Posted in Faith, family, Tough Choices

What a Difference a Year Makes


Last year at this time, there was a lot I was dealing with.  I was still coming to terms with losing my brother, with the affect that cancer had on our lives, struggling with financial and marriage issues, questioning my faith in God, starting a new job, and moving on in several aspects of my life.  I felt like I was in the aftermath of a weather or war tragedy.  Here I am a year later, standing as strong as ever and getting ready to put the past year behind me. All of the issues I struggled with last year have either come to conclusion or are about to conclude. There is something coming up in the next week that I have to attend to and I am pretty worried about.  It is causing me anxiety and nightmares.  It seems like I am having a nightmare every night as a result of the stress associated with it.  It is one of the issues that is about to come to a conclusion.  While the likely scenario is that it will come to a conclusion, there is a small chance that it may not.

I am just trying to breathe easily but it is pretty hard when you are about to attend to an event that is somewhat scary.   Despite feeling like my life has finally come full circle, I do find myself sometimes sad.  Some of that is because I am still mourning my brother, some because of the current situation, and some because of RA and Fibromyalgia in my life. Sunday, I was driving through a small town similar to the one I lived in years ago, and I felt something I had not felt in a long time.  I felt like I needed to get away from the whole world.  I felt like I needed peace and quiet but regardless of where I am, I know that life will follow me so will bills and responsibilities. But seriously, if you have a job in a small town you would like to offer me in the legal field, I am game. 

Anyway, I am still trying to taking stock of where I am at. I am still struggling to understand my relationship with God.  I want a better relationship with God but sometimes, it feels like I am going through the motions. I know that this latest obstacle is God’s way of saying, “I am here. Reach for me,” but I am just too emotionally tried to reach out right now.  I always hear people say that there is no excuse for not reaching out to God.  In fact, feeling like this is the reason I should be reaching out. I have spent the last year reaching for God but I have not reached that point where God is a central factor in my life.  I want to reach further but I feel like I need to slow down. However, my excuses remind me of a bumper sticker that I once read.  “Those who plan to find God in the 11th hour die at 10:30.”  I don’t want to die at 10:30 knowing that I should have reached out to God sooner or with better resolve.

My parents raised me to believe that God’s mercy is always available to us but we have to be willing to seek it. As I struggle to prepare for upcoming events, I know it is time to seek God’s guidance and mercy. Is it ridiculous or wrong to say I am feeling emotionally tired? The last year has been hard and I know I have had victories and I wouldn’t have had those without God by my side.  So, is it wrong for me to say that while I need God’s guidance, I am too tired to reach for it?  I know that I want to reach for it and I most likely will. Maybe it will be tomorrow or in a few days or a week from now. However, I feel restless right now. Getting closer to God was my most important goal for 2012 and so far, I am failing miserably at it. I am sad that I am struggling with this.  And maybe it is not my faith that I am struggling with, maybe it is other factors that are making my faith weak.

I don’t have guilt if anyone is wondering that. In fact, I am fairly certain that my slate is clean.  A while back, I realized that I would make good choices and that I would be a better person. I have done that and maybe this is my crossroads.  This is me wondering what is next.  I know without a doubt I am a good person.  These days, I wonder how I can be better.  I know that I need to start focusing on instilling strong faith in my children and I have been working towards that goal. I know that I need to be more charitable and I plan to work towards this.  I know that as people get older they ponder as to how they strengthen their faith. Maybe this is where I am at.  

After my brother died, I knew that I had to focus on strengthening my relationships in the way that God expected from me especially those with my mother, my siblings and my children.  I have focused on those and that is what I did in 2011 and I continue to do this. I know that family is an essential part of faith and our elders, in particular.  I have worked to teach my children the importance of this.  I have learned that how important teaching my children to be faithful is.  If not for my parents instilling religion in my life, I would have nothing to fall back on.  I am very grateful to them for this.

The older I get, I see that faith is a work in progress.  When we are younger, we don’t see any room for religion in our lives. Or we somehow just disregard it.  We disregard it because we don’t see any reason to rely on it.  As we get older and life tests us, it becomes our pedestal of hope and strength.  We cannot imagine being able to get through our struggles without it. That teaches us to be better people.  Then we get older and we realize that we have to pass some kind of faith to our children.  At some point we realize that there has to be more and we wait to see what that is. That is where I am right now. I am working to instill a sense of faith in my children but I also see that there is more that I need to instill in myself. I know that my mom is content with her faith at this point in her life and that is where I strive to be someday.

I have grown up a lot in the past year.  My brother’s illness and death forced me to wake up so much older.  I now see life as precious and I strongly believe that success isn’t measured by money or titles. I see success measured in the number of lives we touch.  I hate that money is what we need for survival.  I want to believe that faith is stronger. That is why I think I am struggling.  My upcoming event has to do with money and I am trying to believe that my faith is stronger than anything that life throws my way.  See, the scariest part of finding yourself at the end of your rope is hearing God say to you, “Let go. I will catch you.”  This is when you have to decide whether your faith is strong enough to trust that God will catch you.  I want God to catch me and I am struggling with the part where I put my trust in him and let him do just that.

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3 thoughts on “What a Difference a Year Makes

  1. Your story continues to be an inspiration to me. I hope you find the strength to face the next few months smiling with Jesus by your side. You should be proud how far you’ve come and doubtless how many others you’ve inspired.
    God bless xxx

  2. Lana, you have indeed been through a lot over the last year or so–and you’ve discovered great strength within that you’ve used to better your life and the lives of your children. I’m not religious, but my understanding is that those of faith believe that their strength comes from God. Might it be that in your striving to reach for God, you’ve found him? Or perhaps you reached for God–and he reached for you.

    I think that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the positive steps we take in our lives. What I see in your writing over these last 15 months or so is a person who’s discovered depths of strength and resilience and resolve within herself that is absolutely extraordinary. Perhaps if you “let go,” if you relax and breathe, finding your God will become easier.

    I’ve no doubt that you’ll meet the scary challenge ahead with the same strength, creativity and resolve that you’ve met all the others with. Is it from God? From your own boundless will to live with peace and joy? I don’t know, but I have faith that you’ll come through this–and anything else life can throw at you–with grace, toughness and serenity.

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