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

Belief, Mindset

We Are What We Believe

What occupies your mind? Does your work align with your values and beliefs?

I spent nearly 24 years of my life trading my time for a paycheck. In that time, I sacrificed what was most important, not because i wanted to, but because I thought that I had no choice. Ultimately, my only son died as a result of choices that I thought we right, but later learned that they were wrong, it was a hazard of the profession that I had chosen.

Since my son’s death I have had many sleepless nights and more time to study the Bible and to remember what my purpose is here on this earth. I have had the opportunity to speak to my sisters in Christ about maintaining their physical health and the best gift was witnessing my daughter commit her life to Christ through baptism into his kingdom. Acts 2:38.

We only get one life and in the grand scheme of it all, it is short. So while there is still breath in my body, I will heed the advice of King Solomon, who penned, “ The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13&14

So again, I ask, “what occupies your mind?”

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

Mindset

All It Takes

I get so caught up in my own head at times to the point that I forget my purpose. I was not put on this planet to be busy doing things, but to spend my days in service to God and my neighbors. God’s plan is so simple, that it’s almost too hard. It requires selflessness and as a human, preserving self is our highest priority. Our culture is obsessed with self. Including me at times.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying, loving one’s self is important, it is. Loving oneself protects us from harm and hurt. But in today’s culture it has become almost a religion to the point where a whole industry, if you will has developed from it. We don’t see ourselves through the lens of our Creator, and that is a very sad and deceitful thing. Why? Because man is fickle and foolish at times. “The Bible says, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12.

And though it isn’t wrong to pursue self improvement, it is wrong to make it our highest goal. Becoming saved and living a saved and sanctified life is, as Christians. But there are times, when help is needed to get out of our own way for a specific purpose and season, which will look differently for each person, because we are after all individuals.

I have personally invested in a business leadership coach to help me grow my network marketing business and to identify my niche. It was worth it! But here is the thing, I chose to work with a sister in Christ, because her course was in alignment with the word of God and that is to serve. She believed as do I that you can lead a team of people and glorify God at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive nor should they be. And to be honest that is all it takes.

When I focus on my feelings and thoughts on myself, I don’t write or serve. But when I make it my priority to lean into God, all the things I desire to do happen. My life is hard as a divorced mom of two, raising a neuro typical child and a child with autism on my own. But when I put all of my trust in God, check my heart and remain consistent, He blesses us in a mighty way. So, each day I will wake and remind myself to lean into Him because that is truly all it takes.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

In Christian love,

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