My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


2 Comments

Konnichiwa to Peace

Image

Our son  and his friend were going on trip of a lifetime, a two week vacation in Tokyo. Beholding all the sights and sounds of a rich culture, not to mention it being an electronic mecca. A virtual treasure trove  of all things “arcadic”  that would be video arcade + archaic =  arcadic  my creative liberties for the day.  If anyone knows me in the ever so slightest way they would know  this was not going to be a cake walk on my part. In all the years of  being  a mother  I have battled fears, foreboding  thoughts of  possible abuse, kidnappings, accidents or sicknesses  and all the alarming stuff in the middle.  In fact, if you can name it I  probably have feared it.  Been there done that.

Any loving  mother no doubt has  combated most of all of these same fears for her children. It is a natural desire to nurture and protect our babies no matter how old they are.  However, for me it went far beyond normal trepidations that come from a caring parent, but rather  becoming irrational and larger than life ones. Going so far as to  crippling me from releasing our sons to go anywhere with their dad or anyone else.  Words cannot begin to express  how incredibly hard this was for my husband, children and even me.

Now  looking back, and having come to greater depths of healing in this area,  I marvel and am utterly humbled that Kevin stayed married to me.  Through those layers of  painful growth came revelation to why my fears where at critical mass, some were fostered  from past personal sexual abuse I was aware and unaware of.  Buried deep, pushed down by stratum of shame, denial and  trauma, manifesting itself through unhealthy behaviors.  Perhaps some came from  being  carried in my mother’s womb only three months after burying her 9 month old son Brent, he died unexpectedly from compilations due to anesthetic from what was suppose to be a routine hernia surgery.

Personally, I cannot fathom my mom’s fears and grief as she carried me… what a bitter sweet time for her.  It’s important that I make this very clear, I’m  in no way blaming anyone  for my behavior, we all have personal  choices to make regarding what we with do with what has been given us.  For whatever reasons my fears were real, intense and even when prayers like, “God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” * did not bring complete relief;  I would want to run away from the visible pain that I was causing my husband  and children.  Fighting  my fears seemed fruitless, freezing up and paralyzing so my only final option was to flee. Fortunately these were only fleeting lies, for I knew I could never ever leave my family that I love so dearly.

Today, I’m so thankful to God who has shone me His perfect love that casts out fear, for my husband and  children that endured the strain of my intense struggles for freedom with their love and forgiveness.  Plus, where would I be without the love and support of mentors / friends that have also walked with me through it all.  And though they did not  wrestle the same degree of debilitating demons as I, they chose to stand by me in my brokenness.  Loving me without judgement, offering me compassion and grace that became a breeding ground for my healing. Whenever  I mustered up strength to take a  baby step they applauded with such exuberance you thought I had run a marathon being the first to break the finishing line ribbon.

My boys are grown adults now and yes I still worry too much  I know.  It’s hard to know what is normal when your pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction.  I do know I’m walking in more freedom than ever before and I’m trusting God that it will only increase.

Currently, our son Derek is thoroughly enjoying Tokyo, a dream of his fulfilled.  Counting down the days to see him and hear of his grand adventure.  Mindful of my tradition to keep a memento, a dated trophy if you will, of how God helped me walk in peace as my children soar to new heights. Just like I did many years ago by saving his glass Yahoo milk bottle from his first purchase, a walk to the neighborhood market with his friends… a huge triumph back in the day !.

Recently, I started rereading “Mountains of Spices” the sequel to “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by  Hannah Hurnard’s.  Even though it has been over  twenty years of reading these two books, I still can relate to her preface to this allegory.  She writes about herself as follows,  “I can speak with the most authority.I was born with a fearful nature– a real slave to the Fearing Clan ! But I have since made the glorious discovery that no one has such a perfect opportunity to practice and develop faith as do those who must learn constantly to turn fear into faith. One must either succumb to the fearing nature altogether and become a “Craven Coward” for the rest of one’s life; or by yielding that fearful nature wholly to the Lord and using each temptation to fear as an opportunity for practicing faith, be made at last into a radiant “Fearless Witness” to his love and power.”

For this writer I’m so not there yet, I will no less continue to “seek peace and pursue it “, falling down and getting back up again and again, spurred on by the ground I have already won with God’s help… turning my weaknesses into His strength.

Whether your taking quantum leaps of faith or faltering  baby steps, God applause’s them both .  He delights in each step or leap you take towards Him. Cheering you on not matter where your starting line begins and rejoices with you at your victorious finish.

Father, we praise you, in awe of your delight for us and the comfort you bring in our storm tossed seas . Providing  perfect peace as our mind stays on you, trusting you over the mounding waves of fear. Learning to say  Sayonara  (Goodbye) to fear and  Konnichiwa  ( Hello ) to peace..

Image
Having the  Japanese symbol of peace painted on my big toe …. A beautiful reminder to stay in a place of peace.

Image

My  friend Kelli ordered this mug for me and it arrived the day I was starting to worry about the Typhoon that had hit Japan.

3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You  .Isaiah 26:3 AMP bible

*  II Timothy  1:7


4 Comments

The Journey of a Thousand Little Goodbyes

Image

Saying good bye to those we love is never easy, it will undoubtedly tug strongly on our heart strings and if it’s final  well, that will reach far beyond a yank. Pulling our heart to their breaking point due to the forcible impact of our loss. As time marches on and my years head towards the golden, I’m painfully aware saying goodbye will be woven more frequently and tightly, as the lives around me lose theirs or relationships sadly dissolve.
This summer I had the pleasure of seeing Amy Grant in concert thanks to my friends generosity which extended to buying me her new CD.  Though my spirit was moved  tremendously by her song, “Don’t Try so Hard” honest words I can completely relate to. Her thought provoking song  “Is it Better Not to Know” seemed to rank  just as high on my favorite tunes list.  The chorus goes as follows:

“Oh… nothing stays the same
Life flickers like a flame
As the seasons come and go
Goodbye more than hello
It’s better not to know
Is it better not to know?  Amy Grant

I’ve asked myself that question when life has dealt me blows that have blindsided me and sent me reeling, my mind spinning  into a autopilot of “Whys?”  Oh, I know I’m not suppose to ask  the “why” question but I do.  I compare pictures I had of my future and the one I have been given. Strangely they rarely look the same; as I search for God in the sea of chaos  like a  “Where’s Waldo” in this newly  replaced image.  Straining to see Him in my overcrowded crestfallen circumstances. Instead of looking for Waldo’s  striped shirt and  beanie I look for God, nail scarred hands and feet, wounds He bore for you and me.
Isaiah 53:5 says…

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole”.

And then my eyes see Him, He was there, all along, never failing or forsaking me. Hidden in plain view surrounded by life’s  beautiful messes, joy and sadness, triumph mingling with tragic.  And even when my mind floods with questions and doubt, God prevails.  We don’t have to live long to know… death can come sudden with no warning, no chance for farewells or a proper send off or it comes in what I call “The Journey of a Thousand  Little  Goodbyes.”  Existing in the slow day to day departures to what was once normal, watching loved ones slip away one painful closure at a time.  Greeting the dawning of a new day not knowing what part of their personality and capabilities will be gone forever.  And while you hold onto every essence of who they are in that moment, in a blink of a eye it shifts yet again, finding yourself saying goodbye once more.

So long to what was normal, familiar, into a sinking sand of grief,  weighty sorrow and  sadness… pulling you down into a tomorrow that seems bleaker than today, enveloped in irretrievable grains of  “use to be’s” .

Confronted with excruciating truth that….

One day  your loved one can call you or give you a hug.

One day they can brush their teeth, comb their hair, dress and feed themselves.

One day they can walk, tell you they love you and fill the air with laughter.

And then one day it is gone… forever.

So far when it has come to losing my family members it has been one  a  “Journey of Thousand Little Goodbyes”. Losing my dad at the age of 27 to cancer after 6 months from  his diagnosis.  Fast forward twenty five years later my thousand farewells  began again with  my mama as her dementia and congestive heart failure  chipped away at her  strong body and vibrant personality.  Going home to be with the Lord  only five short months ago. While at the same time my only sibling was fighting his personal battle with Lewy Body dementia  dove tailing with moms illness. Waves of loss washed over me as my mother and brother needed help to get them into the car, buckle their seat belts, form words or be their memory. Silently mourning a family I would never see whole again until we all reunited in Heaven. My journey of thousand  little goodbyes continues as my brother battles his disease with grace, humor and a dignity that is humbling.  And though I do not know what the future holds I choose to place my one hand in God’s  while I wave  temporary  goodbyes large and small with the other.

I don’t know what goodbyes you’ve had to face, if they were sudden or drawn out. I do know God wants to bring you comfort in every grief stricken situation past, present or future .

God, thank you that you hold tightly on to our hands saying to us, fear not I will help you. Your love and faithfulness is a shield round about us.  When we walk through the fire we will not be burned  and through the floods we will not drown. Your grace covers us “when it’s better not to know.”

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.” Bil Keane