Mess of Me

Are you ever frustrated with your life? Do you ever find yourself wondering how you got to where you are? Hopefully, you are thinking “I am very happy where I am.” My fear is that there are more people who saw a far different future for themselves – who are struggling with their current situation.

There is hope – no matter where you are today. I know this from personal experience. I met Hope when I was much younger – when I was a complete mess. I hated myself. I had very few friends. I associated with the wrong kind of guys. My sleep was wrecked by nightmares. My days were haunted by memories. I was standing on the edge of a precipice filled with hopelessness, crying out to be saved.

The song Mess of Me by Switchfoot reminds me of that time in my life. The writer of the song is crying out. It is healthy to cry out! It is healthy to identify the messy parts of your life and to cry out for something better. “I’ve made a mess of me. I wanna spend the rest of my life alive.” I have cried this out in pain. And, as I mentioned, Hope came to me and rescued me. His name is Jesus. He set me free from the prison cell of my past. He has helped me to make better choices and has blessed my life.

This hope and rescue is not just for me. Jesus longs to rescue you and give you hope too. He loves you more than you can understand. If you do not know Jesus, you have never experienced true love. His love is beautiful. If you are struggling, I encourage you to ask Jesus to save you today. If you do, you will never regret it.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” ~ John 3:17 NIVUK

Choose to Live

My relationship with my grandmother was a strange one. We were never close. I’d say we had a love-hate relationship; however, our feelings were never that strong. Maybe it would just be considered lukewarm? Not sure.

While her and I never discussed it, I am certain that I hurt her emotionally when I was young. Whenever my family would go to visit her – rather than spending time with my grandmother, I would ask permission to visit with the elderly lady who lived two houses down. She was the grandmother of the children who lived between her and my grandmother. There are days I wish I could apologize for being so insensitive. Yet, the issue really was not with me. The issue began with my grandmother’s heart towards me. While this side of heaven I will not truly know why she treated me as she did, I have a theory of two ugly situations melding together into a dark cloud over our lives.

The first began with my grandmother’s own childhood. Her father died when she was quite young. When he died, his family rejected my great-grandmother and her two children as the family had not approved of their marriage. My great-grandmother was not good enough for their son, at least in their eyes. Rejection is challenging and scarring at any age; however, I believe children feel it more acutely. My great-grandmother did remarry though her children were never fully accepted as part of the new family. My grandmother shared a small part of this story with me close to the end of her life. Even though at the time she told me her mother was still alive, she said that she was an orphan. It seems evident that she was still carrying the scars of grief and rejection from her early childhood. From personal experience, if these scars are not healed, they make it extremely difficult to develop relationships – even with your own children and grandchildren. There is an inclination towards self-preservation that prevents the level of trust necessary to build healthy relationships.

As a child, I could not have comprehended this backdrop in my grandmother’s life even if it had been known to me. I simply ran to where I felt wanted without a thought to how it would impact my grandmother. My strongest memories of my grandmother’s house include the glass jar of pink candies on the counter and playing alone on the floor with a collection of boxed toys. At the other grandmother’s house, I was welcomed with a hug. She was always sincerely happy to see me. She would make us tea, and we would sit at her kitchen table and talk until we could hear my mom calling for me to go home. I have absolutely no idea what we talked about. What I do know is this sweet lady was filling an empty void in my life. She treated me as someone, and she was happy to just sit and listen to me. In her kitchen, I had value. I do not blame the young me for wanting this.

Yet and unfortunately, there is more to this sad tale. There is the second situation casting its dark shadows. While the other grandmother was her wound, this one is my wound. I believe that part of her coldness towards me was because of who my father was. This is probably a horrible mix of her being rejected as a child in light of my mom’s own unapproved marriage and who my father proved to be. During my grandmother’s lifetime, I discovered that she knew either before I was born or shortly after that my father had a history of molesting children. One of my father’s prior wives had been trying to locate my mom without success. The woman was able to share her warning with my grandmother so that she could tell my mom. This did not happen. For whatever reason, my grandmother decided that my mom had chosen her path and the consequences that went with it.

It is difficult for me to imagine such a coldness of heart that would cause anyone to treat their own children in such a way. Yet, I do fully understand how our past can twist our mind and actions without the healing grace of Jesus. A part of me hopes that my grandmother was blind to the consequences to me, as the child of such a monster. Learning of my grandmother’s betrayal was not as crushing to my spirit as you might think it should have been. Again, as we had never developed a love relationship, there was little emotional loss only the regrets and sadness of what should have been. And also, by the time I learned about the whole situation, betrayal felt very normal, even expected.

One of the last times I saw my grandmother, she was in the hospital due to cancer with all of her children surrounding her bed. At one point our eyes met, and she hoarsely whispered my name. There seemed to be such a desperate sadness in her eyes. I longed to tell her that I really did love her and give her a hug. She reached out an arm towards me; though as I started to move forward, my aunt blocked my way so she could comfort my grandmother. I wish my aunt had not interfered. I understand she was trying to care for her, but I believe there was a greater opportunity for peace lost in that moment – for both of us. I hope my grandmother was able to read the love and forgiveness in the tears forming in my eyes. I also wish I had been bold enough to step forward regardless of my aunt and say out loud that I loved her and that all was forgiven.

Thankfully, this is not just a story of woe. While it is tragically unfortunate that my grandmother lived her entire life under a dark shadow, she had at some point placed her faith in Jesus. Knowing this, I can say with confidence that she is now in glory and completely healed of all of the scars from her life.

Reader, I hope you learn from my grandmother’s mistakes. Please don’t hold on to the hurts and pains of your past. Our relationships with our families and friends are so valuable. Our lives are short, and God means for us to really live each day he has given to us. We cannot really live if we are shackled by our past. While we cannot free ourselves, we can be saved by Jesus and His Holy Spirit. He is the only one who can heal us and free us from all of our hurts and wounds – none are too great for Him to conquer. With Him, you can really live!

Blessings. ~ Deb

You Almost Died?

For many bloggers, I am sure their moms subscribe to their blogs. I am no different (thanks, Mom!) And when, in your writing, you share how you almost died or experience some other scary situation, there will definitely be a reaction from the moms. In my last blog, I mentioned how my husband and I almost died (in separate situations) within the first three months of our marriage. I could feel the question hanging out there somewhere…What?!?

Wednesday night, we had dinner plans with my mom. Her and I enjoyed conversation and spent time admiring the plants, birds and caterpillars in her garden while my husband made the meal ( a delicious pork tenderloin in her new air fryer). It wasn’t until we sat down to dinner that the question finally came out. “So, you almost died…?”

I shared my story first. As I wrote earlier, this was right at the beginning of our marriage, and I was only 20 years old. We were both enlisted in the Air Force; but as we were just married, we were still stationed at separate bases in the Florida panhandle. Since my husband had a motorcycle, we rented a trailer closer to his base than mine. This gave me about an hour and a half commute each way. It was not ideal; however, we knew it would be for short duration.

Now, when you picture our home in Florida, please don’t envision beaches and palm trees. We lived in the middle of nowhere in the interior of the panhandle which is more like Alabama than the typical image of Florida. The first significant leg of my morning commute was almost board straight – mind numbingly so. Each side of the road was a never ending wall of tall pine trees. I was required to report to my command before 6 am so it was also very early. I rarely saw any other cars, mostly just fog.

Did I mention I was young? I had a bit of a leadfoot in those days. Here we come to the part where I almost died. It was one of these early mornings with not-so-great visibility due to a light fog. Knowing I never came across other drivers, I was doing about 75 mph. For a split second in front of me on the road, there was a small flash of red. Due to its small size and its brevity, it was amazing that I saw it at all. Add in how early it was and how my brain was not fully awake, it was downright unbelievable! But I did see it and immediately applied the brakes. I came to a stop just behind a large tractor trailer hauling large logs. There were no lights on the truck. It was just parked in the middle of my lane. Had I not seen that brief flicker of light, I would have driven my car into the back of that truck at 75 mph. Curtains. Instead, my life was blessed with a miracle.

Over dinner, my husband shared his two stories. I will not tell them here for they are his stories to share. Sorry! But please know, they are just as miraculous. Neither of us thought much of any of these experiences at the time. In fact, my husband had forgotten the most spectacular of his stories! It is a great story, and I am thankful to God for its happy ending. God is good. All the time.

P.S. If you follow my blog, you may have noticed a change to the author name. Up to this time, I have been using an alias. I have decided to forego the alias thus the change.

Thank you for reading!

Do Not Despair

As life pours out hardships, struggles or pain, the world tells us to fret and despair. It can be tempting to throw up our hands and give up when things get tough. The evil one wants us to believe that we have no hope. “See, there is always something horrible happening. There is no hope for you.” I remember hearing these lies as a child. “Your life will always be filled with pain. You will always be trapped in this hell. There is no hope for you.” The devil uses these lies to diminish and defeat us, keeping us from our God-given purpose.

For many years, I believed these lies. When I met Jesus, He started to reveal to me His truth. First, He showed me that He cares for me by rescuing me when I asked Him for help. And He did this when the world considered me to be nothing just a poor, weak child.

Second, He began to help me understand why I had gone through such suffering. The world is broken. It is not as God created it to be. And people are broken, filled with sin, and not as God intended us to be. In our sin, we hurt each other. This hurt destroys relationships which creates a domino effect of pain and sorrow which flows through our families, communities and nations.

Third, He showed me that I did not need to stay trapped in my despair – current or past. In fact, I could use my experiences to help other hurting people and to fight injustice. My painful experience gave me empathy and compassion for other people – people I have never met and even people how have hurt me, intentionally or not.

Finally, Jesus has given me great hope. He has shown me over and over again that He will never leave me. He is always with me even during the darkest days. And He reminds me that “joy will come in the morning.” He has filled me with His Holy Spirit so that I can rely on His love, His gentleness, His kindness, His strength to walk-through any situation. I am never abandoned to face situations in my own weakness as long as I rely on Him.

There are times when life still overwhelms me. During those times, I quiet myself before God. He lovingly reminds me of His goodness and faithfulness. He restores my soul and my hope. Hope in the Lord will never disappoint us as it is a gift out of God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. His love and His hope are available to anyone who will ask in faith. Will you ask Him for hope today?

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ESV

O, Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and You have healed me. Psalm 30:2 ESV

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 ESV

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 ESV