Faith, Love, Mindset, Reflections

Reflection and Resolution

I’m here. My daughter is here. We are embarking on a new year and a new life with one less, my son, her brother. Even though it’s been almost a year, it still feels fresh. An open wound still not ready to close. Though, I could sit here and cry and feel sorry for myself, because I could, but I would then be denying the power of Jesus Christ in the midst of midst of my sorrow. He has never forsaken or forgotten me, He has kept every single one of His promises.

God knows and knew what He was doing when He took my boy to be with Him. For a long time, it felt like I was being punished. I still feel that way at times. But, then I reflect on all of the blessings that I have received and continue to receive even in this season of loss, this grief. There are so many emotions right now, knowing that I will never see my boy grow up. He will in my heart and mind always be eleven.

As I look forward to this new year, I will never forget what happened in 2022, a part of me will be gone forever, but through it all, I am growing stronger day by day. And I have a loving Father, who is the same today, tomorrow and forever. That is a huge comfort to me. I can believe in Him, I can trust in Him and I can share the gospel and live faithfully until my natural death. While I wait to be reunited one day with Ethan. I will accept His continual refinement so that my life might be an example of His mercy and His grace. After all, diamonds are produced under pressure.

So, what are my plans for 2023, you may ask. Stay tuned, I have so much to share. But until then know this, I will shed the remnants of fear and scarcity, that have followed me for many years. My life is too full now for those two to have any place in it. That is why for 2023, I’m going to happily invest in both of my businesses and I will continue to study the scriptures so that I might be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that is in me.

This is not a resolution but it is a commitment to grow outside of the fear and to walk in the victory of Christ. I hope that you will join me.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Faith, Family, Grief

The Road We Traveled To Get Here

Everyone wants to be loved, it is our fundamental and most basic emotion that we need to endure this life. Lives absent of love are hard, difficult and incredibly lonely.

I was in my late thirties, married and pregnant with my first child, when the unthinkable happened. My mother, my sister in Christ and very best friend died. That was the first time, that I felt to my core the absence of love. It was the first time that I felt truly alone and inconsolable. On that day, I could not imagine how I could possibly live this life without the one person who knew me better than anyone, including my husband.

I forged ahead for my daughter. I put a bandaid over that chest wound and busied myself with preparation of becoming a mother. I was fine. I functioned convincingly, until the next worst thing happened. Ethan had his first seizure at my dad’s wedding. I was forever changed that day. I left my body in anguish that day, hearing every voice around me, but incapable of responding. I only returned, when I heard the paramedic say, “your son needs you, please snap out of it!” He was right, Ethan needed me from that day forward. I became Ethan’s person and he became mine.

Countless doctors, a big from North Carolina to Georgia, with the bright eyed belief that I would find the answers that would take the seizures and autism away. I read, I researched, I consulted. He would improve and then he would slide back. Always following those seizures. I hate seizures.

With every setback I forged ahead, determined that the ship would turn for my Ethan. He was my focus. Eventually my body broke down, autoimmunity moved into my once healthy body. One month later, it became too much for husband to bear, so with a simple text, he wanted out. For nine months, we occupied the same house. He filed for divorce, I accepted without a fight. Why? Because it never should have been. A divorce was the relief that I needed to fight for my son and to nurture my daughter without the demands of a counterfeit marriage.

Life became harder, but then it would get better. Ethan would do well and just when I thought we had cleared a hurdle, there would be something. But we always rebounded. Always. But then one day, we didn’t. Ethan died. And once again, that deep gut wrenching hurt absence of love came back. How could this have happened? Countless ambulance rides, two life threatening weeks in the hospital. But we always turned it around. Until we didn’t. Why Lord, why?

I still think about that day and wonder why or what I could have done. I know that even if God gave me an answer, what comfort would it give me? Ethan isn’t coming back. I have to go to him.

So, when I prayed and asked for direction for Emily and I, He led us to northern Alabama. The one place I never expected to live but now can’t imagine living anywhere else.

While I still don’t understand why my life had to go this way, I can say that my soul is no longer wandering, because I have finally found my home.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Road with fallen leaves

Belief, Faith, Grief, Mindset

Something to Celebrate

I firmly believe that when you prioritize God above all else, blessings just come. Tonight was such an occasion. I am happy to report that on my first attempt, I successfully passed my Functional Nutrition Certification exam! 🎉🎉

Though my heart is still heavy because my boy is not here to celebrate with me, it is because of him that I started this wellness journey.

Please stay tuned for more details that I will share over the coming weeks as I begin to set up my practice.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

To God be the glory!

AngelaChristine

*official certification to be mailed.

Officially certified
Faith, Reflections

My Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, I had a large tumor removed from my leg. I had no idea then what the next several months would bring. What started out as routine, ended up being more extensive than I could have imagined. It took months to heal and even though the internal healing is complete, I will have a scar to remind me for the remainder of my days of the lessons that I needed to learn.

In those weeks, I learned how to accept and appreciate support from others, but also disappointment. The very people that I thought would have come to my side at a very vulnerable time in my life, did not. And the very people, who had no reason to, did.

That is the funny thing about loss, no matter what it is, surgery or death. Love and support comes from the most unexpected places to fill your cup. They are those angels that come and minister to you without saying a word. They just flutter about doing, because they know that you would never ask.

Behind the scenes they make sure that you are fed and comforted. They make arrangements for your beloved children. They send cards, they call. They ask about you. Sometimes they just sit and listen to you go on and on without judgement. And sometimes, they catch you before you hit the floor.

Were it not for the angels near and far, that chose to love on me when my pride would not permit me to ask for help, though, I very much needed it, I would not have fared as well as I did; my heart is grateful. I am grateful that they ignored my foolishness and did the work that needed to be done.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

One year post my surgery
Faith, Love, Reflections

Without You

Who would I be without You? Without You, my life would be a heap of ashes, without a hope and without a future. Without You, I would barely be hanging on. Without You, my words would have no meaning, my life a waste. Without you, I would be unsaved and destined for damnation. Without You, I’d never know that love is patient and is kind.

I pray that I will never forget, Who you are and all you have done for me; because I never want to live this life without You.

“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” Psalm 119:10

In Christ alone,

AngelaChristine

View during walk after dinner

Belief, Faith, Family, Friendship

Tiny Little Miracles

It’s hard to believe that we have been here for three weeks. So much has happened in such a short time that it’s impossible to not see God’s hand in this move. We have visited three churches of Christ, since we have been here and have already made good friends. Through these friendships, we have been able to connect with the homeschooling community. Emily is enrolled in piano, will start tennis lessons after Labor Day and will also get to participate in Fall planting at my sister in Christ’s home next month. Needless the say, as I sit here typing out this post, tears are streaming down my face as I reflect on how good God is and has been since we made this move. Though it was extremely hard in the preparation, I am appreciative that Huntsville, is woven into our journey to heaven.

Today has been busy, following worship this morning, we were invited to the home of a family from church for lunch. Not only was the meal delicious, but everything on our plates came from their backyard. Even the kombucha that was served with our meal was homemade. The meal was followed by a tour of their homestead, and if that was not enough, they gifted us with more wonderful vegetables to take home. The one surprise at lunch was the rabbit. I’ve always been hesitant about eating rabbit, but decided today that I would expand my horizons. So, I ate it with gratitude and to my surprise it was quite tasty.

If I had to put a cap on my day, it was that I was able to leave my daughter at the church building this evening after Bible study for her first youth event. She had a great time and made some new friends. She was the primary driver for this move, because I wanted to have her surrounded by other children her age, growing in Christ. God has taken us from isolated to invited and welcomed.

With all of this wonderful happening to us, my heart still aches because Ethan is not here with us to experience this too. In fact, I feel guilty that we are able to live this life without him. It seems so unfair. In fact, I still can’t comprehend that my life is so radically different now. That God would have me go on without my heartbeat, my precious boy. It still hurts so deeply.

Though, I don’t understand, I will cling to my Lord and Savior, trusting that one day I will see Ethan again as he should have always been, whole and well.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15&16

In Christine love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family

Sweet Home Alabama

There is so much to share that I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I embarked upon a journey that relocated us from the state that we had grown to call home to a place that seemed so foreign when God placed it on my heart. Probably like many of the early Americans when they left family to travel out west to set up a new homestead.

But here it’s different or maybe I am different. I am different. Or perhaps, it’s the relatability or the way we were welcomed into church on Sunday as though they had been waiting for us to arrive. Or maybe it’s just the door that opened because He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Whatever that, it is, I am grateful that we can now call, Alabama our home. ❤️

Being a native of North Carolina, I would never have thought I could live in Alabama. Truth be told I felt the same way about Georgia.

Thank you, Alabama for welcoming us with open arms.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Grief, Love

Walking Through Sorrow

It’s been four months since my precious son left this life and there isn’t one day that I don’t think of him. It’s not possible for me to forget the joy that he brought into my life. He made me a warrior, a fighter, he made me brave.

I try to stay busy, because sitting with my thoughts for too long is too hard. I have to pack, but it seems like I barely get started before I stop. I know that it needs to be done, but for some reason, I can find a million distractions. I wonder if it’s because part of me feels like packing makes his death final or is just a reminder that this next journey doesn’t include him.

I know that God has him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is healed and happy. I’m just sad that it didn’t happen for me to see. Sometimes, I find myself calling him to come and give me a hug, I just want to hold him and snuggle. But he doesn’t come. Maybe he doesn’t miss me in the way that I miss him.

I still wonder why he had to leave and I know that I may never get the answers that I am seeking. I guess I just want to know why I had to go through another hurt so deep that breathing hurts. But God doesn’t owe me an explanation so I’ll accept that His grace is sufficient.

Besides I guess none of us gets to leave this planet without some amount of sorrow. Just seems that I have had enough for two lifetimes. Maybe there is a lesson in that for me to learn. I guess, I need to figure it out, because I am tired of walking through sorrow and having grief as a constant companion.

Perhaps, I’ll wake up one day and grief will be gone and if she is, I pray that I am ready for the day.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Morning Kisses
Belief, Faith, Grief, Mindset

On The Edge of Nowhere

Where do I belong? Where should we go? Should we just buy an RV and travel from state to state? Those are questions, I ask myself almost daily. You see when Ethan was alive, we knew. We knew where we had to be and when. But now, we’re nomads. Anchored only to the belief that, if we live faithfully we will be reunited with our Ethan someday.

When I show up online, people see the bright shiny Angela doing her best to serve and inspire. What they don’t see is the pain, that still permeates my heart. Though it’s been nearly four months, I am still not okay that he is gone. I will likely never be.

I guess what I struggle so deeply with is the not knowing. Why he had to go and not me? Why am I still here to mourn the sweetest, purest heart that I was blessed to nurture and care for? What lessons does God want me to know? Why do I still not have the faith of Job? Why do I still not know where I belong?

I started the “75 Hard Challenge” on May 9, and knock on wood, I’ve been able to meet the challenge so far. But one of the things that I am learning or I guess I have had to face is the me looking back at me in the mirror. Truth is, this is a mental challenge and it has brought forth some hard truths. Number one, I am not in control, God is and He is the ultimate decision maker. For me to think otherwise is arrogant and rebellious. Two, He loves me and has only the best plan laid out for me as long as I listen to his voice and step out of the drivers seat and sit in the passengers seat where I belong.

Three, Job was not blessed abundantly because he did not sin, but because he never wavered in his belief that God was the giver of all that he had and that He would provide and was worthy of praise, no matter the circumstances. He just trusted and believed, even when he lost all of his children in one day! He grieved but did not stop trusting God. That is the lesson, right?

Just like Job, I may never know why God has allowed me to experience so much grief over the years. But what I do know is that, God has a plan for me, not one of evil, but a future and a hope. I just have to believe that He will and to live my life according to will and to seek His counsel daily.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I Peter 5:10

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Nowhere

Faith, Grief

It Comes in Waves

What do you call a mother who loses her child when he is eleven years old? Is she a widow like when her husband dies? Is there even a name to represent her heart being pulled from her chest, like a heart attack that is associated with cardiovascular disease? There should be a name to call a woman who loses her child without warning or explanation. Maybe I’ll be the first to wear that name. I am after all a grieving mother and will likely be known by that until the day I die.

Most days, I wake up and do all of the things. But then there are moments when I see his lifeless body in my mind and I want to scream and cry and beg for it to not be real. Oh and then there are the times, when a friend will just simply ask, “how are you doing”, and the tears just start rolling down my cheeks before I even say a word. I know that people understand and they give me grace. But for some reason, I find it hard to give it to myself.

Since my dear Ethan’s passing in February, I’ve had time to sit with grief and ask why him he has been my companion for so many years. Why it seems, he follows me everywhere. Is there a lesson that I haven’t learned? Or have I not humbled myself enough? I wish I knew how to shake him or to travel a different route where he can’t find me. But somehow I don’t believe that is even possible. As soon as I let my guard down he takes someone that I love and need in my life.

My neighbor recently asked me if I thought I might date or find love again. My response, “probably not.” I reminded him that as a special needs parent, I wasn’t planning to get involved with anyone in that sense because my life was devoted to being Ethan’s mom, his person. I was prepared to take care of him. I am not prepared for someone to take care of me or for anyone to take up that much space in my life. That idea is so foreign to me at this point, that I don’t even entertain it.

What’s so interesting, is that being divorced didn’t and doesn’t feel like a loss. Losing my nana, my mother and my Ethan were losses, abandonment really and that is a visceral hurt that is indescribable. Those are the losses that make me question and wonder why I am still here. But grief won’t answer me, he just follows me and stares when I tell him to leave.

I guess this is the time where I have to accept what is and to be content with raising my daughter. She needs me and wants me to be the all in mom that she didn’t have for several years. So, that mom is who I will be because she needs me to be her.

In Christian Love,

AngelaChristine

Grief covered with a smile