We all have our own stories, and there is nothing that I’ve gone through that is near as tragic as some.  I just see now how the things in our lives, accumulatively, can shape and affect us in our journey – every word spoken or deed done, or left undone.  The damage that can so easily be done.  I pray for every single person struggling, no matter how little or how great, that they may find the strength and the wisdom to break those chains. 

I long ago apologized to my children for what I believed were my inadequacies and I hope that they are able to take that to remind them to always do better… to be the change that they wish I was.  I believe as parents we always want to see our kids to do better, be better than we were. 

I had maybe been ‘over helping’ my kids for a few years.  In my mind, to make up for all the struggles they endured growing up, to no fault of their own.  Many of you know being a single parent can be difficult.  But I see now that maybe that help could have been a bit of a hindrance.  Currently I am not in a position to do so, and I am seeing them grow.. changing careers, doing well.  I am very proud of them.  And very humbled, as this month they have been in a position to help me. 

I am in a season in the ‘wilderness’ right now, parts of which I am unable to discuss right now, pending an outcome.  Looking back though I’ve pretty much been in the wilderness most of my life, always searching… but not always seeking. 

God has always been here for me, but I haven’t always been there for him.  I’d like to address some of the asterix from earlier:        from something as simple as a child being told indignantly to move because you are in someone’s seat at church, on a holiday, even though that is where you have sat and been told to wait for your own family who has sat there the entire year before ..  to starting in a new church after moving and having a real connection with the pastor who ultimately is ‘let go’ due to politics that a teenager wouldn’t understand.  A teenage pregnancy resulting in “counseling” with a family members Baptist minister, who ultimately physically forced me to my knees in his office, chastising me for my sins, telling me to beg God to forgive me and that I Had to give my child up for adoption because my sins would become my child’s if I did not, that the only correct Love I could give my child would be to let him go, so that God would forgive me.  (this one really messed me up… I didn’t know who my own mother was, I could in no way give my child away… so I was afraid that this made me a bad mother right from the start).  I stopped going to church at this point as I didn’t believe worthy. 

Back to the Lutheran church years 3 years later..  New pastor  reached out to me out of the blue, asking me to come back to church.  I tried, but still felt the judgement of my past.  So did my mom, which was unacceptable to her.  But I stayed.. until he too was let go for what I heard was wearing jeans and not shaving his beard.    He actually called me after this and asked me to not let this dissuade me from continuing church.. I wasn’t going back, because it was just this type of condemnation that I couldn’t sit with… did not Jesus have a beard?   Did I have to go to prove to them, or anyone else that I believed in God?  I saw some of them outside of the church..  remember, I was a bartender of all things.  Take the plank from your own eye…      

When my youngest son was in high school, he began youth group in the local Methodist church, on his own.  I was very proud of him.  He asked me to go to an evening church service with him one night.  10 minutes into the service I broke down sobbing, to the point of walking out into the hallway.  I didn’t want to embarrass my son and at the time I didn’t realize that was the Holy Spirit that overwhelmed me.  My question today would be, had I stayed and/or continued would I have been able to better help my husband?  Probably not..

Aside from the personal care home, I also created the opportunity to start another company with someone I considered a friend.. a Christian friend.  When I found out about Dan’s drug use, he essentially wanted me as far away from the situation as possible.  Saying that though divorce is a ‘sin’ he felt God would understand.  I chose to stay, to try to help my husband overcome his addiction, and from then on that business relationship changed.  We used to talk daily, about business and about faith.  I mentioned that I had gotten Dan to start watching Joel Osteen, to which he stated negatively that that wasn’t real.. he was just a glorified motivational speaker.  My statement… but how can it be bad if it motivates someone to Christ.  End of conversation.  Back to being judged. 

These things are of people… they are not from God.  I am finally learning to stop looking to people for answers, and to stop living my life by opinions and emotions.  The only thing that matters is my relationship with God, and I believe I am in this particular ‘season’ of the wilderness now because He has called me to come closer to Him.  To seek, study, and long for God.  I am still not attending a local church, however Joyce Meyer has phenomenal messages almost daily.  She is real and she teaches from life experience, without judgement.  I encourage anyone struggling to check out one of her messages.  Another pastor I enjoy is Greg Locke… look him up, his messages are of strong conviction and his wife’s bible studies for women are great.  And I still watch Joel.. who doesn’t need a little motivation in their lives?

I refuse to give up on my beliefs, no matter the situation or circumstance.  No matter how hard things get.  God has a plan for us all, if we just listen.  And for me….  to stop trying to do everything on my own. 

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