As I sit here, I look back on my life and all the times God has carried me when I didn’t want to go on, I am so thankful that I have his Word in my heart.
I recall as a child, who was a bit overweight compared to my peers, I was very self-conscious and so worried I wouldn’t fit in. I was the same height in the 6th grade that I am now at the age of 51 (5’11”) and I felt like a giant in more than one way. There were those people who called me names and made me feel as if I wasn’t good enough. Those words stung for a long time. I would put on a happy face, but I was dying inside. I wanted to be loved and accepted for me-not the mold that people of the world wanted me to be.
Than I came to know Jesus and I realized that I was perfect just the way I was. He loved me. He created me. In His image. Jesus became my rock that I clung to when days seemed unfair.I was lucky to know other people who believed in Jesus and new friendships were formed.I learned that beauty comes from within, not our outward appearance. Beauty is treating others with compassion and kindness, not tearing one another apart.
I volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician for over 10 years because I felt complete when I was able to help another person. Oh sure, the adrenaline rush was great, rushing to a scene and not knowing what you would find, but calls where people would thank you and appreciate you; those were growing moments in my life. We couldn’t help all the people who called upon us, but the skills and experience honed over the years led me to know that most people are the same. We all want to be needed and loved.
Being part of community – the life squad – where relationships were built and friendships formed shaped me into the person I knew God wanted me to be. To continue to share the love of Jesus with others, speaking silent prayers over them and asking God to guide me as I cared for them in the short period they were my patient. Many patients I came to know, as we lived in a small community and I felt, the small part I played, made a difference in their lives and they in turn touched mine.
When the time came, to start a family, I knew I could not devote the kind of time and dedication I had once done, so I resigned and moved on with my life. Those 10 years were some of the best times of my lives. Seeing how people come together to help people in need, regardless of their own safety in doing so (in some cases). Human emotions were raw and unfiltered. I saw people at their worst and best, myself included.
In September of 1993, the 8th to be exact we miscarried with our first daughter. We think of Jesse often and know someday we will see her in Heaven. Sadness, overtook me. There was no rhyme or reason why this happened, I remember when we heard the heartbeat, I was so ecstatic and a short 12 weeks later, we were entering a period of grief that has never stopped. Days are easier now, because life goes on. I could choose to stay stuck in that sorrowful moment, or tuck it safe in my heart and only let the memory come when I wanted to share it with other, in hopes they would know we all go through struggles and within those struggles we learn to comfort others.
I was blessed with two stepdaughters,Krissy and Erin, when Mike and I married. They tested me, fought with me and tried everything to overrun me. It took time for them to accept me. And that was okay.Their family had been torn apart when their parents had divorced and their father had married me. I am happy to say that after all of that, I loved them as my own daughter and they treat me with the same love and respect they show their own mother.
They have blessed our family with a total of three grandchildren, two boys-Alex and Austin and our only granddaughter, Megan.
God is the author and perfector of miracles and on September 8, 1994, our daughter Katlyn entered the world and blessed our lives! The joy I felt that day, overcame the sorrow that I had experienced, a year earlier to the exact day. She was perfect. Her head appeared to be cone-shaped, due to the extremely long strenuous labor, she had bruising on her face, but in my eyes, she was perfect! Fast forward to May 14, 1996 and the Lord blessed us with our son, Michael. He was so tiny, but also perfect!
Raising the children, I was scared I would do something wrong, I wouldn’t be good enough. Advice came from all sides, well-meaning advice. I’ve learned over the last 21 years that the only people who really know our children and understand them and know what’s best for them is my husband and I. We can pretend to assume we understand what another parent is going through, but every one is created uniquely with their own personalities, characteristics and souls.
Marriage takes hard work on the part of both people. One person cannot do everything and the other one just skate by. It doesn’t work. I never thought I would be the person to say that I had been divorced twice and married three times. EVER. Or that it would be to the same person. And I have learned to stop using the word NEVER AGAIN, because no matter what my plans were, God’s plans always win out. For my husband and I, we have found we must keep God at the center of our lives. We pray and ask guidance on every decision we are faced with making. We put Jesus first. He holds us up with his mercy and grace, when life throws punches at you and you just want to sink into despair.
We’ve experienced homelessness, joblessness, an empty pantry and a million other moments that others face. We learned the hard way that life isn’t fair and life is what you make it. We have fallen many times, cried out to the Lord and watched him do a work in us and the way we view life and others. God’s mercies are new every morning and we do well to remember that with one another.
In honoring and worshiping God, we do our best to extend love and mercy with and to others. Even those in our own families. We could never do it in our own strength, only the strength that comes from Jesus. His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.
Two years ago, God blessed our family again with our grandson Tyson. He is a sweet lovable child, that oohs and aahs at the simple things. A dog passing by on the sidewalk, cute little videos of kittens and children.Stacking blocks and watching them tumble when he pushes them over.
And now, our journey takes us forward learning to care for someone with Alzheimer’s and Autism. The old cliché, you can’t teach and old dog new tricks is not true. Thank goodness for that. We have learned to take one moment at a time, as that is all we are promised, we read, we reach out to others going through similar situations and yes, we pray and ask God to give us clarity and wisdom to help those we love that are struggling to make sense of the world they are living in now.
Not one of us know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future. His name is Jesus Christ. I thank him daily for the blessings he gives me and my family. I love him with an everlasting love that a child has for their father.
In every journey, there are many twists and turns, steep hills to climb and valleys to traverse. The way we respond to the many curves that face us on those journeys determines how well we will persevere when the struggles seem never-ending. When we fall, will we dust ourselves off and pick ourselves up or we will sink into the abyss of depression. Every step that is taken, requires making a choice. Choices determine destination. Seek God in prayer and he will ease your burdens and carry your load, if you let him.
May the journey ahead of you be calm and when the storm’s approach, may you always remember you have a Father and Savior that will be there to carry you when you don’t feel like you can take just one more step.
May you know how much Jesus Loves you today!