Before my diagnosis, I’d already experienced one heck of a year… wait…whoa…let’s back up the horses… actually, 2012 & 2013 were monumental growth precursors…
In 2012, I learned a HUMONGOUS lesson… although I didn’t realize it at the time (do we ever?????) I was trying to fast forward the growth process in my relationship with God. We’ve all been there in the learning process when we’d much rather know than learn – and sadly, my relationship with God wasn’t really any different. During 2011, I knew I wanted more in my relationship with God – I just wasn’t sure how to get there.
Clueless at the time, my biggest obstacle was receiving love – in turn, I was trying to give something I didn’t fully understand. Although my love for others was genuine, there was a blind component – at times, I inadvertently attached a sense of self-worth to love. In hindsight, I can see I was a tangled mess that only God could and would take the time to unravel and weave into a beautiful tapestry.
My first realization of short-changing my relationship with God was a broken engagement – on Valentine’s Day no less (God does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He?) – a sense of betrayal that cut deep through years of personally applied duct tape to my fragile heart. You see, I put a man on a pedestal in between myself and God – a good enough go-between of sorts. I knew I wasn’t good enough (sinless) to approach God – my mistake? My actions completely trumped Jesus for another man – and yeah…that’s hard to admit. It’s no surprise now how much of a mess I was – I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing… the good news? I am thankful EVERY DAY God shut the door on that relationship to help me finally understand and believe what the Bridge of Faith really means (click HERE to read the original post). Three years later and God is still providing greater revelation!
Of course, God uses every situation to teach us something – whether we realize it or not! You see, during my engagement there were plans for me to move out of Texas… yeah…this homegrown 50+ deeply rooted Texas gal… away from family – away from my precious daughter – away from siblings and my aging widowed father. Pretty bold, right??? PRAISE GOD that did not come to fruition – I was willing – but again, for all the wrong reasons. Never doubt it folks, God may call you to leave where you are today, but He will ALWAYS meet and use you exactly where you are!
Indeed He did! Not two weeks after the engagement was called off my dad fell ill – the beginning awareness of a much bigger health issue: dementia / Alzheimer’s – we never had a clear diagnosis, but in my mind they were equally debilitating. During 2012 my dad, who lived about three hours away, was hospitalized several times. And each time I was there for him – and each time it was emotionally painful. You see, I still wanted that non-existent fairytale father-daughter relationship. But just as God meets us exactly where we are – He was teaching me to meet my father where he was: aging – fragile – frightened. Let me tell you, IT WAS HARD. The good news? God is faithful! He didn’t send me out on that battlefield alone – my dad’s neighbors were absolutely wonderful – as my dad said time and again “I got two good neighbors” – actually, he had a great community of caring individuals! I remember on one visit in particular, standing on the front lawn crying my eyes out…and here were the neighbors, coming to lift us up in prayer – providing words of encouragement and assurance to watch over my dad when I wasn’t there.
2012 wrapped up on a high note. In late October I attended a Walk to Emmaus hosted in northwest Houston. To read more about this extraordinary experience, click here. During this weekend, I finally began to understand what it meant to receive God’s love and how critical it is to every facet of my life (that’s a post in and of itself!). The following week I was scheduled to visit family in California – my mom, stepdad, and sister. I’m gonna be super transparent here – my relationship had been pretty superficial to this point and I was on such a ‘believer’s high’ following the Emmaus weekend, the last thing I wanted was to spend a week with distant family who couldn’t begin to grasp the extent of my recent experience. Of course I was clueless God would use this time to firmly root the newfound understanding of His love.
In a heart-to-heart with God, I voiced my hesitancy and said, “Lord, you’re just gonna have to love them through me!” I’m sure God was cheering, aren’t you? To think…Miss ‘I Can Do it Myself’ willingly turning a situation over to God before I was knee deep in the muck of a mess I’d created! And let me tell you…it was the BEST six days I’d ever spent with each and every one of them!!!! The biggest blessing was walking through the door to a new relationship with my stepdad – the sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet – a guy I hadn’t really given the time of day to for over 30 years. Yes – another not so proud transparent moment. My quiet childish attitude of “he took my mama away” faded into oblivion as he welcomed me with open arms. Imagine that – God using this new relationship to show me fatherly love – no strings attached.
Yes, I’m gonna say it again… stay tuned! Til then…