Tag Archive | family

Back To The Beginning

In just 2 months I’ll be moving back in with my mom.  Whew.  To say that I am shocked by this prospect is an understatement.  The shock is probably only slightly overshadowed by my pushing my mid 30s and life looking exactly the opposite of what I pictured.  But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.  My roomie has the same shock and she is 6 years my junior.  My besties have the same shock and we are all the same age.

This weekend I drove around the new neighborhood which is not too far from the old one.  I talked to old friends I have reconnected with in this season.  So much of the new resembles the old.  It’s weird.

I am reminded of a revelation God gave me a few years ago after a big test.  He said my life was like a helix.  It wasn’t that I was walking in circles over and over the way I felt I was.  Instead, I was moving forward in a circular motion.  It seems living with my mom again is a part of that same pattern.  No matter how hard I tried to make choices that would position me in a certain place at this point in my life (husband, 2.5 kids and dog), I still ended up here.  Back to the beginning. 

We went to church for Easter (mom and I).  I know this is a new beginning for her and I’m blessed to be a part of it, I just wish it hadn’t cost me so much. 

On Easter I was reminded of why it costs.  It costs us because it cost Him.  We are not above the teacher.  We are not above our Master.  If He sacrificed, we too shall sacrifice.

My roommate gave me a card on Easter which read, “Nicole, just as Christ died and resurrected, I look forward to seeing the resurrection in your life”.  That is what I too am desiring.  To see the resurrection from all the death.  To see the fruit from all the pruning.  To see if the wait was really worth it…

SHALOM

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Writing, Family & Time


The mother and daughter sat across from each other in the small diner.  Both adults but as with every child-parent relationship the child is still the child to the parent–no matter how old they get.  The daughter took a sip of her latte and typed feverishly at her keyboard.  She had brought her laptop so both could handle some unfinished business.  The mother took her turn typing (although a little more slowly and a little less confidently) and was pleased with the outcome.  They discussed their future plans to move in together.  They compared the properties they had looked at; some good, some not.  The deadline for moving was drawing to a close and both were walking by faith.  The daughter had been down this path many times so panic had not yet kicked in.  It would take a little longer for that to happen, if it did at all.  Though their meeting was about the future they reflected on the now.

“Can you believe I’m this old?” the daughter said.  The mother responded in equal amazement, “No.  It’s crazy!  I remember when you were in the womb…” and then as was their custom she reminisced about that time of pregnancy 30+ years ago.  Her eyes glazed over and she held a far off daze.  There were family members who had passed and many who were distant.  “I never thought I would lose my whole immediate family”, the mother said.  “Well, you have me” I replied.  We sat in silence for a moment.  It was just us.  I never wanted it to be that way.  I always wanted a family.  I told her just as much that day.  I told her how grateful I was for a spiritual family, these spiritual sisters that keep multiplying, but how I still desired blood relatives.  “I wanted that for you too” she said.

I ran into a brother that day and teased him about being alone.  He explained his wife and children were at a party and he had just gotten off his 2nd job.  I was reminded of how different our lives were–his full with mouths to feed–my mouth sipping a latte.  It’s easy to covet what one doesn’t have, to see the gift each season holds.  Still, some seasons last too long…I told him about a writer’s class that I’m enjoying.  “It’s finishing up soon but I’ll keep you in mind for the next one!”  “Please do!” he said.  Then I teased him about not having room in his schedule.  He assured me he will make room.  Funny, even with all the things I have going on in this season, I always seem to have room…

For the first time in my life I literally feel “older”.  I’ve been thinking about the past and wondering about the future.  I don’t have any goals set or big ticket items to check off my checklist.  There are responsibilities to carry out and finances to build.  There are a few trips I want to take and people I want to see.  But no goals.

I think reality is setting in.  Maybe that’s what happens in your mid 30’s.  You realize though you have much ahead you have a good chunk that is behind and for the first time I have found myself second guessing past choices.  My dad assured me on my birthday I had made the right choices.  Then why do I not have what I want? I thought to myself.  I wrestled with that question for a while.

I’m still wrestling.

The past cannot be changed, only our present.  Our now choices will create our future.  And as I told my friend last night, all we can do is walk in the light and understanding that we have today.  I believe we are only held accountable for that much.

SHALOM

 

 

Keep Living

This week was full of both rest and fun.  Rest because I had 5 days off work (3 of those PTO) and fun because many days were spent with really good people.  For Thanksgiving my mom and I went out to eat.  Normally one of us cooks (usually her) but this time she wanted something different.  After dinner we treated ourselves to a movie and then met her friends for bowling.  It was a full day and I was thoroughly stuffed.  Then Friday I had some alone time.  I went shopping on Black Friday at my favorite mall and marveled at the crowds.  Still, it was nice to be around so many yet be “alone”.  What can I say, it is the introvert in me that appreciates such an occurrence…Later on I relaxed with a 90s flick, only to meet up with a good friend for a latte at Starbucks.  I enjoyed a grande and even a chocolate chip muffin.  Then Sunday my friend and I made our way to the Browns’ game.  I will admit I have lived here over 10 years and have never been to a game!  Lucky me the tickets were free, the weather was nice and our seats were phenomenal.  It hardly mattered we didn’t win.  We had fun anyway…


But even in the midst of all these blessings I would be dishonest to say this holiday was not without its own difficulties.  The lack of family was evident for me while watching my mom’s friend’s daughter and her fiancé interact.  I glanced at her ring once or twice and stuffed down the never-ending longings…There were moments I was home alone when I really didn’t want to be.  Instead I wanted people, I wanted companionship, I wanted love.  But as I told my friend last night on the phone, even with all the people who do love me, they will still choose family over friendship.  It is natural.  God does set the lonely in families, but I often wonder, when will He not need to?  When will I have my own?…

The holidays are here and they are festive.  They are a mixture of fun and rest.  They are a mixture of enjoyment and lonelineness.  That is life.  The movie my mom and I saw had a character who was facing a divorce.  She was freaking out and said “What will I do now?”  My mom replied at the large screen in front of us, “Keep living”.  She was right.

One thing I have learned in this season is the importance of resilience and the ability to keep moving forward.  Someone near you dies?  You keep living.  You lose your job?  Keep living.  Depression hits?  Keep living.

It has been a year where I have practiced this concept to “keep living”.  It has been the fastest year of my life.  There were nights I didn’t think I would get through, but I am here.  And you are too.  And that means there is a hope for the future.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

And what a lovely future it must be…

SHALOM

 

This Is Us


Hi guys! Check out my guest post “This Is Us” on authorofmyfaith.com! This is my first guest post on Afi’s site and I’m so honored to have this opportunity! I met her through a fellow blogger and mutual friend.

The connections writing has created has been overwhelming in the BEST way!

Thanks for your support!!
SHALOM

Honoring Those Who Have Gone Before

This weekend one of my besties asked me along for a road trip.  I of course said, “yes!” And off we went to Indiana to visit her fam.  It has been go go go non stop full of extroverts and activities.  Definitely an energy remover for this introvert but still enjoyable 😉.


Seeing her with her fam made me acutely aware of my own desire for family.  That area of life has been a source of pain.  At one point one very important woman made up the wholeness of family for me but then that season ended–10 years ago to be exact.  She went to “be with the Lord” and though the teaching I’m under has helped me understand she still surrounds me along with the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11) most times that understanding isn’t enough.

Today is her birthday.  If she were here we would rejoice about all the blessings I have as a result of her sacrifices.  We would talk about the spiritual revelations we were having.  How God was moving and all that He had done.  This time I’d take her out for dinner because now I’m the adult and can do such things.  We would talk about my love life and the waiting in it.  She would tell me she was praying for the right person to come along and to trust God.  She would look at me lovingly, beaming with pride.

Even though I don’t have her here in the natural to do those things, I have her daughter.  Her daughter is just as proud if not more.  She made just as many sacrifices so that I could have better opportunities.  She loves me just as much.


These women have been the reason I am where I am today.  And what they could not do in and of themselves God did through them.  And when there was no man to help He became that man.  He became all that I needed.  He stepped in and filled the lack.

Now I am lacking nothing. Sometimes its easier to say those words than others but all the time they are still true.

Happy birthday to my dear grandmother who is cheering me on as I run this race of eternity. As I fight the good fight, carry my cross and head towards the finish line. She left such an example of how to win this race.

How could I possibly not win it?



SHALOM

Starting Off At A Deficit

Social media is one of those things that it is what you make it.  It can be a great way to celebrate life or a reminder of what you do not have.  For the most part I enjoy seeing the celebrations shared but sometimes I could go without seeing them. Sometimes I get a little discouraged by the gifts of others.

Like pictures that show women and girls with close knit families. Pictures of daughters who have fathers to affirm them and men in their lives who know their worth. They were not birthed into “complicated” situations. There was no trauma, drama, addiction or abuse in their bloodline. Their family isn’t perfect (no family is) and they have other challenges that’s for certain, but these are not their challenges and that fact, is their gift.

These girls don’t have to overcome generational strongholds, or fight an uphill battle in the areas that I have. When you start off at a deficit that’s what has to happen: you have to fight. 

You have to fight to recover from self inflicted pain, misguided love, broken covenants, etc… You have to fight for peace and soundness of mind and wholeness. For sure, everyone has to discover their true identity which takes work, but some have to do more work then others.

My story isn’t having the proper foundation. There were a lot of deficits. But thankfully there were people there who overcame their own deficits. And even when they didn’t they prayed that I would be able to.

My family doesn’t look like the typical family. Instead it is a hodgepodge of people mostly not blood related.  These people genuinely love me.

And where there was no father, no man to affirm me and teach me my value, there was The Father. He came in, revealed Himself and called me His own.

Some days its hard appreciating my gift and wishing I could have had that better foundation, but I am reminded even as I type these words that “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope”-Romans 5:4.

How can one be called resilient lest they persevere through the difficulty? How can one be an overcomer lest they have something to overcome?

So even when there is a deficit, a weakness, a perceived area of lack, God becomes the surpluss. He becomes the strength where we are weak. And He gets all the glory for helping us to overcome.

Here are just a few of the people in my life who love me dearly…

  
SHALOM

When You Want A Family

  
This weekend I felt the desire to be around people. That was such a vulnerable place for me. I pride myself on being self-sufficient and independent. Most only children are probably used to being alone. I even more so as I experienced periods of time in my childhood when there were simply no friends. No people. So I hid in my books and grew closer to my best friend at the time–my grandmother. That was a way that I coped with not getting needs met. When I became a believer one of the gifts God gave me were real friends. People who loved unconditionally and who stuck by me no matter what. But there is a season for everything and some of those friendships have ended. Still, I am surrounded with community and people close to me who I do life with. This weekend when I felt in need of people I could very easily have reached out to any of these people that make up my community. But it wasn’t just a person or persons I was desiring. It was a specific kind of community I was desiring.

It was family.

I’m in a season now of going back to the beginning and I’m learning how vital it is to be born into this world surrounded by love and acceptance. But really how often does that happen? And even if we are born into affirmation of purpose and identity, that does not mean we will be raised with these assurances. Most people experience a breakdown in their family structure due to life. Some have even more extreme circumstances then others. Whatever the circumstance, our personality and life decisions are influenced by the environment we are raised in. God knows this and still uses all things to work together for our good.

I often think of Moses who was given up by his family for his own good. And then somewhere down the line he reconnected to his people. He was used to deliver them b/c he had been separated from them and his separation led to his own freedom. And theirs. I can relate to that story in a lot of ways.

I was blessed to connect with family this weekend. It wasn’t my blood family but they are so saturated with love that they don’t make a difference. There is a scripture that says God will set the solitaire in families. I will be honest and say I have despised that scripture. Often He has put me in others’ families but I have so desired a family of my own. But then I remembered, no person can complete me. No person can fulfill me. No person can meet all of my needs. Even if I had my own family, they would not be able to fill this hole I feel in my heart. Instead, they would just be there to enjoy, just as I am enjoying this community of people God has placed in my life in this season.

Maybe one day, when that hole is filled, there will be others I can call my blood family.

SHALOM