A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Sunday, April 30, 2017

10 Years Back in The Bend - My Life Then vs. Now

"And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6 NLT

I wrote this blog post on April 30th 2012.  I am leaving it as I wrote it then and just changing the years part and adding the now part.

My Life 10 Years Ago - May 1st, 2007

  • I was unemployed.
  • I relocated back to my hometown of South Bend, IN which meant leaving behind 15 years worth of friends.
  • I had been denied unemployment (which I eventually fought and won) so I had no income coming in for over 3 months.
  • My Grandmother was gracious enough to let me live with her.
  • My Mom's cancer was in her bones.
  • I was single and thought I would never find the right guy!
  • That July my Nephew was diagnosed with a heart condition which was a birth defect that wasn't caught until he was almost 13 years old.  He had major open heart surgery that September.
  • The economy in South Bend/Elkhart IN was awful.  It took me a year of looking to get 1 job offer.  After unemployment ran out (I got it for only 6 months), I took a waitressing job in the meantime to pay the bills.  I would cry if I got jipped on a tip b/c I really needed the money.
  • Life was extremely difficult.
  • Life was lonely.
  • It didn't help matters any that I had the "I'm the victim" mentality, in fact it made my situation worse.
  • I was not emotionally healthy.
  • I understood that God loved me in my head, but not in my heart.

My Life 5 Years Ago - May 1st, 2012

  • I have been working at the same job for 4 years and 1.5 months.
  • I have been married for almost 10 months to a man I met thru said job. Our 1st date was almost 2.5 years after I moved back to South Bend.
  • My Nephew Trey is doing great!  God spared his life and his last check-up with the cardiologist showed everything looks great!
  • I saw an amazing Christian Counselor for about 2 years and 3 months and worked on my issues.
  • I have been with my same Small Group for over 4 years.  They have helped me to grow and with God's help to overcome my former "victim mentality", although it still is my first nature and I still fight it!
  • Overall, I am emotionally healthy now.
  • I am not lonely.  I have Jonathan and lots of friends, both old and new!
  • My husband and I plan on being debt free sometime this Summer.
  • Life is challenging, but is no longer extremely difficult.
  • I wish I could say my Mom's cancer battle is over, and that she is in remission, however she continues to fight the battle!  She is the strongest woman I know and has been a Survivor for over 12 years and 2 months!
  • My relationship with my Savior is strong and growing! I know he loves ME unconditionally!

The Moral of my story is:  God has a plan for your life and even if things aren't going so great now, it doesn't mean things will be like that forever.  My life didn't magically get better overnight.  It took many years of perseverance and hard work.  I am in a great season in my life now, so I'm going to appreciate it for as long as it lasts.  My hope is that the next time I hit hard times in my life, that I will "Praise Him in the storm".

****All of the above was written 5 years ago Today**** ****Everything from here on out was written Today****

My Life Now - May 1st, 2017

(Can I just say that my head is spinning right now?  SO MUCH has happened in these past 5 years!  It's really hard to wrap my head around.  Both Wonderful and Heartbreaking things have happened and I would have to say that Now is one of those hard times in my life, that as I said 5 years ago, I will "Praise Him in the storm".  Bear with me as I try to recall the past 5 years.)

  • I have been at the same job for 9 years and 1.5 months.
  • I have been Married to Jonathan for almost 5 years and 10 months.  Our first date was almost 7.5 years ago (2.5 years after I moved back to South Bend).
  • My Nephew Trey continues to thrive in health and life.  He is now a successful and healthy Junior in College at Michigan State University.
  • I have seen my Counselor a bit more often lately as needed and it's so easy to pick back up right where we left off.  He knows me so well.
  • I am still forever grateful to the small group I was a part of when I first moved back here.  They helped me grow tremendously and for that I will always be Thankful.  I lead a small group at our apartment for a few years and I have been involved in a new small group thru our current Church for almost 2 years now.  They challenge and encourage me to grow in my faith, and they pray continually for me and for the many health issues of my close family members.
  • Overall I still consider myself to be emotionally healthy, however I am currently in the midst of a major depressive episode, which is presenting me with it's own set of challenges.
  •  I mostly am not lonely (part of depression is a feeling of loneliness) as I have Jonathan and many Friends and our sweet rescue dog, Mookie.  I find it is harder for friends to know what to say around me lately, and find that some just can't handle the hard truth regarding various difficult health issues my family is experiencing, and how it is affecting me.  I'm thankful for those Friends who continue to reach out to me to let me know they care and are there for me and are praying for my Family.  This means more to me than you know.
  • September of 2012, just a few months after our 1 year anniversary, Jonathan became power of attorney for his Dad who had stage 3b lung cancer.  He was hospitalized for a while and then moved to a nursing home.  Jonathan had to get his Dad applied for Medicaid.  It was a long and stressful process.  We spent precious moments with Keith and he passed away on February 26th, 2013.
  • February 28th I was admitted to the hospital thru the ER for my dead and gangrenous gallbladder.  I was hospitalized for 3 nights.  2 nights before surgery, and 1 night after.  I was released on March 3rd, and we went straight to my FIL's Memorial Service.  Talk about stressful times for us, but God carried us thru.
  • My Husband and I did work hard and achieved our goal of being debt free shortly after our 1 year anniversary!  It is an amazing feeling!  Such a weight was lifted from our shoulders!
  • On April 15th, 2015, my little Sister Debbie's Husband Scott, was diagnosed with a very rare form of Sarcoma.  It was devastating to our Family and especially to Debbie and their 4 children.  Scott had surgery in NYC May of 2016 and currently is stable.  We praise God for the time he has been blessed with.
  • After travelling (Aruba, January of 2014 and NYC July of 2015), and saving, and spending many fun weekends watching nephews/nieces to give their parents a break, and renting an apartment for almost 5 years, we bought our first and hopefully last house on April 8th, 2016.  We absolutely love this house and do not regret the decision we made.  We paid cash for our new furniture and put down a large down payment.  The only debt we have now, is the house.
  • June 10th of 2016, we adopted our sweet Maltichon!  He was a rescue dog and we named him Mookie Bogaerts.  Yes, we are Boston Red Sox Fans.  He has some special needs, but we hired a Trainer and we are so proud of how far he has come and how much calmer he has become!  He lights up our lives and daily makes us laugh and smile.  What a Joy he has been! He's certainly a blessing straight from God, meant just for us.
  • Early March, my Step-Dad Don had a grand mal seizure while at work and was hospitalized.  He had to take a leave of absence from his part time job (which he worked to pay for Mom's medical bills) and had to take like 3 weeks off from his Full time job.  He is on a very strong seizure med and is unable to drive until he has been seizure free for 6 months.  Just a few days after his seizure, Mom found out that she has 3 more cancerous tumors on her spine.  She is in a lot of pain, but as always, she keeps fighting.
  • Because I am a highly sensitive person, and because I love my Family, the past few years (especially the past few months) have been really hard on me.  I'm so thankful to have Jonathan's love and support, (and Mookie's too).  I recently changed Dr.'s due to my old Dr. not understanding depression.  I have learned mindfulness from my counselor, which has helped a lot.  I am currently off of work on FMLA.  I am grateful to God that because Jonathan and I live below are means, I am able to take this time off unpaid.  God is Good!  
PHEW!  These past 5 years have been the most emotional and eventful yet!  

IF there is anything the past has taught me, it's that God is Good and He is Faithful and Life is FULL of Good and bad times.  Life just doesn't keep getting better and better.  It ebbs and flows.  That's life in a fallen world.  So, I don't know what the future holds with my loved ones, or myself, but I know he holds the future, and just like my losing my job in Milwaukee, brought me many blessings, I trust these difficult times will make me even stronger and bring countless blessings.  I will continue to praise him in the storm. :-)

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