Then Jesus moments

Hello my friends. I hope the New Year is treating you all kind. So far it’s been good to me.

I was excited to get to back to church as the new year unfolded. I had surgery on my back in November and between the recovery and holidays I had not been able to go. (No worries the kids and I still got our Jesus on with songs and praise here at the house. They love “Jesus music”) I hate missing church and was thrilled to be back surrounded by fellow believers.

The message was out of John. A message that I have heard many times over the years. Short version: Jesus is away teaching when He receives word that his friend Lazarus had fallen ill. By the time Jesus made it back to his friend, Lazarus was died. Then Jesus spoke “Lazarus come out” and Lazarus did. (You can read John 11 1-44 for the full scripture text)

That’s the power of Jesus. That’s the beauty of miracles.

What are your Then Jesus moments? This was the question our Pastor asked. And I have pondered the answer to this question for over a week. Have I even had a Then Jesus moment? The answer is yes. Many actually. They might not be as big as Lazarus rising from the dead, but they have saved my life in more ways than one.

The night my husband (now ex-husband) tried to end my life comes to mind. In the mist of the attack I begged for my life, he laughed and said he could throw me over the banister and everyone would assume I had fallen down the steps. I dangled over the staircase with thoughts of my children and family racing through my head Then Jesus spoke to me and said “You are not alone I have you.” As I felt Gods presence I found myself back on the floor. He had changed his mind about throwing me over.

After my divorce I focused on my two children. I had no interest in finding someone. I would not put myself or my kids in a position to be hurt again. Then Jesus brought Todd into my life. He made me smile again, laugh again, and love again. Things I thought I would never do again. For the first time in years I felt safe, loved and wanted.

Then Jesus placed us on the journey of foster care. Our world has changed in so many ways not only by the children we have been blessed to adopt but also with the children that were with us for just a season. Our eyes and hearts have been opened to things I did not expect. My older children have grown in the process as well. They take their roles as Big Sissy and Big Bubby very serious, it warms my heart just thinking about it.

With our children we have experienced Then Jesus moments countless times. From car accidents to illnesses, college acceptances letters to working IEP’s, from autism diagnosis to RAD diagnosis, and everything in between. The fact is Then Jesus moments happen all the time, we just need to recognize them. They may be moments were you decide what job to take, or how many kids to adopt. They may be moments where you get to make an unplanned trip back home to see your mamaw. You get to sing with her and she asks about all the kids. The following week you get the call she’s gone. They may be moments of healing from illness, or cancer, or pain. They may be moments your autistic son says I love mom. They may be moments of all your kids get along. Then Jesus moments happen everyday everywhere. We have to open our eyes and see more of what is going on around us.

We may not all of moments like Lazarus, and that’s okay. Our moments make us who we are who God wants us to be. Take a few minutes (or days) and think about all the Then Jesus moments in your life. I’m sure it will bring a smile to your face.

Thank you Jesus for all of my Then Jesus moments. You have been with me through my darkest nights and brightest days. Your unending love brings me comfort when I can’t make sense of this world. Thank you for believing in me and providing me comfort when I need it the most. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next.

Love and prayers always

Robot Mom 2.0

In order to fully understand this post please go back and read my blog Part Mom/Part Robot sort of.

My last surgery, I was told the new batteries they were placing in my SCS’s (spinal cord stimulators) would last me between five and six years. That was last June. This past Friday I found myself back in the surgery room undergoing the knife one more time to replace the batteries. Where did my five years go?

Dealing with back pain/neck pain has become part of my normal. I do not complain about, it’s just part of who I am. Maybe it’s because I don’t complain that people do not see me as someone who suffers with a chronic pain. Just to clear things up not all illnesses or health issues can be seen. Just because someone is not in a wheelchair, or using an oxygen tank, or someone is not using crutches does not mean they are fine. Many chronic illnesses or pain issues can not be seen with the naked eye.

It is much easier to say I’m fine when someone asks how I’m feeling than to actually go into what all hurts. It’s been my experience that when most people ask “How are you doing?” they are just making small talk they don’t actually want to know how your doing. The truth is most days I am fine. The SCS’s have really made it possible for me to keep a somewhat normal life. But there are days I hurt, days I can’t move, days I wish the accident never happened. On those days I wish people could really see what’s it’s like for someone to live in constant pain. Days like today.

A few months ago my generator started saying it was time to replace my batteries. I thought there had to be a mistake so I called the doctor and scheduled an appointment. When I went in I was met by the doctor and the programming team. They laid me down and ran the scans to see what was going on.

They adjusted the programs and reset the batteries and sent me on my way. That lasted three weeks before my unit started flashing replace batteries soon. I called the office back and scheduled yet another appointment. At this appointment it was confirmed that my SCS’s were in fact dying. Both batteries were going bad, just my luck. After father investigation it was determined that my spine is covered in scar tissue (countless surgeries will do that) making it hard for the electrical current to get from the leds to my spine. This was making the batteries work over time to get push the current through in order to keep the SCS’s working. That in turn drained the batteries, which is why my five to six year battery life only made it a year and four months.

So Friday I had yet another surgery. New larger batteries were placed in my units (one on the left side of my lower stomach area and one on my right side lower back area). They worked on my one on my back first then flipped me over and replaced the one in my stomach. In a few days I should be back to my normal but today I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

This will fix the problem short term but there is still scar tissue around my spine so another, more complicated, surgery will be needed down the road. Sooner than later. It seems to be never ending.

But even with all the downsides I am thankful. I do hate surgery but because of it I am still able to walk. The scars will fade and the pain will subside. I am thankful because with each passing year the medical community gets closer to finding a way to permanently fixing those in chronic pain. I am thankful because with my SCS’s I am no longer on pain medication. I am thankful that I am still able to be the mother and wife God planned for me to be. I am thankful because I still believe in miracles and one day I will be healed. And oh what a day that will be.

From our beautiful chaos to yours don’t be so quick to judge others. Just because you can see their illness or see what causes their pain does not mean it does not exist. The strongest people I know cry behind closed doors in pain so they don’t worry those they love.

A Salute to My Favorite Veterans 

In honor of Veterans Day I thought I would talk about a few of the finest men I know.  I am honored to have/had them all in in my life.

I have several uncles that have served our country proudly.  Two however I would like to tell you about, my uncle A and my uncle L.  Both of these men helped shape my life in more ways than one.

When I was younger I belonged to a clogging (an Appalachian form of dance) team.  I along with my brother, mother, and father all danced on this team.  So did my uncle A, aunt and cousin.  We practiced weekly and on most weekends we performed at different festivals.  I loved those days.   Our two families are close thanks to those times.  We also spent many of our “free” weekends at my grandmothers and if we were there you could almost bet my aunt, uncle and cousin were there as well.  In fact most of my childhood memories include them.  I would give anything to have him spin me around the dance floor one more time to one of our old routines.

Now my uncle L is on my dads side.  He has a love for motorcycles and for Jesus.  He is one of the sweetest men I know.  He always has a kind word to share and he makes sure to tells me just how much he loves me every time I see him. When I was younger and still lived at home he, my aunt and their two kids lived less than a mile from me.  Family is everything to him.  And I will never be to old for one of his bear hugs.

I am blessed to have had both of my grandfathers serve our county as well.  Both Papaw W and Papaw L served during World War II.  Papaw W was in the Navy and Papaw L was in the Army.  My Papaw W always had a story to tell and made sure we knew who the greatest hunter/or fisherman was. Later in life he would quiz me on Bible verses or share a passage that he thought was interesting.  My Papaw L was my rock when I was a little girl.  I spent most of my early childhood days at his and mamaw’s house.  Having them as our neighbors made it easy to see them daily.  We would pass the days by working in the garden or playing games of Canasta.  I would ride in the back of his old black Ford pickup truck to the store were he would buy me a soda and candy bar for under a dollar.  Those were the days.  I would love to be able to hear just one more hunting story from Papaw W or to be able to play one more game of Canasta with Papaw L.  I know they both watch over me in all that I do.

I even married into a family that has served our country with pride.  My father-in-law was in the Air Force and my husband was in the Army.  My father-in-law fought in the Vietnam War.  He is the best when it comes to being an all around great guy.  From the first day I met him he welcomed me into his family.  He showed me how to eat chicken wings and helped introduce me to NASCAR. He is the first person people go to when something needs done.  He works with his church making sure all the local kids have food to eat through the back pack program and he is always the first one to offer to help if something comes up.  He would give the shirt of his back if he thought someone needed it. He is also a pretty awesome papaw to our little ones, just ask any of them.  When he says “I love ya girl.” I know he means it.

My husband, my hero, my rock, and my partner.  He fought for our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He always has my back no matter how crazy things get.  He works hard to provide a good life for the kids and me.  He opened his heart up to foster care when many others would have said no.  He makes me happier than I have ever been. He is my shoulder to cry on, my go to guy when I need good laugh, and my stealer of the sheets at night.  My favorite place in the world is in his arms.

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I also have many cousins and friends that have served the Red, White, and Blue proudly.  To all of them I say THANK YOU!!!

The point of this blog is to show that our Veterans are not nameless people or people without faces.  Our veterans are everyday people.  They are someones grandfather, father, uncle, cousin, husband, son, daughter, aunt, mother, or grandmother.  They are real people with real families yet they choose to serve to give us the freedoms we have.  They sacrifice so much to give us opportunities many Americans today take for granted.  Freedom is not free.  It comes with a cost few are willing to pay.

So today, as well as every day, if you see a veteran thank them for their service.  I am honored to be part of a family that has served our country over the years.  To all those that have served or are currently serving I salute you.  Thank you for being you.  And God bless you.

 

My Happy Ever After

Ten years ago I was in a dark dangerous place.  I was depressed, hurt, scared,and trapped in an abusive loveless marriage.  I was alone. The few friends that did know what was going on turned out not to be my friends at all when I finally found the courage to take my children and get out.  11 years was enough.  I could not physically or emotionally take it anymore and my kids were getting old enough to see what was going on.  I did not know how we would make it I just knew if I stayed I would not survive. So with my two kids in my arms and faith in my heart I left the only life I had known.
I was not sure God would give me a second chance at being happy let alone falling in love.  I was not a bad person but I had not always been a saint either. There are things in my past I wish I could change but what’s done is done. I have asked for forgiveness and I truly believe God has forgiven me. I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday hoping to make the world a better place for at least one person.  But I’m human and still did not feel I was worthy enough to be loved again.  That’s when God sent Todd into my life.

I don’t talk about him much on here.  He is a pretty private person.  However yesterday we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.  That completely blows my mind.  How did I go from unloved and broken 10 years ago to getting married to the love of my life 8 years ago?  I’ll tell you, it was Gods plan.  I’m not saying God planned on me being abused and getting a divorce. I’m saying He took the darkest point in my life and found away to shine His love through. 

Todd came back into my life when I needed someone to show me love, compassion, understanding, and friendship. He finds the good in me when I don’t see it. He makes me laugh and makes me feel safe. He is more than just a husband. He is a terrific father to all of our kids, my two older ones and the five we have adopted. In his eyes they are all his kids he does not show favoritism. He loves them all and cares for them as only a father can.  He taught our oldest two how to drive, cried as our oldest daughter graduated college, cheered as our oldest son played his sax at band competitions, he has changed his fair share of diapers and made more midnight bottles than most men I can guarantee. He works crazy hours to provide for us and always makes sure we have what we need.  He has stood by my side when friends and family questioned us about becoming foster parents, about adopting one more child, and about moving 300 miles away from everyone.  He has my back always and supports me in everything.  I am so thankful God crossed our paths again. 

We don’t do many gifts for each other, our focus is always on the kids but this year he has surprised me on a few occasions.  He knows the move was hard on me, I had lived in a 15 mile radius my whole life, moving out of state after 40 years was scary.  He has went out of his way to show me how much he appreciates me this year with little things.  Things I never expected but will forever treasure.  I am truly blessed to be his wife.  


The point of this sappy blog is this.  We all deserve happiness, we all deserve our happy ever after.  God is a God of second, third, tenth, and twenty chances.  He loves us so much that even in our darkest points He is working on a better brighter life for us.  Don’t lose faith.  You may not see Gods plan for your life, I know I didn’t, but it’s there waiting for you.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been. I know now what true love really is. I am now stronger, wiser, and beyond blessed. You can be too.  Just let go take that first step and trust that He will guide you through the storm and over whatever mountain you face.

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