“To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” ~ George Mueller

What a great quote for this weekend. Yes, I have seen many trials and I have learned FAITH can see you through any storm. This weekend marks the one year anniversary since my daughter “left home”. I have no idea really how to word it – did she run away?  Did she leave for a reason?  I know she got mad and instead of choosing to talk about it, and be open and honest with me, she left. Has she spoken to me yet?  No, but I did get one email in 12 months…wow, I’m enlightened ( not!! )  In turn, my entire family turned their back on me instead of talking…what I have learned however, is maybe this was all for the best. I have learned I tended to surround myself with toxic relationships. No one but my daughter and I are to blame for her leaving, although there were certain factors about my life I could have changed to prevent this all from happening… When my parents and I went to counseling a few months ago and my mom said “do you have any idea what we’ve been through with her” to my therapist it hit me – sometimes parents have issues they haven’t dealt with and even though you say you are a Christian and go to church, sometimes, you are not a true follower of Christ, therefore, you can’t let go of your own past hurts and those demons will soon consume you. I let my demons consume me for many years, and at times, they still creep in and if I let them, take over my head, sometimes an entire day…but I will not allow them to define me. I am worth so much more to my Father in heaven, then any earthly being could ever understand. I am not going to let anyone who doesn’t understand this new found worth destroy me…because it has certainly been used against me in the recent weeks. My happiness and peaceful heart isn’t out of the need to “rid” myself of bad things, it’s been used to truly find out who I am, who I want to be, and who I put my trust, who sees me for me and not what they want me to be. I used to always put my trust in earthly beings and felt if I was just “this much more good” or “this thin” or “this way” or “did this to please others” I would be happy. After Olivia left and my family distanced themselves and wouldn’t speak to me and I found myself (with the exception of a few moments where people were “there”) praying more, listening deeper to Christian songs, looking up the verses in the Bible where the songs came from and finding a deeper meaning to my hurt. I found that yes, I had been through some pretty traumatic events in my life, but I was still standing and reason is because GOD had me. And God continues to carry me. Yes, I am happier now at this moment than I believe I’ve ever been in my life. And even through this weekend was met with four bouts of crying, and reaching out to those who have truly walked along side me during this past year. The emails or texts back were full of encouragement, hope and verses from the Bible I have read several times, but continue to speak to my heart. Now, is it a good thing – and am I happy – that my daughter and I are separated and even though I continually reach out she chooses to ignore? NO, it’s a very sad, hurtful thing, but when she comes back will I say to her or anyone in the room “do you know what I have been through with her?” NO, I will simply wrap my arms around her and welcome her back into the place of my heart she belongs. Will I ever blame her for leaving and for the hurt she put me through? No, because if she is anything like me, she already knows what she has done has been extremely painful and it’s not my place to make her feel worse, it’s my place to make her feel loved. It’s what several people have done for me – no judging, no blaming, no condemnation, no words of making her feel worse for the wear, just love. It’s what we are all called to do…rest, reflect, repent, reconcile. I understand I played a part in her leaving, I understand I did things that hurt her, I understand I was not, and am not, and never will be a perfect mother. But am I forgiven by God, am I granted grace by God? Yes. It’s just too bad earthy being don’t fully grasp the grace God has given us. I think if we all understood this, the world would be a much happier place. Is it easy to extend grace? Not always…it’s it healthy for us to do? YES. And for those, who throw my “happiness” in my face and continue to repeat hurtful comments to me, you do have a place in my heart, you do have a place in my life, but you have to come to chapter of the book I am in to fully understand my life now. You are not some distant memory, you are not forgotten, but I cannot and will not continue to live my life in the past. I need my future, and my future will be one of hope, faith, encouragement, no judgment, no condemnation, and the extension of true grace. This is something that cannot be explained, it has to be experienced and I’m telling you, when you walk through the fire and know that God has you, you’ll understand… As for me, I’ll continue to remain hopeful, my daughter will be experience this same “AHA” moment I had earlier this spring/summer, and that she’ll see me as a parent, who though made mistakes, loves her child with all her heart, and I’ll continue to walk in faith, I will continue to pray for hearts to soften and for people to see me through the eyes of Christ and not their own eyes. For it’s only when we see people through Christ’s eyes we can fully extend forgiveness, grace and walk there with…I’ll make it through today, for I’m holding strong to faith that endures…Romans 5:1-5.

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