MARRIAGE:Real Work!!

Man marriage is hard work!! Why couldn’t someone tell us how hard this was going to be, or the work it was going to take. I never thought that even after 16 years we could still have so many struggles. 

I never knew that becoming a mother would change me so much and that I would lose so much of myself.  How many mothers out there know exactly what I am talking about?  You forget who you are, maybe even your purpose. The person you were before kids came along and everything you have, every ounce of energy you have goes to them. 

Most marriages have a hard time surviving tragedy, heartbreak, grief, loss, and the many other things that life can throw your way. Couples shutdown, stop communicating, grow apart, lean on someone else, and turn away from the one person they should be turning to. I think this is one of the biggest reason Brian and I have been able to succeed to this point.  The things that tear most couples apart bring us closers together. Brian is who I look for in times of tragedy and heartache. When something happens and I want to shrink back the only thing I want to do is close out the world and surround myself with Brian and my kids. Brian has been by my side through the hardest thing I have gone through to date, the death of my mom 10 years ago.  We then had to go through the death of both of his parents. We have lost a baby, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and friends. Through it all we draw closers together, drawing strength from each other. 

Since losing my leg I have become a completely different woman.  If you think having kids changes you, try cutting off one of your limbs, that really messes with your mind. I am no longer an active participant in my own life.  I pretty much just exist and watch life happen around me periodically jumping in to take part in an activity or event usually involving my children. I am stuck and this feels almost impossible for me so I just can’t imagine how helpless Brian feels.  However, he is so supportive, he listens, he is affectionate, he doesn’t push or pressure me and more than that he doesn’t make me feel bad for how I am feeling.  Neither of us are perfect but our life experiences have given us a little hand up. 

I believe the key is to never give up. Love is a choice. I don’t think a lot of people understand that.  You always hear statements such as “I’m not in love anymore” or “they don’t do it for me anymore.”  Commitment is about choosing to love even when our spouses are doing things that aren’t so lovable.  Choosing to love even when all we want to do is run.  You can “fall” in and out of love a million times in the course of a relationship, but loving someone, the true foundation of love goes way deeper than the flighting feeling of being “in love.” 

We make it work by never giving up. Never succumbing to the pressure and feelings that leaving would be easier.  We aren’t perfect, most days are a struggle and believe me the struggle is real. 

One day though we will look back and we will see the beautiful legacy we created because:                      “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”    Mark 10:9 ESV


Whose Life Matters!!

We all matter. God decided that. YOU don’t get to determine that. My friends don’t determine that, my children don’t determine that. God sent his only son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins, for all of our sins, and that is what determined that WE MATTER!!!! The Police should not get to decide that. For as long as I have known it however, there as been a consensus by most of society that black lives don’t matter as much as others. Actually let me rephrase that sentence, lives of color in general don’t seem to matter as much. Most white people don’t know the differences in the Latino communities, I will be honest I don’t. How about the Indian community, Hindu, East Indian? What about the Arabic cultures, they are all taliban right? Since the beginning of time people of color have been treated less than.

Do my sons deserve to walk down the street without fear of being stopped by the police? They deserve it but they don’t have it. My 10-year-old son is literally the size of the average grown man. He is 5’3 165 lbs, and guess what, like most 10-year-old boys he likes to play with toy guns and when he is with his cousins, my nephews he even plays with their BB guns/pellet guns. What is to keep someone from calling the police on my son and what is to keep him from being the next Tamir Rice? #BLACKLIVESMATTER

 So what about Briana, everyone that reads this probably knows my incredible 14-year-old daughter. She probably babysits for you or maybe she is with your child in Life Kids, maybe you have heard about her from someone else or maybe you simply had her in class. Regardless how you have come to know her you know that she is the sweetest, most loving, respectful, helpful teenage girl you will probably ever meet. She is the girl you want your daughter to be friends with, the girl you want your son to date, but guess what that police man who sees those rowdy teenage kids on the corner doesn’t know any of that about her. All he knows is that in a community full of predominately upper middle class white kids she is the black girl in the group and often times more than not she is going to be the one that they decided to question. What is to keep her from being next? #BLACKLIVESMATTER

Meet my husband Brian, the first thing that everyone that meets him says about him is that his smile fills the room. He is truly a huge teddy bear. He loves with all that he is. He has a laugh that can be heard from miles away. Once you meet him you never forget him because he has a God filled spirit that is one of the most beautiful spirits I have ever experienced. My husband doesn’t just always drive the speed limit but he drives under it, just in case. Any time there is an issue or a complaint to be made at an establishment he stands particularly farther back than necessary just in case. In a discussion in public that might become heated he always stands with his hands folded in front of him just in case even when he isn’t involved in the discussion. My husband is also 6’5 300 lbs and as per previous situation’s resulted in the police killing Eric Garner apparently his size alone makes him a deadly threat regardless if he has an actual weapon or not. What is to keep him from being next? #BLACKLIVESMATTER

If at anytime you have thought to yourself it is not just black lives that matter but all lives that matter, I will say this to you, as I stated above yes we all matter God made that decision; however it’s not killing season on your children, your husbands, your family. This doesn’t just affect my direct house hold. I have  2 Brother and sisters in law, 5 nephews 1 niece and countless cousins that are black and any one of the above situations could be them as well.  

As I have sat and wrote this 11 police officers, 4 of which have lost their lives in Dallas tonight. That broke my heart even more than it is already broken. I can promise you this, The families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile did not want this. The killing of police officers goes against the very change that we all want. The movement #BLACKLIVESMATTER isn’t saying that no other lives matter, it is saying we matter to, stop devaluing us so much that you will shoot us down in the street unarmed in front of our wives, husband and children. It is saying we matter as much as our white counter part. So killing police officers goes against those direct message’s because  guess what there are black men and women on the police force and before they are cops they are black and their lives matter black and blue!

I want to end this by saying this, if you in any way think that this isn’t a race issue or that this issue doesn’t exist I ask that you kindly exit my life. I don’t want you here in our good times and should any of the unthinkable from the above happen I do not want you in my face being fake acting like you support me or my family in our darkness. I do not expect anyone who does not live with this reality to ever really understand, but what I do expect is that if you choose to stay in our life and be apart of our family is for you to acknowledge that this is a reality regardless if you  get it or not. We ask for your support and most of all if you spend time with our children without us please educate yourselves on how you should handle any situations that may arise involving our children regarding these types of  situations.  

Tonight I pray for the fallen police officers and their families. For the righteous officers across our country that go out on our streets to honorably protect us. For the families of Alton and Philando and all those that were senselessly murdered before them.  For the African-American Community that needs protection more than ever, they need healing and peace. Most of all I pray for the calm and peace that can only come from our heavenly father, our nation is in great need of you right now.

THE 5 BLACK LIVES IN MY LIFE MATTER

WE NEED TO DO BETTER

 

 

 

 

Just One Second, This Second

I have felt this grief before, I have felt this deep longing this deep deep ache that seeps down all the way to the pit of my soul. So deep that I can’t catch my breath. I literally can not take a breath in that moment. I felt it the moment my mom took her last breath. I walked out into her front yard and with my friend in front of my and my husband behind me, I exhaled. I released the pain that was anchoring me in that moment. In that moment I wanted nothing more than to have my mama back but I knew nothing on earth would change the fact that mere moments before I had laid next to her, held her in my arms as she walked in the arms of Jesus.

The next time I felt that grief was the moment I woke up from my 8th surgery. The surgery that I knew before I laid on that gurney would be the one that would take my foot. The nurses said my body was racked with sobs before I was even fully conscious. Just like the night in my mama’s front yard, there was that pain that had become so familiar, that ache that had made its home deep in my soul. I wanted more than anything to have my foot back but I knew nothing on earth would change that mere moments before I was a whole person and in that moment I laid in that bed less. No longer 2 feet but 1.

In that moment it was just one second at a time, that second.  4 days later I would have a revision to form my stump so I would lose even more of my leg, but it didn’t matter because nothing would hurt more than the moment I woke up from that 8th surgery and couldn’t take that breath. It’s been almost 10 years since my mom died and I still get those moments of deep grief where just for a moment, that one moment I want more than anything to have my mom back. I can’t catch my breath but I tell myself “just one second, this second.”

The last few days I have been having those moments. No matter what I do, no matter how bad I want it, I will never be able to grow a new leg. There is no hope for a cure when you are an amputee. On days like today when all I wanted to do was get up and walk around the church with my husband. I wanted to stand in front of the church back drop and take a picture. I don’t want to live another day in this chair. I look down at my one foot of painted toes and just want so badly, Father God please I just want my foot back. Yet I know that will never happen. And there it is, I can’t breathe, but just one second, this second is all I have to do.

If only people could understand that having and wearing a prosthetic isn’t that easy. If only it was as simple as some think and make it out to be, it’s an ok second choice if I could get into one that I can actually wear. Having one and not being able to use it is like a constant reminder that just out of my reach is freedom that I can’t have. But just breathe, one second, this second.

These collection of seconds are what get me through each day. The days when I just want to pull the blankets over my head and cry. Days like today, but I try to remind myself that everyone has something they struggle with and although it may be different for them it is just as serious to them as my amputation is to me. So I pray that their seconds help them get through their days a little easier. They being whoever is in my life dealing with something.

I miss things, I miss going on water slides, and wearing jeans. I miss doing things without having to worry about handicap accessibility. I miss walking beside my husband instead of always having him behind me pushing me.  I miss just feeling “normal.” I pray that my collection of seconds become less about that deep pain that takes my breath and becomes more about living life and capturing memories. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines, of letting that breath seizing, time stopping, soul pounding grief hold me back, I want to fully step in2 my destiny.

A Final Goodbye

   I will always ask myself did I do enough, were the words I said heard by the ones I loved? I wish that I could name only one person as I sit here today and share this part of my soul with all of you, but there are so many people so close to my heart that I am sure it will never fully heal ever again.

   I guess it starts when I was 5 years old and my baby sister died at home while sleeping in my brothers bed. We knew from the beginning that she was not going to live long but we hoped, prayed, and had strong faith that the outcome would be different. She was a very sick baby, born blind and deaf but that didn’t stop us from talking to her and loving on her. I didn’t really understand the depths of death at that age or what it does to a person. I didn’t understand what it did to my mom’s heart until I became a mom. The day my sister died was the first time I ever felt longing in my heart, I just didn’t know what it meant until much later in my life. My Sweet baby sister graced this earth for 7 short months, the only sound I ever heard from her was a cry but I believe in my heart that as she entered into the gates of Heaven God allowed her to hear all of the words that had been spoken to her here on earth that she could not hear. Carrie Jean Hawkins. 1/25/86-8/16/86

   For years to come after that I experienced what I call “normal death” yes that is how twisted my life has been, that death can be considered normal. Normal death for me is when the elderly die. You know it is the normal cycle of life, the way things were intended to be. So I had some normal deaths and it made me sad but did not rock my world.

   Then life stopped. On Monday December 11th 2006 I received a phone call from my grandma that my mom had slipped into a coma and that I needed to come now. My mom had been sick most of my life. Yet I guess I never thought that we were truly at this point and maybe that was because she didn’t want to burden me with what was really going on with her health.  As a matter of fact just the week prior she had been in the hospital and we were not even sure she would make it home at all. At this time in my journey I had only had 2 of my 4 children. Briana was 4 and Bj was 1. I was in the middle of finals and what my grandma was saying to me was not registering because I had just talked to my mom on Friday. She had called to tell me how much better she was feeling after being released from the hospital. She sounded great at the time and we agreed we would talk about Christmas soon, looking back I know she knew this would be our last conversation, her next words will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was her final goodbye. She said ” Baby promise me you will remember the good times” this frustrated me because I hated her talking like that and I said “mom stop, don’t say that” and she replied “sister just promise me no matter what you will always remember the good times” and so I said ” I promise mom I will” and our call ended with the usual I love you’s and I will call you later. That was the last conversation I had with my mom.

   I arrived at my moms on that Monday the 11th and she passed from this world at 11:50PM The following Thursday the 14th. I got to spend those 4 days with my mom talking, singing and praying to her as she was in transition from this world. She got to die at home in her bed with us all around her. I laid in bed next to her as she struggled for each breath and whispered that it was ok for her to let go. That I was ok and that I loved her. As my mama took her last breath I was right next to her praying that in her heart she knew how much I loved her, praying she knew I was sorry for all the things I had put her through, praying that she could feel how much she meant to me. My mom was 45 when she passed from this earth on to Heaven and I was 25. I know in my heart that during really special moments God gives her a window seat so she can be apart of the special things that are going on in our life. Nothing in this world can fill the void that loosing her has caused. Ruth Alice Hawkins 2/19/61-12/14/06

  I have had a rough life, I am sure that more of that will come out in different times as more of my journey reveals itself. But the part that pertains to this is I was a very difficult teenager. I made so many mistakes and treated my mom so bad, but it didn’t matter she loved me unconditionally. This year will be the 10 year anniversary of my moms death and sometimes it still feels like the she just died. It’s hard to explain the feeling. It was like I was suffocating at times. Like it was all I could do to take my next breath. At times I did not know how I was going to get through the next moment. Even to this day I am still working and learning how to forgive myself. I know I did my mama proud though because I laid her to rest and took care of all the details. I made sure everything was handled and beautiful. I Pray her pride for me has only grown since then.

   Never could I have imagined that the pregnancies of my youngest 2 children would include death, death of two of the most important people in our lives. In 2008 as  I was beginning the 8th month of a high risk pregnancy with our third child. My father in law passed away suddenly of a massive heart attack in his home. He was found by my brother in law and my husband, unsure if he had been there 1 or 2 days. There were no final goodbyes, no time to make things right, just shock and heartbreak. 21 days later at 35 weeks, I delivered our son Brayden Gerry Carrethers named after his papa. He spent 7 days in the NICU and fought hard to come out. I have no doubt that our special little boy has helped us to get through this loss that we may never heal from . Jerry Lee Carrethers Sr. 10/14/50-4/29/08

   At this point in our life I thought we had suffered it all and that nothing could rock our foundation again as hard as it had already been rocked until you get a phone call and you begin to ask God why he hates you so much. I was 5 months pregnant with our 4th and final child. My mother in law was being rushed to the hospital by ambulance. She was unresponsive and that was all the information we had as we headed to the hospital. My mother in law had been battling cancer, she had been in remission and the cancer had come back. We all knew this but what we didn’t know, what we later found out was that she had been hiding from us all was how bad the cancer had spread. She knew she was at the end of her life but she didn’t want any of us to know. My amazing mom Sharon had a faith like I had never experienced and she knew that if it was Gods will he would heal her and she was standing on faith that it was a possibility that might happen. My final goodbye came that night in the ER.

   The Dr. had updated us all and explained that the cancer had spread and that she probably wouldn’t leave the hospital. We were so lost and shocked we had no idea it was so bad. For the most part she wasn’t lucid, but there were moments that she seemed to come in and out. There was a time that night when the rest of the family was out in the waiting room and I was in the room alone with her. We were waiting to get her moved to ICU. I was holding her hand and talking to her and a nurse walked in and told me that only family was allowed. Now if you haven’t read my previous blogs then you don’t know that my husband is black and I am white so the nurse had no reason to believe that I was family. I started to tell her that I was family and before I could say anything mom Sharon reached up and put her hand on my stomach and she said this is my daughter and she is having my granddaughter. The next morning my mother in law passed from this earth. 4 days later while in the middle of planning her home going ceremony Brian and I had an ultrasound to find out the sex of our baby. We found out on 3/22/11 that we were having a little girl. In honor of her nana Brooklenn Goyce Carrethers was born on 8/4/11. Mom Sharon is gone from this earth but everyday I see a piece of her alive and well in a granddaughter she knew she was having before we did.  Sharon Joyce Carrethers 9/14/52-3/18/11

   I wish I could say that it all ended there but it didn’t. About every six months or so up until about a year  ago someone close to myself or my husband would pass away. As I have stated I am not sure my heart will ever be able to fully heal because the heartbreak is just so gut wrenching. Well and those are just the deaths, not to mention the other life changing ground moving obstacles that have been stacked up against us. But as long as they keep coming, as long as God is giving us the strength we are going to keep knocking them down.

   To those left unnamed you still rest in our hearts and thought of more than possible to explain. I don’t know how my soul and heart can continue to exist under so much pain however God has continued to push me forward. Without his Glory and Grace I would surly be a paragraph in someone else’s blog where they are sharing their Final Goodbye.

 

 

 

 

Deepest Hole of Life

   Sometimes the darkness from these holes of life consume him so quickly and take him so deep I am not sure I will ever get him back. It’s black, so black and he goes so very deep to a place that even after 15 years I still struggle to understand. This disease is a dark place that even in this day and age where we have 12 and 13 year olds killing themselves its still taboo to talk about. Depression and Suicide, Yes I said it, Mental Illness.

   Everyday people, people that most of us would never expect deal with this illness. Most people hold down jobs, have long relationships, and are raising children. They suppress their feelings, put on a happy face and do what needs to be done. In a month and a half my husband and I will be together 15 years. I knew from the beginning that this was a disease that he battled with. He fights everyday to get up and go to work to provide for me and our four children. I have never had to work and working after my amputation became especially challenging but it was never an issue. Its a disease that is so misunderstood. “Snap out of it, get over it, just be positive” Those are just a few of the things that people that don’t understand this illness say so often, I myself am guilty of this. However, here is the truth behind what really happens, and it is nothing like what people think: There is a constant feeling of doom, not feeling good enough, no contentment with what one has. Most of the time not wanting to die but wanting the pain to stop and feeling like the only way to accomplish that is by death of the flesh. Feeling abandon by God, “If he loved me why would he continue to let me suffer with this?” Not wanting to continuously hurt the ones they love. Hating life so badly that truly just wanting to die seems the only answer.

butterfly

   I don’t know exactly what words to use to explain the pain I feel watching my husband go through this day after day. Trapped so deep in this hell of his own. Fighting so hard to stay above the waves that he always feels are crashing down upon him. He is drowning and there is nothing I can do but I throw him the only life vest I have at my disposal, prayer and faith of our Heavenly Father.  This disease has stolen so much from me. Before my moms death she spent years abusing drugs to try and escape this disease, guilt and depression has stolen the relationship I could have with my dad with the years he has left but we couldn’t be more distant from each other, this disease has stolen my brother, my only living sibling and he is lost in the throes of addiction.  Now it steals days, hours, and minutes with my husband and I fear one day it may steal his life.

depression

   This disease is real, it needs to be talked about, with our children, spouses, parents, friends, and anyone else who will listen. One more life lost is one more to many. Tonight my heart is heavy and I think about the staggering statistics and I pray for all of those struggling with the Deepest Hole Of Life that most people are afraid to talk about. Right here is a safe place and anyone can come here and express what they need and get love and support. Today I am stepping into my Life. I hope each of you are to.

 

Grace

   Underserving favor, I feel so undeserving of many things and Grace is definitely at the top of that list. Love would have to be next on that list, I guess people would probably describe me as putting on a brave face, however I feel completely unlovable. So if I am not worthy of love why would I be worthy of trust, friendship, honesty, patience, and especially Grace, God’s Grace.

Gods-Girls-Logo

    Maybe it’s not finding Grace that is so hard but accepting it for our self and even more than that extending it to others. The thought of it is so beautiful and can truly take your breath away when you think about what it means.

  • Showing favor in a situation when favor is not earned
  • Goodwill especially towards one that does not deserve it
  • Extending love or care to others without thought or concern for ones self

    grace5

   There are so many more examples just like this. Jesus gives Grace as easily as he gives breath. More than find it for myself I want to learn how to be Graceful even in the toughest of situations. I want to leave people better than I find them and I want them to say as they leave my presence that I was full of Grace and love. I have a lot of work to do.