Amazing Awaits Advent is a time of preparation and expectant waiting. Expectant waiting means a growing sense of excitement, wonder, and enthusiasm as the heart innately knows that what is coming i…

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https://ambardpl.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/867/

Amazing Awaits

Advent is a time of preparation and expectant waiting. Expectant waiting means a growing sense of excitement, wonder, and enthusiasm as the heart innately knows that what is coming is better than what the eye can see and the heart can dream. For the longest time, I thirsted for more, but something shifted in August. The shift is on me, but my heart sparked as I prayerfully considered job offers and then took a leap of faith from what was expected and what was dreamed of. While there have been moments of severe doubt, one reality stood true: something amazing is coming my way.

That something amazing is something beyond what I can see or dream. Advent is about that expectant waiting and preparing for what is about to unfold. Taking a step back from myself is part of this preparation. I want to spend the next five weeks settling in and looking ahead. I see glimpses of what I cannot see even today.

I am getting to see four of five of my children for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is part this preparation of amazing. I am thankful for the five children I shared with the man who chose me until his final breath. I am thankful for what would be 28 years on Sunday because some people never get that kind of love. I am not grieving for what we didn’t get, but rather shifting my paradigms to gratitude and a quiet sense of knowing what an Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 love is.

I am leaning into my faith as I start my year of believing. Faith requires trusting in what cannot be seen. As I invest on every personal and financial level, I am starting to see amazing unfold. The new job and the new house are only part of it, but my advent season is just starting. I stand watching the smallest lights growing in the distance as I expectantly wait for what I cannot see or know yet. #amazingawaits

https://ambardpl.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/865/

Don’t Stop Believing

2016/2017 My Year of Believing   One year ago I ran the New York Marathon for the first time.  That weekend started my year of getting off of the couch.   That had nothing to do with exercise,…

Source: Don’t Stop Believing

Don’t Stop Believing

2016/2017 My Year of Believing

 

One year ago I ran the New York Marathon for the first time.  That weekend started my year of getting off of the couch.   That had nothing to do with exercise, but rather learning to thrive versus surviving.  I had come to realize that my life was being consumed with school, volunteer work, and hiding.  I ran from anything that scared me.  Through the closing of my eyes and taking a leap of faith, pushing myself, and trusting myself, I found myself and I began to thrive in ways I could never have foreseen.  Though I took many risks through 2015-2016, three choices stand out for all they taught me.

 

I travelled to China alone, not knowing anyone, and conquered a giant wall.  To understand how scared I was, I never saw myself taking a vacation alone, going to a country where every bit of the language is beyond my comprehension, and to run that wall?  Well, it meant digging deep on every level.  I completed my bucket list in China and found that my year of thriving started something else—hope.  Hope in what lies ahead.

 

2015/2016 brought me taking a risk that I never thought I would take again.  I let someone into my heart.  While the relationship did not work out, I will be forever thankful that this person showed me that I am capable of loving someone else and that there is room in my heart to feel that deeply.  I didn’t entertain dating before that because I couldn’t imagine whether or not I could not compare, feel guilt, or fully expose my heart.  I discovered how much richer my life can be with the right person in it and I am confident enough now to weather the storms.  Before?  I was scared of my own shadow.  I was scared of getting it wrong.  This relationship didn’t work out, but it wasn’t the end of the world.  I am awake, alive, and pressing on whether there is someone in my life or not.

 

The third choice and the biggest area of thriving was in the decision to apply for a job in Missouri, Colorado, and Washington.  When all three jobs were offered to me, the only one that felt right was Missouri.  I have never lived in this state and I rarely have been there.  I am going to a job I haven’t done and one that scares me a little.  I see something though.  I have a big story that the military responds well to.  I have used it to promote positive coping strategies, but why not use it with the at risk soldiers/families?  Why not use it to show that while we cannot control the cards we are dealt, we can choose how we want to play them?

 

Colorado still feels like home, but when looking at my choices, I innately knew that I would never be able to separate out my story from my work.  There is a difference.  I will never forget Phil and I will always love that man, but I know with every bit of my being, that he would want more for me.  I want more for me.  I want to see if there can be a Chapter Two.  I want to see if I can have a social network that doesn’t always include people I knew from my past as a couple.  So while Colorado is truly my heart, I gave up my dream to thrive and to stand strong alone hoping against all hope.

 

Washington was the dream we shared for retirement.  Missouri is my dream.  My dream.  For whatever reason, I believe that amazing awaits.  Nobody really knows me.  My brother and his family do, of course, but it is more than that.  I bought a house and I am investing my heart, finances, and trust that this is my True North.  Yes, I will work and continue to use my voice for military issues and for the families that are unable to talk, but this is about believing and saying yes to life.

 

2016/2017 started at the New York Marathon yesterday.  It is my year of believing in self and what lies ahead.  To understand what this means, one must understand that when my name is called or when I am scared, I shut down and I run and hide.  Sometimes I give up pieces of myself because I am afraid to speak up or stand up for myself.  I realized that in August of this year.  It is time.  It is time for me to have faith in me and in who I am and what I stand for.  I do not need to apologize for who I have changed into or for the soft generous heart I have, but it is the moment that I believe in my instincts, dreams, hopes, and the destination.  I am taking another leap of faith as I cannonball into a dark ravine trusting that there will be hands that will reach if I fall too far as I move to MO to take a job that I have never done far from my friends.  I don’t have a network there, but my brother’s family is there for now.  The difference between 2011 and 2016/2017 is that I know amazing awaits and that what lies ahead is unfolding.    I trust in my heart and I trust in my voice.  2016/2017….my year of believing.

 

 

 

The Least Able and the Least Willing

Moses was called by God to lead the people to the promised land. In a very unique way, God spoke through a burning bush. One bush. One voice. One calling. Moses did not feel ready or able to do wha…

Source: The Least Able and the Least Willing

The Least Able and the Least Willing

Moses was called by God to lead the people to the promised land. In a very unique way, God spoke through a burning bush. One bush. One voice. One calling. Moses did not feel ready or able to do what he was called to do. He stuttered. He wasn’t exactly a social butterfly, yet he submitted to the calling beyond himself. Rahab was a prostitute that saved Joshua and his mighty army. Noah drank. David committed adultery and was a murderer. Jonah ran from God, and was swallowed by a big fish before he was willing to submit to the will of God. While I will never presume to know why me and why this story, I have known from the very start that this was the answer to the prayer I had for five years before Phil was killed.

For five years, I felt that I was being called for something more. I didn’t know what it was and even Phil thought I was already doing it by working with so many youth. I loved my role as a teacher, coach, mentor, but I knew that there was something bigger coming. It all clicked on 27 April 2011. As I dropped to my knees keening, the first thought I had was how could I claim to have faith if in my darkest hour I turned from the very faith I professed. I chose without thought and what came next was what I was called for.

At every juncture, I have sought to do the right thing whether it be to get the media off of my children, to provide a steadying way ahead for the cadets or my students, or to speak out for change for families coming after me. Even in my brokenness, that voice came from somewhere other than myself. I certainly did not see myself in a role of speaking, writing, mentoring on loss. It scared me. It still does at times.

Some people do not understand and call into question the very fire and voice that I have always recognized that is not my own. No matter how often I try to run from it, I feel a purpose and a calling that I cannot deny. Why can’t it be someone else? I never needed the invitations to the White House, the television and radio interviews, the published research, or the speaking. I wish it was as simple as all of that. My calling and purpose does not mean I am stuck in my past, but it does mean that my present is about those who need my voice the most. I do honor the man who gave me that voice, but this journey is about more than that. More than that.

Some will never understand and will seek to destroy the heart, but faith is the essence of things not seen, yet believed in. I believe even as I stand bent. How can I be so confident? It isn’t always easy, but there have been those burning bushes for me. People reaching out–complete strangers–to tell me how my words impacted them. Policies have changed. One reluctant and weak voice tells a powerful story that causes people to listen. Why? It isn’t my story. not at all. It is Phil’s story and my past of being a wife of an enlisted man and then an officer, raising children in the military system who grew up to be military. It is about the story of being a key spouse. It is the life of being a wife and then not being a wife. It is the story of being a Blue Star mom and wife and then being the mom of medically retired son and a Gold Star spouse. If not me, then whom? But….why me?

It is easy to say that I should be done, but the reality is that there is still so many stumbling on this path. This path isn’t just about the losses like mine, but what of the families who struggle with the stigma of suicide, walking on egg shells due to PTSD, sexual assault victims, divorces brought on by the unraveling of families from multiple deployments, and it is about the family costs of serving. Perhaps there will be some who do not understand. That is okay. I am not doing it for approval or for understanding. Those that know me the best recognize the woman that I am and the calling I have. I wish it had been another person, but God called the least able and capable. Perhaps that is the story.