Archives for category: daughter

Have you ever seen the sign for a one-way street? Ever wondered what it would be like if you only took one-way streets and never a two-way? I have learned over the past 18 months, a lot of people only travel one-way streets. Some people travel two way streets and thank God for this because my daughter called!!! Yes, folks, that’s right, the Prodigal Daughter has returned and I keep driving to her and her to me! (A two-way street!)

It’s been a whirlwind of activity, stress, love, stress, new beginnings, stress and learning who my daughter is again! She’s great…she’s really great and I have learned not all told to me was exactly accurate, but that’s okay. Like I told her, communicating through others is NOT a relationship, only face to face and phone connections will heal us – and it is healing, and growing, and it’s wonderful. It’s a two-way street!

Her weddings plans at the church she was attending fell through, so my husband and I scrambled to find a venue, food, photographer, etc., and it was truly a beautiful event. The kids as my husband to perform the ceremony, and while hesitant at first, he accepted and truly made the day special, memorable and I read what he wrote often – not only to remind Olivia during difficult marital situations, but to remind myself of what a wonderful, Christian, loving man I have in my life.

But I digress and get off the subject of streets…there is so much to convey, relay, and rejoice about right now, and I have no clue where to begin, but I feel the one-way/two-way street is a beginning. It brought joy to my heart to hear Olivia had been following my blog and so she knew how I was feeling for some time. It would have been nice, I’ve told her, if she would have clued me in at all, so I could know what was on her mind, but we have the rest of my life to explore her thoughts and feelings. I have been told people read my bog and ask Olivia to interpret my feelings. That’s a one-way street – call ME if you want to know how I feel – my child cannot answer for me, as I cannot answer for her, but whatever, like I said, some cars only travel one-way streets.

I have been informed the book I gave my parents to read at our counseling session, that completely changed my life, was given to someone at their church to read and interpret for them. So much for my parents asking me why the book changed my life – how it changed my life – what I learned from reading it – how it grew me, saved me, comforted me. The man who read it doesn’t even know me, nor has he called to ask how, what, why, when about the book…again, there is a perfect example of a one-way street.

So, in the weeks leading to the wedding, we had many small side streets to travel, traffic lights that were only red and highways leading to nowhere – venue, food, photographers and several people dropped out of the wedding for their “Christian” values and morals. My husband and I kept telling the kids, “where is grace?” and explaining to them what we meant by grace. Olivia had some relatives that were supposed to participate in the wedding, but due to my attendance and participation, they dropped out of their duties and/or threatened not to come. My response was the same over and over again. “Olivia, I can, not attend your wedding if it is easier and less stressful to you and Nick”. Her response was the same x 100 “Mom, I want you there, if other people don’t want to come because of you, that’s their problem”. And so, we, not only hosted a wedding, but rejoiced in the union of Olivia and Nick. What gets me the most is the comment someone made to Olivia in the days before the wedding that went something to the effect of “your mom abandoned you and the entire family, it’ll be awkward to be with her”. SERIOUSLY? Thank you Olivia for setting THAT statement straight. I’m glad she had the guts to inform this person that she left me and that I was specifically told “not to contact anyone” in that particular person’s family.

Yes, I was completely overwhelmed the week of the wedding, but my husband I prayed every morning and every night and I had my family in Christ praying for us, the kids and the entire situation, and because of these prayers I knew, the day would be what the kids wanted it to be.

The day before the wedding, we didn’t have the bride, we had the groom and it was completely awesome. The morning of the wedding, my husband fixed him breakfast, we gave him a card, and were able to pray with him. As we were driving to the venue, I wondered how my daughter was feeling, and if she was nervous, we texted a bit, and when I arrived at the venue and found her, she was snippy, grumpy, jittery and looked at me and said “blah, blah, blah – just HUG me” and so I did.

My husband and I prayed the morning of the wedding the day would be exactly what the kids wanted it to be and I feel they did receive the wedding they wanted because at 9:15 p.m. on their wedding night they called from their hotel just to say “thank you” for their day. Of course, that made me cry because you want your daughter to have a beautiful wedding and I believe she did! And for gaining a son, I believe we gave him the best day possible too!

So, of course, at her wedding, I had to approach people first, of course no one would take a step towards me – some family members only gave me “the glare” (there’s the old one-way street again) and really, it’s fine. These people didn’t communicate one bit when Olivia was gone, so why worry with them now? The only people I cared about seeing were my parents, I said my “hi’s”, introduced my husband, and that’s that. I requested my table be set aside from others (mainly for their comfort, not mine), and Olivia agreed and we picked out my “family table” the night of rehearsal. I was surrounded by those who have walked with me through the darkest of times, rejoiced with me during my happy times, and it was such a joy to celebrate my daughter’s return and wedding with them – a beginning of new life for all of us…these people haven’t left my side through the good, the bad and the ugly. They do not judge, condemn, ignore, give books to others to read, question my motives, my sanity, or sit around and analyze me. They love, extend grace, show Christian love and help grow me. A beautiful, two-way street.

In the weeks since the wedding, the kids have been un-friended on Facebook (is this really a big deal, I think not…but…it still hurts at times…and fuels their anger), given ultimatums, been ignored, judged, and have shared their experiences over the past 18 months. It’s been stressful, relieving, insightful, sad, hurtful for them, and it’s hard to see them struggle with my past mistakes, their mistakes, being condemned for talking and forming a new relationship with me, and completely ignored by some. It’s good to know people sat around and discussed my mental state, my thoughts, my feelings, my mistakes, judged me, condemned me, discussed what type of counseling I needed and came to conclusions about my life, my life experiences, and how those experiences shaped me without asking me to participate. (You see the one-way street here?)

Am I surprised at any of this? Nope.
Am I shocked? Not really.
Am I hurt? Of course.
Does it really matter? Not in the way you would think.

The past 18 months have shown me who really cares and who will be there when the lights on the street turn dark. I’ve told the kids – don’t just keep those around who ride with you when you are happy and driving the freeway full of joy and no cares – remember the ones who traveled with you in the dark, dank, scary streets – those are the people who will cross every bridge with you.

Life isn’t perfect – I still have a bit of fear I will offend one of the kids and they will never be heard from again – but I have an understanding with myself – and it was given to me by God and that is this: God didn’t promise life would be perfect, He promised to walk with me through the storms – He promises to hold my hand and help guide my thoughts, words, and actions if I fully rely on Him. And, my husband tells me God has me first, he has me second, he has the kids third, so with that, and prayer – where can I go wrong?

So, I put my trust in those thoughts totally. I may offend the kids, (unintentionally – of course), I may make another mistake – but if I do, and they come to me and let me know, I can either fix it, apologize or both. Being in Christ isn’t a Sunday thing, not a volunteer here and there thing, a pick up my Bible and give it glance or two thing, it’s a daily thing, and knowing HE has me, and I have Him – well, that’s a two-way street with no exit ramp!

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Recently I found out a member of my earthly family had a medical issue. So, my heart encouraged me to sen a small note of encouragement if you will. Granted this person had sent me a text on Christmas morning 2014 and told me to never contact her again, but please, I wanted her to know if she died, I at least cared and would pray.

That’s who I am ~ I love you even when you show me hate.

And speaking of communication, why is it so hard for people to ask you what’s on your heart? What’s in your mind? I went through a period of time where I didn’t talk too much I kept a lot of things bottled up inside, and then I started talking (in therapy) about life, decisions, experiences, expectations and now, at times you can’t shut me up. When I joined the Table Group I now co-lead last January, I talked even more because these people were Christian and listened and gave advice and lead me to scripture that helped heal…

I find it funny people I am acquainted with call others to find out what I’m doing, how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life. Did I suddenly start speaking a foreign language when we talk? I also love how you tell someone something about you and they have to “check up” on you to verify the information. Really? Why ask me about my life then – go find your own “expert” on my life? But remember, you shut down communication, not me.

And speaking of communication, how many does it take to communicate? I always believed two. I talk, you listen, you talk, I listen – funny how it works that way, huh? I find if I don’t understand something I ask or repeat back to you. Is this “old fashioned”? Outdated?

I also have a hard time when communication is handled like this “you tell me about your life I will verify with my sources to make sure what you feel about your life and what’s going on in your life is correct.” I recently had a “friend” who called and stated “since my rich new husband paid off my car, where is her money for this, that or something else”. Well actually, my car isn’t paid off, it’s refinanced and would you like a copy of those papers? No, you don’t want a copy of the papers? You don’t want to speak to my husband? Why not? Afraid to hear the truth? Well, then don’t accuse me of something you know nothing about.

I also recently had a friend who told me I need to let my parents treat me however they want and talk to me however they want because they are old. Did you also call them and tell them to accept me for me and see how my life has changed? No? Then don’t ask me to do something you haven’t asked them to do.

I get told a lot I need to call my parents and ask them questions. Yeah, I tried that. I found they didn’t want to be honest and open, and I cannot deal with secrets anymore. Too many secrets for too long. Now that I’ve been revealed and God has had my life laid at His feet, forgiven me, renewed me, I have no desire to “hide”.

All this leads me to thinking about past decisions I have made and what do I regret? I don’t know if regret is really the right word, there are certainly decisions I would change that could change the course of my current situation. Like, I wouldn’t have married the second time. There were certainly red flags everywhere, but I ignored them in search of something I didn’t quite understand myself. I would move to the town my daughter graduated from high school, but I wouldn’t have bought a house…renting would be good enough. I would still get my two dogs, and my daughter’s cat, but that would be it. I definitely wouldn’t have asked anyone to move in with us to help share expenses and life ~ that decision right there could change how my life is now.

There are so many issues, decisions and regrets my heart has healed from and it would be wonderful to tell my story to my family and have them hear how God has completely changed my life. I would share what I’ve learned from the Bible and how that opened my eyes to things I never knew. Of course, I gave them the book that changed my life and my mom told me she doesn’t like to read. If my dad read it, I would never know. He obviously doesn’t have the ability to dial a telephone or write a note and let me know. How said is that?

If I could communicate with some, I would share how my daughter walking out of my life changed my heart and opened my eyes to even more things I wasn’t seeing clearly. I would share how the church’s Freeway series showed me I was worth God’s love, mercy and grace – something I never felt or understood before. But, you can’t communicate with people who want to keep you in the past and who don’t want to hear how your life and heart has changed, what God did for you, and how you plan to move forward with your life. You just can’t.

And to me, it’s funny how these same people want to tell you how people in their own lives or churches have been changed through the power of prayer and/or God, but don’t want to hear about how their own family members have been changed. What’s with that? I would think the people you’d be most happy about having a significant life change and “AHA” God moments are your family!

You also cannot communicate with people who only want to determine what your life is about by talking to other people about your life. Whenever I want to know something, I go straight to that person and say, “Hey, how’s it going”, “what’s going on with you?” Doesn’t seem that hard does it?

Or, like with my earthy father’s best friend died and I sent a note saying, “I heard about your friend, sorry for you loss, hope you can keep his memory alive by making the crosses and boxes”, just like the family member who is having a heart procedure soon and I sent her a note stating “I was very sorry to hear about your recent health issues – I’m sure it’s been a little scary…my husband, in-laws and I will be praying for you and your recovery. From what I understand it should only be about a week to ten days before you’re up and running again! Good luck! Thoughts and prayers!!”

That was almost two weeks ago, and still no reply from that either – and people still want to tell me how I should handle everyone and that I should keep doing more and more and more and keep putting myself out there to be rejected and stomped on – I’m thinking God doesn’t want me to continue to be beat down – at least that’s what the New International Version of the Bible I read says… I come back to my all time favorite verses:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

ROMANS 5:1-11 NIV

So, my heart has taken a few twists and turns over the past year, and all for the good. All for the better and in so many ways, it has healed, but it’s still cracked from not having my child in my life and I am discovering it is a wound that will never heal. I’m glad my parents can be without me and not reach out, not send a note, a card, make a phone call and their hearts are fine – I have a hard time believing those people who say they miss me because their actions definitely say another, I’m glad my sister can not talk to me and her heart is great! I’m glad certain “friends” can find peace in talking to ex-friends and neighbors about my life and gossip about me, and they find comfort in their “truth”.

In the healing of hearts, I find myself amazed at people who tell me I’m doing great, I’ve come a long way, I have held my own during the darkest time of my life. And when asked what I wish my family would do, I find myself coming back again and again and again to the story of the prodigal son. Specifically, I was asked recently what will I say to Olivia if she ever calls – my answer was simple, the same thing I wish my parents would have said to me, the same thing the father of the Prodigal Son said to him, the same thing I know my Father in heaven says to me on a daily basis:

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:20-24

This father didn’t say “let me tell you every way you hurt me” he didn’t say “do you know what you put me through?” He didn’t say “do you know how wrong you were!” He opened his arms, hugged his child and said “welcome home”.

It’s funny how God does close doors of communication, but opens ones of full honesty, disclosure and acceptance. And, its amazing how this heals your life. I’m living proof. That seems to be my theme song “I’m living proof” and I am. I am proof a person can be so broken and God heals. I’m living proof that you can be scared and shamed by things in your life and God heals. I’m living proof when you surrond yourself with people who truly walk with Christ, you are enveloped in mercy and grace.

Yes, I am living proof of abuse, shame, bad decisions (a lot of good ones too!), trying hard to live as Christ would want you too and never quite getting it right. I’m so glad Christ came to walk amoung the sick, the wounded, the sinful – if he only came to walk with the just, healthy and righteous where would any of us be?

So, I do daily checks on my heart ~ is there anything I need to evaluate, anyone I need to talk too? I think about how I communicate and wonder have I left any stone unturned? Does my daughter know how I feel? Have I made myself clear to her that I love her and expect nothing from her? How many unanswered emails do I have to send before I give up? Have I fully rested, reflected, repented and done my best to reconcile? Do I feel the need to constantly put myself in the path of those who don’t love as Christ loves and to be berated, belittled and be the only one who takes responsility for actions? Is the weight of the entire world and every mistake ever made in every relationship my fault?

Those are heavy questions – and, for the longest time, I would answer “YES” to all of them. Now that I know Christ, and what He asks us each to do, I can say,

-Yes there are people I need to speak too (Olivia, Nick???)
-No I haven’t left any stone unturned. I will keep turning stones until Olivia is back.
-Yes, Olivia should have a clear picture of the fact that I just want a relationship with her, I expect nothing, and that I am sorry for WHATEVER I have done to cause her heart to hate.
-I’ll send a gazillon emails before I give up.
-Yes, I have done the Four R’s.
-No I do not feel the need to put myself in the path of anyone who feels the need to berate, belittle and not take responsibility for their actions.
-No, the weight of the world and every mistake ever made is certainly not my fault.

It took a long time to realize these things and to come with terms with the fact that I am loved so dearly and deeply by God. It took a shorter amount of time to realize when you surround yourself with those who walk with Christ, you’ll be able to accept the love and grace showered upon you ~ God gave me a great gift when my heart opened and I heard the truth spoken and I saw the love coming down.

So, I’ll leave you with these thoughts…

Check your heart – how’s it beating? Is there someone you need to call? Someone you need to write? Someone you need to talk to because you’ve only listened to gossip? Someone you’ve gossiped about that you may need to apologize too? Someone you may have spoken harshly too and maybe you should ask forgiveness of? Hebrews 8:12 says: For I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more.

Do a heart check people. Forgive, make that call. It may change the life of someone else, but better yet, it may change yours…

“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.

As I sit to write tonight, I have no title.  I really have no words to even explain what’s in my heart, so I am going to shoot from the hip here…so bear with me…I have been trying to rebuild a relationship with my parents and thought we were making progress, but then, this past Tuesday, I received a call, from a friend, whose friend called her to let her know a small incident that happened at the hair salon.  Seems my mom was getting her  hair done the same time as my friend’s friend, who obviously knew that was my mom because she knew of her.  Seems my mom was speaking ill of me and stating what a horrible person I was…in public, with other people around…at a hair salon.  I guess the lady who does my friend’s friend’s hair, knew more about me and my life then she cared to know.  This happened less than 2 weeks ago.  How can that be?

Then I got to thinking about my friend who called me to tell me all this and the love I have in my heart for her.  She would never lie to me, she would  never intentionally do a thing to hurt me.  Yet, when I asked for things to change in our relationship, she could not love me enough to do so.

Which brought me to thinking about my family again.  How can you call yourself a Christian, and say to my face you love me, yet turn your back against me.

Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion, humans are incapable of real love.  Not if you are not IN Christ at all times.  It’s something I’ve learned over the past year – to truly love, to truly forgive, to truly BE you have to have Christ in your life.  Now, I’m not saying, I’m always this perfect person, but I’ve been completely honest with my feelings on a lot of issues, how I feel about certain things, and what I am capable of as a human.

I’ve told my parents I want the past in the past and I want us all to move forward in Christ, they say that’s what they want too, yet less than two weeks ago they are at a hair salon talking about how horrible I am?  What’s with that?  My friend was even upset because she doesn’t believe the feelings I had at a time in the past for her were real and true.  I just said them to say them?  No, I meant every word of them, but like my relationship with my parents, my life has changed drastically in a years time.  I’ve grown, I’ve changed.  I’ve realized what’s holding me together 24/7. I have to respect that…and more than any human, it’s been God holding me together.  It’s been prayer.  It’s been a true reflection on God and all HE has done for me to get me HERE.  And as I thought about all this and how hard it is to explain to people, I decided to take time and do the four R’s.

What are the four R’s?  Its what my daughter’s college age pastor told me to when she left…rest, reflect, repent and reconcile.  Here’s what I’ve learned about that…I can rest and think about all I’ve done wrong, and I can beat myself up for it, and I can be sad, think horrible things about myself.  I can say I’m sorry for all the hurts I’ve caused and then I can try to reconcile relationships.  Which is what I’ve been trying to do for almost an entire year now!  What I’ve learned about reconciliation is it cannot happen unless BOTH parties in a relationship are willing to admit hurts, apologize for them, and get out of the hurt and move forward. So I spent a few hours crying and beating myself up for all the hurt again, and thought about what I’ve even done over the past 8 weeks and did what every person does in times of need…I emailed my DC Chicks and asked for prayer…what I got in return was prayer, phone calls, cyber hugs, and reassurance I am okay – I am on the right path – I am learning to let my heart beat again, I am saying good bye to where I’ve been, I’m looking at my shattered life that’s in about 1000 pieces on the floor, I’ve been on my knees again asking God to give me the strength to give up my family, my loves, my hurts, to help me realize I don’t live in the past, I live in the NOW – I have a future, I have plans, I have to take one step at a time out of darkness – putting “band aides” on my scars yet looking at them and appreciating them for what they are…failures, where I’ve used to be – and that was not a good place, it was a place where I lived for everyone else and didn’t do a very good job of it, it was where I was dishonest with myself and tried to be what everyone else wanted and wasn’t true to me.  It was living but not breathing…it’s hard to explain this to anyone who doesn’t realize the childhood I had, the marriages I’ve survived, the deep pain that existed in my heart.  Yesterday is a closed door and I do not live there anymore, and I have to remember first and foremost I’m God’s child – He loves me, this is the season He decided to give His ONLY SON to have a relationship with me.  To have me in His love and embrace.  My heart is beating…but every now and again, I get pulled into yesterday and want to live in the hurt – but I have to say good bye to the hurt.  When you hurt, you hurt others, and I don’t want to be the person who hurts others…I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t let others live to their full potential and get all the wonderful things in life they deserve.  So not only do I want my heart to breathe, I want theirs to breathe too…and I think sometimes that means you give up what you love, because by loving it, you cause it more pain.  Maybe this makes sense, maybe it doesn’t.

So sometimes, when I let myself open doors I should leave closed, I live in the hurt, I see the pieces on the floor, and realize I’m shattered and I’ve shattered others…I realize I can’t put anyone else together unless I put myself together first.  And I’m doing that.  I’m leaving darkness and I’m reaching for the Son…and for those I’ve hurt, for those who I’ve shattered, for those who can’t see my heart today, I am sorry, I hope you heal, I hope you find your peace, I hope you know my heart beats a little for you every day with hope, faith and longing for a time of reconciliation and healing…I hope someday your heart will also beat again…and I guess that’s what this title should be…heartbeats….

Romans 5:1-5

 

Here we are, another year has come and gone, and even during the midst of a great stormy year, I have abundant blessings…had you asked me a year ago, if my life would change this much, I would have sad no, and would have said I was perfectly happy in my current state, but Olivia leaving and pushing me closer to God and out of my comfort zone has been the greatest blessing of all.  I found my voice, my heart, my purpose, and my life over the past year and for that, I am very thankful.

I have joined two groups at church and grew more in the past year than I have in the 47 years God has given me on this earth.  I am happier, have the ability to be more open and honest with my self and others, and have learned to lay all my secrets, shame, despair, and joy at the foot of the cross and move forward with life.

I have said goodbye to past hurts, let go of what I cannot change, and learned I am worthy of much more respect, compassion and love than I have ever let in and I am thoroughly ready to experience it full force.

I have talked about my first ex husband, abuse I suffered as a child, and learned others have walked the same path.  The stories may be different, but the outcome is the same – feelings of being unworthy and shamed – feelings of letting your spouse, your family and more important, God down.  I have learned there are other women and men out there who have suffered at the hands of loved ones, strangers, and the greatest enemy of all – ourselves.

I have learned it’s okay to have a prodigal child.  We are not given a handbook at the birth of our children and told how to deal with every situation in the perfect manner so as to not hurt our children with baggage from our pasts, and stressful situations we find ourselves in.  This knowledge, has helped me forgive my own parents for what I feel are their “mistakes” and move forward to only want to love them and spend whatever time they have on earth enjoying their presence if I can.

I have learned I do not have to stay in relationships that are “stuck” in what was and what could be – and be the only person working towards a goal of good communication, respect and commitment to a better future.

I have learned it is okay to stand up for myself and state what I do and do not like about my life.  I am within my rights as a human being to have my own opinions, thoughts, and wishes for my life.  I do not have to live for everyone else, I can live for me.

I have learned it’s okay to be a “Jesus freak” as I have recently been called.  He carried me through this past year and never left my side.  He spoke to me through friends and family and told me “I have you” and when I asked, He gave me answers to some of life’s toughest questions and gave me the strength to deal with the pain, the tears, and reconciled my heart to know “it’s okay to not be okay” at times.

I have learned when you are walking with those who truly love you, your pain becomes their pain, and in times of deepest sorrow, your pain is carried – by them – and when you are healing – you are able to help carry the pain of others.

I have learned there are people who will stick up for you when you are attacked and will fight for your dignity and honor.

I have learned sometimes people truly are put in your life for a season and it’s okay to let them go when the season has ended, wish them well, pray for their happiness and know you served a purpose for them too.

I have learned God doesn’t promise us life will be easy, He promises us when everything around us is falling, we are held.

I have been blessed, as I stated earlier, with several new friends and am enjoying celebrating their blessings – new babies, IVF treatments, job successes, pregnancies – the list is long and joyous.

I have been blessed with love – love from people I never imagined possible.  Love from the past, love with hope for a wonderful future, love with no conditions, no boundaries, no expectations or limitations, full of respect, compassion  – love as Christ intended love to be…

So as I face this thanksgiving season without my daughter, I have a lot to be thankful for – and I am so humbled and overwhelmed.  I will miss her face, her hugs and will miss watching Christmas Vacation after eating our Thanksgiving meal, but that is short-term – if I look to my blessings, I have a wonderful employer and his wife (my friend) who I will be spending the day with, I have love in my heart, I have a new house waiting for me to make it my home, I have friends who love me for me, and see Him in me, I have two dogs who touch my heart with their wagging tails, does the list end?  No, because in Christ  I have a brand new life waiting for me to embrace it – and I couldn’t be happier to have a peaceful heart, a humbled spirit, and a renewing of my life.  Blessings my friends…Romans 5:1-5…

Love really is a beautiful thing is not not?  And real, true love, isn’t that even better?  I just finished reading Chip Ingram’s Five Love Languages and certainly have a better understanding of myself now.  I am definitely an acts of service and words of affirmation kind of girl.  I didn’t realize this a few years ago, but this past year has been all about self-discovery.  My life hasn’t been ideal for a while, but over the past six months, I’ve definitely reached out, learned, explored and have a truly better understanding of myself and what I want out of life.

Oh, yes, I’ve been accused of several different things over the past few weeks, but as my counselor and I talked, those who can’t see me for me, are dealing with their own pain and and their own “junk” and if they blame me for their wrongs, well, then, that makes them feel better and I can live with that for I used to do the same thing – blame others for my shortcomings and the things that were wrong in my life, it helps short term and certainly allows you to be angry about things, but in the end, is being angry and blaming others really the way to go?  I would say not, but as a former angry blamer, I’ll allow the hurt to come my way.

As I said recently, I was told that I need to “suffer like Jesus did on the cross” for my sins and past transgressions.  That sentence made me realize I was dealing with people who want to stay in the past, want to dwell on my mistakes, my sins, my failures, okay, you stay there, as for me, I’m moving forward.  I’m letting go, I’m moving towards a better, positive beginning.

I’m in my own personal battle now, a fight to get my daughter back, a quest to make her life and mine better than it’s ever been and it started with me finally taking care of me.  It all started with me realizing first and foremost I am Child of the One True King and He loves me for me, and He will do anything to keep me in His life, including forgiving my sins and allowing me to move forward with my life.  In that quest, I have tried to let go of some relationships that I felt were dragging me down.  Evidently, they were because for the past two weeks, I have found myself sleeping sounder, losing more weight and feeling lighter in every aspect of my life.  I am laughing more, crying less and the people have told me I am glowing.  Now, knowing for sure I am not expecting a baby, and that’s what people usually say about expectant mothers, I am happy about this statement because I know I am truly happy.

I’ve also been accused of “ignoring”.  It really wasn’t an intentional ignore, it just sort of happened.  I realized if I reached out and talked, I would be drug into the same hole of blaming me for what went wrong, for moving forward, and for changing.  Okay, I realize it all, but I had to for me.  While I want to talk, and while I realize I need to listen to the “closure” some people need, it won’t change who I am now.  I can’t allow it to change me.  You see, all the relationships I have let go of were bad for me.  I was searching, loving, hoping, and resting in things that will never change – I was living in the past, and holding on to love in hope I would get something back, but then I realized, the love once there, wasn’t there anymore.  My expectations were too high and my need for “something more” was too expensive.  The price of the new me meant others hand to change and grow with me.  Others have to let go of their own “junk” and rest in the knowledge that we are all seeking for love that’s unobtainable here on earth – not if we continue to pursue love with those who are not found in Christ.  Only through Christ and learning what love, forgiveness, patience, faith, mercy and grace are – can we truly love.

And YES i realize all this sounds like I am Jesus Freak – and that’s okay, you can call me that.  I am not ashamed that I finally found what it was I was looking for – true forgiveness, grace, mercy and love that can ONLY be found in Him – no one on earth can grant that, and I finally realize that now – I was wishing for things on earth, that cannot be found here…I have found new friends who know about me and chose not to judge me, or persecute me.  They have taken me in, washed my sins away and shown me compassion, love and acceptance.  All the things everyone else says they do, but if they truly did, when I say the “past is the past and it needs to stay there and we need to move forward” they would say, yes, I agree, let’s move forward in the grace God grants us all…let me grow and change with you so our lives can be better and greater than they ever have been before.

I’ve been told people of my past love me and would do anything of me.  It’s funny, where were those people over the past 47 weeks?  Did they check on me weekly?  Did they ever call and say, Hey, I was thinking about you, let’s do lunch.  Let’s get coffee…let’s pray…nope, not a one, but I have found my new circle of friends and I support each other through prayer, texts, emails, and phone calls.  What’s a phone call you say?  It’s this thing were you call and speak to someone, and then if needed, you can pray at the end in support of that person’s life.

So, here I am on my quest to get Olivia back and to let her know that I love her, I accept her for her journey, I want to be a part of her life, a want to love her with this new found love that I know I can truly extend – no questions, no fear, no holding back.  But of course, this may not happen until she is out of the home she is living in now.  The people she is with now, well, they want to live in the past, they want to put me on the cross every time I talk to them, and that I just can’t do.  Jesus already died for my sins and paid my debt, it’s my job now to ask forgiveness, and move forward.  This is another group I have to let go of, I can’t allow myself to continue to be verbally beat up, because people can’t move forward…

I miss Olivia every day, I pray for her and her fiancé and I hope some day she will see me for me, and realize I am not the same mom she left.  I am stronger, more patient, more forgiving, less willing to let anyone walk all over me, ready to move forward in a life with Christ.

So here I sit, in my new home, looking across the woods – watching my friend outside with her kids – doing yard work, her husband on the riding lawn mower, dogs playing together – leaves falling from the trees and I am hoping and praying Olivia can hear my heart – I am hoping she can feel my prayers – I am keeping the faith she senses the love coming through the universe and whispering to her heart that I love her, I need her, I long to be with her…

What is every mom’s dream for their daughter? What day does every mom look forward to with a taste that is bittersweet with their daughter?  You’re right, the wedding day…since the day my daughter was born I have been looking forward to the night she comes home to tell me she’s engaged, planning an engagement party, a bridal shower, shopping for wedding stuff, shoppping for her dress, flowers, invitations, and then the day I get to tell my daughter she looks incredibly beautiful and I am so proud of the wonderful woman she has become and how I wish her and her new husband all the best…I was looking forward to seeing his face as she walked down the isle….

It was recently brought to my attention my one and only child is getting married, October 3, 2015 to be exact and I will not be able to attend obviously since it has been 32 weeks now since I have seen or heard from her  I will not be able to enjoy any of the mother/daughter bridal stuff that is so incredibly precious.

My heart is broke in so many pieces at this time, I have no idea how to put it back together.

I’m assuming my parents will assume the role I had been looking forward too…I cannot even express how this makes me feel.

All the times we watched “Father of the Bride” together…I will cherish those memories…

So, they have registered and are picking out kitchen items, bathroom towels, a toaster, lamps…I so looked foward to this day and the excitement to be enjoyed because my daughter had found her perfect match.

I would have gushed over her ring and been so happy to congratulate my future son-in-law and welcome him to our small family.

I would have bought them some sort of a gift to celebrate the engagement and taken any amount of loan to make her wedding the days of her dreams.

I remember when we would watch “Four Weddings” or “Say Yes to the Dress” together, we would talk about the different weddings and dresses and the amount of money, food, desserts, all that…I totally enjoyed these moments, and now, that is what I’ll have to cherish – the moments where we dreamed about her wedding day.

Now, she is not a total girlie girl like me and the froo-froo of a wedding day didn’t excite her like it did me, but as a mom, this is the day you truly look forward too….your daughter’s wedding day and the birth of her children…I certainly hopes she finds her heart before that day happens!!

Yesterday, when I discovered her bridal registry I was pretty okay, I had felt this day would come and she would marry way to young – but I always thought we would have reconciled our relationship and I would be included.

Now, someone else will get to help her get her dress on, maybe pull the veil over her face, hand her the bouquet, and give her words of wisdom.  Someone else will take the seat of mother-of-the-bride and light the unity candle, watch her walk down the isle, hear her say her vows, and hear the minister announce “Mr. and Mrs….”  Someone else will watch her enjoy her reception, watch her cut the cake and maybe share a dance or two…someone else will pack the presents in the car and drop them off so they can be opened after the honeymoom and someone else will watch her get into her car and be whisked away for her honeymoon…someone else will come home to an empty nest without her and wish her to be a baby again…but no matter how sad I am today, no matter what pain I feel and the tears that fall, there is hope in front of me, there is hand still holding me, and that is the hand of Jesus….he never lets go, and he will continue to walk the dark and the broken places, there is still hope in front of me, and maybe someone, just someone will come for me.