Reflections on a Holiday past…

I wrote this last week on Thanksgiving morning3232

It’s Thanksgiving morning and I want to say that I am so thankful. So thankful for God’s faithfulness to me. He has and always will be the faithful lover of my soul. More faithful than a mother, more faithful than a Godly husband.

I have been very sad and what is funny or unique about my personal emotions is that I don’t know how to express them outwardly, physically. It’s hard for me. Maybe because I never understood emotions as a child and was brought up in an environment that was not a safe one to express or explore emotions. I don’t know, but here I am, this adult woman, Wife, Mama, Step mom, Grandmaw…this adult woman who is in the Autumn of her life, just learning to understand, recognize and express her emotions.

When bad things happen I know that my emotions are there and are eventually going to come out in one way or another, I have learned to be prepared for that, but I still don’t know when it is going to happen. I have learned that when all of this is brewing inside of me, that I will start trying to project my feelings onto whatever is going on around me. I will start picking apart and trying to blame the people around me for what I am feeling inside me and that’s what I have been trying to do this week.

Last week, I had the best visit I have had in years with 2 of my daughters and 5 of my granddaughters. I had flown to Dallas specifically to see them before the holidays started.

After I returned home, I was on “cloud nine” because the visit was so good. I was very tired and ended up sleeping as much as I could for about 3 days and my legs, knees, joints and muscles have had to recuperate, also. Going up and down stairs a few times a day to the apartment of my daughter who I stayed with and all of the foot work that one who travels has to do in airports.

There were two things missing and those were my sons.

The oldest is a complicated package that I have not attempted to unwrap in recent years.

The youngest is a drug addict. I chose not to see the youngest because I did not know what it would do to this mother’s heart of mine if I did.

Both sons are alive, which is something that I am thankful for, the oldest is a fiercely independent one (more like me) who I am proud of and is doing well in life. The youngest, also fiercely independent but still struggling.

So…even though I had such a good visit, I have also been on edge since I got home and yesterday while doing a little bit of shopping for Thanksgiving, I was just getting more and more irritated with all of the shoppers, even to the point of thinking really bad thoughts and words that I wished that I could articulate out loud about all of the rude.

When I have been around friends and acquaintances, I have not known what to say to them, and I have not wanted to talk to them so I have tried to get away as soon as I can in order to be alone with my thoughts.

Mr. John and I decided to eat out yesterday for lunch and, uncharacteristically, I had two glasses of Chardonnay. I was feeling just good enough that my emotions started to numb and I was able to laugh and joke a little about. I started thinking in that “stinking thinking” way that us codependents, alcoholics and addicts do sometimes and decidedly thought to myself that it might not be so bad if I could just start numbing my feelings with something all the time. But then reality stepped in and I thought about all of the errands that still needed to be done and the things that still needed to be accomplished before I went to bed last night.

But still, I was able to see for just a moment what my youngest son may feel when he turns back to the lethal drugs that he uses. When under the influence of our drugs of choice (whether they be lethal drugs, weed, alcohol or food) our emotions are numbed and the thoughts of all of our failures and heartaches can disappear for a while, but there is always the reckoning and that is when we have to face those things again and either deal with them or numb them again.

Friend, it is always better to deal with them. To face them, to look them in the face and say come on, bring it on, this is how I am feeling.

And that is what I finally did. I fought it all afternoon yesterday, and as I went to bed last night, I looked God in the face, I looked the intense sadness that I have been feeling in the face and said, “God, I need you. Jesus, I need you. I am so sad that it is overwhelming me. It’s effecting my thinking, how I deal with life and how I treat my husband. I don’t know what to do about it. I know that you are the only one who can fix it.”

And I just laid there waiting for Him and as I drifted off to sleep in that place right before sleep when He often visits me with visions, I saw a youngish, 30ish young man walking toward me with a big, peaceful smile on his face and I was looking at Him as I was going to sleep and I smiled the most peaceful, genuine smile back at Him as I went to sleep. Jesus. He meets me where I am, all I have to do is call His name. Some say that He carries us until we have the strength to ask him to meet us.

Please note:

He has said to us… “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden”. He will take our heavy yoke upon himself if we take the easy yoke which means us walking beside Him on ourselves.

He saves all of our tears in a bottle and promises that there will somedayheart quilt be no tears, ever again.

ALL of His promises are good and true.

He does not lie.

He is faithful.

Bless you during your Holiday season. Look the pain in the face, walk through it.

Love and blessings to you and yours!

Rhonda

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God didn’t promise…

God did not promise picHow many of us get upset with God and decide because things are not going in the directions that would make us feel all soft and cushy about life, that we may have made a mistake about following God?

I know…at various times in my life, I have been the first person to “jump ship” and say that following God must not be for me.

So many things can happen that we can very easily blame on God.

What kinds of things, some of may ask?

  • Death of a loved one.
  • Death of a valued relationship.
  • Our children making choices that we know will be disastrous.
  • Dropping and breaking one of our family heirlooms.
  • Every family member from oldest to youngest waking up in the middle of the night at the exact same time with food poisoning.
  • Realizing that the person who we thought we were committing the rest of our life to is not who we thought they were.

The list could go on and on…

Fill in the blank for your own personal “thorn in the flesh”_______________

God never promised us that bad things (sometimes devastating things) would not happen.

Some of us have had more than our fair share of devastating things happen to us and others live what looks like a charmed life.

I have learned through experience that if I stick with my God through the bad times…those times when I want to shake my fist at him and turn my back on Him, He is beside me all the way.  That everything I allow Him to walk with me through, strengthens me.

I have learned that His joy is my strength.

I have learned that if I stick with Him, that He brings just exactly what I need to comfort me.  Whether it be a person, a song, a scripture or even a really good dream.

I have learned that if I don’t try to seek vengeance for the things that are done wrong to me, that He will be my avenger.

I have learned that when it seems too dark to take another step along the rocky path I am on, He is the light for my path even if it is only enough light for one step at a time.

Here is a challenge for your day:

The next time that you are wanting to blame God for something really bad, or something that is just a little uncomfortable, just look up at Him and say… “Okay Lord, I don’t understand why you have allowed this to happen the way it has happened, but I’m with You!  I’m going to trust that you know what you are doing!”

Consciously, make that choice and I believe that you will be surprised.  Before long, you will be unconsciously making that choice, more and more.  Your faith in Him will build and you will be climbing mountains that you never could have conquered on your own.

Life will be easier because you know that He is with you every step of the way even though you don’t understand why the path is rockier than yesterday’s path was.

Have a wonderful week and don’t hesitate to leave a comment, I would really like that!

Love and blessings and may you learn to depend more on Jesus today!

Rhonda

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To the the moms…

daughtersThis little saying is one of the first postings that I placed on my “Out of the darkness…into the light” board on Pinterest.

It is a hard one and at the time that I posted it there was a huge chasm of division between my children and myself. When anything like that particular time of division happens in my life, the immediate reaction that I have is to blame myself.  My classic reaction was (notice I say was, in the past tense), when a disaster happened I would wonder what I had done wrong, what I could have done differently or what I could do to fix things. In other words, I was the classic co-dependent/enabler.

A couple of facts about enabling and enablers, enabling is very self-centered. Even though we are “helping” those who need God’s grace and deliverance in their own lives and our actions have the superficiality of being unselfish, we are helping because of selfishness in our hearts. The “helping” comes from that need inside of ourselves to escape the pain or sorrow that we feel because we are trying to anesthetize the pain in our own hearts. We do it or did it to relieve our own pain not really for the best interests of the other person/or people. Yes, we enablers are very selfish and self centered, thinking that the world revolves around us.

Enablers are very egotistical in their thinking, in our minds we take the power away from God to perform miracles and decide that we can somehow fix people better and quicker than God ever could.

There is a saying in Al Anon…it is called the 3 C’s… We did not cause the problem, can’t control the problem and can’t it. It is not until we face these cold, hard facts about ourselves that we can start to recover from the dance of codependency.  Loving someone in an emotionally healthy way involves loving them unconditionally and allowing them to figure out how to fix their own problems.

Now I look at the above paragraph (We need to teach our Daughters…) that I posted onto Pinterest a lifetime ago.  I see that unless one is living in perfection, there is really no way to realistically accomplish the high expectation that it demands.

One can teach their children these words/phrases and the differences in the characteristics of these stereotypes of people, but how do children really learn? They learn more from the examples that we set before them than the actual learning of the meanings of these words.

I would say that this is something to strive for in the everyday living of our own lives. These high expectations are something that can be accomplished through trial and error. This is definitely something to set as a goal for ourselves.

Those of us who are blessed enough to have a husband who has a portion of these qualities can strive to be the example that is needed.

But what if we married someone who does not have any or all of these qualities?? The world that we live is a fallen one.  Maybe we married him before we knew that these qualities in a husband, man, father were important for peaceful, healthy, Godly living? Do we divorce the man and try all over again? Hard question, huh?

That’s when prayer comes in, a lot of prayer. That’s when we take each part of this statement and teach the meanings of every phrase to our children, boys and girls alike, but then as we are teaching them, we consistently pray for these things to ring true in the example that we are to our children AND we pray that our children store these things in their hearts with the assistance of the Spirit of God.

On top of all of this, there is still the possibility that no matter how hard we try or how perfect of a parent that we think that we are being, one or more of our children are going to have to go through that “School of Hard Knocks” that some of us had to go through in order to learn the hard lessons.  Sadly, some will really have the things we are trying to teach them penetrate their hearts only as they go through life and live through them.

At the imperfect place where I was during my children’s formative years I know now that I could not have taught my children these things perfectly.  I would like to think that there are some things that I was able to imprint upon their hearts, but I am not going to beat myself up any longer for not doing everything perfectly.

I am at a much healthier place now and the proof is that I now know that I still could not teach this to any child perfectly. Not even if I started all over again at this parenting thing knowing now what I did not know then.

So until I post again!

Love, blessings and keep looking to and trusting in Jesus!

Rhonda

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Finally…After having received a new breath of fresh air…some changes…

DSC_2246A few years ago I started on a Journey.

The Journey was one that finished a period of emotional healing and spiritual healing that I had begun in my mid-30’s.

A few years ago before I began this blog some things happened in my life that plunged me into a deep, dark place that I never thought that I would be able to climb out of. The bottom line is that I did not climb out of it on my own. God is the one who accompanied me through the entire Journey. A Journey that I am still on.

God used a lot things to lift me out of that dark place. He used this blog (pouring my heart out in the written word), His word (the Bible), an in depth study that He accompanied me with through the book of Romans, a lot of prayer and a few people who were true friends to me, who were just there for me and of course, my sweet, quirky, crazy, loyal husband.

DSC_2211

Another one of the crazy and unlikely things that He used was Pinterest. I discovered it and started a Board “Out of the darkness…into the light” and when I look at it, starting at the bottom of the board, it is really a chronicle of the journey that I am still on. At the very bottom the postings came from the sheer pain, agony and sorrow that I was experiencing. And now the postings are from where I am at this time in my life. What I really like is to look at it occasionally and see just what God has lifted me out of…the process of His love for me and the healing that I have received from Him.

I’ve been wanting to start blogging again and have really been seeking God about it. My husband has also mentioned that because of the things that he saw God do in my life during that time, he would like for me to start again, too. I have the time now, for awhile I did not have the time and that’s the main reason that I stopped. But God has again freed me up to pick up where I left off, sort of.  What I mean is that the freedom is here again but I won’t really be picking up where I left off.

I will be picking up where I am right now.  I’ve been asking God about doing it again and where to start this time. I am at a different place in my Journey of “Climbing the Mountains” than I was 4 years ago.

For one thing, I did the blogging under a pseudonym “EvieJo Wilson” and called my husband “Mr. Joe”, actually I am Rhonda Wilson and my husband is Mr. John. I want to be who I am, now. I don’t feel the need, as I did, to be anonymous.  I don’t have anything to hide about who I am today and I have learned that God honors us in our transparency.

God keeps taking me back to Pinterest, too, and I am going to pull 1 posting at a time and elaborate on what it means to me. I believe that it will be helpful to others and strengthen me as I go.

So, there will be changes on the blog as I go. Changes to the look of it and maybe, even some of the old archives could be deleted. My next post is going to be titled “To the Moms…” and will come in a few days.

DSC_2120Oh, and by the way…the pictures are from the area where we live now, in Colorado, on the prairie/ or plains.

Anyway…

As I continue this Journey  of “Climbing the Mountains”, I will keep looking to Jesus and be praying that you do the same!

Love,

Rhonda

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I wonder…

What do I say to you?

When I love you so much that I don’t want to do anything that will prolong your addiction?

I gave my life for you once…

I gave all of me that I could give for you so many times…

And now I go for years, literally years and I bask in the memory of spending a few hours with you a couple of months ago

…being honest, having fun, seeing you, taking a few pictures, doing something together that we had never done before, we were really family for a little while, a few hours…

I’m so glad that I have the photos…

I would give my life for you again and again

If I thought that was what was needed…

But my heart knows that it is not.

At the end of the day… sent you a message… “about to board the plane, had so much fun with you today and I love you so much!”

You sent me a message… “I love you, too, Mama…, the only bad part of the day was saying goodbye”

I waited, literally, years for that little message, and now I wonder…

Son…

Just how long will I wait for the next one?

When will I see you again?

Will it be this side of eternity or the other?

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Facing Thanksgiving with Forgiveness in my heart…

thanksgiving forgiveBeing an older woman,  I really don’t consider many of my experiences unique to the world.   The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing new under the sun”.  I believe that we all struggle with the same issues over and over again, that life goes on and on, full circle, over and over again.  The happenings, the emotions, the motivating factors are all the same.  It is really just the people, places, locations, names, ranks and serial numbers that change.

At some point in time I realized that I was not alone.  I believe that there are many people/women who have gone through what I have gone through in life.

Today is Thanksgiving day!  I believe that we all probably have our plans or “non” plans made.  There won’t be a lot of surfing on the internet today, at least not in the U. S.

I was just thinking about the fact that not too long ago (maybe a year or 2 ago) that I dreaded the holidays.  I don’t know where that dread originated.  I don’t know when it all began, but yesterday when I was reading during my quiet time, God gently reminded me that the dread in my own heart had disappeared!

I am not anticipating this year’s Thanksgiving with dread, I am not worrying about where the money will come from.  I am actually looking forward to spending time with an “adopted” young family who God brought into our lives several years ago.  We are in Albuquerque today and we love Albuquerque and we love this family!

It amazes me that God does this sometimes, He brings people together, who would not have normally been together to fill in the gaps with one another, when we didn’t even know that gaps were there in the first place.

We had the need to be loved, accepted and wanted by the generation that our children are a part of and God brought that to us in them.  He has brought us other people, too, and created a family of sorts on this earth that we were not “born” into in the physical sense.  I can’t apologize or be anything more than grateful that He has done this for us.

One of the things that used to pop up with me over and over again during this time of year was bitterness that was in my heart and unforgiveness towards a few people…hmmm, maybe a lot of people.

It seems with me, that when I allow a little bit of unforgiveness into my heart towards one person, it quickly avalanches and I start thinking of a lot of other people whom I am or have been developing unforgiveness towards.  Before I know it, I am looking at everyone around me and thinking about what I hate about each one of them and what specifically they have done to hurt me!

I was reading yesterday about Corrie Ten Boom, a woman who had much to forgive.  She was also a woman who forgave those who victimized her and who carried a testimony of this simply important ingredient in Christian living.

Actually, this is an important ingredient in any living.  Hate and desire for revenge will destroy even the strongest of people.

I have been living a life of forgiveness this year.  There is nothing more freeing than to forgive as opposed to holding grudges.

In the Bible Colossians 3:13 says:

bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Ephesians 4:32 says:

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

We each have the opportunity to love our enemy/ies and choose forgiveness towards even the most ruthless of them.

Forgiveness does not excuse the offense.

Hate hurts the hater more than the hated, no matter how justified that we think it is.

I entered a worship gathering a few weeks ago and was overwhelmed with some new resentments that had begun to carry.  I was becoming critical of people all around me.  I just closed my eyes and looked toward heaven and confessed it to God.  I told Him that I could not carry them anymore.  In my mind’s eye I saw some cute little birds fly down from heaven, they were much like the little birds in the Disney version of Cinderella who helped her get dressed for the ball.  They took each corner of those resentments and lifted them off of my shoulders and then flew upwards towards heaven until they disappeared.

Even though it was all a spiritual experience, I physically felt that a great burden had been lifted off of me!

If we can’t let go of every angry grudge then God will do it for us.  He will show us within our own spirits the moment He does it.  All we have to do is tell Him that we can’t do it and He will take control from there.  God’s love in our hearts enables us to show forgiveness that is undeserved.  It ultimately allows others to see God’s infallible love in our own fallible human skin.

Those of us who are Jesus followers read this…

When we forgive someone and release real or imagined grudges,  we look more like Jesus than at any other moment in our life.

May we all face this holiday season with forgiveness in our hearts…

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Seasons, America the Beautiful and a few other tidbits…

Our new fish in preschool named "Kindness".

Our new fish in preschool named “Kindness”.

Here are a few tidbits of what we have been up to lately!

We have been in Colorado Springs for 4 seasons now and it has been such a joy to be able to experience “Seasons”. In Texas  (my birthplace) there are really only 2 seasons, summer which usually starts in March and winter which lasts for a few days here and there from maybe November until  the end of February.  The temperature in Texas will dip below freezing 2 or 3 times a year for a very short few hours.

We have a new fish in preschool…

We’re making fall decorations for preschool, too…

We made fall wreaths!

We made fall wreaths!

We made garlands out of fall leaves and hung them up on the glass door.

We made garlands out of fall leaves and hung them up on the glass door.

 

Fall has been amazing in Colorado…watching the leaves turn colors, driving up into the mountains on weekends to check out the progress and make sure that we have not missed anything. Seeing the leaves being blown off of the trees in little swirling whirlwinds of fall color.

 

 

 

 

Finally, a few Saturday mornings ago we got up to see Pikes Peak covered in snow.   We just had to drive up the mountain and get some pics of it, too.

Here are a couple:

Pike's Peak from a little street in Woodland Park, Colorado.  (I don't like the power lines in the picture.)

Pike’s Peak from a little street in Woodland Park, Colorado. (I don’t like the power lines in the picture.)

North of Woodland Park, no power lines.

North of Woodland Park, no power lines.

The verse from “America the Beautiful” comes to mind about “purple mountains, majesty”.  The majesty of God’s creation awes me!  I don’t believe that there will ever be anything more beautiful to me than some of the beauty I have seen in my home country, America.

God always gives us the desires of our hearts, I am convinced of that…  Even when we don’t voice them or know to pray for certain things, He always knows what our desires are and wants to give us those gifts.  I say let Him do it for you, allow Him to.

Here are a couple more shots:

Outside of our home, a doe and her 2 (almost grown) fawns who have been hanging out around here all summer.

Outside of our home, a doe and her 2 (almost grown) fawns who have been hanging out around here all summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Joe likes to feed Mr. Squirrel big fat peanuts and now when Mr. Squirrel gets hungry he lunges at our screen door and clings to it.  That doesn’t make me very happy but Mr. Joe thinks it’s fun. :)

Mr. Squirrel

Mr. Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

So anyway,  life goes on and we are getting ready to make another trip to Central Asia (in a few months).  More about that at another time!

This blog, which was born out of one of the most devastating periods of my life is from start to finish (it’s not quite finished yet) a living testimony of the miracles that God can do in any human life.

I have been transformed from grief and sorrow that was so deep that I cannot even describe to the hope and understanding of the true identity that God prepared me for before I was even born. I know that I still have not arrived yet, that there are still sorrows out there that I have not been confronted with yet and there are still joys out there that are waiting for me.

At 56 years old, life is not completely finished, in fact sometimes it is only beginning.

Love and Blessings to you as travel on you own journey of Climbing the Mountains!

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