Inspiration

God in Motion – A Heartfelt Thank You!

Jennifer, my sister-in-law and I are best friends. We’ve been besties for over twenty years. When she got sick five years ago, I was devastated. She endured two years of testing only to be completely frustrated. because the doctors she was seeing “knew there was a carcinoma, but couldn’t find it.” She knew something was wrong. Two years later, in the wake of immense pain in her abdomen, she learned that she had liver cancer. The doctors believed it was metastasized from another type of cancer so they asked Jen at the age of forty-five if she’d ever had a mammogram. She replied “No.” The doctors never asked for that test. It was then when she learned she had stage four breast, pelvic, and liver metastasized cancers.

The family was devastated, but her doctor, Dr. Trumbly, was ready to do whatever he could to make certain that she lived a long life. He has gone above and beyond with every newest treatment known to cure her. Unfortunately, after winning the battle twice, Jennifer is now at the end of a very difficult struggle.

Jennifer is a widow. Her husband Dwight found out that he had stage four colon cancer within the two weeks she was diagnosed. In March 2015, Dwight lost his hard fought battle for life. They have three beautiful children. Brandon is thirteen. Sami is eleven and Laura is ten. The children are exceptionally normal kids considering both their parents have been sick for three years.

Jennifer, Dwight and the kids are all steadfast believers. They love the Lord. As a result of their faithfulness, Jennifer has remained hopeful about her condition and positive towards her children. So much so, that I was afraid she may not fully comprehend the seriousness of her condition. However, last night I had a rare unique opportunity to witness God in motion.

When Jen gets an infection it affects the cancer now growing in her brain. The drugs are ineffective in crossing the blood barrier between the body and the brain. Upon visits for three days I felt that Jennifer’s rapid decline in cognitive ability meant she has another infection. I called Dr. Trumbly immediately and we admitted her in the ER yesterday. It may seem like I am rambling, because most of you already know the situation. She’s been so publicly transparent about her struggle. Hopefully in an effort to motivate other’s into a faithful path. Nonetheless, I promise if you bear with me I will make a point that just might touch your heart too today.

I’m sitting in the emergency room with her and I notice that all the men and women who are there know her. They’re alarmed at her confusion. They begin in unison as if she’s been there a hundred times. They’ve wheeled in the Cat Scans. (She’s completely immobile.) They have the best blood-extracting nurse on the floor in to get some. (She bruises easy.) They’re wheeling and dealing all the while laughing and joking with her. They like her! She’s responding with laughter and joking and cutting up. It was quite a sight to see. She’s comfortable!

When they leave the room, she cries. I stand next to her as her hands cover her eyes. She’s scared, and she lowers them long enough to whisper through her tears, “I need you.” I touch her hand and I tell her that they’re going to find out why she’s so confused. This isn’t the end. I’m trying to smooth it over. Just like the song. It doesn’t work. She knows better. She says, “I’m so mad at you. This is me! Don’t lie to me.” You see, she knows me. We’re best friends. I know her and she knows how I handle difficulty. “It’s okay to hurt,” she says. And I do. Tears fill my eyes, but darn it as long as I’m in public I have a hard time crying! So I don’t let them fall. “You’re too tough!” She hisses. “Come on over to the love side.” And then someone comes in, and her tears are wiped away.

I sit in the chair and listen as if I am watching a heartwarming movie. I’m afraid too. I don’t want to lose her! I don’t know if it’s just an infection. I’m thinking “Oh God. What if this is it?! What do I need to do.” Unfortunately for me, everything I feel/think/process streams on my face. She notices.

The internal doctor comes over to introduce himself to me and asks what I think might be causing it. I told him about the discussion with Trumbly and that the doc thinks she has an infection somewhere. He concurs. I feel better! “So, she’ll get better?” I plead.

“Yes, she probably will in a few days. We’ll get our Jennifer back.” His Jennifer?! Yeah buddy! They’re emotionally invested. I am seeing the first of many good signs “God’s got this.” They decide to admit her.

I met them upstairs and before I got to the room at least twenty nurses and doctors and techs were saying hello to her. She’s commanding attention and doesn’t have a clue what she’s saying or what they’re saying, but they don’t care! One by one; patient, kind and considerate people are saying hello through bright shiny white smiles. They’re happy to see her. That’s the second sign of God. It brings a sense of stillness to her anxiety. She’s beginning to calm down a bit.

Once they took vitals and poked and prodded, we settled in. I wanted to go to this Plano Moms book club I’ve been looking so forward to all month. I was so excited to talk about the book, The Good Girl. I have never ready anything like that. I transgress. Anyway, I tell her I need to go. She won’t have it! She says, “Hey, I haven’t had anything to eat, so order me something.” It’s getting late and they’ve stopped serving food at the hospital so I agree. It’s almost 7 o’clock when I am supposed to be at the Club. I call Scott, (my husband) and tell him I’m not able to go. I need him to get to the kids and make sure they have dinner. He agrees, and I settle in with Jen.

I’m disappointed. I don’t know why?! I feel guilty. I know I am exactly right where I need to be, but part of me is frustrated after a long tumultuous day. I sigh heavily. I sit in the chair and begin to give everyone text updates. I cancel the orders for the next day to transport her to the new residence she was going to. I call the facility owner, I inform the family she will probably be okay and talk to the kids about what is expected of them for the evening. Scott won’t be there until 7 o’clock. Brandon, the oldest kicks into gear and cooks mac and cheese for them. He empties the dishwasher, feeds the dog and makes sure the girls are showered. It’s picture day Wednesday. What a guy! Thirteen and already a fine young man! That’s the third sign of God.

Jen gets her food and calls me over. She says, “I’m mad at you. I miss you.” She cries again. “I never get girl time anymore. I’ve ruined your life!” Now she’s sobbing and can barely ask, “Can you just stay with me?”

“The kids are not ruining my life!” I softly shout. It’s time. I can tell you that I am tough. She knows it. Anyone who knows me knows it. I’ve spent the whole day frustrated and angry about not being able to get things done and feeling so helpless. I don’t know if you know my story but I’ve had a life filled with obstacles of my own. I’ve been raped, and beaten. I’ve been through a terrible accident that took the life of my unborn child. I’ve lived through a fire that took all my belongings and almost my life. I’ve been so poor I haven’t had hot running water. I’ve been homeless. I have witnessed those I love die. I survived ten surgeries of my own. To say I am tough doesn’t measure the reality that little can make me break. But at that moment I broke! I let the tears fall. I grasped her hand and held it in mine and we both sobbed together.

She wipes her eyes and tells me, “If this is it, I want you to be okay. I know it’s the end of my journey.” That’s what she calls it. I find that so faithful don’t you? She never says, “I’m dying,” because she believes she’s passing on to Heaven and that this is not the end. I don’t correct her this time. She hasn’t been able to come to grips with the fact that she’s losing this fight. For a brief moment she’s Jen. She’s clear. She says, “I know I am going to be alright, because I can watch my children from heaven. I have to learn to let go and I’m getting that now.”

I’m crying writing this today. Not because it makes me sad. Oh no, she wouldn’t have that! I’m in tears because she is at peace. She knows she’s headed to Heaven. She knows he’s got her kids by placing them in my hands. I’ve got this! God’s prepared me in the face of all the human unkindness I’ve suffered. He’s kept me protected, and he’s given me joy in the face of the horribleness I had to endure. I’m crying because I know why I stayed strong. Why I never got lost in my own sadness. Why I didn’t take my own life at the low points. He made me strong so I could sit in that very moment and help her tears fall. So I could help her know how much I love her! How valuable her life is. How she threw a pebble and how that rippled a community’s love to grow. I reminded her.

I’m at peace, because we finished crying. Then we reminisced about funny things long past. We talked for hours. She’s still confused, but it was the best few hours I’ve spent in a long time. We had a girl’s night last night. It was EPIC! Something I won’t forget anytime soon. If you ask me about it, I may tear up, but I process these things well, so just expect I’ll be fine. After all, it’s really not about me; it’s all about her. I’m so very relieved that God has worked such miracles in her life, and that she sees them. I’m touched that he chose me to care for those precious children! I’m humbled more than any words can possibly convey to you how restored my faith is in humanity because of the kindness of everyone who has come to know Jennifer. I cannot thank everyone enough on all of our behalf for the generosity, the kindness, the prayers and all the empathy that everyone has shown. I don’t know if the words I write today will be able to convey how thankful the family is that friends and family alike have made such an impact. I will thank you, although I will never really truly feel that is enough. Thank you. The ripples from her pebble have filled our sea. I’ve witnessed God in motion.

Inspiration

Feeling other’s pain

Did you ever just feel the pain with the total understanding that it’s not yours?  That’s where I am today. Just emerging myself in other’s pain and feeling the empathy that cuts through my heart like a jagged knife.

I’m constantly working on me, evaluating my behavior, improving who I believe God wants me to be.  It’s not easy. I find often that I do things not because I want to or don’t want to but because my sense of right and wrong tells me that I have absolutely no choice.  Living a life with the belief that I am on the path to my maturity and learning from my lessons is not easy. Self perspective is difficult especially when things hit so close to home that it shatters.  The point is when I expect others to be just, fair and decent I CANNOT do so without insisting this upon my own character.  This works well for me, until empathy creeps in and all is lost in the emotion of the pain.

I am struggling right now with several factors. 1.  My novel is not getting the attention I believe it deserves. 2.  My family “appears” to be distant and I miss them.  3.  I just learned my bio-dad is not the man I thought, (that’s not such a bad thing) except no one believes me and I cannot find him to prove it.  4.  I am watching people I love go through the worst horrific circumstances of their lives and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Today I cried. I sat and I sobbed because when it rains it pours. One friend doesn’t have faith in their abilities, another doesn’t have trust in others, and yet another doesn’t feel anyone hears them.  One friend is struggling with cancer, another still in the closet and yet again… one more cries alone believing their depression is without any understanding.  How do I deal when I feel as though there is nothing I can say? No words beyond “I love you.” No words.

There’s a line that is crossed when a burden is taken on that no one knows. That’s the weight of the world no one sees is piling up because although one person is going through their torture unfortunately they’re not the only people I know walking down the path of despair.  It’s unfortunate they don’t know of each other or their pain may increase, but where does that leave me? I am stuck in the middle trying to decipher where I can make any difference whatsoever with my lack of verbal content. I show up. I do but is that enough? To be the listener?

At what point I ask is the burden too much. My answer? Just as Jesus said to Paul, “Until you can stand no more.” Since I am a pretty tough cookie and I know God knows this of me, all I can do is cry. Because tomorrow I will make that call and I will listen. I will show up. I will wait until I can be needed. I will understand the anger, feed the hungry, organize the weak. I will be whatever it is they need if only for a moment because it is not enough. This is not my pain. It is theirs. I can cry all I want but there comes a time to wipe those tears and get back in the game. Same as I expect from them.

Inspiration, Opinion

A mother’s plea-leave mine alone!

There’s no kind of heartache that can match what happens when you see your child or someone you love about to hit head on into something that is going to end badly. Whether it’s drugs, or friends, or choices or mates; it hurts to watch them grow through some pretty painful human things that young people go through.

You want so badly to shout, “STOP” but they won’t. You want to define the hurt, to identify it for them and give them a path to either get through it, or avoid it altogether. That doesn’t work. The only thing you’re left with is an undeniable sense of powerlessness.

There’s no advice, no words, no wisdom, no mercy that will be accepted or even considered. They will undeniably come to education or experience all on their own without your incredibly unwanted help.

For all those people who would come into my life, I want to scream at you, “Knock it off!” Stop the drama, the conflict, the chaos, the manipulation, the games, the toil and the turmoil and just leave me and mine without you. Just go away. Just take whatever that makes you feel good when you do evil things and move on down the road. Just be done with us.

Some say that people (even I do) are both good and evil. That people are basically great and they do bad things, but what about those people who wake and think negative. They always have an angle, they’re always looking for someone to control, to overpower, to use, to manipulate for their bidding? What bout those broken people? Are they the ones you need to throw out of your life?

I have learned in my long life that people do change. They are capable and that I myself have been what I call a manipulating person. I certainly don’t even think I could do that today if I wanted to but I can recall a far away youth that presented those opportunities that sadly I took advantage of. I hear my hypocrisy on the issue, but to my credit; although admitted, decided one day to take a change… and switch. Deny what was and move into a more thankful being. Because I got the help I needed. I truly believe when they do too, the end result will be either loving and generosity or unforgiveness and bitterness. It will be there choice.

The thing with time is it takes time for this butterfly effect to happen. In the meantime, my children will be in harms way and potentially broken. As the doctor’s say, you cannot fix broken people by loving them more. They have to want to be fixed. They have to want that They have to want that. Yes, I am repeating myself. The people I’ve met don’t even think they have a problem. I find that so heartbreaking…

Inspiration

It is Tough to be in Pain

Sometimes I forget that life can truly be painful when it’s not so much for me. Pain is a relevant thing in my life… that being said, it isn’t a constant but I have had tremendous burden of it throughout my whole life. So, for someone such as me to admit that I am one of those ‘take a pill and get over it’ individuals it is not because I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, it is because I am not currently walking in them. Speaking to you about your woes pulls me back into my own and like a crab trying to get out of the water while other’s pull them down, I run the opposite direction. Shame on me.

There is a moment when we realize maybe someone could feel less wounded if we took a minute not only to share our burden but to life someone else’s above our own. The loss of a child, a man, a job, may seem merely an obstacle for some while for other’s it may be their biggest burden. The measure of main is indescribably difficult from person to person and it shouldn’t be up to those of use who have endured to sit in judgement of what that actual affliction should be.

It is with powerful reverence that I can even utter this retrospective conclusion given that my admission to the offense is certainly evident, however, I will pause to give a forlorn gaze upon you as I whisper, “You are not alone. I am ready to hear.”

There are moments when people want to know that their worries are held in high regard. The one denominating characteristic is that they want to be valued. How dare I not give credence to that basic acceptance we all feel?

I do value yours as you have mine. I do see you for what you in see me. I hate the things in you that I hate about the things I see in me. I am you, further, distant, different having past through the torment you currently suffer. I am hope, and light, and forgiveness and you in the infinite wisdom of time healing all wounds will be resolute in the completeness of knowing that you too will one day erect from whatever feeds your life a living hell right now, much more victorious than I should have ever or ever will be. For you have the benefit of acknowledgement and affirmation and that my friend is the first step to the momentous climbing out of the depths of despair you find yourself in.

You are worthy, admirable, and possess great strength and courage. All things are possible through these actions. I do have faith in you. You should too.

To learn more about me, check out http://www.RebeccaNietert.com or catch me on one of my social sites through twitter: @RebeccaANietert or Facebook: BexNietert

Inspiration

Disappointing Reflections of my Season

The heart once light and amiable to receive now rests heavy upon my chest. It’s as if the hearts very lobes have coarse thickened blood that now runs through its hollow caverns. The beats which are generally musical in their tune only remind me of the looming burden of my sorrow. Thoughts of surreal confusion have eliminated any prior sense whatsoever. I stand before you broken hearted my friends.

I cannot tell you to what lengths, with whom, or why this time for fear that perceptions should change concerning someone that I very much care about; but what I can tell you is that the pain that has so desperately clutches the very depths of my soul is there because of the unconditional love that I have for the offender.

It takes but a moment in this lifetime to pause with enough courage to contemplate a world that is often without compassion. To engage in it and navigate through it is harsher than any human promises. To truly look the behaviors, the attitudes, and the general moral decline is a sight that few want to truly witness. Turning backs to further themselves from the tragedy, is sadly, I feel the norm.

I am reminded that God is with me, and that in He alone can I find my acceptance, but the humanness in me is crying out for justice. On bended knee I ask with reverent feverish hope, this offender will find all that helps him receive the love he so generously begs. I seek awareness from him, without the benefit of harms so that he may understand to the depths of his soul the love that we have for him. To those ends that love shall bring out a kindness or compassion and turn the perception of hate and discourse into one of loving thy neighbor abundantly.

I cannot give this to him for I have not been a role model in my own actions. I am no hero, for I have been so reluctant and screamed the human injustices from the top of my lungs for anyone to listen. I have slandered, I have fought what I thought was the good fight only to learn it was my own, and I have raised my temperament and my voice unwittingly while he listened. An example, I am not.

Lord, I beg for your forgiveness in my seemingly selfish escapades and needs to be filled with my own affirmations. My sins I repent with irreverent understanding that now it has caused some deep seeded need to further the cause for those who cannot stand for themselves and those who would harm for the sake of their own selfishness. That is a fight I am not sure I should have commanded that anyone join me. It is with great sorrow that I bow my head not only in shame but it respect and esteem to wield my words with elegant fury for the fight of inspiration only.

Today I am pensive with the thoughts of words used to harm lingering over a fresh conscious mind. I feel burdened with guilt and remorse over my undoing. This is certainly not a course of life I imagined nor is it what I would have wanted. The loss, the sadness, the acclamation of my proclamations of love ignored and yet unconditionally it is given without a moment’s hesitation.

Inspiration

Be the Light No Matter What!

Please, don’t prove them right.

The other day my friend came to me. A very concerned conversation had taken place, and that dialog included non-flattering comments about me. My friend warned me many times that I needed to guard myself because the things that I was saying were being twisted and turned; and not in my favor. When I left that conversation, I was reserved to continue (based on my extensive life experience) to act in the greatest behavior I know.

I have learned that through the deed of transparency, bridges are formed between adversaries, and trust is built among enemies. If one is completely honest there is nothing to hide. It is the greatest proclamation of unconditional love I can offer my fellow human, despite the injustice I see all around me. I believe to the depth of my being that kindness, and that vulnerability is what my God commands of me regardless if my actions are not perceived as they are intended.

The aforementioned declaration is a conversation I have had with the people who commented many times prior. I decreed at that time that the naysayers, the untrusting, the sarcastic, the weary, the forlorn, the judging, the prideful, and mostly the skeptic people were, in my estimation, always proven wrong. I believe to the core of everything I know, that people want to do good things. I believe it is in our nature to promote wealth, prosperity and freedom for all. I believe given any situation a person will choose the side of decency. I’ve been brutally and savagely beaten by others who have viciously commanded me to hate as much as they do. I refused. To me, I have to believe the acts of humans are ultimately intended for the betterment of themselves and others otherwise I am not sure I could exist in a world void of love for one another.

I have had moments in my life when my hope for mankind, and the hurt or pain that goes along with our life lessons was too much to bear. In those moments, I have almost taken the life that God gave so mercifully to me. I have been witness to the worst of behavior that any human could endure. I’ve been repeatedly beaten, verbally assaulted, tortured, raped, violated, and abandoned. If one human could hurt another I have experienced every angle of the violence, and therefore I understand completely the capability that humans have to act irresponsibly, and without empathy for another. I know it exists, but I have instructed my mind not to dwell on the minority and to embrace the majority of people who do not act that way, and who genuinely want to do great works.

This is the formula in which I address, accept, forgive, and move on. It’s the rules in which I live my life by. I don’t get upset unless I see a great injustice. I don’t get angry unless someone shows me the evil in them. I don’t accuse and I don’t condemn because I have undoubtedly inadvertently hurt people along my journey. I’m fair, and amiable. I am transparent.

I think the hardest thing for me, is that I will tell people, “Don’t prove them right.” (Speaking of them as the cynics) Then I am surprised when the people closest to me do exactly that. I asked my friend, “Why can’t I compartmentalize this and move on?” My friend responded, “You cannot put feelings in a box. It’s just how you feel.” It’s true.

I suppose I want to cry. I suppose I want to ask the commenter, “Why?” I suppose that I hurt more deeply than I could admit and that none of those things will happen. I understand people are just people and sometimes we all do dumb things, so I will forgive. I will move on, but my relationships will be forever altered. There will be an element of hesitation before I speak. There will be un-comfortableness where they sit, and if I need to be in that same space. There is an element of disinclination. I hate that with every fiber of my being because it blocks the love that I want to share. It blocks God’s light through me. It blocks my transparency and ultimately it proves the pessimist’s right. That’s the most heartbreaking thing of all.

The pundits have been made aware, and there has been no resolution other than a separation of space. I miss my friend. I miss what I thought we had. I miss having an environment of peace and tranquility. I can forgive, sure and I will. But I suppose that an affirmation of the act, and a subsequent understanding apology would go a long way to ease us all back to a common gracefulness. However, I do not really need it to forgive.

Before you sit and begin to converse today about the dislikes you have with one of the people very close to you, remember that they too have the deepest of needs to be accepted as well. They have every feeling you have. They believe in the fundamentals that you and I do and they want to be a better person. People are just people, some are more broken, some are sensible, and some not so much. We’re all different because God made us our own unique selves and through our triumphs and struggles we’ve formed our own personalities. We form what we believe because God has allowed us the freedom to embrace our own choices. You can choose today to lift another up, be a little more transparent and put your heart on the line for the sake of another as Jesus has done for you. Or you can simply ignore, you can bask in the glory that something you’ve done has hurt another and have peace with that. You can talk about your fellow man without regard or empathy. It’s your choice. You choose every single day how to affect those around you.

For me, today as much as it’s painful I choose transparency. My convictions tell me that despite I’ve been hurt by what was said, I am not broken by it. It’s a moment, a blimp, a dot in history that shall be long forgotten in a short while. To base my future relationships on such a notion would be childish and immature. That’s not who I choose to be. That’s not what I want for my actions to represent. I choose love. I choose to prove the skeptics wrong. That’s my choice.