Good Grief

Good Grief

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Day Before the Night Before Christmas

The Day before the night before Christmas.

Growing up there was a song me and the sisters always listened to. It was one of our favorite albums, yep a 33, we played at Granny's house and our house. It was Pebbles and Bam Bams of the Flintstones Christmas album. It's title was...The Day before the night before Christmas. The 23 rd was always the beginning of the Christmas celebration for our family. We headed to Plainville for Christmas with Granny and PaPa York. As long as I can remember the 23 rd was the beginning for us. Granny decided to selflessly have us earlier so as not to interfere with other family gatherings. It was fun seeing cousins, then as years passed seeing cousins and their kids. The food, decorations, being at Granny and Papa's made it Christmas. As time has it and death steals things, Papa passed many years ago-but the tradition continued, then Granny passed a few years ago ending our tradition on the 23rd. Along with it,  ended seeing uncles, aunts, cousins and second cousins. The end of the tradition in essence ended the beginning of the Christmas celebration for our family.
To this day, the 23rd makes me feel as if I should head to Plainville for Granny's pats, fried potatoes and catching up with family. It's been many years since we've celebrated in Plainville but for some reason today, the 23rd, the "day before the night before Christmas" has beat me down. Maybe because I feel behind in shopping, prepping for Christmas due to flu, working more days, older children. Maybe it's because the commercialization of Christmas is really ticking me off. Maybe it's because not only today, but for many days leading up to this Christmas- I've realized that I've lost sight of  "Christmas." In the rat race of buying and spending and rushing and hurrying I've lost sight of what I never wanted to lose sight of. Sadly, while running into others while shopping and stating my dismay and stating my desire of wanting to go to sleep and maybe wake up after the first of the year, Rip Van Winkle style---I'm not the only one feeling like this. Others, too, have lost sight.
Who's to blame?
Every year I say it will be different-maybe change over to three gifts each. After all-3 was enough for the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.
Every year I say I'm not rushing, hurrying through the season to be left frazzled and fogged.
Every year I say it will be different.
Every year I say i will remember what it's really about.
Every year-it ends up the same...losing sight.
Losing sight of that silent night.
Losing sight of that sacrifice.
Losing sight of that love.
Losing sight of my God taking form as a human.
Losing sight of Mary's heart.
Losing sight of Joseph's obedience.

It's always there, deep inside of me. When i was worshipping in church Sunday morning fighting tears being reminded of the love poured out for me.
When I walk by the manger scene that decorates my sofa table--reminded of the most precious of births.
When I see all if the crosses that hang on my tree, not just as decorations but reminders that He was born to take His place on the cross for me.
When I feel His presence with me-filling the empty space that death has drilled open.
It's there--so why do I have to dig so deep during this season to see?
Because I let the world encompass me, take over. Then it trickles down to my children. Breaks my heart when I see that it's about the presents and not His presence. That it's about the getting instead of giving. That trickle down effect breaks me wide open. Drills a bigger hole than death ever will. It's up to me to change me which in turn will change my three. But then...
When everyone else is getting this or that.
When everyone else is driving this.
Living in that.
Traveling to there.
Wearing those.
Father help me.
As the time has changed from the "day before the night before Christmas" to Christmas Eve-I ask You to change my heart, change my children's hearts.
Let us be grateful for all gifts from family, friends but never let us lose sight of the one gift we should be most thankful for...your Sons birth, death and resurrection. For the very fact that His name, Emmanuel, reminds us that He is with us...
Even when we lose sight.
Even when the world puts blinders on us.
Even when we are greedy.
He, the One who gave up royalty in the Heavens to lay in a stable--and died for you and for me---He is with us-even as we lose sight.
Merry Christmas -and may we all lose sight of the world and focus on the only reason for the season. Happy Birthday Jesus.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I just read a blog written by a young mom who is living a challenging life because her husband is going to school and working full-time and she's left with two small children. The post was an apology to single mom's. She stated that one day she said something really really stupid to her husband..."I feel like a single parent." Then she realized and went on to apologize that she has no idea what it's really like to be a single parent. She commented that she knows that if she ever needed her husband he could be right there. She confessed she had no idea what it was like to work and then come home to be both mom and dad. She admitted to not knowing the struggles and the pain and of what actually goes through a single parents heart. Apology accepted- and a thank you for the shout out.
I never ever dreamed I'd be a "single-parent." I have to say that we both agreed divorce would not be an option since God placed us together and blessed our relationship. Death, even though mentioned in our vows, seemed like a far away reality--something that we'd only think about when our children were grown, gone and we were old and lived our lives fully, together. Believing that death would be the only thing that parted us. Well...there you have it.
Living the life as a single-mom is hard most days but harder during the beginning of school and of all times...Christmas time and when sickness hits home. Getting back into a routine and hustle and bustle at the beginning of the school year is just a reminder that I'm in it alone. Shuttling kids to and fro to everything, homework help, adequate food intake, maintaining a household. Then there's work. The old saying, "don't know what you got until it's gone" rings true especially when you had a hands-own husband/dad. Then there's the "most wonderful time of the year." My most favorite of all times of the year has turned into a time when the Christmas lights turn into a bright-flashing marquis that I'm a single parent. The mundane fun things of Christmas have turned into chores. When I use to love the decorations and tree trimming, I now dread all of it. Knowing that help is needed dragging it all out, putting it all up, cussing by myself when the lights don't work. Not to mention gift buying, Santa, Elf magic and all those things that are suppose to be pure enjoyment. As we pulled out of our drive last night for dinner, my middle one said, "less and less decorations every year mom." Broke my heart as I reminded him that the flu had hindered mom from doing 'all that.' Being reminded that Christmas shopping this year is being funded by an account that was closed for being a dormant account with the title...The Estate of Shane Richardson. Nothing like that big ole reminder.
Uh-um--did I mention the flu? What better reminder that I'm a single parent than when the flu strikes your home. It's truly bad enough to have a sick kiddo when your single but to be caregiver AND down too?? Doing the whole fever check throughout the night by yourself. Remembering a daddy that would be the cold washcloth administrator when fevers were stubborn. Remembering when we had one pass out from a seizure during the flu how the other son called dad home-even though he was in a meeting. How an extra set of hands to read, watch tv or a warm body to snuggle with while mom fixed soup, cold drinks. Then when mom gets sick as a solo mom...all hell breaks lose. When mom gets sick when hubs is around kids are taken care of, meals can be retrieved, laundry can stay caught up and mom is able to convalesce as the world keeps going. Dad can take to school and pick-up. Help with homework, shuttle to practice, shuttle home, help ready for bed, tuck in, get mom a cold drink, check on mom. Instead, mom fixes her own drink, fixes lunches in between coughs and fever. Worries when she wakes in the middle of the night with chills and fever if she will even feel like getting up to get the children up and ready for school. Or will her kids know what to do if mom feels so bad and passes out like she did just a few years ago. Calling for her kids and not wanting to because she wants to protect them from seeing the one person that cares for them debilitated and lying on the floor. How when just the flu will remind a single-mom of her mortality and what would happen if, God forbid, "that" should happen. Being a single-mom stinks but during these times it's magnified. So if I'm not very sympathetic when you are happily/unhappily married and you complain that said husband is "out of town" on business or hunting/fishing trip I apologize. When you complain to me that your job keeps you away from home, kids, and makes life difficult, ahem, I may look at you in total disgust or unbelief, just according to my mood. Please forgive me as I play you a sad song in my head and cry you a river.
Thankfully, there are those, like the lady that wrote the apology, that understands. Like my dear friend Jessica...on any given Wednesday I may be surprised with a large brown shopping bag dropped off at pre-school with my name on it. That brown bag may not mean lots to some but to me---it's life changing. For in that brown bag not only comes a complete meal for me and my family, it is a reminder that Jessica gets it. She feels my pain because her husband works long hours while she tends to 4 kiddos alone. But she will always tell me that she "doesn't know how I do it." That brown bag reminds me that I'm not in this alone. That brown bag allows me and my 3 to enjoy a Wednesday night at home, no activities, just us and a meal together. I'm also thankful that I have the best parents/bro-in-law in the world. During flu-weeks from hell we literally made it through because of them. Mom cooked, dropped off meals, grocery shopped while  my dad woke up on cold early mornings to take kiddos to school because I couldn't muster the energy or where-with-all to drive just to school. My dad would make the trip back for afternoon pick-up and shuttle to practice if needed. Then the bro-in-law would make lunch runs, pharmacy stops and head to basketball games, even games 1 1/2 hours away. There's my friend/neighbor  Mo who came over to help me decorate on a cold Sunday post-flu. Her laughter and outlook is always a ray of sunshine. She was in the ready to step up and decorate with my sis if I hadn't felt up to it.

Then there's Santa.

 Over the past five years my belief in him has been rekindled every Christmas morning when I go downstairs to film the kids decent. Santa has strategically placed my children's presents under the tree better than this mom ever could.

So when I say I believe in Santa...seriously-I believe in Santa. Takes my breathe away and makes me cry every stinking year.

Then there's the constant offerings from friends wanting to help. So appreciated by this single-mom. Thankful for those around me that have no idea what it's like to walk in these shoes, but are willing to step up. Thankful for those that all they know to do to help is to pray. Thankful for a loving God that is provider, confidant, planner of my life. On the days I don't think I can, His strength tells me differently. Thankful that He places those in my path that are willing to help, pray, love on me when I'm not very lovable. That they are able to overlook my bitterness, and self-pity, but instead they are able to see the hurt that causes it. Thankful that I have forgiving children so when mom has a psychotic episode  with them-they just mark it up to being their "mom." Thankful that they maybe understand moms exhaustion and the need to just regroup on the couch with my fuzzy blanket:) in the afternoons. Thankful for God's healing,both physically and emotionally, one day at a time. Thankful that God has me where I am so that maybe a smile I share, a hug I give, a word I say or just being "real" may somehow bring Glory to Him. He allowed me to travel this path, not sure I will ever understand this side of heaven, but He did...
So Father use me through it. Help me to be more sympathetic to those moms that may live "single-mom" days only occasionally, help me be of encouragement to those walking this same path. Take my bitterness and turn it into something positive. Take my self-pity and turn it into strength. Help me see the lights from Christmas decorations as what they are meant to represent instead of a marquis for pain, suffering. Thank you for The Santa's that make Christmas joyful. Thank you God for the only GIFT we need...your Son. Thank you for those in my life and my children's life that love us and help us daily. Thank you for loving the widowed and the Fatherless. Amen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some things I want my girl to know on her 8th birthday::

My sweet girl will be celebrating her 8th birthday today. I can't believe it. Time is flying. I didn't realize just how grown up she has become until she spent the day at pre-school with me. Every year she asks to go to work with me for her birthday. I obliged yesterday because civic duty called and I wasn't sure if I would be called on her actual birthday. It was really a great day with her at school, she was able to help in class, help carve our class pumpkin, our 4 year olds sang happy birthday to her, it was a big fun day for her. There were several 4 year olds that were just gah-gah over my girl. Which in turn made me realize just how grown up she is. They looked up to her-literally and figuratively. They wanted to know her every move and she was patient and loved being the big kid since she's the little one in our family. Today, as she celebrates turning 8, I want to share some things with her to help her through the next few years...maybe even life.
 Here goes Molls-from my mistakes, weaknesses, and life-lessons-carry these in your mind and heart, recall them and know mama loves you and would protect you from future hurts if only she could. Live and learn doll.

1. Keep smiling--your smile is contagious child. Contagious. People comment on it ALL the time. Mom takes that for granted sometimes because I see it all the time, but it's beautiful and it lights up the room, lights up my day and any dark mood. Remember you can hear a smile in a voice-so smile even when you feel like crying.
2. Continue to love BIG. I think your heart is both mine and dads. We both loved BiG and I'm thankful you've received that trait. It's a good thing, however, it can cause you to get hurt often. Loving big opens up doors for people to enter into your life that do not know how to receive the love you give, they will have no idea how or what to do with the love you give. Your heart is precious so guard it from those that have no clue. But when someone receives that BiG love you give-they will never ever be the same. Never hold back-love BiG and strong. Heartbreaks will come in life, live and learn from each.
3. Never settle---on ANY relationships. Friends, loves, acquaintances. Don't settle. This refers to #2 as well.  Love BiG but never settle for anything less that what you deserve. Ever. Mom went through lots of relationships to find daddy-o. I knew I'd find someone that would love me like  I deserved-so thankful I never settled and I've learned to never settle for less. Ever.
4. God's plans are perfect for you. Even when the world is crumbling down around your feet and nothing looks like it's working out--Father has it. Learn from the yuck, press through the muck and have faith through it all.
5. Lean on your brothers. Know it doesn't seem like it now-but in the near future they will love and protect you just like your dad would have. They both have their daddy's heart so I know it's in there-just have to let them grow and mature so we see it more. They love you, always have, always will. I Remember when they saw you for the first time how they oohed and aahed over you. How when we brought you home they held you with love and adoration. They love you-don't let them tell you any different. Depend on them.
6. Friends come and friends go and there's nothing you can do about it. But find a few that you know are steadfast and true and you won't need many. The types of friends you have come with the different stages in life. Goodtime friends, steadfast friends, workplace friends, lifelong friends. Lifelong friends are priceless-they are the ones who know you inside out and backwards and love you anyway. One regret I have is not being able to give you a sister. Thankful though, you have 2 female cousins that will love you like their sister along the way. Friends are valuable. You will endure mean-girls-don't fall into their traps of meanness. Usually mean girls stem from them being jealous of you, your life. Mean girls grow up to be mean mamas and mean women. Pray for them. Let them  be mean-but NEVER be a mean-girl yourself. Mama will beat you until there is no more mean inside of you. Re-read if necessary.
7. Dance like no one is watching and dance every chance you get. Remember how you didn't dance at Emily's wedding and the next morning you said you regretted it? Dance so you don't have to regret it later. Dancing is good-good for your soul, heart and mind. Plus, I met your dad while I was dancing. Don't waste time with a man that stops you from dancing-he should enjoy watching you do what you love.
8. Learn to love to read. Reading is my greatest escape when things stink. Read books you can get lost in, read books where you fall in love with the characters, read books that make you sad when they are over. Reading frees you from everyday stuff. Learn to love it.
9. Continue to explore and invent and do. I love how you find a how-to video and are determined to do the same yourself. Even if it means I have to clean up bright pink crayon that's exploded in the microwave. Continue to make that lip-gloss, nail polish, leArn make-up how to's. Obviously it works-you put make--up on better at 8 than most woman do.
10. Continue to use that imagination of yours. Let it take you places.
11. Never stop seeking God. Makes my heart happy to know you love bible lessons, the questions you ask about God and His world. Your desire to be baptized this year. Knowing my girl knows and loves the very One who created her and loves her is this moms main desire for her children. Seek Him in All you do and life will be good, not pain free-- but good.
12. Be joyful in everything---joy comes from within, deep down. Even with deep hurt, long suffering and rotten people you can still have JOY!
13. Always know mama's got your back. No matter what. There's no love like a mothers love and I'm thankful that I'm yours and i get you as my daughter and best friend.
14. No matter what-remember in your short 3 years with dad, how much he loved, adored and wanted you. He was so excited to have a little girl and I know he had big dreams, ambitions for you. I know that if he were still here that I'd probably be a bit jealous of the love you two would share. I know you'd be the apple of his blue eyes. I know if there are windows in heaven he constantly smiles seeing your smile, seeing your life unfold over these last 5 years. My heart hurts that you must go through life without him but so very thankful that his love for you is able to seep in from places unknown, from others, your brothers, from memories, me-thankful that we've known a love like that and I will constantly pray that God will give you a man just like your dad, so that you can continue to experience that kind of love. Continue to let God be your Heavenly Father and love you in place of your earthly father. With the love of Him you are never cheated, no matter what the world may say. You are not Fatherless. You are a daughter of the Most High King. You are loved.

Happy 8th Birthday Molls! Thankful for the crazy, messy, joy, drama you bring into our families lives.  I love you to the eastest to the westest coast.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Walk Around the Block

A Walk Around the Block

Today was one of those perfect fall days. The Richardson 4 has been on the road for the past few weekends so a day at home was welcomed. Finally was able to  decorate for fall, spend some time with my oldest, had Molls helping and Sam was off with a friend. It's days like this that fill me up with pure joy. Nothingness. No plans, just doing what comes next. In the nothingness I always seem to be able to think, reflect when usually I'm in such a teezy there's no time for that. The nothingness of my Saturday reminded me of a few years ago doing the same thing-decorating for fall. One of the Richardson's most favorite times of year. During that time I remember having that unsettled feeling, Shane wasn't himself, fighting a cough, I was busy with my 9, 6 and almost 3 year old, still, life was good. We had lots of Saturdays at home and I have to say I took them for granted. Friends-enjoy those days, the simple, unplanned days, I've come to realize these days are few and far between. Don't get me wrong-love the busyness and fun we have been having but these days of unplanned family time are rare. When time slows a bit I realize what I miss on a daily basis-for instance-on this afternoon of chatting with J my breath was literally taken away when he threw a glance at me----Shane Richardson. It seemed to be a Godwink-right there in our family room. Simple-but breathtaking. His looks and mannerisms are his daddy-spitting image, dead-ringer. Realizing that my little bestie is about to turn 8, and how I'm thankful at even at a young age 3 she still had memories of her  daddy. At the same time as the seasons are changing, life is too, daily. She is busy, creative, challenging and reminds me so much of my granny it makes me smile often. We've joked that I should have named her Molly Frances-still think about changing it, but not crazy about those initials. Then there is Sam-on a daily basis I get doses of Shane through this boy. Not in looks and mannerisms like his big brother but his heart. Nothing makes this mom happier than knowing Shane is walking around in an eleven year old body.  Spitting image of his daddy. Determination, motivation that his dad possessed and wished I could bottle up. Amazing. I was talking to my mom on the phone in between blowing the driveway off and finishing up and was telling her about Jakes glance and she said I should be very thankful for that-reminders. I am...thankful.
As we wound up our day and the sun had gone down I asked Molls if she wanted to take a walk with me. I had some things on my mind that I wanted to escape from. It was brisk, dusk, and perfect. Walking around the block with my baby-girls hand in mine, knowing these times will be becoming less and less overwhelming gratitude swept over me. Her telling me she was ready for Sam to come home, she missed him. Having Jake at home instead of out with buddies, knowing Sam would be returning and we'd all be together again. I am grateful that they are all still here with me.
While walking and talking, as chatty girls do, I was reminiscing of when Shane and i were dating. I was telling Molly most weekends on Friday afternoons when I got off work at 5 Shane would be waiting on me and we would head to Calhoun for the weekend. I told her how Pooh and PawPaw were always anxiously awaiting our arrival, spaghetti ready, movies waiting to be watched, clothes ready to be laundried. I told her it was this time of year we started dating-October 8th was our first:) With each step her little stride made with my long stride I filled her up with my memories. How once when pooh and I went walking in the cold rain (I was in better shape then) we came back to their house to find that Shane and pawpaw had been to the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree-up in the stand with the lights on. I will wait for another walk around the block to explain how those days I found myself falling head over heels with this man, how on a cold Novemeber night-just a few weeks after our first date her daddy told me he loved me the first time. Another walk around the block and I will tell her what REAL love feels like. How her daddy knew how to love me completely, how I pray that all 3 of our babies will be blessed with a love like ours. How I pray I do his memory justice when I speak of him. How I pray that when I talk of him they see the love I had/have for him as my best friend, lover, husband. This moms prayers are for their salvation, and that they are blessed with a love like ours. Hoping that on days of nothingness-they see reflections of him, their memories stay fresh of the man that loved them with his whole heart, that days like we had Saturday are sweet memories of us, even just us 4 when it should be 5.  I was reminded today by a wise friend that I have 3 blessings-and good things are coming. All this reminds me that there may never be another love like ours in my lifetime-but I'm ok with that, for some never find a love like ours in a lifetime. I will remember my blessings on these hard days ahead of reliving a diagnosis 5 years ago, a battle that had just begun before it ended.  In these days of griefs ebb and flows I will find joy in days like today, find joy in the busyness because the busyness means my children are good, here with me, even while typing papers, finishing class projects, carting back and forth to practices, dance and after-school-tutoring. I will find joy in 13+ pre-schoolers that love me just as Ms. DeeDee and give me sweet hugs and smiles and how my crazy co-workers keep me grounded and laughing. I have lots to be thankful for and this post is a reminder for me more than anything. My life may not have turned out as planned but my life right now, is good.
As Molly and I were wrapping up our walk around the block and enjoying the briskness of a new season, her tiny hand in mine, she looked up at me and said, "Mom, i sure wished daddy was still here."
Yes Molls, if you only knew how much I wished that too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

God's Not Dead and it's Not at all About Me

God'a Not Dead

I was able to watch a movie, in it's entirety, without falling asleep. First movie in a while. Thankfully it was the popular-God's not Dead. I have a sneaking feeling that God helped me stay awake through the entire movie because He knew I needed to see it, then gave me time to chew on it, and contemplate some things. If you haven't seen it-do-go to Redbox right now and rent it.
I was just having a conversation the other day, it's a conversation/statement that I hear myself repeating often. Thankfully, I have friends that receive it the way it's intended because they ultimately feel the same way. Let me ask you--do you ever wonder why there are those around you that constantly are reaping benefits of this life?  How they always are moving ahead, never behind, never experiencing heartache, never experiencing loss, never experiencing cancer, death of a loved one, sickness of a child? Why everything is picture perfect for many around you? How some always seem to become richer-with bigger houses, better cars, better status, never worry about how they will buy groceries, pay the power bill? All just is hunky-flipping-dory. Those are questions that are constantly running through my clogged up brain?? And why is it that some really bad people are always on top? Why is it that some really good people-loving God, glorifying Him, can't seem to ever get a break?? I use to be that person, the one where life just rocked along, no huge worries, rocking right along.
My answer, the one that I can relate to, came from a character in God's not Dead-an old women stricken with dementia. Her son, a hateful man, was talking to her as if she couldn't hear him-he was saying--"you prayed and believed your whole life, never done anything wrong and here you are, you're the nicest person I know, I am the meanest, you have dementia,I'm the meanest and my life is perfect-explain that to me. Her answer even in her demented state-"Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn't want them turning to God." In that instant I wanted to pause the movie and yell-yes I get it! I've blogged, questioned about this subject many times but last night it really really hit me-while I don't believe Satan has the power in deciding who's allowed to experience what-I do know my God has that power. So that statement meant even more to me. God chose me to endure the yuck of this world because He knew I would find strength in Him-and somehow He would be glorified through me. So while sometimes I think those with the hunky-flipping-dory life are the lucky ones it's really me. I'm the one God hand picked to endure cancer, death, loneliness, because He knew I would lean in, lean on Him. That makes me want to shout and scream to those not so lucky ones living in and of this world that I've been chosen. Live your lives without cares and worry because God chose me. Don't get me wrong there's those that love God and depend on him that are blessed to have a carefree lifestyle-but most Christians I know have, will or are enduring hell on earth. If you are not-ask Him to humble you, cause you are missing out on seeing Him work. It's been my lowest points in life that I've felt the closest to my Savior. I draw from Him. Waking up is strength from Him, functioning in daily tasks is strength from Him-not DeAnn. The DeAnn BC (before Christ) one have crumpled and failed. Maybe others see strength in me that even I can't see, maybe that makes them wonder where it comes from. Maybe just maybe they see Christ. I also had one of my friends that endures much in this life to remind me that this world, the world that's cruel, mean and nasty that it is not where our blessings will be. Thankful that the pain we feel here does not even compare to the wonderful freeness, perfectness we will receive in our eternal home.
Another part of the movie that struck me hard was why the professor that was so anti-god revealed why he was that way, what made him so anti-god. He explained that when he was 12 his mother died of cancer-even though he asked God to heal her and if He did he promised God everything. He hated God for not answering those prayers and hated God for his moms death. Watch the movie to see how it all turns out-but as in real life, each incident that happened was ordained by our all powerful, all knowing God. Makes me wish I could crawl inside my children, for just a moment, to see what their heart, mind, spirits think of God and if they blame Him, hate Him even just a little because they are fatherless. And if that's the case how I can help change that feeling. How ultimately Shane's death affected us but how it wasn't really even about us, but about Gods Glory.
I watched a Matt Chandler sermon this morning (yet another experience that was orchestrated by God I feel sure) and it spoke volumes to me about how the bible is not about me, how God is not all about me but how He is all about God. Something we all need to learn, chew on and teach to our children. We live in a ME world. I'm guilty. Wondering why God chose ME to go through a heartbreaking sickness and death of my husband, why He chose ME to mother my 3 by myself? Why I can't seem to get ahead. Wake up DeAnn-sound the alarms-this life, my life-is not about ME, not about DeAnn-but about how God is using me-good and bad included, to bring Glory to Him. I'm failing miserably in most if those areas through actions and words-but thank God-He is Not Dead--and His grace is abundant to cover all that is NOT about me.
Thank you God for allowing me to be humbled, thank you for choosing me for bad things in life because you knew before I was born that I would choose You for my strength and that you chose me for bringing glory to you. Thank you for giving me a perspective on this life that most have not been gifted to have. Thank you for allowing me to experience pain and thank you more for always being the sweet salve to my pain. Thank you for showing me the small things of this world are just that...small. It's not the money, status, popularity that matters...but bringing Glory to you. I pray Father,  that you chase after my 3, that you, more importantly  catch them and you use them, and they surrender their all, that you use them , good and bad to bring Glory to you. Help me to show them that life is not about them, but about You, that you chose them for heartache in order to mend hearts through them. Help me be living proof that our God is not dead-but surely alive and living inside of me.
Watch the movie!
Glory Be God's!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The World is Going Mad and We are Starting School

The world has gone mad and school is starting.

As I was telling JSM about a disturbing picture I saw today of beheaded men in a truck and why they were being beheaded and how I couldn't believe this was happening and how kids their age were being killed or dying of thirst because they've fled their homes and moms like me killed for believing in Jesus. As I was comparing all of this to the Jews being killed-it hit me how thankful I am that my 3 are going to school. As much as I loathe school. You all know I do-for countless reasons (it's my personality-honest-I took a test and that's one of my weaknesses--schools and schedules? See? I'm wired this way.  Things I loathe::
1. Schedule. 2. Homework 3. Relationship with kids changes drastically-to a mom that only screams, "get in the car, we are wasting pool-time" in the summer to "hurry up we are going to be late for school/practice/dance!" To "if you don't get your homework done there will be no phones, no games, no tv!" To "go to sleep so I can go to sleep!" The list goes on. 4. My oldest is a freshman in high school this year-which gives me only 4 more years of being really "in" his life. 9th grade?? Where did time go? 5. It reminds me of how much I really really miss Shane and how much I really really need him, the older they get the more this holds true. 6. Football practice coincides with school starting and that makes me notice as im sure Sam has noticed that others dad's are on the field coaching or on the sidelines watching...he gets me! 7. I really enjoy time with my kids. They are fun, interesting and I like them, really really like them. The list could go on and on. However, after being at orientation and convocation and having a prayer prayed over parents, students, faculty, I feel very blessed for my kids to be starting school on Thursday. I feel so much pride in knowing my kids are being taught to stand up for what they believe. Because people-the world is going mad!!! Defending our faith is going to be essential in the future, maybe closer than we think and I'm thankful my 3 have a head start. Praying that their hearts will be open to receive the things they are taught this year. Praying that they give their all academically, spiritually, and socially. Praying thAt they all can be well prepared to share not only their dad's story and legacy but also be willing to share their very own story. I am reminded often that we were chosen for this path-praying that I too, will use my story for the Glory of God even in my everyday life. Praying that my children's will to thrive and survive is a testament of Gods love for them and their love for Him. Praying they always know mom has got their back, even when I'm not physically present I hope they feel me guiding them into their Saviors arms but better still that they have the Spirit themselves guiding them.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

Praying this school year holds really big heart-changing-spirit-changing-happenings for all of us.
So as I dread it, oh how I dead it--I anxiously optimistically await for something big.
Jake, Sam and Molly the world is going mad, it's such a messed up place if I could protect you inside out little summer cocoon I would-instead I will send you off to a school that not only teaches you the basics but more importantly teaches you about God's love, His Word, and how to defend what you believe in a world gone mad. I may complain and gripe-but in the end if my kids are prepared for the biggest challenge of their life-defending their faith-then I'm all in.
Pray for Israel!
Pray for Christians around the world!
Pray for our school!
Go Lions and let the Glory be Gods!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

As Jake called her...LaWanda!!!

It's crazy when your day is just moving along as usual, spending the day at the pool, refereeing kids-then you pick up your phone and see a message that changes the whole day. Had a message that a dear family friend/past neighbor has passed away after a courageous battle with...cancer. I knew her most of my life-we first met when my oldest sis worked with her at a local record store. Later my sis and her moved out together with another roomie. As much as I hated to see my sis move out I thought it was way cool. I'm sure they shared some times that they would like to forget they shared, but also know that those times formed a life-long friendship. My sister eventually moved to the ATL but she stayed here and we kept in touch with drop-ins after she became manager of the record store. Then, after I grew up and Shane and I had 2 kiddos  we moved into our second house next door to her and her husband.  I was excited, as well as my parents, knowing there was someone close by if we needed anything. I was busy raising boys, getting settled in, but always knew she was next door. We'd catch up in the yard as neighbors do. She and her husband did not have children but never minded our crazy kids. She was always excited to see them out playing and loved having them "trick or treat" every October. Jake never got her name correct but she was fine being called "LaWanda." They even invited us over to their property so the boys could fish. One of the best afternoons and pictures of that day to prove it.  Think Shane had as much fun as my boys. She entertained us with a picnic after fishing.
 She kept a regular schedule and every afternoon we could count on her pulling in the neighborhood with a toot of her horn and a wave for all of us.  She may have never had kids but she always had fur babies, loved them like crazy. I remember one being very sick and her taking it to Auburn or UGA to have her looked at. I've always said you can read a persons character by how they treat their pets. Obviously, she was a women with character. Loving, caring heart. She worked hard with her husband and I always admired how they spent time with each other. Taking overnight trips to ATL, her husband sometimes surprising her with concert tickets. They were sweet to watch and I was sometimes envious of the childless life they led since I was in the throes of new mommy-hood.
One of my most favorite stories about her was when she got Shane...good. One particular winter night the boys had a ritual of stripping down and running naked before their bath.  This particular night our new puppy and the boys took off through the backyard to our storage building, which has a large light that lights up our whole backyard. As a mom that likes to catch her kids on video I was filming the boys when all of the sudden I heard Shane let out a true Talladega yell---Woohoo---and to my surprise the grown man had stripped down naked and was tearing off after the boys...buck naked, puppy in tow. Thankfully, I was so surprised that I dropped the video camera while I was yelling my infamous, "Shhhannnee!" So no video of that. However, a few days later she called and told me to tell Shane that she saw the whole thing while she was in her backyard with the dogs. The man was mortified I tell you. Mortified..and it took lots to mortify Shane Richardson. She truly had us both believing that she saw the WHOLE thing. It was  later she told us my sister had told her about the fiasco. Good one on Shane!!
Time passed and they eventually, sadly, put the house on the market to move into their dream home on their property. We would see them in passing but had lost touch, as time and distance sometimes causes. I had heard she was diagnosed after a long road of tests. Kept up with her through her family. I kept saying I wanted to see her, but remember out of respect-that sometimes privacy is the best in situations like this. As selfishly as I would have liked to have seen her I remember how I wanted Shane all to myself during his last days and can only imagine her husband felt the same. Today, as I was thinking and praying for him I couldn't help but wonder if having a spouse to pass without having children with each other is easier or harder in the grief of it all. I was thinking about the day Shane passed and how I at least had them to keep me company, be a warm body beside me, be a reason to wake up the next day. Or is it a bit simpler when you only have to deal with your own grief, having to deal with just your own heartbreak and not having to worry about your children's heart breaking as well. Either way my heart aches for him tonight. His other half is gone, never to return. He will eventually have to face going to work without her being there, and worse return to an empty home that they built together. I'm assuming he was her caretaker for the past few months and so there will be an emptiness there, a different kind. As a caregiver, time is spent making sure all of your loved ones needs are met, different from when they are healthy, an almost urgency. When they are gone-that urgency leaves yet another different empty hole. Life seems divided into before cancer and after cancer. My prayer tonight is that he, her husband-remembers the sweet times as her caregiver, that he puts away the unpleasantness of after cancer. I pray that he remembers all of the before cancer times, those weekends away, picking blueberries, building a dream home, just doing life with his wife, best friend, co-worker. I pray he knows he did all he could for her just by loving her. Sometimes love is not even a match for cancer. Tonight, I hope he finds peace knowing his crazy sweet wife is in the arms of her Savior. The Savior that I'm sure she was ready to meet. Although sadness filled her heart of leaving him behind-she had confidence in knowing he would see her once again and that she had confidence in knowing he could carry on. I pray God comforts her family and He fills the emptiness that only He can fill. Heart breaks for them, but so proud that she has beat stupid cancer. No more pain. Just her and Jesus and maybe an old neighbor welcoming her Home reminiscing about one cold night of streaking in Brookwood. "Lawanda/LaWana--you did it, you beat it!!! Congrats on your new and forever HOME!!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Mothering  = PAIN!

If there is one thing I always wanted to be it was a mother. That was really my only ambition in life growing up. I can't remember ever wanting to be anything more, other than maybe a dancer in NYC. When I was a little girl I constantly was a mother to my many dolls-doing the things I saw my mother do. Bathing those plastic faces, changing their clothes, washing  clothes. Just being a pretend mommie. As time moved on even into high school I knew I wanted to be a mom. Then my first nephew was born and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a mom of a little boy. I didn't know I could love another human being like I loved that little boy. Fast forward a few years i met Shane and the love I had for him just made things clear that our love for each other had to be multiplied.
I often worried that I may be the sister of three that wouldn't be able to have children. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. We easily got pregnant, I easily carried my babies and had relatively uneventful deliveries (minus one small drama queen), and did fairly well post-partum---ummmm many tearful nursings, mastitis 5x, sitting on inflatable rings, all just seem distant memories. Any of the bad was far outweighed by the sweet bundle of joy I held.
Jake, was our firstborn and was the wrath of Shane and mines nervousness as first time parents. Where the heck is the how-to manual?? Even with all the nervousness he was a great baby. We became best buddies, fast. I provided all he needed at his beck and call. Thankfully, Shane wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom, or maybe he knew I would never be able to leave this child, so he made a way for me not to go insane. Jake and I easily settled into our routine of just he and I. He was my world, day in and day out. Then at 5ish he was Shane's world. I relinquished him into his daddy's hands for the rest of the day. While I cooked, Shane and Jake did their daddy/son bonding. Thankfully, Shane was a hands-on daddy. He enjoyed bathing, reading and just being daddy when he was home from work and on the weekends. We just could not get enough of this little human. 3 years later we were blessed with Sweet Sam. He easily melted into our way of life, minus the first-born requesting "put him back in your belly" at first meeting. Jake's life didn't change much, just wasn't then one and only. He still recieved ample attention from Shane and I. To a fault, they were my world. It was years before Shane and I were comfy enough leaving them overnight, rarely did we even leave them for a date-night. Thankfully, we agreed that God had given us these gifts so they were ours to love and take care of. If I could I would change some of that---I would definitely do more date-nights if I had a do-over.
Time ticked on--we were in our groove. Shane working his way up the career ladder and me doing what I dreamed of all of my life. Those dreams never included crying, uncontrollably, ugly face-hiccup crying while dropping my firstborn off at 3 day pre-school. Those dreams never included feeling like an arm or leg was missing when he was away from me for even 4 hours. Those dreams didn't include being anxious about my second born being born and me having to spend overnight in the hospital...without my firstborn. Those dreams never included trying to figure out how to give them equal time after #2 was born and feeling guilty when #1 entertained himself while I tended to #2. Those dreams never included me having adult form separation anxiety when firstborn started to school. Manifested itself into full-blown debilitating anxiety disorder. Dreams never included Zoloft to be able to function daily. Dreams are funny that way, always leaving the details out.

Those dreams did include, however, pink, curls and all things girlie. Not the way we'd planned...that's a whole other post...allergic reactions and all. Nonetheless-God knew I needed the unconditional love of a little girl. Just when we were getting into the swing of things our sweet girl arrived.Thankfully, #1 had #2 while I tended to #3. Whew.

All in all I was living my dream.

Fortunately and unfortunately my dreams never included cancer, and me being left to parent #1, #2 and #3 alone. Still has to be my biggest question. Why did God choose me to do this alone. Unlike divorce and other circumstances-I did not choose this way.
My dreams were Shane and I raising these 3 TOGETHER, him retiring at 55 so we could be totally hands-on parents/grandparents. Then I woke up!!!

Now, I'm left with one teenage boy that seems to blame all that's wrong with the world on the one that gave him her all. One that's on the brink of puberty-please God stop time-I want #2 to stay the same. And one little girl that's attached at my hip-which is good and bad.

Right now, today, the one that breaks my heart is #1. I know it's probably being 14, hormones, boy turning into man, father dying, etc. All of that is enough to make me want to melt into a puddle of tears but right now what breaks my heart the most is ...he doesn't like me. I embarrass him, he thinks I'm probably the dumbest person on the planet. We were offered the opportunity to go somewhere as a family-#2 and #3 were good but #1's words were-"if it's with you, then No!" I literally think I saw pieces of my heart crumble to the floor.

Where'd my little boy go? Where'd the little boy go that hated being away from his mom, we were buddies, the one that thought I hung the moon, stars and sunshine?

I think of Shane and how he treated his mom, as we affectionately call Pooh. He gave her that name while he was in high school. They were always close. He was always so affectionate toward her, generous with his hugs to lil Pooh. I remember while dating him feeling a little twinge of jealousy at his affection toward her at a specific breakfast.  We had surprised him by driving to Brewton Parker ( I took off work and everything) to see him play ball. We arrived while the team was eating breakfast-he hugged his mom robustly and gave me a sideways hug, if a hug at all.  Later after raking his fanny over the coals about his lack of affection toward me he reminded me that his coach benched him that game after seeing me there--said I messed up his game, that he couldn't pitch when I was around. Haha! Oh to have that kind of hold on someone---whatever. Anyway-I loved how he treated his mom-I'd always heard the way a man treats his mom is a sign of how he will treat his wife.
That being said-pray for #1's future wife.
Moms of sons-please tell me it's a stage. Please tell me his affection for me will change. I can't tell you the last time I was able to hug him and show him affection. He's bigger than me now so I can't force it on him. After his comment about not wanting to go if it was with me, #2 had chimed in about not wanting to go with me-I heard myself saying out loud..."maybe I should have been the one that died and your dad be the one here." No comment from #1. After I said it I wished I hadn't-but then that's how I felt. #2 immediately said-can I take a friend? He saw my hurt, I know #1 did too but never addressed it. Of course #3 was reminding me of how much she loved me-unconditional love.

This is one of those times I wished if love could bring someone back it would. I need Shane to show my boys how to treat a woman. I need him to show them that it's ok to be affectionate. I need him to show them how he loved me. I need him to show them how a man loves a woman. I need him to show Molly how a woman is to be treated. How she should never settle for anything less. But since love can't bring him back-I'm asking God to help me help them. Equip me God to show them all of these things. God soften the heart of #1-remind him of the depths of his mamas love for him. I think about Jesus and His love for Mary. I want that. I want to know that they love me and appreciate me. Remind him that we are in this together that I am not the enemy. Father, help me teach them the way to love a woman the way Christ loved his church. Help me raise Molly to seek a godly man, one that will set her apart and never settle for less. Father, help me help them. Help me Father, to love these 3 that you gave Shane and I -knowing how it all would turn out, knowing I would be doing this without him. Give me strength, wisdom and direction. Father God, heal our hearts. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Candidly speaking---Summer Can't Even Fix This

If you know me at all you know how much I love me some summer. Almost as much as this guy...

Routines are forgotten, days are long, mornings are late and the only thing on the agenda is pool time and  beach time. I look forward to summer almost as much as I look forward to Christmas time. As much as my 3 probably don't like this fact it's another reason I love summer---uninterrupted time with them.  Summer is just easy, time to recharge, rejuvenate.

So why am I just not feeling it?? I first thought it was because Miss M was sick the first few days of summer break. However, she got better and we got into our summer groove, sleeping in, breakfast, pool, lazy afternoons. Doing exactly as we've done for the past summers. But...just not feeling it. I'm in a rut of sorts. Thinking back seems the summer after Shane passed was even better than this one. Even though it was hard doing summer without him, we did it. We did our first beach trip without him, we did our first 4th of July without him. All in all it was a great summer. I've tried to think on why this summer seems different from even 4 summers ago. I do remember being on auto-pilot. I remember things almost seemed to just happen without me making them happen. Wished there was a button for my auto-pilot to turn back on.
Looking back, I had just experienced a wonderful experience with God. I had felt Him in my very presence like NEVER before over the period of time that Shane was sick and ultimately his passing, and knew I'd never be the same. This feeling of 'euphoria' obviously carried over into my everyday life, essentially being my auto-pilot. I've often times told others that I long for that feeling again, I long to be in His presence like that again and again. In the past 4 years I have to say I've experienced God more than I have in my 40 years prior. For that I'm thankful.
Here's where the "candid" part of the title comes in. Hold on. Don't judge and read on.
In pondering the reason this summer, ultimately this past year, has been off for me I've realized it's ME. So much has changed in the last 4 years. Some good, like--an independence that I never knew I could obtain, the sheer fact that I can even get out of bed and do life, and the fact that I deal with fear and anxiety on a daily basis, ummmm maybe hourly basis about life and that I'm still functioning. However, with the good changes always comes the bad. I have to admit that when people tell you to put your trust in God and only God...there is a great reason for that. In the last 4 years I've seen change in so many people. Gut wrenching change. Maybe it's not change after all-maybe it was there all along and I've just become wiser to recognize it. Talking about being let down-that's the mild of it. People that I trusted and told me that would "be there" that would "help" us have left me wondering where's the good in people. I know these are lessons in and of themselves to only trust God but in these lessons I think I've lost a bit of faith---in people and maybe a bit in God. Candid enough???
I know that's some harsh reality-but it's my reality. I remember thanking God for these that Shane and I trusted to help see us through, knowing that Shane was able to leave with the confidence that these people in our lives would see us through. Oftentimes I've caught myself looking upward asking both God and Shane---do you see what's happening??  More to God than Shane because I know God can change hearts.
Here's the part of the blog that gets rather more candid. Ready---start judging and shaking your head. My prayer life stinks!!!! I'm to the point of just throwing up my hands and saying, "God, not sure you hear me so why pray?"  Shaking your head yet???? We all know those prayers for Shane's healing didn't come, in the way we wanted it. I've come to terms with that. Wasn't Gods will. Most days I can accept that and then some days I still get angry. I can't put my finger on why my prayer life is in such a state. I still have my everyday running prayers with Father about this and that---but to sit down and pour my heart out and ask Him for the things I desire is floundering. There's been sooooo many things I have sought from Him that hasn't  come to pass. Yes, I know that His will is not my will and that He does things that I will never understand, ie-Shane's death. I know all that, I know the Word has all of that but my heart and mind is having trouble aligning with that.
Thinking about this I can only illustrate it by being in the "pit" that Believers so often refer to. I feel like I'm in a deep sand hole. Little by little I start making headway to the top and the more I pray the more the sand falls out from under me and the more I sink. I muster up more strength to crawl out only to be pulled down again.
I know the head shaking is still going on with a few opinions of---'it's because your prayer life is not good that you can't get out of the pit, you're not spending time in the Word, you are not going to church like you should.'  While your still coming to terms with my confessions pray for me. There's been so many 'let me down' that I can't get up. There's so much that I've prayed for that hasn't been answered. Some simple some really big. Some to do with me, some to do with my kids and some prayers for others. Just seems they are not heard.  It's like a child that comes to the parent that's never heard---finally the child just stops talking to the parent. I'm that child-feeling like He isn't hearing me.  I know He hears my every prayer, knows my every thought, but sometimes a girl just needs reassurance .
In the still quietness of early morning I know that the Spirit wakes me for time with Him. There's nothing I want more. However, The enemy is always there-reminding me of all the unanswered prayers. Reminds me of all those that have let me down in countless ways, ultimately has let Shane down. The enemy seems to have this on replay, shuffling----"wasn't cancer enough? Wasn't your husband dying enough?" I hear that voice when a bill comes in for the doctor making sure my oldest sons heart is ok-when all it was was the anxiety and pain from losing his dad, the same anxiety that causes school to be the last on his mind. I hear it when my middle son longs for a nicer bigger house so that he can invite friends over. I hear it when he just wants someone to throw the football with him. I heard the repeat when my little couldn't hold her eyes open last Saturday from dehydration. I hear it loudest when recall all the unanswered prayers.
I know things could be so much worse, so much. I also know that Gods plans are perfect for me and my 3. I know that Gods presence is as strong as it was 4 years ago but it's me. It's me that's far away, at the bottom of the pit. I know it's me that needs to seek Him more, stop floundering in the sand  spend time in the Word and spend time with Him. But sometimes a girl just needs a bit of a helping hand. Not sure what that looks like-His hand or my Aaron and Hurs that have held me up before. I know it's me that needs to seek ways to praise Him. I know He's good, perfect and that He loves me. I know this is just a season of doubt. I know the enemy uses these times to his advantage. Hoping that this candid confession is the first step to move forward, grab handfuls of sand and pull myself up. Hoping that this summer will be a defining moment in my faith walk. Now stop shaking your head and pray for your sister.
Oh and by the way---happy summer!!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

You Just Never Know!

Just a little nugget of goodness I wanted to share.  I was on my regular Monday grocery shopping excursion.  I had finished up the dreaded task and had unloaded the groceries on the conveyer belt.  I overheard a cashier ask the man behind me at another cash register if he minded if she audited the drawer before she started checking him out.  He was gracious enough to tell her that would be fine.  I immediately thought, he's more patient than me, I would have said, "could you wait, i'm in a bit of a hurry" or acted like I was put out by the whole thing.  As I waited, not so patiently, on the others in front of me with their 2 carts full, I heard the man's voice again asking if they could double bag his groceries.  Now, this is the man that let them audit the drawer before checking him out.  Obviously, the cashier was not so gracious because I then heard him say, "never mind, if you will just bag them and then I will double bag.  I have to catch the bus and I don't want the bags busting."  He also mentioned he hoped he didn't have too many groceries to get on the bus.  As I waited, another lady came up behind me and obviously heard the whole conversation as well.  I overheard her ask where he lived, he told her and she said I'm from Centre I don't know where that is, is it close.  He said it was in E. Rome.  I was either in a Walmart stupor watching the total rise of my grocery bill or I blanked out from hunger pains so I missed part of the conversation between them.  The next thing I heard coming out of my blankness was him saying, "thank-you, you're and answer to prayer."  The registers continued to beep, my total continued to rise and I gathered that this nice lady had offered to give him a ride.  My first thought was, never, she's crazy.  Then I heard her say to her mother, a sweet grandmotherly type in the next isle-"Mom there will be a strange man riding with us when we leave, I offered him a ride."  The grandmotherly lady, shook her head and looked at me like, "Uh-oh."  The man finished his transaction, food stamps and all, and no double bagging needed.  He told the lady he would wait for her.  In a few minutes he walked back up to lady that offered the ride and said, "Can I buy your pizza with my food stamps for exchange for my ride."  She said, " no way."  He proceeded to tell her that he ended up on food stamps because he had left his job in ATL to come back to Rome to take care of his mother who had dementia.  She had since passed and now he was left living in an apartment, on food stamps looking for a job.  Imagine, giving up everything so you could take care of your mother that probably didn't even remember his name at the end.   This stopped me in my stupor for sure.  To think this man that I'm sure I may have easily judged for being on food stamps or for asking for double bagging or just because he had to ride public transportation was in this state because he had left his job in ATL to come home and take care of his mother?!  He seemed educated, maybe mid 60's and my heart swelled for the man, a son that obviously loved his mom.   
I thought about the lady only hearing him talking to the cashier and offering a ride.  When he walked off I told her it sure was refreshing hearing someone be as gracious as he was for a simple ride.  She said yes, but its a blessing to me to be able to help him.  People, I had just witnessed goodness and grace in the Walmart checkout line.  I couldn't help but smile pushing my groceries to my car.  Knowing this man was going to be blessed with these two ladies from Center knowing their conversation was easy and knowing he was probably graciously helping them unload their groceries into their car to somehow repay them for giving him a ride. 
Lesson for DeAnn-never be quick to judge.  Try to see the good in people.  Offer a helping hand when you can. Pay attention in the Walmart checkout line because you just may receive a blessing.  I sure did.  JSM- lesson- remember to take care of your mother when she can't even remember your name.  You just never know...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Ness's of My Life

This post is a biggie. I had the privilege of hearing a powerful,bold testimony from a fellow past church member. The whole night was titled "Transformed." Her testimony was of course, about the transformation that Gods love has had on her life. Without giving her testimony here in my blog I will say it got to me. As I listened to the way her transformation has affected/effected (never know how to use that one right) I became uncomfortable. As I listened I can recall times in my life that I've also felt the changes of His love-a transformation of sorts. When she spoke of how her prayer life had changed, her time in the Word had changed, her way of doing her job, her music she listened too had changed I could remember times like that as well. Key words---times like that. Another thing she spoke about was her passion had changed. Her passion use to be her job/sport but now it's Jesus Christ. I remember having that passion as well. Remember. Hearing that made me realize, this ones big, that I've lost my passion for Christ. This is usually the time of year that I feel most close to Him. As I remember His walk, for me, to the cross. As I remember what He did for me. This year is no different in me remembering, it's just this year, my passion, my zeal is gone. Why?? I'm not really sure. As I woke up at 3am this morning with all of this in my heart I had a sinking feeling and then a verse came to me. We all know it, and at times it's brought true comfort to me. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Ps34:18 as I thought about this verse and tried to pray about it I was thinking about these words, if He is close to the brokenhearted then why does He feel so far away?? Am I brokenhearted??? Yep, on a daily basis. Is my spirit crushed? You betcha-in more ways than one. So if those answers are yes then why? Why does He feel so far away?? Of course we all know that answer. It breaks my heart to admit it-but it's me. It's me that's holding Him, my Savior, at arms length. It's me that's pushed Him away. Why is this? Why have I done this and how did let myself get here?? Here comes the reason for this blog title. My only thing that I can come up with is the Nesses in my life (some of these are so grammatically wrong, not even words but stick with me here)..bitterness, brokenness, angry-ness, tiredness, sinfulness, loneliness, prayerlessness, churchlessness, busyness, stubbornness,  anxiousness, the list goes on. I know all this, I know that all of these things keep me from closeness with my Savior. These are the things that keep me passionless about my relationship with and for Him. How do I remedy all of these? Not sure-because they all go hand in hand. One feeds off the other. If I'm tired then I don't pray or read my bible, my anger and bitterness leads to a whole bunch more of Nesses in my life. Then all of these turn into guiltiness--guilty because I feel like I'm  living a big fat lie. Guilty because others see me as "strong" "faithful" "making it." When really, I'm a MESS. 
After the crowd was thinning I spoke with a friend that has some heavy stuff going on. Second time around of yuck in her life. As we spoke she said, "Girl, you're just stronger than me." I had to admit, as I sat down for this one, that no-I wasn't. I admitted that I was bitter, tired and didn't even feel like going to church. Hard to admit when someone just paid you a huge compliment about being strong. Hard to admit that I am as beat down as she is. Maybe moreso. Then I try to cover it all up with a smile and 'I'm good.'  Think we both had a feeling of -seriously?? It's hard to admit when others think you have it together when you really can't remember the last time you just sat down and had a heart to heart with Father. Yes, I still pray throughout the day, about this and that-but to actually remember when I sat down in true communion with my Father has been a really long time. When was the last time my arms didn't feel so heavy during worship that I couldn't raise my hands in pure adoration? When was the last time that I could wait to dive into the Word and not stop reading? When? All of this feels like I am writing the biggest confession. Is it? Yes. Judge me if you want, pray for me please. I'm tired of the Nesses that keep me separated from the One who saved me. Can I put my finger on the exact reason for all the Nesses in my life?? Yes...LIFE. Do I want to revive my passion? Do I want that sweet time with Father again? Do I desire with my innermost being to have encounters with my Savior as I did 4 years ago?? Yes! Yes! Yes! I told my friend that I still think God had me where I am for me to figure out that HE IS ALL I NEED!! She responded with, "but it is so hard." Yes girlfriend it is so hard-I struggle every day. Hoping and praying that this confession of sorts is the beginning of that realization. That my passion is revived. My Nesses fade away day by day, hour by hour. Loving that I have hope and loving knowing He is close to me even when the Nesses keep me far from Him. Judge me if you will but I would prefer your prayers instead. Best part of all this...SUNDAY IS COMING. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow days

There is absolutely nothing I love more than SNOW. It's always amazed me at how just a simple act if nature can change our world-for a day, for hours.. I've loved it since I was a girl knowing snow would bring sweet days off from school, moms boiled egg sandwiches  for lunch in Between outings outside-skating on the lake, building snowmen. I loved waking up knowing there was snow still on the ground by the reflection of brightness coming through my window. When it snows even as a grown woman, I still love all of this. I woke up with the same feelings this morning when I realized there  was still lots of snow waiting for us. As I've become older, I appreciate how the  snow reminds me of how Gods hand can change things in the matter of seconds. As 2  of my 3 and I did our usual walk through the snowy woods yesterday- I thought of how the frozen water and all of its bright whiteness completely changes the usually dark, dirty woods. How the dusting made the trees look small under its weight. I appreciate how the snow even changes the sounds of my world. In place of loudness of everyday living the snows blanket makes things peaceful and quiet. When it snows I always make the kids stop in their tracks and just listen, listen to the quietness of it. I love how it makes our footsteps seem intentional, deliberate. I love knowing my Father has stored away each and every snowflake and knows just when our world needs to be changed. "Have you ever entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail.." Job 38:22  Even though the snow causes havoc, like yesterday, God stores snow up to send down at the perfect time to send cleansing on His earth. Even when it's most inconvenient for us, when it leaves those we love stranded, when it causes us to question why now, when it causes us to not like our fellow drivers., when it causes us to question officials that make mistakes----God had this stored up for us, for this time for the exact hours.
As I say this, I have to ask  why would God want to cause such craziness? Why would He allow this? As I was awake last night worrying about a young lady stranded and a friends husband trying to make his way home to his family I had time to think of this. As I was thinking of how important it is for all of us to be prepared with emergency kits in our cars, to have plans for such days as this. It hit me!! Maybe, just maybe God stored this snow up for a specific purpose. And that purpose was to get His peoples attention. Maybe he sent this to not only remind us of his awesomeness-who can't look at this beautiful snow and not be reminded of how awesome our God is. But I think also He is giving us a warning of sorts. What's that warning???? BE PREPARED!!  Not necessarily   Being prepared for a snow storm, of being stranded on the road or having bread  and milk and how we think of being prepared  for days like this. But maybe He is warning us to be prepared--prepared for Him. He's reminding us that He has things stored away for each of us, each of us as individuals just as He has stored  each snowflake away for a specific time. One day all of us will be surprised  by a pure whiteness, pure can't even fathom beauty- not of the froze precip type but of our Savior coming. There won't be a forecaster to predict it, a computer model that will reveal it but a God that knows the exact hour, He's trying to get our attention through circumstances like this-warning us to be prepared.
Is your heart right? Do you desire the "bread" of life ? Remember the feeling yesterday of not having control over our situation as the snow began to fall and we frantically scrambled to get our children, to get to our homes??  You can have that control-you just have to turn to Him-the one that controls it ALL.
Continuing to pray for those stranded and separated from loved ones. Praying we all enjoy Gods beauty as we don't often experience it. Hoping you all see the Holy Spirit  in the  pureness of the snow. Now off to enjoy this--before it melts away.