My Worst Day = My Best Day

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I am not into writing about things that make me sad. Well, not for others anyway. Most of my personal writing is all about my feelings and over the years, it has been mostly comprised of much sadness and pain. 

Ah, sadness and pain… two things that can totally consume you if you allow it. In fact, you almost have to fight, tooth and nail, to stay out of it. 

That sadness and pain almost destroyed me fifteen years ago. It took many years, some amazing people in my life AND GOD to pull me out. I feel like I need to share because someone reading this understands and either has felt or is feeling exactly what I felt.

Here’s my story…

It’s not easy to watch someone die. No, it is the most horrible thing in the entire world!!! That someone for me was my mom.

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My mom was a rock. She was the one who loved everyone, talked to everyone, hugged everyone, never met a stranger. Oh how I wanted to be just like her!!! I was so shy and she was the exact opposite, but we still got along so well.

There were points in my late teenage and early adult years where we had our battles, but it was very short lived. And once I became a mom, things changed drastically. I understood her and she understood me. We became best friends!

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I became pregnant and in my third month, we found out that mom had ovarian cancer. A complete hysterectomy was performed but only 80% of the cancer was removed. Chemo was our only hope for her survival. The doctors were honest with us and relayed that they felt she only had a year to live.

My mom was 50 and I was just 26. It was 1997. It didn’t seem fair.

Here I was pregnant and my mom and I were best friends and she was going to die!

I don’t even remember the drive home that night following her surgery. All I know is from that moment on, I was determined to spend as much time as I possibly could with her… whatever it took. I didn’t know how much time I had and I wasn’t going to waste any of it!

Mom began treatments and months passed and finally it was time for my daughter to be born. Now, all you moms of daughters understand that all your children are special and so are your grandchildren, but, when your daughter has a baby, it’s just different. There is a connection that is only understood between moms and daughters.

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Mom and dad lived about an hour and a half away from us and we had planned a visit with them on this particular day, two days before my due date. They were coming to see us. On this morning of September 18, 1997, when we realized I was in labor, I called my mom and told her and dad just to come to the hospital. At 10:01 am, Kaysi Marie Elizabeth Schmidt was born and at 10:05 am, my mom and dad walked into the hospital room.

My mom actually held her before anyone!

In that moment, I almost forgot about mom’s illness

It was such a joyous time! And she was there to share it with me, minutes after!!! It was more than I could have asked for!

In the months that ensued, my mom continued with treatments and I began to make the drive back and forth, with Kaysi, as a baby, once or twice a week. It might not seem like much, but I wasn’t a stay at home mom, I worked 50-60 hours a week. Needless to say, it was very tiring, but I HAD TO DO IT!!!

Not only did I have to see my mom, but my daughter had to know her Grammy. 

One year passed and mom was still with us. It even seemed as though she might be getting better. I was so grateful. I needed my mom and my daughter needed her Grammy.

For the time being our world seemed right. 

After we began the second year, it seemed mom was getting even better, but then she began having some set-backs. The cancer was not going away. And because of that, neither was I. My almost obsession to see my mom and for Kaysi to see her was all I thought about.

After all, I still had no idea how long we had…

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GOD gave mom more time than we had ever expected and I couldn’t have asked for more. Actually, I did want more… I wanted her healed and whole again. I wanted my mom back the way it was before that HORRIBLE cancer attacked her!

Year three of the journey of my mom’s last days began. Little did we know in just nine months we would have to say GOODBYE. FOREVER…

I continued to travel, frequently, the hour and a half trip to see my mom, AND for Kaysi to see her Grammy.

Every moment was precious… 

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It was worth it. Even though she was very young, my daughter has some happy memories of her Grammy. That almost made the whole ordeal bearable… almost.

As the year passed, mom’s health became worse and worse. Hospice came in and we knew it was just a matter of time. My biggest fear in that moment, was not being there to say goodbye to my mom…

I HAD TO BE ABLE TO SAY GOODBYE!

The weekend before Kaysi’s third birthday, she and I went down to stay with mom and dad, as we always did when I was off work. This weekend was different. Mom was not herself. She almost seemed as if she were somewhere else.

I remember her talking about seeing Kaysi running through the house in a pretty dress dancing and laughing. It made her so happy… Her Kaysi always made her so happy. Kaysi and I headed home on Sunday evening, as usual.

Monday morning came… Kaysi’s birthday.

My little girl was 3!!! WOW!

But I didn’t feel like celebrating. Something in my world didn’t seem right that morning. I was so distracted that by the time I got to work, I was almost 2 hours late! Within 10 minutes of being there, my oldest brother calls… “Sis, I think you need to come.”

MY HEART DROPPED.

I raced out and prayed all the way there that I would make it in time. Thankfully, God allowed me to be there. We all gathered around mom’s bed, my two brothers, their wives, my dad and me. Together, with my mom, as a family, we waited as she took her last breaths…

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IT WAS TRULY THE HARDEST THING I EVER HAD TO EXPERIENCE…

But I had to! And in the remaining moments of my mom’s life, I experienced the absolute perfect and unconditional love between her and my dad. Her last breath was to tell her husband of 33 years… “I love you”

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Love was the answer to all of it. All of the years, even the hard ones, love was the answer.

Even in the moment of her death, love was there… GOD was there.

He even made it easier. How? My mom’s death happened on my daughter’s birthday.

So each year we could remember my mom AND celebrate Kaysi’s birthday.

God truly made something bad not quite so bad. It didn’t hurt quite as much. Kaysi, I am convinced, was the reason my mom lived over 3 years instead of the 1 year the doctors gave her. My mom adored Kaysi AND Kaysi adored her.

Now when I ponder that day, and as I often do, I think on that blessing almost in disguise. Revelation hits me…

My worst day was also my best day.

God surely works in mysterious ways to love on His children, when they need it most.

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It’s All in the Family

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How many times have you thought about someone and thought, man if they weren’t family, I would never speak to them again?

Yes, we get that mad sometimes.

Well, not us, no never… all the people not reading this. Ha! I bet you have been on the receiving end of that thought. Families can be tough.

But we are family, so we do love and stick together regardless of what happens.

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Or at least we should. This is the picture of the Greek word for love, storge. Storge is the kind of love we feel towards our parents, our children, our siblings and anyone else who is a family member. In the Greek, storge is defined as parental affection or instinctual affection by humans and animals for their young. (wordnik.com) It is the kind of love that comes naturally, paternally even.

This love is not found in the New Testament. Instead there are two negative uses and a compound use of the word. In both Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3, the word astorgos is used, meaning no love or without love. (gotquestions.org/whatisstorgelove?) In Romans 12:10 it is used in combination with phileo as philostorgos. In this instance the translation is to be devoted and to cherish one’s kindred.

This is a picture of what God’s family should look like, where we are all considered brothers and sisters through Jesus and thus we should love each other as such.

In this love level, there is a focus on time.

TIME…

As we go through life with our families, we should be spending time with them. God has chosen each person in our families to be who they are, the sibling, the parent, the aunt or uncle, the grandparent. Each of these roles is integral in the functioning of the family.

This could be compared to the picture of the body of Christ. Each of us in the body have a specific anointing which if we do not accept it, then part of the body will not function properly.

FAMILY = BODY of CHRIST

The same is true of the family. Each person has their role and are important to the family unit. When there are hurt feelings or discord within the family, there are often trials and even unforgiveness. You all know what I am talking about, I am sure. Maybe some of you have even experienced it where one or more members disagree about something and stop talking while holding onto bitterness because they cannot forgive the other person.

That is not a picture of love on any level.

We should always be forgiving of anyone for any wrong. As we understand the difference between acceptance and forgiveness, we can forgive without making the person think what they did was right. Moreover, as we understand God’s love, and His forgiveness of our sins, all of them, we come to understand what that looks like for us as we are a reflection of Him.

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.”                        Mark V. Olsen

Another picture of love is now on the horizon.

As I think about family and what that means to me, I think not only of my blood family, but also of my spiritual family. So often, family is those who are related to us in some way. But, guess what? Our spiritual family is related to us through blood too… through the blood of Jesus!!! And even though the Bible does not refer to family much, as the earthly family, the family of God is spoken of many times. One of the sections that I think most personifies the family of God is the following verse from Ephesians:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.   (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Love is family.

Family is love.

Whatever your family looks like, make sure you appreciate them, spend time with them, and above all… love them!!!

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The Gift of Time…

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Time comes and time goes. It is something that doesn’t last and before you know it, all the time is gone. One day disappears in 24 hours, one hour in 60 minutes, 1 minute in 60 seconds… sometimes as quick as a blink of an eye. Think about it it. How many times have you wished that time could be turned back? A do-over?  Often in life we do get second chances. Maybe not a second chance to change a particular moment or decision in life, but a second chance to have happiness in that same way as in a second marriage. Unfortunately we don’t always know if that will happen.

Each moment that comes our way is important because we don’t get it back.  How can you make a difference in a day? Wake up to each new day refreshed and excited. Each day is new and a kind of do-over. Each day brings us the opportunity to be a better person. God says His mercies are new every morning… a second chance! I love how the message Bible relays this verse from Lamentations 3:22-23…

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

So, what will you do today? Will you make it the best day ever? Or will it be a day you look back on and wish you could change? Your choice… make a it one you will never forget, in a good way!

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