The Light that Will Shine Forever

Hello everyone! For starters I should quickly explain that I am not Julie. I am her son, Alex, and I wanted to give an update on her blog. I also apologize for the length, a lot to share!

I asked her awhile ago why she has not posted anything in a long time and she responded by telling me she is too tired, but God is still giving her guidance and she has drafted posts. I could understand why she would not want to dedicate a lot of effort to her blog, giving the treatments she was undergoing and just battling cancer itself. Her posts clearly depict the battle with cancer she faces. Her posts, however, do not give an overall view of my mother. I believe there are so many other battles she fought besides cancer and depression.

She fought a major battle with borderline tendencies. I am so grateful she won that battle, as suicide is common with borderline.

Mom also battled poor relationships. Significant others were just the surface of the many relationships my mom battled through, but she won each one of them. Repairing broken relationships, and forgiving all.

She battled being virtually a single parent. (Side bit, in no way is my father a bad father, he is an amazing father and I treasure our relationship as much as mine and mom’s, but that does not mean that he is without faults)

She always had her focus on me. I will never forget the day she told me she was depressed and contemplated suicide a few years ago. I had come home from college and she explained it to me. I shared with her the depression I felt around the same time. My step-father had a bunch of knives upstairs in our home. I remember one night after a particularly miserable day, I sat at the top of the stairs with one of the knives that had seemed to be calling to me for the past few days. I remember holding against neck, and then a thought came:”What is mom going to do to when she sees her only child dead, laying upstairs?” I quickly put the knife away and went to bed, happy to live on knowing mom is with me.

She saved my life that night, and I told her this. She told me how I saved her from suicide by being her focus and when she would get depressed she would think of me. We made a pact that night, neither one of us was allowed to commit suicide or the other would too. I remember the feeling of finally having something to live for, that being mom. She was now MY focus. I promised myself I would keep my mom alive forever, regardless of the obstacle. Unfortunately, I was naïve and that promise was eventually broken.

Mom passed away early yesterday morning around 4 a.m. and lost her one and only battle, cancer.

I am thankful beyond words to be her son, and to have such a wonderful, courageous, strong, and amazing person to raise me. She will always be with me, in my heart, in my soul, and in my thoughts. I know she touched each one of her readers at least once with a post.

There was nothing I physically wanted from my mom. I did not want money, or her jewelry or anything like that, I wanted something else, something more memorable to me, something I can build and share her legacy. I wanted a way to share her story, her battles, and her amazing victories. I wanted this blog.

Although I am nowhere near as prolific writer as mom (She disagreed and said I’d be a great writer, she always encouraged me), I plan on keeping this blog alive in memory of her and will continue to publish her stories and battles, and some of my own observations of her and those battles. I hope one day the world will know what a truly amazing person my mother was. This is my way of keeping that broken promise, by keeping my mother alive forever through this blog.

I love you mom, and I know you are with God in the heaven you envisioned smiling down upon us all and you will forever and ever be remembered. I love you mom, and you’ll always be my snuggle bug. 

John 11:23-26- Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?

I Was a Ghost

My family went on vacations when I was a little girl. They were the long drive to somewhere kind of vacations. On one trip, I remember not wanting to get out of the car. We would drive for 7 or 8 hours, but I wouldn’t get out until we reached our destination or stopped for the night. Throughout the day, we’d stop for gas and bathroom breaks, but I refused to get out of the car.

I wouldn’t get out because I was afraid of being left behind. I didn’t think my parents would leave me on purpose, I knew they would never do that. I was afraid they would forget about me. My mom would ask me several times if I needed to go to the bathroom. There was no way I would leave the security of the car. I wasn’t sad or upset. I was content. I would have felt bad if they drove on and after a while, realized I wasn’t in the car. Then they would have to come back and get me and I didn’t want to cause that much trouble.

JCA Teen 1

Fast forward to when I was 19. That’s me to the right. I believed I was invisible.  I wish I could go back in time and tell her she is perfect. That she mattered and deserved the best. She didn’t have to settle. That it is OK to believe in herself.  I would tell her to find out what she wanted first and to stop looking for her identity in someone else.  

Little girls need to know how important they are. They need to be told early on that they are precious and deeply loved. Without knowing this, they will spend years searching for anything that will provide that feeling. They will look to many things to make up for what is missing. Through my teenage years and twenties, my goal was to be wanted.  I was a chameleon, changing and conforming to whoever I was around, hoping I would be seen as worthy of acceptance.

I was called a ghost. The definition of a ghost is the soul of a dead person, usually a vague form, wandering among living persons, a mere shadow or semblance; a trace. A ghost is exactly what I was. I changed my mind often and waffled on decisions. I wasn’t grounded in anything, I didn’t have substance. I didn’t feel like I had purpose. I felt like I was a mistake. When I was struggling with depression, I was a dead person. I was willing to give up me if that meant I would receive love in return.  

Today I know who I am. I am a mighty warrior for God. Sometimes the people close to you don’t know how to give you what you need. But God knows how. Look to him for your identity, you are His child. Look to Him for approval, He knows you’re perfect. Look to Him for love, His love is never-ending. Look to Him for purpose, He doesn’t make mistakes. You are here for a very special reason. Ask Him what that reason is.

Jesus, teach me to speak life to others. Everyone needs to be lifted up, give me the right words to do that. Allow your light to shine through me so others see how awesome you are.

 

Strong and Vulnerable

The other day, I received a comment saying, “You are very strong to let yourself be so vulnerable.” It struck me as odd. Am I strong and vulnerable at the same time? It doesn’t seem possible to me. I looked up the definition of vulnerable: capable or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; open to moral attack, criticism, etc.

strong chain

I thought about the definition and whether it applied to me. Am I capable or susceptible to being wounded or hurt? No way.  I can’t imagine anything that could physically wound me from this blog.  I’m accustomed to feeling pain. I like to stare down pain that comes from cancer, surgery or treatments. Really, cancer? Is that all you’ve got? I dare it to hurt me more. If it does and I can’t stare it down anymore, I have access to good drugs. It’s a win, win for me.

For a split second, I do feel susceptible to emotional pain. Wounds have healed, but sometimes they come close to the surface again and frighten me with their power. Emotional pain can threaten who I am and who I want to be. There are no drugs to get immediate relief.  I’m afraid to stare emotional pain down. So, I release the fear and let my Father take care of it.

Am I open to moral attack or criticism? Yes, I am. Am I worried that someone may say something hurtful? No, I am not. I’ve spent too much time not knowing what I believe in and not believing in myself. I’ve come too far to back down now. God and I have talked about everything I write about. If He and I are good, nothing else matters.

I decided that yes, I am strong and I am vulnerable. Some people may not like what I write or disagree with me. When I speak from my heart and what I say is a testament of what God has done, He will use it for good. That is more important than any fear I have.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Choose Me!

hands raised colorfulThroughout my life, I always wanted to be chosen. In elementary school, I was the kid chosen last for teams in gym class. I wasn’t the little girl that everyone liked, with pretty bows in her hair and the latest lunch box. I usually had the buttons on my sweater crooked and my shoes untied. If I left the house with bows in my hair, I lost them before I got to school.

In junior high, I was not the girl chosen by the cute and popular guys. In 6th grade, my best friend and I liked the same guy.  For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to make him choose between the two of us. And no, he did not choose me. Why I would set myself up for this, I have no idea.

I attended a small, Christian high school. There were many girls from wealthy families. They were thin and beautiful and drove new cars. I put them on a pedestal. At lunch, everyone sat in circles. I would have given anything to have one of them invite me into her circle. One day, I got brave and sat just outside a circle and hoped I would be let in. A girl moved so she was in front of me and left me on the outside. After that day, I spent many lunch hours in the bathroom so no one would see me eat alone.

In my family, I am the middle child. I have a smart, pretty, outgoing older sister. She had lots of boyfriends and a ton of self-confidence. She was not afraid to take on the world and tell anyone who would listen, they were going to do it her way. I also have a sweet, younger brother. He was such a cute little boy with big, blue eyes.  I thought it was very important for my parents to now have a son. In my young, romantic brain, I knew I would never be as important as him because he would carry on our name! I felt invisible between the two of them. I was gray compared to their vibrancy. I loved them desperately and was always willing to stay in the background.

In my late teens, I started a 10 year relationship with my first love. For me, this was that see fireworks kind of love that I knew would last forever. I desperately wanted this man to choose me. I convinced myself that there was something about me I could improve, that there was something I could do better.I did just about everything but cut out my heart and hand it to him. I hung in for a long time, hoping he would see that I’m not that bad and I was worth choosing. He never would, he never did.

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to be chosen. I wasted a lot of tears when I wasn’t. It took me a long time to understand and believe that it was their loss, not mine. You have to take a little more time, make a little extra effort to get to know me. I now know that I’m totally worth it.

John 15:16 – You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.