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I am someone who journals – not religiously but I do journal somewhat often. And I fantasize that someday someone will read about my life and it will matter to someone all the things I have been through and how they shaped me. I journal not just for my own expressions of feelings, but also to leave something of myself behind.

My nieces lost their mother when they were quite young. Lately the older girls have been reading her journals and finding some comfort in knowing how she felt about things, how she thought, and what she dealt with.

I was considering everything I have written on my blog in the past week meanwhile listening to music. I came across a song called “Blank Pages.” I didn’t like the song’s lyrics, but the name really made me think as I am a somewhat over-analytical person.

My first thought was of all the blank pages of a journal that death leaves behind.

My sister journaled, but is journaling no longer. She is in Heaven living a different life – a life I can barely fathom. She has left behind blank pages in her journal and they will remain blank forever, never to be filled with the ink of her pen, her handwriting, or her thoughts and feelings.

This is something I must choose how to react to. Do I wallow in the fact that, until death, I will never sing with her again (something we did often), talk with her again or hear her words of love and wisdom? Or do I push through and recognize the positive – and yes, there is a silver lining here.

I choose the silver lining… Mary is gone but her girls – her four beautiful, amazingly unique girls – are alive and I praise God for them daily. Not only that, but she left behind a legacy of compassion and love. People came to her memorial and said what a positive impact she had on their lives. That was Mary. She was authentic – truly genuine – and knew how to be real, but with love; sometimes when I didn’t want to hear what she had to say.

Which leads me to wonder what legacy – aside from family and memories – am I leaving behind. How will people think of me when I am gone? And what I wonder more is how did I make them feel when I was alive? Did they feel the love of Jesus flow through me to them? Did they feel the compassion I feel for their hurts and struggles? What did they feel?

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But I digress…

I wanted to note here that the blank pages of a journal – the moments that were never lived and never will be lived – are hard, sad, and sometimes peace is elusive. I want to encourage you with words that may or may not be encouraging to you but they encourage me. God does have a plan – in life and in death—, and all things do (eventually) work out for good for those who love the Lord. I cannot explain why people die “before their time” but I can say that God knew their last day on the day they were born and God works through it all. For more information on my thoughts on this read “The Backside of Life.”

As a person with Bi-polar disorder, sometimes I struggle to monitor my moods. My medications help, but I still feel things, which is not an awful thing. But sometimes I struggle to find that peace and joy that is promised in scripture. (I will write more about my bi-polar and this later; perhaps in my next blog.)

I want to end on a high note – as they say. I want you to know that help and hope can be found in the Lord. We find him when we seek Him with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. (James 4:7-8a)) And remember what I posted in Life is Worth Living, Philippians 4:4-9 which I will highlight here by saying peace is found by giving it to God. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7). I could go on. The Bible calls God our “Father” for a reason. And not just “Father” but “ABBA Father” which is more easily seen as “my Father.” (see this interesting article). We can be as near or far from God as we choose, but he is never any farther than a prayer away.

God bless you and yours today and always.

Super Momma Maggie

(I don’t know if my brother Dennis did any journaling, so I’m not sure what he left behind besides memories and material items. Of course, the memories cannot have a monetary value put on them, and I am grateful for every good memory I have with him).

Photo of quote above was unedited and found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/dearbarbz365/3342471327.

 

As someone who struggles with depression, I have also struggled with finding a reason to live. Life gives us so many reasons to desire death: struggles, hurts, suffering of so many kinds. I see them as things that make me long for heaven. There was a time when my hardships made me want to die so badly that I did try to kill myself… and failed. And not just once. This led me to wonder, what am I living for? Why won’t God let me die or take me? What makes life worth living?

When I had my first child, she gave me a reason to live—to care for her.  But there were days when that wasn’t enough to keep me from longing for heaven. Then my sister died and left behind four beautiful girls and a husband who loved her. And I should mention, I was about 6 months pregnant when she died. This experience floored me emotionally and psychologically. At the time, I was not properly medicated for my bi-polar disorder and anxiety, and it was all I could do to hold it together. Having a life growing inside of me kept me alive, because if I killed myself I killed her, too.

When the baby was born – my second daughter – we named her Serenity Elizabeth Joy (Serenity because, at the time, she was serene, Elizabeth after my sister, Mary Elizabeth, and Joy because we knew she would just bring the world joy (plus it sounded great with the other names, I admit.) At 18 months old, my dearest Serenity E. J. became the strong-willed, energetic, outgoing, and defiant child that she is today. I love that girl with every ounce of my being AND she is one of my greatest challenges. She tests my patience, tries my resolve, and consistently checks on my own consistency.

I must admit, there were days I have wondered, “Why me?” I would pray and ask the Lord, “Why did you give me this child who I find to be such a challenge??” I prayed this prayer for nine years until one day it hit me like a slap in the face. I am the only woman who could possible parent this child. That is not to say that if I did die in some accident God couldn’t raise up another person to care for her. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai tells Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” This tells me that if I killed myself God could raise up another to care for her, but I believe she was given to me for a reason.

Scripture says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I was placed here to do the works that God has prepared in advance for me to do.

And I am just now discovering what those “works” are. Being a wife, raising my children, homeschooling my children, writing the books that God has placed upon my heart, blogging to hopefully share some bit of wisdom that might help others, and (perhaps) I will go to massage therapy school to help others not only feel better but also get better.

All this and still there have been hardships. A week ago, I found out that my brother, Dennis, died tragically. He was very young – only 49. He had just had his birthday in May. I love all my siblings. Even so, for some reason, Dennis and I had some kind of special connection. There was a running family joke that we were twins separated at conception. He had a different mom who (as I mentioned in a previous blog) had died when he was young. Though Dennis and I had our struggles in our relationship, I always loved him deeply. If I were not properly medicated right now, I am not certain how I would have handled his death.

(I cannot stress enough how important it is to get help if you struggle with something – anxiety, depression, bi-polar, or just general inexpiable sadness. Doctors can help, and finding the right kind of help can mean the difference between life and suicide for many people. If you google how many people kill themselves each year you may find yourself feeling like perhaps you should reach out more. But I digress…)

I have realized though that if I wait for the perfect moment where everything is right in the world and thinking at that time I can live happily, perhaps then I will never truly live my life. I have found myself sleeping through the rough days sometimes – asking my amazing MIL to keep the kids. Or sometimes I have found myself floating – you know, just going through the motions but never really feeling any joy or happiness, sometimes feeling nothing at all.

This leads me to thinking how do I go about my life living it and not floating or sleeping through it? How do I experience life, allowing those experiences to shape me but not define me?  How do I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis?

The answer is so simple and yet so challenging for me to live out. The hardest part for me is that I have known it for years, believed it with all my heart, but struggle to feel it in my heart.

Philippians 4:4-9 says (my emphasis added):

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(And this next part is the HOW I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis.)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thingsWhatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

That sums it all up in a pretty little package. Just read it again and DO IT. Then read it again, if you need to, and make a decision to do it. Make a decision to “think about such things,” to pray to the Lord asking for help, thanking Him for the good stuff and the bad stuff, and accept the peace that He extends to you.

The Friday, after finding out my brother was gone, I had a rough day. I was wallowing in my sorrows and feeling sorry for myself. I have that right in this situation, but it was affecting my parenting, how I was treating others, and how I felt about myself. I listened to a song (the lyrics aren’t perfect but the premise is good) and it made me realize I had to shake the devil off and LIVE MY LIFE.

So, I commit here and now before the friends and strangers that read my blog, that I will continually do my best to be my best self and I will live my life – truly live. Mary and Dennis are gone but not forgotten. They can no longer live, but I can and I must. I must make my life worth living by choice.

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Sincerely from the heart,

Super Momma Maggie

(I plan to begin posting more on my other blog. It will be about my past life experiences that have made me who I am. If you are interested, check out www.maggieaspoon.com. And if you enjoyed this blog please like and share. Thanks!)

 

I recently wrote about cherishing life. In my last post I ended with:

“What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.”

This hit me hard. I have realized I haven’t done that. I haven’t lived like I cherish life. I haven’t lived each moment as if I know the brevity of life – but I do. I do know how short life is. With a sister dying at age 30 and a brother dying at age 49, I know life can be short.

However, I have lived my life as though it were a burden.

Not that my children are the the burden, or my husband, but rather Life itself. Life, for me, has been filled with so much struggle, pain and strife and enough death that I must admit it is something I’m not sure I want anymore.

I am not saying I want to kill myself.

What I am saying is I feel fed up with the struggles of life. I want life to be easy. My life has never been easy, but I know it could have been harder. (I cannot imagine how people life a happy life when they have been through even more than I have.)

For me, happiness is fleeting and joy is illusive. But I refuse to make that the state of my being permanently. And wha ti smore is that I refuse to give up!

I have a friend – a very dear friend – who confessed to me how unhappy he was with life. He compared himself to someone who lives their life thinking only of themselves – not because they are selfish or uncaring – but because they are indifferent. He said he feels “satisfied” with life, but not happy.

I don’t want to live my life like my friend – or like my brother, Dennis, who seemed to never overcome any struggle that came his way. His struggles stacked up like garbage similar to the the poem below. “Sarah Cynthia  Silvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out” but Shel Silverstein.

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Notice the end. When Sarah decided to take the garbage out it was too late and she met an awful fate.

I suppose this blog – part two – is about not just cherishing life, but living life. Truly LIVING LIFE. I have another friend who happened to leave the fellowship of believers to become an atheist for many reasons but one seemed to be that he felt like God himself was a burden and that we only needed saving because God condemned us, if He even existed at all. (This is a subject for another blog.)

I could go on forever about the subject of God but all I will say here is that it is not God who is the burden, but rather my response to what happens in life. The loss of my brother, for example, has given me a choice to give up on life or keep living and make sure I actually live my life not just survive it. But I digress.

Again it is 1 a.m. and I am blogging. This turned out long. I hope you read to the end.

Let me end by saying what I believe living life looks like:

Taking pictures (because someday that is the only image you will have of someone), making memories, always doing your best to be your best and giving yourself and others grace and love.

This is the quintessence of life: to live a life where you are your best self, not to please people but rather because, aside from religious reasons, it is logically the best thing to do.

Life is easier when I am my best.

And with that I bid you good day, as I have scheduled this to post tomorrow.

Super Momma Maggie

(To Read Cherish Life Pt 1. click on this link: Cherish Life Pt. 1)

 

Written around 12 a.m. on Saturday, June 24th.

Today began like any other day. I woke up groggy, called my mom (as I do nearly every morning), and got dressed. What I didn’t know was that this would mark one of the hardest days of my life.

I was born the youngest of five siblings but it was complicated. My mom had given up her son for adoption when she was 19, so I wasn’t even raised with him. As for the others, Mary was my only full-blood sibling, but I was raised with my dad’s two sons from his first marriage as well, so they all felt like one big somewhat happy family. The only problem was that I think I was born too late. I mean, I know God know’s what He is doing and all but the gap between my siblings and I proved to be a problem.

Dennis was the oldest sibling I was raised with. He was brilliant – I mean a true genius. But like many genius people, he had his pitfalls.  Those are not for me to share, but lets just say he struggled his whole life to overcome his issues. His mother had died when he was young, which is how our dad ended up with my mom, and that trial was one he struggled with his entire life.

…A life which was cut short.

Dennis is gone, but never forgotten, as they say. The hardest part is that before he died we had “parted ways,” so to speak. We had a fight in person, which then became a fight over email which ended in us not speaking. The cut off from each other ended up being permanent as he is now gone.

I am sharing all this partially to get it out there. Additionally I think it sometimes death helps us realize just how blessed we are. I knew I was blessed with a husband, children, and family and friends, but I took one life for granted. When we cut ties I let it be. I thought, “he will come back some day and we will make amends.” I didn’t even try to make amends. It wasn’t pride, really, it was more that I thought I had time. We had cut ties before and then made amends. How would this be any different? I thought time would heal all wounds and we would be friends again. I truly believed that it would work itself out.

It didn’t.

What I want my readers to know is that life is short. It has been compared to lilies in a field which bloom one day and then another day are gone. I truly never know when my candle will stop burning, nor do I know when the next person I love, like or care about in any way will cease to reside on this plane of existence. This means I should cherish life.

What I am NOT saying is to fear death or in any way avoid living. Neither am I saying that one should just do whatever because you never know when your number will be up. What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.

I am writing this at 12 a.m. so more later.

(To Read Cherished Life Pt. 2, click on this link: Cherish Life Pt. 2.)

Super Momma Maggie

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I share my life with the big wide world; my life as a mom, a wife and a Christian. I work to have original content that is deeper than you might expect but still enjoyable to read.

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