Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans for a hope and a future."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love, Hurt, and Forgiveness

Do you know what it's like to be hurt?
Silly question, wouldn't you say?
We're hurt every day....by those we love, those we can't stand, those we're trying to understand, and those we'd rather not even be around. Every day it seems our hearts get broken or our egos bruised.

So what do we do? God says we should forgive, but is that what we always do. The bible teaches us to forgive out of love.....out of the same pure love in which Jesus Christ died for our sins. Now that's a pretty hard pill to swallow.

Let's start with me for instance. I'm a lover of people. I love peace and harmony. I love making people happy and I love helping heal hurts-or at least making them feel not alone in what their dealing with.....it makes me feel like I'm contributing something like I can make a difference....but let's be honest it also makes me feel wanted and appreciated so if someone blocks me out I feel hurt. If someone says something to hurt my feelings my heart sinks and my ego shrinks....if someone dares to accuse my actions to be anything than love, care or concern I fold....and it hurts....and sometimes I get mad....it takes a whole lot for me to get mad but it happens...what's sometimes scarier than mad is indifference...you know the feeling you have when you just dint care one way or the other? Why, do you say? Well bc indifference is a lack of emotion therefore your actions have the potential to crush someone and you're none the wiser.... Now, let's talk about other things that have the potential to hurt or make you mad-someone talks about you or your family, accuses you of something you didn't do (or calls you out on something you actually did do), someone says or does some unfounded thing that hurts you in some way.....any and all of this can lead to anger, hurt, and/or confusion....

Which brings us to forgiveness...how do we forgive? How should we forgive? Do we have forgiveness for others...do we have forgiveness for ourselves? Do we recognize that the evil we fight every day has nothing to do with fellow humans but rather temptations of the anti-christ...

I have a strong group of friends of whom we pray for each other and talk throughout the day...just this week one reminded us James 1 1-18..you'll have to look it up bc I'm blogging from my phone and don't know how to copy and paste. Anyway, James reminds us that trials are from God and temptation from the devil...do you see the difference? Trials strengthen us...temptations sway us. Sometimes as the result if our free will we are swayed by temptations and create our own trials.

Take for instance marriage and affairs. In marriage there are many trials.....financial burdens, sickness-mental and or physical, and the list goes on and on. Love is a choice and the act of loving your spouse is of your own free will each day....even on the days your spouse is unlovable or you're unlovable one..temptations are around every minute of that marriage...you just don't notice them when everything is going fine....when you're hurt or feel unloved or unlovable or when you become indifferent that's when temptation has the opportunity to arise. When those temptations arise people get hurt. Sometimes the hurt is minor bc temptation is recognized and stopped before it goes too far and sometimes temptation gets the upper hand and everyone around becomes miserable and tortured from poor choices.

So how Does forgiveness fit in here? Well, it's obvious in many ways....the spouse who strayed and recognizes with remorse desires forgiveness...the spouse who maybe never saw it coming realizes mistakes made or longs to have the anger leave their heart....but what about the one who acted as temptation? What about the one who shows no remorse who continues to disrupt families who, out of what looks like selfish desire continues the same patterns...is that forgivable?

The hardest thing for us to do is forgive....sure we say we forgive...we try to forgive....but unless there is true forgiveness like that that we received from the blood of God then when do not have true peace...true forgiveness cannot come from us...it has to be placed there by God and we only get it if we ask for it... Sometimes we have to ask continually...AND we have to be READY for it. That means we have to be willing to give up our own control, our own desires, and our own limitations to let God have control...we have to have forgiveness in ourselves and of ourselves before we can forgive anyone else....and that comes with the love and desire of God in which we can truly love ourselves and each other...things that sound so simple but yet we often fight so hard against.

In my own experiences I know that I have difficulty forgiving....on the outside I seem pretty forgiving. I even fool myself that I'm full of forgiveness.....but the better term for me would probably be passive-aggressive. I'll forgive you and say everything is ok , but I won't forget...and you better believe I'm gonna use it against you later- either to remind you of how you've messed up before or to let you know it's ok for me to do certain things bc you wronged me in the past.....see that's not true forgiveness....but I holdout forgiveness in myself too....I let guilt control my actions sometimes, I let fear tell me I'm not good enough or evil tell me that I can do what I want bc I'm just gonna mess up anyway...that's not truly giving it to God or forgiveness of self...and lack of self live or self forgiveness leads us to believe we're not worthy so no one else is either....this opens the door for all sorts of temptations- self medication through drugs or alcohol, abuse, hatred, you name it....

Do you see why true forgiveness is so important?

I can think of one very clear time in my life I experienced feeling true forgiveness for someone...Zeta was inpatient in one of the fights for her life....her tiny body was clearly trying to give up and no one seemed to be acting fast enough. The only doctor around was a new ( and who seemed to me at the time cocky) resident...he seemed to be just watching my baby and no one was doing anything...he finally discussed a plan of action with which I disagreed bc it was just wasting time- I knew all too well from experience....to make a long story short my baby almost died and if she had I was going to blame this resident and this hospital for the rest of my life....this was the first time I ever came close to sticking a finger in someone's face...I tried to react calm and in a rational manner bc I knew the rest of Zeta's care depended on it but the anger that boiled through my veins was too much to contain... I was angry to the point of sickness....I hated everything and everybody....my only focus was that doctor and it was a picture of hatred.....what I slowly started to realize as I sat by zeta and tried to pray was that my main focus was this young resident and the fact that I thought he had done wrong....I couldn't even put the proper feeling into the prayer for healing for my baby because I was so consumed by the anger. So I made a plea to God to please take the hurt and anger away....to let me forgive this young doctor so I could move on and focus on the things that mattered.....you know what happened once I finally did that? Well I found out this was this doctors second day in the PICU..a resident is still learning and in Zeta's case most of us were constantly learning. I started to realize that doctors wouldn't devote so many hours of their lives in order to purposefully fail....there were a lot of things I started to realize....I realized the difference between true forgiveness and forgiving someone just bc we think we should or just to avoid conflict. True forgiveness doesn't mean that you agree with what happened or that you were never hurt, it simply means that you realize the emotion is out of your control and in order for you to move on you have to give up your own will and Give it to God just as Jesus said, 'Not my will but thine be done.'

We are weak and helpless in our own capacities. There's only one way that is Divine and right and true- and only one way to Heaven. You have to believe God is real, that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, and that we are imperfect sinners who only have to confess those sins in order to be forgiven. As we do this we find thT we desire to be more like God and when we make poor choices He deals with our hearts in such a way that we actively seek right from wrong. Does that mean we'll always make the right choices? No. Does it mean we have every reason to keep trying? Most definitely!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why do we do these things???

Why do we create situations that hinder our true (or ETERNAL) happiness?

How do we fall into the trap of losing our focus and making poor choices?

I could write this post based on my own experiences or about the experiences of about a 100 others that I know.

You see, over 4 years ago I was in a pretty dangerous place. I'm not talking literally - I'm just talking about with my soul. When the world becomes our focus we lose sight of the One true focus. We fall into the trap of relying on other things or other people to make us happy. We forget where salvation lies. We forget where true peace resides. We forget the calm assurance and we seek the thrills. We seek what everyone else is searching for. We're on a mission to find the answers to life. The answers to being carefree and the answers to our description of true happiness.

For some people true happiness has the expectations of no boundaries and living life according to your own free will.....I take that back - I believe we ALL reach that point at some time. Most of the time we can put limits on these boundaries and we live as upstanding citizens. What happens when we let our guards down though?

Some people look for the escape from reality. You get tired of hurt and pain. You get tired of routine. You get tired of living in a glass house because you wonder if there is something more.....or maybe you're just scared to live in the glass house because you know it will crack.

I understand we're all imperfect. I preach this all the time. We all make mistakes. Since Adam and Eve our journey of sin took reign. We were created with free will. I get that too....I just don't always understand it....

I mean, I go through this constantly.....since Zeta and the moment that I was so broken and realized that absolutely no one could save me from my pain and no one could make her whole I felt a whole new commitment to God. I finally understood the TRUE meaning of a relationship with God. I got it. I had the peace that I was looking for for so long. In the midst of my most broken moments - in the most difficult situation I had ever encountered I finally knew what it meant to be held. I finally understood God's language. I wasn't just sitting there waiting for it to happen. I begged and pleaded for it to happen. I begged for God to take the pain from me and protect our family.

.....and he has.......through everything we have experienced. Through every hospital visit and through every seizure. Through every tear and through every sleepless night God protected me. I was able to see the goodness through the pain. I was able to hear God over the weeping of my soul. God protected me when I laid my baby on the stretcher for the last time....they wheeled her to a hearse instead of a hospital bed or operating room. Throughout every bit of it I was able to focus on God.

So why the difficulty now??

Why when things should be finally getting back to NORMAL does it all seem to be falling apart again?

It's like I moved my focus for a few days and BAM I'm afraid I forgot how to talk to God. My glass house is shattering all around me. Why am I so distracted? Why can't I just get it right? Why was it so easy to follow and listen in the moment that most felt I should be shaking my fists and giving up??

I'm the opportunist who believes in giving a good pep talk (and God talk) if I think someone needs it....funny thing is most of my pep talks are directly related to me. The things I need to be reminded to do (pray, have faith, etc) and the things that lead to eternal life and true freedom of your soul on earth.....

unfortunately, lately I've been feeling like a huge hypocrite.......because somehow I've lost my focus.....

For the first time in a very long time I sat through church tonight and heard almost nothing the preacher said........I constantly tried to tune in, but I found it so difficult as I was thinking over all of my own personal issues and how sometimes it just seems easier to give in rather than fight the devil......I don't get how I can be so strong in my convictions one day and then all of a sudden it seems everything blows with the wind....

....now before all the speculation begins I haven't done anything illegal or crazy like that.......I just can't find my focus......my eyes and heart, my soul, my being are being tried........

One minute I'm convincing myself that there's nothing wrong with setting aside my convictions for small things, then those small things become big things - then you just as well not even try because you're gonna mess up anyway, right?

Where does stuff like this even come from? How can you go from being so sure of everything you believe and knowing that God is the one true source to salvation and peace and happiness to assuming that you don't need to try so hard because you've got it all wrapped up. Aren't we taught that being a Christian doesn't guarantee an easy path? As a matter of fact quite the opposite could be true - consider Job (yes preacher I did listen a little tonight).

Sometimes I feel like Job. You don't have to jump in tell me that my life is nothing compared to Job - I know this already.

but....here's a BIG but - I get these thoughts - "I found God. I've done the right things. I was saved when I was 8. Several times in my life I was sure I had it all figured out - how to be the proper Christian, how to follow God correctly. For the past few years I KNOW that I've had a very true relationship with God. I withstood the biggest trial of my life - with peace in my heart. I deserve happiness all the time and if I make a poor choice I blame lapse of judgement on watching my daughter die for her whole life. This is the crap I tell myself. I convince myself that I am righteous. I convince myself that I will wear a crown because I'm saved....and because I deserve it. I convince myself that I DESERVE it. It's like an ticking time bomb in my head sometimes. Stevie and I have a disagreement and I fall apart because my daughter is up the road in a grave. I have a bad day, I fall apart because my baby is gone. I make a bad choice I blame it on all the hell I've been through. I forget to do something and I think to myself - heck other people can be sorry and forget stuff and nothing ever happens - at least I have an excuse, my daughter is dead. I watch people I love make poor choices and I fail to stand up and help them find the right way. Someone hurts my feelings and I crumble inside saying "you have absolutely no idea what I've seen and what I've been through." You can be happy and not give a crap about anyone else because YOUVE NEVER HAD TO FIGHT TO MAKE IT OUT OF HELL ON EARTH. Do you get the picture? every aspect of anything that is wrong leads me back to two things - I'VE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH HELL AND I DESERVE HEAVEN. THAT BECOMES MY FAULTY THINKING

I doubt it took you long to realize that the former paragraph is full of self-centered drama and nonsense. nearly 200 WORDS OF WORTHLESS UNWORTHY CRAP about my rightousness- but those are my honestly brutal feelings sometimes. Do you sense the anger? Do you feel the longing to just be normal and forget what actually brought me to be the person I am today.....

What you don't see so much there maybe is the guilt.

The guilt that I hold for feeling as if all my baby went through was somehow my fault. That God knew I couldn't truly see him until I was stripped of every possible part of my soul I wanted to claim as my own. That I would always have some small hold out or some things I would try to keep from him until I was brought completely on my knees and fell flat on my face and said I GIVE UP I CAN"T DO THIS YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT AND YOU HAVE TO FIX IT. The guilt of almost KNOWING that maybe it was my fault. That everything I watched her struggle through was created by me.....created by me because of any and every poor decision I made before she was ever even conceived. Created by me because I was her mother. Created by me because I deserved to be punished for all the sin I'd ever had in my life. Created by me due to poor choices.

Fast forward to after I was so broken that I was either going to die or God was going to save me and then you see another part.....the part that finally understood you have to actively seek God's face. The part that understood that you have to surround yourself with people that encourage you to do just that. The part that tells you that certain things are not good....the part that shows you what it's like to actually WANT to be more like God because you are so grateful that you are saved....because you finally get it.....because in the midst of the senseless you finally feel like you understand just a small part of what it's like to turn EVERYTHING over to GOD....

Then you go through the guilt again....sometimes when I share my experiences I become so overwhelmed by emotion because I see exactly what it took to get me to fully accept the gift God was offering. I was so overwhelmed by thinking of the sin in my life and how I wanted to rid myself of that and that is the moment I truly truly said Ok, it's yours. I didn't care what I had to give up I just wanted safety and assurance. I was finally willing to throw my hands up and say, "I don't care what it takes - make me whole."

The big problem is that since then I've tried so hard to be diligent, I've worked to make my choices align with what I believe He wants for my life. I've bordered on feeling accomplished in living life the right way....

Which is why all of a sudden it feels like I'm not and why all of a sudden I just find myself distracted and not focusing. It's like I just sat down a few days ago and said, Ok - I think I want to go back to my old life now. I don't like the responsibility of being somebody people look up to, I don't like being the mom who lost a child, I don't like putting forth the effort when it seems like so many other people don't. I just want to BE. I just want to exist......without baggage....without thoughts....without responsibility....without worry.

That's the big one, WORRY. I can't fix the world. I would like to, but I can't. I wanted to fix every one of Zeta's problems, but I couldn't. I wanted to fix myself, but I'm still broken. The devil creeps in and says so what....do whatever makes you feel good - don't worry about anything else. If you want to give up, then give up. If you want to skip devotions skip them. If you want to hide from the world hide. If you want to pretend you're on top of the world then do it. The little battles turn into big wars.

Everyday we battle the demons among us. The evil that lives inside us and the evil that lives in the people around us. Sometimes it's easy to throw our hands up in the air and walk away....to try to be something we're not.....to try to make a different life - a life that doesn't include the pain of our pasts. That's what the devil wants. He wants us to cave. He wants us to turn away. He wants us to fool ourselves into believing that some things just aren't worth the trouble.

I started this post knowing it was going to be brutal. knowing it would hurt....knowing I would bare my soul once again.... I started full of anger, guilt and hopelessness. I started full of fear. Fear of the idea that has been in my head that I shouldn't be preaching, teaching or telling anyone about Jesus because I'm so screwed up and I just needed to let the world know it - because then I could let myself off the hook....

but you see that's what the devil wants. He wants me to cave. He wants me to mess up. He wants me to give up the minute I venture toward temptation. He knows the path away from God often looks more glorious because we are blinded by our very own egos.

I can honestly say the distractions have been creeping in for a few days and that the past couple of days I have been totally blinded.... Distractions so huge that I couldn't sit still to focus on anything god was saying to me....things constantly put before me that I chose to ignore. Sitting in church and almost virtually waking to realize I had no clue what the preacher had said in the last five minutes....then looking over to see someone using their bible openly for the first time and knowing that there was a desire and thirst for God.....It was a wake up call that I almost missed because I was so focused on myself.....The journey and growth I've seen of my friend who has walked the spiritual journey kicking and screaming and shaking her fists at God - watching as her heart is opening and the walls are crumbling.....and realizing that as her heart opens mine was seemed to be closing......what a sad irony that would be.....what a great victory for death and evil....

So you know what, the devil doesn't win. I'm staking my claim - here, now and openly to you. I don't get to heaven because I claim to be saved. I don't get to heaven because I'm a good person. I don't get to heaven because of the hell I've been through. I get to heaven because God sent Jesus to die on the cross and I believe that to be true. I have sins - as a human I will always struggle with sin, but I confess those sins and put them in God's hands. I will fight the battles because the war has been won!



Friday, January 31, 2014

love, morality or both?

We all know life isn't perfect.

So why do we expect more from everyone else?

How do we know the difference between someone who is having a bad moment, a bad day - or someone who needs real help?

How do we define easy?

Is love conditional? Should it be?

We all have moments (at least I think we all do)....

Sometimes we feel life is unfair. Sometimes it doesn't make sense and sometimes we feel that we're owed more than we're paid or given.

On the other hand, we all deal with people who are fighting their own struggles and trying to make it through their own journeys. Some make poor choices. Does that make bad people?

Some struggle with actual mental illness and do things that typical people can't even begin to wrap their minds around.

Where's the line? You know, the line in which we withdraw the approval? Does disapproval equal withdrawing of love?

I don't think so. The bible teaches us love and forgiveness, but it also teaches that we must set boundaries and although we are not meant to judge we aren't meant to be enablers either.

It's a very had line to define.

Life throws us all curveballs - be it we're the ones with the bad days, bad moments, or all out bad lives....there are still others fighting their own battles and believe it or not -just as someone always has it better - someone always has it worse too.

Getting caught in the middle of a bad decision or facing the dilemma of trying to figure out how to help someone who doesn't know they need help or even addressing the fact that something is wrong - those are all hard things....someone always gets hurt....

...but when the smoke disappears, do we remain? Do we come back to help heal the wounds or do we pretend it never happened? ......and how do we go about being there and doing the right thing and saying the right thing when we too are sinners - although we forget the lack of hierarchy of sin?

Sometimes we are the ones with the issues and we just want to scream to world that everything isn't ok - but we have to pretend that it is....

I've found that there are so many more people I can relate to when I'm open and honest....
I think there is just a certain way to go about it ----




Galatians 6:5 ESV /

For each will have to bear his own load.


Galatians 6:2 ESV /

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.


"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ..."

James 2:14-24 ESV

So the sentiment here is two-fold....be careful because you never know what someone else is dealing with.....and...we still have a responsibility to guide each other in the right direction....

My repeating question is "how do we continually balance these things?" ----the answer - PRAYER and FAITH.


John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

small things

I still can't get over the smallest, strangest coincidences that happen. For some unexplainable reason I woke up this morning thinking about the Palmetto Bluff Half-Marathon.

I suppose it may be because I heard Heather talking about it a couple of weeks ago.

Let's go back a little bit.

Last March I completed my 2nd half marathon. Beautiful,flat course. Beautiful day. Relaxing and intriguing at the same time. Fun experience with my cousins Matt, Heather, and Jen.

I believe that was my last race - no more halfs no more 5ks - nothing.

Palmetto Bluff was my last race for a couple of reasons, I suppose.

Zeta's health started declining during that time.

...and it was at this race that I just happened to be a first responder to a man that collapsed and required life-sustaining efforts.

That night, I dreamed that we were at a race - very similar to the one that day - and we had lost, as in MISPLACED, Zeta - trust me that should be something that would have been hard to do....but We couldn't find her. This man, the one that collapsed, came to me - he was the nicest man ever, with the coolest, most crisp and piercing blue eyes. He came to me and assured me that everything was alright. He assured me that we would find her again sometime. He assured me she was happy.

I woke up.

For some reason that dream disturbed me and brought me peace all at the same time.

Several days later I found out the man who collapsed at the course had died.

Again, the dream haunted me. Was it a sign? An omen of some sort? Was he in heaven now and the dream a preview of what was to come?

I quickly dismissed the thought.

Zeta was buried two months to the day from the day of this race last year......

So, back to today - I wake up thinking of this very same race. I count the weeks until race day and quickly dismiss the thought of training for it. I'm currently at a decent 3.1 mile pace. I can do 5 miles if I put my mind to it, but I do not have the time or desire to work toward the 13.1 required for the half.

I decide not to worry about it, although I would really love to go back.....one day.

Here comes the big coincidence.

I check out facebook and the first notification that pops up is about a comment from a man I basically stalked down last year after the Palmetto Bluff....You see, I believe he and his wife are one of the founders of the race - or at least very heavily involved in the non-profit (Back Pack Buddies) that it supports....I was looking for information about the man that collapsed....

I don't talk to this man on a regular basis - as a matter of fact, we may have had just a handful of fb interactions since the time we talked last year.

....but today.....today there's a comment from him on this picture I shared....


"....hope to see you at Palmetto Bluff this year"

Ok, how strange is all of this?

....and what is the reason I feel I should go?

I don't think it matters whether I go and run or nut, but it matters that maybe there is a little message in all of this for me......exactly what the message is and exactly what it is I am supposed to do about it I do not know, but you can't tell me that all of these seemingly inconsequential series of events happening this morning have no meaning.....

If there is one thing I've learned over the past few years it is that nothing is inconsequential.....there is an intricate plan detailed through every single breath we take....it's up to us to ask God to help us follow it....


Proverbs 30:24-28

New International Version (NIV)

24 “Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power,
yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.


These four things are essentially small......but yet, look at the relative power they possess....Would you wonder why god would choose this particular verse to be a scripture reference? I wonder if it may be to show us that these small, seemingly irrelevant creatures hold much more power than we give them credit for - just like the small little things in our lives - or the small whispers or nudges we're given everyday that - to us - seem to have no meaning.....

Wouldn't it be great to figure it all out?

Wouldn't it be great to meet Jesus face to face one day?

Wouldn't it be great to ask God for all the answers you've ever wondered?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Here's your sign

Random butterfly shows up on my computer - never seen it there before - then I open my new devotional - trying to open to the beginning, and it opens 7 pages in -



So I haven't learned to use the camera correctly on this thing, but it's the verse Jeremiah 29:11.......
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." The same verse that has reminded me that these are God's plans and even when we're weary or weak there is ultimately a plan for good.....

Then on to today's devotion:
Every time you affirm your trust in me, you put a coin into My treasury. Thus you build up equity in preparation for days of trouble. I keep safely in My heart all trust invested in Me, with interest compounded continuously. the more you trust Me, the more I empower you to do so.

Practice trusting Me during quiet days, when nothing much seems to be happening. Then when storms come, your trust balance will be sufficient to see you through. Store up for yourself treasure in heaven through placing your trust in Me. This practice will keep you in My Peace.

Psalm 56:3-4: Matthew 6:20-21

Are these things happenstance? No!

After my tirade yesterday and pretty much a week of self-pity I get some concrete reminders of who is in control here and that everything is going to be ok.....This is what I find so amazing....in my heart I have the faith, yet sometimes I fall into despair and weakness - and it's just at those times that the concrete reminders appear.

Happy Friday Ya'll!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

anger, resentment and the fragility of life

If you popped in to read the blog today you might better pull up a chair.....maybe a snack.....some tissues....maybe a pillow.

We could be here a while.

....and I'm warning you it will probably be raw, real, amd emotional (well, not much out of the ordinary for me, I suppose.)

The thing weighing most on my mind is the loss of so many little lives and lives of special friends lately. Losses that may have been predicted by doctors long ago, but still take our breath away....then there are the losses of those who are here one minute and seem so.....well, ALIVE.........but then in an instant that person is gone....

I've not made a whole lot of time for web browsing lately - actually, I'm pretty overwhelmed with my lack of time management at this point in life. Lately, one of my most intense desires has been just to have a day to sleep or a day to just sit...and be....that's all. No thinking, no driving, no working, no outings. Nothing...just peace and reflection - so I guess, by finally sitting down to blog I'm actually doing a little of just that.

I noticed earlier this week some of the prayer requests we've been getting on Team Zeta's Facebook page and inbox and just everything happening around us. A lot of them I've barely read or maybe I really read them and my brain just chose not to comprehend. A sick little one with cancer....not much time......a CHARGE baby with a dire diagnosis that seems way too familiar. A little one with uncontrollable seizures that may need to be trached soon....another with seizures that also seem to be getting worse and uncontrollable....a seemingly healthy young mother has a seizure and dies...Do you get the picture? I could go on....but I'm afraid my mind won't let me continue there right now.

You see I'm already fighting to see through the tears, my head is pounding and my heart racing.

I don't KNOW how these people, these children and their parents are feeling, but I sure as hell have a pretty good idea.

Okay, so here comes some of the anger.

It's not fair.

It is so not fair that these babies are dying when there are idiots that are facing their 3rd, 4th, 5th DUI and nothing is done until they finally kill somebody on the road. It's not fair that these families have to watch their babies suffer - praying for just one more breath and then there are other mothers putting bullets in their child's head. It's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair. I could continue on, but (thankfully) my mind only lets me go so far for so long (it's a pretty dark place) before faith overcomes and the rational part of me takes control.....

I know it's not right to have these thoughts (although, according to research it is pretty normal)....Perhaps I should say that maybe it's just not right to TALK about these thoughts.... I know it's not healthy to dwell on the 'it's not fair' stuff of the world - but it happens. I have these thoughts and let me tell you, this week has been one heck of a ride.

It makes me sick.....literally.....to compare the injustices of life and look at these dying children....

It's not fair that while one mother sits by her child's side praying for another day, another minute....just one more smile ----that another mother is dancing the night away wearing prada shoes and doesn't second guess that her child will still be sleeping safely in bed when she returns home.....It's not fair that disease and pain and hurt enters our lives..... Especially if you're trying to live life the "right" way, right? (please understand I'm not faulting the dancing mom, I'm just pointing out all we take for granted)

It's not fair that Zeta is gone. It's not fair that I have such intense feelings relating to these families losing their babies. It's not fair that this is happening to them. It's not fair that it happened to me. IT'S NOT FAIR!!!


By creation, life is not designed to be fair.

I get that I suppose you could say I'm still working through the anger stage of grief here...What makes it worse is the days that I seem to hate everything.....well maybe I wouldn't say I hate everything, but everything seems to get on my nerves - please tell me you understand that - that sometimes you feel that way too?.,then I end up hating those feelings the most because I know they're not right, but still it hurts, and still the pain comes, and still the fleeting questions of why and the monotonous and repetitious it's. not. fair. What's crazy is that for so long I knew nothing about the anger....I knew it would eventually come, I expected it....only I didn't expect it to hurt this way.... It cuts so many ways

anger about death, anger about life, anger of what we have....and what we don't.............AND the audacity to sometimes actually begin to believe that I shouldn't have to deal with it because "I'm a pretty decent person."

Being a pretty decent person doesn't save you from anything. Being a Christian doesn't save you from pain.....I almost wrecklessly typed that being a Christian doesn't save you from anything.....but even in my pain, even through my tears, and even through my most angry times I still know that being a Christian is EXACTLY what saves me from everything - from having these awful, dreadful feelings every second of my life......when these feelings come I know that I have Jesus. I know that my God - yes the same God that allows seemingly unfair things to happen - allows me peace. My God allows me comfort. My God allows me to know that there is so much more than the hurt and disease and pain and suffering of God. My God allows me to know that nothing I've experienced or will ever experience will be in vain. Every step I've made, every failure, every hardship, EVERY SINGLE EXPERIENCE I've had has led me right to where I am....I've accepted God as my Savior. I've accepted His will to be done....whether I like the sequence or the plans. I've accepted that He knows best. Like a tired, spoiled child - I know His way is right, but sometimes I'm too exhausted to try to see it His way....and sometimes I just WANT it my way........

It's pretty ironic that every time I have a certain thought, fear, or concern that a gentle reminder is sent....be it a spoken message, an image.....just some reminder of what the Truth is.....
No, it's not ironic at all.........I've learned that God has got me....he's right there all the time....thing is it's harder to notice when I get too self-centered.

You know this lack of time management I've talked about? Well, this has included that a lot of my quiet devotion time has been cut....It's included missing a Sunday or Wednesday night church service here or there. Heck, it's included me losing most any reflective thought at all.....

You see, the holidays rolled around. Christmas, my favorite time of year....only, at times it didn't seem so enjoyable...I didn't feel a whole lot like celebrating....then there's the Birth story - the story of Jesus' birth..........so much talk about how this tiny baby came to earth to save the world. About how this tiny baby did not do anything but be born under humble circumstances.....
It may sound stupid to you, but I spent so much time comparing the birth and life of Jesus to Zeta and her short life.....A tiny baby and an unfathomable amount of trust, faith and understanding....

One minute I'd be crying about my loss.....the next I'm crying because I see how some of the most simple things are taken for granted....then I'm crying because it has taken what seems like an insurmountable amount of pain for me to put my priorities in order....and so I cry some more.....I cry because I thought (mistakenly, once again) that I kind of had it figured out and I knew how to be humble, I was (am) gracious, I was (am) thankful - even through the pain - perhaps more so BECAUSE of the pain........but then there are 'those' moments.....

The ones when the black cloud seems to follow me.....the ones when I'm sad, or more so when I'm mad.....when the human part of me tries to fight the faith inside of me.....the times when it seems like we struggle to make ends meet while others - who in society's eyes - cheat the system and seem to live better - or others who lie, gamble, cheat or steal seem to come out on top....You know, those self=righteous moments....the moments when I'm drowning in self-pity and just can't see the logic behind how someone else's life gets to be better than mine?

Wanna know one of my latest self-pity, hate the world moments? I have a treadmill. In the past week or so it has just randomly stopped in the middle of a run...then the other night the screen goes out.....Well, you know me....nice calm Angel, right? I stomped my foot, punched the treadmill, said a few not so nice words and stormed off to the shower. The longer I was in there the madder I got. A 3 mile run...that was my goal. I was making record time (well, for me, anyway). I was at 2.95 miles. The machine stopped. It's not that old. Piece of crap. I can't have anything....everything I have is crap....The faucets in here look like crap....The toilet and sink have hard water stains...why didn't we ever finish the baseboard right there? So I marched myself back to the den, fell in the floor, cried and continued my little tantrum with Stevie. What in the world did we do wrong? We dated in highschool. went to college, got married then had kids. Did everything right on the check list....why does it seem like everybody else has a better life? Why can't we have anything....why can't we make millions......why did Zeta die????????? why were WE chosen for this life?? Why why why wah wah wah....

Yep, I had a nice little pity party right there in the floor.....and it felt like crap.

It felt like crap because I know better.

I know we are so much better off than so many more people.....I know that while in my mind it sometimes seems like we struggle to make ends meet that is just really not true...we have things that we could do without...for goodness sake the whole thing that set it off was a treadmill......I'm pouting over a treadmill and some people don't know where they will sleep tonight.....I also know that much of my pity party had nothing to do with the treadmill, but so much more to do with the hurt and pain and anger I try so hard to suppress.....You see, it's ok for me to be mad at the stupid machine. It's not ok for me to be mad at God.

More, than having a roof over my head and food to eat - I have God. I have the assurance that life on earth is not eternal....my broken heart is not infinite....Even with moments of anger and not always understanding I have peace in knowing that this is all temporary. I know that I will see my God one day. I know that my baby Zeta is healed and I know my heart will heal too.

I could seriously go on forever and a day about the pain, the peace, all the feelings that are fighting their way out.....but a busy schedule dictates that my time of reflection is over now and back to the real world.....I'm sure I'll be back for another short snippet of "life according to Angel soon!"


Friday, December 6, 2013

Life------------Death------------Anger----------------Grief

I wrote this early this morning - but my day has progressively been better:)

I wasn't quite sure what to entitle this one.

Sometimes I feel like I'm so dramatic when I finally get to the point where I NEED to write about my feelings.
The past few weeks I could sense that strong feeling of grief creeping in. Instead of stopping and feeling it I've just tried to put more and more into my schedule. I guess I was subconsciously hoping that I could keep myself busy enough that I wouldn't have to deal with it. I wouldn't have time for it.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year - I can't let grief ruin it!

The thing is, I know well that a lot of things in life do not operate on MY time schedule. Grief certainly doesn't wait until I have time to deal with it. If it were up to me (like most people) I just wouldn't deal with it at all.

I've had those days here and there where I had the overwhelming desire to just cry - I mean cry over anything......Someone says something that hurts my feelings - I want to cry.....Can't find my keys in the morning - I want to cry.....broke my fingernail - I want to cry.....the sun comes up - I want to cry...........Get the picture?

But I didn't have time for crying so I would let a few tears fall, suck it up, and be on my merry way.....

Thing is, I suppose I haven't been all that merry.

Looking at things in reverse I see that I think I've even kind of avoided my parents (who happen to live less than a mile down the road) because I knew they would be able to tell something was wrong and question me about it and I would get irritated then they would get offended....do you see how this works - I start avoid some people because I just don't want to deal with it. I don't want to FEEL it. I don't want to admit that I'm weak to other people.....simply because I don't want them to be upset........and I don't want make anyone worry....I want to be able to FIX things...... not tear them down.

Only, I thought I was supposed to have learned that I can't always fix things. Just because something isn't all hunky dory and perfect and everything doesn't even mean that it needs fixing.....sometimes things, or rather -people, are broken and they don't need 'fixing' they just need to heal.....and healing takes time, and awareness......and it takes your very own willingness to accept the pain.

Pretending like the pain doesn't exist or pushing it back to deal with later only makes it manifest. It's like if you had a very bad cut and needed stitches - but you choose not to go to the doctor. Chances are it costs you more trouble than it's worth. You deal with days of it continually bleeding and infection setting in and protecting it so nothing touches it until one day you just can't stand it anymore and then you go to the doctor and end up needing a shot and antibiotics and amputative surgery-ha! Granted, I know this example is extreme, but do you get the analogy? Instead of dealing with it, we sometimes try to cover our pain and protect it by keeping others away , but it ends up coming out anyway - and sometimes it's just not as pretty as if we would have dealt with it in the beginning.

I work with high-school students. I've had quite a few ask me lately, Are you ok - you seem sad. - or What's wrong with you today - we seem to be getting on your nerves and we don't usually get on your nerves. Keep in mind, I think I've been containing my feelings very well. I'm not bursting into tears in public yet and I'm not throwing erasers across the room or eating teenagers for breakfast - I'm simply trying my very best to act like things are normal. This has worked ok for the most part- I manage to fool some people - heck I can even fool myself a good bit, but the pain remains....and when a 17 year old girl can call your poker face and know there's pain then you're in trouble.

What makes this grief so frustrating is that now I'm experiencing some of the anger - perhaps another reason I'm trying so hard to contain it. I don't consider myself an angry person.....so the overwhelming feeling of sadness, madness, and confusion scare me. I can't even verbalize exactly what it is or how it feels - I just know that I don't like it.

We got our pictures that we recently did for the church directory today. When I saw our family picture I simultaneously thought, "I love it - I hate it". I loved it because it was another picture of our family - including Zeta. I hated it because Zeta isn't really here and it's so unfair that she's not. I try so hard not to question His plan and to be accepting.


I give great lip-service about how it is ok to feel angry and it's ok to question things - but to just know that in the end His plan is ultimate.............but I HATE to question things. ...... I HATE to feel angry......I know it's normal. I know it's a part of healing. I know it's becuase I'm human, but I HATE IT!! I hate it. I hate it.

I hate being a part the 'parent who lost a child club'. No one would ever buy a membership to be a part of this. I hate feeling helpless. I hate feeling lost. I hate the way people don't know exactly how to respond sometimes when I talk about Zeta. I hate how talking about death makes us act all funny........I hate death!

No, I guess that last statement really isn't true.

Without death we wouldn't ever experience eternal life.

Death,itself, isn't horrible - except for those of us left behind.

Had Zeta not experienced death she would have continued to experience pain. That is not what I would have wanted for her.
Death is dark, death is scary, death is hard. We make it that way because we've never actually talked to a human person that died and came back to tell us about it. We make it that way because sometimes we are insecure in what we know - or rather, some people just haven't accepted that there is a peaceful eternity in heaven after death. I think that maybe sometimes unless you fully accept and believe that then it is difficult to get past the anger.

I've just spent the beginning part of this typing like a mad person - literally and figuratively - until I got to that last paragraph....It was my epiphany. Like turning on the light and saying - yes I'm mad, yes i'm hurting - but it won't be like this forever. Zeta is in heaven. I believe my God and and I have faith and I know that one day I will spend eternity with Him and I will see my baby again. So for right now, I am letting the tears flow - my broken heart is still healing.......for right now, I've let go of some of the anger and I'm just going to embrace the pain and take time to heal. For right now, I'm not going to run from it - I'll just let it be.

Here's an appropriate devotion my aunt marked and sent to me - I received it last night and just read it this morning -
"Keep your are eyes on me! I am with you, taking care of you in the best possible way. When you are suffering. My care may seem imperfect and inadequate. You seek relief, and I make you wait. Just remember: There are many different ways to wait, and some are much better than others. Beneficial waiting involves looking to Me continually - trusting and loving Me.
Thank Me for this time of neediness, when you must depend on Me more than usual. Do not waste this opportunity by wishing it away. Trust that I know what I am doing- that I can bring good out of everything you encounter ,everything you endure. Don't let your past or present suffering contaminate your view of the future. I am the Lord of your future, and I have good things in store for you. I alone know the things I am planning for you - to give you a future and a hope."

I read it for the first time this morning and I knew in my mind I believed it, but I just didn't feel it in my heart - I guess I was still too busy feeling the anger in my heart. Just now, I've read it several times over and continue to be comforted. I know these things and right now I feel them too <3

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