My seasons and roles on this journey of mine called LIFE

I have just shared my testimony recently at my Bible Study during the opening, and several of my friends were not there and asked if I could share online, so here it goes, as I am reading from the notes I made to help me that morning.
 I will start by telling about an out of body experience I had not too long ago. I was talking with a friend at Community Bible Study, Brenda,
about a conflict with the opening we have before class today. I could hear the words but it was like  I was out of my body, 
somewhere, not able to control what was being said. I heard my voice saying  if she needed a plan B
I would be glad to help her with the opening since I was preparing for the devotion at Leadership
this week. Then I reconnected with my body and walked away, glad I had offered to help but
feeling that my Plan B would not be needed since surely God had something else planned for today.
 She called later to confirm that indeed I would be sharing before our classes started at
Bible Study. After I realized this was going to happen,  I could clearly remember my friend, Greta,  saying last week in her devotion opening, that if you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you to tell your story, you need to do it.
So here I am,  feeling that nudge and trusting that what he wants me to say will be spoken and shared today
 As I was working on what I was going to share today, I pulled out my folder from a drawer I don`t often open
It had special papers and notes from 5 years ago when
I was doing the caringbridge updates with Mother.. When I opened it up, two things fell out.
A big purple heart was the first thing I picked up.
Several years ago when I  gave the opening another time  about our faith journey with Mother,
my friends wore purple to encourage me. Purple was the pancreatic cancer color,. This particular friend gave me this paper purple heart so I could have it that morning and  keep it with me. I had tucked it in with the other notes and put them away.
This week , as found it, it was not only a memory of encouragement during
that  season we are walking but a special new  encouragement from God  this week
that He allowed me to have it once again, as I share the continuation of my faith journey.
The other thing that dropped out was a name and phone number. It was one of Mother`s dear friends who I had not talked to  in over 4 years.
I  immediately dialed the number, hoping she was still there. Her voice as she said hello,
was the sweetest sound to hear. I told her about finding her number as I was preparing to do the devotion and we caught up with life. 45 minutes later as we were saying goodbye,
she told me again, how much it had meant to her to have Mother as her special friend.
and how she wished she had known her her whole life.
When I hung up the phone., I cried . tears that I thought were long gone. because  I so  wanted it to be mother that I I was talking to, telling her everything.
Then God brought me back to the moment as He showed me the importance of our seasons in life.  He shared with me how Mother had lived her seasons well, and now the  memories she left would continue to tell  her story
In order to take you to this new season of mine which is what my devotion is about., I will go back to the beginning
I grew up in a Christian home. My Daddy was a deacon in the church, and sang in the choir
He and Mother both taught Sunday School classes. for as long as I can remember. We were there whenever the doors were opened This was our life and we didn`t know any different.
We never got to watch Wizard of Oz because The Wonderful World of Disney
came on Sunday night at 6:00. We were always at Training Union and  we couldn`t skip church to stay home to watch television.!!
I became a Christian when I was 7 years old during a revival at our church.
Went  to Sunday School, Training Union,  Wednesday night supper at church then
to GA s  before worship , we had choir on Sunday afternoons. We had choir retreats, church
camps, nursing home visits…. All the busy activities as
you would do growing up in church.  Life was good and pretty ordinary, I thought.
We were a family of 4, Mother , Daddy and my older sister, Anne.  I wanted a baby brother
for years and years and faithfully prayed for one. Now, I am not sure if Mother and Daddy
shared my prayer all of those years but eventually God answered
and I took full credit for the birth of our little brother, Billy, in 1966 when we girls were 12
and 15. Once again, life was good.   I not only had the role of little sister but now, I was big
sister to this little brother of mine.
Life happened, we grew up….
Fast forward 8 years later,
I met my husband to be, Tom, the next year we became engaged and the next year in March, 1974, we married.
Enter this season for me, and a new role…I was now a wife..
This is the part  in my story when God turned it from “Ordinary to extrordinary”
Extrordinary meaning that He was showing me and I was beginning to get it, that He had these seasons of my life planned.
My roles were already defined by Him, but I had to walk through each one to get to
the next and to BECOME who He had created me to be.
My season of youth, and carefree days , was behind me, so to speak. I was entering into a new season, as I became a wife. and a young adult.  Soon, very soon, I was about to find out about the trials he speaks of
James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know
that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.””
Romans 5:3-4  but we also rejoice in sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance character and character hope.”
My sweet Daddy, whom I adored and loved deeply and thought could do no wrong, found out within weeks after my wedding that he had cancer.  He died a short three months later.
Our world as we knew it, had just turned upside down. .How would we go on without him?
 God  had given him to us for a season.  We were not ready for him to leave us, he was only 45 years old, but in that short season, God packed it full of lessons for us.
God showed me that those things I took for ordinary were treasures He was storing in my heart.
God used my Daddy to shine His love… Love for our Mother, love for us, love for family, friends, church but most of all His love for God. he used our Daddy to teach us respect,
 He did not tolerate disrespect toward our Mother. Or being disrespecful at church and talking. LOL…
 I remember getting into trouble for doing both of those.
 I know it is hard to believe but as a young girl, my tongue DID indeed get me in trouble..sometimes
God used our Daddy to teach us how to perservere during the hard times,
How to be kind, thoughtful and how to serve others. He used my Daddy to teach us how to pray.
 I remember going down the hall  one day to their room, looking for him,  the door half shut,  but half open, as I peeked  in to see my big, strong  Daddy, down on
his knees at the foot of their bed, in prayer.
Now, my role as Daddy`s little girl had changed but it left the most beautiful memories, as we were  saying Goodbye to him. Through the hope we had in our God,
 we knew  it was only going to be for a season, and we would see our Daddy again one day.
Three short years later, a new happy  season… new role….
Our first son was born, Thomas William… This was for sure one of the most important seasons of my life. God was trusting us big time and I felt the pressure.
I remember thinking one day when we brought him home from the hospital and Tom was at work….  as I glanced at this little newborn, and was in awe of
how God created this child of mine, I was overcome with a feeling that he was totally dependant on  us. Every single need he had, we were responsible for.
I knew that we were not capable of the task alone, only with God`s help and his promise that He would take care of all of our needs.
Four years later our second son was born. Christopher Brent.
A red head this time!! If you have a red head,  you will understand
that they are special and loving  and they are usually blessed with their own personalality
The year Brent was born, 2 families became one as my mother and Tom`s Daddy married. That is a whole other story and I don`t really even go to what  new roles happened then when my FIL became my Step father?  But another God thing to show how He provided
that season for us at just he right time as Billy was almost a teenager,
to help raise him and to be there with Mother when he left for
college and left home for good. It was a good season for 29 years.
This season of raisng two boys  continued and was full of carpools, arguments, backyard baseball games,  organized sports, ball practices, arguments,  church, adventures and lots of God`s grace, and almost forgot, did I mention… arguments?!!!
My next season was a time of hurt and disappointments as I suffered through 3 miscarriages. Now , looking back, I can see that even through that hard season,
God was molding me and using that time to prepare my heart to be sensitive
to others going through the same thing. down the road.
2 Cor. 1:4  “Who comforts us in all of our trouble so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing  any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
When our boys were 8 and 12, God blessed us with our baby girl. I now, was a mother to a little girl, not to be confused  with the role of a mother to little boys.!  They are very different, So I consider this two different roles.Now, I had some lace and ribbons thrown into my life with dolls and fancy dresses and still many many ballgames.
I was kind of getting used to these roles. Life was moving along at a very fast pace.
We were enjoying this season of raising our children. It was filled with challenges, sometimes was tiring, but lots of joy and love as we were growing  and learning life together.
Soon, I blinked and that season was changing as one by one, the kids left for school and then to start their own lives. and moved out of our home. My mothering skills  t
hat I had tried so hard to learn, were not needed near as much as they once were.
Today we are so blessed to have them all here in Birmingham,
and we talk often,, but my 24/7 rold as mother as drastically changed.
One of the greatest gifts, I truly believe at this season  in my life was born May 29, 2008. Our first grandson.  Words could never explain the love you have for this little one
as you see your child holding his newborn baby. Now… I was a grandmother. Icing on the cake!!
All to soon, another trial was starting., another season…this is where the purple heart comes in. once again……
Summer 2010. An ordinary day, my sister and I were spending the morning with our mother. It was a Friday,
and we were waiting to hear the results from tests she had earlier in the week. When we did not hear, I called to  try to find out what the delay was before the weekend settled in.
 Later the Doctor called me back. I remember him saying, he had tracked down the results himself
 and it wasn`t good. He asked if we wanted him to meet us at  Mothers house to tell her with us. I immediatly said, yes, please.
. Kind of a blur now, in looking back but as he told her it was pancreatic cancer.
 Our sweet mothers only comment was, “Oh, I don`t want you all to go through this.”
After the doctor left, we girls hugged, we cried, and we prayed for God to make her well . We tried to make a game plan to
move forward.  We had 5 months with her on this journey of hers, her last season. Our prayer was always the same. But as the months
went by, and the treatments stopped working, and the pain increased,
that first week of December rolled around, God changed my heart. I was able to still pray
for His will but different this time. I prayed for His will and please take her home to be with Him.
He did answer both prayers, to make her well. December 13, 2010, when she took her last breath
she was instantly made well and whole with God.
This season, the hardest yet, life without our Mother. Thankful that He had given her to our family
all of those years ago. The lessons that God taught us through her are too many to mention  but she lived for Him well and she loved all of us well.
My role, had once again been changed. I no longer had my early morning phone calls to check on her
each day or to go eat lunch with her, or talk to . She was always my encourager, my go to for anything,
my personal cheerleader and she always shared that unconditional love and beautiful smile just when I needed it. But as I was missing her, God was reminding me that
He was all of that and so much more.
He is waiting for me to come to Him each morning to talk
He is my encourager when times are hard.
He is with me through life`s trials and he promises that He will never leave me. Deut. 31:6
That was 5 years ago, which brings me to the current season of my life….
This “slightly over mid life” season, and wondering what does God want me to do with my life?
How can I be productive for Him with my roles changing so much?
Many roles have come and gone. Many seasons, and now what is my role?
When I turned 60 last year, these were my thoughts and questions. I took lots of online classes,
mostly art which I love, trying to figure it all out. Here it is over a year later and I am still trying to
figure it all out. The one thing I do know is that He isn`t finished with me yet.
Any of these seasons by themselves, I could write a book about but as I list them here, briefly,  I can see how He is intricately weaving them all together for my story.
I am still BECOMING
He is still taking my ordinary life and making it extraordinary
He can make the broken beautiful
He can raise the dead
He can heal the sick and lame
He can calm the seas
He can walk with you through the trials and make them for good
He can walk on water
He can save the lost sinner and give him eternity through salvation
Our God is BIG. If He can do all of these miracles and so much more, He can certainly make this season of mine into something to count for HIM    it is up to me to be still and listen and wait for His timing, not mine.
Whatever season you are in, whatever roles you have, I encourage you to enter it with joy, not mourning the seaons before but looking forward to what God has planned for you. Remember He is not finished with you yet. You are still BECOMING.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
My favorite verse is Esther 4:14 “Who knows if you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

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