It is the early hour morning of 12 June 2017 and I have been awake since a little after 3am. Since then, I have been quiet in my lack of sleep. I got up and brewed a fresh pot of coffee and as I sat in my chair, listening to birds chirping, I reflected on my day yesterday.
My daughter and I didn’t attend church in the normal way yesterday. We woke up and decided to pack some snacks and make our way up to the mountain. It is a short, 20 minute drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and it is one of the things I am thankful for because of the beauty it holds. We made turkey sandwiches, packed up the chips, fruit roll-up’s and anything else we thought we may want to snack on. Off we went in our t-shirts, flip-flops and shorts.
As we made our way up the mountain, the scenery was beautiful. It was a bit cool with the breeze, the windows down and the sunroof was open. I let my daughter take charge of the music, which always adds an extra perk of her spending time with me. Suddenly, our happy, care free mood was changed. We come upon an accident. It was a motorcycle accident. We both got a little tensed up. There was no avoiding it. The scene was just too intense. We both cried as it brought back a flood of emotions from losing our precious Matthew a few months ago. My daughter begins to ask me some questions, then praying for that young man. I become angry on the inside. Angry that people don’t look out for motorcyclist, angry that Matthew was taken from our family, angry that my sister has to hurt like she does, angry that I don’t do more as a sister, angry that there is so much pain in this world, angry that I have felt loss so much in the last several months angry that my family has had to go through so much. Just angry.
In the beautiful spirit that my daughter is, through her tears, she begin to talk about something else. She turned the focus on something not so painful but I know she was burying her hurt to get through the day and she was trying to help me so I joined her as much as I mentally could.
The next challenge of our day was finding a place to have our picnic. It’s really not a challenge if you could see how beautiful it is up there but we wanted something that wasn’t so ‘busy’. On Sunday’s, people flock to the parkway so sometimes it can be a challenge to find that perfect spot. Within 10 minutes, we found it.
We parked the car, grabbed our items and we headed off to a grassy spot. Not just any spot though. A spot where you could feel God’s presence. A picture perfect spot where you could feel something other than hurt, pain and anger. A place to pray, to feel God’s presence, to talk to your loved ones.
We spread out the blanket and begin to set out our food. It wasn’t fancy (the set up) but it was picture perfect. A small field of buttercups where the bumble bee’s kissed the surface, dandelions being blown by the gentle breeze and the sound of nothing. Absolutely nothing. Quiet. Peaceful. Calm. Serene.
It wasn’t long before we ate our food and then had a giggle or two. We talked, we enjoyed the beautiful nature that God gave us and we took it all in. One big deep breath at a time.
For some, Sunday mornings consist of getting up and going to church but for us, we decided to have church a different way. As a Christian, I am always in awe of what God can do…even with someone like me. You see, I am broken yet I am also put together. Contradictory statement, I get it but it’s so true. I know that I am saved. I know that Christ died for my sins and everyone else’s. I know that He is the only way that I am going to get better emotionally. So why can’t I? I do not know. I struggle with that daily. I have been struggling with that for a long time. Things go well, I feel He is with me and then all of a sudden it goes downhill. Fast. I try to hang on, just like I am doing now. I am not always so strong. I am weak and I need Him to help me.
What does that kind of help look like? I am not sure of that either sometimes but I know that yesterday, my help was my daughter. She is a Christian. She is positive, optimistic, loving, caring and she has a way of speaking to others (including myself) that gets you to thinking. I have raised her alone since birth. She told me recently that I was all she had and how thankful she is for me taking care of her. I wish that I could have been half the teenager she is when I was her age.
As our little picnic day winded down, I knew that it wasn’t a day meant for us to be in church….not the physical building anyway. It was a day for us, as mom and daughter to be in church with nature, God’s beautiful place that he created for all of us. A place to reflect on life, to enjoy it without distractions and to just BREATHE. I wanted to nap. To stay until the sun went down but honestly, I was afraid that with my luck, a bear would get me. Trust me, my luck has been pretty bad lately and I didn’t want to take a chance. So we packed it up after a while and headed back down the mountain.
The trials that we have had to go through as a family (and are still going through) are enough to make someone give up but I can’t do that. We can’t do that. We are a team, a family. I love my children with my whole heart and sometimes we can’t be perfect parents, just like they can’t be perfect children. We raise them with morals, values and knowing God but as they make their own paths in life, you can’t control what path they take. You can only pray that they come back to know God and to know that without Him, there is nothing.
No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, there is room for God. It is tough to let Him have it all and to trust Him to take care of things. I know that oh so well. I play tug of war with Him all the time. Sometimes I am like a freaking yo-yo, all over the place but I am trying. I encourage you, that if you are struggling with something, turn to God. Worried of what others will think? Well, I have six words for you….Who cares what other people think? Honestly, at the end of the day, other people will not be the one’s to fulfill the voids in your life or mine. I know I don’t care what someone else thinks. As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who have stopped talking to me recently and I am perfectly okay with that because the one’s who are meant to be there, will be.
I am so real with where I am with Christ. I don’t think that there is a need to hide it from Him because that is about like saying you got a transparent tattoo. Ummm hello? God knows what you have done, what you are doing and are going to do. You can’t hide from Him but also remember this, He is a loving God. Even through the crappy crap we go through. I know that for a fact. Just like with me, at this moment, I am in a place in my life where I choose to be alone for the most part. I choose to be that way so that I am not feeling that my thoughts are clouded by others, that my choices are mine alone and that I can’t blame anyone for anything. I am distancing myself for very specific reasons.
So maybe your church is outside, in nature where God is always a constant presence. Maybe it’s in a building where others gather to worship him. Maybe it’s in your car on the way to work. Maybe it’s on a mountain side with sticky fruit roll-up’s and turkey sandwiches. Wherever it is, always know that He is there, even when we don’t feel like we are there ourselves.
Peace, Love & Happiness