MY INNER JOY

I used to be so happy when I was a little girl. I would wake up just bursting with joy. There were many times as a single mother I could barely contain my joy when I saw my children in the morning.

My joy had nothing to do with my circumstances.

I was raised in a home with a mother who was depressed and angry due to bitterness over the way others had treated her.

I was not popular in school and when I was in junior high and high school I was the victim of horribly bullying. Yet I still had an inner joy.

Anyone who has been a single mother can tell you it is not easy. Raising children and having to do everything without a partner is a very difficult road to travel. My ex was not able to provide a large child support check so I had to work a lot while also raising my children. He did remain very involved in their lives though and still provides great counsel to them when asked. So thankful for that.

Yet, when I think back on those years I do not remember the nights that I cried myself to sleep. I remember it as being the greatest amount of fun I have ever had in my entire life.

Over the course of the years though, my joy has diminished. Lately I have missed it more than I can say.

It was a surprise to me when I felt it creeping up in my Spirit last Sunday. All I had planned was church and then to go to a Celebration of Life service for my friend that had passed away.

I woke up that morning with joy springing forth. I had to go to church early to help set up the coffee. We meet in a warehouse and have to set up and take down each Sunday.

I arrived a little late and I don’t want to do that again. I also could not stay to tear down and I hope to do that next time I have the privilege of serving. Yet just being with that church family is like being hugged by God. They are so very welcoming.

I still  had the Celebration of Life service for my friend  though. I thought I would be a mess of tears but I wasn’t. It was such a beautiful memorial to her. Everyone was talking about what a loving person she was. She had so many friends and family there who had all been touched by her amazing life.

I still miss her like crazy but when I think of that service I find comfort.  She was such a loving person and, in turn, was so loved by others.

When I think back to where my joy originates, I believe it may originate in serving and loving others, in addition to worshiping God. I am still trying to discover the mystery of my hidden joy.

Where does your joy originate from?

ELVIS

I have some bad news to share.

My cat, Elvis, has passed due to kidney failure. He was named that because he had the most stunning black fur I have ever seen on a cat.

My boyfriend has been caring for Elvis over the past few years. He had taken him because some horrible person had lied to the city of Fort Worth and told them I had thirteen cats.

Although that person meant to do harm, God meant it for good.

My boyfriend and that cat became best buddies. Where there was one, there was the other. He would send me pictures of them watching sporting events and movies together without a millimeter of space between them on the rocking chair.

My boyfriend put Elvis on a diet and he lost a good amount of weight. When he was at my house he never used to run because his favorite activity was eating and laying in the sun.  At my boyfriend’s house he would sprint the length of the house.

He was happy and he was loved from the minute he was born to the very end of his life. My boyfriend’s vet even took him home during the night when he was in kidney failure.

When I went over to my boyfriend’s house I always gave him treats and he would always be so excited to see me. Or maybe he was just excited about the treats because he was so happy there it didn’t faze him when I walked in the door.

My boyfriend had also taken Elvis’ sister. Elvis and his sister were always loving on each other.

If all cats and humans could be loved the amount that Elvis had been, the world would be one of peace and contentment. His life was shortened due to undetected Diabetes and the corresponding kidney failure. But I believe his life was lived to the fullest due to the love he received and gave back.

I would encourage anyone who reads this post to love their family, friends and animals to the best of their ability. I have lost a best friend, Kathy Raney, and an amazing cat, Elvis, all within the span of one month.

I take comfort in knowing that God has both in heaven and that I loved both while they are on earth, yet the tears still explode down my cheeks whenever I think of them.

I Corinthians 13:13 “13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

If those of you who pray could keep me and my boyfriend in your prayers I would be grateful. September has been a difficult month for me and the passing of Elvis has been heartbreaking for my boyfriend.

 

THE GIRLS

I had met the first of the three girls several years back. She was in her 90’s.

I came to love her when I was her home health nurse. She was bed bound at the time I took care of her. Even though she had a pressure ulcer and C diff she was still so pleasant.

Her husband was still living and he did as much as he could but he wasn’t in good health either so the amount he could do was minimal. She also had a cute little lady friend who lived with her and she was in her 90’s also.

We became so close that I was invited to her birthday party. We had so much fun together.  Each time I left her we said we loved each other because we did.

Soon she moved into a facility and I lost track of her.

When I started working for my current company I was asked to fill in for another nurse on some of her cases. I did so without knowing that I would be taking care of the little lady friend.

The first girl had passed on and now the lady friend was rooming with her husband. I enjoyed reconnecting with her.

Just a few weeks ago I had another patient of mine whose daughter refused to give her the antibiotics that the doctor had ordered. I kept telling her that if she didn’t give the antibiotics her mother would not beat the Cellulitis that had infected her legs. She said a friend of theirs had died of C diff and she was not going to let that happen to her mother.

We got to talking more and I found out that she was referring to my former patient who had passed away. Apparently these three girls had been friends for quite a long time and had a history of having a blast together.

I don’t know how on earth I got the privilege of taking care of three wonderful friends which were all in their 90’s. I think it had to be orchestrated in heaven by the first girl who passed away because I had changed companies and I didn’t even know that the first two were acquainted with the third girl.

I know that they all loved God and I am so honored that He has allowed me the privilege of taking care of “the girls.”

 

The loss of a friend

I lost a friend last week. She passed on. I am sure I have told you about her because she was a one of a kind sweetheart. She was physically disabled but more alive than most people I know.

My friend couldn’t walk. She had some rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. She also had had Breast Cancer and Diabetes. She kept telling me that she was getting tired. I encouraged her to limit her activities.

My friend didn’t. It wasn’t her nature to say “No” to anybody. In fact, most times when I called her she would ask me if there was anything she could do to help me.

My friend and her husband took me to the rental care place  when I needed to rent a car for trips and out for dinner many times. They refused to ever let me pay because I had been a nurse to her husband at one time. I guess they felt as if they needed to pay for my meals. I tried to be sensitive to their financial stress and not become a burden to them.

My friend was my greatest cheerleader as far as my novel went. She is the only person in the entire world that has ever read any of my current manuscript and she raved over it.

My friend was at home when she died of a heart attack.

I can’t even begin to tell you how broken-hearted I am that my friend  is no longer here on earth. I keep missing her. I keep crying. I keep wanting her to be there for me but I know she is with God. I know she is happier with Him.

As I view my life I realize how much I learned from her. Even though she had to use a scooter to get places that rarely stopped her from going anywhere. Although she had been a type A person, when she became handicapped she accepted the curve ball that life had thrown her with amazing grace.

I stopped in to see her many times and I don’t remember her ever being discouraged or depressed. She loved others with her whole heart and I realize now that she is gone home how deeply I loved her.

There is to be a celebration of life memorial for her in a couple of weeks. She wanted to be cremated. I hope I can stop crying by then…

I know there will never be another Kathy Alexander Raney. She was one of a kind amazing. I miss her with my whole heart because she was one of the best friends I have ever known. I love you girl, to eternity and back with all of my heart and soul. You were the best!

WHY GOD?

Have there been times in your life when you don’t understand how a God who loves you could allow you to be so heartbroken and not step in to stop it?

I had a time like this several years ago.

It was when my two boys became convinced that they should go live with their Dad in Florida. I was so hurt by this that I refused to listen to their reasoning.

My lawyer had told me that they had said nothing bad about me behind closed doors but they missed their Dad and wanted to live in Florida.

Why Florida?

In addition to the beach and Disney world; Florida has an awesome system of education, not only for their high school students but also a program for college. I had taught all of my children the importance of education and they saw Florida as an open gateway to better education.

Their Dad had been very involved in their life, even though our divorce happened when they were young. When he was living close by me he took them every weekend. So it wasn’t like he was an absentee Dad who decided he wanted to step up to the plate of parenting when the children were almost grown. He had been a present “coach” in their lives all along.

Yet, I was heartbroken. My children were the essence of my life. Every decision I made in life took them into consideration. Why would God allow this to happen?

The answer came to me one night. It is interesting to me how God can flood my consciousness with His reasoning and it all makes sense in the flash of a second.

The reason my sons were allowed the privilege of living in Florida with their Dad and Stepmother, was because my daughter needed me .

She had moved away at about the same time the boys had. We hadn’t been close for several years. She had graduated early from high school and decided to pursue a career as a sales person. This job moved her to Kansas City, Baltimore, Kansas City and then back into my home.

She had always been a social butterfly while in Texas. Unfortunately, when she moved to the Midwest and Baltimore it was like she lost her wings. She called me, as if to seek the shelter of the cocoon which had nurtured her through her youth. We had some heart to heart talks and there were plenty of care packages sent her way.

Then she moved back into my home, for which I am grateful.

When my boys left to go live with their Dad it began the healing process for my daughter and I. If my sons had been home I may have not had the same level of compassion for her. God needed for me to be totally committed to loving her.

I am still healing my wounds from this time in my life but I know that God sees the future and He is a God of love. I know He loves me but even more than that… I am certain He is crazy in love with my daughter and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

FOUNDATION ISSUES

I must admit when I had my home built in 2007 I had no idea that ten years later I would have significant foundation issues. Yet with each passing day, cracks in my walls seem to propagate like flies on honey.

I have needled the construction company from the first year about the issues I was seeing with my foundation. They proceeded to have 3-4 different surveys of my home done by different Structural Engineering firms. Each time they said there was some movement in my foundation but not enough to warrant intervention by them.

I became very upset over this and tried again and again to get them to remedy the situation. As a woman who has been a single mother for 20 years, I really have difficulty with men who assume that ignoring me is an OK thing to do.

So I asked a friend of mine for an attorney. I was intending to sue the construction company.

Yet, as a Christian, the Bible says I should not sue, if at all possible. So I prayed about this and sought God.

The Holy Spirit told me it was a water, not foundation issue.

It took me awhile to get off of my soap box of emotion and indignation. My indignation did not lead me to call a lawyer.  However, I  did look into different foundation repair companies and was not impressed.

Then I went back to God and prayed some more remembering that it was a water, not foundation issue.  When I looked at the diagrams and the measurements of my home I noted that my garage was sinking. My garage is in the front of  my house and doesn’t get much water. The backyard is almost always a bit of a swamp because I am on the bottom of a gentle slope. So I definitely needed drainage in the backyard but I didn’t want to take any water away from the garage area. So I was going to have to design my drainage system and see if a drainage company could understand what I was trying to do.

I got three bids on the job and only one of them fit within my budget. I liked the guy who was inexpensive a lot better than the other men. I told him I wanted a french drain through half of my back yard and then a regular drain (pipe) on the side of my house and then another french drain turned on its side so that the water could seep out, not in, coming next to my garage.

I had to explain it to him a couple of times but he finally understood the design. I do intend to drop in and out on both days that they are doing the work to make sure the installation is what I want but I don’t think there will be a problem.

This has been a ten-year journey for me and at times I have been very indignant. I have decided to turn away from wrath because as it says in James 1:20 “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness which God so desires.”

I am kind of patting myself on the back just a little because not only did I turn away from wrath but I, with the Holy Spirit, also custom designed a drainage system for my yard. Who would have thunk I could every do something like that?