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3 Words, 2011 in review

This post is inspired by a blog post by Beth Moore. We were asked to contemplate 3 words that would describe 2011, I saw the post on the 31st and thought … a lot.  I knew that 2011 was a hard year for me, both blessings and loss. I have come to realize that life is just that.  While most of my adult life I have struggled with finding peace in my past I just assumed once I found that peace the present and future would somehow be easier.  I was reminded by a counselor that nowhere in the Bible does it say I was called to an easy life. I am trying to embrace that truth … as you can imagine some days are better than others.

So my three words are:

1. GRIEF –  I was diagnosed with cancer in Feb 2011, after being admitted to the hospital and what seemed like hundreds of test, they ran one precautionary one that they assured me afterward looked fine. Then came the call and the flood of doctor appts after that said otherwise. I was extremely fortunate, one operation cleared my risk. Only a three month detour on my journey, I am still working with the taking that happened as a result and how that changes my idea of what recovery would look like.  Then as I was coming out of the hospital my brother John was going in, at 32 yrs of age his battle with Leukemia (AML) would take him home to be with the Lord.

2. FAVORED – I have been under employed in a part-time job since 2007 when my architecture internship went the way of the economy.  In the midst of doctors appoints and the craziness of those three months, God blessed me with a temp to perm job.  I had no guarantee it would go permanent; I had to step out in faith.  He blessed me with more than I was hoping for in salary, benefits and working conditions. It will allow me to finish my internship as a mental health counselor (giving away twenty hours a week over this next year) while working full-time which is only 35 hours a week at this company.  God knew what I needed, not what I was asking for.

3. PEACE – in all the loss that has happened this year, I found even in the times of my greatest grief I have never been alone. He has used the spiritual family He had given me over these past three years to love me through this. My family of origin is strained at best, there was no communication through everything that I was going through and the funeral was unbearable. I have learned to find peace in the things He has given me and to long less for the things I cannot control.  I am thankful for this recovery journey He has led me through over these past 3 years, without it this would have been the year that my anger would have been uncontainable and my religion shattered.  I finally came to a place where I knew the knowledge of my Father’s character was greater than my understanding of my circumstance.  He is waiting to bless me, and wants good in my life because of who He is. My life is still unpretty as I am working through the grieving but I am so secure in what He has called me to do and who I am in Him. I am so thankful for a relationship with Him rather than the religion that kept me in my hurts, hang ups and addictions.

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Cron

Childhood experience and dysfunction colors how we believe God sees us and the road to where that misconception is corrected, is always a story I love to hear.  We can all relate to varying degrees, no childhood is perfect, no parent without flaw – this book is a remembrance of that journey to where God would have him.

Ian walks us through his childhood, shifting between present and past and tying it together with a sense of humor I can appreciate it. He doesn’t candy coat the pains of growing up in an alcoholic home.  He doesn’t excuse the continuing of that generational issue in his life, but honors me with a glimpse into the journey that broke the pattern.  Ending the book with a glimpse into a sweet moment with family in which he made different choices, and showed the influence a father has on his son.

Ian caught my attention with the title and a few pages in I knew I was going to appreciate the journey:

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to … Home is just not a place; it’s a knowing in the soul, a vague premonition of a far-off country that we know exists but haven’t yet seen.  Home is where we start, and whether we like it or not, our life is a race against time to come to terms with what it was or wasn’t.”

I enjoyed the thought that the author put into tying each quote to a particular memory or set of memories which gave me clear picture of the weight of that event in his life.

Because I am a person who appreciates packaging and how things are presented, I thoroughly enjoyed the graphic that was used as a break between stories.  This also did a fantastic job of weaving that first memory through the whole book.

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 buckeyes, I enjoyed this author’s voice and the journey he choose to share.  This book came at a time when I needed to hear it and be reminded of a journey I have taken in my life to wholeness, not perfection.  Just a little closer to how God wants me.

Find out more about the author on his blog:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

SSMT Memory Verse 12

Siesta Sister Memory Team; it is that time again.  To see what my Siestas are memorizing this last half  of the month click above.

I must say I am sooooo excited about a new aspect of this …. YES it does have to do with viewing on my SMARTPHONE!!!!  I love my EVO baby!!!  No forgetting that sexy little book at home (see image above ~ yes it is cute).  If you are a tech loving girl like me … follow your link and download for your smartphone too.  I am hoping it is a better motivator!

This is one of those times when I like another translation of this verse better …

7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7

I love the verbiage of “spirit of fear”; that is a better description of where I stumble.  In my fear, it is not a timid ~ it is usually paralyzing!

timidity – adjective, -er, -est.
1. lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; easily alarmed; timorous; shy.
2. characterized by or indicating fear:  a timid approach to a problem.

For me this adjective is a descriptor of something else.  It just doesn’t seem to emphasize how much I have lacked the faith in my Father.

fear – noun
1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
4. reverential awe, especially toward God.
5. that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.
For me, my fear is a mental place I go to when I am leaning on myself to work out the problems of my life.  I can appreciate the real or imagined part, when I only consult me and I dwell on the possible outcomes I lose my peace.  I am so busying getting into damage control mode, I don’t let God work through me, in me or around me.  I do see ME as the problem.  I realize I want to prepare myself for all possible out comes so I can have my best game face on when I am disappointed.
This current season is teaching me to let the future take care of itself, to do all I can and know God is working things out for His purpose in His time.
34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mat 6:34 (NIV84)
I do love the promise of what God does give me; power, love & sound mind.  In the moments when I surrender to my fear it can feel crazy and out of control.  I love knowing that when I am where God intends me to be I am not crazy, maybe temporarily out of control.  Life looks messy now, and it will for sometime but there is a peace that exists under the most trying circumstances lately.

Women in the Word Wednesday – Week 2

I have enjoyed that the scripture I have seen over the last week and half works so well with the intro to the book. I could tell it was leading in that direction but I just didn’t realize there was a book out there that would articulate so well what is missing in my desire to be a parent.  I didn’t feel like the odd man out with how I felt and Sally had the courage to voice it first!

I would have to say today is my favorite passage.  Two of the version of Luke 6:40 struck a chord with me ~

A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.  (NASB)

An apprentice doesn’t lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher. (The Message)

For myself, I just liked the way these two translations used different language to convey the same idea.  It reminds me to take seriously my calling as a mother, I  would be so delighted to see Jasmyn with a desire to do God’s work at a younger age than I was.

The over all idea that impressed me this week between the scriptures and the readings, is that there is a trainable truth that can be given to my daughter.  In this season that is my primary mission.  I spent so many years wondering and questioning why something was the truth.  I was raised that truth was what my parents said and it may or may not had Biblical roots. But the Bible was not where answers were searched for.  I just saw it as two people’s opinions and rules being forced on me.

This wandering led me places I shouldn’t have been and in the process of staying there I became a single parent.  This study, just in the intro has reminded me why I usually don’t do these studies.  Motherhood is so intertwined in marriage, as it should be.  It reminds me of my failures, and where I was when I started this journey.  I love that I could share that with my GMG group and they were very encouraging and supportive.

This song came to my mind as I was thinking through this and I just love that where I have been has been covered by the cross.

O He died, He died to rectify my hopeless situation
And His blood commands my guilt to leave
Now on Calvary I stand
Empty pockets, open hands
O there is no condemnation for me
~ Forgiven & Loved Lyrics ( Jimmy Needham)

Which I know is grounded in truth because:

”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”-Romans 8:1-2

I love that writing scripture into songs has a long history in my faith.

This study was put on my heart because I want more for my daughter. In order to help her into the women I know she was created to be, I have to look at what is Biblical truth and work out where I failed, to show her how to follow Christ better.

I love that Sally addressed the reasons I have taken so many parenting classes and countless books over the years.  She described a commitment to the mission field of motherhood that I thirst for. I am looking forward to the scripture and the life lessons she is going to share through her book.

Life circumstances change and it gets hard

Hmmmm … where do I begin, because I just need to begin …

I was recently tempted to change the signature in my email; I use my current life or year verse and a quote from Jennifer Rothschild that I found years ago and absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE.

“Your honor and value come neither from what you do nor from others’ opinions.  You are honored because God has touched you with His presence, promise and provision.  When His eyes look on you, you are bathed in honor”

Back to the scripture, I will come across a scripture that just speaks to me in that season of my life.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   –   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

And it did and does, but life circumstances change and it gets hard, especially that last part.  In the time that I had noticed this verse, it was a time of struggle too.  It was a different kind of struggle and I cannot even remember now.  (So I will note to self, journal with more details)

The current struggle changes my life in a physical way, I found out a little while ago that I have uterine/endometrial cancer.  Which means the only option for me is to remove my uterus and call it a day.  I am not married and did not plan on ever having more children, however to lose that ability naturally would be easier to handle.  To lose that to cancer seems so unnatural and what do I do with that.

I was never a person who admitted to having dreams, it is hard to keep up a protective barrier in my life and be vulnerable at the same time.  You see the contradiction there.  In my recovery journey God has done some funny things, the revealing of dreams / hearts desires.  I was never a child that planned out a wedding or even saw where a marriage fit into my life.  Trust me when I say that my daughter was such a God plan and not mine.

In this last year I have just had this desire to be married, I know took me by surprise too. I wasn’t sure what God was trying to point out but I wasn’t really sure I liked to admit that somewhere really deep was a desire to have a man that could take care of me and share my life with.  So when I got this news I was/am angry at God.  I didn’t want to know I had this dream but then to have that dream changed in a way I certainly would not have wanted.  I want to be part of a “normal” family ~ the white picket fence … etc.  I wanted it the way my mind saw it, no deviation.

Then my counselor pointed out that I seem to be attributing this “taking” from my life to be from God.  That is when she pointed out this verse:

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. ~ John 10:10-11 (NIV)

Then she asked me to explain my position that my cancer was of God rather than the targeted hit that  I had just identified.  My thought process is, God grants miracles every day.  Healing that even doctors define as miracles, so why this now?  I do not understand how God chooses the miracle process, if I look back over my life and the situations I have been in I can see His fingerprints all over my life.  What I am going through doesn’t change my love or faith in my Father.   This is just one of those times where I would like to get an advanced copy of how this story plays out.

I am not saying that I cannot get married or that my future husband will not have children of his own or that adopting is not an option.  It just looks differently than what my dream was.  This grieving process that I am going through is healthy, before the recovering Tammy I would have thrown myself into one of my addictions and denied the dream ever existed.  There is progress and I know God is bigger than my anger.  Right now we are creating another hallway that has fingernails down the length of it, but I know God is good and has a perfect plan for my life.