Observations after a long and difficult day

Today marked the 11 year anniversary of the day my sister’s van hit a combine in the fog, killing her instantly, and sending her off to wherever God takes His children. I wondered what specific day of the week she died on only to discover it was actually Tuesday. So today was actually the exact day she died 11 years ago.

Morbid, I know. But bear with me here…

My oldest niece took the day off work so we could celebrate the life of her mother by enjoying a relaxing day together. Little did I know that lunch would cause havoc in my intestines and ruin half the day. I swear I used almost every restroom in every store we pasted by!! We were in a shopping district and I found myself spending more time in the restrooms than shopping! After a long, rough day I found myself the only one still awake. I began to look back at my life as I scrolled through social media.

I have lived 6 years longer than my sister. She was 30 when she died and I will be 36 in April. During the years without her a lot has happened that I have been unable to share with her or talk to her about. When I had my second daughter, I needed an emergency c-section. She was a nurse and I know she would have been there for me during such a difficult time. But she was gone already.

I cannot help but play the what if game every year on October 30th. But I can’t do that anymore. It drives me crazy and just makes me feel sad.

I have learned some things about handling death since losing my older sister and brother (2007 and 2017). These are in the order I thought of them:

1) death is something we all face therefore since I know that I need to be prepared. Have a living will, God-parents for my children, and yes, assurance for my afterlife.

2) never, ever, ever bother to ask “why.” It only brings pain. Knowing why doesn’t take away the hurt of the loss. My sister is still gone.

3) I am not the only one who lost someone. My sister had kids, a husband, parents, 3 half brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. I miss her and am hurting and I am not alone.

4) Accept that she is gone and love the moments she was here. No, she isn’t coming back, but I have to think of the good times we had instead of struggling every day to be happy because I focus on missing her.

5) Someone else cares and I am loved. God does. He is there the moments I need and want Him, and waiting for me when I don’t. He is there and He loves me.

6) I must avoid ruining everyone else’s day just because I feel unhappy today. I know my sister died on October 30th, 2007, but the stranger checking my groceries out for me does not know. So I shouldn’t react unkindly toward the strangers who I think should treat me with kindness. I get what I give.

7) I remind myself every time I think of her (and my brother), I will see them again. It is within me to feel and know that we will all be reunited someday. That brings me hope that no human can take away.

8) there is no good day to die. Though some circumstances make it easier to let some people go, there is never a convenient time for a loved one to die. Hands down, it is never something I welcome. Death, for me, is the worst suffering of life. My sister died on my half birthday. I didn’t care because we never celebrated that day. But it kinda drives my point home…

I hope some of these observations provided some insight for some of you. And I hope I wasn’t too morbid on one of my least favorite days of the year.

Be blessed with a long and healthy life… emphasis on healthy!

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

(Written and published from my phone. Please forgive all random errors and spellcheck failures. I did my best on the fly.)

Being brave

Be brave enough to be authentic…

Authenticity comes very easy to me. What does not come easily is the ability to read people well enough that I ask the right questions at the right time, or say the appropriate things when I should. It has nothing to do with my desires to please others or not. It has everything to do with my unrestrained curiosity and my intense authenticity. Basically oftentimes I open mouth, insert foot. I know how my feet taste and the awful feeling in my gut when I have upset someone.

I can think of many examples which is unsettling. I recently scrapped a post about communication where I was basically complaining about my foot in mouth issue. But I did say at least one great thing on there… when I am the common denominator of an occurrence then I need to stop and look at myself in the mirror and figure out what the issue is or may be with me.

I have been considering the issue for over a week. That is when a caring frined told me that in her opinion I, “am difficult to communicate with, lack tact, say things I should not say and, I am inappropriate as well.” Fun words to swallow, eh? I was taken aback. I thought to myself, “This cannot all be true of me, can it?” But I listened as she listed a few examples. Then the more I thought about it the more examples I thought of myself. Times when people either said I hurt their feelings, upset them in some way, or times when people even left being my friend because I had said or done something outside of their consideration of social norms.

Conclusion: I am not socially normal. I am authentic, genuine, and I speak my mind with extreme curiosity. Oh, and I rush relationships terribly, therefore often sharing way to much too fast! I am just one big overload!!

And after considering this further I realized I was way overthinking this. Yes I upset someone… more than one someone. But I have to reconcile who I am with who I should be. I must also be at peace with myself during this process of growth.

I know the curiosity must be curbed. Also though I want to speak my mind sometimes it is better to just keep my mouth shut even when the conversation is about something I feel passionate about. Believe in it or not, I believe in the nudge of the Spirit of God. I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. I strongly believe that when I feel nudged to speak up then that is when I should speak my mind.

I have had such occasions. Last year a woman did not understand the perspective of the group and the subject matter of which we were discussing. She was sharp about it and almost hurtful, though I know in her heart she was not intending to be hurtful in any way. I could not keep my mouth shut. The Spirit inside me took over and I explained where we were all coming from. Those are the moments when my authenticity shines and I know I am being brave and speaking up for those who will not or cannot.

That is who I wish to be: the voice for the so-called “little guy.” I want to speak up only when God leads me to. Psalms 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” which is a prayer I will be praying daily. I have been meditating on Proverbs 16:1 which says, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” This is a verse that has comforted me when I have been too outspoken; those moments when maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. (There are great Bible verses found at: https://www.openbible.info/topics/guard_your_mouth if you are interested.)

Considering all of this I have concluded that since I wish to be the mouthpiece of God, I must have peace when things don’t turn out my way. It is okay if someone doesn’t like me. A friend today reminded me of that. Not everyone is going to like me. Now if I truly upset someone and am aware of it, I will do my best to make peace. Roman’s 12:18 says, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As far as it depends on me… I cannot make someone like me. I cannot even make someone forgive me or make them let things go. What I can do is apologize, do my best to make amends and then I let it go! I have to let it go even if the other person does not.

I am giving myself permission to be myself even in the face of adversity and discomfort. I am an amazing Maggie. I cannot be anyone else. Just me.

Be blessed as you pursue your best self!

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Blog #108…

everyone can make a difference… Can’t I?

It’s another tomorrow where I am awake in the early a.m. (12:37 to be precise), with so much on my mind I cannot bring myself to lay my head upon my pillow.

Warning: This is not one of my happiest moments so it may not be one of my happiest posts.

I began watching “Mr. Church” with my husband. It was a very good movie & though it had it’s highs and lows – tears and cheers – I enjoyed it… until I didn’t. Without spoiling it I will just say that a quote hit a little too close to home. “You thought I saved you, but you saved me.” I lost it. I completely lost it. I am even struggling to type without crying.

In June of 2017 my brother, Dennis Mann, died. I don’t know any of the specifics of how he died and probably never will until I’m in Heaven with him and it doesn’t matter anymore.  But I do know that he wasn’t happy in the end of his life and it hurts… What hurts is that he pushed me away and therefore I couldn’t be there to help him when he was unhappy.

I know happiness is a choice and no one can ever truly make someone else happy. A person either feels happy or they do not. Plain and simple, right? But no. It is not simple.  Happiness is fleeting but joy is eternal as they say. But my dear cousin recently reminded me that there is an enemy out there trying to steal my joy. He will use any and all means possible. Yes, even movie clips.

[There are so many things I wish I could say. So many things I wish I could write. But in this crazy world where “everyone” is out to get you, I feel like I cannot always speak my mind entirely.]

A new friend recently called  me to accountability though. I have been promising myself and God I would write a book about my life and everything I have been through — including those things I cannot say or write in a public blog. And yet, where is this book? It is in journal after journal waiting to be written. I have been writing this book since I was in my mid-teens and it is still in pieces.

Why? Because of FEAR. I fear what my life would be like if the truth of my past came out. What would people think about me? What would people think about those I write about? Would people even read my stupid book? Very few people read my blog so what makes me think anyone would want to read a book that is pretty much all my blogs severely expanded.

Those are the thoughts that run through my mind when I think about writing and publishing my book. But those thoughts are all wonky. What does it matter what people think? Every writer, good or bad, has a fair share of critics. And if one person reads my book it would be worth all the trouble. My new friend who convicted me to write helped me to realize how therapeutic such a book would me for me.  So I know it would not be worthless.

Then I think of one of my favorite quotes:

OnepersonshouldmakeadifferenceJFK

But I remove the try…because there is no try – there is do or do not. I do. I mean I will. I AM. I do make a difference every day that I wake up, get up and parent my kids. I will make a difference with my book and I will finish it. And I AM making a difference by who I AM.

So what started out as a cry-fest, thinking the whole world was crashing around me, turned into a post ending with a slight smile and an appreciation for the life I have now.

Rest in peace, Dennis Mann. I love you. Always did and always will.

Thanks for reading my pity party.  I appreciate all my readers.

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

 

Faith vs. Trust: Are they the same?

I thought I had faith in God. I thought I believed in his ability and his desire to help me. Psalms 91:14 says, “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This verse says many promises. God promises to: 1) rescue me, 2) protect me because I acknowledge His name, 3) answer me when I call upon Him, 4) be with me in trouble, 5) deliver me from trouble, 6) honor me, 7) satisfy me with long life, 8) show me His salvation. That is a lot of promises! Yet sometimes I find myself disbelieving in Gods follow through.

It is not that I do not believe He is capable. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20) I know in my heart that God is capable of so much more than I could ever need or want. So why do I not trust Him?

Trust is defined as: 1) reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of a person or thing; confidence, 2) confident expectation of something; hope

Faith is defined as: belief that is not based on proof. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So are they really the same thing? It would appear they are. To me, faith is not the absence of fear, but the courage to press on during hardships and still believe in God and His providence. It is believing that God will work things out. But if you believe someone will do something doesn’t that mean you also trust they will follow through?

So all my prayers for faith have yielded many trials: Two deaths in the family, A huge move from a haven I loved and enjoyed to a place I would never have thought to call home, A complete mental breakdown and the repercussions thereof, The rebuilding of my life since then, The consistent and ever-presence of Satan in my mind and in my life (yes I have rebuked the Devil; he still prevails). All these things have continually built my faith stronger and stronger. But still I lack the trust that God will truly follow through on all those promises listed above.

Will he really rescue me when I call for Him? Has he rescued me from Satan’s snare? Will he truly be with me during my troubles and protect me from trouble? I must say that I don’t trust that he will when I look at my most recent past. Trouble has followed me everywhere I go.

I feel alone and afraid. I feel deserted by God. Where is He? If He promises to rescue me then where is He? If he promises to protect me then why does Satan persist? Why do I continue to undergo trials and struggles?

The answer lies in my request: faith. As I said in a recent post: faith is not given freely, it is built through trials. I also cited a great verse in Corinthians that talked about how we are often put through trials not only so that we can feel the comfort and love of God but so that we may also show the comfort and love of God to others. So perhaps, just maybe, my trails exist to help someone.

I have recently taken up writing in hopes of publishing some books. One book I am writing talks about my struggles in life and how I have dealt with them. Many of my trials are not know by most of the people who know me, except those closest to me. My life has not been easy by any means. It has been one trial after another. But one theme has remained: God.

As I look back at my past I see His hand in every situation. One situation that I would like to share is a car accident I had when I was 17. At the time I was very uncertain as to why it had happened to me. It was a traumatic experience for me at such a young age. I was nearly killed because I ran into a telephone pole going quite fast; I never hit the brakes to even slow down because I was in shock.

Now, more than 10 years later, I fully understand the purpose of that accident. At the time, before my accident, my sister and I were at odds with each other. I didn’t like her much and she didn’t care for me either. We had so little in common and failed to even try to have a relationship.

When I was discharged from the hospital it was my sister who picked me up. I was starving after having been on a liquid only diet for several days. We got a roast beef sandwich in the cafeteria. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that flourished into a friendship I will forever cherish.

My sister died on October 30th several years ago. Were it not for that car accident I feel certain that we would have never overcome our differences and become such close friends. Sure we still had those differences, but we agreed to disagree and moved on, building a relationship around what we did have in common. I praise God for that car accident.

I have many such stories in my life. Times in which I suffered but now see the purpose, or at least know there was a purpose. So why do I still struggle with trust and faith in God? Perhaps it is because these trials never end. But that is part of the human life. Some might say God is cruel because He puts us through so many trials and struggles. But do non-Christians live lives of luxury and have no struggles or trials. Look at the news. Many people who are famous and do not profess to be Christians struggle every day with trials: drug overdoses and divorce to name a few.

So it is not God who is cruel. It is the choice Adam and Eve made many, many years ago. Life: a beautiful life with God by our side, walking with us in a Heavenly garden, or Death: physical death, physical and psychological pain and strife. They chose death, knowingly or not.

So we suffer. I suffer. It is a fact of life. One I must accept before I can truly trust and have faith in God. Do you accept the reality of the struggles of life and have faith in God, trusting He will follow through on his many promises to us? I am working on it daily.