Love, is not easy, and if it wasn't for love, I honestly don't know if I would be here today writing this. When I was 20 years old in 1993, I married a man who I thought I would spend my life with, little did I know that was not what God had planned for me. In March of 1995 we were blessed with the birth of our daughter Ashley. Ashley was our miracle, it was a difficult delivery and we ended up having to have an emergent c-section, as the placenta had separated from the uterine wall, and I was bleeding internally. After Ashley was born, the doctor told us that if we had waited an hour longer to come in Ashley would not have survived, if we had waited until the next day, I would not have survived either. Just think of that, 60 minutes was the difference between life and death. What do we do daily within 60 minutes? Sometimes without a thought.
That was where Ashley was our first miracle, little did I know that 8 months after she was born my husband, David would take his own life. That final day, I knew something was wrong with him, because he called in sick to work, and he never did that. David waited until the mail came, because it was payday, then he left. At that time I worked 3 pm - 11 pm. David never came back home before I left for work, I brought our daughter to daycare as planned, but he didn't pick her up like he was supposed to. I had his parents pick Ashley up from daycare and I had everyone I knew out looking for David, but no one could find him. I finished my shift, and went to pick up Ashley from my in-laws house, and then went home. His vehicle was not parked in the driveway, so I decided to check the garage to see if he parked it in the garage. As I got to the garage, I was unable to open the door,, and the side door was padlocked, with Ashley fast asleep in my vehicle, I had to get the key from my key chain to unlock the side door, the scene inside is something that I will never forget, I close my eyes and see it like it was yesterday. The large garage door, was locked from the inside, bungee cords holding it closed, blankets lining the bottom of the door, and David sitting in the driver's side of the vehicle. The vehicle was not running. I opened the driver's door and remember how still he was, like he was sleeping, but he was ice cold, this was November 16, 1995. I remember screaming and running to the house to call 911, then called his parents and then my parents. My house was swarming with people within minutes. I was 22 years old, widowed with an 8 month old daughter. I didn't just lose David that day, I also lost DJ, David's son from his first marriage. DJ was almost 6. Being a step-mother I lost all visitation privileges, I had known DJ since he was 1 1/2 years old. I lost two thirds of my family in one day. This isn't what I had planned for my life, picking out a casket, flowers, what songs to play, pall bearers, who should be having to do this at 22? I was still trying to figure out who I was, all I had now were titles, single mom, widow, alone.
This is where Ashley is MY second miracle, during the months that followed, I fell into a very deep and dark depression, I went off the rails. I lost a great amount of weight in a very short time because I didn't eat, and my job was strenuous. I was hospitalized frequently, I had made myself sick. It was in this time that if it wasn't for Ashley, I don't know that I would be here. I had my parents, my grandma, and extended family for my support system. The hardest part of this whole situation was not when people were around, it was when everyone left, and I was alone, and trust me I felt very much ALONE. I didn't realize it at the time, but God had plans for me.
May 1996. God brought Mike into my life, even with all my baggage, he loved me, and he made me happy. We moved in together not long after, and soon we had another blessing Quentin, born June 26, 1997. Mike and I married in August of 1999. Love. It will change your life, bless you in many ways, and cut you to the core at the same time. Love's not easy. Love has ups and downs, sometimes more up and sometimes more downs. After 20 years together, Mike and I divorced last year. Although this love story doesn't have a happy ending either, the love and respect I still have for Mike is something that he earned and deserves. He's a man with a big, loving heart that was just hurt one to many times, for that I am sorry. I know that sorry doesn't take away the hurt. I'm sorry that it took me so long to realize what a gift I was given, that I wasted. Although we did things to hurt each other, and we each have our own hurt and brokenness to share, I still have a hard time seeing myself without him, and I still love him with all my heart.
Like I said in a previous post, my wise mom, told me sometimes you have to lose everything so the only thing left is God. Since our separation and divorce, I have learned a lot, lets just say that my eyes were opened. In this time, I have been trying to discover who I am as an individual, I haven't been single since I was 18, so I've been trying to separate the "me" from the "we".
We all know that saying hindsight is 20/20, sometimes I wish I knew then, what I know now. Now I know that all this time it was God, He was with me all this time, He was writing my story, even though I didn't see Him until recently.
If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:2-8).
It also says that we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us (you, and me), and we ought to lay our lives for our brothers and sisters, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:16-17).
Showing love to others is as easy as a smile, handshake, a hello, or how are you today? You never know what that smile, handshake, hello or how are you will mean to the other person. We all struggle, we are all broken, some suffer in silence, and that smile, or hello may be the 60 minutes between life and death. We don't know what that person is dealing with, that one person may have decided to end their life, and your kindness may make them reconsider. We live in a cruel and cold world, choose to be the light in the darkness, let your light shine, pay it forward, one light becomes 2, then 4 then 100 then 1000, let it spread.
Well, today even if you spent this Valentine's Day alone (like I did), please just know that you are not alone, You are loved, you are stronger than you realize, you are not a failure or worthless. You are loved so much by a Perfect God who created you, you are His beloved. There are people that love you, life is gift even with its sorrows, struggles. Faith will light your path, hope will keep you strong, love will bring you your greatest joys and your friendships will remind you that everyday is a reason to celebrate.
I'm gonna leave you with one more song it is Love Like That by Hawk Nelson:
Have a great week everyone. Until next time.