Power in Being Real

Power in Being Real

Awhile back I had finally worked up the nerve to watch one of the sermons Jonathan preached. I knew shortly after turning it on that it was something I needed to hear. My counselor once said that God knew back then what messages to speak through Jonathan, what people needed to hear. This one was all about being yourself, being real. He spoke about how God truly does create each one of us unique and with purpose. Jonathan used an analogy of how people always want to be someone like else. Like him wanting to have the gifting of teaching and knowing the Bible inside and out, like others he knew. Or, someone wanting to be like him and having the gift of being a great musician. If we are always looking to be more like someone else, we are missing out on doing the work God has for us to do. Much like a machine having many parts that need to perform a specific function in order for the machine to properly work as a whole, we as individuals are needed to use our own special gifting in order for His plan to come to pass. We are all pieces of the puzzle that are put together to do God’s work. My husband was far from perfect and he was the first person to admit that. However, he was courageous enough to often make public the mistakes he made. In that honesty, people’s lives were touched. People felt free to be themselves and know that no one is perfect. You don’t have to live in the shame that was your past. You aren’t defined by the mistakes you make. God can clean up and heal the mistakes we’ve made. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need him right?

I am reminded of the following Bible verse: 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God…

In the darkness lies guilt and shame. The light brings grace and mercy. The light brings forgiveness and freedom.

I am still traveling through this painful path called grief. But, being able to share Jonathan’s words and stories makes me feel good. His life on this side of heaven meant something. And the revelation that his life can continue to touch others long after his eternal journey in heaven began, gives me hope, even if for now it’s just a glimmer. We may not be able to see him. We may not be able to hear his voice. But I assure you that he is not gone. And as much as I would trade anything to have him here with me now, I am honored to be able to keep his memory and powerful testimony alive until I’m with him on the other side. So, that is what I choose to do.

Be confident in yourself and who you were made to be. Know who you are, own it and be proud to be unique. Don’t hide, put on a mask or play a role. Be the same person Monday -Saturday as the the person who walks into the church building on Sunday. When you are real, others can be touched by your imperfect life and journey.

Broken Glass(es)

Broken Glass(es)

I did something today, something very simple, that actually holds great significance. I ordered new glasses. Big deal right? Yes. Yes it is.

I had my yearly eye appointment to get my contacts. I wore my glasses there because I was actually totally out of my contacts. While I was there they had me read the chart with my glasses on first. That didn’t go so well! The doctor said, how old are theses glasses? I hesitated but replied, “9 or 10 years old.” He didn’t ask why but said, “wow that is surprising, especially since your prescription has gotten so much worse.” I quickly changed the subject, we finished the exam and then I went back into the main room to talk to the ladies about ordering my contacts. One of them pointed toward a section of glasses and told me that insurance would pay for two pair of glasses in that area. I didn’t say much but humored her leading and looked through the glasses, finding something wrong with each of them. I finally gave in and let her choose the ones she said would be perfect for me. I then sat down across from her as she was processing my order. At this point I am wearing contacts that the doctor gave me. I look over and see my glasses sitting there. The lenses are so scratched up I don’t know how I saw out of them at all. One side of the glasses would close in but the other side would not because of my famous superglue repair jobs.

Get to the point already Joni! 😂😉

The reason I hadn’t replaced those glasses is because I was wearing them the day that my husband and I were in that horrible accident that claimed his life. The craziest thing is that they were one of only a few things that made it out of that vehicle with me.

I remember going off the road and hitting the ditch, closing my eyes and bracing for impact, and then…the scene before me as I opened my eyes. This isn’t the post to spend too much time describing that scene but I will say, because it’s relevant, I saw destruction. I saw a seemingly endless amount of broken glass, among other things. I look to my left and sure enough, there beside me I see those glasses, surrounded by destruction but just sitting there.

So, I hadn’t realized it but I have held on to them for that reason. I couldn’t let go of them. Until now. What may seem small to most was huge for me.

I don’t let go of Jonathan because I let go of those broken glasses that I found amidst that broken glass. I hold him in my heart, forever. As I continue to pick up the broken pieces of my heart and allow God to piece them back together, he is with me. I’m moving forward, without leaving him behind.

And guess what?!! My vision is improved….

The Pain is Worth the Cost

The Pain is Worth the Cost

The pain of losing a spouse and watching your kids grieve the loss of their parent, brings a sorrow that I can’t quite put into words. It’s unlike any feeling I could’ve ever even imagined.

It is said that “it” gets better in time. Just give it time. Time heals all wounds. As well meaning as the one saying these things might be, it’s just not true.

“It” doesn’t get better and it most certainly doesn’t go away. But, you do learn to live with it. It becomes a part of you. Just as the person you grieve leaves an unexplainable void in your heart and life, the impact they had while living leaves an imprint in who you are. As you carry the pain that their loss leaves, you also carry them with you.

Deep grief is the price you pay for deep love. It is always worth the cost.

The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore

The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore

When you don’t fit where you used to, you grieve that like any other loss. But, if you don’t fit anymore, you don’t. Move forward. We aren’t supposed to have to fight for a place in people’s lives.

I was talking to one of my long time friends today and we were talking about regret or being able to go back and take certain things back. I told her that every little bit of our lives along the way, bad and good, make up where and who we are today.

When you feel like you don’t fit where you used to, it can take you to a really low place. It hurts! The thing to remember is; it’s not your fault, don’t stay there. Move forward knowing that God will place you where you fit, perfectly.

A Split Second

A Split Second

For those of you that have lost someone… Do you ever have moments where it hits you, out of nowhere, like a ton of bricks?? I do and it’s a terrible feeling. There are actually lots of mornings that begin that way for me.

The worst is what just happened to me. I was sitting in my car, waiting on my son to get his hair cut. I’m busy working on something on my home but I still notice people coming and going around me. I see someone out the corner of my eye and I happen to look up. My heart stopped. Or at least it felt like it. The man was walking toward my car, his head tilted down with a hat on. I had. Second where I thought it was Jonathan. I really thought it was him. Obviously had I not been caught off guard, I would have had the presence of mind to quickly know it wasn’t him! He looked up and that reality struck me. Ugh. He’s gone.

That might not make a lot of sense but, for a split second, things looked different.

Is There Really a Choice?

Is There Really a Choice?

I’ll be honest, there have been several times where I truly wanted to throat punch someone who said to me that happiness is a choice. I often thought to myself, “how in the world is it as easy as saying that I choose to be happy when I feel so bad?” I have even told myself several times, “just make a decision to be happy!”

Ugh, if only it were that easy!

It didn’t matter how many times I told myself that I was going to be happy, the weight of the reality I was facing and the feelings I felt weighed more in comparison to that choice.

I finally realized though, it really is as simple as making a choice. I can wake up each day and entertain all of the feelings I am faced with, all of the thoughts floating around in my head or, I could just tell myself that none of those things matter and it was going to be a good day. Now, I might have to tell myself that very same thing 20 times in that same day but, the attitude I was choosing was much better than the alternative!

Long story short, here is what I tell myself now: “Joni, you either trust God or you don’t.” So yeah, it’s not easy but I am making a conscious decision every day to put my trust in the one who actually has a say in what happens!

One day at a time. Sometimes, one hour or even, one minute at a time.