My First Blessing

In just a few months, it will be a year since I started blogging. And in that time, I still have not shared my blog with my mom. There is so much I have wanted to share with the world in order to help those who are hurting, inform those who just don’t understand, and hopefully stop those who are causing all of the hurt. While I believe my message is important and needs shared, I worry about how my mom would react to reading my words. She walked most of this path with me. I have also watched her beat herself up over and over again no matter how much reassurance I give her.

For those following my writing, you know that I give all the credit to Jesus for rescuing me and leading me down the path of healing. It is important to remember that God does most of His work through other people. My mom was the first blessing God ever gave me. I have never met another person that I felt could have navigated the challenges we went through.

My mom carries a huge burden of regret in not knowing what was happening and blames herself for not protecting me. But she should not. Being apart of this story, I know better than anyone that she was drowning in her own despair. I will not go into any details about my mom as that is her story to tell not mine. But she was living a life that was not her choosing. We make so many choices in life, and unfortunately, many of them are driven by impulse, pushed on us by others and even just pure foolishness. The decisions we make as youth, when we have the least amount of wisdom, have such a huge impact on the rest of our lives.

At the peak of the darkest time of my life, my mom was trying to keep us alive. She was amazing. She grew our food and processed the deer that were our primary source of protein. Everything had to be prepped and canned to last us the year. She strived to keep as safe, clean and comfortable with the limited resources we had available. She was also the one working to provide for us and was also going to nursing school. She was tireless.

She was also the one who pointed me to Jesus though she may not know that. My father would rail on her all of the time for her faith, but she never denied Him. She would quietly bare the attacks as he would try to tear her down through insults, shouting and throwing her limited belongings. I worry that she counts her silence as weakness. To me, she maintained her ground in the only way she knew how. To me, when I think of my mom, I see incredible strength and love.

And who is worth quietly defending in the midst of constant attack? If Jesus wasn’t someone incredible, why would she endure so much for Him? And in contrast, my father was lazy and worthless. There was no love in him, and he did nothing to support us. He thought he was so wise, but there was never any signs of wisdom, only foolishness. So if my mom would endure so much for Jesus and my father hated Jesus so much, then maybe Jesus was worth seeking. And when I had no strength left to endure on my own, I followed my mom’s example and reached out to Jesus. He did not fail me.

Some, including my mom, may wonder how she could not have known. Consider being responsible for as much as she was – our entire household – which was so much harder than anyone living in normal society can even fathom. When she got home and finished cleaning up after dinner, she was completely spent. And over years and years of personal attack at home, she had retreated into herself for survival. She should carry no blame or shame. She did as much as she could – even more than that really. I will forever be grateful for my mom.

I love you, Mom.

Oceans

As a pre-teen, I was so overwhelmed by the pain and betrayal in my life that I was at the point of committing suicide. I was drowning in an emotional ocean of despair and hopelessness with no one to turn to for help. I didn’t want to die, but I couldn’t bear to keep living either. In a moment of desperation, I called out to Jesus for help. And amazingly, He responded. An unexplainable sense of peace descended on me in such a powerful and tangible way that I looked over my shoulder to see who had wrapped their arms around me. No one was there. And though I didn’t realize it then, I took my first step of faith that night by handing my situation over to Jesus and going to sleep. If I had not, I would not be here to tell my story.

He did not fail me. And while my story of healing spans decades, He has never left my side. With each new ocean, He is always there.

Matthew 14:22-33

Sorrow to Blessings

Life happens. It has been a while since I have been able to write. In, fact it has been a while since I have been able to even think of writing. The whirlwind of work projects, service projects, church events and major life changes. Blend that all together, and the energy you have left at the end of the day is enough to carry yourself to bed. Please don’t hear the wrong tone. It was all good stuff and just adds to my mental list of how blessed my life has become.

Reflecting back on my life, the first half was very dark. There was no list of blessings, just sorrow. However, a change happened at about the halfway point, and each day as my faith grows so do my blessings and my joy. God loves and restores those who love Him! I feel like the poster child of God’s love, and I know I am not alone in this. Ask anyone who truly loves Jesus, and I am certain they have their own story. They might just be unpracticed at sharing it. The other great thing is He loves us first! His love is already there waiting for everyone; but when we reciprocate our love, that is when change really starts to happen!

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
A Psalm for giving thanks.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

                                                              Psalms 100 ESV