'perseverance' tagged posts

Facing Grief and Looking Toward Thankfulness

Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday growing up. I have endless memories of times with family; cooking and watching football all day, to then gather around the table and say Grace: thanking God for another holiday together, another year of good health and good times.

No matter what that year held, nothing compared to this moment of Thanksgiving Day.

I spent Thanksgiving of 2017 in California, as usual. I remember being thankful that year, for Tacoma truly felt like home. I was thankful for my sorority sisters, my Young Life family, my classmates, my professors, and of course, my church. Discovery rooted me in Tacoma in more ways than I ever fathomed to be possible.

I left my home in Ventura after that holiday weekend and I didn’t know that when I walked out of that front door that Sunday morning to travel to Tacoma that it would be the last time I would step out of my home. We lost our home in the Thomas Fire just a few weeks later. My entire neighborhood, my entire town, even the whole county was demolished by flame. We lost everything that day and any sense of normalcy. This season of my life was a true test of my faith. I felt so vulnerable, so alone, and so unstable that I truly did not see how it was possible to wake up each day and continue on. But I did. Truly, by the Grace of God.

It took a while, but I eventually found my way back to Ventura this summer even when I thought it was the last place I wanted to be. Truth be told, it was exactly where I needed to be. It was hard coming back to an empty lot that once held my home and to the burnt hillsides that once held so much Ventura pride, but it was so good to come home to my family, friends, and my community. It was so good to go back to my home church, to my work place, and to  Borderline: my line dancing hall.

Borderline is a special place in Ventura county. It is not just a place to dance, it is a second home. It is where my best friend met her fiancé. It is where I went to dance and escape my reality of grief and sorrow for a few hours a night, a few nights a week. My Borderline family and I were there three nights a week, every single week, without a doubt.

Borderline was home while home was being rebuilt.

A Story of Perseverance

This isn’t a success story, but a story of perseverance.

Several weeks ago, Pastor Jon challenged the people of Discovery to read through the entire New Testament in 90 days.  I took on that challenge and can gladly say it has changed my approach to being a disciple of Jesus.

In summary, two days into the challenge I missed the reading. So, I read it the next day without trying to catch up.  Then there were several days where I forgot, but remembered when I went to bed and only read one chapter of the 4 that were on the reading plan. Furthermore, there were the several day where I did not follow the reading plan at all, but simply read the He Reads Truth devotional.

Full disclosure, I just started the Gospel of Luke and I think the reading plan would have me in Acts. I don’t exactly know where the challenge should be, nor do I care, because every day I have spent time in God’s word.  And what that has done is made me thirsty for more. 

Producing a Result

Two dramatically different birth experiences.  The first one; after more than 24 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, it was clear to everyone that my son was literally stuck and going nowhere.  Although the final result, following an emergency C Section, was a perfect little boy, I was also left with some emotional wounds that went beyond w
hat my body went through during that long day.  A residual sense of fear, disappointment in myself, and even grief as I mourned the experience I had hoped to have.

Fast forward 16 months to the second one.  I went to bed one night with a pretty strong sense that the baby would come that night.  Woke up at 2:00 am clearly feeling I needed to go to the hospital right away.  We contacted a couple of people, took care of a few details before heading downtown, arrived at the hospital and 20 minutes later our son was born.  A joyful and healing experience every step of the way!

We’ll Never Make It….

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Today I watched those students turn and stare at my boy-most-precious. His cerebral palsy gait, his body’s strange angles drew their curiosity as we made our way down the halls of that huge high school — and I squared my shoulders and lifted my head.

Special Education Director Meeting #1. High school transition.

Till’s anxious stroking of his knee, the softened corners of his mouth betray his welling emotions. That pit in my own stomach feeds the maelstrom pounding at my brain.

When I grow up…

I was 11 when I first met her.

Never before had I met anyone so misshapen. Nima had severe arthritis. Every joint in her body was swollen and knobby, her hands were gnarled and twisted, she walked with a slow uneven gait. In my 11-year old eyes it seemed she must be very old, although in reality she was probably only in her mid 40s. I didn’t know it then, but years later I would look back and say –

“When I grow up I want to be like Nima.”