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.
This is a new adventure for me, I like that is not something I have to travel to do. It can be done in my jammies and I work it into my day. I also love that the group is diverse, and they are really interesting ladies! I have wanted to get up and participate in the group.
So my favorite scripture so far this week:
That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! 2 Timothy 1:5 (The Message)
I usually try to look at several version of a passage I am working through it. I settled on the message version because it stated that the faith was handed down ~ I liked the mental image I received from that. As I was meditating on it another passage came to mind:
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. Genesis 20:5
I was reminded of the generational curses, the things that are passed on to my child through my habits. This topic is explored in recovery ministries a lot, as so many of the coping mechanisms that I have used were taught to me by my parents. It also reminds me of the faithfulness of God; not in the bad stuff but the good things as well. My Father is one who wants to bless me, He is waiting to give me the life He has designed for me. Changing generational habits/hang ups changes the generation that comes after, as my daughter sees me leaning into God in the rough times she learns of God faithfulness and has a tangible example of how God is a living God that works today and not only through history in the Bible. This gives her a personal experience to draw on in her times of need. I love that she and I get to walk this out together, and that she sees that a relationship with God is much better than the rituals of a religion.
I was reminded this morning that I need to be specific in showing my daughter God’s hand in providing for the needs and answering the prayers, rather than keeping that as my personal treasure. This will help her build her faith as well.
Yesterday when I was dropping her off at school I heard something that reinforced what I have learned this week. The radio station I listen to is in the middle of a gift card drive for a town in Alabama and this is what a pastor emailed to one of the hosts. ” I used to believe in coincidences until I realized that when I prayed I saw more coincidences.” It just reminded me of whom I need to be giving the glory and how easily left to another’s interpretation God faithfulness can be explained away.
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.