As I sit outside in the backyard of my grandparents house in California, I am overcome with a sense of peace, love, and thankfulness to my God. My grandparents are both in their eighties. I have spent my entire life with a deep affection for them that has only has only grown as I have gotten older. The last time I saw them was in May of 2017. This was the day before we started out on our new adventure in Arizona. My heart has ached to be with them as they have been sick a lot over the past year. My worst nightmare was receiving a call that they had passed and knowing the last time I spent with them was almost a year ago. I am grateful for the two years we spent back home here in California between our life in Utah to the new life in Arizona. My children were older and were able to spend more quality time them that I knew they would remember. Even with the bipolar and the fairly new diagnosis of fibromyalgia and lupus, I spent as much time with them that my body would allow. My children were able to soak in the stories and create some wonderful memories like learning to make homemade tortillas with my Nana. Although the two years back home were short I was grateful for the extra time spent with them, I have missed them dearly. About a month ago I spoke to my Papa on the phone. Something I tried to do several times a week. When I hung up the phone something changed in me. Talking on the phone was not enough. The desire to be with had reached a head. My husband came home that day to find me very emotional, breaking out in tears throughout the evening. As I expressed to my husband how much I missed them, his wheels began to turn. As I spoke to him that night about how much I missed hearing them laugh, hugging and kissing them, and the smell of their home, he told me that he would take us back home to see them. I was overcome with joy. And so the plans were in action. My mama, who is one of my best friends, was planning on going back to California from Utah. Shortly after we had picked the dates for our trip, my mama planned her visit around ours. What a blessing! Just the thought of being around some of the people that mean the world to me was enough to make me lose sleep out of excitement for almost a month as I anticipated the time that was to be spent around my grandparents, mama, and my Tio whom lives with them. In this last month I have had days that just dragged on and some days that flew by. I could hardly wait! Monday night my husband, children, and I arrived in California. Since their home is not big enough for my family to stay overnight, my husband and children are staying with my husbands aunt whom was gracious enough to open her home. Wanting to spend every waking moment with my nana, papa, and mama my Tio gave up his bedroom for an air mattress in the living room so that I could be here with them as much as possible. My mama arrived last night and is sharing a bed with me ( love me some mama cuddles). My world has come full circle and once again feels complete. We have laughed and cried tears of joy over the last two days and I look forward to every day that the next 2 weeks holds. Although I realize the next 2 weeks will fly by, I will soak in every hug, kiss and meals shared around the table with my family. I refuse to allow any of my illnesses to rob me of time spent here. Creating new lifetime memories will be had.
Philippians 1:3 NLT
I recently had acrylic nails put on. This was the beginning of November. I have had them put on numerous times in my life. Always eventually removing them. My general thought has always been that if I get them on it will help me to feel pretty. This was the same thought this time around. Since November I have gotten them filled and painted several times. Don’t get me wrong, for a moment they do make me feel pretty. As I have battled with insecurities throughout my life, I have left searching for things to fill that empty space. Superficial things that I hope will change the dark void I so often feel. Of course these things provide a temporary false security. For a moment I feel better, prettier, younger, skinnier……and the list goes on. But as for all these things they provide just a glimpse, just a moment, maybe a few days, but the empty void returns with a vengeance. So last week I decided it was time to take the acrylics off. Just too much money spent and time wasted. For what? Something that I found did not love me back. In the past after I have made that decision and removed them, I always felt like I had stubs for fingers. Nothing pretty, nothing glamorous or attractive. Just plain old stubs. This time it was different. When I removed them I saw something I had never seen before. I saw hands that have been with me to hell and back. My hands look so much like my mother’s hands. A sign of a strong, hard working woman. And yet so different. So unique. Like my fingerprints, my hands are mine. They tell MY story. With these hands I have lovingly and expectantly touched my burgeoning belly that held life. With these hands I have cradled my newborn. I have fed, bathed, changed, and dressed this new life with these hands. With these hands I have touched the salty waters of an ocean. I have gutted a fish caught with these hands. I have used these hands to detect fevers and then to stroke the hair of an ill child. These hands have been with me through it all. They show signs of it too. Every worn area, age spot, and burn mark tell a story. These hands have held a knife to my wrists, cutting deep to relieve inner pain. My hands have held God’s living word and have turned the pages of this ancient book that I feel was written just for me. These hands, my hands have been raised to the sky to surrender, to reach, to touch my God. The beauty that I now see, the beauty that God has revealed to me is life changing. I look at my hands now and think okay hands, God has made you strong for a reason. What can I use them for today to glorify my God. To serve my family, to serve others.
Psalm 134:2 NKJV, Proverbs 31:13 NKJV, Proverbs 31:20 NKJV, THIS is what I want for these hands.
It is 1:00 a.m. on New Years morning. While the rest of my household is sleeping, I am awake still pondering in my heart the things of God.
2017 was a year of challenges and triumphs, promises made and promises broken. Many tears were shed. Tears of joy and tears of sorrow and brokenness. Lots of laughter, hugs, and kisses. 2017 ushered in many changes for myself and my family. We packed up and made our 3rd out of state move to Arizona. I have had to find new doctors and have been through many changes in medication and treatment. As we have been through so much this year, God has taught us to rely more on Him and to lean more on each other. He has brought my family together like never before. He has brought us closer to each other. I have watched in awe how God has grown and changed my children for His glory, plans, and purposes.
Some of the most life altering moments for myself have happened in the last couple months. God has brought people in and out of my world for life changing reasons. As I have become stronger mentally and physically, I am able to see more clearly His calling for my life. He has planted seeds in my heart. Some of which I have already been able to see grow. As I begin to see clearly for the first time in my life some of His plans for me, I find myself constantly second guessing myself and feeling unworthy for the cause of Jesus Christ. As He gently reassures me and whispers to my heart, I get up again to take up my cross. I feel as though I have been sleeping for so long and I am now waking up. Waking up to be that salt and light to those around me and to those God has purposely set in my path. He has called me to live a purpose driven life. A life foreign and unknown to me. A life that I have never lived or known before. He has filled my heart with a longing and desire that makes me feel as though I am on fire. A hunger and thirst for Him like never before.
Some days the pain in my body seems unbearable. Some days I am in constant war with my own mind and thoughts, trying to desperately gain some control. Some days I am so tired from medication and lack of sleep, that I don’t think I’ll make through the day. But throughout all of this I can hear Him gently whispering to me, Rachel….keep fighting. Fighting for myself and fighting for my family. Daily laying down my burdens at the cross.
While so much of the world is sleeping in their hopelessness, bondage, and fear, I will remain awake with wonder, hope, and a future. Ready and listening to be obedient to His word.
What He has instilled in the very depths of my soul will be a game changer for 2018.
Happy New Year.
My life has just taken an unexpected turn! We just found out recently…very recently, that we are moving to Arizona! My husband got a great job. We will be leaving this morning to find a house there, we currently live in California. The house is all packed up and ready to go and the moving truck will be here next Monday! Guys, I’m freaking out! I’m so excited! This is proof that God does hear our cries and He answers. Not always in our timing or in our ways, but He answers. Arizona, in the past, was not my first choice as we discussed where we would live if we could move. But I have grown to love the idea of the place and have heard almost nothing but good things about it.
I have been so proud of myself over the last few days as I have dealt with all of this. Yes, I have had some panic attacks and I have to stop helping more then I like due to pain. Overall it’s been a success! I have complete peace about it and know, that I know, that I know that THIS is God’s plan…Amen!
I have always struggled with my purpose in this life. I’m sure like many of you, feeling like what you do is not enough. I am not a missionary, a pastor, a doctor, or anything fancy like that. I am a stay at home mom. I have days where I want to try to get a job…try, I would’t last 1 day at a real job. I’m still too unstable and sick. Still the desire is there. Sometimes I feel like I wish I contributed more to the family, money wise.
Yesterday I woke up feeling like this. I felt worthless in what I do, as a stay at home mom. Sure, I have my own passions and dreams that God has given me. One of my desires is to love the homeless and the sick. To shine my light on those who are hurting. The Lord has blessed me with many opportunities to do so already. I just lose sight of all that sometimes and want to do more. Which is an insult to God and the dreams He has given me. I struggled all day with this problem. I was able to be ministered to by my dear friend. She made me see that everything I do at home is important. And that everything I do to do to the glory of His kingdom. That the little things matter. Sweeping the floor, picking up after my children, supporting my husband, loving my children… all a gift from God. And in by doing so I am fulfilling His plan and purpose for my life. I knew what she was saying to be true and yet my mind still struggled.
This morning I woke up to find a note on my desk from my middle child. It read:
Thank you for being the best mom in the world! You always do a lot for me and I just wanted to say thank you. I love you with all my heart!
What a blessing! God has worked even in the midst of my struggles through one of my children. Keep in mind she is only 10. I knew then and there that I AM important. As if that wasn’t enough, the Lord than gave me word, Philippians 4:11, Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
Lord, you have touched my heart today! I am thankful for an opportunity to help raise a family for your glory. To do your will.