Good Grief

Good Grief

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflecting on reflection

Another year in the bag guys. I usually try to close out one year and enter a new one with a blog reflecting on the past. A wrap up of sorts. 2016! Ummm only word I can describe is maybe --challenging. I learned much about me, about me and about my 3. We faced some issues that totally made me realize that people will always let you down. Always. People that claim to be god-lovin' are usually the ones that disappoint the most. I knew this already but was just reminded again. In dealing with some issues -mainly others questioning my kiddos characters, I learned that mama bear comes out in force and will stop at nothing at protecting her young. I also learned that depending on Gods grace allows you to be filled to the rim with grace as well. Grace to cover things said, and done, hurtful things. Grace to smile and move on. I learned that yes, these 3 of mine are actually pretty resilient. I knew that as well since they've already lived through a hell of their own, and continue to persevere. They showed grace and courage through much that caused disruptions in our lives of normalcy, circumstances that rocked our world. My 3 are superstars. But I knew that too!!
Mama made it through the oldest pulling out of the driveway solo for the first time. Watched as her junior walked into a brand new school, boldly and proudly. And let me just tell you...he's rocking the new school, great grades, actually loves going. One of those moments when you can look back on a hard decision made and know you did the right thing. Bingo. 
Watched my 8th grader continue on a good road. Voice cracks and all. He just closed out his 2016 basketball season scoring 20 points in a game and received the honors of All tourney player.  All I can say is Lord help me, 2 teenage boys under one roof is a lot for this mama, but we are doing it. 
Watched my baby girl walk into a new, much bigger school with reluctance and some tears. However, just watched a video her superb teacher took of her singing and dancing in class. She's succeeding and I'm watching her little by little become a tween and little by little helping her become not so dependent on me. 
Three out of 4 of us endured school changes, I went back to my beloved preschool and encounter 16 toddlers a week that love me no matter what. I can't believe I get paid to love babies. My cohorts and I laugh on a daily basis so I can't ask for much more than that. 
Basically, 2016 has been fairly good to us. Thankful for introspection, to be able to learn from life. I was having a conversation and was asked about my dreams and goals for the future. At first I'm like do 47 year olds still dream? Are we even allowed too? Heck the way I look at it 1/2 my life is over. So I took on the challenge to think about that. While I was disrobing my old house of decorations I thought--yeah I have small dreams. Nothing huge. More travel, maybe a ministry, but mainly my dream and wish is to help my 3 start life, then be disposable for each--when they need mama I want to be able to drop everything and run. That's been my life's dream-to be a mom. So I'm basically in the middle of my dream. Shallow?? Maybe. I also came to the realization that life, my life, has hindered dreams. I had them, then life happened so those dreams were put on hold, dissipated I guess. Then my way to survive was just living day to day. If you don't think too far into the future then you won't be as disappointed when things don't go as planned. So in realizing I may sound like the most shallow human ever I also realized that I trust God way more than I give myself credit for. In living day-to-day as I have I know His plans prevail. Whether I think they are good plans or not. I can smile knowing that I've finally surrendered myself enough to Him that I know He has my every second. Yes, I still worry and fret-it's my nature, but I know in the bigger picture that He's got me. I've been in a place, thankfully, where total dependence on Him to survive was all I had. How grateful I am that I still remember, recall and live today knowing no matter what His plans are they are so much better than mine. Even through my why's and even through my doubts. I know that He's my planner, He's my author of an ever changing story. So shallow or not I'm realizing I don't really allow myself to dream anymore- I'll trade my dreams on knowing that I trust Him more than I've ever given myself credit for. Trusting His will for my life for 2017 and beyond. This realization lets me face a new year and close out an old one with confidence and faith...knowing He's got me. Thankful! Blessed! I can get teary eyed knowing how he has, how he does and how he will cover me with protection, grace and guidance and trusting His plans are just perfect  for me. Out with the old-in with the new. Happy New Year! May this year bring faith, hope and love to you and yours. 

Monday, August 29, 2016


Dear God, yesterday in church Pastor J was talking about Ephesians 2:10-you know it because you wrote it--
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." While I love  this verse and love thinking about how you thought of me before I was even an actual thought, this verse makes me nervous in a way just as Psalms 139:13 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." I love that it's reassurance that you loved me even before I was here to love, I love that it means to me that you know me and that I am enough. I'm thinking the reason it makes me nervous is because maybe, just maybe, the life I've lived. Was it truly your intention for me to be anxious, fearful and untrusting? Did you really make me that way? Or did you make me that way so that I would be dependent upon you? Did you knit me together to have this chihuahua like heart about me? The fear God, the questions, the thoughts-did you intend for me to be this?? While I'm asking some very pointed questions did your plans really include the suffering? Was that also a way to turn me toward you? When you thought of me did you have in your plans that I'd one day be a widow and mom of 3? Did you include that in my life plan to use that for your glory? If so God I need direction. I need direction in knowing how you want and desire for me to do "good works." I'm caught in the middle God, caught in the middle of moving forward and staying still. If I stay still it looks as if I "can't get over it" or that I'm " wallowing." If I move forward how do I/we use what we've endured for your goodness? How do I talk about how you've been there when I'm desperately trying to move forward and move on. How can I talk about the time in my life that brought me closest to you without looking like I'm hanging on to a dead mans memory.  Can you direct me? How can my fear and discontent be any good to you? How can the fear of being left -either by death or choice- be how you intended for me to live? Tell me, is my day to day living enough of "good works?" I can't see it because I fail daily. Enlighten me God, if I can handle it, enlighten me and help me not feel nervous about these versus and help me know what my purpose is. Help me know the purpose of what I feel daily, what I've endured and what I've suffered. Guide and direct me. Help me appreciate that you made me this way, that you saw my life before I was even life. Help me grasp that and help me grasp what you have for me. Help me know what my "good works" is for you. Help me move forward and sit still at the same time. Help me know that you have been and will always be all I need. Thanks for letting me be transparent with you God. Thank you for letting me not have to jockey for a position with you as I do with people.  Thanks for always knowing my heart before I even speak the words. Thanks for "getting" me because you made me this way when others don't get me at all. Thanks for loving me just the way I am. Help me do what my purpose is. Reveal much God. Reveal and let me grab and run with it. I love you and thank you for loving me. Goodnight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer restlessness!

Summer and the  beach has come and gone, starting of school staring us in the face, another birthday for me. Restlessness is setting in. As much as I remind myself to stay in the moments of right now, the moments of life in a constantly changing state-little to big things- changes in schools, changes in jobs, changes in emotions, it's hard to not become restless and stay in the moment. I can talk a big talk to others when I say 'enjoy the here and now, take it all in, feel blessed for where you are,' I find it very hard for myself. I've fought anxiety for sometime now and I've learned to deal with it better as time goes by, however, the restlessness of life seems to feed the anxiety which reminds me that I'm not depending on the One that has proven before that He can calm it all for me. He can calm my runaway thoughts, my undue worry. If I let Him ordain each moment I can better live in the moment. 
I find myself wanting to hit the pause button on my 3's growth and aging. I feel like if I don't pause it that I will lose control and before I turn around again they will all be gone, grown and I'll have missed it. So as summer seems to be racing by at a faster pace than I'd like I want to just pause for a second and let God control my restlessness. It seems, though, when I sit for just a moment to collect my thoughts, reflect a bit, that is when the thoughts start spiraling out of control. ~ I haven't spent enough quality time with my 3, do I talk to them enough, am I being the mom I'm suppose to be, is my impatient self ruining our days, is sitting here writing my thoughts really what I should be doing when I should be re-doing Molly's room that I promised her we'd do this summer? 
 Am I giving my all to a relationship that means the world to me? Am I more of a burden than one that brings happiness? Am I enough? Will I always be enough?   I promised myself to do more for me this summer, to exercise, spend time with God in the early morning. I wasn't going to be so rushed as we are during the school year. I was going to get the house back in order before the chaos set in of single-momness set in. I've done none of this and summer is getting closer to over. ~ All these thoughts feeds the restlessness and then the guilt that follows makes it worse even still. 
I don't want to look back and have regrets and wishing for do-overs, I don't want to miss out on my 3 before they are grown and gone. I want to cherish every moment, every second, mundane to exciting, and soak it every bit in. I want to go from one season to the next knowing I did what I could and feel really good about it. How can I accomplish this? How do I not want more when graduations finally happen, when they drive out of my driveway packed for college,when my baby girl walks down the isle, when in time yet another in my life leaves earth? How can I know that it was all enough? Living  in the now is harder to do than say and I'm learning this too well. As I type this, this verse is all I hear-
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:34

I'd like to start his sentence with a capitalized BUT, but if I do use that word BUT then that clearly shows that I don't believe what Jesus has said. How do I not worry about tomorrow, August 2nd the start of new schools, new school year,how do I not worry if I'm doing what I'm suppose to do? How do I not feel restless, how do I not want more time? How do I not want do-overs? I clearly don't know the answer to any of these questions or I wouldn't be writing this blog. 
Thankfully, when I write it out-it's out there, my words tend to hold me accountable, and I'm held accountable by those that read my thoughts, even though you have no idea that just by reading my thoughts you're actually holding me accountable. I'm praying and working on turning my restlessness into peace I can only find in the comfort of Jesus. I'm desiring for His love, that's held me together as I've felt I may fly apart before, will again and still hold me together again. I'm desiring for Him to slow my thoughts, calm my anxiety and help me to live for today and be thankful for today. To trust Him with my tomorrows-and whatever those tomorrow's hold. Thankful that I've lived and learned how He can and will hold me together when I can't do it on my own. Praying that I practice what I preach-and I live and love in the here and now, enjoy the big and small and trust Him with every second. And at the end--have no regrets. Restlessness...just be gone already

Friday, June 24, 2016


It's late Thursday night and my Beach Departure Depression has set in. Moreso than usual this time it seems. After many years of frequenting PCB, B.S(before Shane) and then starting back 6 years ago, I regretfully admit to never visiting Shell Island. This year we were able to do just that for an ALL day excursion. We loaded up everything we needed for a day at a secluded beach, even apprehension for those of us that like toilets and amenities of modernness  and such. We arrived on the bay side unpacked with all the kiddos help and set up for a day. I was told that there was a little pathway over to the ocean side. Little did I know that pathway lead me to an encounter with Gods creation like no other time. If you know me, then you know my love for the beach, how I feel closer to God, how I find peace and comfort in the massiveness of the water, the control of the tides, just everything. Today, as I dodged thorns and such on that skinny pathway, the excitement mounted the closer I got to the other side. I could hear the water-no other sounds, I could see the pure whiteness of the sand and then the bluest purest green water I'd ever seen. Gods best just waiting for me. Only a few people were there along with us and then they left so it was pretty secluded. I was able to just sit for a moment in the sand, face toward the sun and was able just to soak it all in. Every bit of it. I literally could have cried thinking about the similarities of the crossing over from a perfect place seated on the "bay" side down a thorny unsure pathway to what God really has to offer us in life. Yes, I would have been satisfied and just as comfy to have stayed at the waters edge and never have chosen to "see" what was on the other side. Thankfully, I chose to take that path of uncertainty and walk, one foot in front of the the other over a pathway to something even more spectacular. Later, same thing. We boated a little further down the island to a spot not frequented as often. We took a boardwalk from one side to the ocean side. Once we started walking  on that boardwalk we discovered missing boards, exposed nails and lose bowed boards. Each step we took was a step of uncertainty, but oh the reward we received once we got to the end. Another pristine beach, with absolutely no one around, just water the color of emeralds, sand as white as snow, Gods amazingness was for us to see and enjoy. 

Isn't that just how life is? Pathways of unsure steps, lose boards, exposed nails and just hard stuff. Isn't it nice to know that if we are faithful enough to trust God with our paths that He will show us His finest, offer us His best. 
So thankful that today that I chose these pathways and thankful that I've trusted God along some pathways I didn't quiet choose in life, and some Ive  chosen. The thorns, the yuck of them are always rewarded with His sweet blessings, sometimes in the form of close-to-heaven beaches, sometimes in the form of encounters with people, sometimes in the form of just a great place in life. Pathways are good. Praying I continue to trust His paths for me, that I can live through the uncomfortableness of some of those paths and that I always recognize the blessings at the end. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Walk with God

Sleep has again escaped me. Unfortunately, when things of life, heart matters, decisions face me, sleep leaves me. This morning, woke up way before alarm went off. I tossed and turned, tried to pray, tried to listen and none of those were working out. I saw the sun peeking through my window as if to ask me to join him. I did. I laced up my new kicks the kiddos got me (with my credit card) put on my sweatshirt and headed out. No earbuds to distract me, just me, the wind, the sun, birds, and the sound of my feet meeting the pavement. As the wind blew the cold on my face I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks,not because I was crying but because of the cold. Then it hit me. Jesus was telling me to cry, to get it out. So the tears from the cold mingled with the tears of my heart. So much yuck surrounding me-decisions, change, exhaustion, that oh so unsettled feeling that takes over now and again. I had a little JOLT from Jesus this morning. That jolt reminded me that I'm in the midst of arguing with my Father. I feel He is telling me one thing while my heart and head is telling me another. As I walked I talked. 'But God this is what I want and I thought you wanted this for me to.' 'God you said you'd take care of me but why do I feel alone.' 'You said you'd help me raise these 3 alone and I feel I'm doing it all by myself.' I stopped talking and...NOTHING. Only the sounds of my feet, only the birds and only the wind. Made me even angrier with Him. I literally wanted to stop and stomp my feet and shake my hands toward the blue blue sky. Instead I kept walking. I rounded the corner to notice the neighborhood pool has been drained. For months we've seen the grossness floating on the top covering the even grosser stuff in the bottom. Then I heard Him. "Im trying to drain you of you and your grossness, your dirt, your insecurities, your fears, im trying to drain you of you DeAnn! I'm trying to bring you back to me and the clearness of what I can do. I'm so much more than you can even fathom. I'm even more than you experienced with me 6 years ago through sickness, death and dying. I Am the Great I Am. If you will just let me do what I want and need to do it will be clear as that pool will be when cleaned with chemicals. Clear. I will give you answers but only when I seen its time. I will help with your insecurities, with your unsettledness, I will protect you and I will Father your fatherless children. You just have to BE STILL." 
I heard him, didnt like it. Sometimes I wished I could physically feel Him, like Jacob did when he wrestled with Him. Maybe if God just held me down and told me what He wanted for me then I'd get it. But no, God is gentle and loving with me. He finds me on cool morning walks, He Jolts me with a bit of Jesus with wind and sun. He tells me that I don't have to be insecure or question love for me as I do with humans. He is my portion, the one that fills my empty spaces, the one that makes me feel secure. When it gets right down to it He reminds me with visuals of empty pools that He! He is all I need. His cleaning chemical is His love for me. The very love that placed His son on the cross with my name on His lips. The One that had sustained me through some serious pain, loneliness. He's that same God, it's just the grossness of life has made it not so easy to see.  Father God, thank you for urging me up out of bed to walk with you this morning. Thank you for knowing when my spirit needs cleansing with good, sad, confused tears. Thank you for giving me visuals of how Your love works in me. For empty pools, for Jolts of Jesus. Thanks for reminding me that you are still the same God that held me, loved me through something I never thought I'd make it through. For being the same God that will hold me through more hurts and trials. Thank you for letting me stomp my feet and argue with you but being so very patient and loving while I'm pitching my hissy. Thank you Father God for knowing exactly what I need and when. Thank you for reminding me to just sit still for a minute, just wait. Thank you for speaking to me this morning on my walk with you. Thank you for preparing my hear to worship and praise and openly be totally in love with you. You, my God are all I will ever ever need. That, I'm thankful for. I love you. ~d

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 16, 1995

I've said many times before that I blog mainly as a journal so one day my 3 can read them. 
JSM-here's mom and dads engagement story. It was Easter weekend, I was working for Dr Smith and he gave us 1/2 day for Good Friday. Your dad & I reluctantly went to Jacksonville that afternoon with Pooh & PawPaw to see their new house, to check on Shane doing some classes there for summer. It was a bittersweet day. Pooh & PawPaw excited to start a new chapter, leaving behind Calhoun, moving back to the little town in which they met. I felt like it may just be the end of your dad  & I. Him moving an hour away, new school-I felt our relationship was doomed. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed it for the most part. We headed back to Rome for a Friday night dinner at Longhorns. We had to wait so we sat at the bar and ate peanuts. I was a little miffed because Shane kept talking to Pooh, leaving me out I felt. Little did I know. We ate, said our goodbyes to Pooh & PawPaw & called it a night. Shane had a big game against Shorter the next day. 
I'm not sure why-but I didn't go to that particular game that day, rarity but something else was going on. Fast forward to Easter Sunday, April 16, church then to Plainville to Granny's for lunch, egg hunt with Tyler. I left to go to Pooh & PawPaws for Easter with them. When I got there, there was the immediate family, and then some. When I walked in Shane grabbed my hand and took me straight to his room, strange, especially as everyone else followed. When I got inside, there sat a white decorative bunny with a small pink box sitting on its paw. He just looked at me and said open it. I did. Inside was a beautiful emerald cut emerald with diamonds on each side. I looked at him confused and then he asked me..."will you marry me?" Of course,  you know what I said. Yes! Everyone was soooo excited, hugging us, wishing us well. Until...we got back to Rome. Mimi wasn't as happy about the whole engagement. She actually looked at my non-traditional ring and asked me what it was. It wasn't that she didn't like Shane--she just felt like she didn't know him. We'd only started dating in October, so it was 6 short months. She eventually apologized and eventually fell head over heels in love with him. 
Apparently, when I was feeling all left out as he and pooh talked at Longhorns he was telling her he wanted to propose and he needed a ring. He knew I'd always wanted an emerald so he asked his mom to help him. He had 1 day to get a ring because he wanted to propose on Easter Sunday. Thankfully she knew several jewelers in Calhoun and they allowed her to take several rings with her on approval,  to Rome, to a baseball field. When she got to Shorters field(where Rome plays now at the levee) she called him out of the dugout-he saw  the one he wanted and proceeded to finish the game. I'm sure Coach Shartzer was none too happy-seeing how I was already to blame for "getting into Shane's head" and "messing up his game." Oh well. He made his choice of the ring and in me and the rest is history. He finished that season of ball, moved to J'ville for the summer after many tears on mine and his part. He returned to Berry in the fall to finish his accounting major while I started planning a wedding for May 18, 1996. 21 years ago and many things have happened. If that day hadn't happened where would I be- I'd be without you 3, and without the assurance of a loving God. Always remember -Gods plans are perfect and you were a part of those plans--even 21 years ago. One day I hope to help you boys and help you Molls with the beginning of a chapter in your life that's oh so sweet. Hope these memories will allow you a picture of what love is, that true love prevails-even through separations and circumstances that work against you. What's meant to be will be. 
1 Corinthians 13! Xoxo

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Seeing Jesus in Botched BeachTrips, Flu and Yuck

When I know I have the alarm set for an unbelievable hour, I can't sleep. When I can't sleep, I think. When I think too much I have to get it out and then a blog post is born. Be forewarned however...this post may come out as a jumbled up mess because that's where I'm at right now...a jumbled up mess. But here goes. 
Most of you know by now my love and my deep need/desire for beach therapy. We had a spring break trip planned for a few weeks now and had been looking forward to it. I mean when I say look forward to it-I mean live for it. A few weeks ago life just got a little messed up, as life will do sometimes. All I can and will say is  children make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can mess life's flow  up. Anyway, the beach trip was needed/desired even more. We just needed a little respite from life, the everyday, the disappointments, especially the time of year. Satan saw the need to intervene and mess things up a little more. As I was fighting an infection of my own Sam spiked a fever Saturday night on a family outing. I took him to the doctor on Sunday to see if we could nip such Satan sickness and carry on with beach plans. We left there knowing nothing, tested false for flu, was told to treat symptoms. We decided to delay departure for the beach. I figured I could take care of some things while we waited this virus from Satan out. Fever continued to climb, boy continued to deteriorate. Tuesday came with a plan to leave---Molls woke up with same symptoms, cough, cough turned to fever, and like clockwork Jake started coughing, fever spiked.
#currentsituation 3 kids down!
The decision was made that this trip wasn't going to happen. Thankfully it was offered to us so no hidden fees etc. Still!!!! Disappointed is not even the word I could describe as a feeling. All this mama wanted, needed, desired, was a short trip to relax, reflect, and enjoy my 3. School, work, life has a way of stealing time away from precious family moments. It was going to be a time to reconnect, restore and have some conversations that we needed to have. It was going to be a time to escape Holy Week and what memories are stirred up and brought up of Holy Week 6 years ago. For a few years now we've done just that...escaped TO THE BEACH.
Here's part of a text I sent to J concerning this week as he wanted to help..."sad to say but we are in the midst of all the memories right now. Think it's been kinda cruel that we've been made to stay inside as we were then. Mom bringing food, people checking in for different reason but checking in. Just the overall gloom and doom of sickness looming-even if it is just the flu this time, keeping up with a medicine log. Being bone tired from emotion. Just a walk to the mailbox as an escape today, as I did then,was hard. Not as tough as it was then or even 3 years ago-but it's still there. Not that I miss him as I use to, but the memories of his struggle, coinciding with Good Friday, Easter weekend. And then we get to live it again on the April 3rd. Just lots going on in our lives today that bring up lots of stuff as then."
 I went on to thank him for wanting to help even when he doesn't understand grief himself and how it's heavy one minute and light the next. He explained he thought he may never know how to help. He's close to us, how can I expect people that don't know us as well to even come close to understanding. Maybe that's why so many have let us down by not 'being there.' Maybe it because they just don't know how. I had the opportunity to explain to someone how 6 years may seem a long time but to my 3,most days, it seems like yesterday. It's always there. They've learned to cope with the loss, but mostly the absence. They've learned to live and be raised by a single mom, which has been put into question lately by those that don't know us at all. They've learned to cope as best they know how, one by pushing feelings way down and finding ways to escape. One by being more determined, more motivated, but not really dealing and one that clings to her mom because I'm all she's really known or had. These ways of coping aren't perfect, but it's the way they've gotten up each day, put one foot in front of the other and carried on. Carrying on is all I can ask of them. There will be mistakes, there will be trials, there will be constant let downs by people that are suppose to care for us. I will let them down. So I'm using this season, this time, down to this week to show them that our trust is in God and Him alone, man will always let you down. Satan will always try and steal your joy. Circumstances will change and disappointments will happen (ummm axed beach trips.) Sickness' will occur, sometimes flu sometimes something more serious to botch things up. People will come and go in and out of our lives, but one thing remains...Jesus and His love and goodness for us. 
While talking about how disappointed we all were to not get to go to the beach Sam speaks up and says maybe God was just protecting us from a really bad wreck, bad storm or something. He then reminded me that circumstances that swirl around us may just be a God thing as well. Gods revealing and God is guiding. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Even during spring breaks up to our knees in flu, even when people have let you down, even during the weeks of heavy grief, even in the everyday. 

He shows up and he reveals his goodness-through a friend that drops off a candle that smells like the beach because she's just been thinking of me for 2 weeks,he shows up through text from various friends and family.  He shows up through a neighbor in her new car as I walk to my mailbox and through her own experiences encourages the pants off of me--while I stand in the street. He shows up in my kids daily, despite what others may think and say. He covers us with unending grace and unending mercy, even the days I'm mad at Him for my botched beach trip;) He shows up in a tree that blooms on a deaths anniversary every year to remind me of renewal, restoration and beauty, even from death. 
He shows up in a man that prays for me, that shares his laughter with me and wants to help in the yuck of life. 

You see my 3 -even out of death, disappointments, mistakes, botched spring breaks, flu, cancer- you can find HIM. You can find the one that spoke "DeAnn, Jake, Sam, Molly" as they placed him on the cross. You need only Be Still, and it doesn't even have to be on the beach:)
Happy Holy Week.  Take a moment to reflect that He whispered your name as well. The alarm is about to go off so I can administer meds to my crew to get us through the night. One fevered foot in front of the other. Carry on. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Here and Now

A week has passed and I'm still chewing on and digesting my experience last weekend. I was able to attend Women of Faith with a group of almost 70 women. There's something to be said about that many women leaving behind their families, responsibilities, traveling through questionable weather to a city that the mayor has asked his residents to leave. The enemy would  stop at nothing to mess up a weekend filled with praise, stories of victory, fellowship. My sister even had money on the fact that I'd back out. Thankfully, I didn't. Sorry Trace.
As I was a part of the moving sea of women bundled up with coats, gloves, scarfs, toboggans through the Marta station I thought how God must've felt about that. How delighted He must have felt watching us as we intentionally made our way to the venue,  knowing we all, in our individual-ness, needed something from this conference. I smile thinking how He already knew which speaker would have words like salve to each woman attending. How He knew which song would strike a chord in someone. How He knew that healing and hope would be found among some of those women. He must've chuckled seeing the weather not stop us, nor dampen our spirits. It's no small feat for moms, wives, to leave behind children and the responsibilities, so a victory was claimed once we all arrived safely.
I'm thankful for having the opportunity to praise my God with old friends, new friends, my blood sister and so many other sisters in Christ. Looking around and seeing so many women desperately seeking their God does something to ones heart. Putting away the everydayness to just be in the moment, to absorb a word is priceless. I'm thankful that I endured, overcame and went.
This conference also made me realize how thankful I am in the here and now of life. After hearing a few of the speakers speak Friday night, after an eventful Marta ride back we made it to our hotel. As tired as we may have been I'm sure a few had the feeling like one of the speakers or songs was meant just for them. My 3 roommates and I rehashed a bit and one spoke up and said, "wow! Each of those women has a story to tell, I just don't have a story like that." I immediately said, "Careful what you say." I remember a few years ago thinking how mundane my spiritual story was. How, if I'd been asked  to give my testimony how uninteresting and boring it would be. I remember thinking what would my story be at the end of my life.
Ahem----fast forward a few years and boy do I have a story. Not only do I have a story but I have "changed my life story." I've regretted saying, "watch what you say" since last Friday night. I should have kept my mouth closed because those words make me sound like I don't like my story. I've said before that I would have chosen a different way for a "changed my life" experience, a different way to get to experience my God. However, as time moves on and I'm able to see Gods plans in action, I'm realizing and coming to terms that my story is just story. My story is Gods plan for me. He planned all that I've lived through to be 'my story.' He chose me for this path. He chose me to mother 3 fatherless children, He chose me to have to change and be the strong one. He chose me to be the main character for this unfinished story.
As the pages continue to turn I'm coming to terms in accepting and being thankful for my story. I've often said that I know people will grow tired of me telling my story, the cancer, death of a husband story, I also remember my sister TD telling me He wasn't finished with my story. So 6 years ago maybe just part of it. Big part? Yes! Only part? No! Time has a way of revealing new chapters, and I've become happy about turning the pages. The anticipation of what the next chapters hold make me smile, make me anxious, makes
me know trusting God is all I can do. He holds the pen/keyboard and even though I may not always like or understand His story for me I'm learning to trust. I told a special someone in a conversation that we've got to learn to be thankful and live in the here and now. To appreciate living in the moment. Hard words to live by. So hard not to worry about next month, next year, next 10 years. Why is it so hard to trust God when we know He planned the here and now. What about the future? Why is it so hard to turn the pages when we know He is the most perfect Author. Why do we question Him when we can flip the pages backwards and read the words of our past and we can see that His story has been perfect for us? Even when the words from past chapters bring us back to hurt, suffering, and questions-- we can see what He was doing, that His plan has always been perfect...bringing us to the here and now.
~"For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."~Isaiah 43:19
Dear God, thank you for my story. Thank you for knowing what I need, when I need it. Thank you for your perfect timing. Thank you for holding the pen that writes out my story...past, present and future. Thank you for the characters in my story that you use to fill my life. Thank you for the suffering, the joyful times. Thank you for helping me understand that You know. You know what I need when I need it. You know what characters in my story exit and enter my life. Thank you for helping me be eager to turn the pages for the future. Thank you for the pages to flip back to as to remind me how perfect your plan really is. Help me to be thankful for my here and now. In Jesus' sweet name. Amen.

This ones dedicated to you J! Thank you for my here and now.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Ever had one of those days where you felt like the steps you've made forward in your journey was either detoured, halted or slowly, painfully put in reverse? Yesterday was one of those days.
Started with a early morning phone call from PawPaw(Richardson) with news that Pooh(Richardson) had been admitted back in the hospital for kidney failure. She was admitted back in December for pneumonia and they found something strange going on with her kidneys then. Now, they've had to start dialysis. Not the news you like to receive. Can I please ask for prayers for healing, peace, comfort and answers of what's causing the kidney failure.  One thing a sickness/diagnosis of a loved one  will do is put your forward movement into a giant tailspin. Questions, questions about Gods will, questions that remind you of the past.
Then, as I sat in church, listening to what the pastor is implementing to help the congregation to connect with God, conviction set in. Good ole slap you right in the face conviction. The kind that makes you squirm in your seat. Between the conviction and the bad news-church was a restless time for me.
As I sat there listening to the whys and hows of connecting/reconnecting with God I started thinking about how little or much I was connected to God right now in my life. Sad and embarrassed to say that I'm not very connected. I could list the excuses but they would all be the same ones everyone else's are-work, activities, kids, life. However, there's one excuse that I think may just be a DeAnn issue. Squirming in my pew I came to the realization that part of the reason I've distanced or have 'unconnected' myself from God is because, well, I'm scared.

Let me explain. When I think of a time I was most connected with Father, when I couldn't get enough of His Word, when praying came easy, when spending time with Him was of utmost importance -the bottom fell out. I mean fell completely entirely out-I had no bearings, nothing. But I  did have Him. Thankfully, I was connected and that connection with God was my saving grace, a life link when I had nothing else. So bear with me as I continue to explain. I thought today, 'my innermost part desires, needs to be connected back to my Father BUT my fleshy part is scared. Scared that if I become connected again, as I was, that the bottom may just fall out again. Would I be prepared? Yes. Would being connected make the bottom really fall out? Probably not but hell is hell-and I've lived through it and really didn't like it nor desire to go back. My innermost being knows what's right, what's good, what I need to do. But that fleshy being keeps whispering, "remember what happened last time? You're world stopped as you knew it. You endured a living hell."  And yes, I was prepared and ready because I was connected, I was armored up and ready to face what was next. If I'm honest with myself and with you-I don't want to have to endure the bottom falling out again. It was hard-and I'm still gaining footing in the aftermath of it all.  Saying all this,  I'm reminded of hearing myself say often, 'when the bottom fell out was when I experienced God like never before and I'm sometimes scared I'll never again experience Him quiet like that again.' So as my heart and mind begin to intertwine on the right thing, the ONLY thing there is to do I'm turning to my faith. My faith that has gotten me to this point. The faith that allowed an unexplainable, life changing perfect beautiful encounter with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Pastor Roberts said today one thing that I know is true for certain, "once you've experienced God, you'll never be the same." I know that first hand. I long for that closeness I experienced for that life changing "God is alive and He was here" experience but at the same time praying it doesn't come with the hell I've lived through. If it does? Then God help me to re-connect,  to desire the time with you, let prayers come easy again so that I'm prepared. In my quest to look forward instead of back I'm choosing to re-connect. I'd rather be connected and prepared when/if the bottom falls out again, rather than floundering and wishing I had connected when it was too late.
I've decided  to connect with my God during the times that social media usually steals from me. I've found that social media steals lots from me and adds doubt, and unnecessary worry. So in order to connect I'll be signing off for a while. I may post blogs, pictures but I won't be looking through others lives. Just not that important.
On my drive back from a sweet short visit with Pooh in Alabama yesterday, in the quietness of the car, I allowed my play list to soothe me, to guide me right back to Him, to be able to speak to Him like he was sitting next to me in the passenger seat. It was no mistake that this song came on....
Needless to say it was replayed as tears fell knowing He's just been waiting for my good ole slap in the face conviction to bring me back. I can go back to pursuing, desiring my Father and knowing, trusting that being connected doesn't always mean the worst will happen. If it does? Then  I'm in the best place...sitting at His feet, with His love protecting me. Can't ask for more than that.