Over the past few days I have sat and contemplated God and his roll in my life and why people in general are drawn to him. It finally came to me and just about hit me in the face. Why do people rely on God? Often times once you have found his presence in your life you come to know him on a personal level. Just like with any relationship this changes time and time again. As obstacles are placed in your life the relationship changes yet again. For me, since George died, I have often times felt alienated from the world I am now forced to live in and so very alone that I have come to rely on God to make it through the difficult times rather than a family member or friend.
I finally realized why! God listens without turning in his two cents every step of the conversation or turning it around to be about himself and his pain rather than listening to what you are saying. He has no need to try and "connect" and "understand" because he already knows your heart and just listens to it and never falsely pretends that he knows your pain...he does. We find shelter in his embrace because it is true and all knowing and you don't have to explain yourself or your actions, you can just be there. It is sort of like that one person you have in your life that without words uttered they know you need that hug and you can cry and sob and loose yourself for those moments in their arms without explanation or one word uttered or you just laugh together without having to say anything and know exactly what the other is laughing at.
With God, you also do not feel a sense of judgment. He isn't there telling you to go to therapy or take pills because he knows your heart is broken and this is where you need to be right now. He isn't talking behind your back to other family and friends giving his opinion on your life and how you screwed up or what you should be doing.You can be angry with him and he understands. When you need time alone you don't have to explain. Never does he put you on a guilt trip for a decision you have made or for choosing something for your life that you feel is best for you. You never get the I told you so attitude from him when you do make mistakes. It is the one place you feel safe to make mistakes or admit your humanity without that fear of judgment. He takes you as you are, good and bad, and loves you for every single part of it because he knows it is making you the person he has planned for you to be.
There are no false expectations with God. What you see is what you get! The only thing you need to have a relationship with him is to believe that he exists and that his son died on the cross for your sins. No hidden agenda or having to read between the lines. No meaningless conversations to be had. He knows your heart and you don't have to pretend you are someone you are not. You never have to put on that happy face because he doesn't want to see you sad and you should never feel guilty for it or that you have to always have it together. We are all sinners and no one is any better than the other because they have a better job or went to college or did everything that was ever asked from them or did things the "right way" in life. He of course would prefer you to do what he wants you to but also realizes that it isn't always the good things in life that shape you and that suffering is part of humanity that makes us all a better person in the end if you allow it to.
There is no way to earn his love, you have it if you want it. If you don't, he doesn't try to make you want it, it is all up to free will. He will call you to him but he will not force you to do something you do not want to do and wants you do do it of your own want. You can't earn your way into heaven by doing good deeds, there are no requirements like these that we happen to have here on Earth. That is such a relief and I now know why I am drawn even more to him in these difficult times. So many people have let me down or hurt me by things they have done/not done or said/not said. I have tried to not put expectations on them but sometimes things just happen and the added pain of these moments are what make you walk further away from those around you. Often times it is by no personal intent to hurt you but the fact they just don't understand you or your needs at the moment. They too have expectations and I have come to learn that when we have expectations of others that is when they fail us and we have failed them in return.
I don't want false relationships in my life. To be honest I don't have the time or the energy for them. They suck the very life out of you and leave you feeling drained, sad, mad, helpless, and alone. The energy requirement to keep these sorts of relationships going is mind boggling. I thought I had learned that lesson years ago when I finally opted to get a divorce from my first husband. Every single part of me didn't want to get a divorce for the fact I did not want to be a failure, but the relationship was so one sided that it sucked the very life out of me. Finally when I realized it would do the same to my son if I stayed, I decided it was time to end it. That was one of the hardest moments of my life. I felt like a failure on so many levels and did not realize at the time that there was more in store for my life. I remember the trips to the prison in the horrible weather, waiting for hours to see him for 15 minutes, and often times feeling like a criminal myself. I just felt it was my duty as his wife to stand by no matter what. Little did I realize that it was a very one sided relationship because he just was not able to give what I needed in our relationship and was probably to be honest never capable. So many times I just kept changing the things I needed from him and accepted the things I never swore I would. Eventually I was a stranger to myself who gave everything I was and had to a relationship that was doomed to begin with. There is no blame in this but rather a realization that I never wanted to admit to, it just wasn't meant to be.
Often times I have let that fear of failure creep itself into my marriage with Hugh. I remember in the beginning of our relationship how there was no way I was going to let him in and touch my heart the way I had let my ex husband for fear he would break it too. I had my walls up and still to this day have moments where they creep their way back into my life. Love leaves you purely vulnerable if you actually have an unconditional true love. I do however now have a realization that there is no fairytale ending and that marriage does not come easy and is something you have to truly work at all the time. There were moments where I was sure that our marriage would fail and that we were close to not making it work. With all that we have been through, the stress statistically even says we are going to fail! One thing I have learned about statistics is that all they are happen to be a bunch of numbers that mean nothing to us as individuals.
After George's death many people said that things like this break marriages up and that it is understandable. For Hugh and I, it has been the opposite I think. I have learned to rely on him and God in ways that I never did before. I no longer look for the approval from others in our families but rather do what is right for us and our little family here in our home. My priorities have changed and for the better. I no longer go running the minute someone calls and needs something done or try to please others just to gain their favor and approval in my life. We make decisions together and if no one else understands or approves that is ok because we aren't asking that of them. We also know God is with us and guiding us and our decisions and often times those around us just can't see that or understand that but we know God is speaking to our hearts and what we are doing is right even if those around us don't.
I've tried hard to work on that unconditional part of love which is hard for me. Often times growing up if I did not do what someone else wanted me to do they would be mad or if they did do something nice for me, it never came without strings attached that would be brought up at a more convenient time for them in the future. This always put a wall up that I thought it was right to love people as long as they made you happy and did what you wanted rather than loving them for who they are, good and bad and telling them it is ok that we don't agree or see eye to eye. Of course this is very difficult to do and I am not always good at it but I work hard on it every single day because I know it will benefit us all in the long run. I've tried to stop gossiping with people because I have found how hurtful it is to me and don't want to be doing that to someone else. This has left a huge void in some of the relationships I have but I know that this is where these relationships need to be now because they need work in other ways. All of us do this sort of thing from time to time without really understanding the long term damage it can do to an individual or your relationships. Unconditional love is not easy but it is worth the effort and gives you such a freedom.
I thank God every single day for my relationship with my husband and with the Lord. With all that we have been through I cannot imagine where we would be if we did not have God in our lives. I remember the day we got married and one of the passages that said about building your marriage on a strong foundation. After the service, my grandmother told me that as long as we had God in our marriage that was what we were doing and that we would be able to weather any storm that comes our way. It made me think of the service and how she was behind me with her hand raised in the air saying "Amen, Praise the Lord" At that time, I did not have that sort of faith although I had a strong faith. I've come to have a relationship with God that is not the drive through type where you come when you need something. Often times I wanted the faith that my grandparents had and never knew how to get there. George's death has placed our hearts in such a different place that I cannot imagine it any different.
My marriage has come to know this same sort of strength that my faith has. We don't just coexist in our home because that is what we are suppose to do. There has been a deeper love and understanding that I cannot even begin to explain. For the first time I can say I need my husband and he needs me and that we are there for one another in ways we never were before. It is more than Hugh or I just manning the phone or taking the brunt of some situation for the other person. It is a deeper relationship that we will turn around from, in 20 years when the kids are gone, and not find ourselves strangers sharing a house. We are here for one another the way God intended for us to be, no strings attached and loving each other for the person they are rather than the person we want them to be. Realistically that means that we will have our ups and downs but that in the end we still know the other person's heart and love them for who they truly are inside. I never have had this in my life before and although it is scary it is also wonderful.
I pray all the time for those who struggle in their marriages due to the many plagues of life here on Earth. It is often times easier to allow the bad stuff to take over and use the loop hole that life is hard that often times so many others understand. It is easy to call it quits and throw in the towel and yes there are times you have to do that but if you listen to your heart and pray about it, you will know what is worth fighting for and what is not. Often times we get what we NEED not what we WANT. I've learned to pray for God's guidance and will in my life and thank him for the small things and praise him in the storm (there is a great song by Casting Crows that goes with this very thought that I will post). That is no easy task to do and it requires so much of an individual. The struggle is worth the reward when you allow God to guide you in your life rather than take it head on alone with your own agenda.
If you feel a heaviness in your heart about something that is tugging with your head take the time to pray for often times it is God speaking to you...are you listening or are you following what others or you want to do. Listening to those subtle nudges by God are not easy and if you are not listening you will follow your head since it screams rather than whispers. It may be easier to follow your head but the reward is not the same since it was not God's plan for you. What are you loosing by having a personal relationship with him? If you believe and he doesn't exist you have lost nothing but if you don't believe and he does exist you are giving up the most precious thing ever. So why God...my question is Why NOT God?
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!