Family, Grief, Love, Reflections

As We Say Goodbye

You all know that 2022, has been a heart crushing year for me. Unspeakable pain. But in midst of the worst pain, Jesus has held me. He has provided and protected us and held us up and when it was impossible for either of us to stand on our own, He carried us.

And when knew it was time for us to move, He sent us to the one place that I never would have chosen myself, Northern Alabama. After living here since August, I can emphatically say that I’m so glad that I didn’t choose. When I prayed and asked Him to place us where we could grow in the word and expand His kingdom, He answered my prayer and has turned to beauty what were ashes.

God has gifted us with friends, that are more like family, Emily is involved in so much with the youth group at church, that I’ve become her chauffeur. In fact, she just attended her first sleep away camp this past week. She was so impressed and truly enjoyed being there. I’ve linked the video from there last night here. https://youtu.be/r6KdR6vN71U

The classes and the Bible studies for the adults at church has been like attending Bible college and in late January something big is coming to us, so stay tuned for that announcement.

I guess the point of this post is to say that, though we may think we know what’s best for us, only God knows exactly what we need and when. So as we close out this year and ring in the new, I’m going to praise Him and glorify Him even more because I know and I remember from whence I came.

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Happy New Year!!

AngelaChristine

Just us
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, 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, Family, Love, Sadness

Grief and Love

On February 7, 2022, my only son died. I don’t know why, the autopsy did not provide that answer. In fact, we are still waiting to learn what could have gone wrong. Perhaps, we will never know. Would knowing even quench my grief or would it just leave me wondering what I could have done to stop it?

My son was the joy of my heart, he was an amazing kid. Though he had autism diagnosis (vaccine injury) and epilepsy (another vaccine injury), his heart was so big! He loved so big! My heart grew bigger because of him. His challenges made me draw closer to God for answers and guidance, but after countless treatments, divorce and relocation, I arrived at acceptance. Acceptance that he would always live with me and I would always live with him. I was his person and he was mine.

This only came to me two weeks prior to his death, which was right around his eleventh birthday. I had finally come to accept the love that he always had for me and readily embraced it with my whole heart and soul. Though I had always led him by the hand, I had finally accepted that he would now lead me. And he did.

There is so much to write and say about my sweet boy; eventually I will. But today, I am writing about the grief and the gut wrenching sadness I feel because he is no longer here for me to drive to therapy everyday or to drive his sister nuts. I grieve because he never had the opportunity to reach his fullest potential. I grieve because everyday going forward won’t include him. Trips we plan to take and adventures we are sure to have will not include him. I grieve because my heart loved a little boy that was only with me for a little while. I grieve because I just miss him.

I know that he is perfect in the arms of Jesus. I know that he is doing all the things that he was unable to do here on Earth. I know that he is waiting to be reunited with me someday. But I also know that I will never be the same because I loved him and he loved me. That piece of my heart that is now broken will never be repaired because it can’t, it belonged to Ethan Evan and always will.

My life will never be the same nor should it be, but it will forever be changed. I can only hope, for the better.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. “ Psalm 34:18

Always Ethan’s mom,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family, Holidays

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas

I’m sure that this post will come as a bit of a shock for most people who know me personally as well as those who read this blog, I will no longer be celebrating the holiday known as Christmas. My reasons are simple, there are no scriptural references to this holiday and two it is rooted in idolatry and not the gospel. Christmas was first celebrated in 336 AD, three hundred and three years after the church of Christ was established in Jerusalem. https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/301-600/the-1st-recorded-celebration-of-christmas-11629658.html

Sure, I celebrated Christmas as a child with my family. I have the fondest memories of Nana(my mother’s mother) coming over first thing in the morning to open gifts and have breakfast with us. I remember waking up before the sun came up just to see what was under the tree for me and to make sure that my brothers didn’t receive more than I did. Oh and of course there was Christmas dinner at my other grandmother’s house every Christmas evening, until we moved to Florida. So many beautiful memories are tied to that holiday. But when I shifted from child to adult, the real celebration was my mother’s birthday. She was actually born on December 25.

It’s been thirteen years since her death and the idea of celebrating another commercial holiday without her is just not something I am looking forward to. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably saying to yourself, what about your children, don’t you want to make the holiday special for them? Of course I would, but what made this holiday special for me and for others is the joy of family. They don’t have that. There is no family nearby to celebrate with. Not even close friends. There are no gifts from their grandfather, uncles or cousins to put under the tree. It is once again just us.

If I were to decorate the tree and plan out the day, the only people that would be present would be just us three. There will no gifts or invitations to celebrate the day. Always us. While I could create traditions of our own, what would be the point? Their only memories of the day they don’t have to celebrate would be of their mom stretching herself and running herself ragged just to place a few gifts under the tree. What would be different then about that day than any other day of the year?

So yes, we will create a new tradition and that it will always include spending time together, traveling and perhaps doing something that we have not done previously. It might even be a day of watching family movies and cooking and eating family meals that we prepared together. But it will not be spending like crazy on a day that has absolutely nothing to do with my salvation or theirs.

I will never criticize anyone for celebrating Christmas, because it is certainly a personal choice. But as for us, we will abstain and do something else. We will rejoice and be glad that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave so that we might have salvation. And that is worth celebrating!

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Faith, Family, Reflections

Why Isn’t He Enough?

When my life doesn’t reflect Jesus Christ, I have to ask myself why isn’t he enough? I am sure that most Christians have asked themselves that question at some point on their journey too; so in that respect I am not alone. But why? What keeps us from full devotion and commitment, when Jesus has given us salvation through the shedding of his blood. How do we look at the Messiah, who bore all the sins of the world on the cross and still think or act like he is not enough?

Obviously, I know that he is more than enough, that he is perfect and divine. A light so bright that the world could not contain him. But when I sit down at the end of day and question whether my life truly reflects him, what I see, at times is not his reflection but my own.

It is not easy being a single parent, let alone the single parent of a child with special needs. While also trying to parent a child who just wants to live a typical pre-teen life but can’t much of the time because of how much she has to help me. I think often of how different my children’s lives are than my own upbringing. I was raised with both my parents in a solidly Christian home, yet somehow that is not the life that I have managed to provide to my children. I ask the Lord daily to help me, to guide me to do all the things that I am required to do. But I have to admit, there are times that I am inadequate and fall short.

I know, I can never be perfect, but I can be complete through total surrender to the will of Christ. It is that space between my will and his will where I challenge him and make him not enough. I wrestle with submission, not that I know better or that I can do better, but that I haven’t learned to trust. You see, I am the one that will not leave my burdens on him, because in my mind, I should have to live with the consequences of my choices. That’s right, my choices, that were most likely not rooted in him.

I am grateful for a Savior who forgives and redeems and knows in my heart, that I love him. As a wild horse has to be broken in to be ridden, it is my prayer that from this day and for as many days as I have left, that I will finally surrender my all and make him enough.

The Bible says, “Let is hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family, Mindset

Long Overdue

Joy in the Lord

It occurred to me that I haven’t written in quite some time. Not because I can’t but because I haven’t nurtured this space as I have needed to do. In this season of busyness, it was important for me to sit down for a few moment to capture a few thoughts, particularly around the topic of consistency.

Two weeks ago, I made the conscious decision to walk away from my 23 year career, well actually almost 24 years in the pharmaceutical industry. There are several reasons, the primary one being what is happening in the world today. It has been quite painful to watch regulations not be followed, people not receiving full informed consent and governments across the world manipulating its citizens to take a medical intervention that they do not want. This has been excruciatingly painful to see. And let’s not even forget about trying to open the eyes of the people I love and care about to these crimes. It has been utterly heartbreaking.

But to my original point about being consistent in all things. Consistency in my walk with Jesus, growing my faith, pouring into my business with godly intention and raising up my children to love the Lord will all of their very beings, is what I can do. And one important piece of that is writing this blog. So, while I may touch on different topics or ideas, my heart is always to serve and it is my prayer that what I put out into this world serves.

In my opinion, there is no greater gift that I can give than to serve in love.

In Christ,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family

While I Wait

Soar Like Eagles

I want to tell you that everything is okay, but if I did, I’d be lying.

I want to tell you that my leg is all healed up and I’m back to life as usual.

I also want to tell you that now that I am no longer receiving round the clock care, that I’m managing it all, but again, I would be lying.

You see on Friday, when the weight of it all hit me, I broke down. I cried like I haven’t cried in a while. I even screamed, asking God, why does it have to be this hard? When my daughter broke down and cried and asked me the same question and I couldn’t give her an answer that a 12 year old would fully understand, I cried even more.

Friday, was a sad day for my family. Sorrow filled. But then we woke up on Saturday morning to the most glorious sunshine and weather. It was God’s promise that mercies are made new every morning. It was also Him telling me that He sees us and we are not forgotten. It was Him hugging us. I so desperately needed that hug.

Then, today as we sat and listened to the message preached by my dear brother in Christ, Chad Garett, about sorrow, “ The Sorrowed Soul”, it resonated so deeply because of all the emotions over the past two days. He had no idea, how much I needed that message; not because it captured all of my emotions right now, but because there is absolutely nothing that I am experiencing right now in this moment that Jesus does not understand and cannot relate too. Every tear, every pain, every doubt and every fear, he feels and is moved by. “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.” Hebrews 4:15.

So, while this weekend has had a lot of tears and sorrow, I am choosing to trust that God is holding me and my children. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Cancer, Faith, Family, Mindset

Standing In That Space

Valley of my life

What I try not to remember, is exactly what I need to remember, not to relive it or even give it a place in my life, but to finally say “I am done, these memories no longer serve me.” It is time to say goodbye and bury them once and for all.

Since my surgery six weeks ago, bits and pieces of past trauma have crept up into my brain. Almost taunting me to give up a little more of my protection, my shield, my independence. These feelings are so foreign to me now because I have built up a hard shell almost impenetrable to anyone even my children.

At some point in my childhood or maybe as a teenager, when I don’t remember, I made a decision, perhaps self-consciously or otherwise that emotion and feelings were for the weak. Maybe it started when my childhood friend, James committed suicide when I was in the ninth grade. That was my very first experience with death. I can remember that day, like it was yesterday, the kick in my stomach when the words rolled out of my dad’s mouth.

Or perhaps it was the following year, when the funniest guy in my class, Mark, was killed in a car accident, while joyriding with some of our classmates. He was the only in that crash, who did not survive. Then there was my dad’s promotion that required him to relocate at the start of my junior year in high school. New state, new school, no real friends. Once again, another layer of protection applied.

Somehow I managed to get through college and graduate school and start my career before the people closest to me began to die. My aunt Martha, Nana and the ultimate blow, my mom. Of course by the time my mom died the shell around my heart was titanium or some substance that only God could pierce, but only when I wanted him too.

What I have determined is that I do a great job of compartmentalizing to prevent myself from collapsing into the sheer pain of it all. To allow myself to feel that pain would leave me vulnerable and open in a way that would let the world know that I am really not as strong as I want everyone to believe that I am.

I am at my core, the woman that always wanted someone besides my mother and father to say everything is going to be just fine, with conviction. For my husband to say you have a purpose, a hope and a future designed by God. He (God) is standing in the doorway waiting for me to finally give it all to Him.

Though my legs are still wobbly and weak from these weeks of recovery, I will trust in Him. His plans for my life. I will stand in that space until all the pain and sadness have been stripped away from my heart and my mind.

For I know the plans, I have for you declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine