facing reality: my kid hates me

It’s easy to pretend things are a certain way when you can’t see the reality of the situation, when you don’t permit your mind to go there. Sure, you have thoughts and ideas of how things are, but then reality comes along and slaps you in the face.

Until this point, I had no idea how bad it was.

You spend a good portion of your adult life pouring yourself and everything you have into someone just to have them hate you. You all know what I mean, I’m talking about our kids… I’ve often heard it said that if your child doesn’t hate you at some point then you aren’t doing a good job as a parent. I guess I can take comfort in that.

Look, I’ve already explained that I made mistakes as a parent. I know I’ve learned from those mistakes and because of them, I am a much better person and mom. But, at some point, your child (especially your adult child) must take responsibility for his actions and choices. He can’t spend the rest of his life blaming others for his current situation. And his situation, as much as he wants to pretend isn’t, is disastrous.

Truth Time: My kid is in trouble and he has no one watching out for him. After being separated from the Army, he moved back home. Two months of rules, which included paying rent and keeping a job, he decided it was too much responsibility. He made the choice to move in with his biological mother. We have been able to keep tabs, so to speak, on him through social media. We’ve seen the way that he is living and it breaks our hearts, especially because we know there’s nothing we can do. I chose to stop looking, not because I didn’t care, but because I cared too much. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

You’d like to believe that, wouldn’t you?! Your children are never out of your mind and are a continuous source of worry. But again, there is only so much you can do. I believe we gave the same opportunities to each one of our children. Opportunities to succeed in life and better themselves. They had choices and they had consequences to those choices. Those consequences could be good or bad, based on their decisions. Make a good decision, be rewarded. Make a bad decision and face the repercussions. By no means were our punishments out of the norm. Grounding, taking away electronics, etc; if that is enough to make you the world’s worst parent in the eyes of your child, then so be it.

My son hates me for wanting a better life for him. I had to accept that.

I was okay with him feeling the way he did about me, but to attack his siblings… that’s a completely different matter. And one I was not prepared to deal with.

Reality Hits Home: A friend of my youngest ran into his brother yesterday. The conversation went something like this:

  • S: You’re my brother’s friend, right?
  • C: Yes
  • S: F*** that guy.
  • C: You came over here to tell me that?
  • S: Nah man, but f*** him and that whole family. That whole family is a façade. F*** them.
  • C: What?
  • S: I heard he’s trying to get in the military.
  • C: He’s already enlisted, so he’s in.
  • S: Oh well, he’s just trying to one up me. F*** him.
  • C: What is the point of this conversation?
  • S: You know, man, just that whole family is f***** up and it’s all a façade.
  • C: O….K…
  • C walks away scratching his head, calls D to fill him in.

Now, the reaction of my other kids didn’t surprise me. They’ve been numb to this kind of thing for a while now. I guess lots of practice from dealing with previous similar situations. They went through feelings of sadness at the loss of one mom and now the loss of their brother, but they have been extremely resilient. So the reaction to this latest attack was laughter. They knew none of it was true so why give any validation to it?

I could learn a thing or ten from my two youngest. I really should have just blown it off and laughed, like they did.

But, y’all know that isn’t me… I had to over analyze every word and try to figure out the whys. If I could dissect every aspect of this conversation, I could find a way to fix everything.

First, I was heartbroken. Hate me all you want, but your brother and sister did nothing to you. Once the heartbreak passed, the anger hit. Anger, that’s something I’ve struggled with all my life. I get angry and then I want vengeance. Someone hurts me or my family and I want to punish them and make them hurt just as much. But, not this time. I know S is suffering. I know he’s not happy with the way things are and I know he has to want more out of life. So rather than be angry with him, I am choosing to pray. I will pray for him to figure out what’s important in life and to change his ways so he can accomplish and acquire those things. I will continue to have hope for him, the same way I have been hoping his mother would improve her situation over the last twelve years. I have hope that things will change and they will be happy and that maybe one day, we will be able to mend our relationships.

In the meantime, I will find pleasure in watching my youngest son and my daughter flourish. I will take pride in their accomplishments. I will continue to watch them work hard to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Goals that will allow them to be productive members of society, goals that will allow them to be happy.

After all, that’s what every parent wants for their kids, right?

 

 

 

Hope and the Movies

We’ve decided to hunker down at home and wait out the storm. Every channel on television is continuously showing the ever changing path of Hurricane Irma. Women, they can be so indecisive! So, what’s one to do when work and most of the city has shut down for the next few days? Get cozy on the couch and start a movie marathon. Thank God we haven’t lost power… yet.

Movies have always been one of my favorite past times. I love the way a story just comes to life on the screen. You get caught up in the lives of the characters and the plot. The next thing you know, real life ceases to exist; if only for the next two hours. I guess you could say that movies are a form of escape, if you so choose to use them for that purpose.

What happens when the movie ends? You remember; you remember the scenes and stories and you remember how they made you feel. You can recall those feelings when life puts you in similar situations. But, things aren’t always like the movies.

I’d say I choose my movie based on my  mood. A romantic comedy, action/adventure, suspense/thriller, or maybe a cult classic. There’s not a genre that I don’t like. It all depends on how I’m feeling at the time. The only ones I struggle with are the movies about family drama or discontent. Oh, I struggle with them, but I watch them all the same. I watch them when I’m sad or need a good cry. I guess I consider it a type of therapeutic torture. Can you say oxymoron?!

I tend to find joy in watching movies with dysfunctional families. You know, the ones where nobody can get a long due to some tragic event in the past, that you’ll likely find out about toward the end of the movie. I know what you’re thinking… what is wrong with her?! Trust me, I get it. It’s not that I like to see people (fictional or real) suffer, it’s not that at all. My joy comes from seeing those characters overcome the situations that put them in such a sad state in the first place. At the end of the movie, everyone is emotionally healed and realizes how important family is. They are all so full of love for one another that they can’t help but embrace each other while tears of joy and regret run down their faces. Joy for the relationship they have now and will have in the future and regret for all the time that they spent being bitter and angry.

Like I said earlier, life isn’t like the movies; there’s not always a happy ending to every situation. I guess, if you care to think about it this way, movies with happy endings give us hope. They give the single person hope that they can find true love. They give a child the hope that they can be a superhero to someone. They give someone struggling with finances the hope that they could find riches beyond their wildest dreams. Happy endings give me hope that I can overcome heartache from my past.

To quote one of my favorite movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption,  “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne

Andy-dufresne

The heart and mind often want different things. Which should you listen to? Today, my mind says to move on and let go of the past. There’s nothing there but hurt and heartache. My heart says to hold on to hope because maybe, just maybe… things will be different.

 

 

 

 

Matthew 18:15

via Daily Prompt: Yellow

Fear causes us to do stupid things and make stupid mistakes. The definition of a coward is a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things. There are many synonyms for the word coward; yellow belly, chicken, lily liver, wimp, etc. No matter what you call it, fear is a part of human nature.

I believe one of my biggest fears is confrontation. However, as a Christian, confronting your brother or sister in Christ is something you’re told you must do. In Matthew 18:15, the bible says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

We all make mistakes, I know I’ve made my fair share; but I’m learning from the mistakes I’ve made. I have hurt people, with no intentions to do so. Fortunately, I have been able to save relationships with some because they did the right thing. They came to me and told me how they felt and explained what I did wrong. I was told what I did and I was able to ask for forgiveness. Thankfully, I was granted that forgiveness.

One of the worst mistakes you can make in a relationship is involving others in your disputes. Again, the bible says to confront your brother between you and him alone. If I do something to offend, hurt or upset you, what good does it do to tell someone else? How does that help our relationship? It doesn’t, it just allows someone else to influence your feelings on the situation. Of course, I understand why people do it. I’ve done it myself, just one of the many mistakes I’ve made. You tell someone else so that they can confirm that your feelings are justified. Nobody wants to be told that they are wrong or they shouldn’t feel a certain way. But again, involving others in something that should be between just you and the person that hurt you is a sure way of ruining your relationship.

Fear is just a part of being human, but fear of confrontation is something I’m learning to get over; especially in the area of saving relationships that are important to me. It’s never easy, but the reward is so much greater than the alternative.

10 things i learned in 2016

  1. You are going to disappoint yourself.
    • You are human, you will make mistakes. It’s what you learn from those mistakes that really matter.
  2. People are going to disappoint you.
    • People are human and they will make mistakes. It’s how you react to their mistakes that define what kind of person you are.
  3. People will cause you hurt, that includes family, friends and strangers.
    • Forgive those who hurt you, even if they do not ask for it.
  4. You will hurt others, intentionally or unintentionally, but you will hurt them.
    • Ask for forgiveness.
  5. It’s okay to walk away.
    • You can forgive someone and still know that they cannot be a part of your life.
  6. Happiness is important.
    • Happiness comes from people, things and circumstances. Be sure to surround yourself with the people and things that make you happy and distance yourself from those that bring you down.
  7. A positive attitude is a must.
    • Seeing the good in bad situations can often make those situations look ‘not so bad.’
  8. True friends are a blessing.
    • Appreciate those who encourage and support you. Appreciate their honesty even when the truth hurts. Know they are trying to help because they love you.
  9. Joy comes from the Lord.
    • Never let anyone steal your joy!
  10. I am a work in progress.
    • Because I am human, I will never be perfect. However, I will strive to live according to God’s Word and Will. And I will forever be thankful for His love, mercy and grace.

2016 gave me a lot of reasons to mope around and feel sorry for myself, but with the help of an amazing God, an awesome family and incredible friends, I was able to count my blessings instead of focusing on my troubles. My goal for 2017 is to be an awesome mother and wife and an incredible friend. If I can make a positive impact on the lives of my family and friends, the way they did on me, I will consider it a success!

via Daily Prompt: Mope

search me: the runner

Retreat, run away; that’s always been my modus operandi! It seems to work for me, until it doesn’t.

Running away from problems seems to be what I do best. It usually works for a while. Sometimes the problems catch up with me and other times, they just disappear. I definitely like when the latter happens.

Everyone knows, by now, that I didn’t have the best childhood. I once told my father that I didn’t like the fact that he drank all the time. He walked to the refrigerator, took out a beer, popped the top, took a long swig, looked at me and said, “It helps me relax.” I honestly believe that is when I realized that sharing my opinions was useless. Due to the things going on at my house, I moved out and got my own apartment two months after my eighteenth birthday. I didn’t eliminate the problems at home, I just left them there and retreated to a place where I didn’t have to deal with them.

A few years later, I learned some personal information (maybe one day I’ll share) regarding my family. I brought it up to my mother one day when we were on the phone. She refused to acknowledge the issue and hung up on me. Because this information also involved her siblings, she confronted them and everything got blown up. For a couple of weeks, my phone rang non stop, people yelling and accusing others of things. This is the second event that made me realized that facing the problem and trying to solve it was pointless. About a month later, I moved to a new city. Yes, I left my hometown and moved away because I couldn’t handle all of the drama. I didn’t speak to my mother’s side of the family for about fifteen years. We have since reconciled, thanks to Facebook and unfortunately, my grandmother’s death. But the issues between myself and my immediate family are still not solved. Without involving my mother’s family this time, I once again brought up the problems from my childhood to my parents. And, once again, things did not go well. They do not want to face the issues or try to resolve them and I’m not sure that we could at this point. I have not spoken to them since.

My first marriage, that was something. My husband wanted to be married, but live like he was single. Separate bank accounts; his stuff, my stuff, etc. When I tried to explain how that made me feel, he didn’t care. Needless to say, I did finally run away from that situation too; I got divorced.

Looking back, I guess my M.O. wasn’t always to run. I did speak my mind and share my opinions. I guess I only ran when that didn’t work.

With a more recent situation, however, I did just cut ties and run. Maybe it’s because the relationship I had with this person was never a close one. I’d say we were more acquaintances that have mutual friends. But, when things got tough there too, I just removed myself from the situation without saying anything to the person. Maybe, I learned that confronting someone doesn’t always go my way. Maybe, it was because I didn’t want to create more conflict. I really don’t know why I didn’t say something. After all, the Bible says that if a brother sins against you, go and tell him. I guess that would have been the Christian way to handle it. Perhaps, I just thought it was beyond help by the time it had gotten to a certain point. Since this person is still in my life due to the mutual friends we share, I am sure we will eventually have to work it out. I believe it would be easier if I knew why this person did what they did. Aha! How am I supposed to know if I don’t go to them and ask? And if I explain to them that I feel what they did was wrong? What is the worse thing that could happen? Definitely something to think and pray about.

I guess maybe it’s time to stop running or ignoring the problems and start facing them.

#theChristianlifeisnteasy #prayforme #heregoesnothin

via Daily Prompt: Retreat

search me: feelings

Yesterday was Christmas. Honestly, I cannot remember a worse Christmas since my childhood. Now, I know that yesterday was not about me, but I was definitely in a mood. Sorry to say that I was extremely selfish. My husband had to work, so my two youngest and I went to church. We had a wonderful service. During the invitation, I asked my daughter to go to the alter and pray over me. She is an amazing young lady and I’m so honored to be her mom. She’s such a smart girl. She knows that I’ve been struggling with a myriad of things. She asked God to help me with those struggles.

I often think that I’d like to take my husband, kids and myself and put us in this little bubble where nobody from the outside can affect us. In reality, I know that we need to touch others. If others cannot affect us, we cannot affect them and God’s purpose for saving us is that we serve Him and love others. If we were in my bubble, there’s no way we could do that. Instead, we have to let others in and that means, I need to learn how to handle the way they affect me and the ones I love.

Back to yesterday, after service, we came home and my oldest son was here waiting. Now, he hasn’t contacted us with the exception of one phone call, since he left on Halloween and went to live with his mother. During that phone call, we made plans to have him spend Christmas Eve with us. I had planned our usual traditions and was really looking forward to it. When I texted him to make sure he was still coming, he told me he made other plans with his mother’s ex-boyfriend’s new wife’s parents. Trust me, I know how strange that sounds. He said that they were supposed to spend Christmas day together (at least that’s what he said when I asked him to spend the day with us, which is why we decided we’d take Christmas Eve). Apparently, they changed the plans and instead of telling them that he had already made plans with us, he cancelled our plans. We had already made plans for Christmas day, but when we came home from church, he was here. Of course, I was still angry that he missed our Christmas Eve festivities and was not very happy to see him. I actually expected an apology from him and instead, he told me that he didn’t think he did anything wrong. I’m not proud of my reaction to that, I told him to leave. If I would have been the bigger person and just accepted the fact that he was there now, we could have enjoy spending the day together. This is where feelings get involved. I was angry and hurt and he was not sorry, that is what caused me to make the decision to not do the right thing. And this is with my son, someone who I love dearly, with all my heart. Can you imagine what it would be like with someone who’s just an acquaintance?

God commands us to love everyone, right? That includes acquaintances, strangers, friends and family. If it was hard for me to be the bigger person and do the right thing with my son, how hard would it be if it were someone that was not that big a part of my life? Funny thing is, it wasn’t much different.

What do you do when someone you believed was a friend, starts talking about you behind your back? I’ll tell you what I did. I first spent time trying to figure out what I had done to this person to make them so angry. I mean, they must be angry to treat me the way they have been, right? Look, I’ve been mean to people before. A prime example is the story I just told you about my son. I was mean because of how I was feeling, not that it’s an excuse or anything. I just can’t recall a time where I’ve mistreated someone for no reason. So, there must be a reason that this person is treating me the way they are. Snide comments, cryptic Facebook posts and saying negative things to mutual friends are just a few of the things that they are doing. How do I know the posts are about me? Well, they are usually made as a result of something I have commented or posted and/or it coincides with something they had already said to mutual friends. I am not ‘holier than thou’ enough to think I’m that important to this person that they would focus so much energy on me, however, the abundance of times my name leaves their lips tells me differently. Fortunately, our mutual friends are concerned enough to give me advice on how to handle the situation; handle it the Christian way. I need to go to this person and see if we can work it out. I know that this is what I’m supposed to do, but it’s so hard when you’re this hurt, angry and confused.

Again, Christmas Day 2016 started badly and ended up worse. How should you feel when you give a gift to someone and they say they hate it and will never use it? This one, I was actually able to do the right thing. I was hurt and angry, yet I ignored it and managed to make the best out of the rest of the evening. The rest of doing the right thing, is to let this person know how much they hurt me and forgive them. Is it okay to forgive without letting the person know what they did? My husband says no, he says that you have to let them know, it’s important.

So why is it so hard for me to do the right thing? Am I any better than these three people who hurt me? Obviously not. According to God, there is no hierarchy to sin. Sin is sin, one is no greater or worse than another. Man is the one that puts different levels of severity on sin. Man is the one that has to deal with feelings of anger, hurt, fear and hatred. We are the ones that have to realize that it is not how others make you feel, but how you react to those feelings that is important.

Ironically, in the midst of writing this, I received a Facebook message from a true friend. This message shared the following story and it really hit home, especially Rule # 5, I don’t want to expect less from people. I want to believe that people are good, however, I do want to expect more of myself. I want to be a better person:

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself

Friends and readers, I am asking for your prayers. Please pray that God gives me the wisdom to know the right thing to do, that He gives me the guidance to do those right things and that He strengthens me to do those right things in all of these situations. I pray that God forgives me for taking my eyes off of Him on His day. Thank you in advance and I pray that you all had a very Merry Christmas!

via Daily Prompt: Moody

search me: discovering the darkness

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

I am not perfect. I am human. I am a sinner. I need a savior.

God, our Father in Heaven, sent his only son to die for our sins. Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, lived a perfect life and was crucified for our sins. I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. He has paid the price for my sin and purchased a place for me in Heaven. I am a Christian. My relationship with God is a personal one. He is always with me and through Him, I can do all things.

Due to being human and imperfect, I make mistakes. There are times that Jesus’ light does not shine through me, due to my choices. Feelings tend to play a huge part in that. If someone hurts me, I may not always react the way that Jesus says I should. Same thing if someone makes me angry. I am not blaming others, it’s my choice to react the way that I do. I could be in a bad mood, due to no one else’s fault, and I may choose to not act appropriately. I am not making excuses, I am just stating the facts. Humans have a choice to accept Christ and follow His commandments or to reject Him. As I said, even those who accept Him make mistakes. We repent and ask for forgiveness. We are blessed by a merciful God who gives it.

And what of those who confess to accept Christ, but constantly makes conscious decisions to go against His commandments? What of those who see nothing wrong with their actions, therefore, do not ask for forgiveness? What of those who have such hatred in their hearts that they are cruel to those they do not like, rather than loving everyone as God commands us to do? What happens when you discover a brother or sister in Christ lets darkness replace the light in their life and heart?  Is this person truly saved?

It is not my place to say if someone is saved or not. That is between that person and God. But their actions and choices do say something about their testimony. I will say that I have been on the receiving end of such cruelty, such hatred and it does make me question the salvation of that person. I do not believe it’s wrong to question things like this, but I do believe that it is my job to pray for the person who has shown such ill will towards me. The Bible says, in Luke 6:27, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Easier said than done, right?

It’s human nature to question things, to try to figure them out. So, I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what I’ve done to cause these feelings in another person. As I have previously said, I’ve made mistakes. Maybe I said something or did something when I was in a bad mood. Maybe I was hurt and took my feelings out on this person. I really don’t believe that’s the case, but maybe that’s just to ease my mind. Whatever the reason, I will continue to pray for this person. I will continue to pray that this person’s actions towards me does not harden my heart towards them.

God’s will is that no one should perish, but those who believe in Him should have everlasting life. As a Christian, my will is to see His will done. I want everyone to know how good God is. Everyone should know that He loves them and wants nothing but good for them.

This thing called the Christian Life is not easy, there are struggles we must go through. There are trials that we must learn from. God is with us through everything. He never leaves us. He gives us the strength to overcome all things. To spend eternity with God in Heaven makes the tribulations of this life worth living. To bring others to Christ so that they can also spend eternity with us and Him in Heaven is the ‘icing on the cake.’

No matter what kind of darkness you are facing, just remember that His light shines and no amount of darkness will ever overcome it.

via Daily Prompt: Discover

search me: His Sacrifice, my selfishness

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through Him.” – Colossians 3:17

God sent His only son to die for our sins. Not only did He die; He was stripped. He was beaten. He was spat upon. He had a crown of thorns, not just placed on His head, but pushed hard enough that the thorns pierced His skull. He was made to carry His cross through the city and up Calvary’s hill. Once up the hill, He was nailed to the cross. A nail in in each hand and foot. Jesus hung on the cross for some six hours before He finally died.

Why did He do this? The answer is simple, He loves us.

So, am I missing something? Why would anyone not want to live their life for Him? Ok, don’t get me wrong; as my Pastor always says, “Lost people live like they’re lost because they’re lost.” But what about Christians? Those who claim to have dedicated their lives to Jesus, myself included?

I understand that we are all sinners. That’s why we needed Jesus to die for us in the first place. Being a sinner, we are going to make mistakes, bad decisions, etc. But how can you make a conscious effort to put something before Jesus and be okay with it? If you continue to do it, you must be okay with it, right?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve done it before. I’ve blown off church to sleep in. I’ve missed an event or two because I thought something else was more important. I’m sure I’ve even lied when coming up with excuses for missing said events. I’m not proud of this behavior, by any means. Why lie about it? Because I KNEW it was wrong! I felt that conviction. It’s not a nice feeling. So, what about the next time this happens?

The next time I think ‘I’m too tired to get up and go to church’ or ‘I really want to run this race instead of going to serve in the homeless shelter’ or whatever it is, what am I going to do? I am going to remember exactly what Jesus went through and how He died for me. I am going to remember that I have been selfish for far too long. I am going to remember that there are more important things, people, serving opportunities that deserve my time. I will make every effort to do what He has called me to do;  And I will do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God, my Father, through Him.

God has made us all promises. He says He will supply all our needs. He says we need not be anxious for anything. He says He will give us the desires of our hearts. We do not deserve His mercy or His grace. He gives it freely because He loves us. If He never does another thing for us, sending His son to die on the cross for our sins is enough!

Will you live for Him?

via Daily Prompt: Missing

search me: count it all joy

Saying goodbye to 2016, I’ve had a lot of thoughts. This year was full of great things, terrible things, unexpected things and things that make you go hmmm. Let’s recap, shall we?

At the end of 2015, I was looking forward to a great new year. It didn’t start off that way. I got a terrible sinus infection after Christmas and it lasted well into the second week of January. But, once I was over that, I was ready to get the new year going.

My daughter graduated high school in June. She started college in August; this meant she’d have to move into the dorm. This was a requirement for all freshmen, even if we only live twenty minutes from campus.

My youngest son got his license and his first job this year. Considering his grades are pretty good, he’s also been given quite a bit of freedom. He spends a lot of time with his friends, but also enjoys hanging at home with his family.

My oldest son came home from his Army duty station in Germany.

My husband and I stepped down as youth leaders at our church.

Finally, I worked up the nerve to tell my family exactly how I feel about… well, everything.

These are some of what I would call highlights and lowlights of my 2016 year. Although some of the low points were pretty low, I still count it all joy. I think I’m able to do that because I know that God has a plan. Even if His plan includes what I would consider negative things, there is a purpose for it.

My daughter moved out and I missed her terribly (yes, she was only twenty minutes away) because I was used to seeing her every day. She came home quite a bit, but when she wasn’t around, I learned to make time for myself. The time that I would usually spend with her, whether we were just talking or watching our favorite TV show, I now spent on writing or praying or just thinking.

My youngest son got his license and I worried. I worried so much that I would make him text me as soon as he got to school, when he was leaving, when he got home. That started in March. What did I learn? I learned to trust in God. I strengthened my faith by praying. I spent more time in His Word and learning about how He was in control. I learned to worry less and trust Him more.

My oldest son came home from Germany. To me, this was the biggest ‘lowlight’ of the year. He had always struggled with being responsible, being an adult and making logical decisions; one of the reasons he got out of the army in the first place. It was a big adjustment when he came home. It was as if the last three years hadn’t happened, nothing had changed. He only lasted two months with us before he moved in with his biological mother. Now, I honestly have no idea what’s going on in his life. This wasn’t just another lesson in worry. I’ve learned patience. I believe that there is nothing I can do to ‘fix’ him or his life. God will do that, in His own time.

I told my family how I felt about my childhood. I told them about the misery I endured. I told them about things I had never talked about before. My lesson here is forgiveness. Once I let it all out, I was able to forgive. I, by no means forgot about anything and they definitely didn’t ask for forgiveness, but I had to give it. Now, I am at peace with the way things are. I don’t have a relationship with them and that’s ok. It’s hard to forgive someone for something when they continue to do the same things they should be sorry for, but I did it. I just cannot have them in my life and I’m ok with that.

My husband and I have been the interim youth pastor and leader at our church for the last year and seven months. We learned a lot, but we felt it was time to step down. I feel God is ready to use me in other areas of our church. I am looking forward to the way God is going to move in our church in 2017.

It’s important to learn from the bad and appreciate the good things that happen in your life. Treasure the ones closest to you. Reach out to the ones not so close. Share the love of Christ. Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking. Find your peace in knowing you are a good person and that God loves you.

I am looking forward to 2017 – with God, all things are possible!

via Daily Prompt: Treasure