Good Grief

Good Grief

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.