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God is love

” Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
(1 John 4:8 and 4:16b)

The power of God’s love amazes me. Daily, I witness sick patients in the waiting rooms, some fighting for their lives. I interact with medical staff that cares for them – thank you for what you do! I experience this incredible journey called Motherhood. Right now I am raising a teenager and boy does she get frustrated with me. It would definitely be easy to get frustrated back and sometimes I do, but I also choose to understand why she does it. It’s because she understands my unconditional love for her. She recognizes that discipline is love. She is God’s greatest gift and I can’t believe that God loaned her to me to raise. I believe our children grow up to be our greatest contributions to society. I will never forget those eyes staring into mine the day she was born. The miracle of life amazes me. These two both amaze me.

Strong young women

How do I know God is real?

As I continuously reflect on my life, I think about when he has revealed himself to me. It is either through others, nature or through my daughter when I feel his presence the greatest.

There is nothing like a Mother’s love! I am definitely not perfect and not a perfect mother, or sister, or daughter, or friend. I actually feel like an awful friend to so many lately. Please be kind to one another because we really don’t know what others are going through. I am extremely grateful to so many people who have helped me through difficult times, especially last year. I have been growing so much lately, especially in my relationship with God. It is He who gives me strength. I am truly blessed!

There are defining moments in our lives that change us and force us to grow and it is during that time that we make the choice to not give up and continue moving forward with strength. We don’t all have to agree in order to love and respect each other. I saw a community come together stronger than ever recently due to a tragedy. It was beautiful the way they chose to stand united and love – just love – each other and the family.

Defining Moments:

My Father, my rock. He fought cancer twice and even endured a stem cell transplant from Duke Medical Center. I witnessed him in his ‘place’. It wasn’t until much later that he could talk about this place. All I remember is his strength and I knew I had to let him be. It was in that place that he was with God. It’s important to have our place, our quiet moments to connect with Him. I believe all things are possible when we turn to Him. Cancer sucks! Our family, just like many others, lived that. We watched my Dad fight for his life through chemo treatments that made him feel like his body was on fire, made him blow up like the marshmallow man and make him so delirious he didn’t know where he was. I remember vividly watching him beg the nurse to find a vein and ‘make it work’ when the chemo burned his arm so badly that he couldn’t receive treatment in that location any longer. He was begging to live. Thank God for medicine and technology. If the monoclonal antibody he received didn’t come out two years prior, he probably wouldn’t be here. The same class of drugs I represent. Thank you, Dad, for fighting and for always keeping us close to God. I love listening to him preach the word.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

My Dad receiving his ‘new life’ at Duke.

My Grandmother, oh how I loved her. She was so sad after losing my Grandfather. They had been married for over fifty years. She was never sick and never admitted to a hospital until after she was diagnosed with cancer three years after losing Papa. I argued with her over receiving chemo because we had just been through it with Dad. The cancer had already spread to her lungs and hospice had been called in. She just wanted to be with Papa. She was the strongest woman I knew, and fiercely independent. She owned her own salon and taught at VOTEC in Roanoke. She traveled with me alone all the time. I respect that since it wasn’t the norm for the times.

Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, 1997

I couldn’t watch her suffer, she had taken a turn for the worse while I checked in at the hotel and took Ellie for a swim. We had spent hours at the hospital before then. My sister called me back to the hospital and Granny was having trouble breathing. The minister was on his way. I was panicked and determined that she would not suffer so I went to the chapel and kneeled on the Bible. That’s all I could do and I remember having a serious heart to heart with God. I begged him to take her quickly. I returned to her room and within the next hour my sister and I were kissing her on her face and fighting over who her favorite grandchild was, giggling, and then we heard her take her last breath. I mean, to have your grandchildren fighting over you that way, just adoring you – what better way? I was rejoicing that she was with Papa. She was so beautiful. Of course, we were all upset, but there was this incredible peace that came over me and our family.

It was this past year that her peace lily started blooming again. It had only bloomed maybe once or twice since her funeral. I have kept this plant alive ever since. That lily gave me multiple blooms while I was struggling and at one of the lowest points of my life. That was her. That was God. She is with me every day!

We all have our stories and I love hearing others’ stories. It is when we open ourselves up to one another that we can truly start to appreciate God’s true power by the way he presents himself in our journey. Embrace the journey because we all have something to share with one another. God is so good!

I love you, Mom!

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