Posted in Devotional, Family

“In Sickness”

When you said your wedding vows did you ever really think about the promises you were making to someone?

All these milestone anniversary celebrations I’ve been seeing on social media, along with hubby being ill and in the hospital, has me thinking about life and the responsibilities we take on.

Like me, many of you were probably young when you got married and 20 plus years later find yourselves quite a bit different than you were back then. I think we all change, mature, focus on different aspects of life, figure out what matters and what simply does not.

…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”

Most of us said those “for better or for worse” vows and not once gave it a second thought. We never imagined that we would be anything other than happy, blissfully in love, and old and gray enjoying our grandchildren well into our 80s or even 90s. It never crossed our minds that we would go through bad times, hard times, worse times, or that one of us would have failing health and sickness.

I know on my beautiful wedding day, almost 28 years ago, the thought of dealing with “for worse” or “in sickness” didn’t enter my mind. I was marrying someone I loved, and we would live “happily ever after.” First, we would buy a house, then have kids, and it would be a perfect little life forever and ever.

That’s what I wanted to believe because every girl wants the fairy tale. Right?

But, in reality I had tucked any of those “for worse” thoughts way in the back of my mind, buried as fear that I hoped would never be truth. Problems wouldn’t plague us, we would always love each other the exact same, nothing would change, and we would stay in that fairy tale forever.

So I hoped.

Isn’t that just being young and naïve?

The thing is we really don’t know what we are in for when we take those vows. We cannot see what path life will take us down, nor the complications we will encounter. The choices we make, the chances we take, and the laws we live by will all have some sort of impact on us and our relationships.

But, when we are standing at the altar, staring in the eyes of the one we are about to say “I do” with, none of that stands in our way. We think we are prepared “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.”

But, I promise no one is ever prepared for that. Not really.

We cherish the happy times and believe the better will outweigh the worse, but in reality life is hard and “for worse” is inevitable at some point. They say all’s well that ends well, but that’s not always the case either. We just have to believe God has a plan for us, and trust our life happens the way He intends it.

Just as everyday life seems to have no normalcy for society these days, my life has been on that course for awhile. I have been learning to live in the path God has designed for us and my “for better or for worse” vows are something I remind myself of often.

We all are guilty at some point or another thinking we have it so bad, until we really do. But, the truth of the matter is someone out there always has it worse. On some days, I feel I am the friend who has it worse, but in reality I know that belongs to someone else.

In spite of all the sickness, the pain, the heartbreak, the tears, the worry, the inevitable….In spite of all of that, I am blessed and grateful for my own health, my children, my family, my memories and all the “for betters” I have in my life. There are so many happy memories, so many good times, so many blessings, so, so many. And, I am grateful for each of them.

When you are feeling down, think about your own “for betters,” your health, your riches, your love, and everything you cherish. They far outweigh anything you can imagine. Don’t lose sight of them, don’t take them for granted.

You made those promises, but you were never promised which ones life would give back. xoxo

Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Wonder Why

Ever wonder about the reasoning behind why things happen or why we choose to focus on the thoughts we do?

Lately, I’ve been catching myself asking the why in everything. Not that it’s necessarily bothering me, but rather providing me a sort of peace of why some things just have to happen.

Today, after reading my devotion I started to wonder why all the situations happening in my life are a surprise to me. A flood of questions filled my mind, but I know there’s only one that holds the answers.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:5-6

Of course in these times, when so much is going on around us, I can’t help but include cancer in the equation. And, I cannot help but think perhaps somehow this is all connected. One thing always leads to another.

Lives are intertwined, I do believe that, and only God could produce such a complex masterpiece.

Even in these uncertain days, we have enjoyed the togetherness. Still, that is transparent because deep down I know, in the middle of all of this, there is something else.

I would like to imagine our family meals, hours spent with each other and slower pace of life comes without strings attached; however, in the back of my mind I know that cannot be true.

As the calendar turns the page, it reveals a new treatment timetable, billing cycle and appointment schedule. Time doesn’t stop and neither does life, nor the roles it holds.

For every thankful moment we have, another one is taken from us, and there are some we simply cannot get back.

Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, proms and graduations. Those days will come and go and be lost forever. However, time lost in some situations is time gained in another. No matter what the scenario, we will never regret what we acquired with those we love.

And, I am reminded these days will be made into memories my children will cherish as a period spent with their dad which otherwise they may not have had.

The treatments will continue, the bills will pile up, the monthly appointments rescheduled, the occasions lost, but the impressions will always remain.

Call it a catch-22 or call it a blessing, but for my children I will call it a silver lining.

My heart breaks for all the lost events and celebrations, the unfairness of it, the selfishness, the choices that have cost so much.

Every family is going through their own uncharted waters, manuevering our way the best we can, leaving a sort of emptiness behind. In a sense it is unsettling, but I am careful not to overlook the blessings before me. There are two sides to every coin.

Don’t be naïve and ignore the grace of God. We have it in our life every single day. In every bad situation, we can all find a silver lining if we just look for it.

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6
Posted in Devotional

Fear or Faith?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5

I have always been a christian, just at times a better one than others. We have all faltered in our life in one area or another, right?

I will spare everyone my lifetime of church and worshiping; however, in my younger days church and God was a big part of my life. Then later, there was a time I was very angry at God. I was angy at several things, several people. I guess for awhile I didn’t realize how angry.

In the last several years, my life, like many moms, has transformed into something I hadn’t prepared for early on. My children were growing up. I had wanted to go back to work, fulfill my ambitions, and put some accomplishments under my own belt. I found myself wondering why I hadn’t started already. Why I didn’t go back to school and get another degree? I had talked about several avenues, but I hadn’t started down any of the paths.

But, maybe I didn’t because it wasn’t the time. I know that now.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,  a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

Ecclesiastes 3:1-5

After my husband was diagnosed with cancer I struggled for awhile. The anger, the uncertainty, my children, our family, my plans. It was all too much to digest and think about.

For a long time it took great effort to get off the couch everyday. My world was just a very unfamiliar, dark and lonely place I didn’t want to be in. I worried about everything, stressed over anything, and was so unsettled about all things. It was overwhelming, affected my health in a number of ways, and made me a mental mess. My heart was broken, suffering for my children, and honestly it still is.

But, if I have realized anything about this pain stricken journey it is one thing…you can never lose hope. When tragedy strikes you have to have something to hold on to.

I have faced an abundance of fear, most often without a say, but I have learned over time to do it with grace, love and a great deal of prayer. With the help of a few supportive people who have become so close to my heart, I have learned I cannot get through these obstacles without God.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

Trust those who love and support you and trust in the Lord. It is all we can hope for, and without it we will live with a fear that will adversely affect how we live our lives.

I have heard so often, in many situations lately, that we cannot have both fear and faith. It is the truth! We must choose one. Either we trust in the Lord and choose faith, or we worry and have fear in everything.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

When I stopped being mad at God I found my faith again. My mind was less confused, my heart was less burdened, and my overall health started to improve. I stopped worrying so much, I didn’t stress as often, and I found myself at peace more often than not.

Fear brings worry and stress and pain and uncertainty in everything happening in our lives. It steals our joy, robs us of our peace and makes us question everything by living in an apprehensive state. Fear is a denial that God will take care of everything.

Faith is a gift from God. If we trust in Him, study His word and use it in prayer, our faith will grow. It’s not an achievement or something we find in ourselves, but rather something we are gifted when we put our belief in the Lord.

The only thing we should fear in our life is God Himself.

Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.

Proverbs 14:26

Just as we grow in trust in our relationships with our fellow man, we must also grow in our relationship with God. The more we pray, the more we use scripture in our prayers, and the more we trust the closer we become to Him. Fear comes from the trials we face, but trusting in God during these times makes our faith stronger and in turn makes us closer to Him.

The devil may chase you, he may knock on your door, he may challenge you, but use God’s word and trust in Him to help you defeat the evil that surrounds you.

I pray for strength every day. I read my devotions and I read scripture. Throughout my journey I know God has saved me. My life is better because I have trusted in Him, and I have handed over the reins to the problems I cannot control. It’s a daily chore for me, and I sometimes waver.

Often, I lose sight of my surroundings and begin a fall into a downward sprial I struggle to get out of. It happens more often than I want to admit. I lose my bearings on what my heart has taught me, and I question my own thinking. It is a battle within my own self. Paranoia sets in, I fight for my self worth, and I question who to trust.

Lately, I have been struggling and feeling like every step I take presents another stumbling block. It’s overwhelming, and I feel the darkness surrounding me. These are the times I normally pray for strength, but lately I grapple with getting in the right mindset.

But, it is an unnecessary wrestling within my mind, a rhetorical question.

Fear or Faith?

I read a devotion today that spoke to me in such a way that I knew the Lord was addressing me. With so many uncertainties in my life at the moment, I relish the moments this happens to me and I especially take note of the circumstances.

I felt God’s light shining on me. The Prince of Peace was speaking to me, and I know it is a serious moment when I have these strong feelings. It is a time I have reason to worry, but yet a time I know I need to hand it over, trust and let Him lead me.

For all of those who struggle with your beliefs, waver in your thoughts about God and the spiritual world I would like you think about this. My life consists of living in the midst of storm after storm. The darkest storms that are so strong I cannot survive them alone.

I am not speaking of “alone” as in a physical state, but rather a lonely darkness that I live with while surrounded by many people. Do not confuse it with something you necessarily know. It is a loneliness you can never imagine unless you have actually lived in it.

For me, there is only one path to take in order to survive and that is not with fear. Fear would consume me just as a tornado consumes everything in its path. Hope and prayer and faith are the only solutions to help me escape.

I will always choose faith. I may fall and I may falter, but the light of God will shine down on me and guide me into the way of peace. xo

Because of and through the heart of tender and mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us] to shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:78-79