Today is September 12, 2013, 5 years ago this morning as I was working at Northwood Alliance Church my cellphone rang...I didn't recognize the number so I didn't answer, about 2 minutes later it rang again from that same number...hmmm I wondered who would be calling me? I googled the number and it said it was from Sacramento, CA...hmmm my sister and my niece lived in the Sacramento area. The phone rang a third time and I answered. It was my niece asked me where I was, I told her at the church working, she asked if the Pastor was there, I replied yes and she asked to speak to him. If you know my family, that was my first clue that something was wrong. I took the phone into Pastor Charles, told him my niece wanted to talk to him and I left the office, went to my desk and prayed..."Lord I don't know what's going on, you do, help me to deal with whatever it is with grace and mercy." I knew it had nothing to do with my mom or dad as they were both gone. I thought something had happened to my younger sister, Joanie. About three minutes later Charles came out to my desk, handed my phone to me and sat down in the chair next to my desk (second clue). I took the phone and my niece said in a choked up voice that her momma, my sister Kathy, had died in her sleep in the early morning hours. I remember crying and saying over and over, "Oh, sweetie I am so sorry, I am so sorry." She didn't know many details. I asked her if she wanted me and Uncle Ron to come to California? Yes, please. I told her okay. To call me with details when she knew, that I would call Uncle Ron and as soon as he was done with the job he was doing we would head down. We cried some more, I told her to call me anytime and we would be in contact. I said I love you Christi and I am so sorry and then we hung up the phone. I sat and looked at Charles in disbelief. And cried. He told me to go home, no I needed to get the stuff done in the office especially if I was going to go to California. I called Ron, he said he would finish up his job and I would do the stuff at the church and we would regroup at Pat & Pat's where we had our rig parked.
And today my mind is replaying the whole scenario, the phone calls, the packing, the blessings of friends during a hard situation and as I opened my Bible I was thinking of that difficult day, praying for niece and younger sister today as I know too that their hearts are heavy today. I pray the Lord would remind them of happy times with our sister/her mother.
And as God is always...he met me right where I am today.
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;3
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;4
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;5
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;6
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;7
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;8
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
God has a purpose for everything. I don't think God causes people to die or bad things to happen to us...I believe he can take any situation and make it for the good and that He never leaves us alone.
I am who I am today because of the challenges of my life.
I am the daughter of 3x married/divorced parents ~ I knew from when I was a little girl that I would only marry once and that divorce was never an option for me. I have been married 37+ years...yes we have struggled, had a fight or two, we have celebrated the joy of the birth of 3 sons, we have mourned together over the loss of a precious son. We have done some crazy things, like traveling/working/living with a carnival for six months. We have done amazing things, served others together, side-by-side. Has it always been easy, absolutely not but through it all God has been the solid rock that keeps us together.
The good ~ I can empathize with those who lose a child, I can encourage young marrieds who struggle in their relationships to keep at it...it will be worth it in the end.
I was abused physically, emotionally and sexually many times over during my young life. Was it hard to deal with, you bet but through the love, support, care and encouragement of a husband, pastor, family and friends and a wonderful counselor I can see where God was with me through it all...during the six months of rape/incest I never got pregnant...truly a gift from God because every time Ron or I even mentioned getting pregnant I did. I never had to deal with the question ~ do I abort a baby conceived in hatred ~ thank you Jesus for that protection.
The good ~ I am a strong woman, not afraid to confront the truth and not let the circumstances of a situation direct who/what I do today. I do not let abuse define who I am.
In 1968 at the age of 10, I hurt my eye in a serious accident. In 1970 I was totally blind in my left eye, in 1974 I had to have that eye removed. I have not allowed the pain of 110 shots in 23 days or the fear of them cutting my eye out ever stop me from doing anything I wanted to do.
I do counted cross-stitch and other needlework and even thought about the time I had eye surgery in the morning and that evening in the hospital I was cross-stitching something and the doctor came in and said "you can't do that, you just had eye surgery." I looked at Toby and said "why not, I always only cross-stitch with one eye." He laughed and said keep on cross-stitching little lady!
I am who I am today because of the things I have had to deal with over the years. And I am who I am because God has been right there with me every step of the way. I may have wondered and questioned God WHY so many times BUT through it all HE has shown me he is with me every step of the way. I may not understand the "why" of something at the time BUT I do know that as long as I keep trusting God, seeking him, reading his word that no matter what happens it will work out.
I am reminded this morning of a question that Pastor Charles asked me many times during many, many counseling sessions "What if XYZ (whatever my fear/concern was at that moment) happens, what is the worst thing that would happen? And the answer always comes back to God will be with me no matter what! No matter what!!!
Today I can choose to wallow in heartache of missing my sister Kathy or I can choose to focus on the good things we shared. Kathy was always doing things that I would use as a lesson to know what NOT to do...thanks Kathy for being that example. I can focus on my beautiful niece, Christi, who is married to a wonderful man, who loves life and who her momma would be so proud of today. Kathy taught me that sometimes our kids do things we could not imagine doing but we still love our kids...thank you Kathy for being an example of a good momma, not a perfect one but a good one.
Oh I miss my sister Kathy (some of you know her as Mary (none of us girls have ever gone by just one name) but she will always be Kathy to me). And there are some times I wish I could pick up the phone and call her and share some good news or even some struggles with her. Not because she had all the right answers but because she would listen, I am sure shaking her head, sometimes laughing at or with me, sometimes crying right alongside of me. Thank you for being my big sister. I love you!!!
Are you asking now, what does that have to do with Ecc. 3:1-8...there is a time for everything and even though we may not understand the why of a certain situation we can always trust God that his timing is perfect and He has a purpose for everything.
I don't know why Kathy died at age 54 though I do know the reason for her death: obesity and an unhealthy heart and that is part of my motivation to get healthy, to lose weight, to become more active, to live life each day to the fullest, to let those I love know that I love them because we never know when our last breath will come...only God knows.
Accountability: I started exercising yesterday as directed by the cardio doc...did 30 minutes on the stationary bike, 5.65 miles.
Day 2 is done...30 minutes on the stationary bike, 5.97 miles. Go Me!!!