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An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Celebrating the Fruit of Our Labor Alone

This morning as I prayed about the day ahead there were mixed emotions. Tonight is an engagement party for Mallory and Rob. I thought of all the years that Joe and I had prepared her for this exciting time. We raised our kids to be independent and to make a difference in the Kingdom. I was sad that he wasn’t here to enjoy the fruits of his labor. But as I pondered, a song came on my IPOD and I once again felt like Joe was singing them to me and telling me to have fun for the both of us.

The Words I Would Say – Sidewalk Prophets

Three in the morning, and I’m still awake So I picked up a pen and a page And I started writing just what I’d say If we were face to face I’d tell you just what you mean to me Tell you these simple truths
CHORUS Be strong in the Lord And never give up hope You’re gonna do great things I already know God’s got His hand on You So don’t live life in fear Forgive and forget But don’t forget why you’re here Take your time and pray These are the words I would say
Last time we spoke you said you were hurting And I felt your pain in my heart I want to tell you that I keep on praying That love will find you where you are I know cause I’ve already been there So please hear these simple truths CHORUS Say… from one simple life to another I will say… come find peace in the Father Be strong in the Lord And never give up hope You’re gonna do great things I already know God’s got His hand on You So don’t live life in fear Forgive and forget But don’t forget why you’re here Take your time and pray And thank God for each day His love will find a way These are the words I would say

I know God’s hand is on me. It was a good reminder to forgive others that I have felt simply haven’t understood and have passed judgment. Most people have no idea how difficult the past 7 years of watching 2 people I love slip away and suffer while working a job in social work. It has challenged me to the core but has made me who I am. And I love the words to not forget why I am here. God’s plans for my life are not in jeopardy and I am not a second class citizen because I am single…..yes I am quickly figuring out it is a coupled world. I will accomplish all that is in His heart for me. The last time Joe and I spoke my heart was hurting…he knew me well…and we had those tough conversations about me going on and finding love again. It was hard for him to speak those words because of his love for me. So I will be strong in the Lord and never give up hope and I will not live my life in fear.

I must keep walking on letting go of the past and reaching for the future that is mine full of new dreams

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two Prayers He Always Answers

Two Prayers He Always Answers

I honestly don’t know where time goes. I guess grief still wears me out and I am still recuperating from the busy weeks at the end of the semester at CWJC. I also had out of town company and that was a lot of fun. It was good to forget about daily obligations and simply be a tourist guide. Sometimes life can be so intense and we need times to simply laugh and have fun. I did with my friend but was so aware that it doesn’t take much to wear me out these days.

We are now 7 weeks from Mallory’s wedding and it is all systems go. Every weekend has wedding plans between now and then. It is amazing how everything has fallen into place. God has been wonderful to bring it all together.

Price is home for the summer and did a stellar job this semester at UT. I am so proud of him because I know it has been so difficult for him loosing his dad. They were very close. Austin and Laura will be in to Texas in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to see them. They haven’t been to Texas since Joe died.

As I have encountered many new things and some painful things recently I have relied on two prayers that God has historically ALWAYS answered for me. The first is “God change my heart or the other person’s heart, or both our hearts.” It is a win/win prayer. Only God can really change a heart and when I surrender my heart to Him to be changed and or ask Him to change another’s heart, this prayer always gets answered. The other prayer I frequently pray is “God, reveal truth in this situation.” Another prayer He always answers. Sometimes the answer isn’t so good and other times I wonder if I am really ready for the truth but the word of God says “truth sets us free.” When we know the truth in a situation, there is a freedom. I take great comfort in the fact that God has always answered these prayers for me and that brings security and peace.

The waves of grief still wash over me and more so when I am tired but I have to say my heart is healing and I am moving on.

Resting in His love and grace-

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Waves of Love and Waves of Grief

I know it has been a week since I wrote but it has been an intense time. Since the style show (CWJC annual fundraising event) I have had to put on my graduation hat as we had the CWJC graduation Wednesday. These past two weeks are my busiest of the year with two major events. Not much time to write but I will have a break and be able to get some much needed rest. I am amazed at God and His ability to carry me when my strength is gone. I am learning lessons in weakness and although I don't really like it, I am learning much in this season.
The CWJC graduation was the largest we have had. Over 250 people in attendance and our largest class ever with 14 graduates. The testimonies were wonderful and I love wateching God work. It was evident that he was doing more than we saw on the surface. But isn't that the way He is? He is awesome.
I had a few days with a friend from out of town and it has been good to laugh, rest and have some fun. I have had to contend for my fun so much in the past years with my mother's illness and Joe's illness and death so I have loved simply laughing and having fun.
These have been days mixed with waves of grief but waves of God's intense love for me...........what a wonderful life......

Bobbing in the waves

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Seven Months and Pressing On

May 9, 2010

I cannot believe it has been a weeks since I have written,. I don’t know where the time goes. It is a very busy time for me as we just had our annual fundraiser for the Christian Women’s Job Corps this past Thursday, It was amazing to see what God has done in the lives of the 14 women I have been working with the past 12 weeks. For those of you that don’t know much about my occupation, below is an article that was written in our local newspaper. I believe the writer captured the heartbeat of the ministry.

Born to Overcome
By Carlina Villapandro
Kerrville Daily Times
May 7th, 2010

I’ve known people who seemingly can do no wrong. Things come easily to them. No matter how ill-suited or awkward they might feel, favor finds them. Things just work out. Whatever they touch turns to gold.

Surely, you know someone who fits that mold — that person for whom life appears so easy. Perhaps, you’re that person in others’ eyes. Although it’s true, some people are extraordinarily blessed, even they have something to overcome. No one is free of trial.

That universal truth resonated so clearly for me Thursday, as I joined hundreds of other women — some professionals, others stay-at-home moms, many retirees — all gathering for a luncheon to benefit the Christian Women’s Job Corps, an organization that this year celebrates 10 years in Kerr County. We all crowded into the Y.O. Ranch Hotel ballroom ready to watch a fashion show and celebrate with 14 soon-to-be graduates of the local program.

It wasn’t until the music struck up and women stepped onto the long stage that I began to tremble for them. These women — some who had admitted insecurities and claimed to lack confidence — were strutting the runway with literally hundreds of eyes glued to them. To top it off, as they did it, an announcer not only provided commentary on their clothing, but spoke of their individual challenges. She explained how some of them felt wounded, unworthy, hopeless and without purpose.

None of that showed on Thursday. They were new women with changed outlooks. Their trials haven’t necessarily disappeared since joining the job corps, but what they know and believe about themselves now is different, the commentator explained.

Although these women enrolled in and are about to graduate from a program designed to build confidence and self-worth, their example Thursday as they faced their fears and modeled their changed lives before us forced me to admit to myself, that I, too — and perhaps most of the women in that room — could benefit from what these ladies now have. They have been blessed with the gift of humility, a chance to admit their shortcomings and learn the ability to overcome.

It might have been the women on stage who spoke up about their insecurities and trials Thursday, but I have no doubt that the despair they once felt would pale in comparison to the combined private concerns welling up in the hearts and minds of the women surrounding them in that room. If we all were transparent and aired them there, the burdens, I know, would have been great.

No matter how stable or well “put-together” someone might seem, the truth is everyone suffers on some level. Whether it’s loneliness, financial strain, sickness or a sense of inferiority, we all have something to overcome, and the reality is that the presence of suffering — whatever form it may take — will never completely end in this life.

I admire these 14 women and the other former graduates of CWJC who were present Thursday for their strength and willingness to stand before us as examples. There’s no guarantee these ladies will land high-paying jobs or snag an eligible bachelor, but they have found true security.

They’ve learned to face challenges and overcome. It’s no doubt they owe much of what they’ve learned to their teacher, Kathleen Maxwell, executive director of the job corps. She spoke briefly Thursday about the loss of her husband several months ago to cancer and the strength she’s found in the support of the local community.

It was so striking to me to watch Maxwell live out the lessons she has taught for more than

10 years, testifying that victory is measured not in the lack of turmoil or overflowing “success,” but in how we choose to react to those circumstances.

In February, Maxwell wrote to the volunteers and supporters of CWJC, exhorting them to “see their situation from God’s point of view.”

“The challenge for us is to get God’s perspective in our perceived crisis and let Him show us how it is an opportunity to overcome and grow instead of being overwhelmed,” she wrote. “I have to discipline myself to ask God to help me see my life now as He sees it versus how I see it.”

Maxwell’s crisis is not merely “perceived.” Loss of that magnitude hurts, but Maxwell contends that God is greater than even the most severe of life’s pain and disappointments.

“He has been faithful to answer my prayers and is day by day teaching me how to live life abundantly now,” she said. “All of us have some circumstance to overcome: Problems with finances, recent job loss, relationship problems, disappointments, just to name a few.”

But we all can have hope, Maxwell declares, because “overcoming is our God-given right as His children.

“We were born to overcome and, as we do, we reveal to others who God really is.”

That is the mission of Christian Women ‘s Job Corps: “to touch the lives of some ... to touch the lives of many.” It’s what Maxwell is doing for her students (more than 270 in 10 years), and it’s what they all did for us Thursday.

They haven’t even graduated, and these ladies already are pointing others to the source of true success. They may look put together — their heads held high — but they’re not to envy. They are to join — join them in overcoming.

Carlina Villalpando is the managing editor for The Kerrville Daily Times.
Yesterday was the 7th month anniversary of Joe’s death. It was a good day for me with no tears but today another wave hit…..bamb….Joe did a great job of teaching our children to honor their mother and always made me feel special for what I had done as a mom. There was a void today but as always, God has provided. Price surprised me this morning with beautiful pink roses and came to Kerrville at 8:30 this morning to wake me. up. I went to church and received many hugs which was wonderful. Then I had my parents over for lunch. My mother was having a slow day and couldn’t feed herself. As I fed her I had to look at the cycle of life….she use to feed me and now I have to feed her. Another grief but one that has taught me much...

Ok….it is time to focus and breath and get on with graduation for Christian Women’s Job Corps next Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Impact Christian Fellowship in Kerrville and get on with whatever is next in my life on Thursday.....

Pressing on-


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tired of the Rollercoaster

April 29, 2010

The last few days have caused me to shake my head as I have tried to figure out why on earth I have spent so much time in hospitals and doctors offices. I have no answers. The short version is my mom is out of the hospital and is at home but is not doing real well. My dad has minor surgery and will be in the hospital on Wednesday. ….I just don’t’know….

The other day I have found myself struggling with feelings of anger.. I kicked a rock as hard as I could but it hurt my toe….anger just doesn’t work for me. It is usually a sign of unforgiveness or fear. I usually deal with it quickly so I have been examining my heart and choosing as an act of my will to forgive some things that have hurt that I saw in my heart….create in me a clean heart Lord has been my prayer. I certainly know I have made my share of mistakes and need forgiveness and I also know my feelings can lie to me.

My life has been a roller coaster the past few days…..yesterday I had a wonderful day shopping with Nina a good friend. We drove to San Antonio in my convertible laughing the whole way.and listening to music. I had someone that knew we were shopping call and tell me to buy a pretty dress, it would be paid for…..God continues to amaze me with His wonderful love for me and knows what delights my heart. It was a fabulous day and night as we drove home under the moon light giggling like little girls. Friends are such a treasure. I feel blessed to have many.

But tonight was a different story…..the pains of grief hit harder than they have ever hit causing me to gasp for breath and cry out pain. Horrible pain as I once again let go of life as I have known it and the dreams I had with Joe…..where I thought we would be at this time in our lives. Up yesterday, down very low tonight but as I drove to Hunt breathing the fresh air blowing on my face as tears streamed down a song came on the radio….God often speaks to me in songs……it was a Ronnie Milsap song “I Wouldn’t Have Missed it for the World.” Below are the words….I felt Joe singing this song to me smiling. We use to dance to it.

I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World - Ronnie Milsap ( you can click on the link to hear it)

Our paths may never cross again
Maybe my heart will never mend
But I'm glad for all the good times
'Cause you brought me so much sunshine
Lve was the best it's ever been
I wouldn't have missed it for the world
Wouldn't have missed lovin' you girl
You made my whole life worthwhile, with your smile
I wouldn't trade one memory
'Cause you mean too much to me
Even though I lost you girl
I wouldn't have missed it for the world
They say that all good things must end
Love comes and goes just like the wind
You've got your dreams to follow
But if I had my chance tomorrow...
You know I'd do it all again
Oh, I wouldn't trade one memory
'Cause you mean too much to me
Even though I lost you girl
I wouldn't have missed it for the world

Right after that another song, “Your New Life has Begun” came on. I had to smile once again. The roller coaster has worn me out tonight. I will wake up tomorrow and try to breathe once again, I will keep letting go and trusting…..pain isn’t fun but I know it will birth a new life.

Me – tired of the roller coaster but knowing I am dearly loved and He holds my heart in His hands- It's all good.