Some of you will not make it through this book. It is a true story filled with a lifetime of pain, abuse, abandonment but more importantly, it is a story of redemption; it is a story of how faithful my God has been to me. It is my sincere prayer that He uses this in the lives of others so that they can know that they, too, can live an abundant life, even after a lifetime of pain.
So many times, I find myself staring at that dreaded blinking cursor and it seems to scream to me to start typing a reflection of my heart and my mind. I don’t want to; after all, I am not writing about easy stuff; I am okay with that; but it doesn’t mean those who love me want to read the hard stuff.
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”
Like many of you, I prayed that prayer a million times when I was a kid; as I got older, I stopped praying it, not because I didn’t want to, but because I know I don’t need to recite the familiar prayer; as the keeper of my soul plays for keeps. I am no longer worried about where I will go when I die; but I do care about my legacy.
I have had my share of loss in this world; both parents; friends that were plucked out of this world by cancer, the flu, and a random heart attack at the age of 42 years old. Family that left us because of (again) cancer, normal end of life reasons and so many more I am not remembering at the moment; but suffice it to say I have been to a lot of funerals.
Maybe it is just me, but funerals always make me think of my own mortality; but that is never prominent in my mind as much as what will be uttered at my home going; and being the control freak that I am; I would like to have a voice in that day; after all, my voice was silenced for much of my life; so to ask for it to be heard at the end isn’t a ominous request.
I know I can’t control other people’s perception of me; and truthfully, most the time I am not concerned with perception; I am concerned with the truth.
The truth is whether I were to die today or 40 years from now, the basic imprint of my heart and my desires will not have changed much; maybe you don’t know them, so I will tell you.
I won’t be there that day, whenever that is. I will be, no doubt sitting at the feet of Jesus, getting answers (or not, maybe I won’t care); but mainly in awe of being in the presence of the One Who gave everything for me. The One Who got me through abandonment, neglect, abuse, health issues, heartbreak, victories, and defeats. The One Who made my life worth living and at the age of 35 changed my life forever and turned me into somebody I don’t even recognize. Not a throw away kid, not a survivor of domestic violence, not health challenged, but His daughter whom experienced healing that is akin to climbing Mt. Everest 85 times. He transformed me into a person who wants to change the world. He tore down walls and gave me the capacity to love without fear and with great tenacity and intensity. He reminds daily of the truth; he reminds me who HE says I am.
“You call me righteous, You call me Yours, no longer guilty, not anymore, I have been rewritten, I am Yours, a new creation I stand before You now because of who You say I am”—Among The Thirsty
If I should die before I wake, I don’t want a sad event. I want you all to go to the beach at sunset and know that is where I would be if I could. I want you to tell all of your funny stories of my klutziness, how loud I speak, how silly I am, how I loved my Jaguars, how I came to love life, how everything interested me, and how unbelievably grateful I became and never stopped of all of you who love me; the ones that took care of me from the cradle to the grave and everything in between. I want you all to know I love you, and how I knew I could never say that enough. I want you, if you are so inclined, to take my torches and run with them; I want my life to matter, and you may be my only hope for that. And I want to say thank you, again, for choosing to be part of my life. Know that I counted myself one of the most fortunate people in the world when it came to friends and family. I have always known that I had more true friends than any one person deserves. Thank you to those of you who allowed me to hijack your friends, and those got added to the roster of those whom I love so much.
If I should die before I wake and you got dragged to this beach party and you didn’t know me; I hope that the thing that people will tell you the most is that I loved God, I loved people and that I loved life. People often called me brave, courageous and other nice things, but really I just wanted to make a difference; I can only hope that I have done that.
If it rains, go anyway, stand in the rain, jump in the puddles and run down the beach, because that is what I would have done. Take a chair down by the water with a friend, and speak, or not, but treasure that time with that person. If it is cold, well, complain the entire time, because that is what I would have done.
Put somebody cool in charge of the music. And eat lots of gluten! Remember, for me, this is a celebration time. I know you will be sad, but know that I have lived a full life but always knew that this world was not my home, and I will, in fact, finally be home. Without the pain of the past; without physical ailments but with the One Who will wipe the final tears from my eyes, and welcome me into eternity where there will be no more pain; no more tears; rejoicing with my Savior for ever and ever and looking with great anticipation to see those who arrived before me and will wait for those who will come behind me.
“Don’t cry for me, because I am finally free to run with angels on streets made of gold and listen to stories from saints new and old, to worship our Maker that’s where I will be, when you finally find me” Mark Harris
Writing my story is purely obedience. While I will admit that positive comments about my writing drives me a little, what you are about to read is pure obedience. I want to be found faithful, because this is all of our temporary homes; life is to be lived, abundantly, that is why He came—and that is what I plan to do. I will love well; I will laugh often; and I will not be silenced about the injustices of this world. I will remain klutzy; I will continue to speak loudly; I will continue to be goofy, finding myself funnier than you do—but most of all I will spend the rest of my life loving you all with great passion and attempting to be a reflection of the only One that matters. I will enjoy your grace and your forgiveness for when I get it wrong; I will pick up the phone more; I will make sure you know how much I love each of you, so there is never a doubt in your mind. I will forgive. I will not withhold it, ever. So, don’t second guess yourself if you think that I left this world with unresolved conflict; if I have learned anything, it is that life is too short for that.
Most of all, I will continue to pursue the One that chases me down; and will forever be grateful that He chose to put me on this planet, and if the world is a better place because of it; that is just a bonus. Because I have all of you, I know that when God made you, He was thinking of me.
“I want you to understand that the things that have happened to me have really served to further the gospel” Phil 1:12
O, may that be true of my life.
Love to All,