Ghosts

I’m being haunted…by myself. Ghosts of an old me are drifting in and through moments of my day and I’m not liking her. The skinny ghost…the one who weighed 118 on her best day. The ghost with long hair…she floats through too. The tan ghost…oh well…I know now that pale is actually ok. I’m taking way better care of my skin! The size 4 ghost…where are my sweatpants even though it’s 95 degrees right? 

Those are surface ghosts…the superficial ones that manifest whenever I see “post workout posts from Facebook friends”. I’m proud of my beautiful friends and all their efforts to be fit. Trust me ladies, you’ve more than earned the right to post your amazing figures, your calorie count, and how many miles you ran. I’m proud of you. 

But my beautiful ghost is haunting me.  Easy enough to fix right? Get off your butt and go for a run. Typing the words actually triggers a physical response …terror. It’s so raw that I’m writing this but I feel I need to get it out by at least saying it.

My biggest ghost is running. I used to run every day and I used to love it. It didn’t matter if it was a short two or if I was training for a half marathon I loved running. If I was ever in a store the only section I’d go to was the workout section. I’d ask for running shoes for Christmas. Cold mornings were so exciting for me because I knew I could run farther and I couldn’t wait . I’d find great music to download on my iPod and away I’d go. Just me…running, or I’d run with a friend.

I can’t do it. I’m too scared to. I’m pretty sure I know why and I’m scared to bring that to the surface. The last half marathon I ran my mom came to help with the girls because Craig was out of town.  She cheered me on and was there for the whole thing. I wasn’t alone because she was there. 

I’m haunted because it’s a part of my life that I used to be so proud of. I was proud of how I looked and felt but it’s also a part that emotionally was so tangled…like that stupid spider web you walk into and immediately you look like a karate ninja…you know what I’m talking about. I’m not that spider web of a mess anymore but I feel like every time I see people running it triggers a very strong physical response from me. I cry.  Do you know how many runners there are in Celebration? I do! I’ve got the Kleenex to prove it!

I had a runner friend ask me the other day to join her in a 10K and I could barely get the words out that I didn’t run anymore. Her face was shocked. That and all the other sub-ghosts swirling around are telling me it’s time to chase this ghost away but I’m scared .

I had a wonderful visit with a friend last week and we opened the Bible and meditated on a random chapter…a randomly chosen chapter by us but not by God. It was Hebrews 12. After reading it she asked me what stood out to me and why. I didn’t share the initial thing that jumped off the page but I will here: verses 1-3: ‘And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding it’s shame.’

God puts those words in front of me. He knows my ghosts, and the word that jumped out at me was ‘run’.  I need to get past my ghost of running and I know how to chase it away: by keeping my eyes on Jesus. I’m still so scared. Help quiet my fears Lord Jesus, help me chase this ghost away. I can’t do it on my own. Honestly, I’m so scared. Love and belief everyone❤️

Gratitude

How thankful are you right now? How thankful are you? How do you express your gratitude when you’re thankful? 

When a simple ‘thank you’ just isn’t enough…when saying the words is all you can do in that moment but it’s nowhere near what you are screaming on the inside. 

I said thank you last week to my prayer group but I was so overwhelmed I could hardly speak.

Here’s why I’m thankful. My father in law was rushed to the hospital Tuesday morning for multiple issues and honestly it seemed like he wasn’t going to make it. Without going into his medical details I knew it was serious enough to force my husband to get in his car and rush to north Georgia in the hopes he would make it in time to say goodbye. 

All he kept saying to me was …”I’m not ready for it to be today…just not today”. How well I know that feeling because my today was robbed from me. I didn’t make it in time to say goodbye to my mother and I didn’t want that for my husband. I just prayed that Craig would make it in time…and thankfully he did. I didn’t want him having any regrets about doing everything he could to get there.

Just as bible study was getting ready to start I started receiving calls from my husband about the deteriorating condition of his father. I kept telling him to just get in his car and drive to Georgia to see his dad.

As I stepped back in the room, Holly asked if everything was ok. I didn’t want to hijack the prayer group but I briefly explained what was going on. Immediately without any hesitation, Kim stands up and tells me to to move in the center of the room. A chair is placed and I sit down and two seconds later the entire group is laying hands on me and praying for my father in law! 

The Holy Spirit is alive, well, real, and thriving!!! It was in that room the whole time. The prayer wasn’t for a miracle, it was simply to ease his pain…just quiet his pain…

The prayer ends and we all sat down and got to the lesson of the day. I’m sitting there…actually floating there is a better way to describe how I’m feeling. I can’t process that these incredible women just put down whatever they came in with that morning, flew out of their seats and gave it all to Jesus for me. The magnitude of that moment…I’ll never be able to fully express the feeling that was in that room. It could have moved a mountain if it needed to. It could have swayed a hurricane out to sea. It could heal a mostly non-believer.

I went to lunch with a friend after bible study and asked her point blank what his odds were for survival based on everything we knew. She bluntly but with love (thank you Patsy) told me it would take a miracle to have him live. I then went into funeral planning mode, mentally pack my bags mode, and who am I going to get to feed the fish while we are gone mode.

When I talked to my mother in law later on in the day I told her about the prayer and how everyone laid hands on me and the prayer that was prayed….she burst into tears because she said that his pain subsided throughout the day and how it was a miracle that it did!!!

In that moment we only knew that he was in kidney failure, having heart problems, and that they had found a huge mass on his prostate. We weren’t sure which surgeries would be needed and in what order but she did tell me through tears that she felt the prayers throughout the entire day because his pain gradually subsided as the day went on.

So here’s where things stand: he has a long way to go and many more uphill battles to climb but Wednesday was not his day to die. 

And here’s where I fall down: I fall down on my knees with my face planted on the ground and my arms fully extended in front of me…fully submissive to Jesus and whatever he wants from me. I fall down because I can’t stand on my own without him and the sisterhood I am lucky to be a part of. I fall down because in the presence of what I’ve felt and experienced this week I dare someone to stay standing. I fall down with gratitude…over and over again I fall down. 

Thank you is nowhere near enough. Use me God to help comfort someone else today. Help me show my gratitude to you and to others. Guide me wherever you want me to go. Thank you for showing me who you are through my Wednesday bible study group.  I fall down with gratitude because it’s all I can do. 

Love and belief everyone.

Momma’s army of mommas

Ladies…you came through like nothing I’ve ever seen. Actually, that’s not true because when my mom died you came through in ways I couldn’t even fathom. It’s no accident the people surrounding me are as wonderful as they are. They are given by God to take care of each other and this weekend it was my turn.

Elizabeth came screaming downstairs in the middle of the night this past Sunday. I swear, all the scary stuff happens in the middle of the night right?! Poor thing was doubled over, screaming in pain, shaking, and whiter than a ghost. I didn’t have time to think, threw her in the car and left my 5 year old sleeping in my bed. I can’t be in two places at once and I don’t want to bring Lauren to the emergency room. So I made a quick decision and left her at home.

55 miles an hour in the Prius in a 25 zone and frantically calling people on my cell phone I finally got ahold of Heather and Jeff. With no questions asked they woke up, walked over to my  my house and took care of Lauren. Miracle number 1 of many: The kindness of friends.

Miracle number 2: Jan. I must have called her (I don’t even remember) and she went immediately to my house, picked up Lauren and brought her to her house and then packed a bag for me and came to the emergency room to be with me. No questions asked and she knows me well enough to not listen when I tell her to stay at home. Thank you Jan. My crisis Momma who drops everything at a moments notice.

Elizabeth was taken back right away and given a CT scan with contrast. Poor thing was poked with needles and iv’s and the whole time didn’t cry. She ‘yes ma’am ‘ and ‘no ma’am’ everyone she came in contact with…even while being in the worst pain of her life. Blows me away. They gave my baby morphine…morphine….because that’s how bad she was hurting. 

The doctors came back and said it was most likely her appendix and that they would be transferring her immediately to the children’s hospital via ambulance where they would most likely have to remove them via surgery. 

Surgery? Morphine? She’s 11… she’s 11… my first baby….all I can do is freak out on the inside and play like this is no big deal on the outside. Acting comes in handy sometimes although this is not the stage I want to be performing on right now! 

We get in the ambulance and there is miracle number 3: the name of the ambulance is ‘Angel 2’.  The sweetest driver kept my mind busy the whole drive and I saw the most beautiful sunrise over the interstate. God gives you beauty no matter where you are. 

We arrive at the hospital and are put in a room with the sweetest nurses. My phone is blowing up…literally it shut itself off because there were so many concerned friends wanting to know about my baby and all of them letting me know how much they were praying for us.

Miracle 4: Melissa. She called me and told me to put my hands on Elizabeth where the pain was and to pray over it. I did…I put my hands gently on her lower right side and prayed for God to quiet her body, for the doctors to be able to see clearly what was wrong, and to be able to help her heal. I prayed for God’s perfect peace to be over her and her body.

Miracle 5: The surgeon came in about 5 minutes later and said that no surgery was needed. It appeared to be an infection in her appendix but was not appendicitis. I’ve never heard of such a thing but he gave me many reasons as to why he thought this. I’m sleep deprived and all I can think to do is say ‘thank you’. No one needs to cut open my baby. Breathe….. breathe…this amazing news happened 5 minutes after I laid hands on her and prayed over her.

They are going to keep her the rest of the day and overnight to monitor her and I’m so relieved. Now to try to answer some texts and keep people updated.

Miracle number 6: I had so much time to read the Bible and share with Elizabeth. What a beautiful way to slow down, get into the reading of God’s word, and to share that love and excitement with my daughter. 

Miracle number 7: as I was reading the Bible I read this verse: Matthew 9:22. “daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well”. Amazing right!? That exact verse right in front of me. 

The rest of the day and night were as peaceful as they could be in a hospital and there was even a surprise visit from Auntie Bekah and Uncle Steve. Elizabeth was beside herself with Joy to see them! Thank you Bekah and Steve for coming to see her and for bringing me a steak dinner, my pillow, blanket, and most appreciated of all….my iced tea!

We’re home now and are tired but good. While I’m watching her like a hawk I’m confident she is on the road to feeling better.

To Sean and Ray Ray: thank you for talking with me and for being so concerned and loving. Like we needed this to happen right!? 

To my medical mommas: Dara, Kate, and Michelle who have doctor husbands…thank you for praying for Elizabeth and offering their listening ears to answer any questions I might have. You’re all amazing.

To Meli for telling me to pray the specific prayer you did. It worked! You’re incredible. 

To Heather and Jeff for coming over at 1:30am. Thank you.

To Jan for taking care of Lauren for me for 24 hours, and somehow managing to take care of me…you’re gonna enjoy those TJ Maxx gift cards whether you like it or not!

To Holly, Kari, Dinah, Kim, Kristen, Kim, Lisa, Kerry, Tonya, Tania, Tamara, beautiful Laura, thank you for your prayers, for encouraging me, the love and empathy, the presents for Elizabeth, the grocery store run for me….thank you.

To Celimar, who hurricane shopped for me and lugged gallons of water in high heels…you are the hands and feet of Jesus. I’m so grateful for your sweet help❤️

To the army of prayer warriors who I’m lucky enough to know…thank you for everything…absolutely everything!!

To my Lord and savior, thank you most of all for carrying me like you always do and for giving me such precious women to call my friends. Thank you.

Too Quiet

Dear mom, 

I love and miss you as always. Both girls are in school now and the worst part of my day is right after I drop them off at school and come back to an empty house. The silence is deafening at times and for once I have a quiet house and I automatically think I should call you because I finally have a quiet house! The first time in 11 years that things are quiet enough to have a conversation with you. I’m still on autopilot thinking I can just pick up the phone and call you. I burst into tears this morning when I came back from bringing the girls to school. I sobbed in my kitchen and held myself up on the countertop. I just wanted to call you on the phone and I couldn’t.

One of the things I’m so thankful for about you was that you always listened to me and were so understanding of whatever I would be going through. You didn’t have to solve my problem, you just listened to my hurt, repeated it back to me, and assured me that you understood my feelings and that you were sorry I was feeling sad, angry, hurt, etc. I really wish you were still here for so many reasons, but mostly because today was just such a rough day. It’s more than just missing you. It’s more. 

I don’t feel like my best self. I’ve gained 7 pounds and I have no interest in working out. I never want to run again. I’ll ride a bike but I don’t want to run anymore. I guess I equate running with you. You were the last and only one to cheer me on when I ran the Celebration half two years ago. I just can’t do it. Too many waves to navigate. Too many sad memories associated with it.

Just like I can’t go back to St. Pete or the beach either. It’s just too painful. 

You know the other things on my heart too. The things I’ve talked to you about time and time again. The things that you would respond to me by saying “I understand”. Those feelings of not measuring up, not making the cut, not feeling like I’m worthy of any effort.

It was so quiet today. No phone ringing off the hook or kids playing video games.  So I kept busy baking pumpkin bread and tried to keep moving. I’m ready for fall and hoping things will pick up with my selling. I stamped 250 bags today with my logo and pumpkin stamp.

I’m starting to feel like you sometimes because I suggested to Elizabeth that we watch a romantic comedy on tv tonight and she volunteered to do her extra reading homework instead. Bummer….I know you’d watch one with me in a heartbeat if you were here. Maybe I’ll just watch it by myself and you can pull up a cloud in Heaven and watch from up there.

My faith is really strong even when I’m sad. I don’t feel like I’ve been particularly inspiring lately but even though I haven’t been loud and boisterous…I know that there’s good in the quiet. 

Maybe that’s something for me to consider… learn to like the quiet…learn to embrace it…learn to listen for God’s voice and direction. I’m not good with quiet. I thrive on being busy and feeling accomplished at the end of the day because of all that I crammed in. I read the Bible every day and I pray too. I’m grateful for that quiet time to have with me and the Lord. It’s the rest of my day that I struggle with sometimes. I just miss you. 

 Into the Woods: “Mother cannot guide you, now you’re on your own….nothing’s quite so clear now…feel you’ve lost your way…just remember…someone is on your side…some one else is not….while we are seeing our side…maybe we forgot….someone is on your side….no one is alone.”

I love you so much mom…if you could send me a little sign, a cardinal, a butterfly, anyone falling down in a public place…I’d be so grateful ❤️…just anything.
Jesus my lord and savior, I love you so much. I just miss my mother right now too. 

Susanna

Let go

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been busy with summer and navigating life with a fresh teenager. Talk about finding a new way to parent over night! 

Funny how life recycles and gives you new challenges to deal with while also allowing old stuff to surface in new ways. I would like to say for the record that I don’t like old stuff coming back to bite me in my already tired and deflated rear end.

The past is in the past and I’ve really tried to deal with it, find my peace, find out how to not make the same mistakes I did back then, and really chew on what I’ve learned about myself in the process. What was my role in all of that? What did I do to contribute to that mess and how can I make sure I don’t do that anymore going forward? I thought I had that figured out…and then it comes back once again with fresh enthusiasm in a different yet the same light. Really!? Come ON!!! 

I guess I still have learning to do. I’m the kind of gal who likes to put a bow on it when I feel I’m done and put it away. God’s got a different plan for me though…figures…his way and not mine. Want something to change? Chew on it…here it is Susanna because you’re not done with it yet. Pray for patience? God will give you trying times …sweet Jesus I’m having some!!!!!! Exactly how much more do you think I need right now Lord?

So I climb. I climb every day I climb. Some days the climbing is easy…like going up a flight of stairs, like climbing an easy rock climbing wall…big circles, solid footing, obvious places for my hands. Easy parenting day…easy climb. Horrible day of sadness…tiny rocks, no footing or places for my hands to grasp…but I have to climb anyway. We all do.

Old garbage coming back to visit with no solution in sight? I don’t even know what that rock climbing wall looks like because I am standing at the bottom looking up at a slick wall with no rocks on it! Climb anyway…climb anyway…I’m trusting God and climbing anyway. Find footing with careful filters…learn from past mistakes and find places for your hands to grab through prayer and keeping your mouth shut!

While the climbing is easy or difficult depending on the day it’s not the real challenge…the real challenge is when you’re at the top and you have to let go. You have to let go of what you are holding onto and trust that your harness and your rope will carry you gently back to the ground. 

I’m terrified of rock climbing but I love it anyway! Every time I go I am excited to get harnessed up and then I stare at the top of the first wall and come up with excuses not to climb. I push through my fears and up I go. One foot and arm at a time. I look straight in front of me (never down) and take it one step at a time until I reach the top. Here comes the terrifying part…time to let go of the wall and float down trusting your harness and rope to hold you. 

Every time I consider just climbing back down on my own and not letting go of the wall but every time I take a deep breath and let go. It’s where faith steps in and carries me…every time. I’m scared but I know the only way down is to let go…to trust God and know he will carry me.

He does…every time.  I’m shaky at the bottom, scared, proud, and terrified at the same time. Thank you God for carrying me when I let go. I don’t like walls with no footing but I know it’s the wall in my path right now. I’ll climb it because I know you’re my harness and rope.

Get to the top and then let go. He’s got me…he’s got you too❤️

Joy in the morning

More transparent than Saran Wrap…. that’s me. All my tears flow… freely at night. I cry, I sob, I wail when I know my children are upstairs in their beds…the loud wailing, completely open and raw. Gutted, completely gutted and exhausted to the point where I have bloodshot eyes the next day! The most horrible sounding wail that surprises me every time with how raw it sounds. I’ve never cried like this in my whole life.
However, I always tell my husband that everything is fine in the morning. There’s joy in the morning Craig so don’t worry…everything is always ok in the morning. Don’t worry about me honey, I’ll always be fine in the morning.
God bless this man. The vows have kicked in this year and then some… for better or worse… he’s carried me this year….”worse” hit on November 10th when my mom died and again this week when we found out her death could have been prevented and we, thanks to the Florida Legislature can do nothing about it. Can’t sue…no retribution whatsoever. Talk about a kick in the gut. Fresh tears on an already gaping wound. 
Here’s the beautiful part….there’s ALWAYS a beautiful part….Read this verse today and as always it stopped me in my tracks….weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning…it does…every time. 
I wake up with a peace in my heart, a beautiful peace, and a fresh day. A chance to thank Jesus for every single thing he’s done to change me from the inside out….that peace is straight up Jesus y’all….it’s not me. I’m nowhere near capable of anything like that.
What I already knew in my heart is actually a bible verse and I found it….no way that was an accident. My hands are raised to heaven with nothing but amazement and gratitude. 
Thank you Jesus for it all. I’m so grateful. What’s he done for you today?

Bekah

“If happy little bluebirds fly…. beyond the rainbow…. why oh why….can’t…I?”

Seriously… today of all days, this week of all weeks. I promised to come through for you and I failed. Failed miserably and feel really stupid too. Sissy was on a mission to bring something out of all of this…to try and give something to you, Sean and Ray Ray…and came up empty handed. 

Why? Why do things get out in your path if you can’t do anything with them? Why add salt to an already gaping wound? Why say “here’s what you have and it is 100 percent wrong in every single way and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it!” Oh and by the way…. happy birthday!

Happy birthday? Happy!? Really!? How about just ‘birthday’ this year. Honey, I know how you feel and I want to scoop you up and fix it. I want to scoop you in my arms and give you the kind of hug you don’t want! 

I want to pet your hair and watch Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and laugh for two hours until it’s over and reality sets back in.  We’ll each have a couch and in a perfect world we’d have Rachee with us and a bottle of wine. Actually in a truly perfect world we’d have mom here and we’d welcome the opportunity to share a couch with her and have one of us rub her tiny little toes. 

Sadly that’s not the case. What’s a word that’s 100 miles lower than ‘sadly’? Find it and insert at the beginning of the paragraph. I can’t fix this. I am so so sorry. I can’t fix it. 

I’m the fighter. I’m the one who goes to battle with a vengeance. I didn’t even get the chance. ‘No’ is just a starting point for me but in this case, no actually meant no. I don’t know what to do with that. I’m just so so sorry. 

You deserve more this year. We deserve more. We deserve to have our mother here giving us hives before we even know she’s coming near us. We deserve to have her driving us nuts with 10,000 emails a day and technology questions. We deserve to be able to go to her immaculate house and cook in her tiny kitchen. And you know what???? She deserves to still be here. She deserves to still be here. She just does. 

This week was worse than the day she died. That’s a big thing to say but I think all of us would agree that this week was worse than her actually dying. 

I’m just so sorry Bekah. All I can do is love you with all my heart and insert my inner lion when needed.  It’s all I have to offer and it can’t come close to what you need and deserve…I’m so sorry. 

I love you Sissy so much. I would take on everyone’s grief if I could. I would find the ruby slippers and make sure they got back on your feet where they belong. I would melt the witch. I would give the lion his courage, the tin man his heart, and the scarecrow his brain. I’d crush the wicked witch of the East and bring our world back to black and white….if only I could. I love you so much Bekah. You, Sean, and Rachel are everything to me. ‘Birthday’ Bekah…There’s no place like…

Dear Rachel,

Dear Rachel,

Look at you! Graduating from Parsons! Honey I am so proud of you! I know all the hard work you’ve done and I am so proud! You set your mind to doing this and you did it.

I always loved your decisive spirit. Going shopping with you was always so much fun because even as a child you knew exactly what you wanted once you saw it and were determined enough to find a way to get it. You wanted to go to Parsons and you did! All because you decided to go and you jumped through all the hoops to make it happen! New York is lucky to have you and you are going to soar at Express. I couldn’t be prouder.

I know you miss me. I know you are sad at times. I know you wish I could be there at your graduation taking annoying amounts of pictures and wondering where I could get a baked potato and some unsweetened tea for dinner. I know we can’t email like we used to. I know.

I also know your heart. Your amazingly huge heart and your ability to love wholeheartedly the people in your life. Rachel you are my sweet sweet, always sharing, always thinking of others daughter.  There’s not a selfish bone in your body (it all went to Susanna😀). Even as a child you’d get a pack of gum and the first thing you’d do was offer a piece to everyone and then take the last one for yourself. My sweet, selfless Rachel.

Your qualities have served you well. I raised you right. What wasn’t taught by me and dad you were blessed to have just by being ‘you’. I’m so so glad I decided to have a fourth baby! You completed our family Rachel Woods and you bring nothing but joy, happiness, and excitement wherever you go. You were always an encouragement to me even when you didn’t realize it. Thank you for your daily emails and for always checking in with me. I cherish those memories. 

I love you so much Rachel and I’m so proud of you! Happy birthday and happy graduation! You have the world ahead of you and your possibilities are endless. I’m so proud to be your momma…both in Heaven and on Earth. While you may not see me and be able to give me one of your rib cracking hugs every day, just remember this:

I’m the very fast flying roach you see when you flip the light switch on in the middle of the night, I’m the cardigan on the beautiful lady when it’s 90 degrees outside, I’m the sale at Talbots, I’m the Clinique lipgloss, I’m the St. Tropez self tanning towels, I’m the Mac that freezes up, I’m the printer out of ink, I’m the CELL phone, the vacuum cleaner that runs before 7:00am, that stupid Susie Wong movie, the glass of unsweetened iced tea, a bag of M&M’s, anybody 5 feet short and under, Siamese cats, Converse sneakers, Mary Kay makeup, a full cart at Target, a new Honda Civic, red hair, White Musk perfume, Pantene hairspray, a breath of fresh air, I’m the moon and you will forever be my sunshine….my only sunshine…you make me happy when skies are gray…you’ll never know dear how much I love you so please don’t take my sunshine away.

I love you Rachel. ❤, Mom

Motherless Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. Mother’s Day is almost here. I’m struggling with this one for obvious reasons. This is the first Mother’s Day where I won’t have a mother to celebrate. For all those motherless moms out there, I have now joined your club. This is one I didn’t exactly choose to be a part of. None of you did right?

I get going on auto-pilot into my day and it’s the quiet moments when I would normally pick up the phone to call you or email you that sting. I still want to call you. I haven’t deleted the home number off my phone because I just can’t. I laugh when I”m doing something you would consider ‘loud’ as I talk on the phone with my friends because I know you would always ask me to call you back when I had a quiet house. That’s usually never! It’s the one memory though that actually makes me laugh. Everything else pretty much makes me cry when I think of you.

Rachel is graduating next week and we are all going to be in New York. You should be with us too. I, like you already have my bags packed and am practically waiting by the door with my purse in hand ready to go. I know you would have picked out all new outfits to go, and we would have flown up together. Sadly that’s not the case. Bekah, Rachel, and Sean…well you know how they are doing.

Here’s what is so hard…I am a mother and my girls are going to want to celebrate me on a day when I am going to naturally be sad. The ads on TV are killing me. Anything with older moms and their daughters is like a dagger in the heart. Three generations of girls with pretty lighting all baking in a kitchen..someone put me out of my misery.

I have to admit this and allow myself to feel what I’m feeling right now. I am so so sad. I miss you momma so much. I truly miss you with all of my heart. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I assumed I would have you around to drive me nuts for many more years to come. You’re not here anymore and I miss you so much. I catch myself all the time saying “Did that actually happen?”  “Oh my gosh….she’s gone…she’s really gone…”

I didn’t make it in time to say goodbye. I was stuck in traffic screaming at the top of my lungs for all the cars to move and they didn’t. There I was with Lauren and Elizabeth in the car, calling everyone I could at the hospital, calling Rachel in New York and telling her to get on a plane, and every phone call came with worse and worse news. I finally got to your house and dropped off the girls. As I’m flying down the brick streets trying to get to the hospital Bekah calls me and tells me that I have to be the one to tell the doctors to stop working on you. I’m screaming “noooooooooooo” and help me Jesus I don’t know how I made it to St. Anthony’s. Bekah has the most level head in times of crisis…I don’t know how she saw what she saw that day and did what she did. It’s absolutely gut wrenching.

I got there too late. I didn’t make it. They let me go in and see you and the only thing I could whisper was “momma…momma….momma”. I carefully hugged you, I pet your hand and I rested my head beside you.  I was hoping you would wake up. I was so hoping you would wake up. I’m so selfish because I wasn’t ready to let you go. I know this isn’t about me but I’m still not ready to be without you mom.

I don’t want your furniture here… I want it in your house in St. Pete. I don’t want your dishes, towels, clothes, jewelry, makeup or perfume here either. It all belongs in your house in the Old Northeast. I want you here for Mother’s Day… not your things, not your memories. I miss you so much. I just want my momma. I want you here mom. I want you here.

I’m not angry, I’m not hopeless, I have no regrets whatsoever… I just miss you and I’m sad. I love you so much momma and I’m just sad. I know you are in Heaven with Jesus and are overjoyed. You deserve that and I’m so happy for you. You have perfect peace and a whole new body. I can’t imagine it being any more beautiful than the one you had on earth. On my best day I’ll never be half as beautiful as you mom.

I’m comforted by Jesus. I’m surrounded by Sisters in Christ. I have blessings beyond measure. All of these things thankfully allow me the opportunity to grieve for you whenever it decides to come out, so that when it comes out I can cry a beautiful cry that simply is born out of true love for you.

I’m going to allow these tears to fall, and I’m going to ask for comfort from my friends this week as I am genuinely missing you right now. I may not be inspiring others daily like I try to do all the time but I also know it’s ok. It’s ok for me to be sad. It’s ok for me to miss you. It shows you just a fraction of how much I love and adore you.

I love you momma. I love you so much. Happy early Mother’s Day to you in Heaven.

Sisterhood

So I’m now friends with about 5,000 women. I don’t know their names, I don’t know their stories but after what I’ve just experienced I am confident to call them friends and more than that, true sisters in Christ.

I’ve just spent the past day and a half fully immersed in a retreat. I have never been to a retreat before and I was nervous for a whole 5 minutes. And then that all went away.

I only knew about a handful of the women going, was sharing a room with a complete stranger and because of God in me, couldn’t wait!
Take every insecurity about being with 5,000 women and throw it out the window. My hair looked like cotton candy on a humid day, why did I even bother to wear makeup because I just sobbed it right off as soon as the singing started, and yes, I put on my pajamas after the event, stuck my hair in a bun and hung out with some more strangers…
Those strangers weren’t strangers after another 5 minutes. Warm, funny, relatable, genuine, authentic, welcoming, each of them with a sense of humor and a definite sense of purpose.

I was so exhausted after a long but incredible day that I had to go to bed. My roommate came up about 20 minutes after I went up and my well thought plans to stay up and get to know her flew out the window, or rather sunk into my fluffy pillow because I was out…… nighty night!

Trusting the weekend to God and not me, sure enough, my roommate and I started talking  the next morning as soon as we woke up and it now feels like I’ve known her for years. The layers you skip when getting to know someone because you simply don’t have time and you want to get to the core of who they are…. those layers… the sisters in Christ layers.

The talking about your love of Jesus without reservation, the sharing of your life experiences, where you are with your walk with the Lord, and what do you know but she’s so much like me?
Amazing, it’s all God….divined by him, given by him. It’s so hard to describe.

I’m so grateful for the vulnerability I have now. The open-ness,  the experience of hearing Beth Moore, singing and praising God at the top of my lungs with arms up… praising him, thanking him, and not caring how I look to others.

Beth Moore said that there’s a world of difference between accepting and embracing Gods love and his plan for us.

What was in my head all growing up has now moved to my heart. This happened about 9 months ago. I went from a spirit of accepting God to embracing him. I now am not only embracing him but I am now embracing my place in this gospel story!

I have felt like a long time like I have something that I want to say but I never knew what it was… until NOW! I want Everyone to know Jesus like I know him! I want to share my story, what he’s doing for me every day, how he’s changed my heart, my soul, my life!

The light switch got turned on 9 months ago but this weekend the bulb got changed…..and now is brighter than the sun! You thought I was motivated before?! Just wait til I get home!!! I can’t wait to get back in the real world and hopefully inspire, listen, and be a better sister in Christ.

This weekend was absolutely amazing. Thank you to Jan for taking the girls for me, for Craig for so graciously encouraging me to go, for Holly, Lorraine, Celimar, Brooke, Kim, my new sister Rochelle, and the 5,000 other sisters in Christ who I am so honored to have been in the same space with.

Embrace this God life and let it invade every part of me! Bring it!

#lproof17 #inspirational #christian