Friday, February 10, 2017

Shelley and Taylor's Story of Poisoning and Grace


Valentine’s Day 2010 would turn into a complete game changer, a day we will never, ever forget.  A day I’ve documented in words so if the day comes that the memory is gone I can always, reflect back on His goodness and mercy.  The following is the account of the night we were poisoned, the night our worlds met His and He provided the most beautiful second chance. 

 

We were experiencing a “Texas Winter” and had received about 6” of snow.  We had been without power for 3 days and Day 3 we ran a generator out in the front driveway/edge of our garage with the garage door open, windows in garage open, etc.   The Fire Chief later told us that since it was so cold and there was no wind that the gas probably just settled instead of blowing away and just crept back into the house via the eaves.

 Taylor (my daughter) and I had gone to bed in our respective bedrooms and she told us that someone called her name and she was trying to get up to see who it was... she got up, fell face first into the wall, collapsed and crawled outside of her bedroom, shimmied up the wall and collapsed again. The thud of her falling on the concrete floor is what woke me up. Charlie (her dad, and my ex-husband) heard this as well from the living room and he and I went to the hallway to see what it was and found her lying lifeless on her face.  We couldn't get her to respond at all and Charlie sent me for a flashlight that was by my bed.  On my way to the bedroom I started feeling like something was not right with me either.  I got the flashlight, and started running back to the hall so I could get to Charlie to let him know I wasn't ok.  I knew if I collapsed in the bedroom he wouldn’t know to come for me and I had to get to him so he would know I was sick.  (Remember, all of this is going on in the dark.) The closer I got to he and Taylor the further away I felt like I was getting.  Everything was spinning out of control and I was experiencing the worst feelings I had ever faced!  When I turned the corner to the hallway I collapsed face first without any hands/arms to brace me, falling onto the metal flashlight cutting my forehead to the bone. Charlie had to search in the darkness for the flashlight as it had rolled when I fell and I told him I felt blood running down my face.  Once found, he shone the light, and with one look he said he had to get me to the hospital!   I said, “What is wrong with Taylor, doesn’t she need to go?”  Taylor meanwhile was in and out of consciousness and our life was so out of control.  Charlie was able to get her awake and told her she had to get a towel to put on my forehead to help with the bleeding until help arrived.  My head began to pulse blood out of control and me, Taylor and the walls were covered in blood.  When she brought the towel back, she then went back unconscious not far from me, and Charlie had to drag her over and prop her on top of me, against the wall as I was having convulsions and banging my face into the concrete floor.  My eyes were rolling back in my head, and Charlie was yelling that I wasn’t going to die on him! He called 911 and first to respond were the police.  Immediately upon entering they looked for the lights and Charlie told them we were without power.  They used their flashlights and on first site was my blood, bloody handprints in our hallway where I tried to stand, and Charlie had my blood on him as well.  Immediately they began accusing Charlie of a crime, etc.…and he began explaining what had just transpired.  Shortly thereafter the fire department arrived, and luckily Charlie knew one of the firemen who quickly came to his defense.  The Fire Chief began asking questions as to what we had done earlier in the day to maybe put some of the pieces together as to what had happened.  Charlie told of the generator use and immediately the Chief went to the truck to get the carbon monoxide detector.  The truck was parked at the street and within steps of entering our driveway the readings on the detector began to rise quickly, so much that he went back to the truck to recalibrate the device as he was not believing the high readings.  Once again, walking in the driveway up to our front door the readings began to creep higher and higher.  Upon reaching the door he called for his crew to exit the home and began to get Charlie, Taylor and our dogs out as well.  A couple of Paramedics were left inside with me to get me stable enough for transport to the hospital.  Once outside, they realized that Taylor had “started” this whole incident and the firemen told Charlie they wanted her checked out as well.  I left by ambulance and Charlie and Taylor in his truck.  On route to the hospital, through nothing other than God’s grace, Taylor made some of the scariest and bravest phone calls she’s ever made to my sisters alerting them of what had transpired and seeking their immediate help.  Several firemen stayed at our home to open windows and stay and watch our dogs for sickness and make sure they were in a safe place before leaving.  (Way beyond the call of duty!)  Once at Mansfield Methodist Hospital they checked mine and Taylor’s blood gases and they were “through the roof”, hers being much higher than mine.  They were not prepared or skilled to handle emergencies such as ours and they began preparing us to be transported to Dallas Methodist to get in their hyperbaric chamber.  First, my head had to be stitched up, 15 stitches and I had to have a CT Scan to make sure I was transportable.  Off we went, on the ice, Taylor and me in the ambulance, her sitting and me on a stretcher, both with oxygen on.  Somewhere along the way my oxygen ran out and the face mask adhered to my face, being claustrophobic, this was not a fun experience.  The Paramedics were wonderful!  Upon arriving at Dallas Methodist, a doctor began to explain to us the procedures for going into the hyperbaric chamber, (all of this I am trying to comprehend while the carbon monoxide was still doing damage to my brain!)  I must add that at some time after our arrival we found out that the family that had just been in the chamber all had died, except the father, not comforting!  Taylor and I are both very claustrophobic, but were survivors after our approximate 3 hour stay in the chamber!  (Taylor was such a trooper, as they had a very difficult time getting her to the depth that we needed to be to be successful.)  2 ambulance rides, 1 CT Scan, 2 blood gases, 2 hyperbaric chambers, 15 stitches and 1 concussion later, WE SURVIVED!  Nothing says “I LOVE YOU” like a brain injury on VALENTINE’S DAY (02142010)  

 

 Afterwards my sister Kimberley moved in for approximately a month.  Physically I was trying to heal my head, but mentally I was left with a traumatic brain injury.  I literally started over with kindergarten flashcards, looking at an apple and saying library and my friends and family completed most of my sentences, scooped Taylor and I up and helped us heal

 

My Neurologist told me that people don’t survive what we went through and there really aren't patients like us.  He said they really don't know how to treat me.  Through his honesty, he became a great comforter to me as I struggled so much with memory and cognitive skills.  I treated for about a year and a half with him.  One of my first visits he took his hand and made a fist and began knocking on my forehead.  He said the poison goes into your brain and destroys whatever it attaches to and we have no control over what functions it destroys or limits.  I’ve come a long way.

 

My short-term memory is horrible at times, and I’ve lost so many precious memories both long-term and short-term.  Taylor and I have a saying when it comes to trying to remember things, we just look at each other and say, “Did we have fun?”  The one who remembers says to the other, “Yes, we had fun!”  That’s all that matters.  To be alive is amazing, in whatever capacity!  God is good; no great, His grace is unending!   I continue daily to deal with balance, breathing, vision, memory, or lack thereof.  These are daily struggles for both Taylor and I.  I have fallen more times than I’ve stood it seems, had injuries that ranged from Band-Aids to orthopedics visits.   By far my greatest challenge is breathing.  Every day at some point I struggle to breathe and coughing has become my norm.  Some days are better than others.  Sunny days are my friend, cold, wet days I lean on Him for every breath I take.   The more I talk the worse my coughing is and I talk so much for work.   Recovery continues every day for me and Taylor, and luckily her Dyslexic brain is use to accommodating skills and this continues to be her saving grace on a daily basis.  She is young and healing has come differently for her, but memory and migraines are big battles she continues to face.   

 

Side note:  When we arrived home from the hospital I grabbed Taylor’s forearms and said to her, “You know the voice that woke you up was not me or daddy?”  Her response, “I know mom!”  My faith is amazing! God’s mercy is incredible!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BlooM

I have been waiting all summer for this ONE bloom.  

I have nurtured this plant to the nth degree.  I hand watered it, pulled it away from the scorching hot brick and on days that i felt its roots were exposed, i gently covered it with extra dirt.   Finally, this past week IT BLOOMED.  


It reminds me of how God must feel when He puts forth so much effort into me and i take much longer to bloom and flourish than He was expecting.  I am so thankful that He doesn't give up on me and I'm certainly glad that i'm worth Hand watering.  

I pray that when my roots are exposed that He is proud of who i am.

I hope that i am as beautiful to Him as this precious flower is to me.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Shelley and Taylor's Story of Poisoning and GRACE

We had been without electricity for 3 days due to the weather, and earlier in the day we ran a generator out in the front driveway/edge of our garage (we had the garage door open, windows in garage open, etc.)  The fire chief later told us that since it was so cold and there was no wind that the gas probably just settled instead of blowing away and just crept back into the house via the eaves.
 Taylor and I had gone to bed in our respective bedrooms and she told us later that SOMEONE called her name and she was trying to get up to see who it was...she got up, shimmied up her wall, then collapsed at the edge of her bedroom.  The thud of her falling is what woke me up. Charlie (her dad, and my ex-husband) heard this as well from the living room and he and I went to the hallway to see what it was and found her lying lifeless on her face.  We couldn't get her to respond at all to us and Charlie sent me for a flashlight that was by my bed.  On my way to the bedroom I started feeling like something was not right with me either.  I got the flashlight, and started running back to the hall so I could get to Charlie to let him know I wasn't ok.  I knew if I collapsed in the bedroom he wouldn’t know to come for me and I had to get to him so he would know I was sick.  The closer I got to them the further away I felt like I was getting.  Everything was spinning out of control.  When I turned the corner to the hallway I collapsed face first without any hands/arms to brace me, falling onto the metal flashlight cutting my forehead to the bone. Charlie had to search in the dark for the flashlight as it had rolled when I fell and I told him I felt blood running down my face.  He found the flashlight and looked and said he had to get me to the hospital!   I said, “What is wrong with Taylor, doesn’t she need to go?”  Taylor meanwhile was in and out of consciousness.  He was able to get her awake and told her she had to go get a towel to put on my head to help with the bleeding until help got there.  My head began to pulse blood out of control.  When she brought it back, she then went back unconscious not far from me and Charlie had to drag her over and prop her on top of me, against the wall as I was having convulsions and banging my face into the concrete floor.  My eyes were rolling back in my head, and Charlie was yelling that I WASN’T GOING TO DIE ON HIM! 

 Charlie called 911 and first to respond were the police.  Immediately upon entering they looked for the lights and Charlie told them we were without power.  They used their flashlights and on first site was my blood, bloody handprints in my hallway where I tried to stand upon falling and Charlie had it on him.  Immediately they began accusing Charlie of a crime, etc…and he began explaining what had transpired.  Shortly thereafter the fire department arrived, and luckily Charlie knew one of the firemen who came to his defense.  The fire chief began asking questions as to what we had done earlier in the day to maybe put some of the pieces together as to what had happened.  He told of the generator use and immediately the fire chief went to the truck to get the carbon monoxide detector.  The truck was parked at the street and within steps of entering our driveway the detector began to “freak out”, so much that the chief went back to the truck to recalibrate the devise as he was not believing the high readings.  Once again, walking in the driveway up to our front door the readings on the devise began to creep higher and higher.  Upon reaching the door the chief called for his crew to exit the home and began to get Charlie, Taylor and our dogs out as well.  A couple of paramedics were left inside with me to get me stable enough for transport to the hospital.  Once outside, they realized that Taylor had “started” this whole incident and the firemen told Charlie they wanted her checked out as well.  I left by ambulance and Charlie and Taylor in his truck.  Several firemen stayed at our home to open windows and stay and watch our dogs for sickness and make sure they were in a safe place before leaving.  Way beyond the call of duty.  Once at Mansfield Methodist they checked mine and Taylor’s blood gases and they were “through the roof”, hers being much higher than mine.  Mansfield Methodist was not prepared or skilled to handle emergencies such as ours and they began preparing us to be transported to Dallas Methodist to get in the hyperbaric chamber.  (In an ambulance, on the ice)  First my head had to be stitched up, 15 stitches and I had to have a CT to make sure I was transportable.  Off we went, Taylor and me in the ambulance, her sitting with oxygen on and me on a stretcher with oxygen on.  Somewhere along the way my oxygen ran out and the face mask adhered to my face, not a fun experience.  The paramedics were wonderful!  Upon arriving at Dallas Methodist they began to explain to me the procedures for going into the hyperbaric chamber, (all of this I am trying to comprehend while the carbon monoxide is still doing damage to my brain!)  I must add that at some time after our arrival we found out that the FAMILY that had just been in the chamber all died, except the father!!  Not comforting!  Taylor and I are both very claustrophobic, but we survived after our approximate 3 hour stay in the Hyperbaric Chamber.  (Taylor was such a trooper, as they had a very difficult time getting her to the depth that we needed to be to be successful)  Two ambulance rides, one CT Scan, two bloodgases, two hyperbaric chambers, fifteen stitches and one concussion later, WE SURVIVED!  Nothing says I LOVE YOU like a brain injury on VALENTINE’S DAY (02142010)

 Afterwards my sister moved in for approximately a month.  Physically I was trying to heal my head, but mentally I was left with a traumatic brain injury.  I literally started over with kindergarten flashcards…looking at an apple and saying library!  Friends and family scooped Taylor and I up and helped us heal!  My neurologist told me that people don’t survive what we went through and there really aren't patients like us.  He said they really don't know how to treat me.  Through his honesty, he became a great comforter as I struggled SO with memory and cognitive skills.  Memory is horrible at times, and I’ve lost so many precious memories.  Taylor and I have a saying when it comes to trying to remember things, we just look at each other and say, “Did we have fun?”  The one who remembers says to the other, “Yes, we had fun!”  That’s all that matters.  BUT, TO BE ALIVE IS AMAZING! (In whatever capacity!)  God is good; no great, HIS GRACE IS UNENDING!)  The worse things I daily deal with are breathing, memory and balance, or lack thereof.  These are daily struggles for both Taylor and I.  I have fallen more times than I’ve stood it seems and forgotten more than I’ve remembered.  I’ve had injuries that ranged from Band-Aids to orthopedics visits.   Recovery continues every day for me and Taylor.  Luckily her Dyslexic brain is use to accommodating skills and this continues to be her saving Grace on a daily basis.  She is young and healing has come differently for her, but memory and migraines are big battles for her.   Side note:  When we arrived home from the hospital I grabbed Taylor’s forearms and said to her, “You know the voice that woke you up was not me or daddy?”  Her response, “I KNOW MOM!”  My FAITH is AMAZING! God’s GRACE and MERCY IS INCREDIBLE!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our story of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Valentine's Day 2010


 We had been without electricity for 3 days due to the weather, and earlier in the day we ran a generator out in the front driveway/edge of our garage (we had the garage door open, windows in garage open, etc.)  The fire chief said that since it was so cold and there was no wind that the gas probably just settled instead of blowing away and just crept back into the house via the eaves.

 Taylor and I had gone to bed in our respective bedrooms and she told us later that SOMEONE called her name and she was trying to get up to see who it was...she got up and collapsed in her bedroom floor and shimmied up her wall, got back in bed, heard her name called again, got up and then collapsed outside her bedroom.  The thud of her falling is what woke me up. Charlie (her dad, and my ex-husband)  heard this as well from the living room and he and I went to the hallway to see what it was and found her lying lifeless on her face.  We couldn't get her to respond at all to us and Charlie sent me for a flashlight that was by my bed.  On my way to the bedroom I started feeling like something WAS NOT RIGHT WITH ME EITHER.  I got the flashlight, and started running back to the hall so I could get to Charlie to let him know I wasn't ok.  I knew if I collapsed in the bedroom he wouldn’t know to come for me and I had to get to him so he would know I WAS SICK.  The closer I got to them the further away I felt like I was getting.  Everything was spinning out of control.  When I turned the corner to the hallway I collapsed face first without any hands/arms to brace me, falling onto the metal flashlight cutting my forehead to the bone. Charlie had to search in the dark for the flashlight as it had rolled when I fell and I told him I felt blood running down my face.  He found the flashlight and looked and said HE HAD TO GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL!   I said WHAT IS WRONG WITH TAYLOR, DOESN’T SHE NEED TO GO!  Taylor meanwhile was in and out of consciousness.  He was able to get her awake and told her SHE HAD TO GO GET A TOWEL TO PUT ON MY HEAD to help with the bleeding until help got there.  My head began to pulse blood out of control.  When she brought it back, she then went back unconscious not far from me and Charlie had to drag her over and prop her on top of me, against the wall as I was having convulsions and banging my face into the concrete floor.  My eyes were rolling back in my head, and Charlie was yelling that I WASN’T GOING TO DIE ON HIM! 

 Charlie called 911 and first to respond were the police.  Immediately upon entering they looked for the lights and Charlie told them we were without power.  They used their flashlights and on first site was MY BLOOD, bloody handprints in my hallway where I tried to stand upon falling and Charlie had it on him.  IMMEDIATELY they began accusing Charlie of a crime, etc…and he began explaining what had transpired.  Shortly thereafter the fire department arrived, and LUCKILY Charlie knew one of the firemen who came to his defense.  The fire chief began asking questions as to what we had done earlier in the day to maybe put some of the pieces together as to what had happened.  He told of the generator use and immediately the fire chief went to the truck to get the carbon monoxide detector.  The truck was parked at the street and within steps of entering our driveway the detector began to “freak out”, so much that the chief went back to the truck to recalibrate the devise as he was not believing the high readings.  Once again, walking in the driveway up to our front door the readings on the devise began to creep higher and higher.  Upon reaching the door the chief called for his crew to exit the home and began to get Charlie, Taylor and our dogs out as well.  A couple of paramedics were left inside with me to get me stable enough for transport to the hospital.  Once outside, they realized that Taylor had “started” this whole incident and the firemen told Charlie they wanted her checked out as well.  I left by ambulance and Charlie and Taylor in his truck.  Several firemen stayed at our home to open windows and stay and watch our dogs for sickness and make sure they were in a safe place before leaving.  WAY BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY.  Once at Mansfield Methodist they checked mine and Taylor’s blood gases and they were “through the roof”, hers being much higher than mine.  Mansfield Methodist was not prepared or skilled to handle emergencies such as ours and they began preparing us to be transported to Dallas Methodist to get in the hyperbaric chamber.  (in an ambulance, on the ice)  First my head had to be stitched up, 15 stitches and I had to have a CT to make sure I was transportable.  Off we went, Taylor and I in the ambulance, her sitting with oxygen on and me on a stretcher with oxygen on.  Somewhere along the way my oxygen ran out and the face mask adhered to my face, not a fun experience.  THE PARAMEDICS WERE WONDERFUL!!!  Upon arriving at Dallas Methodist they began to explain to me the procedures for going into the hyperbaric chamber, (all of this I am trying to comprehend while the carbon monoxide is STILL doing damage to my brain!)  I must add that at some time after our arrival we found out that the FAMILY that had just been in the chamber ALL DIED, except the father!!  NOT COMFORTING!!!!  Taylor and I are BOTH VERY VERY CLAUSTROPHOBIC but were SURVIVORS after our approximate 3 HOUR STAY IN THE CHAMBER!!  (Taylor was SUCH A TROOPER, as they had a VERY VERY DIFFICULT time getting her to the depth that we needed to be to be successful)  Two AMBULANCE RIDES, One CATSCAN, Two BLOODGASES, Two HYPERBARIC CHAMBERS, Fifteen STITCHES and One CONCUSSION later, WE SURVIVED!!! 

 Afterwards my sister moved in for approximately a month.  Physically I was trying to heal my head, but MENTALLY I was left with a TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY.  I literally started over with kindergarten flashcards…looking at an apple and saying library!!!  I’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY, you might say!!  I didn’t even miss work!!!!  Friends and family scooped Taylor and I up and helped us heal!  My neurologist told me that people DON'T SURVIVE what we went through and there really aren't patients like us.  He said they really don't know how to treat me.  Through his honesty,  became a great comforter as I struggled SO with memory and cognitive skills.  Memory is horrible at times, and I’ve lost so many precious memories.  Taylor and I have a saying when it comes to trying to remember things, we just look at each other and say, “did we have fun?”  The one who remembers says to the other, “yes, we had fun!!”  That’s all that matters.  BUT, TO BE ALIVE IS AMAZING!!! (in whatever capacity!!)  God is good; no great, HIS GRACE IS UNENDING!!)  The worse things I daily deal with are balance, breathing, memory, or lack thereof.  These are daily struggles for both Taylor and I.  I have fallen more times than I’ve stood it seems.  Had injuries that ranged from Band-Aids to orthopedics visits!   Recovery continues every day for me and Taylor.  Luckily her Dyslexic brain is use to ACCOMMODATING skills and this continues to be her saving Grace on a daily basis.  She is young and healing has come easier for her, but memory and migraines are big battles for her.  

 Sidenote:  When we arrived home from the hospital I grabbed Taylor’s forearms and said to her, “you know the voice that woke you up was not me or daddy?”  Her response, “I KNOW MOM!”  My FAITH is AMAZING!! God’s MERCY IS INCREDIBLE!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

when JOY doesn't come

This time of year you can't NOT hear JOY TO THE WORLD.  It resonates every where we go. 

What happens when JOY doesn't come in the morning? 
What happens when JOY doesn't fill your soul?
What happens when every one has JOY but you?





I just returned from the DFW National Cemetery where both of my parents ashes are co-mingled.  Their place of rest looks out over the most incredible sunsets and oftentimes when we are there our sadness is co-mingled with these incredible sunsets as well.  Tonight we took a dozen lavender roses to honor our mother and her death one year ago today.  This week has been rough on my family.  (you can see more posts and pics on my facebook and instagram pages)

One year ago today my mother died (on a Friday night).  The following Tuesday morning I was at work, talking with a co-worker about all the events with my mom and I had literally just spoken the words, "But JOY comes in the morning" when my eldest sister called and stated that my dad was in the car with her in the process of having a stroke.  He indeed suffered a massive stroke that would change his and our lives forever.  Our lives had just been changed four days earlier and just when you think you can't change any more, God oftentimes has a different plan.  I HOPE I never forget that I stated "But JOY comes in the morning" that day as it truly does if we allow it to.


Sometimes JOY has to be intentional but my heart aches for those who physically can't make that happen for one reason or another.  Lord, I pray for PEACE, COMFORT and MERCY for those who need You just a little extra this time of year.  Those who need an extra measure of GRACE or just need You to nestle in a little closer right now.   I thank You that I AM JOYFUL and my HOPE is bright because I know it was only by my TRUSTING You that You saw me through and continue to see me through each and every day.  Lord, thank You for LIFE, thank You for saving mine and Taylor's lives, thank You for ALL my FAMILY near and far and most importantly THE BIRTH OF JESUS!  May we CELEBRATE HIM in whatever way we can whether our JOY fills a teaspoon or fills a bucket.   Shine Your light on us and through us in this darkened world.   








May JOY COME IN THE MORNING.
May God forever be with us.
May we never breathe one breath without Him.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Reflections of THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving truly is my most favorite time of the year.  I love to sit and reflect on what has been taken, what I’ve been given, and God’s perfect plan for me and mine. 



Psalm 66:12 “We went through the fire and through water; yet You have brought us out to a place of abundance.”

God certainly had His hand in every detail.  I am walking this life out by His grace and love with those who love and encourage me.  God provided!  I am living my dream with my happily ever after.  He provided the most tender, compassionate, caring man that my heart desired.

God had to unclench my hands in order for me to
raise them to His glory. 

There is power, freedom and beauty in the smallest open palm.  When I had nothing else to hold onto, I gave Him what I had.  Nothing, everything!  I offered my open hands to Him. 

Jehovah Jireh “The Lord will provide.”  Indeed!


He showed me how to jump in the deep end instead of tipping my toes in the shallow.  He taught me trust!  He taught me how to spill joy again and to drip His light everywhere I go.

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you.
You need only be still.”

So many prayers prayed, so many prayers answered. 



I will never stop thanking Him
 for all I have and all He has done.

All He wants us to do is ask.  All He wants us to do is step out of His way and trust Him.  He will meet you where you are, whether you are full or empty, thirsty or quenched, bring Him what you have, and bring Him what you are.     
I am so magnificently grateful for who He has provided, how he has provided and that He continues to provide for me and Taylor!  I couldn't be prouder of who Taylor has become through all of her diversities.         

Whether you are on a mountaintop, arms flailing or deep in a valley of stillness, never forget where you’ve come from, where you’ve been.  Look back occasionally just to see how far you’ve come and never be afraid to return to the Well.  Life gets hard every now and then, even during times of plenty and great blessings.

By God’s grace, He took my drips of hope and gave me strength.

A million “THANK YOU’S” Lord.          

His grace is certainly glue for the broken.
I will continue to embrace the big and small moments, every breath I’m given, especially the ones that I struggle to breathe. 


So many people watched me go through the fire and come out the other side and I hope they gained strength and renewed their trust in Him along the way.  I am forever grateful for each of you.  I hope God is using my life now as a witness, a form of daily encouragement, strength and hope to others.

 I hope my life is a picture of what He can do if we let Him.

                                                                                  
When I feel the warmth of David’s hand laced in mine, it is a simple reminder of thousands of prayers that were prayed and answered. 




Gratefulness and thanksgiving overcome me!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

a BEAUTIFUL mess


http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/75/ee/9d/75ee9d2859d4cad635eff89e99466ccc.jpg
She twirled a ringlet into a tangle.  There is irony in a beautiful curl slowly turning into a tangled mess, beyond resurrection.  After all beautiful locks don’t go from beautiful to disastrous in a matter of minutes.  It’s a slow process, that you may not even see happening.

 



 

 


 

http://whoorl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/hi7.jpg

 

 

Isn’t that how life is?  Things can go from beautiful to “tangled” without us even realizing.  

  

I am the youngest daughter of a 39+ year prescription drug addict and alcoholic.  My mom is 75 years old and this is basically the only life I’ve known with her.  Come join me for a moment in our beautiful mess; between the breaths, between the heartbeats, between the words spoken and not.  My sisters and I bent, we broke, but we survived.  We have lived both horrible and beautiful moments, but at the end of the day, we lived. 

  

This was our life, but I know it’s also some other little girls’ story as well, who longed for a mother.  I sit here, even now, staring at the screen of words; trying to focus on the keys, with a tear slowly falling down my cheek.  I hold to the thought of all the little girls, bound by the common denominator of an addict parent and I am deeply saddened, not angry but sad.   

 

Writing has been my refuge and a backbone to my courage on many days.   I can let my guard down, writing raw from my true inner self while discovering who I was and who I truly am.  Some days writing is my soft place to fall and some days I cannot even stand afterwards.  Pain is fierce on some days and it’s still numb on others. 

Our life was a monumental catastrophe most of the time, oftentimes, much more than a minor annoyance.  Despite the sun shining, pouring through the windows, the rooms in which we lived appeared dimly lit.  We appeared to have it all, nice clothes, nice cars, a nice house, but not a home and not a mother.

 
Mother painted manipulation, pain, distance, selfishness and sadness with broad brushstrokes all over her children. It’s only by God’s grace that I am the encourager I am today.  We were tiny gifts from God that she had been given the privilege and the duty of raising and we were not worthy of her love. We were tainted, marked, scarred with the ugliness that we lived in.  We were far from beautiful.  We were left to fin for ourselves, to learn to love, have compassion, honor and kindness and bestow these things on others. We learned to be who we wanted her to be! We learned to carry on while we had mother’s shards of pain in our sides.  I learned how to be a mother from her, by not doing what she did.  This is still true today.  I learned how to be something from someone who wasn’t what I was learning to be!  We tried to live the rite of passage without our mother’s example as if being tasked to paint someone’s face that you’ve never seen.  There is irony in learning to be a mother from a Father, our Heavenly Father.  It was He that was with us along the way; every step, guiding us to be the moms we are today. Our mother was supposed to stand in the gap for us, like we are doing for our girls!

 Philippians 1:29 “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake”

 Some days the pain is unbearable!  Tears run down my cheek, mixing with what’s coming out my nose and I swallow and blink and swallow and blink again so I can focus on the screen while I try and type the sadness that never, ever leaves me.

 If mother put makeup on, it always consisted of red lipstick, perfectly blotted with a piece of tissue.  This meant she was probably leaving the house, sober or not, with no concern for herself, us or those she would come in contact with.  Somewhere along the way she lost her hope, she lost her faith, she lost our names.

 Mother was stunning in her time!  She was a slim woman, with dark, striking features, who made men’s heads turn without hesitation. Once beautiful, now she spends the day in an old tattered t-shirt with more burnt cigarette holes than not, and this is fine with her.  If I saw my mom on the street today, I would think she was homeless.  Her legs, unsure of their next step, continue to hold her up, even when we can’t, until one day when her body will say that’s enough.  Mother will forever walk with a limp, dragging one leg behind.  She will lean on a walker for strength and we will continue to lean on Him. 

 It was a gradual change, just like the ringlet, nothing that just happened overnight.  Each day the ringlet became less and less of a curl and more of a tangle, and each day she became less of the wife our dad had wed and less and less of the mother we knew.  Each day we lost her just a bit more. 

 Mother’s betrayal colored me with sadness.  It’s hard to forget, yet at the same time it’s hard to remember the person before the thirst consumed her, before the liquor became stronger than the shared blood that ran through our veins.  Blood is thicker than water, but I’m guessing that’s not true for alcohol.  I realize now that she had a choice to make between her drugs and her daughters and she chose the one that benefitted her most.  What gave her right to “bail” on motherhood?  We were on a journey together, one foot in front of the other and she got off the path – she stopped walking.  She released the grip she had on our hands, we kept walking, even without direction, and we walked without her!  We would never know how it felt to finish the race with a mom by our side.  We were like paper dolls, hands linked, shoulder to shoulder, connected by our hearts. Our lips were laced with tears.  We were three girls bound together by one woman, bound by the one heart that beat in her chest.     On the nights I was scared I could feel that heart beat rapidly inside mine.  My quiet bedroom echoed the steady rhythm of that beat.  Tears hit my pillow before I even knew I was crying.  No matter what happened on our journey, nothing could separate us from our common thread.  Our stories were intersected by the blood that ran through our veins.  We weren’t three stories after all, we were ONE.  We would not be quiet in hopes of helping the silent one that lay with her hand upon her chest, feeling her heart beat, longing for her mother’s touch. 

 We never had to wonder what filled in the cracks of our broken hearts, God’s Grace, His sweet, beautiful Grace!  We have often said that God “poured His grace right over our heads,” filling in all our cracks, while drowning us in His Mercy.  His grace kissed our fingertips and Mercy gently blew away the bad, the negative, and He breathed life into our souls, so we; as sisters, could one day pay it forward.  The grace of God is glue for the broken.  God had to unclench our hands in order for us to raise them to His glory!  There is power, freedom and beauty in the smallest open palm.  God loved us as little girls and He loves us now. 

 Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me

the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

 
I just wanted to go from victim to “healed.”  I didn’t want to hurt anymore.  I wanted to be someone that made it through.  Sometimes I felt as if life should stop when things got so complicated; however, life continues.  The sun rises and sets, the moon and the stars still sparkle in the night, even in our darkest hours and weeds still grow between the cracks in our driveways.  Life continues and so shall we.  So many prayers prayed, so many prayers answered!  All He wants us to do is ask.  All He wants us to do is step out of His way and trust Him.  He is waiting to make things beautiful.

Psalm 55:22 “cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken”

I am feeling very blessed at where I am when I turn around and see how far I’ve come.  I remember walking the path as if barefoot in a field of mesquite trees, trying to reach the green meadow while stopping to pick out thorns from my feet along the way.  Today I dance in the beautiful meadow!

Bravery doesn’t always mean standing.  Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to sit, rest, gather God and all He has for you.  Sometimes we have to be still, quiet to ultimately ROAR. 

 

“There’s a God who can bring me UP and OUT.  Turning ugly gaping wounds into scars that serve as badges of honor and trophies of the GRACE of God at work in me.” – Bev Murrill

 

When the dark veil of our mother's drugs and alcohol covered us in darkness, His mercy allowed us girls to "unwrap" the darkness, the sin, the filth, the shame and begin again, walking with Him in His  beautiful grace and light!  Right now it is raining grace!  It is everywhere I look, everywhere I go, everywhere I breathe!  Today is a day where no umbrella is needed; let us dance in the beautiful rain.