Photo Challenge–Day 2

Day 02 – A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest:

 

Trace and I when we were babies

So I could have gone with a sibling here, but for as much as I love my sibs, we don’t live in the same state and haven’t for a very long time. I think if so much life hadn’t happened one of them would have easily been in this picture since there was a “longest” directive, but the winner in this post goes to my bestest friend, Trace. We met in February of 1996, became “more than friends” in April that same year, and got married in December 1997. We were 19 and 20 when we met, and we talk often of how we grew up together, because, let’s face it at 19-20 years old you know exactly squat about life. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up with the man I love, and someone who will be ridiculously stupid with me and not bat an eye. He knows what I’m thinking by just watching my eye twitch or how my posture changes, knows the perfect thing to say in every situation, and understands every one of my impossible idiosyncrasies. Yeah, I like the guy (plus, he’s REALLY attractive).

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On a semi-related note: I had an ephiphany today. It was a huge one. HUGE. Someday I’ll tell you what it was, but it was life altering, and it happened all because I’ve made a commitment to write daily. I bought a book recently, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg–Great book, really really good, and I guess it’s a long time staple for creative writers. I’ve been reading it and going through some of the exercises. Combined with getting the words flowing and other stuff, I’ve been getting ideas for a much bigger project. I was sitting at a cafe on the beach today writing and brainstorming, and I got a revelation so big I had tears streaming down my face. Unreal. Sorry to be so enigmatic, but it was awesome. I just had to share even a little bit–I had an epiphany.

My rose-tinted glasses

I went to a funeral today. It was amazing. Now I know that most people don’t describe funerals as amazing, but this one was truly unique. Yesterday, I would have told you that a 13 year old little girl lost her battle with cancer. Today I will tell you that she didn’t lose her battle, her work on this earth was simply completed. I’ve met this little girl, and she was inspiring, strong, and always filled with joy. I don’t want to sound cliche, but I can’t tell you this story without expressing how much I have been and continue to be inspired by this little girl and her family.
My husband works with this little girl’s, Briana’s dad. We knew when she was diagnosed with cancer, knew when she was doing well, knew when she was in remission, heard about all that this family was going through. My husband is friends with him on Facebook, and every update on Briana, while asking for prayer, was always filled with optimism and praise for God. Not once did I see this man or his family feeling sorry for themselves. Throughout their ordeal, I was impressed and pressed upon by their joy for life, love for each other, and the strength they have in Him. Every step of the way they gave God praise, even little Briana, in a video she made from the hospital said, “Don’t you worry about me, God’s in control”. That sweet baby with her big eyes, wide smile, hair gone from radiation was so focused on what is true and real in the midst of a storm many of us will never have to face–God’s in control.
When I found out that the cancer had come back this last time and that the prognosis wasn’t good, I cried. I won’t lie, I cried for a day straight. I grieved for this family. I also tried to imagine how I would react if I were in this situation–if I were losing my daughter, my joy, the light of my life, would I be able to carry myself in the way these people were? I have to say, I really don’t think so. I have a hard enough time keeping my focus when the little sandstorms and drizzles happen. But seeing this family today, remembering how they’ve handled this traumatic experience, it’s touched something deep on the inside of me. It’s funny, because at the start of this new year I made a sort of a resolution. I was going to stop being so stinkin’ negative. I was going to roll with the punches and look on the bright side of things, because really, being negative is counterproductive, and I sure was tired of being miserable. I’ve been doing pretty good, but being sick last week had me feeling pretty beat up, and just, well… tired. I even let myself have a pity party for about an hour. It wasn’t fun, even though it didn’t last long. When I was able to refocus, I was that much more sure that I didn’t want to go back to that way of thinking. It’s kind of funny, because my Facebook status last night was “Kris has found her rose-tinted glasses. They got misplaced last week.” Life is so much easier and worth living when you can see and focus on what’s really important, what’s good and worth spending your energy on. Then I go to the funeral today and see that practice truly in motion. Focusing on God, celebrating a life, praising Him for the gifts He gives us, however fleeting they may be, and never losing sight of what’s important can get you through a situation like that. I’m humbled, and I’ll say it a 70th time… Amazed.
Briana’s dad, Larry, asked my husband if he would play at the funeral. Of course Trace said yes, but Larry made it clear that this was to be unlike any other funeral–it was Briana’s Homegoing. It was a celebration of her life. He needed some New Orleans flair, so Trace played “When the Saints Go Marching In” dixieland style. A perfect illustration for Briana, because this little saint also had the privilege of becoming an Honorary Marine just 2 days before she passed away. After that honor, she got to march on home.
One last thing I’ll leave you with before I let you watch the video of Briana’s Honorary Marine Ceremony and scenes from her Homegoing. I had some friends comment on my rose-tinted glasses status. They wanted to borrow my glasses, or wanted me to send them a pair, and I had to tell them… Mine won’t work for you. Just like Larry’s or Briana’s wouldn’t work for me, and I can’t hunt down your pair for you. You have to find your own pair of glasses, your own joy, find out who He really is to you, find out what you are to Him, decide what’s significant in this life and let the rest pass on by, and then the world will really be a whole lot rosier.

Making an effort…

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” Proverbs 11:28

Ahhhh… this life is so full of twists and turns, surprises and disappointments, but ultimately (and this is a truth I’ve recently grasped yet, again) it’s NOT ABOUT ME! I forgot this and made it about me for a while there, but thankfully, God is faithful and persistent, and I’ve been reminded. When I try to shape my life it’s often a mess… an unrecognizable, misshapen lump, but when I let God do what He does it’s always a thing of beauty. I may not always appreciate it right away, but there is always a purpose and a plan in what He lays out for us.

Nervous, apprehensive, anxious, and yes, a bit scared…

First off, I must say that 2008 was the worst year of my life. Hands down, the most horrible, awful, most difficult time of my life. If I could, I would block out Jan. 1st through Dec. 31st. That being said, given my present situation I would live through every excruciating second of 2008 if I could just not feel the fear I have right now.

About a month ago, my darling Kiana had an episode in which the left side of her face became paralyzed. She had no muscle control, couldn’t close her eye, couldn’t smile, it looked like she’d had a stroke, and it was the scariest most terrible feeling seeing my baby panicking and scared and not being able to do anything about it. Thankfully, after about half an hour everything went back to normal. Since then she’s been complaining about a ringing in her left ear. We’ve seen two doctors, one said that it sounds like a migraine, which don’t always cause pain. Migraines can be onset by stress, and when the incident happened it was on the way home from her grandpa’s family (they were very close) and we were 15 minutes into a plane ride.

To be on the safe side, we took her to get an MRI today. She did well, as well as an 8 year old can do sitting perfectly still for half an hour. We are anxiously awaiting the results, but in the meantime I am a twisted ball of emotions. I am a freak when it comes to researching things on the internet, and googling all the symptoms and reading all the possible diagnoses can freak out the most level-headed mother.

Now I am a faithful woman. I believe in the power of God, the power of prayer, and I know deep down that everything is going to be alright, but sitting at my daughter’s feet today while she was in all strapped down scared, just running through scenarios in my head has me so overwrought. I started thinking about things that could be wrong (syndromes, tumors, diseases) and all the things she would have to go through if something were wrong, and I don’t think I could seriously go through that. Seeing my children in pain and scared is something I do not handle well. I am a pillar of strength on the outside yet a sobbing hysterical basketcase on the inside. Then I actually let my mind go to a place where I asked what my life would be without Kiana, and it was the scariest most terrifying most unbearable thought I have ever had. She is one half of my heart, and I couldn’t live without her charm, her wit, her exuberant spirit, her brilliant smile, and compassionate heart, and I can’t even bear to imagine the possibility.

My heart goes out to every mother who has ever had a sick child, has ever playing this horrible waiting game. Your mind, the enemy, life, it can all make your head spin. I know in my heart of hearts that my God is bigger than anything I or anyone in my family is going through. I know that she is going to be okay, and I seek comfort in that, but I am only human, and sometimes I have my moments of fear.

I thank you for your prayers over my precious little Kiki. If you would, please say a word or two for me so I can stand strong for my daughter and for my family. They are my everything, and my life truly revolves around them.

Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord.”

Jeremiah 33:6 “Behold, I will bring you health and cure, and I will cure you, and will reveal unto you the abundance of peace and truth.”

Matthew 18:19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on Earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”

People

I had a really strange dream last night. I dreamt that I lived in a house that had a wrap-around room that was around both the front door and the back door. You couldn’t get out of the house without going through this room. For some reason or another, there was a tiger running loose and we managed to catch it. It started out somewhat calm, a couple of us were able to pet it, but then it turned totally vicious. We had to lock it in this room. The problem was, since this tiger was in this room, none of us were able to get out of the house. Any time anyone touched a doorknob to either the front or back door, the tiger went crazy. I called animal control to come and get the tiger, and in the meantime, I climbed out of an upstairs window and jumped down to the driveway to meet the animal control guy.

Now, I have a pretty good interpretation of this dream, but since so many of my friends are prophetic dream interpreters 🙂 I’d like your take on this.

Speaking of the prophetic, I am having a hard time with people. I think I’ve always been a little anti-social, but it’s gotten worse over the years. Except my anti-social isn’t the anti-social that people would normally think of when they hear that word. I’m an overly compassionate person. I’m the type of person people will share all their business with, and I love helping them, even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on. This is one reason I’ve decided to change my major. I know I have a gift in that area. My problem is, I don’t mind hearing your business–just stay out of mine. I don’t make friends easily, and I don’t like people in my private space. I let very few people in, and when they get too close, I tend to cut them out. My inner circle is very small (for some reason the internet doesn’t fit in this way of thinking–it just seems more anonymous to me and very few people read what I write anyway. It’s more therapuetic than anything). Anyway, I’ve gotten a prophecy that said that God was calling me out of my prayer closet, and that He wasn’t going to let me close myself off anymore.
I like my closet. It’s nice and safe and comfy. I don’t have to open the door if I don’t want to.
The last prophetic word I got around New Year’s says:

. I am giving you my heart of love for my people and for those around you. They will feel this love that I have given to you for them and this is what will win them to Me. My love will draw them to myself. Those around you will not remember so much what you say as what they feel from you. Love is the greatest gift that you will give to my people. Love will exude from you and my love will be contagious. Love my people for Me. Encourage my people for Me. Love the lost as I have loved you.

I know I have great compassion for people, but I’m not sure if I love them. Love is a two-way street, a give and take relationship. I don’t mind listening and helping people, but they have to be at arm’s length, and I know that’s not what God wants from me. I’m so uncomfortable right now at school because there are a few people who have gotten a little too close. I’m ready to quit–I’m ready for the semester to be over. I’m one of those people who has no problem with being in a classroom of 150 people and the professor can’t put my name with my face. I’m so okay with getting lost in the crowd.

Maybe that’s my tiger, huh?
Gotta tame the beast and let God love others through me.