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.

The Baby

Change. It’s not easy. We all get into a comfortable routine where everything makes sense. This is how we do life. We have traditions that we have created with our own family. Wyatt and I were married and had to find a way to fit both of our families together for holidays and birthdays and family gatherings. Then we had JT and things became more centered around him and the dynamics change and we found what was comfortable for us. A way that we can fit both families together yet create our own traditions as well for just the three of us. Time marches on and you grow and people move away, people die, people go through ups and downs and if your family is anything like my family you fight. Yes there is fighting and hurt feelings sometimes but we seem to always find our way back to eachother because the one thing that doesn’t change is the love we have for each other.

It’s Christmas Eve and I find myself really struggling to find my place. Everything about my life has changed. I’ll be honest, I really don’t like it and earlier I felt like having a little pity party for myself. So many things have changed at one time. Can we not do this step by step? Change is hard enough. Why God can we not ease into all these things? Even if the change is positive it can still be an adjustment because it’s different. You are introducing something new into your life and figuring out how to make it fit.

I feel like everything hit at once. My Dad passed away, JT moved out, my Mom moved in, JT started dating someone serious (which as a Mom can be hard to become the #2 when you’ve been the #1 in your son’s life for 18 years) and then here comes the holidays. Nothing about Christmas Eve, nothing about this Christmas season has been the same. Now obviously not all of these are bad or negative changes. My Mom moving in is a good thing but is still a change for her and Wyatt and I. JT finding someone is a good thing and I like her so that’s a plus. It’s just a lot of changes. It means doing things differently like sharing JT with another family when he has been all mine. It means not getting to ride around and look at lights with my Dad. It means not getting to exchange Christmas presents with my Dad. It means for the first time in 18 years JT won’t be here when I wake up in the morning. Like I said, change is hard and as much as you want to try to force it to stay the same sometimes you just have no control. Life happens and we must figure out how to reshape ourselves into the new mold.

As I sat tonight crying off and on having my private little pity party I thought about the Christmas Eve service I had gone to earlier and the message. Today is about the baby. The baby Jesus. It’s not about watching Christmas Vacation and eating KFC. Side note, KFC closed early and I was not able to get my chicken which is a Christmas eve tradition we do every year. Just so you know, I cried. Back to the matter at hand. Today is not about me and my pity party because my traditions are changing. The baby Jesus. He’s what I should be concentrating on and if anybody should have had a pity party it would have been Mary and Joseph. Can you imagine. Mary the virgin is pregnant and Joseph still decided to marry her and then they trek off with Mary pregnant as can be on a donkey and can’t find a place to stop except a stable for her to give birth in. Jesus is put in a manger. We like to romanticize this scene and make the stable all clean and tidy but I bet that stable was, well a stable. Dirty, smelly, animals around making noise, scratchy straw. I don’t think it was as pleasant as we like to picture it in our books and plays. That, is some change for ya. 9 months before I think she was probably just living as everone else and then an Angel visits her and boom, the changes just kept on coming. I’ll bet Mary and Joseph could have had a pity party or two and maybe they did but with God’s help they reshaped themselves to fit the new mold.

So as I think about all these changes, yes I am sad. I do miss doing things the way I have done them for the past 18 years. I do miss my Dad being here for the 44 Christmas’ before this. If it means doing things differently then I guess it’s time to create new memories and new traditions, like joining my Mother and Father in-law and going to the Christmas Eve service together. Wyatt and I visiting our neighbor last night and sitting and talking with her and making a promise to myself to visit more often. Maybe we’ll eat Popeye’s chicken on Christmas Eve. (I don’t know guys, KFC is my go to. Popeye’s had to step in and it wasn’t KFC). We will have to play Christmas morning by ear and just find our place in it together until JT and Kaitlyn get here. All I know is even in this time of change and the ups and downs I can be so very thankful that 1. I am not pregnant and on a donkey and 2. God was willing to put on human flesh and walk among us and then be crucified for my sins and yours so that we may have eternal life. That is something that can never and will never change. Merry Christmas Everyone. I hope you all enjoy your families today and remember it’s about the baby today.

Thank God

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t written in over a month. When I started this in May my goal was to atleast write once a week if not more and it was going to be about my walk. The struggles I have had with sobriety, with relationships, being a Mom, with God, just generally being me and living. If I could encourage just one person out there and open up about my failures, my struggles, my victories all the wonderings that race through this head of mine it would be worth it. Little did I know that when I started writing it would be so healing for me. So God has blessed me just by writing and sharing. I really hope it helps someone out there and I hope most of all you know you are not alone in how you feel or what you go through. If nothing else though I heal a little more each time I sit here and the letters flow through my fingers to make the words on the page.

I did not intend to take this much of a break but life has a way of sticking it’s foot out as you are running by and making you really ugly fall. When my Dad was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain tumor on May 23rd life really did stick it’s foot out. Actually it threw a ridiculous amount of marbles out onto the road and I, well my whole family, have been trying to navigate that road ever since. We’ve been sliding and rolling and doing a balancing act to stay upright and move forward at the same time. We have all been trying to find our place in this and be where we need to be. What I have seen over these last months is nothing short of amazing. I have also learned God has given every one of us a different gift that we have the potential to use during a time like this. People have reached out in so many different ways and the love and support have often come from places that we did not expect. I also am learning to accept help from people and not to judge someones motives. Where I was expecting certain things from one direction they were coming from another. Not everyone can deal with illness, caregiving and dying the same way. You have to learn to meet people where they are and be thankful for the gifts that God has given them and how they are using them. Some are great encouragers, some send wonderful cards, some just check in time to time to see how you are doing. Others are hospital visitors, meal providers, shoulders to cry on and people to vent to. Some work with their hands and have contacts in the right places, loaning and putting together a wheelchair ramp that saved us a lot of money. Some send people to clean your house when you just don’t have it in you or to put in a handicap toilet because your Dad is coming to live with you. Others drive 5 hours here and back almost every weekend to give you a break and because they want to be here to take care of their Father, Grandfather, Grandfather in law. If they could be here 24/7 they would. Still others drive that far just to visit or have given money either to help with expenses or they have donated to the National Brain Tumor Society. I say all that to say I am learning to let people use the gifts they have and not require things and judge people for their actions as to why they did or didn’t do something. That is not a complete list of all the amazing people who are around us daily or who have been there for us and helped us through this. It’s just a little glimpse of how blessed we are.

I have also learned how I must pay it forward. I know the next time I run accross someone who is going through something. An illness, a crisis, a marble balancing act, instead of just saying how sorry I am and let me know if there is anything I can do I need to show up. That doesn’t have to mean to their house every day or maybe it does if that’s what God wants from me. A card, a meal, a phone call, some flowers, whatever the circumstance try to meet the need. That person is never going to let you know if they need anything so I know I just need to do.

This is a hard journey. For my Dad, for my family, for all those its affecting around us but I do know one thing. I have seen God show up a lot through out this and I need to remember that. I have seen my family become closer because of this and I need to be thankful. I have seen the giving heart of people that I never even thought cared and I need to rejoice. I have gained a lot of wisdom through this and I need to give it away. I have had my own personal hardships but I have also had my own personal victories and I need to Thank God.