I I have been away for a few days, but in that time, reflecting and understanding, and listening and the remembrances of wonderful Christmas memories of days long gone. Growing up Christmases were never about going to the store, shopping, having loads under the tree, we didn’t. Don’t know too many in my neighborhood who did, but we, who did not have means, or transportation, who lived for the first of the month, and the hope that check would come, had a process of finding those things we each dreamed of having, cutting out the pictures, and wrapping that picture, for that sibling, or our Mom, to explore on Christmas morning. It was so much fun and exciting, to guess that someone cared and listened enough to what you said all year, to remember and do that. We loved it! Mom, had to figure out how to get real gifts for her brood of five. She only had one source of income, welfare, and what her Mom, who worked and stayed away, would help with, and then my Grandma Annie’s family members, namely the ones away, working, because they had no children, would get and ship us gifts, hand me downs from their employers, a few lay away items, and some “stocking stuffers”. Our church gave out Christmas bags, after each Christmas program, filled with nuts, candy, an orange and an apple. That was standard tradition. My Great grandma next door, always gave us a small gift, mine was always a book. I loved getting books. I would read it over, and over, and a few pieces of candy.
After we got a little older, we were allowed to go to the Sears, or Montgomery Ward, or some other catalog, Penney’s and given a certain amount where we could order anything we wanted, toys, games, candy, fun things, as long as the amounts of each of us were equal. Sometimes, my brothers got a little more, cause what they wanted was so important, yet slightly off the total. She got all our orders together, and even without us knowing, she ordered someone to wear, or something we needed. We stood at the mailbox, waited for the postmaster, Charlie Wood, so we could watch her send our order off to Santa, C.O.D.. When the shipment came, she would have the money, or because of the holiday, the postman left it, and she paid the post office once she got the check, and got to the store, cashed the check, bought our Christmas and monthly food, and then paid for our package. Things were less defined then, people looked out for one another, it’s a small, rural town where everyone knew everyone’s circumstances. We made gifts for one another, we would find pennies and go to our local store, Geo. Vowels Store, at the end of the road across from the church, and buy candy for gifts, wrap those, so we would have something for one another.
As we grew older, we started to draw names, that was so exciting, hard to keep a secret, but then we would go to the store with Momma, a pick out a gift for that named secret person, something we knew they really would like. We always got our Momma something, cause she would just sit there watching us, with so much joy as if she didn’t need anything. That was who Momma was always. We had wonderful times on Christmas Day, our little household, for the most part. Struggling was normal, and surprises were the rule of the day.
We always got up around 4am, never when the sun came out, or if the rooster crowed, we had already been up and enjoyed our Christmas, gone back to bed and slept before the neighbors rallied, which they always did, coming to take over our things, and sometimes breaking our new toys, then return home to enjoy their own Christmases. Between my older sister, Joyce, always taking my new toys, or dolls, and hiding them and breaking them, and my cousins, the neighbors next door, our first Christmas visitors, Christmas joy had to be enjoyed early. This was normal. You get used to knowing how it would be. I just choose to reflect on how good God was and how, we who thought there would be no Christmas, always had joy, and smiles, and were never left disappointment, in spite of all the unloving, unChristlike bitter parts of such a beautiful, day. It was always about Christ, we were always read the Christmas story before bed, by Momma, we always got down on our knees just before going to bed ever so early, after all had a Christmas bath, saying our prayers, thanking God for everything, we had, always so excited, too excited to sleep for a long time, but forcing ourselves, so the night and all its prospects would come. Momma would be cooking, late, and watching television alone, she liked that.
We drew names until my grandchildren were born, and they lived with us five years, before moving out, and we the remaining four or five of us, still drew names every Thanksgiving after we ate, up until three years ago. It was always fun, exciting, and a joy.
I reflect on how and where I am now, going through chemo, not feeling well all the time, not really doing or feeling Christmas, not participating in the way I so took joy in the way I did all my life. My two favorites days have always been: my birthday, in July, and Christmas, in December. I lived those days, and this year, am just blessed to exist. God has shown me so much in these last days about His plan for me. His work in burning, molding, and transforming me from all those things that were, and I feel I am just an empty vessel, never used, handled, or taken out of the kiln, the fire has not cooled, and my purpose has yet to be determined, and it will not be anything resembling “old me”. I already don’t see myself in who I am. Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. This thing that happened to me has been on God’s agenda since before I was created, it is His will, and all that goes with it, are to make me into who He needs me to be. What am I doing? I am standing back allowing His will to be done, in all things. I am for the first time in my life, not moving in, thinking it over, trying to assist, tweak, or carry any part of what I see on myself. I see somethings that, in my past, I would be helping Him with, but for the first time ever, I just lay there, listening, watching, and praising Him for how He is working, how He is moving, and how I am not able to participate. Everything that is happening to me, and everything that is being done to keep me from falling, and giving up, and making ends meet, and keeping me, is all God. I look around, and there has been nothing I can, I couldn’t make the cancer get removed, I couldn’t work to produce food, or gain finances to keep my lights, water, phones, cars going, get back on my feet after surgery, and then when the chemo was ordered, I have not been able to get myself to or from the infusions, get through the hardest days and nights, stop anything that has transpired, but all these things are taken care of anyway. Nothing has been missed, no person God has sent has turned me away, instead, there have been so many wonderful friends who just show up in the times I need to get somewhere, when I need anything. God just sends people, and I have never experienced that before. I used to pray for help, pray He send someone when I was in need, and He would, and then sometimes, He would not. It is not so now, I am truly at my Fathers’ mercy, and He mercy and His wonderful, loving hand has been there every step of the way. I always felt that I could trust God, but I needed to trust me first. I was always my first line of defense, my only advocate, until now. God did not allow me to be a part of the picture. Do you know what that is like? Not to be part of something? Not to be part of anything dealing with your own life? To be cut out of the picture, not able to participate in your own life? Until now, neither have I, but it is the most calming, peaceful, joy I have ever experienced. Life without God, or a part-time God, will never give you the joy of totally trusting all to Him. Christmas will be gone in a day, but total peace from the birth of Christ didn’t mean “one silent night”, it is just the beginning, when we stop trying to figure God’s will out for us and just allow Him to take control and walk and move when He speaks. Each morning early, He wakes me and we share, and I ask, and I thank Him, and I praise Him for what and where and who He created first in me, and now how He is transforming and renewing that person to be for His good. I am no longer mine. It feels good. It is freeing, but it is not easy unless, as in my case, He left me no choice, and took control without me seeing it coming. My mind, my body, and my soul, are now all one with Him and it is truly alright with me whichever side He places me on, here on earth to do His will going forward, or the joy of the Lord in Heaven. I feel good and reflect on all He allowed me to see, be, do, and know and the prophecies He showed me throughout life, and the wisdom and knowledge of Him and His wonderful word, O I do count it all JOY!!!
It is Chemo 3 on Wednesday, but these last two weeks have been such a blessing, overall, and I will reflect on how He gave me so much in this time where the battle within was not all out war, and I had my granddaughter’s birthday, and I will be blessed to share Christmas, however it is, I will be present and grateful in all.
Don’t forget to GoFundMe.Com to support the Aggressive Chemo Causes Financial Stress. It was inspired by God to bring peace, love, and is a part of the walk of faith we must take to show love to those who are in need. Thank You for your support, and your sharing and encouragement to make this journey bearable, and as Jesus fed the five thousand, we must learn to be like Him, without doubt, questions, or reservations. God Bless!