Cherish the Moments

As I approach nearly a half-century of life on this earth, it should be noted that I have spent 25 of those years as a mom, and over 21 years on my own, in the adventitious life of single motherhood. I started this blog roughly three years ago and admittedly have not written as much as I intended or would have liked. All I can say about that is, I’m working on it! 😉  I started writing it because I was at a very pivotal time in my life as I was sending yet another child off to college, (the third in four years) and I was overwhelmed by the concept of having only one child at home… a nearly empty nest.

Today, I sit here still recovering from my very busy weekend, which included two, excuse me THREE college graduations; all on the same day! Truly epic moments in two of my three oldest children’s lives. I am somehow managing on adrenaline, caffeine, and the pride I feel for their accomplishments. I think back to months ago when we realized that my two oldest children would be graduating on the same day, at two different universities, three hours apart… I couldn’t imagine how I would make that sort of choice, which direction to travel, who might I be letting down. As their graduations grew closer, in these last couple months, I knew I had to make some sort of a choice; it was so unfair, but as I have tried to teach my children, life isn’t always fair and I did have to choose.

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Three years ago, a year ahead of schedule, my oldest daughter was graduating from college, receiving her Bachelors in Psychology. However, she was out of state, and I was unable to attend due to back problems I was having at the time and I was unable to make the trip because I could not travel. It broke my heart, and hers as well.  I believe it was that quiet heartbreak that perhaps led me to make the choice that I did to attend my daughters graduation. The thing that also made this decision bearable, is that I knew I could send his sisters to help celebrate my son on his own special day.

It had been crazy week at work and I was more than a little exhausted come Thursday afternoon, when it was time to get ready to make the two hour trip to my daughter’s apartment so that I could be there for her ceremony Friday morning. I’ll be honest, at one moment I almost changed my mind… my momma heart was breaking because I could not attend both and I was trying to find a way to do everything and be in both places at one time. It had been suggested to me that I could attend my son’s graduation and then the reception my daughter and son-in-law were having later that evening. It sounded all good and fine–but I knew my daughter would be heartbroken again, and I knew I couldn’t do that. I texted and talked to my son a few times and he was in good spirits, excited that his sisters were coming and that he would see me later in the day when he joined us for my son-in-laws ceremony in the afternoon. Then we could all celebrate together Friday night as a family.

The real craziness began when I had texted my daughter letting her know when I planned to leave so she could know when to expect me. Instead of texting me back she actually called, wanting to know if I could please come earlier. I told her how tired I was and that I hadn’t even started getting ready, but she was really persistent and I agreed to leave much earlier than planned. I was tired and a little frustrated when I climbed into my car for the two hour drive, yet, somewhere in the first ten minutes or so this sense of peace came over me (an answer to earlier prayer) and I was happy and looking forward to arriving and having a late dinner with my daughter and her husband.

I stopped for Starbucks and gas and continued down the interstate, singing along with My Bridge as I drove along. Every song just continued to lift my spirits and fill my once conflicted heart with peace and joy. As I entered Omaha, I was actually glad she had encouraged me to come early. It was just starting to get dark and I have terrible night blindness. I listened to my GPS as it told me which direction to go as she had asked me to meet her at a friends house. I was a bit unhappy at this, as I really wasn’t much in the mood to meet anyone and just wanted to eat and go to bed. As I arrive in what was a very nice neighborhood, I was perplexed, I couldn’t see her car, nor read the house numbers, so I was having trouble ensuring I was in the right place. Then I see her, she was waving her arms, so I stop. She tells me to park in the driveway and I do, happy to be able to get out and stretch my legs.

What happened next was one of the most exciting moments of my life as a mom. My daughter preceded to tell me that the home we were standing in front of was not her friends, but instead her own… they had bought a house!! It took a few seconds for it to sink in, but then I was so excited to see the entire house and really enjoy the moment!

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She then gave me a tour of their beautiful new home and I just couldn’t believe that one of my children had been able to reach a milestone in their life that I have yet to meet myself. My daughter and her husband are homeowners! I am still so in awe and just so very proud of their hard work and determination that has allowed them to keep reaching for the stars and achieving their dreams.

Now for graduation!!

What a day it was! Her husband, David, made us an early breakfast as we had to arrive at the event center an hour before the ceremony began. Thank goodness for technology, as we were able to text and Snap Chat with her leading up to moments before the ceremony began. This same technology also allowed me to stay in touch with her sisters as they were celebrating with their brother as he prepared for his own ceremony.

 

It is also with this wonderful technology that I was able to watch the live stream of my son’s graduation ceremony, 165 miles in the opposite direction. It worked perfectly, shortly after Carrie’s name was called and she received her diploma, her brother received his and I got to see them both! ❤ It was about this time that we left for lunch and Guy and his youngest sister got in his car to make the three hour drive to join us for my son-in-law’s ceremony.  They arrived just in time and we were able to watch as David received his diploma as well. Shortly after his name was called Carrie and I, along with her siblings, headed back to their new house to finish preparing for the reception and awaited the arrival of family and friends. Kayleigh was able to make it after returning to work for part of the afternoon and I was able to meet some of Carrie’s friends and co-workers.  I was even able to talk the graduates into putting on their caps and gowns for a group picture… making my momma heart smile.

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Jess and I would drive home so that we could head back east to help my son move into his new apartment. Our only cargo… the family cat (who will be 18 this July), who somewhere along the way adopted Guy as his human and their lives forever changed. He was in some of my son’s senior pictures four years ago and was noticeably sadder when Guy went away to college. They both cherished the times he was home and I knew all to well that the day would come when Gonzo would no longer live with me. He tolerated the trip quite well and was instantly thrilled when he saw his boy when we got out of the car! He wasn’t to sure about the apartment until we started moving in the boxes, many were from the basement and it was almost comical to watch him sniffing them and realizing all was well in his world. A boy and his cat reunited. ❤

 

This weekend was more than eventful… it was unforgettable, and I am so glad it went exactly the way that it did. With every worry that I had before it began, I can’t imagine it not happening just as it did. Which only reminds me of what the Bible tells us in Psalm 139; that He knows us from before our beginning, He knows what we will say or do… long before we do. He has already written our story, we just need to spend time with Him, listening to His direction and following where He leads us.

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So don’t let the worries of how a moment will or won’t happen keep you from really enjoying that moment, from cherishing the memory that it will become. Live in those moments, share them with the ones you love and hold on tight to each and everyone. Because life changes too quickly and you wouldn’t want to miss it along the way.

 

Until the next moment,

 

Find Your Zeal

I’ve been silent again. Too silent. Lost in a dark and lonely solitude of my own making. A silence that is not easily explained, or even identified for that matter. A silence that tonight was reawakened by one simple word. A word that in today’s world of instant this and immediate that, just isn’t spoken. A single word that could have only been placed on my heart and in my mind by the Spirit that lies deep within myself; the Spirit He placed with in me, within us all that believe.

ZEAL

What is zeal? Webster defines it as great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. Its synonyms include: passion, fire, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, and intensity. With antonyms that include apathy and indifference. In my silence, I had lost; correction, have lost my zeal.

So as I set in the quaint setting of an old barn tonight, sharing in fellowship, with a sisterhood of women who like myself, love the Lord; I was reminded, as perhaps some of them were, that my life was missing a vital piece of God’s armor; the Cloak of Zeal.

Many of us are familiar with the Armor of God. Ephesians 6 reminds us that this armor includes: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the word of God). Tonight it was also revealed to us that there is one more vital piece of armor that no soldier should take the battlefield without, the mysterious cloak of zeal.

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     To learn of this lesser know part of His armor, we must venture back to the Old Testament, to the book of Isaiah. Chapter 59, verse 17 states: He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. (NIV) The New Living Translations reads: and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.

Zeal. Passion.

     He wants us to wrap ourselves in this attribute, to be entirely protected by His armor, allowing the final piece, the cloak of zeal to cover all the other pieces, further protecting us from the enemy. We must remember to put on each piece of this armor, each morning as we prepare to face the day. Allowing us to be properly equipped to take on anything the enemy may bring our way.

The speaker asked us, what are you passionate about? I instantly thought about my desire to write, to share my thoughts and revelations. To share what He has done and continues to do in my life. My passion to share how with His love and direction, you can overcome anything. That with Christ in your life, you can accomplish anything that is a part of His will for you. I know that with His guidance, I have so much to say, so much to share… that my voice, directed by Him, just might have the ability to change a life.

I have previously shared brief glimpses into some of the darkness that was my former life, my life before I learned to trust Jesus Christ as my Savior; trusting Him to get me through the hardships that had been all to often placed before me. I have battled depression for decades and sometimes, even with the truth and understanding, and the hope He brings; the darkness can creep in and with it the silence that eventually engulfs me. It sneaks in slowly, quietly… sometimes I notice it, but it is just so comfortable, so familiar, that I don’t stop and think about it being harmful for me. Forgetting how much it will hinder the progress I have made in my growing relationship with the Son of the living God.

So here I am, smack dab in the middle of another bought of silence, brought on by the stress of life, the fear of the unknown, and simply listening to the enemy repeat the familiar old lies of why I will never be more than I am, why I will never succeed in my life. I know better, Christ has brought so much more to my life than I could have ever imagined. Yet, with life gets tough, when there are too many unknowns; it is all too easy to believe those old recordings, to look in the mirror and see who I used to be, instead who He has helped me to become. It’s difficult to have passion, to live with zeal, when your life seems to be nothing more than a black and white movie that lacks even the possibility of a remotely happy ending.

As I listened tonight, to our speaker, a woman whom I love and am blessed to call my friend, I was/am reminded that I am responsible for my own zeal. I am in control of what I am (or am not) passionate about in my life. If I want to be able to share what He has done in my life, I need to be spending time with Him,so that He can continue working in my life. I am disheartened to admit that my time with the Lord has been minimal. My time in His word, even less. I pray, occasionally, and the only time I open my bible is on Sunday morning as I sit with the rest of the congregation while our pastor leads us through His Word. Tonight I was gently reminded that this is not enough. Not even close. He needs and wants more from us, He deserves more from us. As our faith grows, we learn to call him friend, companion, even father. These names signify a relationship and we should be nurturing this relationship, allowing it to become stronger every day.

I can often find myself complaining about being tired or not having enough time to get certain things (like the dishes) done. Yet, I can stay up late, watching one more episode of my favorite show on Netflix, or playing a game on the computer. Or take my weekend off and spend it nearly motionless on my couch, instead of catching up on one of the many things that could be done. Most every morning I hit the snooze multiple times instead of simply getting out of the bed and hitting my knees and spending five or ten quiet minutes starting my day in prayer. Its a conscience choice, one that I have been making poorly for a few months now.

So, my zeal has been renewed. I once again have a fervent urging to find time, no, to make time to spend in prayer and more importantly in His word. Utilizing even the smallest of moments to help strengthen my faith, but better yet my relationship with Him, the One who never stops wooing me. And He doesn’t, He is always pursuing us, all of us, even when we stop pursuing Him.

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So I leave you with a few questions, including the question that was asked of me tonight… what are you passionate about? Are you lacking zeal? Do you take the time to arm yourself every day with the Armor of God? In closing I also encourage you to find that passion and give it to God… allow Him to direct you and how you can best serve Him with your passion. Go to Him in prayer, and in those quiet moments, be reminded of all He has, can and will do for you… if you only let Him.

 

Until the next moment,

 

 

 


iTeen

It’s hard to believe that in a little over two weeks my “baby” will be 13. Placing yet another teenager in my household once again! While her tween years rode alongside her siblings being teens themselves, some of her actions and behaviors have already settled into some of the normal teenage angst. For the most part she is a sweet girl, whom I love dearly. However, there are some days when I shudder (just a bit) at what lies ahead over the next six years or so. She has this sassiness about her that makes me want to lock her in her room with a half charged tablet and see what happens!

All kidding aside, I am learning to enjoy the simple way our lives have become having only one child at home. And as we enter a time where we will get busy again, I am thankful to be a mom, their mom and to be blessed with these four amazing and wonderful children God has given me to care for. I used to think I would miss the busyness that our lives once were and go stir crazy with “nothing” to do. Thankfully that has not been the case at all. As my last two kids have headed off to college, I look forward to getting to slow down a bit more and just relax… I have learned to cook for two a lot better than I thought I would. And I am doing a better job at sending care packages of goodies (sometimes homemade) to my younger two college students, than I have in the past. (Sorry Carrie :)) Most of all, I really do enjoy just being at home, watching my favorite show on Netflix or a maybe new movie. I have more time to read if I choose to do so, and I have built a pretty extensive library on my Kindle so that I can. It has also given me more time to work on my writing, or at least it will, when I have a computer that can be more user friendly on a regular basis.

God has really placed it on my heart in the last year or so to write my life story, especially my own tween/teen years; to put it all down in written form and share it with the world, or whoever would choose to or be led to read it. As I have mentioned before, I grew up in a lot of abuse and dysfunction, and while in later years, some of that dysfunction was self-inflicted, the beginning of the worst of the dysfunction I endured was most certainly not. In fact, it was living through and somehow surviving a lot of really horrific stuff, (which was only by the grace of God) that I adapted to the way I lived my life. Each event, even the undesirable ones, were a part of the path that He needed me to be on. He protected me in a lot of situations from what could have been far worse, although at the time I sure could not have seen how. It is in surviving such traumatic events and in doing so by God’s love and grace that I know I am supposed to share my story; to reach out to others that who like I was for so many years, are in similar pain, that secret pain they are too afraid to utter to another living soul.

So as I am preparing to celebrate my fourth and final teenager, I still mourn a little for my own lost teen years. I wonder what my life might have been like if not filled with all the pain and misery, with all the secrets that I felt forced to keep. I often wonder the different path(s) I might have taken, if I had spoken out sooner, or if the abuse had never occurred at all. Would I have been a better student? Would I have had gone straight to college after high school? Would I have learned how to have an appropriate relationship with a man? Would I have not turned to alcohol to numb my pain? Would I have… But then I stop and I am brought back to the realization that can only be from the Spirit Himself, that everything happened just as it was supposed to in my life. My story was/is already written, from beginning to end; including what has already happened to me and all that will in my future. I can’t change a thing, and today that is OK with me.

Early in the renewal of my relationship with Christ I read Job, a lot. I would read it over and over, associating myself to him and trying to gain his understanding of his suffering and finally being at a point in my life where I too, could accept my life as it was, all the bad as well as the good and to know and understand it was what God needed me to be a part of and experience at that point in time. I was finally able to understand and believe, that I wasn’t a bad person who was continuing to have bad things happen to me. I was just on the path intended for me by the One True Living God. Unlike Job, I could not say that I was faultless or without sin, but for the first time I was able to understand I wasn’t being punished for something I had done wrong. Nor would I magically be reward for my good deeds. I finally understood how all that worked, that it was/is only by the shedding His blood that I can have the comfort that is in my heart today. We are so unworthy of His Love and Grace, even at our best. Yet, He loves us unconditionally even when we are hormonal, sassy teens who don’t want to listen to anyone about how to live our lives. I have also associated myself to the prodigal son, because I did run away and leave my Father and lived my life in many ungodly ways. I then came to that point, when I knew I was in over my head with nothing good around me. So, eventually I listened to what I now know to be His Spirit and I came home. I was still a bit disgruntle, like any unruly teen, but I had surrounded myself with things that were better and people who knew Him and wanted to share who He was with me.

Luke 15:31 says; But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

I am so blessed to no longer be lost, to have been found again, by my loving and gracious Father. Even for those of us who walk away of our own accord, He never stops pursuing us, not even for a moment. He never stops loving us, and He worries for our well being every moment of every day we are away from Him. I am overjoyed that I don’t have to live apart from Him ever again, and I am looking forward to being with Him one day; wrapped in His loving arms, living with Him in eternity.

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Until the next moment,