Saturday, October 8, 2011

In Honor of Tomorrow...part one

I am humbled almost daily by the amount of stuff my mom went through. I am beyond grateful for the amount she went through only to keep me. There is a past that I have shared with only one person. Don’t worry, I’m not about to confess it here and now. All you need to know about it is that because of who I was my mom was the one who suffered. But while she suffered, she kept a journal. It was a journal of my road to true mental stability. If you saw me then and saw me now you would think I had a twin. That is the amount of change I have been through. There are a few people who have seen the full transformation that I’ve been through. And even if they have, I don’t think they really understand where my heart is now, or what was happening then. One day I plan to share that story. First, I have to be able to share it with more than one person. 
All of this to say, my mom put up with a lot of crap when dealing with me. I mean, every day was a constant battle for us. Even when I was having a good day, my mom knew that it might not last until tomorrow. Throughout these years, (yes, years) it was a true testimony for her unconditional love. I’ve never appreciated it until now. She allowed me freedom when I didn’t deserve it. She still took care of me, no matter that I was spitting hate in her face. She never held anything against me after our fights. And through every doctor visit, hospital stay, and new medicine she was there. She held my hand, patted my back and told me one day everything would be fine. I always hoped that one day she would be there to witness this. To hear the words “your mom would proud of you,” never fails to swell my heart. My mom was honestly the best friend that I hoped to share with the world. Spending time with my aunts and uncles always brings joy to me. I mean pure joy. I see her in every one of them and they tell me that we look and act identical. That sort of compliment is never taken lightly, and for those of you who read this, know that every word you say to me is taken to heart. Every moment we spend together is precious to me, and I wouldn't want to trade it for anything.
                For those of you who were there while we were going through our rough times, I know this seems like I am making this up. We did have bad times together, but when someone isn’t here anymore, you don’t remember those anymore. They don’t matter anymore. Her overwhelming love is what my mind remembers.
                I also want those of you who are around me now, to know that my mom and I hugged almost every time we saw each other. I was SO affectionate with her that she would get annoyed by it. Seriously, sometimes she would get up from her chair and go to the kitchen and I’d jump over the couch just to hug her and talk to her while not interrupting her shows. And if I woke up later than her, I’d kiss her cheek while walking by her chair. In the car, I would hold her hand. Even in stores I’d walk with my arm around her. The last time I saw her we did those last two. I am not ashamed of admitting any of this. I am SO happy I did it. I feel like there is no other way for her to have known my deep love for her any other way. I lost a lot of my touch-love after her. I feel like I’m starting to get it back, but it might not ever be what it used to be.
We also laughed A LOT together. Over really dumb things. Whenever we went to the store I would put super weird things in the cart and hope she wouldn't notice until the checkout. It was a game we would play. Usually it'd be things like a full turkey, or every type of toothpaste they had. Then I would put a lot of beer at the bottom of the cart, walk away, point and yell "ALCOHOLIC!". I am surprised she never left me at the store. Although she would walk really close to other people and when I followed her and start talking she'd look at me and say "Go find your mother!". It was real love.
                I know this is a long post again, but there is so much about my mom I have to say and it’s difficult for me to talk about in person. Except for the fun stories. There will be a second post for tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
Love you a lot.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


It is Homecoming weekend, and I feel like I should share with you my thoughts, knowledge, and epiphany about the Kingdom. Before you stop reading this, even if you don’t believe, you might want to continue. But y’all know my feelings about being told what to do, so I’m not about to tell you what to do. It’s just a really, really strong suggestion.
Most of you know that I was on the Homecoming Court this year, a magnificently good thing. I have truly felt like royalty. And all the love from the friends I have and even people I don’t know supporting me through this has made my heart swell with joy. It is beyond my comprehension to realize how much love was shown to me. I’m not bragging here, and I hope that is not how you are taking this. My intentions are to show that I receive the love that is given to me, and I am both grateful and reciprocal of it. People here are more incredible than what I ever thought they were. For that, I apologize for undervaluing you.
I didn’t win, but I sure felt like a queen. This morning I got the urge to submerge myself into scripture and to figure out questions I had on my own. As I did this, I broke out my notes from the His Voice Global Weekend. At first I didn’t run into words about “The Kingdom” but as I wandered through on my own I kept coming across it, then someone texted me about the Homecoming Court. This then sparked a chain of thoughts. Now, my brain sort of works faster than my words can process, and it forgets faster than I would like it to. But as I retrace my steps I find I can go through my thoughts slower and explain them more.
When people think about dying, they often want to go to Heaven. They want to be in a safe place where things are always great. Many Christians are the ones who talk about how great Heaven will be because that’s where God’s Kingdom is. But to be completely accurate, we are called to bring the Kingdom down. This life is hard, there’s no denying that, and you need not convince me of that. So if this rings true for everyone, why would we make life any harder than it has to be? Why would we break down people when all we want for ourselves is to be built up?
In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says “…The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
There are no signs of the Kingdom because it is RIGHT HERE. We are the ones who determine how far it reaches in this world. There are people who travel all the way across the world to make sure of that. I am not just saying people from America go to India to spread the news. But people from Europe come to AMERICA to make sure WE know what’s up. And that’s an incredible testimony to our own appearance to the world. Although America is known as the powerhouse of the world, we appear broken.
Now ‘kingdom’ can mean different things to many people. The Kingdom intended for us is one where people are full of love, and generosity. Peace reigns our hearts, and self-control is the forefront of our minds. Our intentions are never to glorify ourselves, but to humble ourselves and allow others to be honored. When this happens, we are the ones who end up lonely. When we push our own ambitions at the cost of someone else, we isolate ourselves from the ones who we care about.
The most overlooked evidence of the Kingdom coming to earth is in the Lord’s Prayer. I have said this countless times, even when I was young during Mass. But it was never emphasized until last week.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.”
I mean, c’mon.  Jesus commanded us to LOVE people, love ourselves, and love God. His will for us is to not be tied and committed to empty possessions. So you have the biggest house, nicest car, and coolest clothes, and then what? What does that mean? And when you die, what does that say about you? What else did you do with your life besides work and shop? I’m not saying work is bad, because in its purest form, business is good. But to further the Kingdom and truly bring it down to earth is to bring all things good and to live our lives to Love not only ourselves, but other people.
This is me challenging you to not be selfish. This is me pleading with you to become humble, in order to become the greatest. This is me asking you to share what you have with others who never will. If you don’t know how to start that, talk to me. I’m certain I could encourage you to do any of these things, and to show you opportunities to enhance the Kingdom.
Thank you if you read all of this, I know it was long.
Love you!