Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Monday, November 30, 2015

Family and Funerals


This morning my husband asked me if I had ever been to a "black funeral". At first, I was confused by the question. I began to quietly ponder on what might be different between funerals I had been to before with my family and a funeral with his family. 


A week ago my husband had lost a beloved cousin, Glenn Strong, to violence. The news was shocking and devastating. I saw my news feed fill up with the outcry of his family and friends. Part of me thinks the violence aspect caused even more pain and confusion than other situations. As the week progressed, I watched as my strong loving husband went from shock to brokenness masked only by keeping busy. Even in the midst of everything he remained strong and steadfast for his girls. My heart ached in empathy for him and his family and I felt completely helpless and unable to comfort. The only thing I could do was to follow his lead and stand by him to support and love him. 

So this morning we were planning the events of the day and the timeline,when he asked if I had ever been to a "black funeral". 

While we were at the funeral there were some minor differences, but that might even be just differences in churches. Most all of what I experienced was exactly the same. 

We heard the mournful wails of the brokenhearted sister. We saw the husband holding up his wife as she said goodbye to her baby boy. We saw the cousins who were both broken-hearted at the loss of someone so dear, while also so thankful to be reunited with other family members. We heard the gentle crinkle of the candy wrappers from the elderly lady who passed them out to restless children. We smelled the food that had been lovingly prepared for the family. We heard the lyrics to "His Eye On The Sparrow". We saw the room overfilled with all those whose lives were touched by Glenn. We heard the words of the pastors who pointed the glory back to God. The thing that was exactly the same was the feeling of love that poured from the family. 

From the first time I met my husband's family, I have felt loved and welcome and the very first person I met was Glenn. It is one of my favorite stories and I even told it less than a week before Glenn's passing. 

When I first met my husbands family, they were having a reunion in a park and we had arrived after it was already dark. There was very little lighting and I only knew his dad and brothers who had arrived with us. When the hubby was speaking to some family members I went to walk around and introduce myself. I walked up to the first picnic table and introduced myself to a kind man. He said, "It's nice to meet you. I'm Little Glenn." We spoke briefly and then I went to another table. Again I introduced myself, or reintroduced myself. He said, "Hi Faith, I just met you. I'm Glenn." I was slightly embarrassed but it could have happened to anyone. I went to another group and yet again reintroduced myself. (Now remember it is very dark and they are all family..) Again he kindly responded, "Hi Faith. I am Glenn. Why don't I walk you around and introduce you to everyone?" He walked and talked with me as I got to meet all of my husband's family. 

Through the funeral and the reception Abbie, our oldest, kept mentioning that she loved her daddy's family. She also mentioned how loving his family was. I reminded her several times that they are all her family not just her dad's. She was a part of this amazing loving family. 

After spending more time with his family I came to a realization. Just like Abbie, I had continued to refer to them as his family. The reality is they are MY family. Eleven years ago they welcomed me in and have made me feel so incredibly loved. We see them far too little and I hope to change that. I love my family and will be lifting them up as they face the loss of Glenn, the first one to welcome me again and again and again. 



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vlog Challenge: Favorite Song/ Lip Syncing

So todays Vlog challenge was to talk about one of my favorite songs and to show my best lip syncing skills. I was thinking of all the songs I love. I felt a little nervous about the lip syncing. Then I began to think about my cousin Amanda. We used to go on road trips together or just hang out listening to music and singing. We LOVED our boy bands... especially N'Sync. So in honor of her today I decided to lip sync to N'Sync's Drive Myself Crazy. I need to go through my stuff because I know I have pictures of us in our Grandpa's van with our headphones on and lip syncing to N'Sync. 




I have a close bond to all of my cousins but Amanda has been a sort of little sister to me. I love you Amanda. 


What is your favorite song to lip sync to? What song do you have good memories from? 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily Blog Challenge: Day 24

Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.


When i was a child my whole family dynamic was so different from now. I was extremely close to my dad. I hated my mom. I followed my brothers around and wanted to hang out with their friends. 


Now, my mom is one of my best friends. My dad and I are close but we are in that phase where he is going from just my dad to being more of a friend. I also barely see or speak to my brothers even though we all live within twenty minutes of each other. 


If speaking about my husband we are very much our roles as we were in childhood. He was the oldest son and I was the baby girl. Sometimes he will act like the older brother by not letting me play the video game and trying to do it for me. Then I will fall into my little sister personality and get mad. I will get very competative and when all else fails I will threaten to tell one of the moms. It happens so fast and so naturally that when we realize that we are acting that way it is almost funny. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 20

Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.


The splintered wooden tablet: She sat in the chair to the right of the television. Her strong spirit in a frail body. She called me over to her. I would sit by her side and watch her play solitaire on the coarse wood board embroidered with splinters. Her deck of cards sat beside her on the table until she wanted to play their worn faces. I would sit and play with her translucent skin. Moving it about, back and forth over her veins, using a finger. My Great Grandma would smile and then reciprocate by looking at my young flexible skin. Her dark black hair lay neatly on the top of her head. As the years passed so went her memory, but her ageless beauty stood strong. 


The Orange Crackers: When he, my Uncle Jerry, would show up at my Grandpa's home I knew that he had a hidden surprise awaiting me in the shirt pocket of his cotton collared shirt. He would smile as he pulled out three packs of orange crackers. They were the cheese crackers that bedded a layer of dry peanut butter. As I bit into them they crumbled leaving a trail of orange dust from my shirt onto my mouth. I remember thinking that he had such  a strong resemblance to my Grandpa. 


The Vanilla Scented Doll: My Uncle Vince was a kind man. I remember noticing that he had a beautiful olive skin tone that I was so jealous of. When he would walk in the door he would walk up to greet me. "Oh, there's my girlfriend." Those were times when it wan't uncommon for that to be said. He would always remark on how beautiful my red hair was. He once brought me a doll. She was so beautiful. Her dress flipped up to disguise her as a  cupcake. She had a vanilla scent. I loved to sniff her hair as I would comb through it. To this day I will smell a vanilla candle and I will think of my Uncle Vince. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Safe Guarding the Heart

I notice the fog creeping up on the front window. I continued to replay the argument in my mind. At the first sound of my ring tone I jumped. Would he really have the balls to call me  right  instead of just stepping out the door? At the second ring I decided to look at the phone. It was him. He was one of my best friends. As I spoke on the phone he reassured me. He told me everything I wanted to hear but none of what I needed to hear. He told me that I deserved better. He told me that I am smart and beautiful. He told me that he could understand me and felt closer to me than anyone ever before and I felt the same about him. Those were all words that I had longed to hear for so long. What first was only the best intentions soon turned into something dangerous. Things at home went from bad to worse. I was extremely lonely.  My marriage was explosive. 


A huge fight left us in shambles. I told my husband that I wanted out. I went to find comfort in my friend. When I was with him I no longer felt alone. Through the months of talking I had fallen in love. Not into a godly love but into a love built on desperation and neediness. He kissed me and I found no strength to fight it. That night my affair went from an emotional one to a physical one. I had an affair. I committed adultery. Those are some words I never thought I would never post on the Internet. There are so many names some may call me, but none that I hadn't called myself. The guilt haunted me. 


That was in 2005. That was seven years ago and God is still using it to teach me and to reach out to others. How much my life has changed since then. I am very blessed. God has shown me so much grace. God used the situation to pull me close to Him. My husband has forgiven me. 


I was listening to a great song that really summed up where I am at. 


Steven Curtis Chapman, "Remember Your Chains"


There's no one more thankful to sit at the table
Than the one who best remembers hunger's pain
And no heart loves greater than the one that is able
To recall the time when all it knew was the shame
The wings of forgiveness can take us to heights never seen
But the wisest ones, they will never lose sight of where they were set free
Love set them free

So remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone




I find that when I remember the chains that held me in bondage, I am able to see other with more grace and love. 

My friend and I were discussing the importance of protecting your heart. We are supposed to keep our hearts guarded from things that are ungodly. We are to be alert because the "devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)" When the devil finds a weakness he will pounce on it. 

Ways to guard your heart:
1. Keep in close communion to God. This can be achieved through prayer, His word, praise, and fellowship with fellow Christians. 

2. Have realistic expectations. Your spouse will never fulfill you. Your friends will never fulfill you. Books, sex, music, crafts, drugs, and other things will not fulfill you. God is the only one who can fill the void. Only God can bring true fulfillment. 

3. Keep an eye out for the enemy. A huge lie that many Christians get caught up in is forgetting or not believing that there is a very real spiritual war. If you do not have your armor on (Armor of God- Ephesians 6:10-18). 

4. Have a thankful heart. By keeping a thankful heart you can prevent yourself from the dangers of self pity. 

5. Be watchful of what you put into your head and your heart. By listening to ungodly music, watching ungodly movies, and reading ungodly books we open ourselves up to the lies of the devil. We desensitize ourselves from the things of the world. We are to be set apart. My friend just wrote a very honest and truthful blog about "50 Shades of Grey", a book that so many are speaking about. The book is basically soft core porn. http://littlebishopchronicles.blogspot.com/2012/06/50-shades-of-trash-for-adults-only.html

6. Call things as they are. By using God's terms it brings the truth to it. Instead of saying affair say committed adultery. Instead of saying a child disobeyed say they rebelled. We try to soften things up so that we don't offend people. We want to be politically correct, but we need to be God correct. John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

7. Seek out only godly counsel. We are to reach out to nonbelievers. We are to show them God's love and grace, but we are not to seek out their counsel. We all, pretty much, know our friends well enough to know how they handle situations. The friends of mine that will let me vent but then hold me accountable to what God wants of me, are the ones I go to with issues. The friends that are very worldly, I don't discuss personal things with. 

8. Write God's word on your heart. When the devil attacks, the best thing to combat his lies is God's word. 

9. Share God's grace with others. Show them the forgiveness and love that has been given to you. 

10. Don't give the devil any more ammunition. He already has enough ways to attack us. We are told to reject evil (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I have chosen to protect myself by not having any close male friends. Other than direct family members, I don't have any males on my Facebook. I don't talk to a male in a private conversation. If someone wants to contact me, they can reach me through my husband. I am not saying that all Christian women should cut off ties with male friends, but I know myself and I don't want to give the devil any room. I also want to honor my husband. By taking away his fear or giving him an opportunity to lose trust in our relationship is not worth it to me. You should stay away from whatever separates you from God.

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Colossians 3:9-10 "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it."


What is keeping you from God? How do you safe guard your heart? 



Friday, June 8, 2012

When Your Heart Stops

I walked into the room filled with joy and excitement. I sat down on the bed next to my love and I saw it. My heart immediately stopped. I could feel my chest tighten and my eyes were flushed with salty tears of pain, anger, and disappointment. When my heart began to beat again I could feel it sink into my stomach. Even though the image was only on the screen for a second before he was able to close it, it felt like minutes. I was able to have an entire dialog with myself as the thoughts flowed from my soul, but I wasn't able to get the lump in my throat up enough to push out the words I so wanted to say. I took a very focused breath and asked what I needed to ask. He seemed extremely defensive in his assurances that it was only a pop-up from a blog. 


God must have given me His peace, because I only asked to see the blog that it pops up on. Upon viewing the blog several times there was no pop-up. I had asked to see his history in as much of a calm and nonjudgemental fashion I could muster. The settings were in such a way that it doesn't record them. He continued to try to assure me, which only led me to assume the opposite. I felt myself not knowing whether to yell, fight, or cry. Again, God gave me His peace. God's peace doesn't mean you don't always feel the pain, but it does mean you are able to face the pain in a more controlled fashion and less influenced by inner emotional toil.  I left the room to contemplate the situation. 


I write this, not to bash my love but to allow God a chance to speak to my heart and to yours. Sometimes, being a wise Christian means separating your soul from your spirit. My heart is flesh and will deceive me. Whereas, my spirit is in communion with the Holy Spirit, who has the ultimate wisdom. 


My heart wants to know if he was speaking the truth. My heart wants to make him feel pain for the pain he causes me. My heart feels defeated and overwhelmed, but my spirit wants to grow and wants to crawl into my Father God's loving arms, pouring our my tears and frustrations. My spirit needs to see the Truth, so that I can defend myself and my family against the father of lies. 


The truth: 
We all have sins and addictions that pull us and tempts us. These things pull us away from our family, our friends, and from our God. Whether or not he was giving into his addiction is ultimately between him and God. I need to be in prayer for him as the Devil is on the prowl and is trying to attack my love. 


I am no more righteous than my love. I am no more worthy of God's forgiveness and love than my love is.  


Satan would love for the situation to distract me from God's work in my life, from the relationship I am building up with my love, and from praising God. I will praise God because He is worthy. Because God has given me victory over Satan. Because God can turn all things to good. 


My focus is not supposed to be on whether or not I can trust my love or anyone else that I makes myself vulnerable to. My focus is to be on God. He is the one I can trust at all times. He can heal my heart from the pain. 


Where to go from here: 
I need to pray. I need to pray that I may be able to show my love God's love, forgiveness, and grace. I need to pray that I do not allow things to come between my walk with God. I need to pray that God protects my love's heart and helps him become strong spiritual headship. I need to pray that my love can find fellow Christian men that can love and support him. I need to pray that God protects all the marriages around us. 


I need to praise. I need to sing it out. I need to shout the amazing love and glory of God until my heart believes my spirit. 


I need to claim the victory that Jesus has given us. 


1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."


Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."


2 Timothy 1:7 "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."


Isaiah 41:13 
"For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand 
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you."


Psalm 46:1-3 
"God is our refuge and strength, 
    an ever-present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way 
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 
though its waters roar and foam 
    and the mountains quake with their surging."

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

1 Peter 3:1 "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,"

What can God help you overcome? Do you put your trust in man or in God? What do you need prayer for? 



Sunday, June 3, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 6


What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

There have been many difficult times in my life. My struggle with Bipolar, teen pregnancy, health issues, and friends betrayal. The most difficult though would have to be the separation from my husband. 

***To clarify ahead of time so nobody will be concerned, the things I am going to discuss have been resolved. We have had a healthy marriage for almost six years now. This passage, also, is not to bash my husband but to show what God has done in our lives since and to show what a drastic change both of us have made. I love my husband very dearly and could not be more proud of him, though I do complain from time to time.*** 

2007 was a year that was stained with my sins past and my husbands addiction. The anger from my prior infidelity had boiled up over the years and began to fester in his heart. At first he was just a little controlling. I would be asked where I was going and what I was doing. Slowly it turned into a state of isolation and complete control. I was not even allowed to go with my mom to the grocery store. He was very emotionally distant from our oldest daughter, Abbie. I would have to pay him to babysit her. I am very thankful that we were living with my brother and his wife. Even though they didn't know what was happening, it kept things from escalating and kept me from becoming completely isolated. 

When I went to stay with my mom for a week after she had a surgery, he moved out and left me in debt. I moved in with my parents at that point. We were separated for several months and he would not offer to help take care of Abbie. When we reconciled and he moved in with me I noticed that he was much more verbally cruel to me. I felt constantly attacked verbally and weak. I felt like a empty shell of myself. I wanted so much to be a good submissive wife, but at that time I didn't know that a submissive wife isn't a doormat. Someone had shown me a website with a verbal abuse quiz on it. As I sat at the dining room table reading it my eyes were opened. The pen in my hand checked off almost every box on the quiz. I was warned that often there is an escalation to violence if nothing is done, but I didn't care enough about myself to do anything about it. I continued to take it. I am very thankful that I was at my parents home during this terrible time.  

It was five thirty and I went to the store with my mom. To make things easier on the hubby, I put my daughter who had just turned three into her highchair to color and watch television. When we got back I asked him where she was. He told me that she was in bed for the night without dinner because she kept disobeying by breaking her crayons. I explained that you can't just leave a child alone in a highchair with crayons and not expect them to be broken. Trying to be submissive I just accepted her punishment and went on with my night. A few hours later, when he was in bed, I went to check on her. She had welts on her bottom from being spanked  hours prior. That was the point I decided to no longer accept the abuse. I didn't care if he hurt me, but I wasn't going to let him hurt my daughter. 

I sat down with him and had my parents there to mediate. I showed him the checklist and told him that he was abusive. I made a list of demands. He had to move out for at least six months. In that six months he had to get a job, get in counseling, get on medication, find a church, and financially provide for his daughter. He could not say or do one abusive thing, he couldn't see me, and he had to have his mother present if he wanted to see Abbie. If he did everything I asked then we would go to marital counseling for a period before deciding whether or not to reconcile.  

One night he put Abbie in bed and then didn't see or call her for over a month. This had a terrible affect on her. For several years she was afraid that her daddy would just leave if she went to sleep. Sometimes, she still sneaks into our room to check on him. 

I was extremely depressed, confused, and angry. I had felt lonely in a marriage for so long that being lonely by myself wasn't as difficult. I tried to focus on making myself a better person. I went back to school, got a job, made new friends, and became involved in church activities. I had assumed that since I was the main one taking care of Abbie, that being a single parent wouldn't be much more difficult. Unfortunately, I had a long time to realize that it is more difficult because you have to financially provide and there is no breaks. I am very thankful for the amazing support system God had in place for me then. 

I was looking through the poetry I wrote during our seperation... here are some passages:

Don't You See? (May 25, 2007)

Do you see me? Have you forgotten that I feel too? 
Do you see her? Her little cries missing you.

You don’t blame us for why you go,
But it is us you hurt when you don’t show.

You can hurt me, I am strong.
But with her is where you belong.

She doesn’t know why you aren’t here. 
To me your selfishness is very clear.

I’m glad you are enjoying your little break,
But letting you hurt my baby is my mistake.


Melting Away (February 1, 2008)
How dare you,
I am the snow in your heart.
You walked all over me as you watched me slowly disappear.
At one point I was pure and delicate,
I was beautiful. We were beautiful.

You trampled me into slush.
You stepped all over me.
You pissed on my purity while trying to mark your name on my life.
Your hot temper melted me,
I was beautiful but now I am ugly.

Will I ever be what I once was?
Can I regain what you took from me?
Why did you burn me like you did?
I don’t want to disappear anymore.
I was beautiful when you were ugly.

I blame myself for being blind.
I hate myself for still wanting you.
You made me weak and I began to believe your words.
I can’t heal if you are near me.
I am beautiful and you are ugly.

She too is as pure as snow.
I wont let you step on her.
I refuse to watch her disappear, melting into nothingness.
She is still delicate and happy.
She is beautiful. We are beautiful.



Dear Little One (February 15, 2008)


Thank you for loving me,

When I feel unloved.

Thank you for understanding me,

When I feel misunderstood.

Thank you for trusting me,

When I made you hero leave.

Thank you for smiling at me,

When I felt like crying.



I'm sorry I didn't protect you,

Before you got hurt.

I'm sorry you saw him hurt me,

Before saying goodbye.

I'm sorry I wasn't stronger,

Before he changed me.



I promise to love you,

When you feel unloved.

promise to understand you,

When you feel misunderstood.

I promise to be honest,

When you need the truth.

I promise to hug you,

When you feel like crying.




Why Goodbye (February 16, 2008)

You hurt me, leaving bruises on my soul,
Then dare to ask what’s wrong.

You trap me in my home, a cage with walls,
Then ask why I don’t get out.

You constantly lie to me and cheat on me,
Then ask why I don’t trust you.

You are killing me with each word you say,
Then wonder why my eyes cold.

You tear down my confidence in public,
Then tell me to smile.

You treat me like a hostage, not a wife,
Then wondered why Goodbye.

I will heal from the bruised soul,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will not be a prisoner in my home,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will learn to trust once again,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I someday will come back to life,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will have my head held high,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I refuse to let you hurt her,
That is why.



At the end of the eight months, I had no interest in reconciliation. I was having an emotional affair with a friend. I had become extremely angry at my husband and wanted to be free. I also had a lot of fear that when we would get back together the abuse would just resume. My father, being a very wise man, told me that I needed to go to marital counseling so that my husband wouldn't use my bipolar to fight for custody and because for Abbie's sake we would need to be able to communicate. So we went back to counseling but I made my stance clear... I wanted a divorce and even had the papers written up. 

Through months at counseling God softened my heart towards my husband. Alvin had made so many great strides and wanted to heal our family. He was repentant. We took things slowly and began to date. I had asked the counselor how I could trust that he wouldn't be abusive. She assured me that since we had a clean break for such a long period of time supported by medication and counseling, we would be fine. I am so thankful that God gave us a strong Christian counselor who could speak the words I needed to hear. 


Looking back now, I can see how God used the time apart to help us both grow.It is almost as if our marriage really did end and an entirely new one appeared. Alvin is becoming a strong godly husband and father. I love him so much and can see drastic changes he has made. I find it amazing that the entire time, though I was going through great trials, God was there and had provided people to help me make it through. 

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Psalm 46:10 
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

What has God brought you out of? What is the hardest thing you have gone through? Do you believe a person can change?

Friday, June 1, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 4

List 5 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.


1. Lose the weight now... You may think that you are obese but you are only slightly overweight. It would be a lot easier to lose the weight now then to try to when you are obese. 


2. The fibromyalgia pain is not going to go away... Don't feel defeated, but also don't let the pain stop you from doing thing. I know you want it to just mysteriously go away but it wont. It may sound weird but you will grow to appreciate it when you see that it pulls you closer to God and creates character. 


3. Be more active in school activities... I know you think it is cool to be one of the "weird" ones and to rebel against the system but you will regret not doing any activities with your free time. 


4. You are not stupid... The reason you have are having problems reading is not because you are stupid. Your reading level is definitely not where it should be, with help at Sylvan, things with be so much better. Don't wait to tell the parents and to get help.


5. Spend time with your brothers.... I know that you must be thinking "Whhaaatttt?", but trust me. In a few years you wont really see either of them except on holidays. One will be starting a family and be very busy, and the other will isolate himself from the family. You are going to miss them and maybe by forming a better relationship with them now you can keep the connection. 


Even though I may say all of this to myself, I know that 16 yr old be was hard-headed. I didn't really listen to anyone. Though I would recognize my own face, I would not recognize anything else about myself. I will become, what was at the time, my own worst fear. I became my mother... lol


Part of me wants to warn myself about friends that will deeply betray me, but I even though they caused me pain I would not give up the time I had with them. It was a good time. 


There are lots of struggles after I was sixteen (teen pregnancy, manic depression, shaky marriage, ect.), but I wouldn't tell myself about them because it would just make the younger version of me anxious, and because God uses it to build my character. Those things also are what brought me to making Jesus the Lord of my life. Prior to my struggles He was just Savior. 


Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."


Romans 5:2-5 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."


What would you tell your 16yr old self? Would you take back anything?