Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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Sometimes We Just Need to Be Held

Song Lyric Sunday

Two songs came to me in response to today’s theme: Healing

At the turn of the century, I thought my world was falling apart. But time gave me a different perspective. “Just Be Held,” by Casting Crowns, affirmed, years later, that  God had taken the divorce that brought me to my knees and replaced it with  a miracle beyond my wildest dreams.

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
(Stop holding on and just be held)
Just be held, just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

Natalie Grant sings, “Held,” a powerful song about being held through the devastating loss of a child. The song is written by Christa Nichole. Listening will convey the power and love best with this one:

 

Song Lyric Sunday is brought to us by Helen at:

https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-32617/


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A Letter to My Divorced Self in 2001

I commented on Oneta’s post, Graduation Day, that it made me think about what I’d like to say to my younger self and what my older self might want to say to me, now. Oneta encouraged me to write about it, so I’m going to take that one step at a time. This first step takes us back about 16 years. In some ways, it seems like yesterday, and in some ways, it was a lifetime ago.

broken heart from pixabay

Dear JoAnna,

I don’t know how you will get this letter, or if you will, but I’m writing it anyway. I’m hoping you will get this when you need it most, when you are newly divorced and feeling abandoned.

I know this is harder than anything you have ever dealt with, that you never expected to have the rug pulled out from under you like this. I know it hurts like hell.

But here are some things I want you to know for sure:

You are loved and cherished deeply, profoundly, and forever by the one who created you, the one who will never leave you, the one who will help you heal.

You will heal. The pain will get easier and your mood will lighten. It will take time – longer than you think it should, but you will feel peace and joy.

You are beautiful, valuable, smart, and kind.

You are a woman of integrity and truth.

You are strong, stronger than you think. But it’s still okay to cry.

You have a purpose. More than one purpose in fact, and the world needs you well, so taking care of yourself, loving yourself well, is good for the world.

You are whole. You do not need any other human to complete you.

Focus on the constants of your life that have always been there for you. The people who have always had your back and the things that bring you joy, peace  and comfort like  music, art, writing, and nature.

Know with certainty that God has a plan, a plan more wonderful than you can imagine. Trust the timing.

If you want a peek at God’s plan, read about my Work In Progress 


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Special Delivery Back in Time

time-tunnel-through-gold-trees

What if you could go back in time to give yourself a message?

If I told myself not to bother dating the first guy who asked me out after the divorce because God has a much better plan, would I listen? Probably not, because I wasn’t listening very well back then. S0 now, I have more compassion for people who find themselves in unhealthy relationships and more appreciation for healthy ones.

Maybe something simpler would get through to my past self. Sometimes I just want to hug that mixed up, co-dependent, grief-blind woman I was, and tell her:

It’s all going to work out!

I promise.

Love YOU!

There are a few songs I’d like send back in time to myself. Here’s one of them.


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Answered Prayer

I asked God to take away the desire for a partner or else send me a good one. “And God, I would really appreciate it if you could get my soulmate here before Dad and Jesse die,” I added.

  From Trust the Timing

When I prayed that prayer seven years ago, I knew I would be strong enough to deal with the death of my father and my dog, Jesse, when those times came. Even without a partner, I had proven to myself that I could cope with loss and keep my head above water. No matter how much it hurt, I would deal with it. But I didn’t want to go through it alone gritting my teeth and forcing myself to be tough.

Now, as I process grief for my father, I can’t imagine how I would deal with the waves of sadness, especially after I spend a day going through Dad’s abundant possessions and then come home to sort through his mail and paperwork. I’m going through mom’s stuff, too, because he didn’t want to get rid of anything after she died eight years ago. If I had to do this alone as the only surviving child – and go to work the next day at a challenging job – it would be overwhelming to say the least.

But I don’t have to do it alone. I know that even if I was still single, God would walk with me through this, and that I’d survive (probably with jaw and neck pain from the teeth gritting.) But it helps so much to have a supportive partner. That is an understatement. Not only does my husband support me emotionally, he made it possible for me to quit my job just one month before Dad died. We didn’t know the timing would work out that way. But I bet God knew.

My husband was here for me when Jesse died a couple years ago, and now he’s here for me as I grieve for my father, because God answered that prayer.

God doesn’t always answer my prayers my way. Despite all I’ve learned about trusting the timing, God still seems awfully slow to my limited perspective regarding prayers yet to be answered. But I know things are being worked out in those I love, and ultimately, love will prevail.

I am thankful beyond words.

bride-leaning-on-groom-in-doorway

2012, just after our wedding

dad-waiting-for-bride

Here’s Dad on my wedding day.


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Signs From the Other Side

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Since my dad passed away, I’ve seen signs of his light.

The morning after I got the call, this is what I saw in the Tennessee sky

from the passenger side of the car where I rode.

indiana-2017

Dad saying, “Hello. It’s me. I’m okay.”

The morning of Dad’s funeral, I saw this rainbow reflected from an old bottle in my kitchen window. I had never seen this rainbow before.

sign-rainbow-sharper

As we drove home from the funeral/celebration dinner, I saw this sign in the sky. Dad always liked red.

sky-sign-from-dad

Sunday morning morning, a sweet lady, Dad’s contemporary, gave me this card with the poem above about signs.

card

I imagine these signs were easy feats for the man who taught me, “Nothing is Impossible.”

The timing is interesting, though not surprising – my dad died just a few weeks after I retired from my 30 year career, so now I have more time and energy to grieve, to sort through his stuff, and to see the signs.

I’m curious. Have you ever noticed signs?

PS: Jo’s comment below and repost: https://hellsbellsandcreativetails.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/the-odd-egg-a-repost/ reminded me of the water mark heart that appeared on my mom’s bedroom ceiling some time after she died. They slept in separate rooms, but only because Dad snored so loud. I used to think one was a heart and one was an apple, but maybe they are two hearts. Mom was short and Dad was tall, so these hearts could represent the two of them. Now they’re together again. And I bet he doesn’t snore in heaven, or if he does, it’s like music to her ears.

heart-and-apple-on-moms-ceiling

 


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An Extraordinary Man

joanne-and-dadIt’s been an extraordinary week.

The trip to see my grandchildren started out as an adventure since I don’t travel much by myself these days. The first night I stayed with my friend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at her cozy house in the woods. Her sweet cat, Feather, slept with me. The next day was Saturday. I drove to the mountains to stay with my son in Boone. While my son was at work, I got the phone call from the pastor at my father’s church. He told me my father had passed away. They found him in bed, so I’m hoping he died peacefully.

My father served in the US Marine Corps for 20 years, and I knew he would want me to complete this mission to visit his great grandchildren. (He didn’t believe in calling children kids, because kids are baby goats.) So, I’ve been in Indiana making funeral arrangements by phone with help from my wonderful husband who’s back home holding down the fort. I’m so thankful to not have to go through this alone, though I could have.  As my father taught me: “Nothing is Impossible.”

It was good to have some time alone in my son’s apartment Saturday when I got the news. I went from cleaning his kitchen window, to crying, to cleaning something else, to crying some more. I thought of calling my dad’s older sister, Ruth who is 94 and in assisted living. But first, I called her friend Judy, who takes care of her fiances. Judy told me that Aunt Ruth had been more confused than usual that morning when Judy visited her. She said Ruth asked her, “Is my mother gone?” Judy told her, yes, her mother was gone.

“Is my sister, Margaret gone?”

“Yes, Margaret’s gone,” Judy said.

“Then I’m the only one left.”

“No, You still have your brother Jimmy.” she told her.

Maybe Aunt Ruth already knew, on some level, that her brother was gone. I wonder if he visited her.  Judy said she would go tell her in person the next morning.

Driving to Indiana with my son on Sunday, the clouds hung low in the Tennessee sky. The opening you see in the photo below made me think my dad was peeking through to tell me hello and that everything’s good.

indiana-2017

On Sunday afternoon, I called Aunt Ruth. I told her who I was (she forgets things) and asked how she was. Then I told her my father had died. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. A bit later she asked how Jimmy was. I told her Jimmy had passed away. I had to repeat myself and explain that her brother had died. She said how sorry she was like she was was trying to console me. His death wasn’t a big surprise to her; my father was not in good health. He had a lot of pain from his old war wounds and arthritis and being 85. Aunt Ruth asked me a few more times, “Jimmy’s gone?”  “Yes, Jimmy’s gone,” I told her. “He’s with his wife, Betty. He’s with the Lord. That’s where he wanted to be.” I told her she still had me and her other niece who lives in Wisconsin closer to her, and her friend Judy. Aunt Ruth wants to go be with the Lord, too and can’t understand why she’s still here. Physically, she’s in great shape for 94. Mentally, she gets pretty confused.

My father was an extraordinary man. After serving in Korea and Vietnam and while living with with the horrible memories that haunted him from those wars, he and mom volunteered at their local soup kitchen and drove disabled veterans to the VA hospital two hours away. They led the church youth group on camp outs. Dad sang in the church choir until his voice started squeaking on the high notes. He taught an adult Sunday school class until just a couple weeks ago. And he taught me, “Nothing is Impossible.”

Dad missed mom terribly after she died. I’m glad they’re finally together again.

mom-and-dad-in-54-in-washington

Mom and Dad in Washington DC 1954

My visit with my grand kids, er… grand children, was a good one. I enjoyed the sweetness of holding little ones on my lap as we read picture books.  My dad is glad I’m was with them.

just-jot-january

Just Jot It January is brought to you by Linda Hill. I’ve been waiting for today’s prompt, “Extraordinary,” from Jetgirlcos to get back to blogging by telling you about my father. This post is longer than most of mine, but he’s worth it.


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Tangible Healing

broken-heart-from-pixabay

It was 16 years ago. The emotional pain was tangible. Like the bottom fell out of my stomach and my head was somewhere far away.

I had believed that “to death do us part” meant that we would grow old together, and travel out west chasing the sunsets.

I was willing to work on it, to do my part, be more attentive, go on vacations, whatever.

But it was too late.

They said it was just acid-reflux that made my chest feel so tight, like a fist closing around my heart.

So I had to learn to take slow deep breaths in between the sobs in the hallway sitting on the hardwood floor when the kids had gone to their dad’s new place.

It took time for the pain to subside into mere sadness. Then there were the cover-up rebounds. The first one a disaster, the second better, but stressful and not a good fit. But at least I was  making progress.

Finally, I learned to work on me, and to trust that God had a plan.

Now, my heart sings a new song, better than any song I could have imagined.

Now, the joy is tangible like the ocean waves  caressing my skin, like a cool breeze on a warm day, or a warm blanket on a cold night.

healing

I painted this during the cover-up rebounds.

(The broken heart at the top is from pixabay)

This post was written in response to the Just Jot it January prompt: “tangible,” provided by Prajakta at https://anarmchairperfectionist.wordpress.com/

This post is also for TS.

Except for the last two lines, it summarizes Chapter 13 of my Work in Progress.

 

just-jot-january

The rules for Just Jot It January are as follows:

1. It’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list) counts as a “Jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. The prompts will be posted every day at 2am my time (GMT -5). You don’t have to follow the prompt word, but this will be where you leave your link for others to see. Make sure you link your post to the correct day’s prompt. There will be a post like this every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday, and Saturday, when you’ll find the prompt on my usual Friday Reminder post for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS).

3. As long as your blog is on WordPress, you’ll be able to link via pingback. To execute a pingback, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! If you’re participating from another blogging host, just drop a link into the comment section. Note: The newest pingbacks and comments will be at the top.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. The prompts are here both to remind you and to inspire you to write. However, you don’t have to use the prompt word of the day. You can link any kind of jot back here. Even your shopping list. Note: If it’s 18+ content, please say so in a comment with your link.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge (above) in your post so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!

If you’d like to look ahead to see the upcoming prompt words, click this link: https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/31/just-jot-it-january-2017-rules/ You can always write your post ahead of time and schedule it to come out on the appropriate day.