I remind my girls often to never say never and let me tell you why,
Here’s my story of overcoming the odds and restoration ta-boot:
As I prepared to leave my grandparents’ home at the ripe age of 17,
I told my grandmother three things that I was NEVER going to do:
- Get married
- Have children
- Live in Tennessee
For those of you that don’t know me:
- I’ve been married almost 22 years now (to my other half. the calm to my storm. the peace to my fury. the butter for my bread.)
- I have 5 daughters (I am SO blessed. They have shaped me into the loving woman I am. I can’t imagine life without my princess)
- I’m all over Middle Tennessee going on 18 years now. (Well, it’s growing on me, let’s leave it at that)
I know that when my three “nevers” left my mouth back in 1995, the Heavenly team must have looked at each other and burst out into a roaring belly laugh.
I’ll try to squeeze 22 years of marriage and 40 years of living into something compact and neat.
If I had to pick a theme for the way I handle my current journey it would be the overarching question that I ask myself frequently:
“Am I being pleasing to God?”
This is the aim of my life now. The meter in which I gauge all my thoughts, actions and deeds.
Now that you know the framework for how I aim my life. Let me share with you the tools that keep me grounded, focused and moving forward.
But first a story,
My husband and I met and married in 3 months. Just one month after I turned 18, I was in the courtroom in Texas, getting married.
Later that year, I gave birth to my first daughter, Victoria. She is 21 now.
Let’s just say when dysfunctional meets dysfunctional, an explosion is bound to happen. For us it happened about 4 years into our marriage.
Fast forward through a stent in Europe, a legal separation due to infidelity and us ending our fast-tracking military careers, and we found ourselves in Tennessee. Long story short,
Ramon and I chose each other twice, we decided again that life was better together than apart or with anyone else but we still had a lot of work to do to become whole and healthy beings working together for Christ.
Now enters, Kimberly, our second born daughter. She was born with multiple handicaps to include cerebral palsy, deafness and mental handicaps.
I thought I knew what faith was but it turns out my doctrine wasn’t sound at that time. So in my misguided attempts to show faith, I sent money to all the televangelist in hopes that my seed would open the door to her healing.
As I look back this wasn’t just about her healing. It was about me being inconvenienced because having a special need child, did not fit in to MY plans.
But God had other plans. Miraculous healing did not come. I began searching. We had not found a home church. I grew up in church. I knew I needed people. I knew I need a place to be fueled.
After many failed attempts and against the naysayers, we made our way over to the “big church on the corner”.
Enters, Bethel World Outreach Center. This was a turning point in our marriage and in our intimacy with Christ. Through events that would make this story much longer but I’ll spare you,
We found community. Being in community with fellow believers that were having real life problems but working them out with each other, Christ and perseverance was a refreshing change. It was just what we needed. We weren’t alone anymore.
We flourished. There is so much more to share but for the sake of brevity, I will end this story with the last major tool in my box,
I believe that prayer is the beginning and ending to all the experience that we will have on this earth. Jesus is the greatest example of often and how necessary it is for us to get on our knees and talk with God.
I am certain that the prayers of my grandmother, sent up long before I left her house, is part of the reason that I can sit here today in right relationship with God and share my testimony unashamed.
I implore you to not sleep on these tools: Faith, Community and Prayer.
The tool combination will launch you forward into all that God created you to accomplish.
But hear me right, the tools don’t take away the troubles that come with living in a fallen world but they help you to overcome the troubles in way that allows you to keep your eyes on the prize and persevere.
May the God who loves us all so deeply allow my story to be a tool of inspiration and encouragement.
Grace and Peace to you.