I hated him for that. I mean, I really really hated when he said that. But now that I'm 34 years old, I know he was right. Life is tough.
I spent a good part of my twenties feeling sorry for myself and blaming everyone else for my problems. I left home at age 18, literally, the morning of my 18th birthday at 6:00 am, I left home and flew 5,328 miles on a one way ticket from Kotzebue to Orlando not exactly knowing what I was going to do, but knowing that MY LIFE wasn't gonna be "tough."
I got married, had a baby, didn't call my parents until I had my child. My mom hung up on me. Whatever, if she wanted to be a witch, then I didn't care.
Until I realized that I needed my mom. Because I was a new young mom. But it still wasn't my fault. Cause Life wasn't tough. For me.
Eventually I came back home. Not because I really wanted to, but because I had to. I was almost forced to go back home. So I spent a lot of time blaming everyone else that I had to come back to this God-Forsaken town above the Arctic Circle without even, GASP! a movie theater. Sucky. I lived in low income housing, and worked two jobs, eventually realizing I had to go back to school. So aside from being a divorced, single mother, who worked full time, I also took on 18 college credits at the local Community College.
And when I was burnt out, it was everyone else's fault but mine. Now, I have to add that I had a difficult childhood. I was torn between things. Right vs Wrong. Good vs Evil. Sure, I went to church on Christmas and Easter. I did my part and memorized my lines for the Christmas Program so the other C&E Christians could Ooohh, and Awe and my awesome acting skills as the Little Drummer Boy, Mary mother of Jesus, Ruth...
Other than that, we went to church to attend funerals. And that was it. I seriously did not think there could be a "God" because how could this so-called-God allow such horrible things to happen to me? But life wasn't tough. Not for me. It just was someone else's fault. Not mine.
When I was 26 I had my second child. A little girl. And three months after she was born, her dad left me for another person. Not that I blame him, per say...I mean when you're mad at the world, it's hard to live with someone else and not blame them for your problems. So, I did what I always did. Blamed the world. Blamed God. Blamed my parents. Blamed my friends. Blamed everyone but me.
When Kaisa was just a month old, her God parents came over and said to me quite frankly, "We are taking OUR GOD-DAUGHTER to church. Feel free to come with us. Or not." And they took my infant, breast-fed only, baby with them to church and left me to wallow in my sorrows at home. (They took my son too) They never pressured me to go to church with them, cause I was quick to argue that God couldn't exist, and I was proof of that. If there was a God, I wouldn't have had such a "hard life."
Eventually, Kaisa's Godmother called and said she was hungry, so I needed to come to church. Hemming and hawing, eventually I made my way over there to feed my starving baby. It was Mother's Day in 2003. After a moments of trying my hardest not to listen to the sermon, I opened up and heard the Word of God. And I cried. And cried. And cried some more.
Unsure of exactly what I was feeling, I went back. And went back again. It was like every single sermon that Pastor Phil was preaching was meant for me and only me. Give it to God. Trust in his Word. Pray. Pray. Pray. God doesn't give you anything you can't handle. Obviously, that was true because, 1. I was still alive. and 2. I was STILL ALIVE!
After several months of crying every Sunday, it was like the clouds lifted and I could see. I always knew I was "pretty good" at things. Sewing, Baking, Teaching, Crafting, Building, etc. And I just didn't know what to do with that. When I started living the word, and giving it to God, for real...it all made sense. Help people. Teach people. Spread the word in actions not words.
Everything I've gone though, though some very difficult to talk about. "Things" that included several visits to the witness stand to face people who did horrible things to me, and my family members, "things" that included police visits, several hospital visits, broken bones, broken spirits were all NOT in vain. Now, I can walk down the street, I understand what it's like to be in that position. I see women and children scared and I know what's going on. So, I walk up to them, I say, "Hi!" with my most smily face. And I talk to them about their day, their week, ask their kids about school. And tell them I am glad they are alive. Glad they are here to share this world with us!
If it wasn't for my daughter's God Parents, David and Tina Matthews, and the fact that God still loved me after all the toxic worlds I spoke of Him, I would still be a miserable bitter person, blaming everyone else for my life. I wouldn't be able to give my whole heart and 100% trust to my husband. I would still be a difficult, bitter person, and not such a good mother.
Life is tough. Really tough. But no matter what, there are three constant things that I try to remember.
1. God loves me. Even though I am a sinner. Even though sometimes I don't love myself.
2. You always have a choice. Always. You can choose to be ugly. You can choose to be happy.
3. Someone, probably somewhere close to you, has already faced what you're facing. And they are there to talk to you if you want.
You will always get knocked down. Always. There will always be difficult times in all of our lives. Since it's Sunday, and we are watching Football. It's not whether you'll get knocked down, it's whether you get back up...
I try and try to remember that I need to trust in the Lord for the plan He has for me and my family. Even if we don't understand it right away, He still has a plan. The toughest thing in my life right now is trusting that everything will be OK. I love the Lord. But even though I love the Lord, I still struggle with this every day. As a matter of fact, recently my husband was laid off, and we are still struggling to see what is in store for us. We are trusting in the Lord and hoping for the best. Because that's all we can do...
Remember...Life is Tough. It's what you choose to do with it that makes you the person everyone sees. Be a quarterback. Get back up. Smile. Help someone. God Bless you.