Growing up as a non-Christian turned believer I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this question; Why didn’t God just allow me to grow up in a family of people who believed in His Word, in Him. Sure as hell would have saved us both a lot of time and heart-ache. Although I’ve tried many times to try and make it more complicated of an answer than it is, I’ve failed.. over, and over again. The only thing that keeps coming back up and that I can feel strongly in my heart is EXPERIENCE. Sure, God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth could have bore me to a well bred Christian family but He chose not to, not because He didn’t love me enough, or didn’t care about my well-being in the times where I didn’t even know who He was.. He did it because He loves me so much that He knew one day, even if not for a long time that I would need Him more than ever and be able to speak from experience to people that may never listen to somebody who didn’t understand what they were going through. God chose to let me make my own decisions, without ever even looking to Him because He had a job and one that I would only be able to fill and I needed to learn from my mistakes before being able to speak to others about them.
Let God lead you, LEARN FROM HIM, LEARN FROM LIFE.
“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?
It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”
Sitting here reading about other 20 something orphans, the death of a parent, parents, mother and how your whole life changes.. a confusion arises as the people who raised you are dying left right and center.
“It’s the internal changes, though, that seem both more important to Maggie and harder to explain. “There was a new seriousness,” Maggie says, her southern accent emerging now and then through years of vocal retraining. “Certainly a new sense of my own mortality, but that’s not the whole picture. It’s sort of like when your mother used to choose your clothes, and then the time came when you chose your own clothes but there was still that little voice in the back of your head going, Would my mother like this? And even if the answer was Hell no, that’s exactly why I’m getting it, the thought was there. After the death, you don’t ask yourself the question. You’re on your own.
“In some way, the pressure’s off,” Maggie says, in a suddenly subdued voice, “and in some ways the pressure is on. Because you have no one to answer to but yourself.”“
It’s just two weeks shy of my mother’s death and when I try to dig deep and think about what I’m feeling I can tell something is different, it’s hard to explain the feeling really. It’s as if there has been this switch that was flicked as soon as she passed away.
My whole life I’ve been very independent and my own kind of person, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t needed my family, we were all very close actually.. but I’ ve just always have been good at doing things on my own. Now that I’m parent-less it officially puts me at the head of my table, having no brothers or sisters. I have this new found un-wanted, responsibility that feels all kind of wrong.
I didn’t want any of this but when death isn’t just knocking but literally breaking down your door and snatching your loved ones you don’t really get a say in it. Whether you like it or not you need to take it.
I keep thinking of the next 60 years of my life, the many milestones and happy moments that I’ll have but always long for my family to be there at, getting married, having a family, when I do something incredible or when I need to hear something really wise.. when I have my first baby and my mom isn’t at my side ready and patiently waiting to be an amazing grandmother.. for the next 60 or so years I’ll be motherless and fatherless, making decisions on my own and I can’t help but to wonder what kind of woman I’ll be now.
Now that all of these things have happened do I get to finally walk out into the person God has always called me to be?
For now, alls I know is that Hallmark cards have never made me more incredibly sad.
I’m currently trying to enjoy the fall weather as much as I can before I head back to my current home in Hawaii on either Monday or Tuesday. I wish the reason for being here was on better terms or something at least a little exciting to talk about.. it’s funny how my very last post I was complaining about how living through suffering is a little bit too close to home for me. Well, like usual, I couldn’t have spoke any sooner.. I got the news on Wednesday night that after struggling with health issues for the last few months my mum had a heart attack and passed away.
I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around it for the last few days, trying to make sense of it and trying to continue to trust after God and really embrace the fact that yes, I’m now officially an orphan on this earth. I know spiritually and in the big picture that I’m not, I have many people in my life who I consider as close as real family but it’s still pretty overwhelming to think that my family is again, in a month and a half, one person smaller.
It’s hard not to think of all the things you’ll miss or that you took for granted when the person was standing in front of you, the things you wish you said or didn’t say at all and it makes it all just that much sadder knowing you’ll never really get a chance to make any of it right.
My mother and I had the ups and downs of a life time and one thing that I do know for sure is that we loved each other very much. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake the feeling of missing her kind heart and soft words at always the right time and I’ll think of her for the rest of my life.
I really don’t know why my life became a lifetime movie or what’s really going to happen next but I do know that I’m so thankful I follow a God who loves me and isn’t going to let me go.
Amen to that.
This week has been really hard for me. We’ve had this guest speaker, Janet Ditto.. don’t get me wrong, she’s absolutely amazing and I feel very privileged to hear her speak but the subject of death and salvation has come up many times, every single day and it’s bring up things up in my heart that are incredibly painful. It’s pretty hard hearing about the serious-ness of accepting Jesus before you die to go to heaven. It’s not a new thing or something I haven’t heard of before but it is the first time since becoming a christian that somebody very dear to me has passed away that hasn’t been a believer.
Now, I thought I believed that when I went to visit my papa at the hospital every day and even though he couldn’t speak I’d still pray for him, pray that God would take his pain away, that God would meet with him and forgive him, give him a second chance for salvation and to bring him home. I’ve been having second thoughts on that I guess and since I wasn’t the one laying there dying I don’t really know what happened in the last couple of days of his life so I don’t really have comfort right now.
Over and over again I continue to hear how strong I am, that I’m strong for being here or that I’m a strong woman in general but in all honesty I’ve never felt more weak in my entire life. I feel as though my heart is in this vice and every story about being persistent about sharing the gospel or those coming to Jesus it tightens up a little more each time.
When I went home after my DTS I had no idea what to expect or what I going to be faced with. I really felt as though I had years left to spend with my papa and not 21 days. That’s how soon he passed away. I came home on the 18th of August and he was gone September 6th. I haven’t counted the days until now. Anyways, I thought I had time to share my stories, to share the gospel and the picture I had in my mind was beautiful.
I have so many memories of my papa, a whole life time of them. The important thing is that I have them. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget them, at least I hope not. I’m really going to miss our times together and the way he would smile every time he seen me or when I came home in August and gave him that rubber band gun and how excited he was about it or how hard he laughed when he opened the door and shot me in the behind with it. That’s something I’ll always be able to smile at was his humor, it was undeniable and absolutely always hilarious.
I’m scared that I’m going to forget his face, his smile, his laugh, the way he called me babe always or sweetheart when he was being extra charming. I really miss how much he loved me and would always let me know.
I miss just spending time with him and listening to his stories and how he always loved telling the one of how when I didn’t even know how to tell time I knew he was late picking me up with my hands at my hips. Or the one about the time when my nan and him took me to the mall to get my pictures with Santa and apparently I didn’t want to at all and ran behind my papa, sat in between his legs and put my hands on his belt loops and proceeded to pull his pants down in front of a mall full of mums.
I’m having a hard time dealing with the reality that I’m not going to see him for a very long time (if he’s in heaven, and if not the fact that I’ll never see him again).
It’s weird, when somebody died and you look at pictures of them, something changes. You notice things you had never seen before. It’s almost as if your eyes are searching that face so intently that you find new wrinkles and crevices that you had overlooked your whole life. You look at them differently. It becomes not ‘just a picture’ anymore but something more, almost as candid proof that the person existed. A clear picture of their face.
What else or who else but God can help you through something like this. Sure, I’d love to sip on a bottle of whiskey and softly cry myself to sleep while listening to something way too sappy and reminiscent, pretending that all of this doesn’t feel like my heart is being stomped on the ground but I’d be lying. I feel weak, sad, optimistic, tired and all the while, on top of all that I’m confused.
The best thing about it though is that I don’t have to numb these feelings, or hide them away.. I get to deal with them with a God who loves me, has my best interests in mind, my heart close to His and will not let me crumble. HE WILL BUILD ME UP.
All I can really do is pray, speak to God, pray to Him and hope that one day when I get home to heaven that I’ll see those icy blue eyes again and kiss my papa on the cheek again.