Not a club you want to be part of. When people would post on social media or speak about missing someone they had lost and how hard these times are my thought was, “Awww that’s sad, so sorry for your loss.” Moving on now. You can’t understand how that person truly feels until you are in the club. It’s ok. I thought I got it. I thought I understood how sad that must be. I pray you are not in the club this Christmas but if you are I pray you laugh at the memories and good times you shared, marvel at the mystery of the Heaven they are experiencing and most of all, top on your list, share Jesus with those around you so they too can be certain of where they are going and you’ll be able to marvel at the mystery of Heaven that each one of you will experience.

Filling Hearts

This weekend was amazing. You are never quite aware of how a disease such as cancer can change a personor a family until you are the person or the family that it changes. We have breast cancer awareness month and there is a fundraiser or foundation for this and for that. Alzheimers, injured veterans, families of fallen police men and women, St. Judes. I mean the list for the places you can put your money to help fund organizations or to help find a cure could probably make it’s own book. If you are not affected by any of them you can never fully understand. You can have a heart to want to do something and believe me that is what we need. People with hearts to want to do something to help others in need and to reach out and give. I have a heart and a passion for several organizations that don’t personally affect me but now I have an understanding on a deeper level that I will never fully understand the gravity of their situation and that makes me want to be more compassionate, more giving, more caring and more precise in my prayer life.

When you are told that your father has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rapidly growing brain tumor, your kind of left looking at the person telling you confused and saying, “I don’t understand?” That’s not something that actually happens to people I know. That happens in the movies or you hear people talk about someone they know that had a brain tumor but not my Dad. It’s just all so unreal. It still is. I’m not sure why. There is nothing about my Dad or my family that would make us immune from this type of thing. My parents are just going to grow old together and pass away on the front porch in their rocking chairs holding hands. Change of plans. Now I have to learn all these medical terms and statistics and be constantly disappointed. Every time I think we are going two steps forward we are actually falling three steps back. People are now coming out of the wood work telling you that they have a family member that passed from this cancer or someone they know that was close to them. I never really even heard much about this particular cancer but it’s everywhere. There is no cure. There are cases of individuals living with it for 15 years but they are much younger and very few and far between. Best case scenario is to slow down the rapid growth and give you more time. It’s heinous and wretched to watch someone go through as I can imagine all terminal illnesses are.

Let me get to this past weekend and why it was so amazing. As I’m sure many people are like me and they go through life and may donate to certain things or have causes that are close to their heart but then get clothes lined when these things affect those closest to us. Richmond held it’s 2nd annual RVA Brain Tumor 5K. I have never been apart of something like that. I have never participated in an anything K, marathon, walkathon or raising money for a cause like this. This was amazing. Our team – PawPaw’s Pride (we called my Dad PawPaw when he became a grandfather) set a goal to raise $1,000.00. We raised $1,995.00!! That is amazing and I want to thank all of you who made that possible. The National Brain Tumor Society set out to raise $175,000.00 and we collectively raised $272,221.55!! How awesome is that. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a cure so when our children grow up they may not have to go through what we have. Their children may not have to watch them suffer with this disease and many others. I’m not saying all of these things so you all will jump on the bandwagon and be avid supporters of the National Brain Tumor Society. I certainly think that would be amazing and we would love to add to our team of walkers next year. The more the merrier. Let’s make PawPaw’s Pride the #1 Team in Richmond!!!! I say all this to tell you be passionate.

You don’t have to wait to be affected by something horrible. You don’t have to wait for someone to die or to be horribly injured or fighting for their lives or any number of issues we have going on in this world. This disease has changed me and I will never be the same and I will be a part of the National Brain Tumor Society and RVA 5K every year now. That’s just my world though. It’s easy to stop there and not venture outside of my world and what affects me. I have other things I am passionate about and want to help make a change in. Sometimes we either don’t know how, or we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone, we put it off and say “I’m going to donate to them, I need to set that up. Next month. I’ll get that done.” We can always turn that channel as well because those commercials make us sad, uncomfortable and we just don’t need to watch that. God calls us to do these things. To reach out. To step out of our comfort zones. How else will people see the love of God. – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself , if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17 – “Do not neglect to do good and to share wht you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 – “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1John 3:17

What does your heart urge you to do? Where does your heart urge you to go? It’s not all about writing a check and sending money. Your time means so much. I have a heart for the homeless in our community. Well then I need to be spending time reaching out to our homeless. Serving, donating, plugging in where God wants me to be. I have other things on my heart that I feel I should be doing. No, you are right. We can’t do them all. We can’t save the world by ourselves but together everyone can make a difference. Ask God to show you where you are supposed to be. I promise he will show you.

The amazing thing that happens is, in the process of giving of yourself you are blessed. You are fullfilled. You think you are the one serving, helping and making someones day brighter. You are, you certainly are, but you will walk away being more served by the ones you are serving, being more loved by the ones you are loving, making meaningful deep relationships, and being so filled with God’s love you feel like you just might bust.

So as I move forward through this process. From receiving my Dad’s diagnosis to functioning and working through the grief and understanding his death I continue to learn. Nothing happens good or bad that there isn’t a way to glorify God. I may not always do such a bang up job and make the right choices but he’s working with me and he’s holding my hand every day. I love my family so much and our bond has done nothing but gotten stronger since May 23rd. Walking in the 5K this weekend was exhilierating, a great way to remember my Dad, a wonderful way to strengthen my family, and an awesome way to bring awareness and raise money to find a cure for this disease. We walked it this year. Well, some of us are in better shape and ran. I walked it this year. Next year I’m going to run it. If you know me that will be quite an accomplishment. Don’t wait for tradgedy, start filling hearts with love.

Conversations With God

I have really been struggling since I wrote my last blog. I think I’ve said it before. I’m a planner. Usually I have some sort of an outline in my head as to what I’m going to write about. Now I will tell you, each time I’ve sat down to write with an outline or general idea in my head, God has taken me in a different direction. The difference is, I had an idea. I had an outline of some sort. I felt confident in sitting down because there was something there. Not lately. It’s like a black hole. It’s blank. I have nothing. I feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

I keep jotting down little thoughts and ideas in my notebook that pop into my brain. Lord knows if I don’t write it down, it’s gone in the next five minutes. Then I start to question myself. Maybe that’s all you have. Maybe you were just supposed to get on here write a handful of times and then move along. Well, maybe that’s true. How am I supposed to know? Where’s my burning bush? Can’t you just give me a word God? Well, that’s the thing. It was pointed out to me the other night in my recovery group that I just need to let it happen. I am listening to the voices of defeat and not even giving God a chance. This oh so wise person said, “You have got to stop trying to plan out everything. You can plan a lot of things but you are going to have to just let God move through you and stop trying to put him on a schedule.” Not planning is along the same lines as going to your job/school naked. Yeah, hermit status for the rest of my life. I want to feel confident before I step out and do anything. I want to feel like what I put forth is going to be met with acceptance and understanding and not get egg on my face or wow did I really say that.

It’s so funny because I used to think I was so confident back when I was drinking. I could talk to anyone, life of the party, dancing on the tables and sometimes the bar. What a false sense of confidence alcohol gives us and oh what it makes us step out and do. Talk about egg on your face or wow did I really say that or do that. We are more afraid of showing our true selves and being real with eachother than we are of being absolute idiots and making a fool of ourselves. That can just be chalked up to, oh, she just had to much to drink. Well that’s not the real me. I am more than that. Why are we so afraid for people to see us? We are afraid they just might not like what they see. It’s like the filters on Snapchat. Ya’ll better stop using those all the time and take some real pictures of yourself. Someone is going to see you in person and not know who you are. I needed to take that filter off. I needed to be me because it got to a point where I didn’t even know me. I had to start finding out who I was again and just where it was that I decided that I didn’t love myself enough.

So I took the advice and picked up my computer today. WITHOUT AN OUTLINE! WITHOUT A PLAN! She was right. That wise person in my recovery group. God knows what I need when I need it. Just like all the other times I have written. I may have felt confident but It was God laying on my heart what needed to be said. It is God writing this today. I just placed my fingers on the keys and started typing. The words just flow and you know what it’s like? It’s really like I’m letting you all in on a conversation that God is having with me. He likes to wait to reveal things to me until I’m typing here. Maybe he thinks someone else might need to hear something similar. My confidence needs to be in God. Not in how well I think I can write about a certain topic, or just how many ideas I have come up with.

It is a process to get to know myself. I have hidden away for quite a few years. I am learning through my conversations with God. I didn’t even realize until tonight that he was showing up in real time and having class with me each time I wrote.The more I remove the filters and remember and find that girl inside, the more I like her. The more I’m not ashamed. I may have done some shameful things but that does not define me. I am more than that. If I could just see myself as God sees me. Whoa!!!! Watch her go. Now that’s a Wonder Woman.

The Rock

Do you ever go to church and think, are you spying on me? Did God tell you directly to write that sermon for me? I almost felt a little paranoid this past Sunday. I was beginning to wonder if my Pastor hacked into my home security camera’s. I mean the worship music, the sermon everything it couldn’t have been more spot on. I haven’t been in a while with everything that has gone on. That’s no excuse. There is no good excuse. That is all the more reason to go and make time for church and to hear the word of God and be loved on. Sometimes we are so quick to be so lazy on the things that we need and are so good for us and are so quick to pick up the things that can do us so much harm. So I made it back this past Sunday and I do know that my Pastor did not hack into my home security system but he sure did preach. It was for me, and I’m sure others but God sure did give me ears to hear on Sunday. Now let’s do this!!!

I leave church and I always feel like when I leave its like a football huddle. We all have our heads together, we are all given the plays, we’re hyped up, ready to conquer, we have our arms around eachother in a great big circle kind of doing a little jumpy dance, the Pastor yells break and we all jump up and yell, GO TEAM!!! That usually makes for a great Sunday. There is usually good food on Sunday, Football (I happen to know that God is a Steelers Fan, he does have a Terrible Towel). But seriously, church just feeds your mind, body and soul. It always helps me get a handle on my week and I can sit down and break out my super planner and schedule for the next day. Each night I sit down and write out individual things I need to accomplish for the next day. I mean right down to when I’m going to eat breakfast. Don’t judge. So here’s the thing. I have a couple of things that I let steal time from me.

Like so many others I suffer from migraine headaches and I have for 20+ years. I think I have been on every medication out there and I continually try new things that come out on the market. I wake up on a regular basis with a migraine headache so that throws my whole day off. A lot of times it can take my whole day from me. Sometimes several days from me. I also suffer from depression which has a really good relationship with these stolen days. It’s very hard to suffer from a migraine and be down a day or two or more. I can send myself into a spiraling hole of depression. The struggle is real and it all takes place in my head.

It has gotten much better. There was a time quite a few years ago that I could not function. I could do the bare minimum. Which was take my son to school and pick him up. I think I managed to function just enough to get through the day. It really all came to a head when I decided I didn’t want to be here anymore. I thought Wyatt would be better off without the stress of me in his life. He would not have to continually worry about me. I know JT felt like a caretaker and that was no way for a child to feel about his mother. He should be a kid. He should be with friends, having fun not worrying about whether I was going to be ok. I just wanted them to stop worrying about me and I just wanted to stop hurting every single day. So I decided to stop hurting and take a bunch of prescription sleeping pills and attempted to cut my wrist. I was so tired by the time I tried to cut myself that all I managed to do was scratch myself. Wyatt was at home and he was working in the garage and kept coming in because he felt that something was wrong and I finally told him what I did. He took me to the emergency room and I was admitted to St. Mary’s Mental Health Ward. I spent almost a week there, they changed up my meds, I was released and began counseling.

There are a couple of things that are important to me to point out about that time in my life. 1: Prior to this happening I had changed Dr.’s and he had changed my depression medication. I had called him for a month. I had made 4 phone calls and told him I did not feel right. There was something wrong with these meds and I did not feel like myself and was feeling even more depressed than I was before I started taking them. Each time I was told “Just give it some time, they will get better.” The last time I called I was told, “Dr. —– can not help you. You are going to have to find someone else. You need to see another Dr.” 2. The first thing I said to Wyatt when I got to the car that day when leaving St. Mary’s “I’m so glad to be out. The first thing I want to do is go home, have a cigarette and a glass of wine.” It is very important for everyone to understand this. I am positive there was something wrong with my depression meds. I’m not saying it was the total cause of why I did what I did. It is very important that when you start taking something new that is supposed to alter your brain chemistry you let people around you know. That you Dr. is attentive and listens to your concerns. You know your body best. My Dr. was negligent in my opinion. He should have brought me back in. Those little warnings on the commercial or in fine print on the leaflet can and do happen. Pay close attention to your loved ones who are on these depression meds. It was also important to me to get back to self medicating myself with alcohol as soon as I got out but Wyatt and I weren’t identifying that as the problem. It was the depression. I’m pretty sure alcohol doesn’t mix with those meds.

I am so beyond thankful God brought me through that. I didn’t want to die. My family would not be better off without me. God has things for me to do! I wish I could say that I turned everything around from there but you might know by now I think I know better. I know that is a whole lot to take in and maybe more than you want to know. I feel like a lot of times as Christians we feel we are not supposed to talk about those kinds of things. We don’t suffer with depression, we don’t do things like try to commit suicide. We don’t smoke, we’re not alcoholics and we certainly don’t get committed. We’re all happy. We have Jesus!! Can you tell me where that group of Christians is because I’ld like to make sure I steer clear. I’m not sure of anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said if you believe in me life will be one big walk in the park. In fact just the opposite. – Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me they will persecute you also. John 15:20 – In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:12 – strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:22.

As believers we are going to have hardships that we come under, some more than others. Some of our own making and some not. No matter if from our own making or from God it’s what we do with it. How we get through it. Illnesses that can keep us down. Depression that can take over our minds and bodies mentally and physically. Substance Abuse that is slowly robbing us of everything we hold dear. A lost job threatening your financial situation. A bad marriage, a violent spouse and you don’t know where to turn. An out of control child and you feel like you are held hostage in your own home. Gossip spread about you that has no merit to it what so ever yet it is ruining your reputation. Compulsive lying and you don’t know how to stop. Death, expected or unexpected. There are so many trials we will go through while we are here on earth and each one that belongs to us can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. I can certainly say I have not done a great job approaching some of my mountains I have come up against. My initial reaction has not been to immediately turn to God. That’s our flesh. That’s the world. If you are in this world and of this world you have a lot of options. Drink your problems away partying with friends, complain, blame, send your problem away, violence, denial, look to false Gods. None of those will bring you peace. If you are in this world but not of it you have one place to go. Jesus. You have to face the truth. That’s not always very easy. I am certainly learning that. I’ve tried for so many years to ignore Jesus and use the ways of the world and it finally came crashing down. What I feel starting to form under my feet is that rock.

I’m building my house upon the rock. It’s going to take a while but that’s ok. No strong house was ever built in a day and you have to make sure your foundation is good and solid. I’ve got a lot of construction ahead and I’m sure storms are going to come and delay my work. I just need to know that this house will always have need for repairs and additions. She’s going to keep on standing but occasionally when those hurricanes rip through a shingle or two or three or even a deck is going to need replaced.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mind and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

Big Wheel

This is hard for me to sit down and write. Looking back there is a word that comes up a lot in my writing. You may have noticed. FEAR!!!! I started writing in May in the hopes that it would help me face my fear. I felt God wanted me to share my story. My story of coming to sobriety. Finally admitting that I needed to get sober. The struggles, the victories, the pain, the joy and well just every day life. I never realized it would help me so much when I sat down and started pecking away on the keyboard. You all were such an encouragement to me as well and I hope I could do the same for someone out there. If you read any of my postings you know my Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer so my writing took a different turn, which was fine, it was what I needed and what my family needed I think.

There was a lot I learned during the time that my Dad was sick. I learned how much I love my family and just how special each one of them is. I learned how God is deliberate in giving each one of us unique gifts. When we use these gifts to serve the people around us you can see God, you can be fullfilled with God, you can hear God and there is no room for fear. I learned just how many people my Dad touched, how many people came to know the love of Christ because of my Father. I learned and gained so many amazing things during that time and was just awestruck at all the people that surrounded us. I miss my Dad greatly but as someone who sent me a message the other day said, “Let’s plan to meet at your Dad’s house by the street made of gold.” Isn’t that fantastic! This person and I have never met and don’t know if we will meet in this lifetime but we already have a future meeting set at my Dads house.

So, those are all wonderful things but I also learned that I have done myself a disservice by keeping myself isolated. Instead of learning coping strategies these last two years I have just kept myself in safe places that I can control. I feel the need to be transparent since I started this blog talking about my sobriety. My 2 year sobriety date would have been August 1, 2019. Well, I fell short of that. That’s really hard to say. In my first blog I had mentioned that it was time to step out. I was keeping myself closed up. I was sober but my coping skill was to keep myself from any situation in which I could be tempted or might be harmful to me. I just didn’t see the downfall in that plan. I mean I had done such a great job so far in controlling everything in my life. I could control my surroundings until I die so, this should not be a problem. This is the part whereGod says,” I thought you understood? Your not in control. We’re not doing it that way so I’m going to have to give you a push. If you didn’t learn any coping strategies, well now, who’s fault is that? Time to get out and do life.” (I put that in quotations because I really think that’s what he said as he was shaking his head) I could have made this easier but I seem to have an aversion to that. It wasn’t even alcohol that tripped me up. It usually isn’t your drug/substance of choice that gets you.

As an addict you know the exact moment the wheel in your head starts turning. I was sitting in the Dr.s office with my Mom and Dad. The Dr. asked if my Dad was having any pain and he said no. He said NO!! The Dr. said,” well, I’m going to prescribe you some pain meds so you have them on hand.” Big Wheel Keep On Turning……..Rollin…. Those pills sat there for three weeks. 60 pills. It wasn’t constantly rolling at first. It was slow but then it was creeping and slowly started to pick up a little speed. There was the fleeting thought to throw the switch and put this train on a different track. I could have said something to my Mom and had her put them away. I did not do that. I had stayed at my Mom’s for a week and it was really hard. My Dad was so weak and he really could not get up and down out of the wheelchair or bed by himself and that Friday my sister came in town and I was tired. I was heading home and she was taking over. Can you hear it? Can you hear the rationalization? Can you hear the excuses I’m making? Yes, I gave myself permission. I deserved it. He wasn’t using those pills. He wasn’t in pain, I deserved to check out. It wasn’t alcohol! I just need to be numb for a while and not think. So, that’s what I did. I checked out.

When I checked back in so did the guilt and that voice that says, “Are you kidding? You took your Dad’s pain pills? He has Cancer? What a loser? I knew you would screw this up. Wyatt’s never going to trust you. Everyone in your family is going to hate you. What kind of a person….? Well you might as well just be depressed. You suck at life.” I fought that battle in my head for over a week. It was torture. Meanwhile my Dad was put in the hospital and things progressed and a few weeks went by, decisions were made and he and Mom were moving into my house. I thought long and hard and knew that I could not have them move into my house without telling Wyatt and my Mom what I had done. Believe me I had thought about throwing my hands in the air and saying “What?! I don’t know what happened to those pills. That’s crazy. They just disappeared.” I knew that ultimately if he was coming to my house he was eventually going to be in pain and would need even stronger pain medication and I needed to be held accountable. I wanted to be there for my Dad and take care of him. I did not want to spiral down and end up in a really dark place. I needed to be there for my Mom. Wyatt and I put a lot of hard work into loving this marriage right where it needs to be and we will not stop! I will not sacrifice my relationship with my son. So, I sat down with them and was honest about what I had done. As hard as that was there is something about telling the truth. Yes, the saying is true, “The truth shall set you free.” There is nothing like the truth. You are lighter. There is no more hiding. You know where you stand. Others can either choose whether to forgive you or not. It may take some time to build trust back but you can. You just have to be willing to put the time in. If they love you they will forgive you. If you love them you will earn trust back and you won’t repeat that behavior over and over. I’m so thankful that I have a forgiving family. I’m so thankful I had a forgiving Dad. He helped me understand just how much more my Father in heaven loves and forgives me.

This has been quite a year for me so far. Quite a year for my whole family. I think we would all like for the rest of 2019 to be without incident. I could go for that. It’s time for me to get out and do life. It’s time for me to follow my Dads example and spread the word. I need to get that Big wheel turnin for Jesus. I want to be sitting here a year from now and saying, “I know the exact moment when that wheel started turning in my head and God was going to change my life!!” Big Wheel Keep On Turnin, Proudly for Jesus I’m burnin, Rollin, Rollin…..

Facing Fear

Where were you? Do you remember? I’ve heard most people liken it to knowing where they were when President Kennedy was shot. Where were you when you heard or saw the first report of something happening at the World Trade Center? Did you tune in at the very beginning when it was some type of explosion and no one knew how it happened? Did you tune in as the second plane hit and gasp in sheer terror? I think for the majority of us we know exactly where we were.

I was at home with a 6 month old baby living in Lafayette, Indiana. Wyatt was getting ready to walk out the door for work and JT and I had just finished breakfast. I think that was one of the most terrifying days of my life. I remember being in my living room after putting JT down from a nap and being so overcome with fear. I had no family near. All of my family lived in Virginia and North Carolina and I just felt so very far away from everyone that I loved in that moment. The only thing I could do was hit the floor on my knees and cry out to God and pray. I wept and prayed and buried my face in the floor and just cried to God for the people in the buildings, the first responders, for the people in the planes, the Pentagon, the plane that crashed in the field. I prayed for so many things that morning. That was the first day of many that I was glued to my TV crying and praying and hoping.

Our country changed forever that day. We have so many different tragedies that befall us and can give us a spirit of fear. Shootings and natural disasters, the fate of our government gives some people a spirit of fear. More terrorist attacks. You name it, there is a lot of things we could fear from the time we get up in the morning to the time we lay our head down at night. Well that is if you sleep. Maybe you are so afraid you have a hard time sleeping. I could just stay in my house for the rest of my life if I let fear overtake me. There is one thing that kept coming through during that time back in 2001. God did not give us a spirit of fear. – For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 We are not to walk around afraid or stay closed up somewhere so nothing happens to us. God created us to share his love with those around us. We can’t do that if we are afraid.

I always remember that scripture on this day every year. God did not give me a spirit of fear, in short. I think for a long time I thought I had that under control. I’m not afraid. I walk with courage and power and love. I was mistaken. I had a lot of liquid courage. I used Vodka to give me courage. I was lying to myself. I was so afraid. I did have a spirit of fear. I certainly wouldn’t compare my walk to those who have experienced the type of terrifying tragedies that I mentioned above. I was still fearful. Fearful that something would happen to me or my family. Fearful that I couldn’t raise this little baby boy to be better than me. Fearful that he would be just like me. Fearful that I wasn’t a good wife. Fearful to go out in public. Fearful of me. Fearful of who I am as a person and not letting anyone know who I really am. That was my biggest fear of them all. I conquered my fear. All it took was alcohol. That conquered a multitude of fears. Really it just turned me into a drunk. Then I was just afraid that someone would find out how much I was drinking and how often. ‘Round the mountain we go. I thought I was conquering my fear when I stopped drinking. I really just found another way to hide and I’m ready to face this fear head on.

So today on this anniversary of 9/11 I want to take time to remember all the people that lost their lives, all the people that fought to save lives on this day. All the families that were affected by this senseless tragedy. This was just such a far reaching act of terroristic proportions that one can not name all those that were possibly affected. Lets pray for God to wrap them up today especially but every day in his peace and that they are drawn closer to him. Lets face our fears with a spirit of power and of love and of sound mind. – What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

His Gift

It’s been a little over two weeks since my Dad passed. He passed away on August 23rd. I miss him very much but the funeral wasn’t as much of a funeral as it was a call to know the Lord. That’s exactly what my Dad would have wanted. Several people stood up to speak about him and how he had touched their lives and how God had come into their life through my Dad. There was laughter and there was tears. My Cousin Bryan spoke and my nephew Nick spoke. They led the service. They both did an amazing job. If you walked in there unsure of who God is and how much he loves you, you walked out knowing the truth. (If you were listening)

The Gospel was spoken on August 31, 2019 at 2:00 PM. It was a celebration of my Dads life and a dedication to the man he was. That was the overwhelming theme. I never heard my Dad or anyone that knew my Dad say he was afraid to talk about the Lord no matter where he was or who he was with. That was who he was and I hope is what everyone that walked out of there will remember about him. He loved Jesus. All you had to do was be listening and have your heart open that day and you could have received the greatest gift you will receive in a lifetime. The gift of Jesus. The gift of eternal life. The gift of being saved. Not by anything that you or I could do. Not by trying super hard or finally earning the right to have him give you that gift but by believing. God loves you as you are, where you are and you just have to accept him and know that he died for you on the cross and shed his blood for you as a sacrifice to wash you clean of your sins. He was buried and rose three days later and ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God where you will see him and live there eternally when you die if you accept him. If you didn’t know that before you walked into Monaghan’s Funeral Home you should have known it when you left. That was my Dads parting gift to all that gathered there that day. I know seeds were planted and they will just need to be watered by the next gardener God puts in the path of those open hearts.

You don’t always get to see the seed you planted flourish in the spiritual world. Sometimes you might not even know that you actually planted a seed. I was so blessed that day to meet a man that I had heard about through the years. Winston Parker. I met him his wife and daughter. This man, if I have the story right, had asked my parents to come to church on many occasions when they were young and I think living the young fun life. I think it may have taken quite a few invites for them to finally go. This man was the reason my Dad accepted Christ. How amazing is that!!! What an awesome sight for him to see. That 50ish years ago he invited a couple to church and they finally came probably to get this guy off their back so he would leave them alone and this is what came of that. That makes me want to shout with joy! Through him Christ has been shared in countless places, throughout the world and will be shared down through generations to come. What a legacy for Winston and what a legacy for my Dad. It was an honor to meet him that day. I am so glad he was able to see the fruit of God’s good work working through him. So the lesson here is, never stop asking. Maybe that friend or couple or co-worker will come to church with you just to get you to stop asking. Maybe that’s all it will take.

What a life my Dad had and how blessed am I to be a part of it. To have been able to call him Dad. It wasn’t a walk in the park for him. He wasn’t a man without faults. There isn’t a man without faults but he did a great thing. He shared this great gift that is more valuable than all the riches in the world. Thank you Dad. You are still my hero. I will see you again and if there’s a DVD player in heaven we can watch The Storm of The Century if we can get God to make it snow. Maybe they have streaming up there. Haha, I’m sure there will be better things to do than watch movies.

My Dad, My Hero