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Category: family



Marriage Day

Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)

It’s the holiday season of love and all around us we are surrounded with music, joyous color and beautiful twinkling lights. Life is quite magical during this time of year because many people are focused on all that is good with the world and thinking about ways to give those they love a merry Christmas or a happy Hanukkah or whatever it is they celebrate. BUT…not everyone is full of holiday cheer. For some people this is also one of the most depressing times of year. Those who are grieving grieve more, those who are unhappy and sad are even more so. No doubt about it…the month of December amplifies feelings…good and bad.

Since I celebrate Christmas, I am not going to say “holiday” so if that offends anyone (though, truly, I fail to see any offense especially when none is meant in any way whatsoever!)…well, sorry. The option is open to not read any further. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter your belief and what you do or do not celebrate…what truly matters is the state of your heart. Which in turn often affects the state of your life. If your heart is hurting or your life a mess…then Christmas (this particular time of year) magnifies those states to a pretty high degree. I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics declaring that suicides are high in December. If you are lonely and are unhappy with your life or missing someone you love…then you REALLY feel that when everyone around you is focused on being happy and spending time with loved ones. What if the one you WANT to spend time with is no longer here? HOW do you deal with that? What if your family has fallen apart due to divorce? MAJOR upheaval almost always results from a marital break-up…especially when children are involved. It isn’t only heartbreak to deal with but often financial disaster too. And what if you have your marriage and family in tact, aren’t missing anyone BUT you’ve lost your home, or COULD be losing it? Or you haven’t a job? OR, you do have a job but it doesn’t pay enough to cover the bills let alone Christmas!

Life is freaking tough. It is challenging and disappointing and hurtful. It is also joyous, loving, rewarding and delightful…BUT, not when you are suffering in any way.

I have been through enough heartache in my life to know what it feels like to both celebrate Christmas and all the joys that come with it…and to cry my way through it because of all the other crap life has thrown my way.  One of the worst Christmas’s for me was right after my divorce. I had three kids, they depended on me to give them the Christmas they have always enjoyed…the making of cookies, the hanging of lights, the gifts, the music…all of it. But my heart was aching and I couldn’t bring myself into feeling anything but sorrow. For them I tried to put on a happy face. But I had no money to buy them gifts, no money to buy cookie making supplies, no money to even make a Christmas dinner. I remember worrying through that Christmas with constant fear that they would not be happy on Christmas day. It’s hard to hide the tears falling like a steady rain in your heart. Thanks to my friends and family, the kids had presents under the tree and though it wasn’t what they asked for, they were happy. We were invited for dinner elsewhere so we didn’t have to worry about that either. I don’t think my children were traumatized by that Christmas as much as I was. I remember setting out the kids’ gifts that awful Christmas Eve and crying my heart out. I was not happy with my life and I had no joy in my heart. I loved my kids and was thankful for them…but they did not fill the other gaping holes gouged in my heart. They did, however, get me through that Christmas. Some people don’t even have that.

Someone I am close to is now going through what I went through that awful year and under almost the same circumstances (isn’t it weird how life can repeat itself in a family?).  He has three kids and they are about the ages that mine were when my marriage fell apart. He told me yesterday: “I need to vent a little bit if you don’t mind.” (he said it in a calm voice, an almost incredulous look on his face…a “how did I get to this” kind of look). So I give him my attention and wait for his venting to begin. He continues in a calm voice, “I have nothing in my life. I just lost my wife, two of my kids (they were his wife’s kids from a previous relationship but he thought of them as his) and my home. I have no job, about a dollar to my name and nothing to show for my life. This isn’t how I expected things to be. This isn’t where I thought I would be at this time of my life.” I KNOW how he feels and it totally sucks. Pointing out to him the positive aspects of his life doesn’t change the facts as he stated them. He has a supportive family and he has his three children whom he had to fight hard and long for during his first divorce (yes, he is now going through yet another!). Finding THE ONE…the one significant other that you can spend the rest of your life with is one of the hardest treasure hunts you’ll ever conduct!

When you are sad and hurting, everyone wants to point out all the positive things in your life to help lift you up. That’s all well and good BUT it doesn’t make you feel better. In fact, sometimes it makes you feel worse because you are feeling bad EVEN THOUGH you have those other things! Yes, I was happy to have my kids (they have been my lifeline when I was drowning in hurt) BUT my hurt was coming from the loss of my marriage and all the memories we shared together (doesn’t it suck when you can’t SHARE memories? That’s part of the joy of having them…sharing them with the person who encountered them with you). Yes, I had friends and family to help give me things that I needed…food, clothes, Christmas gifts for the kids…BUT the fact remained that I was not capable of acquiring those things myself and I was without a life partner. I was in the military during my divorce and was living in base housing so I had a house to live in and didn’t have to worry about rent and utilities. I was grateful for that. I truly was! BUT, I didn’t have enough money left after paying bills to buy decent groceries or clothes for my kids. I constantly worried about that. I was always scrounging for change, counting pennies and praying for miracles. Those miracles came…eventually and when really needed (see God, Money, Faith). I can look back on those hard times now and chalk them up as experience…a time of learning and discovery. Learning my strength, discovering my true friends and knowing that God gives us what we need when we need it.

I don’t know if you’ve read The Secret or not but I sure did and I think it’s a great concept. I also believe in its message. I ought to…I’ve had many things manifest in my life that I’ve dreamed of and wished for. BUT, until your wish or dream or need is fulfilled, you still have the sorrow and hurt to deal with! HOW to do it? WHY does life has to be so darned challenging? For all the wonderful messages being thrown out at us to BELIEVE and receive, it isn’t so easy to do that when your life is a mess and/or your heart broke.

Relationships are hard. They are what make or break our life. There are many books and lots of advice given that you must love yourself and be your own best friend and the rest of the world will fall at your feet. BUT, relationships are what makes our life tolerable, joyous, hurtful or sad. The relationships we have with family and kids certainly play a HUGE role in our lives. A momentous role. BUT…it’s the relationship we have with our significant other (our partner, our lover, our other half) that seems to be the driving force behind our happiness. I can say this because DESPITE my wonderful kids, my awesome friends, my supportive and loving family…I was not happy because my marriage fell apart and I lost my partner. Even now, when things are not well between me and my husband…none of the other stuff that is right with my life…all the wonderful family and friends that I have…is enough to make me truly happy. My joy, it seems, rides on my personal relationship with my husband.

Almost every person I know seems to be happy or not depending on the status of their personal relationship with their partner (I don’t say “spouse” here because a lot of people just live together, besides, this also pertains to boyfriend/girlfriend relationships). There are some people who don’t care about their lack of a partner or who don’t care that the one they do have is not all they wanted. That’s awesome for them. BUT, that doesn’t help the rest of us who do seem to hinge our true state of happiness on how it’s going or not going with our “significant other”. This explains how even those who seem to “have it all” (money, a wonderful career, lots of support) end up unhappy and sad…so much so that some even choose to end their life! Princess Diana always comes to mind when I think about someone who “had it all” and yet was very sad. She had some of the best life had to offer: two awesome boys, beauty, riches, love from the world at large…but she was not happy in her marriage and she suffered immensely because of it.

It would be nice if we could learn to be happy with ourselves and accept that anything beyond that is extra icing on the cake of life…but I have no answers on how to get there. Thing is, it’s hard to be happy with ourselves when we aren’t in a good relationship, or have a job we enjoy or don’t have a job at all! It’s hard to enjoy ourselves if others are giving us grief in some way. It’s hard to enjoy ourselves for many, many reasons. The fact is, life is hard. The hardest thing we’ll live through! I think it does help, though, to know that we aren’t alone in this mess. Young or old, rich or poor, we all endure the same feelings. We all want to be loved…and not just by friends and family, but by one special person. Okay…maybe not ALL of us…but I think it’s safe to say that a good majority of the world population wants that.

There’s no answer on how to make this part of our life easier or to make it go more smoothly but it DOES help to know that we aren’t alone. Being alone is the worst thing ever. Aside from those we have in our life…we also have many watching over us in the afterlife. Now, some of you won’t believe that and those that don’t probably don’t read my blogs! But, if you are following my blog, then you probably share SOME of my beliefs and one of them is in God. I also believe strongly in angels…be they Guardian Angels or Spirit Guides or just loved ones who have passed on but keep a loving “eye” on us! (in fact, it was these beliefs that inspired me to write Be Still, My Love!) My life started turning around from abject misery when I began reading material about angels and learning more about them. My life got better…and eventually I did meet my true Soul Mate!! It was my belief in angels, though, that helped my heart to heal…because I knew…just KNEW life could only get better having them on my side. You have to consciously reach out to them though. They can’t just interfere with our life…we must ask to receive their help. It’s just one of those universal laws. That’s why the “ask and you shall receive” thing is such a POWERFUL statement! Asking from the HEART is one of the fastest ways to achieve our wants! Asking out of greed, anger, jealousy and any other negative emotion does NOT bring about what we want. It’s the love in our hearts…be they broken or not…that heals all wounds. Every last one of them!! So, if you are hurting…seek love wherever you can get it…family, church, organizations…and GIVE love back. It will change your life for the better. And that’s my message today.

When I say “Many blessings to you”, I truly mean it from my heart…I am asking the angels (and thus GOD!) to bless your life many, many times over. So, as we go through this challenging month of December…I wish you many blessings and much joy. I wish for you to discover the awesomeness of the angels and KNOW you are not alone…ever. Until next time…Peace Out!!!

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English: United States Air Force Basic Militar...

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When I joined the military, I went into a career field that had just opened to women.  My recruiter told me I was going to be a pioneer “paving the way” for other women to follow.  It sounded quite grand.  Me? A pioneer?  How thrilling.  I didn’t realize the constant uphill climb such an undertaking would become.  It was a tough new world I entered and holding my own took maximum effort and sacrifice on my part.  I remember calling home those first few weeks in basic training and crying pathetically on the phone.  “I can’t do this,” I’d sob or “It’s just too hard and they are so mean.”  My technical instructor (TI) at basic recognized my weaknesses and he exploited them.  I thought he was picking on me.  And he was.  That was his job.  The military couldn’t cater to sniveling, I-can’t-do-this whiners.  Our country depends on a military that is strong and does what needs to be done to protect and preserve its liberties.  By the time I left basic training, I was standing tall, proud and feeling more confident than I’d ever been.  I, after all, was a member of the armed services.  I was an airman in the United States Air Force and proud of it. Yeah, they did a good job of tearing me down and building me back up into a confidant, can-do woman!  They brought out the best in me and showed me that I could believe in myself.  I was part of something magnificent, an elite force, and I could do anything!

Unfortunately, the world I entered after basic training didn’t get any easier.  Before I go on here, I have to tell you what my new job consisted of: bomb building.  Yeah, I was now an “Ammo troop” (the nickname we proudly called ourselves).  We were responsible for building, storing and maintaining the Air Force’s explosive inventory.  How brave I was to be doing this dangerous thing!  I felt strong and invincible.  I was pretty proud.  Who would have thought it?  A small-town girl, shy, quiet, a bookworm and writer wannabe, and I was building bombs and working with all sorts of things that exploded.

But, it was a man’s world I entered and they didn’t let me forget it.  Quite often I was the only female on a crew or in a particular unit.  I didn’t have the men’s physical build and stamina and so was often put down for it.  I tried to make up for my structural inadequacies by knowing more than they did about the explosives for which we were responsible.  Knowledge is power, my friends.  Oh yes it is!  I also ended up doing more.  It was to me that all the paperwork often fell, and let me tell you, the military can go overboard when it comes to paperwork!  I might have had a tough time lifting things but I could inspect, assemble, perform testing procedures and conduct maintenance just as well if not better than “they” did.  I quickly discovered that I had to know more, do more and give more just to get a small modicum of respect from my supervisors and the guys I worked with.  It was a tough life I lived.  Frustrating beyond measure at times.  I felt like I had to constantly bust my butt, and for what?  To be sneered at, belittled, overlooked and put down because I was a lowly woman?  Seriously?  Geez.

I don’t know how I managed to survive the constant struggle of holding my own when I had so much against me all the time, but I did it.  Yes I did!  I had to.  The worst was dealing with family separation.  Six months after giving birth to my first child, a son who was at once the center of my world, the military sent me to Korea for a year.  Leaving him behind was the worst thing I ever had to do.  It was like living with a heart gripped by a merciless fist.  God, it physically HURT.  I didn’t know how I was going to survive it.  But somehow I did.  It bothers me even now (twenty plus years later) to think about that awful time and all that I missed out on.

Another tough thing for military members to maintain successfully is marriage (tough in any case to be sure!).   Divorce is quite high in the military.  I was just as much a victim of that statistic as anyone.  A huge reason I stayed in as long as I did (twenty years, five months and 17 days) is because I was responsible for my kids, my life, and I wanted to maintain my independence.  But, my word, the sacrifices and crap I had to put up with to do it!

The thing is, you know what I got out of it all?  I learned that I’m tougher than I thought.  I learned that I can do anything I put my mind toward doing.  I learned to adapt and overcome.  I learned to stand on my own and stand up for myself.  I learned that what matters is how I feel about me, not what others try to make me feel.  It took me many years to get those lessons through my thick skull and I hope to share how some of them came about in future posts.

The point I wanted to get across in all this is that you can do anything you set your mind to doing.  You CAN!  I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was eight.  I’m now a published author.  It took me a while to accomplish that but that’s because I didn’t focus on making it happen.  I let other life issues sidetrack me for awhile.  My new goal is to make Amazon’s top ten fiction list.  I’m totally focused on it.  I can do this.  I CAN!  Just you watch and see!  As for you…well, you really, truly can do anything you want to do! Focus on your goal, actively work toward it and don’t give up.  Above all, most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!

Blessings to all and Peace Out!


This is a list of some lessons that had the most profound affect on my life and so I thought they were worth sharing.  The first two lessons came from my grandfather. He imparted this wisdom to me when I was in my early teen years.  I thought they were great lessons to remember at the time and have learned their value enough to want to share them.  Because of their profound value, they go at the top of my list.

1.  Before you marry someone or start dating him, find out how the guy treats his mother.  If his mother is not in his life, then find out how he treats the woman who is in his life (I added this part here but it applies just as well).  If a man is respectful to his mom, he’s going to be respectful to you.  If he lies to his mom, sneaks around and does things behind her back, he’s going to do the same to you.  If he treats his mom like crap and doesn’t appreciate her, he’ll do the same to you.  If he’s a spoiled “mama’s boy”, he’s going to expect you to treat him the same way.  Now, I know that there are some mothers out there that are not good mothers, and in this case, you will learn a lot about a guy by how he responds and deals with her anyway.  Nowadays, it seems that a lot of grandparents are raising kids, and in that case, how does he treat his grandmother?  Same rule applies.  I have observed this piece of advice over the years and can honestly say my grandfather had it 99 percent right (there is ALWAYS an exception, though rare).

I also believe this can work the other way for guys…how does your prospective wife/girlfriend treat her father?  What sort of relationship does she have with him?  Expect similar behavior and attitude.  But don’t expect to BE her father. Woman who are interested in getting married are looking for husbands, not another father.  Just as most men who are interested in marriage are looking for wives, not another mother.

2.  Before you marry a guy, get him as mad at you as you can and see how he responds.  If he hits you, he’ll do it again and it will get worse as time goes on.  Truer words were never spoken!!  Even if he doesn’t hit you, how does he treat you?  Believe me, it will get worse over time.  So, if you don’t like how he treats you when he’s mad, you might want to reconsider the relationship.  Men can take the same advice and apply it to women here!

3.  Love is a decision.  I really wrestled with this one when I was younger.  I thought that was all wrong.  I used to believe that love was a feeling that just came to you.  But it’s not.  You will always be making decisions throughout your life to love or not.  If you are upset with someone, you can decide to love them or you can decide to hate them.  If you decide on the side of love, then act accordingly.  This one I still have trouble with but its sound advice. Every day of our lives we must make decisions on how to deal with or respond to a situation or person.  At first we often respond emotionally without giving it much thought but then, if you can put your feelings to the side…not out of the picture, mind you, but they also shouldn’t be front and center…and try to look over the whole situation as if from a stranger’s perspective…then you can make a decision you can live with.  Are you going to love or not?  If you decide to love then LOVE. Forgiveness is a decision.  You are deciding with love when you decide to forgive.  If that’s the decision you made, then stick to it!  Don’t forgive one minute, get mad again and take it back then decide to give it again and so on.  If you decided to forgive someone for something, then forgive them and be done with it.  If a new situation arises that requires forgiveness, decide on that situation, don’t bring up a past one and throw it into the mix.  Again, this is a lesson I still struggle with.  But, if I ever get it through my thick head, I’m going to be a LOT happier.  So will you.

4.  Believe in yourself and know that you really can accomplish whatever you truly wish to accomplish.  This one is a hard one because most people don’t really, truly believe it.  I do and then I don’t and then I do and then I don’t.  The thing is, when I look back over my life (like I’m real old or something!!), I think about the situations where I really, really wanted something and eventually, I got it.  I think how quickly it happens depends on our belief and our tenacity.  In all honesty, though, I believe that the Universe will make it happen if we FOCUS on what it is we want.  I know, this is so “The Secret” kind of stuff but the fact is…The Secret has it right.  It’s just hard to accept for some reason.  Can it really be that easy?  We think everything has to be hard and that’s what we get.  Hard.  Some people give up too soon.  To get what you want, you have to hold onto the focus with unwavering determination.  Be stubborn, snub any opinions that tell you otherwise and continue to press on like it’s going to happen.  Those who give up and give up…they will NOT accomplish their dreams.  Sad.  Don’t be one of those people.

5.  Failure is a stepping stone to success.  This one ties in with the one above.  Failure means you are trying, failure means you didn’t give up before trying.  Now, if you give up after a failure, you are done with that dream  It’s over.  BUT, if you try again … well, you might fail again BUT KEEP TRYING because eventually, if you stick to your goal/dream and tell yourself you CAN, then you WILL (remember the little train that could?  BE THE TRAIN).  It’s inevitable.  Ask anyone who has been through the process.  They will ALL tell you the same thing.  The coolest part about failure is that you learn something from the experience!  It’s always good to learn something new so the failed attempt wasn’t a total failure!  Press on…try again.  That old saying you hear all the time…If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”…it’s been around for a reason.

6.  Truth has many layers.  This one is a good one to remember.  There is usually more to a story then what you are hearing, seeing, or getting.  And when you figure out what more there is to learn or know about something…guess what? There’s more.  There are many layers to the truth of things.  Keep digging, keep looking.  But know this: the absolute truth…the heart of a truth…is ALWAYS for the good of human kind.  You see, at the core of every truth is God (or whatever you want to call it, whatever name you give to it, matters not…if you call me anything and everything but Deborah, I’m still Deborah, what you call me doesn’t change that).  God is Truth and the Truth is Love.  I know, sounds preachy and all that but … it’s also a core truth!!

7.  You are NEVER alone.  Angels surround you.  Loved ones who have passed on and have a strong attachment to you, they also keep an eye on you.  They are real whether you believe in them or not.  The problem is this:  if you don’t believe in them, it limits what they can do.  They can only help you if you ALLOW them to help and if you don’t believe in them, you surely aren’t going to allow them much.  Still, they are there just the same and they surround you with their loving energy.  If you were to be still for a bit and focus on them, you’d feel them.  You’d feel this little well of something inside your chest that spreads out and excites you from the inside out.  Sometimes, you can’t catch your breath for the joy of it.  It’s there.  Believe me.  Or not.  Your CHOICE.  Can you imagine the endless possibilities if you DO believe in them?  Wow.  Skies the limit.  And that’s the Truth!

8.  It doesn’t matter what other people think about you, it matters what YOU think about you.  Now this one is a tough one.  Especially to the young ones and the teens.  I remember high school.  I would rather be invisible than to be noticed and judged wanting in some way.  My first two years of high school were low key.  I hovered on the fringes of everything.  But, I WANTED to be popular and have lots of friends, a handsome, attentive boyfriend and an exciting life.  The problem, though, was I was too worried about what people thought of me to get any of those things.  Oh, I had friends, a core group that I have to this day.  I trusted them.  I let them see the real me.  But for the most part…I went through the first two years of high school hoping nobody noticed me.  And I was unhappy with myself because of that DECISION.  I should have loved myself a little more back then.  Oh, I don’t mean in a conceited, “I’m better than anyone, I’m wonderful and everyone should love me” sort of way.  No, never that.  I’ve heard people say they weren’t popular or they were picked on because of their weight, and YET, I remember there being kids in high school who were overweight and everyone liked them!! True story.  There were nerdy kids and geeky kids (yeah, I’m labeling them because that’s what we do and it’s these labels that we cringe from ourselves) and yet some of the kids that fit those labels were well liked and popular anyway.  You see, it depended on how they felt about themselves.  The overweight kids who were comfortable with their weight didn’t walk around hoping nobody saw their weight.  They were okay with their bodies and so everyone else just responded in kind.  The nerdy kids who enjoyed their nerdiness were accepted because they accepted themselves.  They didn’t walk around hoping no one noticed they were nerds, they embraced it!  And so on.  I started figuring this out my last two years of high school.  I stopped being so quiet and shy, holding back, watching from the fringes.  I started getting involved in things and having fun.  So I didn’t have much money, who cared?  So I wore the same clothes several times throughout the year, SO WHAT.  In the end, the only kids who care about the things you worry about are the kids who care about those things because you do.  If you don’t, they don’t.  That’s the way it works. Instead of slouching along, walk with confidence, give smiles instead of scowls, be happy to be who you are because you are the only one in the world!!!

9.  People have power over you if you ALLOW them to have power over you.  Bullies go around looking for people they can cower.  Do you notice that they don’t bully EVERYONE.  No.  They find the ones who have no confidence in themselves, they find the ones who are scared and they feed on it.  Bullies don’t have a good sense of themselves.  They overcompensate this by trying to make themselves feel better by belittling others.  By bossing around, pushing around, and putting fear in others.  It helps to compensate for their own low sense of self-worth.  Their motto is to boss, push and frighten others before anyone else tries to do the same to them.  People who walk around with confidence are usually left alone.  Some bullies might give em a nudge just to test the waters, see if they might bite, if the confidence is real or a ruse.  But when you don’t respond in fear, when you don’t react in a way that makes them feel powerful, they will go find another victim.  I was the second shortest kid in my Freshman class.  I was shy (as I’ve mentioned) and stayed out of the limelight.  I weighed about a 100 lbs (boy are those days gone!).  One day I was walking down the school hallway and there were four boys (looked like Juniors to me, they weren’t scrawny Freshmen, that’s for sure) and they were tormenting a special education student who I knew was in his first year at our school.  He had Down Syndrome.  Talk about bullies!  I watched as they kept slamming his locker shut every time he opened it.  His arms were full of books. One of the boys made him drop the books on the floor.  When he leaned down to pick them up, another of the boys kicked the books.  As the poor kid scrambled to get them, the other boys kept kicking them away.  I was FURIOUS.  Suddenly, I didn’t care how small I was or how shy, I marched down that hallway and I let those stupid boys have it.  Believe it or not, they backed off!  My energy was stronger than theirs in that moment.  I was on the side of rightness and they were not.  They backed off.  I told them to pick up his books.  They did.  I told them they should be ashamed of themselves. Did they really feel so big picking on him?  Were they all that and more because they could pick on someone who couldn’t stand up to them?  They told me they were just playing around, they apologized to the kid and then walked away.  I stood there in that moment and realized something…size doesn’t matter (so there it is!!), attitude matters!  What you feel inside matters.  Strong energy on the side of love overpowers any other sort of energy.  BUT, use that energy for anything but love and it becomes the other side of the coin.  Remember that.

I know I have more lessons that have profoundly affected my life but this post is getting long and I need to stop.  Hope this helps.  And if you have any lessons to share that affected your life profoundly, please do!! We can all use the support of sharing lessons.  Blessings to you and Peace out!!

God, Money, Faith


 

I’ve been writing posts about my supernatural experiences with ghosts and spirit contact but now I want to share the amazing experience I had with God about eighteen years ago (not that I haven’t had any amazing experiences with God before then or since, but there’s one story in particular that I feel moved to share).

I’ve always been strong in my faith, even during times when I’ve not been affiliated with a particular church.  At eighteen I joined the Catholic church and I was quite happy with that until my ever changing beliefs soon collided with church doctrine and we parted ways.  I eventually came to the conclusion that no church had it ALL right so decided to just follow God in my own way.  But, as happens when things go bad or tragedy strikes, I was soon looking for a church to turn to when my marriage fell apart.  Suddenly I am a single mother with three young children and my finances a mess.  He (the ex) hightailed it to greener pastures and left me with the aftermath of unpaid bills and empty cupboards.

I was in the military during this awful time.  It is a demanding career and a huge consumption on a person’s time.  My bosses didn’t care that I was now a single mother (they didn’t issue me those kids!) and had daycare issues and the like, they only cared on me spending 70 percent of my time catering to their demands even if said demands were nothing but silliness.  For instance, there was this one time when I had to stay after work to SWEEP THE ROAD!! with a BROOM!  Why?  Because a … wait for it … GENERAL (gasp) MIGHT (yes MIGHT) come out to our section.  Since we stored the Air Force’s stockpile of explosive paraphernalia, our duty section was far away from the main part of the base…just in case we had an accident.  We didn’t after all, want the base populace to blow up!  We didn’t get a lot of high brass (military VIPs) visitors.  So, on this occasion we labored all day to make our area look pretty.  Heaven forbid if the ROAD was DIRTY should the general traverse it in his car!  No, the military isn’t always stupid like that, but they have their moments (I always thought if they’d just put a few women in charge, things would have made more sense).  But I was operating in a man’s world back then (more women in the higher echelons now thank goodness) and so there you have it…I’m paying for extra babysitting and losing even more time with my kids so I can sweep a road of dirt just in case a general decides to lower himself and visit our humble unit (and no, he never made it out).

Things just went from bad to worse for me.  I was quite devastated at the breakup of my marriage and was many miles away from my family (I was in Florida and they were all in Maine).  I didn’t have them to lean on for support (though I did spend HOURS on the phone with my sympathetic mother!).  My financial situation was getting worse and worse.  Thank God for the angels on earth…my friends!!  I was fortunate during this time to live on a wonderful street (in a duplex provided by the military) with some really great people.  A recent move that had God’s influence all over it for I had just moved there from off base a few months prior.  Had I still been living in town at the time of the break up, I would have lost everything…my home, my career, my credit!  Why? Because while living off base, I didn’t know that many people  and none of my neighbors.  While living off base, I had to pay rent and utilities.  Something I wouldn’t have been able to do had I still been there when my marriage ended. But at my new home on base, I didn’t have to pay rent or utilities (the military gives its members an allowance to live off base and they take that allowance away when you move onto the base.  My off base living expenses, however, had far exceeded the allowance I was given).  My new neighbors became my closest friends.  They really helped keep me together during this black period of my life.

I remember many nights of despair in those first few weeks after the breakup. I would hide in my home while my neighbors visited each other outside and cry because my kids were hungry and I didn’t have much food in the house. I did not want to share my shame with anyone and it was a lonely time for me.  I felt a failure at everything.  My career was hurting for I had a boss who didn’t have much of a heart … truly, he’d stare of me with cold, unfeeling eyes as I tried to humbly explain why I was five minutes late to work, or why I was sitting at my desk crying quietly as I labored along.  It didn’t matter the many HOURS I stayed late to work on his sudden whim, doing stupid stuff…like sweeping roads.  He didn’t care if my kids were sick or the car broke down or that my babysitter couldn’t watch the kids or whatever. None of my woes mattered to him in the least.  I lamented at my luck to get someone like that for a supervisor (the first in my chain of command).  And even that set of circumstances was a lesson for me.  But something I won’t go into in this post.

On one of my worst nights (sobbing over the financial mess I was in), I get a phone call from a friend.  She and her husband had been trying to get me to come to church with them.  I needed God in my life they said.  I told them that I already had God in my life.  But I needed the support of a church they said. They were Baptists.  I was an ex-Catholic with occult beliefs (spirit contact, palmistry, numerology).  I knew for sure the Baptist church was not going to accept those beliefs either.  But I needed some spiritual support.  So  the phone call came at just the right time.  After months of saying no to their invitation to go to church with them, I finally agreed.

Can you imagine my absolute surprise when I go to this church and the minister announces that he is going to start on this very day, a six part sermon about MONEY!!?  I had a little less than 200 dollars in the bank and payday was over a week away.  I had hardly any food in the house (was going to go shopping later that day) and my car was low on gas.  My kids needed shoes and the girls (3 and 4) were in sore need of clothes. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to meet my financial obligations come next payday.  I was in utter despair at what to do (which is why I finally decided to go to church).  The Friday before this particular Sunday I had gone to a credit counseling agency.  They agreed my life was a financial mess and said I qualified for their program.  I was scheduled to meet with them again in a couple days to sign up for their assistance.  And here, on this Sunday when I FINALLY gave in and went to a church that I never thought I’d attend because I’m not Baptist and knew they wouldn’t like me believing the things I believe, the sermon is about money!! The first in a six part series!!  This, I thought, is God at work.

The church was also (coincidentally) trying to get enough money to build a new addition and buy new pews.  It was a very costly venture and they needed their parishioners to come on board and donate the funds to make this happen. This might have been the driving force behind the minister’s decision to do a six part series “the law of money”.  I don’t care.  That day changed my life.

The gist of that day’s sermon:  God provides for his own.  Trust in him and he will take care of ALL your NEEDS (not necessarily all your WANTS, but definitely all your needs).  Yes, this takes a leap of faith.  But one that is good on its return!  Show God you believe and God will show you that your belief is a solid FACT.  Trust God.  Give generously now and don’t worry about where the money is going to come later.  It will come.  Sort of the “if you give it, the money will come” kind of philosophy (this was many years before “The Secret” came out promising similar results!).  When it came time for the collection plate to come around, I pulled my checkbook out of my purse and stared at it long and hard.  The minister was in earnest at this point (it was collection time after all!) about trusting God.  If you Give, so will you Receive…TENFOLD! I decided to trust God.  I wrote out a check for a little over half of what was in my account.  I gave the church $100 knowing it was going to severely cut me short of funds.  My heart was pounding.  After putting that check in the collection box, I wanted to snatch it back.  Was I stupid?  And then, “Sorry, God!! I DO trust you!!”  It was a huge leap of faith for me.

A couple days later, I went to meet with the credit counseling agency.  I had to show them my income, my bills, and the estimated amounts I spent on various things.  The idea was that I pay them, they pay my creditors and I follow their strict budget to the T.  The first to go on my list of liabilities (what I paid out)?Church donations!  My heart did a flip flop.  Oh dear!  I was supposed to be trusting God and here the credit agency was telling me “God will understand that you just can’t afford to give any money to the church right now”.  I had to agree to their budget or it was a no go.  I chose to decline their help.  They wanted me to deny God and I thought that a sure sign that I wasn’t supposed to be there.  Now, just to be clear…I think credit agencies have a place in the world.  They have helped many, many people.  But at this time in my life, it wasn’t for me.  It wasn’t the particular journey I was to travel.

I went home that day with hope in my heart but also fear.  What if…no, I just couldn’t allow my faith to waiver.  A few days later, the day before payday, I’m balancing my checkbook (so I can pay upcoming bills) and it appears that I am overdrawn.  I can’t believe it!  I remember feeling so bereft, terrified, alone. I lay my head down and sobbed my heart out. My son (he was 9) came in the house, saw me in my moment of despair and ran back out.  He ran across the street to my friend Sylvia’s house and told her, “Mom is crying!”.  This dear friend, one of my angels on Earth, came right over.

“Debbie, what is wrong?”  I waved at my checkbook.  “I’m broke, overdrawn and I’ve hardly any food in the house.  I’ve been feeding my kids macaroni and cheese for the past three days.  How much more will they eat of that stuff?”  It was a low point.  It was.  Sylvia took on a no-nonsense, we’ll fix it attitude.  “It’s okay, dear, we’ll figure it out.”  She sits beside me and we go through my checkbook.  I dig out bill statements and bank statements (thank God I don’t throw anything away!) and we go through every single thing.  A mistake!!!  I made two car payments that month!!  A quick call to the bank and yes, I did pay them twice (no I do not know how it was that I did this) and no, I don’t owe them this coming payday.  Just like that, I have 300 dollars!!  A windfall for me. Sylvia invites us to her house for dinner.  She has extra she says.  Plenty to go around.  Did I mention about how good a friend she was?

The next day I get a phone call from Trish, another friend.  “Debbie, I have a bunch of clothes that will fit the girls, do you want them?”  (she had three daughters all older than my two girls).  Yes!!  Sylvia strolls in a few minutes later (within moments of me getting off the phone) and she hands me new shoes for each of my kids.  “I bought my kids (she had three children too) shoes and it was a buy-one-get-one-free deal.  I picked up the free pairs for your kids.”  Did I mention how great an angel she was?

The weekend following the end of the church’s series on money, I make the four hour trip to Georgia to visit my wonderful friends Robin and Steve.  I needed to get away from it all and where better to go than to see more good friends?  I was nervous about the trip because my tires were bad but I decided to trust God in this as well and off we went.  While there, Steve takes my car, tells me he’ll be back later.  When he did so…new tires!  An oil change!  Thank God for them, all my wonderful friends! Sylvia, Nita, Chong, Trish, Robin, Steve … angels on Earth.  Each of them, now aware of my situation, bringing me and my children the things we need.  No questions asked.  No expectations in return.  Wow. God was making good on his promise.  He was providing for my needs and using my friends to make it happen.

I attended all six sermons on money at that Baptist church.  I let everyone know that he (the minister) was speaking a great truth.  Trust God and he will provide!  I was living proof of it!  I never did have any problems after that of meeting my financial needs or getting what I needed.  Things just worked out. (They still do!!)  I even remember getting a check in the mail because I had overpaid something else (way back when) and while doing an audit, they discovered it!  Money just came to me one way or the other.  My parents came for several visits (something we thought wouldn’t happen because of their own issues but then things would clear up and they could come after all!).  Their visits helped immensely.  Not just financially but emotionally.  I hated it when they left to go back home.  I tell you, if I needed something, I thought, “God will provide” and I just didn’t worry about it.  And guess what?  God provided!!

That all happened about 18 years ago.  The philosophy on money that I learned back then has continued to work for me ever since.  Sometimes I do have a relapse and catch myself worrying about money and all the financial demands that must be met.  When I realize what I’m doing, worrying about something God can take care of, I have to stop myself and let it go.  Worry is an indication of faithlessness.  I have to remind myself to trust God.  He has never let me down.  God doesn’t let anyone down, especially those who put their trust in him.

I know this sounds a bit like a sermon but it’s a testimonial.  Every word true. With times being so tough, I thought it a good time to share my own tough times.  God bless everyone reading this post! May God provide all your needs. Amen.

 

Little Owls

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