Peace He Gives Us

This has been an interesting week. I have struggled with all the things that have taken place in our country. I have been fearful at times, calm at others, confused, confident, angry and sad. I’m sure every feeling there is to have I and everyone else in this country have been taking a ride on that emotional roller coaster and would really like to get off. This whole upheaval is going to mess up the second half of my life. Huh?

Yes, that was my thought last night. You people need to get your act together. Can we not just go back to how it used to be. Republicans, democrats, yeah we don’t like each other’s policies but we aren’t drawing a line in the sand and saying, “Don’t you cross it or I’ll rage on you.” I want to yell at the Trump supporters who took an extreme and unlawful position at the Capital. You ruined it for the rest of us. Thanks a lot! Now we are all lumped into this title of “The DC Riots.” Which is an all encompassing unfair title. I want to yell at the media for not reporting the news. They thrive and stay in business off of our fear. They don’t report the facts no matter who’s side they are telling. No matter what network you are watching. I want to yell at the looters from this past year. You know what I have seen change in my town? The name of a High School. That is great but the underlying problems we are talking about are not any better. Burning down property, beating people up and instilling fear in others does not bring us where we need to be. When I think about all this, I just take it all in and I think, we can never go back. We can never fix all this. This is the beginning of the end. Again you people are messing up the second half of my life.

Why? Well I’ll tell you why. I have things mapped out. Wyatt is going to work for so many more years we will be able to travel and enjoy all that we have worked so hard for. We certainly can’t do that if we are having pandemics, burning things down, having riots, looters and protests. We can’t do that if we are in the middle of Revelations. Oh Lord, is Jesus coming back soon. I’m going to miss going to Rome. I knew it. I have wanted to go to Rome forever. Jesus, can you just back things up a bit if you are coming back now. Besides if things are about to blow up and we lose things like our utilities, I don’t do well when I can’t wash my hair. I’m getting ready to cover my porch and add a patio and fire pit outside. Well, I won’t be able to enjoy that. (Throws hands up in the air). Yeah, that’s my insane thoughts. As if God should consider those issues when his plan is being carried out. STOP! Sarah has to go to Rome first. Then! I can darken the sun and the moon and let the stars fall from the sky. I really have to laugh at myself. Those are such selfish thoughts. I have now played the end of the world completely out. I am having an anxiety attack or I’ve taken to much sinus medication. Well maybe I won’t build a patio. If I’m not going to use it then what’s the point. Should I just sit here and wait for things to fall completely off the rails. Then I take a breath and say I don’t know these things. Why am I so afraid. But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. – Matthew 24:36. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27.

It is human nature to be afraid and to think of ones self. At least I think so. I’m not a psychologist but that’s the word according to Wonder Woman. I have to bring it back to Jesus. Which is what I do. Times like this when I’m all these feelings then I have to come to ground. My eyesight also gets blurry to. I start to see things not with God’s eyes but with my eye’s and my eye’s can be very judgmental, hateful and proud. It’s time to bring it to ground. Ground will always be God. I nor does anyone else know when Jesus is coming back. I do not know how bad this chaos is going to get that we are experiencing right now. As far as things going back to the way they were, that’s not going to happen and there are reasons why it shouldn’t. I am certain that Jesus said “Peace I leave with you;” So when I’m checking myself at ground level I know that he says specifically “do not be afraid.” Now I am human so I can’t just shut that off and never be afraid but I have a living God who is never afraid.

I don’t know what to expect in the coming months. God does. I don’t know if I will go to Rome or get to use my patio. Those things are so trivial and ridiculous that they would actually be a concern. When you have anxiety it’s crazy where your mind goes and the onslaught of bizarre thoughts that come at lightening speed. I guess for me this kind of climate can have the power to grab a hold of me and drag me around by my hair and let me know one minute to the next how I should feel or react. I will continually take the power back and not be a prisoner to the fear in this world. I want to grab a hold of the peace he left to me, the peace he gave to me as much as I can.

Fear Of The Lord

It’s the start of a new year. I know that it’s time to drop bad habits and start good ones. It’s the time of year when we all put so much pressure on ourselves to try and be the best version of ourselves. What does that mean? I’ve never really been a New Years Resolution kind of gal but I think we all say generally we will eat healthier, exercise more, drink more water those types of things. What does that mean spiritually? That’s what hit me this morning. I know the changes I want to make with my body and I know the things that need to be done to get where I want to be but spiritually, where am I and where do I want to be? Where does God want me to be?

I spent another New Years sober which is something to celebrate for me. That road has been pretty rocky since my sister died. There have been a lot of pot holes and the path is a real ankle twister. This is the 2nd year in a row that I have had someone in my immediate family die and navigating through my feelings is a daily trek in need of hiking boots. It’s the comfort I miss in my drink. My friend and companion that has been there so long with me. Any alcoholic or addict will tell you that. For me it’s a he and he’s like a friend. Not a very good friend but he’s there and he doesn’t judge you and doesn’t talk back to you he’s just there when he needs to be and he’s warm and he’s numb. He’s also jealous and won’t allow me to have any relationships with my family. He won’t allow me to be shared with anyone especially Wyatt. He wants me all to himself and won’t stop till he has me right where he wants me. All to himself after I have demolished every relationship I have and he is all that is left. So of course I need to continue this journey and continue to battle and know this is not just a battle of the physical body but a battle of the mind, the spirit. There are things fighting for me to give in and give up but there are stronger, tougher things seen and unseen fighting for me to stay in it. It’s worth it. I have been called to stay in it. Spiritually, where am I, am I moving forward, where do I want to be, where does God want me?

I have so many things rollling around in this brain of mine. You would be scared if you could see in there. I have so many ideas and projects and things I want to work on. Pretty big things that I dare not say out loud because that might actually put them out into the universe. I might actually have to overcome my fear and move forward on what I feel I am supposed to be doing. If I do that though, I just might be rejected and I just might fail. That’s a whole lot of just mights and maybe, what if. That all sounds like failure to me. You have no idea how hard this is to write. Again there are so many reasons I can come up with not to move forward but there are bigger, greater more powerful reasons to trust God and move forward.

We all struggle. Some harder than others and I for sure know others have much harder struggles than I do. My sobriety and a few projects I have been rolling around were at the forefront of my mind when I thought about this New Year. This 2021. Like I said most of us go to taking care of our bodies and we know how to do that or how to go wherever we need to go to have someone to help us do that. Do we always look at where we are spiritually? Where we are with God. I want my focus to be there. I know I can’t do anything without God so why would I not start there? Why would I not feed my mind and my soul? Without the word of God and his guidance in my life and seeking him in prayer what foundation do I have? It says in the Bible – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding Proverbs 9:10 I don’t know how many times that is in the Bible. I stopped counting at 9 maybe that’s it, maybe there’s more. I am not a Bible scholar. What I do know is that it’s important. It’s something I want to explore this year.

So I’m going to focus first spiritually on what it means to fear the Lord. How is that the beginning of wisdom? There is so much more behind that scripture than when you just read it at face value. I know whatever God has for me this year (I hope one of those things is to burn this mask) I have to have a strong foundation. I can only do that by understanding how to build the foundation correctly. In order to gain that understanding I need to fear the Lord to even begin to have wisdom. How am I going to do that? Well I’m going to do that by figuring out just what God means by that and the only way I know how to do that is by getting to know him better than I do today. I will never understand if I don’t have a relationship with my Lord and God Jesus Christ. I pray we all have a better year than last year and I will continue to ask God to let me wake up 30 lbs lighter in the morning. Who knows, he does do miracles. Faith of a mustard seed people!!

The It

Sin is so attractive? Doesn’t it make so much sense? It’s so reasonable. You deserve it. You’ve worked for it or earned it. It feels good or else you wouldn’t do it. Some of those sins we share with other people. Some we find that we want to keep hidden and do them in the dark, in the privacy of our own home. You know the most obvious ones. Alcohol if your an alcoholic, drugs, pornography, having an affair down to what we consider little white lies. “Oh these shoes? I’ve had them forever.” Says the wife so her husband won’t get irritated about the money spent on them. The argument is just exhausting. That’s a sin that makes a lot of sense to a lot of women. The same goes for men. Not wanting to hear us moan and groan about getting together with guys after work so you may be working late. Those little white lies. You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s not like you’re cheating. It’s not hurting anyone. Your just saving each other from the evening of arguing. Your actually doing each other a favor.

OK, before you go saying those examples are sexist, it’s what I came up with. Apply it to your life however you like. Maybe the husband is buying shoes and the wife is having drinks. Either way this all comes out the same. I had the opportunity to stay an evening in Miami alone. My brother and I made the trip to get Miriam together but he flew out before I did. It’s seldom I’m alone or in a place where I can do anything I want and absolutely no one will know. Now I have worked very hard the last three years and have not had a drink. I never thought I would say those words. Drinking and I were a couple as far as I was concerned. I was in a hotel 961 miles away from anyone who could physically show up. To drink or not to drink? That is the question. So goes the mind and how I deserve it. No one will ever know. Right down there in the hotel lobby. There is not a soul here that knows me. I have had so much loss and why can’t I just be numb for a while. Only one. Well, only two. Well that probably wouldn’t do it. So, maybe three and a shot just to take the edge off. I couldn’t move off the bed. I kept finding shows to watch and literally could not move from my spot on the bed. I honestly don’t know what I watched that night but I do know I ordered room service and had the best Cuban sandwich I have ever eaten and Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia instead of three and a shot. I did get up to answer the door for room service but locked myself in, jammied up and covered up like there was a blizzard outside.

Cheers to sleeping all night and no drinking, I slept with prayers from my Mom because I don’t know about anyone else but it is also skooky (that is not a typo I meant to type skooky) to be in a hotel room by yourself. Maybe it’s just me. Get ready, feeling good, make sure Miriams ashes are safe and secure for travel. Fly out of Miami and had a lay over in Charlotte. Well Satan and all of hell must have said “Hell NO” (haha get it). Any way they weren’t giving up that easy. My gate that I landed at was literally I think at one end of Charlotte Douglas Airport and the one I had to fly out of must have been at the complete opposite end. I need to stop and grab a drink and start my trek. I kid you not every time I looked up there was an airport pub, tavern something advertising a place to sit down and have some type of alcohol. I must have been hallucinating because when I looked up I saw a bar with liquor bottles behind it and empty chairs at the bar every time I looked for somewhere to buy a soda. I started walking so fast I was sweating purfusely. Then the my mind starts going. Last call, your so stressed, just stop and have one. One can’t possibly hurt anyone. THEN……JESUS said “Do you know how many steps you are getting on your Fitbit? Do you know what your heart rate is right now.” If you stop you will break that rhythm you have going and between this and the Miami airport you could probably burn off that Cuban sandwich. I bet you could get all your steps in today without getting on the treadmill.” I’m not kidding y’all. Jesus was keeping track of my steps and he was like, you go girl, keep moving, keep that heart rate up!! So then it became a challenge of not stopping until I got to my gate. AND I DID!!!! Without stopping. I’m sure people thought they might have to call EMS because walking like that with a mask on is some kind of hard. I was really loud, like I was the only one there and just ran a marathon. Thank you, I’ld like to thank my husband Wyatt, for loving me, my Mom and my sister for always supporting me, my Son for being such an inspiration in my life…… Yeah.

So, I made it home and felt magnificent getting that bear hug at the airport from Wyatt. I know I had lots of help on my trip. I had lots of prayer and Jesus held my hand. The thing is, the biggest lie we tell ourselves is that no one will ever know. Yes, they will know. If your sobriety means something to you and to the ones you love you will not be able to keep that a secret. Not only will it tear you down but you will feel as if you let everyone else down. Please don’t think I am saying relapses don’t and should never happen. That is not at all what I am saying but the lie we tell ourselves that no one will ever know is that. A lie. Being sober is hard. I’m not sure if it ever gets easy and you can just walk on by without a care. I do know right now today I am sober and I am so very blessed and thankful for all the people in the my life that helped me get there.

I will leave you with this because we all need to remember this. If you are an addict or maybe you’re not. Temptation can come your way whoever you are. I didn’t just come out of the gate an addict. IT’S seductive, IT’S logical, IT’S deserved, IT’S pleasurable and IT will rear IT’S ugly head when you least expect it. IT likes the element of surprise. That IT will be whatever you need IT to be.

Fly To God

The world is still spinning and life is still happening. Whether it is happening very slow for you or hasn’t changed at all depends on where you are and what you do. Easter was just yesterday and I’m sure like most of you it felt very different this year. My in-laws did not come down. I did not see my son. I had sunrise service in my living room streaming on my TV instead of at Hollywood Cemetery. Which by the way is a beautiful service if you get the chance to join us hopefully next year. It overlooks the river and is led by several different churches one being New Song United Methodist which is where I attend. There are bag pipes playing. Communion is offered if you choose to partake and it’s just so meaningful. Sorry, got a little sidetracked but I look forward to it. I have to say sitting on my couch for sunrise service lost a little something. I looked at Wyatt and said, “Well, that was kind of a let down. But I think that’s my fault.”

It wasn’t the message or how it was delivered. Yes, we all want to get back to doing things like we were, such as going to church and being around people and not worrying if that person is closer than 6’. Did I miss the message though? Did I miss the big reveal? Did I forget the reason I should be overjoyed? All of the things that I do on Easter and leading up to it can be very meaningful and really touch my life but I can’t let those things overshadow or take place of the big surprise. The tomb is empty!! So, if I don’t go to sunrise service at Hollywood cemetery or have my usual meal with my usual people and this day doesn’t go as normal is it “just a let down?” Well, it shouldn’t be. Jesus didn’t forget to rise up out of the tomb! Easter should be a time of celebration. No matter what our circumstances are. I had a good day yesterday. I planted flowers and spent time with Wyatt and my Mom, but I must admit I didn’t feel very Eastery. (That’s a word, yes, it is.) Until today. Until I had time to reflect and think on yesterday and read in my bible this morning.

I’ve been reading Psalms for a while now and I never felt like I could get that much from it. It just seemed to be kind of boring. News Flash!!! God can speak to you from anywhere in his book. You just have to be open and ask him to let you have ears to hear and eyes to see. We are all so busy I think trying to get through this and get back to normal, which is understandable, that we may be missing God’s training. I’m not saying we should all embrace this and let this become our norm but while we are here let’s not run. Let’s see what God has for us. Psalm 55:6 Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. – Yes, oh wouldn’t we. Fly away from all of this and get back to life and get our children back to life and back to work. We need to work and pay bills and get out of this house. Oh, wouldn’t you be at rest then if you could fly away from all of this. But!!! In your escape where are you flying to? Alcohol, food, TV, pornography, drugs or are you just simply filling your time with anything and everything to escape from God? Instead of flying away we should be flying to God. There is a plan for each and everyone of us. You can learn from this time and let God teach you and give you the knowledge you need and the instruction you need to learn during this time. Or, you can fly and you can completely miss out on the knowledge and the instruction that he has for you. He has something greater for me and for you and he will reveal it to me and to you when we are ready. I can live in this and rejoice that the tomb is empty from my couch and get in a different mindset for the day. Let God speak to my heart and accept that where I am can still be used for God’s glory and trust that he is training me for something greater.

So, do I really want things to go back to normal after all is said and done. NO!! I don’t. I want to be better. I’m not sure how I want to be better but I just feel that back to normal is not where I want to be. Back to normal sounds complacent. God give me ears to hear and eyes to see, train me for something greater Lord and let me fly for you when the time is right.

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

Jesus Is Waiting

I am at a loss. I have been trying to blog since we came home from inpatient hospice on Monday. I have written and deleted I don’t know how many times. Nothing seems right for me to put on the page. I’m all over the place.

We were given such a gift from God on Monday. Dad woke up, is how I like to describe it. It’s called a rally. It’s very common for a person to have a rally as it gets closer to the time that they are going to pass. He was alert and he wanted to eat and we all got to spend some time with him. I think we all got to tell him things that we thought we weren’t going to get the chance to tell him. I had the chance to tell him I love him again. I had the chance to hear him tell me he loved me. I was able to hold his hand and look in his eyes and let him know how very much he means to me. What a good, good, father he is. I don’t want to let him go. Looking around the room at all the people that had gathered to spend a moment with him and love on him was overwhelming. There must have been close to 20 people in the room. A person isn’t surrounded by that many people if they did not touch all those lives in some special way. The room was lit up with laughter and love, tears of joy and tears of sadness. I went to bed that night feeling like I had been rushed from the bottom of Mt. Everest straight to the top in about 5 seconds. Cold wind rushing in my face, snow hitting me and standing on the top peak with the sun shining down on me warming every part of my being making me feel alive.

Only to wake up the next morning and find that he had gone back inside himself again. As fast as I had been whisked to the peak I had been dragged back down to the valley and the trip was exhausting. He was still somewhat responsive and could call us by name. We were still able to talk to him and understand if he was uncomfortable or in pain or not. He was still able to say I love you but that spark that had been lit the day before was slowly going out. Little by little he has traveled inward until he is unresponsive. We might get some sort of an answer every now and then when we talk to him and ask him questions but I believe he is battling now. He has many conversations, most of them we can’t decipher but he is talking to someone. The nurse explained so many things to us about the mind and the body and how they fight against eachother. His body is struggling and is tired and I think he is ready to rest but his mind still wants to stay and isn’t ready to quite let go. He is having hallucinations according to the nurse and I like to think he sees his Mom. Meemaw is sitting in her rocking chair chuckling and shaking all over and can’t wait to hug him and show him around. I’m so excited for him to go and sit and talk with Jesus. I know he is going to have all his quesions answered and I can just picture his face full of light and love and joy when he sees the Father. At the same time I want to be selfish and hold on to him. I know it is time. I don’t want him to suffer or be in pain or struggle to stay because he thinks we are not going to be ok. I have told him it’s ok. He can go. As much as I will miss him and mourn his loss I know I will see him again. That’s what makes death so bearable. I know he knows Jesus as his Lord and savior. I know Jesus as my Lord and savior. I know where he is going without the shadow of a doubt and I know where I am going. So I know we will be reunited. Death is not the end. It’s just the beginning. We are only on this earth for a short period of time. If there is one thing my Dad would want anyone to know who is reading this or who knew him it would be Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you. Jesus rose from the dead for you. You can have eternal life and live with him in eternity if you just believe and accept him as your lord and savior, admit you are a sinner (as we all are) and believe he died and rose from the dead and is the one true Son of the living God. He will wash you white as snow and you will be forgiven. You will have eternal life. So you see, earth is just a short journey and we should certainly live and love and spread the love of Jesus Christ while we are here. Death is where our real life begins. It’s where we are made whole again if we so choose and to live in peace for eternity or to be separated from God for all eternity. That is the true definition of hell.

So while I sit here today by my Dads bed and watch him labor to breathe and struggle with a foot in both worlds so to speak I pray that he will hear us and know that it is ok. I love him with all my heart but Jesus is waiting and I will see him in a short while where we can sit and talk just me and him on the steps.