Sometimes you can be caught unaware by life in general. Loss of a job, circumstances that force you to move to another city, illness, changes in income, broken relationships, broken hearts, broken homes. You have been cruising along, your best life within your grasp, then comes a shift. This shift may bring surprise, but begins with barely noticeable changes. When that shift is big enough and fast enough, the suddenness of it can bring life revisions of macroseismic proportions. You feel as is the floor has literally fallen away. You are tumbling through space with no way to slow, much less halt, your free fall.
I was raised in the church. My father was a pastor. His father had been a pastor. One of my uncles was a pastor. One of my brothers was a pastor. One of my brothers-in-law was a pastor. So, yes, I was raised in the church. One of my first problems? I couldn’t reconcile what was taught from the pulpit with my real life. The life we lived when the doors of our home were closed was nothing like it was portrayed when the church doors were open. I never really knew Jesus. I grappled with who HE was preached to be and who actually came home with us after service. I felt as a very young child that I did not want to be a part of the double life. So, I pretty much turned off my heart to everyone.
I lost small pieces of me throughout my early years. Abuse, physical, emotional, and verbal, took several pieces. Molestation took pieces. Rape took a sizeable chunk. I was lost emotionally, without any real knowledge of what love could be, could feel like, the succor it would provide to a lost soul. I longed for an emotional connection. True love. Meeting my husband was a miracle in and of itself. He was a preacher and I had sworn off all preachers. But, God! God set it in place. God knew what I needed. God loved me even when I had no knowledge of who HE would become as my centerpiece. My husband is the most kind, loving and generous man. He is absolutely everything! He is my Love, my Best Friend, my Teacher. Watching him father our children, I finally understood the concept of our Heavenly Father. I was able to open my heart and love fiercely and completely. I no longer noticed the missing pieces of me. I had, throughout the years, attained wholeness.
I kept contact with some family members, reunions and the such, but always left in tears because of the pain of being unacceptable. Ironically enough, I was unacceptable because I wouldn’t join in while they made fun of others. I would not ridicule with the crowd, and ended up always being the one who happened to turn at the wrong time and caught them making fun of me or one of my children. The gossip filling the rooms, usually another word for lies, was heart-breaking and baseless. I would not be that person, and my husband let me know on the trip home one night that I was under no obligation to return to any family event and I did not.
It took a good twenty years, but I was emotionally and mentally healthy. God had proven HIMSELF faithful over the years. Our family was growing. My oldest son was married and having children and oh, the joy that filled me. I knew that being a mother was every dream come true for me. I never knew I had a dream of becoming a grandmother until I was one. My heart was full!
I had a few health issues, but with my beloved family at my side, I kept pushing day after day and pretty much kept it hidden from outsiders. There were days I did not feel like moving, but allowed no quarter for that behavior in my life. I was an active participant in my family’s lives and would not, could not, give in or up. I pushed past the limitations. I delighted in spending my time loving my babies.
Then came cancer. While I was battling cancer, a virus struck my beloved husband’s heart enlarging it to four times it’s size. They did not believe it would come back. They had begun to talk about a heart-transplant. The fear that overwhelmed me was palpable. But, GOD! My rare cancer and his heart? Both healed completely by the loving hand of God. It was just another beautiful moment when God had placed HIS healing hand on our lives.
Eight short months ago, I was diagnosed with a genetic condition which caused my body to inherit COPD. First my grandfather and my mother had it and passed on. Then my sister, the one family member I have stayed attached to, was diagnosed. Finally, me. I was at the end of stage 3 of four stages when I was tested and diagnosed. It was a complete blow to my life. It was stunning for my family. I hurt more for them than for me.
There was no cure and the most they could promise us, was comfort. I knew, from those who went before me, that my death would be agonizing and slow. I grieved for my family. I had maybe one more good year. My husband did not deserve this sentence. My children did not deserve this sentence. They deserved to dance with joy and abandon all the way to Heaven. They did not deserve this detour. I begged God to heal me. I bartered with HIM. I shouted at HIM. I sobbed and pled with HIM. The only response I received was HIS Comfort and Love and the assurance that HE has me in HIS everlasting arms. It was enough and I finally began to cope. I had lost another piece of me, but I would walk on in confidence that my Lord was watching over me. I had the added blessing of being surrounded by a family I adored.
Then, my confidence started to waiver. I was beginning to have new issues. Problems that were scaring me. Scaring me to the point I would keep secrets from my family so they would not worry. I knew I needed to get back to the doctor. So, I did. I was diagnosed with something that will again take pieces of me that will never be recovered. That appointment will be covered in Pieces of Me ~ Part II as it takes a while for me to write now. Many of you know my story up to this point. I will still invite you along for the journey for if it can help one person? That makes the pilgrimage worth the effort.
Do I still believe in the healing power of Jesus? Of course, I do. I also believe in HIS keeping power while we walk in HIS will for our lives. No matter what, I’m going to trust HIM.
Remember ~ I love you but Jesus loves you more. Always and forever.