Five Minute Friday: Grasp

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Grasp…

It almost seems insane that it took me about twelve years to grasp the idea that my church family loved me. I know. Crazy. The thing is… I was married to an awesome man. He was outgoing and funny and crazy talented. Crazy talented as in he could play just about any instrument and sing any song… by ear. He taught himself piano and dulcimer. Who does that? As it happens he was our church’s worship pastor. I knew everyone loved him… how could they not? We were founding members of the church and we weren’t even married at that point.

From day one I knew “we” were loved. “We” became officially a “we” a few years into the new church venture and although it was challenging hard we loved it. The church grew and our family grew.

Fast forward a decade or so and I found myself alone with three small kids and no job. Well, I was cleaning houses so I had enough for groceries and a few bills but not nearly enough for the mortgage. Panic attacks came more frequent and the once simple tasks of daily life became tortuous. “We” were not divorced, only separated, with hopes that everything would work out. Our pastor was amazing during this time. He walked along side us and counseled us through a dark time in our marriage. Actually, the whole church did. It was pretty amazing.

One day I got a phone call from our pastor. He told me that the church had decided to pay for our expenses for a month. What??? Seriously??? ALL of them? Wow, I was literally speechless but managed a small thank you and hung up. I cried for hours. Literally. Once I pulled myself together I called our pastor’s wife to say thank you in a way that would somehow equal the generous gift. I remember saying, “Thank you so much for loving my husband so much that you would do this for us.” Her reply? Wait for it.

Wait for it….

“Sheila, we did that because we love YOU.” *tears* It had never occurred to me that I was loved. I knew “we” were, but alone? That was different. I was not “the life of the party”.  I was not the one that led worship or had any great talents (or so I thought at the time) to share. My role was “wife” of the worship pastor. That’s it. My identity was all wrapped up in that alone.

That moment was defining for me and I still get choked up if I tell it in person because it literally changed my life from that point on. It changed how I saw our church. It became my church.

And I needed to grasp that before the next three years happened because it would become “mine” in more ways than one.

Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I’m sure you are loving heaven more than my earthly mind can even fathom. The kids and I have talked about heaven and those that you would be seeing and meeting. We are thrilled that you have probably met the kids’ siblings and know whether Kenneth was a twin (we are so curious about that).

More importantly, we know you have talked with Jesus. The one that you lived your life for despite your circumstances here on earth. Hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant” must have been amazing. Because you were faithful and you did live your life well.

I sat in your funeral this week and was reminded why I loved you so much. (BTW… you would have loved it. The music, the flowers, the message, your family sharing stories. All of it was beautiful… just like you.) Your love for others was evident in your smile, your patience, your care, your attention and yes, even at your funeral. I bet everyone that sat in the service thought they were your favorite. And my guess is that they were.

Your faith was real and I admired that in you. You didn’t complain when most would and greeted absolutely everyone with a smile. A genuine smile that I will always remember.

I didn’t tell you, but I wanted to let you know that I considered it a privilege and honor to call you “grandma” for a time. In my heart, you are still mine. Thank you for always making me feel like your grandchild. A member of your family. The legacy you have left will live on in the hearts of those who knew you. A legacy of faith and love.

I miss you. Tons.

Love,

Sheila

When you still feel like you are family… but you’re not

*From www.wikipedia.com

For those who do not know the journey that happens after the divorce, be thankful. Very thankful. Often I hear or read, “I just want this all to be over“. Of course they are referring to the actual divorce and I had the exact same thought… once  hundreds of times. But unfortunately, it’s not just a one time deal and anyone going through it “gets it” very quickly. You don’t say in relief, “Oh yeah, I did that once – or twice. Moved on.” Well, I guess there are some that do but that, in itself, is sad.

How’s that for encouragement? Ugh, I know! But I’m serious and the pain that continues to hurt is real and I’m sure there are others that would agree. Surely I’m not the only one. Surely.

Yes, I’ve forgiven. Yes, I’m building a “new life” with new dreams and yes, I have a strong faith but the bottom line is that I am human and I hurt. It does lessen as time goes on but time doesn’t heal all wounds. That English proverb always irritated me a bit because it makes something extremely painful sound trite. No one in pain wants to hear it.

The most recent pain? Feeling like you are still part of the family except you’re not. No matter how great your relationship is and/or was with your “former family” the truth is, you are no longer part of that core family. No matter how close you once were, no matter how the divorce played out, no matter how much you may love them and vice versa, no matter how many times you are told that “you are still family to me/us”. The bottom line is… you’re not. I’m not. You/I may even carry the same last name but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of “family” you eventually become the outsider. The one that doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the family anymore. You are outside the “Circle of Trust” as it’s called in the movie, Meet The Parents.

Reality can reach up and bite my heart sometimes. I hate those times. I really do.

It’s times like these that I go back to my thankful list and remind myself of what I DO have, not what I don’t.

I DO have…

  • A family who loves me and supports me.
  • Three children who bring LOTS of joy.
  • A church family that not only loves on me but my children as well.
  • Friends who make me laugh… and I need that.
  • Friends who tell me the truth… and I need that, too.
  • A God that tells me I am in HIS family and what can be better than that?

OK, so it still hurts but when I constantly go back to giving thanks in everything, I am brought back to a place of thanksgiving and peace.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. -1 Thessalonians 5:18, The Message