I am about to embark on a new and exciting journey to a place where I have not chosen to go before. You see sometimes you find yourself in a familiar place; however, something is different, something has changed and you come to find the something that has changed,... is not a something at all but a someone, and that someone is you!
Just to give you a shortened and condensed history, I am a single Mom of four children, ages 20, 18, 13, and 8. I have been widowed for six years and divorced for two. Lost my approximately 10 family members in the last seven years. I became a child of God in 1995 but really didn't know Him that well till my first husband and absolute love of my life passed away in 2004. You may have heard people refer to their spouse as their everything and yes my husband was, in fact, my everything! So to say that I was lost after he passed away at the young age of 37 from cancer, and I was left to care for four young children on my own, is an understatement! I was 29 at the time of his passing. The thing is I was raised in an unstable, alcoholic home where yelling, screaming, and chaotic abuse was the way things were handled. I was forced to create my own sense of security from the young age of 4, when I was ripped out of my bed in the dead of night and thrown into a cop car in my pj's! How embarrassing! I was told when I was six years old, that I was not wanted; therefore, I didn't have that feeling of someone being for me. So how was I supposed to supply that to these children? I had no clue what I was doing! I guess that is the way God wanted it! Aside of the fact that He told me so, I guess it was exemplifying all those scriptures that speak of me being weak and Him being my strength!
So here we are years later, I have two older children who are in college full time and working jobs. I am a proud mother of them both. It was a struggle to get this far, but I guess I'm admitting it was worth all the sleepless nights, no wait I didn't have sleepless nights! But what I did have was tons of struggle and frustration; hours upon hours of counseling and mentoring, aside of the normal mothering duties. Trying to play Mom and Dad is tough work! So far so good!
Recently, I moved back to my home that I have owned for the last 6years. It was an act of obedience pure and simple. You see I found a wonderful place to start a new life up in the panhandle of Florida. I moved there to remarry and that ended horribly in and unwanted divorce, on my part anyway; however, now I can see why it happened! After the divorce almost did me in, I managed to pick up the pieces, with the help of some wonderful people and a few counselors, plus a huge God, and move on with a new chapter. I was content, struggling for purpose and meaning at times but content for the most part. I was told, yes by God, to return to South Florida because my job in the panhandle was finished. Honestly, I didn't want to leave. I liked my life and simply didn't want to walk into the past; however, God made it clear through lack of peace, that I was not to stay. So after fighting for weeks, I obeyed Him and returned to South Florida.
This is where we pick up from what I started this blog with, returning to a familiar place; however, I had changed so much that I really wasn't sure what to do. All I knew was that I was to home school my younger two children and that maybe in the summer I would return to college to continue the work on my degree. That was all I knew! I started to get depressed because I so desperately missed all my friends whom I had left in order to obey God's directive. Christmas came and went in a whirlwind. I was drinking a lot to anesthetize the pain I felt, but I had been doing that for quite some time. What was I trying to ignore? What was causing the constant pain I felt? These and many other questions swirled as I felt more and more alone.
Then came New Year's Day! Hallelujah! A new start was just what I needed! Well that is what I tried to tell myself. I decided to start the day trying to read some scripture. It was kinda like going back to the basics. I had struggled with reading the Bible, because sometimes it just seemed boring to me! Ever been there? I have more times than I would like to admit, then I feel guilty because I should desire to read it, and so the cycle begins. But January first was different, perhaps it was just the right time.
I sat on my back patio, listening to the traffic of the morning and thought about what were the things I hoped for this year. I knew I desperately wanted things to be different! I wanted me to be different! If I had made this move to obey God then I wanted to expect Him to teach, show, or do something in my life. Right? Feasible expectation, don't you think? Well I started reading in 1 Peter chapter 2 about being chosen and called out of darkness. I read about suffering and how God Himself would perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish His called. (5:10) I really felt that I had no faith at this point. Perhaps I had been running from something for years, whatever that pain was that was bringing about my desire to drown it? Perhaps it was just disobedience? It took Jonah three days in the whale but it took me three years! I'm not saying that God did not work during the last three years, I'm saying that there was something that I was simply not willing to accept. Perhaps it was forgiving myself? For a failed marriage? No, surely not! But for thinking I needed a man to move forward in my life, and letting that man come between me and God...probably!
So that evening I go to a great service at a local church and there was great worship and I really can't tell you what the sermon was about, except for when the Pastor asked, "What is the one thing you want this year?" my answer was,... yes you guessed it, "a man!" I knew when I thought it that it wasn't the right answer. I logically concluded that the correct answer would be a better relationship with God and that all things flow out of that. So I prayed, "Lord, give me the desire to choose You and our relationship as my one thing! Create the desire within me." I felt a certain surrender that night, that led to a freedom the next morning!
I attended another service in another church, and the worship leader was speaking of the freedom we have, which God died to give us by giving His very life to live through us. I was instantly reminded of that morning, before service, reading in 1 Peter 2:16: "Act as freemen, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves to God". (NAS) I felt and overwhelming sense of the freedom that God has given to me and experienced that freedom in worship, and when I say I danced and spun around, like the song Marvelous Light, I DID!! It was awesome! To be free, like a child, His child!
Later on that day, I was thinking again about the new year and how I had again reached a place of contentment, courtesy of Holy Spirit. Then God spoke, yes spoke very non chalant saying, "How about giving me a year?" I replied, "Whaaaa?" He continued challenging, "See what I can do with a year?" I replied, "You know what that means don't ya?", "I could never do this alone! It's too big for me! We both know that is my weakest area" God says, "Yes, I know!" I continued, "I wouldn't want to start this and then quit and feel like a failure, so you'd have to do it for me!" He said as if you could see half a smile, "What's one year Lori?" I couldn't really argue with that. I'm sure I will try over the next year but it seemed somewhat adventurous, exciting even!
So here's the deal, I'm dedicating this year to the Lord, to my relationship with Him! What does this mean in reality? Well aside of the typical getting in the word, prayer, and worshipping consistently, the big thing, and anyone who knows me well knows this is a huge endeavor, is that I will not date or pursue any romantic relationship for the next year! Wow! There I said it! Whew! That was hard! Even as I write this I feel chills! Eeek! No dating for one year for Lori! Now that I have said that I would ask you to pray for me and if I call you in a weak moment, you have got to remind me of what God said above and how this is really what I want! I will try to blog every day, the good, the bad and the ugly, to let anyone who reads see exactly what God is doing through this, adventurous year!
So here we begin, in the beginning!
"Well it's just you and me kid!" ;)