Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Have To...

...I just have to.

This is what I tell myself.  Many times a day.

To the question...that people ask me...often: How?

How do you cook your family New York Strip and M & M Cookie Cheesecake and not be able to eat any of it?  Or worse how do you heave through it because the smell of food is still, often, very often, unbearable?


...I have to.

I have fewer options than before to show my husband and my beautiful children, my precious family, that I love them.  I have difficulty staying up past 8 p.m. and my husband often spends the evenings alone while I rest and/or sleep. He also does ALL the cleaning, laundry, and dishes and waits on me hand and foot. 

"Rest, Honey.  Just rest." 

Also, my children do not get to exercise with me, see me at every school/church event or game, or play, dance, sing, and giggle with me, as much.  Like we used to...

So, I have to.

It's how I show them my love.  My heart...that is overflowing love for each of them.

I just have to.

How do you come to school each and every day (well, most days...) and teach to your heart's content?

"I don't know how you do it."

That's easy.  Because, I have to...

I commited, last year, when I signed my contract, to those over 100 fifth graders, and to each of their set(s) of parents, that I would be there for them.  Each day of the year.  Give them what they need to succeed in their future education and further is what I promised with that signature.  I also love my own two children and my husband...and I love what we have the opportunities to do...the chances my children have.... oh..yeah.. and the food we eat and the gas we use to drive....all which would not be possible without my paycheck.

So, each morning when the pain is horrible, the nausea is overbearing, or the weakness is unbelievable...the answer is easy.

I just have to.

It's how I love each of those little hearts.  It's how I contribute to others.  It's how I love people.  It's how I love me... 

Teaching is a gift that God gave me...(no, Susan, not my spiritual gift) ...and when I am planning, teaching, learning, or yes, even the dreaded, grading, I feel important.  I feel needed.  I feel like I am exactly where I belong. 

So, maybe teaching is a weeeee bit self-serving.

But, it just adds to my consistent, ever present thought...


Because, because, BECAUSE...

I just have to.

Lastly, I have spent most of my weekends, several weeknights, and all of my time, prayer, and effort, towards serving Our God through the works of my church, Powhatan Community Church.

And oh, was I happy.

And growing.

And learning.

And forgiving.

And serving...

Serving.  THAT is my spiritual gift.  I lived for the small lives of PowerJam.  I felt the need to fall to my knees in thanksgiving to the Lord for each and every chance I had to serve Him on the stage of PCC.  I was on the leadership team and attended conferences and/or training sessions, all to learn how to love people the name of our Jesus.  I adored my pastor, my band, and my tech team, that put on an amazing service that I never, ever missed.  For five years of Sundays.  I was far from perfect. Far, far, far.  But, you know the saying, "You don't know how good life is until..."  Well...

But...then I got sick.  And all of my serving was gone.

Not slowly taken away.

But, gone.

And I do not think I realized until of late, how much that physically and emotionally has harmed me.

While I had, and often still have no physical choice, I love Jesus.  I love my God.  And I love, love, love... oh how I love, to serve appreciation for all that He gave me...  to love others as He has loved me.

I try to still do what I can.

I pray.

I pray so much, that I am pretty sure I do NOT pray less, than I DO pray.

I pray for all the people in need from our church...for our leaders...for our school system...for Japan... for my family.  And even for those who have hurt me the deepest.  I pray, so that I am as close to Him as I possibly can be.

I attend church as many Sundays as I possibly can.

But it is different.  I miss Small Group.  I miss being a part of all the nooks and crannies of my church.  I miss being a part of the Children's Team and the Creative Arts Ministry.  I just miss serving in the ways I used to.  

I know, I am trying to accept, but I know, that there is a high chance that I might have to be "different" for the rest of my life.  I am aware that I may never be able to go back to the way I "used to" in a lot of ways.


...sometimes I can.


So, when I was asked to serve this Sunday, even if it is a small role in showing others how far I've come, how much love I feel and have, because of Jesus and the love I have been shown...

and the question lingered in the air...

as to how I am going to be able to spend a majority of my weekend serving Him? Am I sure I can do "it"?  At PCC.  In the service.  The answer was easy.



...I have to.

Do you know the amazing feeling, privelige it is to serve Him?  To be given the chance to do that?  

He loves us so much.

I am grateful for any chance I get to share that love with others.  To show them, as I have been shown, that they are beautiful.  No.  Matter.  What.

Or how.

So, I just have to.


See you Saturday at 6:00 or Sunday at 9:30 or 11:15. 


You will be blessed.

I triple promise.

And that has NOTHING to do with me... 

Saturday, March 19, 2011


This is what I feel is the best "item" to summarize and/or describe my life. 

When I was 13, on September 13, 1987, after attending church for the first time in years and spending the afternoon with youth who claimed to "love" this Jesus, I wholeheartedly gave my entire heart to Him.  And as I spent the next several years serving and learning and dwelling in His word, I realized that He created me... ME... therefore, I was beautiful.  I had no other choice.  God made me.  Hence, beauty.

It was so freeing.  I felt precious.  Loved.  Cared for.  Forgiven.  Needed...

Needed.  The God of the Universe didn't 'really' need me to help Him lead others to Him....but He allowed me the privelige to do so and in the process, feel very special, important, honorable... mother's health deterioted.  I refuse to debate the whys, whens, or whats of this, but her health caused her to not be the mother she had been before.  Whether it was her fault or not, her sickness, slowly, broke me...and my siblings.

And so slowly, the beautiful daisy that I had finally convinced me,I truly was, despite years of fat jokes and hatred of myself, slowing began to be plucked away.

And it never, ever stopped. 

My mother threatened to abandon me before adulthood...

My Dad became gravely ill...

My son was born...and had a horrible scare with 'meningitis' at three months olds...

My father...dies.  Dies.  Forever, gone...

My husband leaves one of the worst ways possible...

My mother gets cancer...

My mother-in-law...and one of my heroes....died...

My stepmother, and in conjuction brothers-aka-all I had left of my Dad, informed me that I was never really family anyway and she no longer needed to see me or my son.  I was her stepdaughter for 20 years. Two decades.

Because of the devastation of my divorce, the abandonment of the only person I had ever fully given my heart to, I moved to Virginia to live with my mother and all that that decision ensued...

My son scratched his cornea, which led us to the E.R. yet, again...

I choose someone to marry based on the urge to fix my life, not based on His guidance or even on love...

Chloe had a muscle disorder for the first year of her life...that, even though mildly, threatened her ability to walk normally.  This lead to weekly therapy...

I finally buy a house...far away from my 2nd husband..but bring all the stress and debt that comes with raising children on your it was not meant to be.

My mother 100%, completely, disowns me. Again.  But this time, despite calls, texts, and even letters, it is for good.

And the creme' de la creme': this never-ending, life altering, bring me to my knees on most days, "food poisoning", and all the horror that has come with it.

It has literally hit the "daisy" in me that everyone else has "plucked" at for years...

You see, I was resilient.  Very resilient.  Tell me I am not as pretty as my cousins? Whatever.  I will grow that petal back.  Tell me I will never, ever be a part of "your" family?  Blah, Blah...another petal ripped up, but one that will return quickly.  Tell me I will never be happy and that I am completely selfish, well, that one ripped out a lot of petals and almost destroyed me then.  But, alas, I found Jesus' people and their love and again, I was a flourishing flower...despite the anger towards me that continued in my life.

Then August 7, 2009 occurred and the windstorm, attack of my inner beauty, has not stopped.  Not once.  It does slow down some, but it never completely stops.

So I am sad.  And feel, literally, wilted.

My body is exhausted and I wonder how I am going to make it one more week, yet work the next 20-30 years of my life.  I am scared...

Or I should say I was scared.

My therapist has told me week after week after week...that guilt, is the most WASTED emotion on earth. But I just can't help it.  I cannot let go of all the hurt I have caused so many...especially in the last 18 months...

But... Somehow tonight, it finally sunk in.

Part is because Our God whispered in my ear that He was going to use me through it all and so I need not be distraught...

Part two was having an ENUF friend next to me that has zero judgment of me....simply love.  Do you know how rare that is???  And I have five of those in my life.  Thanks to my Small Group and those that brought it into my home at PCC...

The third part is having the opportunity to sing, dance, praise, and worship.  Hard.  For two solid hours, amongst God's Top Talents in the World...

God IS going to use me.  It may not be on my timing, which totally, 110%, not gonna even pretend, sucks.

But He is gonna use me.  He promised.  Just as He promised that if He is for me WHO can be against me?

No one...that's who.

A little less than three years ago, a very special man, one we all knew and loved, Mr. Bob Pino, told me to be careful what I put my nose up to, because THAT is where He would most likely use me.

THAT, which Bob was referring to, was Buckingham.  Not Powhatan, as I have been so convinced is where I was to be.

I remember telling Bob he was crazy.

I also remember Jeannie's face behind him.

Her grin...the twinkle in her eye.  Like she had 'doubted' the wise thoughts of Pino herself in the past...and it was always a waste of time.

Life has been hard.  REALLY hard the last year and a half.

But I know two things.  For 100% sure..

1) I never felt love from my community, church and school, as I did during this horrible time in our lives

2) God sent Brian to our family.  God saved us..through Brian's strength and love.  I know this to be 110% true.

Summary?  I am so freaking, undeniably, incredibly, horribly/wonderfully, awesomely, blessed...AND...sick.

At the same time.

And it is confusing.

My petals just keep falling off, dwindling away...and each day, it is harder and harder to sprout them back out...

But, I hear God's voice.  Feel His nudging in my heart, in my ear, in His word...

Day after Day...

So, tonight, I believed it.

No matter my past, no matter my health, IF...IF, IF, IF...I let Him, He will shine glory to His kingdom through it all.


So scary.  Deeply, seriously, WAY outta the Kelley Comfort Zone!

Pino?  Seriously?  Still?  I was blessed to have you touch my Jesus' love... but still, really?

I am willing...I want all the petals of my daisy, full and flourished, full of lessons, knowledge, experience and love of His, to shine brightly and fully...for Christ.

Psalm 63
 1 You, God, are my God,
   earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
   my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
   where there is no water.

 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
   and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
   my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
   and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
   with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

 6 On my bed I remember you;
   I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
   I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
   your right hand upholds me.

 9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
   they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
   and become food for jackals.

 11 But the king will rejoice in God;
   all who swear by God will glory in him,
   while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Daily Debate

That is what I, and we, have every SINGLE day.

What do "we" debate?  "We" is sometimes just me, myself and I and at other times is my darling husband and myself trying to simply figure 'Kelley' is going to make it through the next day.

THIS has become part of our nightly conversation.

How sad.

Even as I type this the tears flow...

I am blessed, I am loved, I have been touched by more friends of Christ than any human deserves.... yet, I am sad. Sad. Broken-hearted. Truly, at this point, devastated.

My life has changed.  It has no more become the question of how I am going to juggle mom, teacher, friend, sister, church leader, server of Christ, wife, etc.etc.etc....  It is now become the question of "What is going on tomorrow and how are "we" going to make it happen?"

And it so *&%^#$*^$*#$#&%^w#$*($%*#%^$ confusing because just in that statement alone.....I am more blessed than words.  "we" make it happen.  My husband takes on every moment of my day and gives his all to try and make it go the best HE can.  He buys me different soups.  Vitamin Waters.  Hummus.  He just wants to see me back to "me".  He, too, is tired of the Kelley that naps, Kelley that is weak, Kelley that skips IMPORTANT things, like church, PowerJam, weddings, and parties, and visits and, get the point.

I ask God every single morning what He is trying to have me learn through this...and as of yet, I have no idea.

I just know that I am blessed, I am so happy, I am so lucky....

and at the same time, my heart hurts harder than I ever...has...

I am truly at a loss...

And there are moments, though brief, where it is hard to see the light...