Pure Craziness!

Life has been so incredibly busy lately that it is crazy. I look at my work week the past week and a half and it is no wonder I am desperate to just sleep ALL day long! I know that there will be a day soon when I get to rest. And when I do rest, I can look back and smile at all the good things that God has done.

For right now, please be praying that we get time to rest uninterrupted. It has seemed like anytime that I actually plan time off something else comes up to threaten that time.

Blessings to you and yours this beautiful week.

You are loved!

Letting Go and the Victory Dance!

The grieving process is murky business. There are so many reasons why this is the case. For me, I was already in a grieving process regarding several things in my life before my Mom passed away. Her death has helped me process and let go of some other things in my life. I am learning that choosing joy, choosing Jesus is worth every bit of pain. Just recently, as hard as things have been for me emotionally, God has been so good in helping bring healing in the letting go process. Sometimes, he uses one pain to help heal another.

A few things that I have let go of are my ideas of what my family would look like, as well as a relationship that I know I will never have again. In the past, I thought that I had done a pretty decent job with “letting go”. Looking back now, I realize that in letting go of one thing, I had picked up an expectation of what would take place after this happened. Each time I would feel more turmoil because I thought that surely change would occur in the way that I had envisioned it. The process felt like a battle. Certainly I did not have control issues. But as we become more honest, each of us has our own set of control issues.

This past weekend I finished a journey. When I say I finished a journey there should be a significant “hip hip hooray!” I know that God is up in heaven smiling proudly and my Mom is doing a victory dance (yes, we would do these either in person or miles a part). I smile just writing about this thought. You want to know why? Because this journey that I finished is really a beginning. It is a journey that my Mom cried over, prayed over and yearned for. I finally have an understanding of letting go with the intention of not picking anything up in that process. Not having control is actually a very freeing experience when you do it in the correct way.

So this weekend, I reconciled things deep within me. God has done something miraculous within me. As I have given up and let go of this hindrance to my heart and soul, I no longer am pinned down.  It is a wonderful feeling to continue on a journey of forgiveness while not feeling tied down to what was holding you back. I cannot fully describe how this feels as I thought that I would only feel this way when reconciliation of the relationship occurred. I am still in awe.

I read a quote the other day about forgiveness that truly pertains to what I am talking about: “Forgiveness might not mean that a relationship is saved but it certainly frees and saves you.” I would have to say that this has been my journey. So many times I was told that I did not forgive a person because our relationship did not go back the same. I battled with this so much because I chose to forgive this person on a daily basis. I had owned up to my part and I had attempted to talk and address issues in order to move forward and heal. I never admitted to doing everything correctly or perfectly. I lost track of how many times I said that I was sorry. The song “Unloveable” by Plumb pretty much sums up how I felt. I still can feel this way.

I got to a place where attempt after attempt to restore this relationship just turned into a constant wound that never would stop bleeding. Part of this was my own fault because I should have known that no matter how much I tried I could never force someone to love me back and have a relationship with me. See, there’s my control issues right there. I wanted to be loved by this person. I thought this person understood how much I loved them and wanted to enjoy life together. I thought this person wanted the same as me. But I was in denial about the fact that I was being rejected simply because we were two different people. I should have let go in the beginning.

My Mom was pained greatly by this. I have had to work through feelings of anger knowing she died without ever seeing this relationship reconciled. I remember nights my heart was so broken and the pain ran so deep that even my tears were trapped. Through the grieving process of my Mom, I was surprised with the feelings that arose within me again about this relationship. Questions of why, disappointment and the yearning for this person to be my friend rushed my heart once again. There I was learning how to reconcile and forgive again. Thankfully with Gods grace he has never stopped teaching and refining me.

He has been a part of this painful journey, allowing me to bleed while getting dirty with me in the mess because of how much he loves me.

There is something truly extraordinary when we reach a place where we have worked through much of the mess. Healing comes flooding inside in a surprising rush. This is what I have experienced. As I have continued to let go, this time around, God has helped heal the pain in my heart. What a relief! Victory dance!

I cannot deny how God has used one person in my life so significantly. My husband has helped me more than I could ever ask of anyone. He has listened to me process time after time. He has held me as I cried. Sometimes full body crying I might add! He has encouraged me to keep on forgiving. He has prayed for me. God has used him to show me that letting go does not mean giving up. Letting go allows you to choose freedom and joy.

This time around, the chains that held me down, the pain, has been broken from me and I can dance a victory dance. Freedom!

Experiencing this brings such relief to my aching soul. I feel cleansed. I feel like I am a different person.

Thank you God for all that you have done! Thank you God for making a way to freedom.

Somewhere up in heaven, Mom is dancing and cheering.

Ultimately, knowing that God is pleased with me matters so much more.

I am choosing Joy!

Journey Part 3: Waiting and a Moment to Treasure Forever.

The remaining days were filled with many unanswered questions. Long hospital visits make one day feel like it is a week long. We would take turns staying with Mom. When we were not with her, we were down in the cold waiting area. The first couple of days went by without talking with the Doctor. He was in emergency brain surgery attempting to save a life of a man who had been shot in the head several blocks down the road. The wait to hear from the Doctor literally was one of the most torturous things for me. I wanted answers. Every single one of us did.

Each time we would all go see Mom, someone would be looking for positive signs of recovery for her. I would feel this sense of denial mixed with hope. Deep within myself, I prayed that God would heal her here on earth. But to be perfectly honest, deep down, I knew before even flying out to Florida that I would never see my Mom alive on this earth again. It was on the flight to Florida that I finally realized that the last hug I gave her in the airport to see them off to Dominica, would be my last hug from her. It was the reason why I was adamant that I made the trip to see my parents off, even though I had been up the previous night and into the early morning with the worst flu I had since the swine flu.

I remember one particular day where my Dad needed to go purchase clothes as well as other items. My husband, Uncle Nate and myself stayed at the hospital while everyone else went to help Dad. I wanted to spend as much time with my Mom as I possibly could. She could not speak. She was not even awake. When she moved it was random. Each moment that I had with her felt like a precious gift even though the conversation was one sided. But on this particular day, I remember seeing the nurses care for her in ways I had not seen before. They would check the monitors, take blood, turn her over to a different side, and move her tubes down her throat. This was all hard to see as she would cough and gasp for breath. Every beep of the monitor would make my heart race. Because of this I learned how to take long, deep breaths.  Sometimes the room would spin but I was determined to stay as long as I could with my Mom. God was holding me, for I had already collapsed into his loving arms.

Something about this day with her felt different to me. I felt God’s peace in the room more heavily. I began to read more of her favorite passages of scripture. I would read anywhere from 10-20 minutes at a time out loud hoping that she could hear every word. She loved reading her Bible. She loved her precious Savior. After reading to her for some time, the nurses rotated her again. After they left I felt prompted to start talking to her just like the times we would have together over a cup of coffee. Gently placing my hand into her right hand, I felt a squeeze after I told her how much I loved her. The timing was perfect. Some people would say that this was just a coincidence but I know that it was not, and I will forever treasure that moment.

For that one moment felt as if my Mom was hugging my heart.

For that one moment, God was showing me the beauty within the mess of us. He knew exactly what I needed to help get me through what was to come.

Part 2: A Journey into the unknown, heartache and hope

When we made it to Fort Pierce, Florida there were a mingling of feelings. We were all very relieved to be together with our Dad. It was a bittersweet moment as we embraced him, thankful to be with him, yet so filled with sorrow knowing why we were being reunited a month earlier than planned. We were all doing our best to put on brave faces as we held back tears.

The time stretched on for far too long even though only minutes passed before we were headed to the hospital. Even though I knew that God was holding Mom, dread literally filled my heart as I imagined what the next few hours were going to be like, let alone the next few days. I believed that God could heal her but I also knew that sometimes it is best to let others go home to our eternal home, Heaven. As much as God had been preparing me personally for such a time, I felt as though the floor was starting to crumble beneath my feet.

When we made it to the hospital we had to show our ID’s and get our pictures taken for security reasons due to the domestic violence issues in the city. Only two people were allowed to go up to Mom’s room at a time. Since none of us were there right at the beginning of Mom’s admittance to the hospital, they made an exception for all of us to go up together for our first time. We silently followed Dad through the halls that seemed like it would go on forever. Tension filled the waiting area as we were the only family present. I had to remind myself to breathe as the world started to spin.

Two at a time, we took turns going into Mom’s room. When it was my turn with my husband, Jeremy, I knew walking in that my Mom was in a state that she never wanted any of us to see. She had the normal life support tubes and a drainage tube on top of her head to help drain the fluid buildup in her brain. The left side of her face was still limp. Monitors were everywhere and the nurses were never too far to care for her.

At this point there was no more being brave. Tears that had been held back for several hours were now dripping down my face. I searched for her hand in hopes to grab it and feel some sense that she knew that we were there. A part of me was scared to touch her due to my fear that I would hurt her worse. Her chest moved with each breath and every now and then, a small movement from her leg or arm would make me hope that she would be able to move normal again.

I am not sure how long we were with her but it seemed like an instant and forever all at once. Jeremy and I talked to her as if she could hear every single word. I remember telling her that it was so good to see her and that she looked beautiful even on the hospital bed. She never opened her eyes. Her lips never moved. And all this time, deep down inside me, I knew that night that there would be a time soon that I would need to tell her that it was fine for her to go home to Heaven; that it was okay for her to go meet her baby and all those gone before her; and finally run into the arms of Jesus.

But we still had so much to do. There was a huge part of me that hoped for a little more time with my Mom. I hoped beyond hope to be able to see some beauty beyond the damage to her brain. I hoped for no more sorrow. I hoped to see the light in my Dad’s eyes come back again. I prayed that this would not destroy us, for it felt like we were in a whirlwind and there was no knowing when it would end.

Before falling asleep that night I asked God, “Please show us the beauty in this. Please help us. We need you.”

Journey Part 1: Florida and miracles.

Mom had a stroke. Our lives were forever changed upon hearing such news. Through this journey, our God has been so faithful. Please follow me as I do my best to grieve, to remember those closest to me, and write the pieces of the broken journey that I have been on with my family.

Here is part 1 of the journey:

When our Dad informed all of us that we needed to get to Florida as soon as we could, I knew deep within me that I had to prepare to let go of my Mom. It was a miracle in itself that all of us were able to get flight tickets in a matter of hours without any finances to make the large purchase of tickets. God provided everything down to the very last cent. It was this action of love from so many that displayed to us as a family just how much God loved us. We also understood that He knew that our Mom loved each of us so much to have us be together for something like this. We dearly loved her as well!

One thing to note was the fact that God had arranged for Mom to make it to the states where all of us were able to fly to. Initially, she was only going to make it to a different Caribbean Island. This was heartbreaking for us at first because many of us did not have passports ready. Then somehow they figured out that they were going to take her to one place, and then to another, each time, she was getting closer to us. Finally, our Dad found out that they would be able to fly by learjet to Florida. This in itself was a miracle. The next miracle was the fact that Mom survived such a venture. I know that God was carrying Dad during this process. Even though it was not in the circumstances that Dad wanted, God still fulfilled a lifelong dream of flying by learjet on a last journey with Mom.

Then it was our turn to fly. The flights we took to get to Florida were torturous as thoughts of our Dad alone with our Mom in the hospital raged through our minds. We could do nothing within our own power to prepare ourselves for what we were to see, hear, and experience. All that mattered in these precious moments was the reality that we needed to get to our amazing, strong Dad and our wonderful Mom. The rest would be left up to God as He carried us through each step, conversation, and tear filled prayer.

God worked out every detail from transportation, to getting a special deal on our hotel, and even helping us find coffee. Those of you who know me, know how much I love coffee. I had no idea that Uncle Nate also drank it as much as I did, if not more. Dunkin’ Donuts saved us! I am giggling thinking about this, so just imagine giggles in the background.

To say that God did not care for us would be a complete lie of all that took place for our family during that time. He provided for every need even though our hearts were broken. Mom would want you to know that God was good through it all. Within the mess of us, there was so much beauty.

Journey Part 2: coming soon

The Beginning: Seeing the Beauty in the Mess of Us

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon. The sun was out, the birds were singing, and laughter filled our rooms. Then a short Facebook message changed our lives forever. It was my Dad. He told us that our Mom had a stroke in a 3rd world country with very little care to tend to her needs. My Dad fought for her there. And he was able to get her to a hospital in Florida.

It is this journey that started the end of July 2014 that I want to share with you in hopes that it may provide hope for you along your own journey. Life does not allow time for grieving. Every day can be a struggle. But there is hope.

Please follow me and come along this journey of seeing the beauty in the mess of us.