When I am lost

Jeremiah 1:9-10
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
To pluck up and break down,
To destroy and overthrow,
To build up and to plant.”

Everytime I get the urge to just open the bible at any random page, it surprises me that the words speak directly to me. Today is no exception. As a writer, my creativity is a gift from God. His words flow through my pen and my keyboard. For the past year I have felt the decline in my creativity. Words have been hard. My grief has somehow blocked my focus and possibly my faith.

A few weeks ago I broke.

It had been a year since my Alex, born to my stepdaughter seventeen weeks early, lost his long eight day fight.

I have been so preoccupied with achieving personal goals this year that I have lost every ounce of creativity left in me.

I started the year with a full time job to catch up on these bills and now I have no time for anything else. I have stopped volunteering. I have stopped writing. I feel like I have lost touch with who I really am.

I now need to pick up the pieces and move on. I need to prioritize my schedule so I have time for the things that are important to me. I need to make the time to write. I need to make the time to volunteer more. I need to realize and believe that my faith gives me the strength I need to do all things. Nothing is impossible with God.

Just look at everything I’ve been through already in my life. I can dig my way to the surface. I will find the woman I know is stuck inside.

A Fisher of Men

An Epiphany is a moment of sudden insight and understanding. If I allow my heart to remain open I have an Epiphany most Sundays at church. Either a song, verse or word from the pastor invokes a moment of clarity in my day to day purpose.

On this Sunday, we read Mark 1:14-20. We learn of the first followers of Jesus. Four fishermen who left thier nets, thier families, thier jobs to follow Jesus and become fishers of men. A few years ago our Sunday School learned this lesson and the next week went on a walk-a-thon. As we passed the creek in our neighborhood the children noticed some men fishing on it’s banks. One child asked if those men were fishers of men. At that moment I think I told them that they could be. At this moment in my faith journey my answer is a resounding YES!!!! Why? If the sight of men fishing at the creek brings our children to the word of God, to a lesson learned at least a week prior then yes! That visualization provided by God, makes that man a fisher of God even if he has never set foot in church or even knows his image was used in the teaching of children.

When we pay it forward, we are bringing people closer to God as they thank God for your generous support. We may not pay for a strangers coffee in the name of God but the Holy Spirit sets it upon your heart to do the work of God and a ripple has started.

We may post encouragement and support on social media and not realize who we are touching. If we let the light and love of God lead the way, you will touch others even if you aren’t aware of it.

Five days ago my Uncle passed away. It was an unexpected passing and it left a hole in the hearts of many. I wandered around for two days wondering what I will learn from his legacy. In June he will have celebrated his 18th birthday for the 50th time. He was young at heart, loved life and lived it to the fullest. My mother once described him as a gypsy because he didn’t like to stay in the same place for a long time. I believe he was a fisher of men because he touched so many people in his Journey.

Grief is a complicated matter. After wandering for 2 days my eyes were opened. I was reminded that I need to focus more on my purpose and stop just existing. My quarterly goals are just sitting in a file in my phone and I am doing nothing to achieve them. That stops here. My absent existence will be arrested and I will begin living my purpose daily, I will be the fisher of men I was created to be.

How have you been a fisher of men this week?

Renewal

Psalm 121

  I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?
  My help comes from the LORD, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
  He will not let your foot be moved *
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
  Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
shall neither slumber nor sleep;
  The LORD himself watches over you; *
the LORD is your shade at your right hand,
  So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
nor the moon by night.
  The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; *
it is he who shall keep you safe.
  The LORD shall watch over your going out and your coming in, *
from this time forth for evermore.

It has been awhile since my last post. Quick update – my husband is less than a week from major surgery and my sweet Alexander fought hard for 8 long days before his lungs gave in. He is now my sweet Angel. For the past month, I have been doing everything in my power to hold everyone else up. The other day, I actually wondered why I wasn’t grieving. This morning, however, I realized that I am sinking fast. It was like a slap in the face. The realization that my depression is back in full force.

How is it that I should be helping everyone else through the crisis our lives have become when I can’t even take hold of my own emotions? My dear friend and her Keep Pushing motto must have been on board also because she revived a page that helped me greatly. I was thinking of her this morning also because if anyone can help get me on the path I need it would be her. She has done this all before.

Any day can be day 1. Today is my day 1. No more excuses. No more blaming others. No more blaming my circumstances. No more putting myself on the back burner. I cannot take care of others if I do not take care of myself. I need to get my workouts in each day in order to charge my batteries for that day. There is a direct correlation between physical fitness and mental healing. Many of my past blog posts document my link between nature walks and mental recharging.

Now, I need to take that indoors for the winter. I have taken many steps today to get on the right track. I will stay there. Not only for myself but for my husband and my children as well.

Truly Brave

After losing her mom to lung cancer last year seventeen year old Molli has met the razor today. Going Bald for Bucks has brought her closer to her mom than she has felt in a long time. Molli’s Sunday school mom and Grandmother are also battling cancer. I am very proud to call Miss Molli my niece and am even prouder to be a second mom to her.

All pictures copyright become a woman of Strength
All pictures copyright become a woman of Strength

Nothing Like a Good Cry

Last week was very tough. Two children died in very different circumstances. I wrote last week of these tragic events but they have changed me.

On Friday I attended the funeral of a man I didn’t know very well. The husband of a woman I admire. As I listened to his sister speak about him I wished circumstances had made it easier for me to get to know him better.

By Friday all the events of the week had my emotions running very high. They say crying is a sign you’ve been trying to be strong too long. I’m not sure about that.

I am sure though that much like the rain renews the earth after a long winter; a good cry renews the spirit. When water fills your eyes and you have no idea what sparked the burst of emotions, just realize your body needs the release. Let it out. Let it go. Strong women cry and then they continue on their journey with a renewed spirit.

Do not be afraid of the emotions. Do not be afraid to show the emotions. The support you receive from friends is the best part of the healing process.

I also have learned that even though I may be the worst singer in the history of the world it helps to just turn it up and sing and dance.

Lessons learned from literature!

“I will love him, and hug him and call him George.” – Lenny from Of Mice and Men.

In our house however, everything is named Bob. Bob has come to us in every form imaginable and even the unbelievable. Bob has been a rock, quite a few fish, grasshoppers, lightning bugs, the groundhog that lives in our yard, a bubble (yup while blowing bubbles any bubble that lasted more than two minutes were aptly named), balloons and of course various stick figures drawn and stuck to the fridge. Every time “Bob” dies we have chaos. The grief and sometimes overly dramatic grief grabs the attention of everyone who has the misfortune of being at home in that moment.

My darling Molli A, who has just moved back into our household has recently suffered the most common grief … her dear mom passed in April after a battle with Lung Cancer. The grief she feels is much more than I can comprehend. I still have both parents alive and well and living close.

My time of staying home to write has come to an end. Yesterday was the first day at my new part time job. I am feeling a little grief that what I love to do isn’t enough to pay the bills so I can be here full time for my children. Last week there were major changes at my husband’s job which changed him from an overnight shift to working days. Now that is two BIG changes for our children. They are used to mom and dad being there during the day even if dad sleeps part of it and now dad is gone four days a week for about ten hours and mom will be popping back and forth between work and home different hours each day. My youngest is having the biggest issue with adjustment but our Molli A is over the moon upset about everything.

As I mentioned earlier Molli A has moved back into our household along with her dad (my brother-in-law), his ex wife just moved many miles from us taking their two sons. This is having a heavy impact on our entire household since our families are close.

So like Lenny and his pal George we are making the best of every situation. We are getting back up to fight the tide every time it knocks us down but we will turn the Great Depression into the best time possible!

Until next time – keep your chin up and let the world know. “Every time you knock me down, I will get back up and yell – No, I’m not finished yet!”

Grief’s Inspiration

What do you do when you are left all alone? Lillian is a sixteen year old who has spent the last six months taking care of her mother through Stage four lung cancer. Now her mother is gone. Where does she go from here? She may be orphaned but she quickly learns that there are people who will do anything for her. Read Lillian’s journal through grief and watch how her Journey not only inspires herself but those around her as well.