Warning – this is an extremely personal post. I don’t do this too often, but sometimes, life is not all rainbows and butterflies, or in the blog’s case, beauty products and bags. Sometimes, life is life. I’m sharing this story to not only clear up some of the questions you have all had for me, but also in hopes that my story helps someone. We bloggers paint a pretty picture perfect life, because that’s what we get paid to do. And, let’s face it, that’s a whole lot of fun! But life is full of ups and downs, and I’m a firm believer in transparency. This post is me, sharing my heart and a peek into my real life with you. I hope you appreciate it, and if not, it will be back to the lighthearted kind real soon.
Writing you from 10,000 feet, as I head back from California, to Colorado. As some of you know, I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. I moved to Colorado 8 1/2 years ago, needing a change, and it is truly one of the best decisions I have ever made. I don’t go back to Bakersfield too often, as my mother and father also live in Colorado, so I don’t really have a need to go frequently. Still, I have found myself going back for family weddings, birthdays, etc. and every single time I struggle with it. My hometown holds a lot of emotion for me. There are people I dearly miss, and grieve every day, which brings a lot of emotion to the surface when I go there. There’s a certain nostalgia in the familiarity of my hometown, too, that gives me mixed emotions. The bakeries, the restaurants, the things you can only find in your hometown…you know the ones. I hold these things dearly, and love experiencing them, and it’s always so hard letting it all go when I head back to Colorado. Beyond that, I’m a totally different person than the girl I was when I lived in Bakersfield. My old friends are, too. The ones that still live there have moved on with their lives, as have I, and when I go back, it’s hard to reconcile the feeling of happiness of being “home” with the immense loneliness I feel, because it is no longer “home”. That is something I have to deal with every single time I go there, and it just sucks.
Because of that, I was feeling really nervous about going back there for a very last minute and unexpected trip, this past week. For those of you that sent prayers my way via this request, thank you! Your comments, DM’s, texts, calls and even cards, have meant SO much to me. I have been covered in beautiful, unexpected words these past few days, and you all have spoke things over me that I never knew about myself. Thank you! I receive it, my sweet friends.
So here’s what’s going on:
Addiction has affected my family in a deep way. I won’t get too much into it, but it is really the core reason I went back. To break the cycle of addiction and its affliction, for one of my nephews. I have a 24 year old nephew that was pretty much raised with me, by my parents, so he’s more like a brother. He wanted to give his 14 year old brother the life my parents gave him, so he and his fiancé (she is amazing, btw!) chose to take custody of my 14 year old nephew and bring him out to Colorado. My sister approved the decision, but the biological father was not cooperating and I just knew I needed to go out and support my nephews as they went into court. Because of all the reasons stated above, I was so, SO, nervous about heading home. I literally stood in my room saying, “Father, what do you want me to do? Give me a sign, if you want me to go.” As I prayed, the thoughts that filled my mind were, “Go fight for Chris.” (my 14 year old nephew) and “Go support Tim.” (my 24 year old nephew). Still wrestling with what I would do, I drove to work that morning. When I arrived, my father-in-law came in to talk to me (we work together) and I expressed my dilemma to him. He told me that he thought I should go, and that if anything it would tell Chris that I’m fighting for him, and would make Tim feel supported. (These were the exact words I was praying that morning, so I knew it was the sign from the Lord that I was needing.) Minutes later, I booked my flight and texted my nephews that I would be joining them.
Throughout the next few days, I felt nervous. Then, after verbalizing some of the emotions I had been feeling to my sister-in-law, I was able to put words to emotions I felt and let them go. After that, I felt peace. (I guess that’s why therapy is so effective, huh?) And after I felt peace, I even began to feel steadfast, knowing that going there was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do. I would pick up random devotionals that I hadn’t touched in years, and open to words I knew God wanted me to read. Even on the plane, I stayed steady in the word, and the Lord continued to reveal to me that everything was going to be okay. It was clear time and time again, He wanted me on this trip.
The whole weekend was full of hard emotion. Seeing how my young nephews have been living, and what addiction does, is no easy thing. I’m not saying that in a “judgy” way, either. I’m no angel and made a lot of stupid mistakes when I was younger, and by the grace of God escaped what could have led me down the same path. I feel truly blessed. And seeing what I saw, reminded me of that. There were a lot of tears shared with my nephews over the weekend – once again reminding me that the Lord wanted me there to share their burden with them.
When Monday came, we headed to court at Tim’s hearing for custody. Because the biological father was not coorperating, there was a chance the judge wouldn’t have even seen the case. A big chance. Still, I felt peace in my spirit that the judge would not only see the case, but that she would rule in our favor. As I sat there with Tim, his whole body shaking from head to toe, I held my hand on his knee waiting for our turn to be called. I just prayed that the Holy Spirit would be near. That he would calm Tim, that He would speak through him, that the judge would be in agreement – all so that the trajectory of Chris’ life would be changed! Right before our turn, a VERY similar case happened with a man trying to take custody of his nephew. The judge ruled in that man’s favor, and I immediately felt a sense of calm come over Tim. This was another sign that God was telling us it would be okay. And guess what….it was! The judge not only saw our case, but ruled in our favor. PRAISE!! I immediately burst into tears (a big THANK YOU to the kind sheriff that brought me tissues).
So, here I am, heading back to Colorado with Tim AND Chris. I’m fighting back tears even now. I can’t tell you how proud I am of these two young men.
This, my friends…THIS is what life is about.
My heart has been changed in a profound way over this weekend. SO many Bible verses about trials come to mind, and I can tell you they are all true.
He wins, friends. He won!
Beyond all that, I had the opportunity to visit my great-grandmother’s gravesite over the weekend, only to discover that her tombstone was never set where she lay. 11 years, my dear granny laying there without the dignity of a marker above her. It was devastating. There was some family drama that had occurred at the time of her death, which is likely why things never got finalized with her stone. But nobody had a clue about it, until I discovered it, this weekend. Luckily, we got to the bottom of things, and a marker will be placed within the week. Albeit hard, VERY hard, that was another situation that I am certain God wanted me to find. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be able to redeem her legacy.
Well friends, sorry for the long winded post. I’m sure this isn’t the kind of thing you are used to coming here for, but sometimes you just have to keep it real. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. It was a hard weekend, but so much good came from it. Onward and upward from here.