My Faith Struggle This Easter

I haven’t written anything in quite a while on here, mainly because by the time I finish it seems so unimportant in the grand scheme of things that I delete it.

But I’ve decided to be real and lay some personal thoughts and struggles out here tonight on this night before Easter.

I have been struggling with my faith for years… most people who know the “real” me know this. I listen to Christian music, ask for prayer, and trust in others faith in God while mine has been failing. I can’t pull an exact moment when it started to fail, but I know it has been years.

I know it was before the Navy and my time in the service definitely didn’t do anything to help shore up my faith, but I wasn’t putting the work into it either. So many moments in my life have put nicks, cuts, gaping wounds into my armor that represents my faith.

I went to church during HS and after the Navy but it eventually became a chore and something I did because it was Sunday morning and my mom (after the Navy) enjoyed going. But during those times I never had an “aha” moment. I know it’s unrealistic for me to assume that I will get that moment… but one of the largest struggles I have is seeing someone else’s faith filled life and their ability to lean on that faith. I know that I more than likely don’t see their struggles (or at least all of them) but even then it seems that they are able to make their struggles about the strength they have in their faith.

The only comfort I have been able to give myself recently has been by listening to the Christian radio stations and other Christian music. I struggle trusting my faith, that my prayers matter (even though I have no problem asking others to pray because theirs might matter more), and I struggle hearing/feeling sermons in my heart.

I refuse to give up though… which is why I am writing this tonight before Easter. Because I do believe that Jesus died for my sins on the cross and was resurrected so that I can be made new… that much I do trust and for now it is enough.

 

 

*PS — sorry if this was rambling/confusing, I got sidetracked a few times by tears and songs on K-Love ❤️

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Seven Years or Yesterday?

Seven years ago today, my life changed forever. In one moment you were here on this Earth, and the next gone. It took one phone call to make the greatest impact on my life. You had been my greatest cheerleader, my coach on the sidelines in all my sports, the dad in the audience of all my band, orchestra, and piano recitals. You were in the stands the day I graduated High School and then Navy bootcamp, and the person I called when I had questions about OSU football games, or car questions. Some of the fondest memories I have are sitting on the computer and you watching a movie answering questions I’m sure annoyed you.

Some days you cross my mind fleetingly, something will remind me of you or I’ll see something that I wish I could share with you. Other days the grief is heavy and I think of you and replay the memories over and over. Like the time I scored a goal and you let me shave your head. I never knew you had ears like that until all that hair was gone. Or the time we were instant messaging when I was overseas and you came up with your own shorthand… and I had no clue what you were trying to say and when mom asked you… you acted surprised that we didn’t just know what you meant.

I have so many memories with you that it is hard to choose which ones to share with the world. These three pictures are some of my favorite ones with you.

I wish you could have been there the day I walked down the aisle. Oh I know you were there in spirit, I could feel it. But it would have been so much more special had you been here in person. I know there will be more days to come in my life when I will have those same thoughts.

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The rose I placed in memory of father as I walked down the aisle.

Seven years has been what feels like an eternity somedays and just the other day at other times. I wish I could hear your voice one more time, have one more hug, see you stick your tongue out at me one more time. These pictures are one of the ways I will remember you. I love you daddy!

These songs have given me so much comfort.

 

What on Earth are we doing?

“What on Earth are we doing?” has crossed my mind so many times I can’t even count in the days leading up to and following the Presidential election. This election has seen the most violence, hate spewed words, lies being thrown from both sides of the table… with no end in sight in the near future. I just can’t take it anymore. I’m not suggesting you sit back on your heals and not “fight” for something you honestly believe in. What I am suggesting is that you go about it a different way. People have stopped listening if they don’t share the same opinion or view as you do. What kind of progress is that? NONE!

Neither “side” can achieve what they want or least reach some sort of compromise and understanding without putting away the gunslingers (shooting off at the mouth), the physical violence, and pulling things from the past that not one person alive today had ANYTHING to do with.

We as a nation are struggling… you may agree because your “side” lost and you didn’t get into office who you wanted/voted for. You may disagree because your “side” got into office who you wanted/voted for. But that’s not the struggle I’m speaking of. We are in a struggle with each other stronger and longer-lasting than I remember one occurring in my lifetime.

I remember in the days after September 11, 2001, you couldn’t go down the road a mile without seeing yellow ribbons and American flags as the Nation mourned our losses collectively. We are so far from that now… it’s almost like we’re in a cold civil war between our respective “sides”.

Eight years ago after President Obama was elected, I fully believed we would erupt into one because of the vitriol and hate being spewed towards each other. That belief has grown stronger daily since then because as a nation we have not changed, only started attacking each other more and seemingly not leaving one group unattended. When will it end?

I sincerely pray that we never have another civil war in this country and I also pray that it doesn’t take another act like September 11, 2001, to pull this nation together. It starts at home and it starts with you. I challenge you, the reader, to step across that line that separates you from someone on the other “side” and do something nice for them. Then challenge them to do something nice for someone else that believes different from them.

The healing and strength of our nation does not lay on the backs of our elected officials… but our own.

Sleepless

Tonight is one of those nights… I should be asleep, I should be tired, but yet here I lay… wide awake.

You’ve been on my mind today. Wishing things could be different. Wishing you were here. That feeling of being abandoned has been strong today, I haven’t felt that in your respect in awhile.

Sometimes I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it’s been almost seven years. It feels just like yesterday at other moments. I can still see you the last time I saw you, hugged you, heard your whispered voice.

I’d give anything material up to have that moment again. So much to tell you that you need to know. I’d give up anything to go be able to go back in time to that first time you picked up a cigarette and ask you if you’d be willing to give up time with your future wife, children, and grandchildren for those evil things?

I don’t even know what the exact purpose of writing this all out was… except that it was just being bottled up inside and needed to be released.

Dad, I just miss you so much.

A Dream Among The Stars

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Featured image: Earthrise was taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission

Today I read about the passing of Gene Cernan… the Apollo 17 commander who was the last human being to walk on the moon. His passing just a few six weeks after the passing of John Glenn has deeply saddened me.

For as long as I can remember, my dreams have laid among the stars. I wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot, become an astronaut — which included being the first woman on the moon and the first human being on Mars. I spent many hours reading about the Space Race that started with rockets that could barely get off the ground, to satellites orbiting the Earth, to chimpanzees in space, humans in space and traversing the moon, and all the unmanned crafts we have sent outside of our atmosphere to explore the unknown expanse that is the universe.

While I have come to terms that those childhood dreams of mine may never come to fruition… it saddens me that other children don’t get to have those same goals. Most children learn about our travels in space in history classes and some may not even realize that NASA is still around as are astronauts.

My hope now is that NASA will once again come into the limelight so that we can continue our search among the stars and help make some child’s dream like mine come true.

 

Could I have ever imagined this?

Lately I’ve been thinking about a question that has been plaguing my thoughts…. “Through all the good and bad that has happened, would I have ever imagined my life would be this?” 

While I can definitely say that no, I never pictured my life like this… I can’t say that it is a bad thing either. Many things didn’t work out like I had planned growing up, for starters I wasn’t a fighter pilot in the Navy and didn’t go on to become an astronaut and set amazing historic records either. While I did join the Navy, it was a far cry from the “original” plan and without that change I can say my life would most definitely be worse off. I struggled and grew as a person and it was obviously the path I needed to be on at that point in my life. 

Other things are different as well…people that I always imagined I would have more time with are no longer here, whether it be because they have passed away or our paths have uncrossed… and I’m not even necessarily sure that it’s a bad thing anymore. 

I used to sit and stare at catalogues and the older male models and think…”that’s what I want my husband to look like when we get older” and of course God had other plans. 

But I look at my life now and think, man I may have never imagined this, but I wouldn’t change a darn thing. 

Dear Younger Me

I heard this song, “Dear Younger Me” by Mercy Me on the radio while I was on my way to work this morning and I don’t know why but I actually really paid attention to the lyrics and continued to think about them throughout the day and how they truly applied to my life. Many times I have wondered what would have happened if I had made different choices in my life. There are definitely some things that I wish I never would have had to experienced in my 29 years on this Earth… and I have wished plenty times since those events have occurred that they hadn’t.

Then I heard these two separate lyrics in the song and it all made sense… “And try to change, The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me” and “Dear younger me, It’s not your fault, You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross”. Every time I have made those wishes about those events, I always end up circling back and being able to state what wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone through that. Most of the time I can find that “thing” that would be different in my life and I know that everything had to play out that way to have the outcome that it did. For those moments of pain that I have yet to understand the “why” behind it… the verse about not carrying it beyond the cross explains (at least to me) that maybe I never will and I have to be OK  and accept that I might never be able to find that “thing“.

One of the biggest flaws I have recognized in myself is the lack of trust in people that haven’t proven it. That has been one of my BIGGEST struggles in my faith journey. So the above statement about being able to accept (which to me means trust there is a bigger purpose) is so extremely hard for me to do. Another flaw of mine is not being able to forget. A lot of people say, “I forgive, but I don’t forget”. To me, forgiveness should mean that you forget, or else you’ll always wonder if that person may fail you again or hurt you in some way. If you trust them enough to still have them in your life, shouldn’t you be able to forget the pain or hurt that they caused you?

I brought that up because some of those events I have blamed God for allowing them to happen and angry at Him for the outcome and/or the pain I felt because of it. As time has passed, it’s easier to let go of some of that blame, hurt, and anger; but I haven’t forgotten. So when something happens or doesn’t happen… it is so very easy to look back at those past events and that trust starts to falter and with anything if you look too hard or too long that trust starts to crumble.  So now when that happens… I’m going to listen to this song, and really pay attention to the lyrics and feel them in my heart… especially this part:

 

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be

Here is the lyric video in case you are unfamiliar with the song:

And here are the lyrics in their entirety if you’d rather just read them:

Dear Younger Me

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me,

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed