Tag Archives: healing

An Open Heart – Part II

(To read PART I, click here …)

Expect nothing… Just keep an open heart and an open mind.

Once in Florida with the idea of visiting my dad, Mark and I had also planned on driving a couple of hours to Tampa to finally see his biological son, Marshil, who he hadn’t seen since he was a small boy. Mark remained deep in thought and I could only imagine full of nerves. I pulled a sneaky, going along with Mark’s plan to drive to Tampa, all the while secretly scheming a different one. When I initially informed Marshil that we were going to be in Kissimmee on Father’s Day week, surprisingly, he told me that he, too, was going to be in Kissimmee for a couple of days that week to attend a concert. When I asked Marshil if he had mentioned this to Mark and he said no, I suggested for him to keep it that way. So together, we decided to spring a surprise reunion on Mark.

The big night finally arrived, the meet-up place was at a nice steak joint. Mark was none the wiser. He thought it was just a date night for us as we were to head out to Tampa the next day. Later, when Mark came out of the restroom, there stood Marshil right in front of him saying hello. They embraced and for a moment … time stood still.

Someone said: It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.

As I pensively sat and observed father and son’s mannerisms while listening to their conversation, I was amazed and touched by the connection transpiring right before my eyes. While I think it’s true to say, we expect nothing and hope for the best, my deepest hope and prayer is that these two men, so much alike, would not only reconnect but regain some of those years gone by. Neither one has had an easy life; many filled with pain, discouragement, and regrets with some hard lessons in tow.

Sometime later, I asked my hubby what was his takeaway in meeting Marshil. His answer with misty eyes, “I really like him! And he doesn’t hate me!”

I’ve read that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes. I don’t know how much of that is true. I only know that these two men have strong work ethics, are likable, lovable, loyal (mixed with a little craziness), and have a record of being a number one, devoted step-dad.

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“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C.S. Lewis

Today the dam was broken. The tide has turned. The waters shifted.

Only God can heal and transform hearts. While it’s true we don’t know what the future holds, I know Who holds our future. I’m giving it all to God to let Him work out the details with all of my concerns, uncertainties, and troubles. He’s a lot better at holding things together than I am anyway. Thank you, Lord, for being the Author and Finisher of my faith!

Here’s to second chances and new beginnings! We all look forward to spending more quality time together with meaningful conversations in the coming days, months, and years ahead. 

Click here to read “My Heartbeat – PART I”

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Filed under Father's Day

A Word Fitly Spoken …

Re-reading this quote spoken to me so many years ago still brings up a sea of memories of a difficult place in time.

As you can imagine, I was going through hell. All along thinking I was alone, I never realized that God not only heard my cries, but He knew of my pain too! Just like the song goes: He was there all the time–and in my case–God used someone with skin to not only pray but to reach out to me in my darkest hour.

It seemed like forever that I was blinded and so discouraged; I really didn’t see a way out of my situation. But a neighbor, who quickly became a true friend, made me her business. She wasn’t condemning or pushy; she spoke life over me! She was caring and loving and wise beyond her years. She prayed much and gently wooed me back into the arms of my Heavenly Father. Eventually, I received the support I needed and slowly began to heal. Sanity and wisdom kicked in, and I did what I needed to do for myself and for the welfare of my small children.

What am I saying?

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I wrote Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace so that others might find hope beyond their hopelessness and despair. We’re all walking through something. We all have a story. Some are strong enough to stand on their own, while others need a little encouragement and help in finding their way. They may have been lied to, beaten down, some even to the point of isolation. Ever been ashamed of your pain? I was.

No matter what, you can rise above your circumstances. It takes a made-up mind and a determination to change. Allow your experiences to make you a better person not a bitter one. Many times what we’ve gone through can help someone else to overcome his or her own struggle.

There are people around you hurting. Make them your business. A warm smile, a kind word, a gentle touch. Show them love. Give them hope. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Bloom where you’re planted.

 

“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.” Jer. 29:11

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Filed under Christianity, encouragement, Kindness

Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3
(Photo Credit: forashes.org)

My devotions today is found in Isaiah 61:3. Although this passage of scripture brings me comfort, I wondered …

How can there be a smidgen of beauty amongst rubble? Or ashes?

How is this even possible?

How do we see beauty in the midst of suffering, hopelessness, or despair?

When I saw my baby sister lying in her small white coffin, I sure didn’t see any beauty in that.

When I noticed my mama with bruises on her body, I failed to see the beauty.

My former husband known for his strength, vigor and being sure-footed, morphed into a sloppy drunk after one drink of alcohol being miles away from anything charming.

To see my grandpa become a prisoner in his own body, his barrel-chested physic becoming sunken and scrawny was a far cry from beauty.

For my eyes to caress my grandma’s features, once so robust and plump, turning thin and frail after having lost so much weight due to illness wasn’t lovely to behold.

Watching the back of my former husband after he pulled the rug from under my feet, and left me in the dust while I choked in my sobs and called out his name wasn’t a picturesque scene.

My 29-day old granddaughter swollen from fluids in a medically induced coma after her open-heart surgery wasn’t eye-appealing to me.

Scars are not beautiful. Neither are the hidden bruises on the body or on the heart.

Death is not beautiful; the grieving of loved ones taken from you is never beautiful. Hunger is not beautiful. Loneliness is not beautiful.

Repossession isn’t quaint. Foreclosure is eons away from being delightful.

So how can there be beauty for ashes?

I believe it is found in hope. Hope against hope. Hope that the imperfect will become perfect. Hope that the pain will cease. Hope that there will be a day of reckoning. Hope that the scattered pieces will rebuild. Hope for healing and relief. Hope that the light will dawn and a new day will come. Hope that this too, shall come to pass. Hope in heaven. Hope that the best is yet to come. And most importantly, believing in the Blessed Hope that one day, we shall see our loved ones again who have crossed over.

I can yell it now from the mountain top: Thank you, Lord, for turning my life’s ugliness into a thing of beauty!

Out of sadness and hurt, will come strength and victory.

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July 23, 2015 · 10:39 PM

The Battle Is Real

C. S. Lewis said “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Bad things happen to good people. The Bible says: It rains on the just and unjust. (Matt. 5:45)

We are not immune to suffering, pain, hardships, struggles, losses. Adversities is part of life. The battle is real with me just as much as it is with you. Some suffer in silence, some scream at the top of their lungs while alone. Although in a different way, inner turmoil can hurt just as much as physical pain. We battle within just as much as our outer shell. Pain is pain. When you hurt, you HURT. You may not see my pain, I may not see yours, but it doesn’t lessen the reality. Someone said: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Sometimes we are left with scars. Our heart has melted … waxed cold … turned numb. We are consumed with grief, despair, unanswered questions. What do we do now? Where do we go? Who do we run to? When will it end? How much more? Why, God? Why?

I’ve learned, adversity can either make you or break you. I wonder: Is it possible to go through the fire and come out without the stench of smoke? Don’t let adversity crush you. Build a support system: Family, Faith, Friends. Resilience is like a muscle which strengthens as it is gradually exposed to obstacles.

As a Christian, I may not have all the answers as to the whys, but I have an unwavering faith, even when my flesh is shaken. There is nothing too hard for Him, therefore, I can rest in the midst of challenges.

Though the tears may fall and the struggles may come, there will be a time of refreshing and healing. Maybe not in my time frame, but in His perfect timing. I am a little stronger and a little wiser after each storm. I am comforted knowing that my battle belongs to God and He hears the cries of the brokenhearted. (Psm. 147:3)

In times of suffering …

 “Either you’ll become better, or you’ll become bitter, but you won’t be the same again.”

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Photo Credit: Unknown Source

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Filed under Inspirational, Overcoming Adversity, Resiliency