May 8, 2011

Little Glimmers of Hope

I was asked to write about our last month's journey...

It's Mother's Day 2011 and I continue to count my blessings!  I have a wonderful mom and mother-in-law that continue to amaze me everyday.  Two very strong women in my life that I can always depend on.  A dad that still calls me, "his darling daughter" and a father-in-law that loves me like his very own.  A husband that dotes on me and two children that think it's still okay to hug their mom in public.  Friends that love me unconditionally and a God that died just for me!  What else could a girl want?  A job for my husband and a cure for cancer.

Joey came home early from his job one month ago, April 4th.  He told me he had been terminated.  My heart sank.  "Not again, I can't do this again", were the thoughts going through my head as I held back tears.  This would be the second job loss he had in 2 years, through no fault of his own.  He was extremely discouraged.  I have spent the last year and a half, encouraging my husband, lifting him up, and being his number one cheerleader.  Joey took the first job loss very hard and it was my duty to hold up the family.  I was the STRONG one.  I had to hold it together for my kids and husband.  My days were very long and it wasn't possible to rest.  I took care of the kids, the home, the bills, volunteered, and continued to work full time.  My health was failing, many friends were having affairs, and I saw families struggling. I put on my happy face for those around me.  Joey took a 2nd job to supplement his income.  It felt close to being a single momma for the past 18 months. 

During this second job loss, I have taken it very hard.  Two days prior to being terminated, we had paid for a condo at Panama City Beach for July.  'Cannot be refunded' was the last button I pushed before completing the transaction.  Really?  Joey and I had finally felt like we were back on our feet and wanted to celebrate with a small family vacation.  If I had only known that Joey's job was going to be gone in two days.  "What is God planning for us?  Why does my husband not have a job?  Why is his job denying unemployment?"  I had to cancel an appointment with my breast doctor due to no longer having insurance.  We stocked up on prescriptions, contacts, and got the kids into see the dentist before our policy was canceled. 

The days to follow his job loss put me into a state of depression.  Yes, I begrudgingly admit it.  I became depressed.  This is not me!  My job is to take care of everyone else and to be the one that everyone depends on.  I only get out of bed to teach my piano lessons and avoid all circumstances with large groups of people.  One on one, I do really well at.  Getting ready for church the next Sunday, sent me into a panic attack.  My husband saw how broken I was and said he would now lead the boys class we teach.  I have always been the strong one for everyone.  He has also taken over the household duties and many other things that I usually had done.  He is strong for me now.  I apologize for not returning calls, texts and emails.  My mind is not well focused and I feel a sense of defeat.  My FAITH is very strong and I pray like no other.   It's my physical body that is weak and not handling life well. 

Two weeks ago, my mom called to tell me that she has cancer.  Her tests came back positive.  I sat the phone down and cried.  I told my brother to call mom and he did.  It was a Wednesday when she called.  I had decided on Monday that I would make myself go to the gym on Wednesday.  Tuesday, I spent sweating and nauseous, knowing that I would be around people on Wednesday.  The phone call from my mom brought me to my knees.  I pulled myself together and asked God to give me the strength to be around others and He did.  I made it for an hour with very few people around me and came home feeling as if I had accomplished a big feat.  Little to most, but HUGE to my husband and myself.  I thought of mom the rest of the day and taught lessons.  Being one on one with my students brings me a sense of purpose.  My hands are shaky when I play the piano but my students have been wonderful. 

That weekend, Dad and Mom came down to visit.  I never cried and had a good visit with my Mom.  We spent Saturday together while the rest of the crew went golfing.  Finally at lunch, I asked Mom if she was scared.  She replied "no" with a smile.   Mom, ShelbyJo, and I spent the evening with my sweet friend, Tammie.  We all needed a good dose of Tammie's kindness and happiness! 

Last week friends stopped by to just pray with me and lift up my family.  I felt peace in those times.  After 4 interviews with one company, many computerized tests, and this new job position was to be filled on Friday with Joey or a lady... Joey was told he did not get the job we were hoping for.  Defeat still holds me down but I know God can't leave me down here for much longer.  God gives us only what we can handle.  After dropping my son off at school at 5 am on Friday for a band trip, I made my way to a car wash.  I sat in the car wash for an hour and cried out to God to help me, my family, and my Mom.  In the dark, tears flowed like they never have.  I screamed in the dark.  I started out being frustrated at God and left knowing that He had heard my plea.  He knows I am His child and He will take care of me! 

Don't give me pity but pray for little glimmers of HOPE!  I am ready to see what God has planned for us! 

Many Blessings,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

Sep 8, 2010

You are not going to steal my joy!

     As I sit upstairs typing on my computer, the temperature keeps rising.  Our AC went out on Monday afternoon and we now have a built in sauna called the entire 2nd floor of our home.  One of my sweet friends, Kathy, passed away on Sunday and left behind 3 small children and a husband.  I am sad but thankful that I was blessed by her precious spirit.  But why am I still smiling?  Should I be happy about all of this? 

     I couldn't tell you how many times I hear, "Michelle, how can you still be happy and smiling through everything that has happened in your life?".  Two years ago my Grandpa Woods passed away.  He was my fishing buddy for life.  I was extremely close with both of my Grandparents.  Shortly after he passed, my Grandma became very spiteful.  She started sending my children and I hate mail, had biploar tendencies, crazy phone calls, lying to family members, etc...  This went on for a year before I decided that she wasn't going to steal my joy.  She wasn't going to steal my children's joy.  "You are not going to steal my joy!"  

     Through all of my hospital stays, testing, doctor visits, and results, I remain very hopeful.  My friend, Jeannette, passed away from cancer 3 years ago, and her hope in Christ surpassed all others.  My sweet Michelle was diagnosed with a brain tumor and cancer in May of this year.  She is an amazing woman and friend.  Our dear friend Brad has battled cancer for over 3 years now.  Cancer will not steal my joy.  "You are not going to steal my joy!"

     The kids and I always long for our July.  It is full of lazy days, vacation, time spent together, no piano lessons, and my only full month that I'm not working.  We love July!  This July we helped our cousins during a family emergency.  Maddie, 10, and Ethan, 6,  came to stay with us for a month while their mom was in the hospital.  The small amount of money we had saved up to go on a vacation was spent on taking care of our cousins.  My friends and family thought I was crazy beyond belief to take on something so big with our current financial situation and my health.  I didn't give it a second thought!  I was in my car to Dallas the next morning.  Instead of being spiteful for my July being taken away, I felt happy to be taking care of my cousins.  Last July we had a boy from church live with us.  I smiled everyday.  My unsupportive family and friends will not steal my joy.  "You are not going to steal my joy!" 

     Joey lost his job last October.  We were without a pay check, insurance, and lost our 401K.  After 6 weeks, he found a job that paid half of his previous salary.  Christmas was small.  We smiled and hoped that God would provide.  Being thankful for what we did have, gave us a sense of what our purpose was.  We were full of joy during the good and the bad.  The world will not win.  "You are not going to steal my joy!"


 Romans 12:12 
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.