Archive for the ‘Religious’ Category

All of you who are Christians know the old saying…”If you died tomorrow, would you go to heaven?”

Since getting the first news of my cancer returning, I haven’t cried.  I haven’t stressed.  I’ve felt like its all going to be ok.  The stress I’ve had and the few tears I’ve shed so far have been for my kids, mainly, but overall, I feel like everything is going to be ok.  I’ve talked to my girls, who are taking this diagnosis really hard, and reassured them that no matter what happens Monday, I’m going to be ok.  I told them even if I don’t come out of that operating room, I’m going to be just fine.

The truth is, I don’t know what to believe anymore.  I lost my faith for a time after my stepdad Jay died.  I was so angry at God that at times I even questioned His existence.  Deep down though, I always *knew* I was just acting like a pouting child, trying to get my Father’s attention by denying Him.  The anger really didn’t last long, but it was still there, and something I still feel guilty about.

When I carried Ruby, I never got mad at God.  I prayed like I have never been able to pray before or since.  I had a lot of trouble praying for her at first, because I felt like it was a selfish prayer, but I got over that and prayed and prayed, cried, begged, pleaded with Him for my baby.  After she was born, and I could see evidence around me of how she’d touched people in her very short life, I was sad, even depressed a little, but I was ok.  However, along about what would have been her first birthday, I wouldn’t say I got mad exactly, but I was extremely bitter.  My health was continuing to decline, I couldn’t do any of the things I used to be able to, I could see the babies born around her birthday crawling, walking, cooing, looking oh, so adorable, and I wanted my baby.  I started realizing that when I went to church, I couldn’t focus on the message, all I could do was think about how much pain I was in sitting there, wondering what was for lunch, just weird stuff that would pop into my head.  I kept having to force my attention back to the pastor (who is a very good pastor by the way), and I was getting frustrated.  I couldn’t pray anymore.  I didn’t feel like I could ask for anything for me because again, it was selfish.  When I’d try to pray, my mind would wander.  I realized it was Satan trying to keep me away from God, but I couldn’t seem to do much about it.

I began to slip…I started letting swear words drop more and more often.  I got mad easier, at little things.  I deliberately got into arguments with my mother when she tried to preach to me.  For the most part, I quit “praying” altogether, although looking back, I realize that I never failed to thank Him every day…when I was able to climb out of bed, I’d say a quick “Thank you, Lord,” or something similar.  Whenever anything good happened, I would do the same thing.  So I always felt like He was still in my life, if not directly in front of me.

Since the cancer returned, I haven’t really been able to pray much.  I’ve said a few, “Thy will, not my will” type prayers, and a couple times I actually prayed that He would deliver me from the surgery and everything would be fine.  But I felt guilty…not worthy.  I don’t feel like I’m where I need to be.  People have assured me that it doesn’t matter, that He understands because of what I’ve been going through, that I was truly saved, therefor I’m going to Heaven if anything goes wrong…but honestly, its not the way I was raised.  I believe people can and do backslide.  I’ve been told that if you backslide, you were never truly saved to begin with.  I beg to differ.  I KNOW I have been saved in the past, and I KNOW that I have backslid, more than once.  I believe in God wholeheartedly…I try to do what’s right with my life, and I try to be a positive influence to my kids.  But I make mistakes…sometimes big ones.  This whole past year and a half haven’t been pretty.  I can’t seem to figure out what I really need to do to get back to where I need to be.  Justin thinks I’m holding myself to an impossible standard, but I’m not…I know I’m going to make mistakes.  I can’t explain it, but I almost feel as if God has turned away from me with my inability to pray and focus on that prayer, to the exclusion of all else around me.

Its something I’ve struggled with for months, but I pushed it aside because I was still firmly believing in God and his ability to answer prayer and provide miracles.   This morning however, I got scared.  I had one of the worst nightmares I’ve ever had, but recounting it, its so rediculous.  I believe it was a message from God, although not as powerful a message as I received in 2006.  Perhaps it was more of a warning, a reminder, I don’t know.  All I know is that at the worst part of the dream, I told myself, “This is a dream, wake up now,” and I woke up.  The first thing I did was thank Him that I’d woken up.  The next thing I did was wake Justin up and ask him to pray with me.  As he was hugging me and waking up enough to pray, I managed to mumble, “I’m afraid for my soul.”  That man, I do not deserve him.  He prayed for me for over 30 minutes.  I was mad, because while I was praying along with him, my mind kept wandering.  I looked at the clock several times.  I cried a couple times.  I again had trouble focusing on the prayer, the nightmare, whatever message God may have been sending me…my brain started to rationalize the whole thing.  I started coming up with excuses, and that made me madder, and being mad made me have even more trouble praying.  I know I’m ADHD but dang, I’ve always been able to pray until about 3 years ago.

Basically, I’m not sure where to go from here.  I’ve been staying out of crowds because I can’t risk getting sick, and flu and everything else is ripe this time of year.  I’ve been hesitant to go to church, because I think that people will say “She’s only coming because she has cancer again.”  My brain will NOT let me stop thinking all these things.  I just want peace.  I think part of my problem may be that there’s a part of me that hopes I WON’T come out of that operation, because I’m so tired of constant pain, constant disability, constant nausea, constant weight fluctuations.  Its all just getting to be so much.  Everyone thinks I’m so strong…after every surgery, I don’t cry, I don’t even complain much.  I grit my teeth, get back on my feet ASAP, and do everything they tell me to do.  Admittedly, I do ask for the strong drugs after surgery.  I’m afraid to take too much pain medication here at home because of the history of addiction on both sides of my family, but in the hospital, I give in to the relief because its controlled.  I’m sure it doesn’t make sense, but it does to me.  Anyway, I’m not strong.  I’m very weak.  I don’t like this…I don’t like not being able to enjoy my kids and my life.  But…I deal.  Still, it makes ending it all a very attractive prospect.  I would never commit suicide (there’s the whole “hell” thing), but drifting away on anesthesia, well, it doesn’t sound all that bad.

So, I’m all over the place.  I need prayers, lots of them.  I want to be able to find peace with God, with myself, with my health.  I want to be able to “pray without ceasing.”

I know we can’t always get what we want, but I feel like that’s something I need.


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I’m not exaggerating here when I say that since June, things have been so tight financially around here its not even funny.  We were scraping by, getting the needs met and sometimes having a little extra for something nice.  Then over the summer, we got underwater when we helped some family out, and we haven’t been able to get our heads back above water ever since.  There’s nothing extra…nothing.  I haven’t been able to get my hair cut since the summer because the money just isn’t there.  Renting a movie and ordering a pizza once a month are pretty much the only extras we’ve been able to do.  My mounting medical costs are not helping matters at all either.  The hospital wants me to pay more money when I go now…no longer just the copay, but fees the “new” insurance plan doesn’t cover either.  The money just isn’t there.

Justin decided to round up our cows today (we only have a few), and is going to take them to the stockyard Monday to sell.  We’re that desperate for cash right now.  We would get $3-400 if we’re lucky for the lot.  Out of the blue, a young man shows up knocking on my door, wanting to buy Justin’s old truck that has been sitting in the yard for a couple years due to something electrical we can’t quite get figured out.  He offered $300 cash.  We wouldn’t be able to get that at the scrap yard.  SOLD.  I’m not sure yet if Justin is going to go ahead and sell the cows, or wait now, but either way…when we least expect it, God will provide.

I have to say, its a little bittersweet.  This is the truck Justin was driving when we met and started dating…I have many fond memories in that truck…my favorite date was to Vicksburg, to the Civil War Cemetery there, and it was such a wonderful day…”I love you” was said for the first time that day.  It may be 16 years old, but it was a good, solid little truck.  I can’t watch it leave…I’m sentimental that way.

God is Great.

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Jesus is knocking on the door of our hearts
Why don’t we answer Him
He loved us from the start
Why don’t we accept Him
He gave His life on the cross for all of our sins
Why don’t we thank Him

Because we don’t see
What He’s done for you and me
We don’t hear the voice that will set us free
We don’t feel His miracles all around us
These are His gifts…

He’s trying to preach to our hearts
Why don’t we listen to Him
He was risen from the dead
Why don’t we have faith in Him
He’s the one who’s God’s Son
Why don’t we follow Him


He has given us so many things
Why don’t we notice them
He’s given us a special purpose in life
Why don’t we understand
God has given us so much
Why don’t we receive it

…Why don’t we care?
Why don’t we…

~Katie Johnson

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Cell Phone vs. Bible…..

Wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phones?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we spent an hour or more using it every day?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it as we traveled?

What if we used it in case of an emergency?

This is something to make you go….”Hmmm….where is my Bible?”

Oh, and a few more things — Unlike our cell phones:

One Plan fits all.

Unlimited usage.

No roaming charges.

No weak signals… and…

We don’t ever have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!

*I received this via email a few years ago, and thought it was cute, and definitely still relevent. 

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Many people have recommended a blog to me, about Audrey Caroline, in recent days, and I’ve been unable to click the links. I just couldn’t. I’m too raw, and I didn’t care about anyone else’s pain, my own was too fresh for me to think about others’.

Then Ruthann posted the lyrics to Audrey’s song…and I started bawling when I read them. I had to go to YouTube and do a search, but couldn’t find the right song. So I googled the first stanza and found the song, and Audrey’s story, that way. Both touched me so much, I had to email Audrey’s mother from her blog, to thank her for the gift I received from their song and story Saturday night.

Watching the video of their beautiful family…I wish I’d been strong enough to let the kids enjoy Ruby Mae, even in death. I wish I’d been strong enough to ask to see her the next day, but I couldn’t bear the thought of holding her and her being cold and still. Now…oh the regrets I have. I can’t change the past…I’m healing but its so hard at times, ya know?

Anyway, the video is beautiful…thank you Ruthann, for bringing the lyrics to my attention and causing me to search out what so many people in their kindness and compassion tried to get me to see earlier.

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

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This week has been a hard one for me.  The doctor’s appointments were ok, but exhausting to go to.  Things at my mom’s were very stressful with the added company and her getting sick again suddenly, not to mention her dog, who was Mamaw’s dog, and is 2 weeks younger than Jared, got hurt and has a broken leg.  All of our stress levels skyrocketed.  By the time I got home Wednesday evening, I was stretched very thin.  Not being on my meds doesn’t help of course.

Then it really all hit the fan.  I found out that it wasn’t enough to just call me a liar…someone actually stalked me to another place on the internet.  The things this person(s) did just make no sense to me.  What is so sadly lacking in someone’s life that they feel the need to find someone they think lied to them, provide proof that is nothing more than coincidence, then when evidence IS provided, they choose to ignore it…and more importantly, set out to deliberately make that person more miserable than they themselves are, and attempt to destroy new relationships that may have been formed.  It just…it doesn’t compute for me.

Regardless, it was the final straw.  I took steps to protect myself, my emotions, my mental stability, and I haven’t looked back since.  I was upset that day, of course, but after a few hours it passed.

Then I found out, after all that, I need a new motor for my van (did I mention we JUST paid it off a month or so ago?), and of course that isn’t in the budget any time soon.  We’ve borrowed my mom’s car for the time being.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Saturday night we had a church social, to meet a prospective pastor and his wife (we’ve been without a pastor for about a year and a half now).   I went, and I’m so glad I did.  They seem so genuine and compassionate.  She talked to me for a while…Justin and some of the others in the church have told her of my recent (and not-so-recent) medical issues, and as we talked, I felt my tension from the week loosening quite a bit.  We continued to discuss things, mainly Miss Ruby and the things she’ll face when she’s born, if she survives her birth.  I’d passed around the best of the 4D pictures, and it was easy to talk about her for once.

I told her that one of my biggest struggles has been listening to that voice I continue to hear in my head…the one that says “Let go, I’ve got this.”  The one that at first I had so much trouble trying to listen to.  As each week and month have passed by, I’ve realized that I’ve steadily given up a little more of that control, day by day.  Justin and I talked about that on the way to Jared’s band contest Saturday.  But, I haven’t been able to let go of that last little bit, and figured I never would.

As I talked to the pastor’s wife, and I told her this, suddenly a weight lifted.  I felt my face do that “ooooh wow” thing that we’ve all done at times when we suddenly realize something profound.  I was amazed…and when I walked away I was almost floating, I felt so light.  I realized in that moment…I’d done it.  I’d given it to God.  Completely.  Yes, I’m still afraid.  Yes, I’m still terrified at times that I’m going to be burying my baby.  But the inner peace I’ve felt for the past few weeks, that whatever happens, it will be ok…it suddenly just expanded and filled me up today.  I know its ok now…God has it.  He has her.  He’s always had her…it just took me a little while to let go and realize that.  He has us all.

And with that realization…nothing else really matters.  All the heartache and upset this week, the mood swings, the crying, the pain, the discomfort, the doctor’s restrictions, the financial strains…none of it matters.  God has it under control.  I just need to listen for His guidance and let Him take the wheel.

I have a feeling I’ll be sleeping better at night now…

And, I thank God for wonderful, amazing friends, some whom I’ve never met, that continue to pray for usand lift me up, make me laugh until I cry, during the times I need it the most.

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We all know the story of the first rainbow…and how its God’s promise to us never again to flood the earth. But, rainbows have meant so much more to me all my life. Its hard to explain, but I can’t see a rainbow in the sky without getting excited and exclaiming out loud “OH! A rainbow!!!” Living in south MS almost all of my life (minus the few years I was in the military), I have plenty of opportunities to see rainbows on a regular basis. We get a lot of rain down here. A lot. And even when we don’t get rain, we get rainbows because of the moisture in the air.

Justin and I were driving out to his brother’s this afternoon to return his trailer Justin had borrowed, and I had my hand on my belly, pressing to feel the baby. I’ve really been able to feel it a lot the past couple weeks…that hard little grapefruit that I normally get so much pleasure from feeling. I was sitting there with tears in my eyes, and silently praying the same prayer I’ve been praying for the past few weeks…God, please, please PLEASE take care of this baby! I glanced out Justin’s window and saw…a gorgeous rainbow. Not only did I cry out “Look!! A rainbow!!” but the tears in my eyes started flowing down my cheeks.

I don’t believe the rainbow is “just” a promise not to flood the earth again. I think its a promise of God’s grace and kindness and patience with us, his all-too-human creations. I like to think that rainbow today was a promise to me that all would be well with this baby, even if its not the “well” that I wish desperately for.

When we got home, I was talking to the kids, and prayer came up, and I explained that there are no unanswered prayers, we just don’t always like the answer, or refuse to accept it. My twelve year old daughter pipes up and says “God ALWAYS answers our prayers…its just that sometimes the answer is no.” You could have heard a pin drop in our living room. Justin and I just looked at each other, smiled, and nodded. She may not be a child exactly anymore, but she definitely speaks with wisdom that amazes me continually.

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