Category Archives: Beginnings and Endings

Nothing is impossible…

IMG_9432p-Lv3 (2)When I look at this photo, I have so many emotions. Sunday is Mother’s Day, and for many of you, it won’t be a joyful day. It will hurt.

I understand. There is a story I’ve never shared publicly, and even though I haven’t posted in ages, I believe now is the time.

When I was 35 years old, my sister gave birth to her second daughter. I was overjoyed when she asked me to be in the delivery room with her. Witnessing the birth of my niece was one of the most special moments of my life. I ended up spending the night in the hospital with my sister that night (her husband was caring for their 18-month-old at home). I couldn’t sleep at all. Of course, there were nurses coming in and out all night long, and I was there to help my sister with her newborn daughter. But there was something else keeping me awake.

At the time, I was 35 years old and utterly single . . . not dating anyone. I felt a huge weight of despair lying on that uncomfortable couch/bed in the hospital room. I just knew I would never get to experience the joy of childbirth. I felt crushed because I realized the odds were stacked against me. I was 35 years old with a string of failed relationships. I desperately wanted to be a mother, but it seemed utterly impossible. I ached and cried and told God I didn’t understand him at all. I didn’t mention it to my sister, of course. It was her special time, and I was so happy for her. But I can still remember the depth of that silent pain.

What I couldn’t comprehend in that dark moment: We serve a God who is all about redemption.

What I didn’t know in that hospital room: God had a beautiful plan for me, more beautiful than I could ever imagine. About two years later, someone I knew from my childhood suddenly popped back into my life and eventually became my husband. God’s timing is perfect.

One week after my 40th birthday, I gave birth to our beautiful son. My sister took this photo of me and my precious baby boy. I could have never imagined the joy. God brings beauty from ashes.

If you’re struggling today, lean into God. I can’t tell you that your story will turn out exactly like mine. But I can tell you that God has written a beautiful story just for you.

I can tell you:

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (KJV)

God knows your pain. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

And finally, I can tell you that God brings beauty from ashes. These verses were the ones read at our wedding:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

Happy Mother’s Day. Lean into him.

af signature

To read more about my single journey, check out my book Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beginnings and Endings, Singleness, Surviving the Dark Places, Truth Lies and the Single Woman, Waiting, Who is God?

Dee

Nathan and Deanie

Nathan and Deanie

My grandmother would have turned 99 years old today. Deanie Flexer passed away in May of 2000 after an 8 year battle (on and off) with cancer. She was quite a character! She was also a business owner, hard worker, beloved grandmother, creative storyteller, and funny person. I miss her dearly.

When I think of my childhood, I think of Dee . . .

Sitting on her lap in the box office at our family’s movie theater, selling tickets and straightening dollar bills as she quizzed me on each president’s name.

Sitting at her kitchen table eating chicken a la king. Watching her cook with an apron around her waist and no recipe book in sight.

Going to the grocery store with her (riding in the car on that fold down arm rest in the front seat!)

Sleeping in church with my head on her lap.

Dee and I (circa 1994)

Dee and I (circa 1994)

Spending the night at her house and listening to her crazy “monkey tales” that she made up as she went along.

Making fun of her for ordering a “tornado” every time we begged for Dairy Queen blizzards!

Thinking back about Dee and all of the memories, I see the impact she had on the person I have become. I see it when I’m not afraid to be the only woman in the room during a business meeting. I see it as I write the “stories” in my book. I even see it when I curse my shape of my legs (the ones most likely inherited from her). I definitely see it when I speak my mind and become more like her each year.

I’m so blessed that I had 25 years with Dee as my grandmother. I grew up with a role model who left home at an early age to work and provide for her family. As a little girl, I watched a strong woman run a business, and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t possible for me to do the same.

Her life made an impact, and I hope my legacy is even half as amazing as hers.

My grandparents with Bob Hope

My grandparents with Bob Hope

Happy 99th birthday, Dee! I love you and can’t wait to see you again someday!

af signature

Article in The News-Democrat from 2000:

dee2

2 Comments

Filed under Beginnings and Endings, Community, Faith, Family, Photos

To Be Forgiven

I recently came across this essay by Henri Nouwen. I could say so many things to preface it, but I’ll simply say that I felt it was important enough to post in its entirety here. Whether you’re a parent, a child, or both, I hope it meets a need for you.

To Be Forgiven
From: Here and Now: Living in the Spirit by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Copyright 1994, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, NY

“Many of us not only have parents but also are parents. This simple truth is quite sobering because it is not unlikely that our own children will spend quite a lot of time talking to their friends, counselors, psychiatrists, and priests about us! And we tried so hard not to make the same mistakes our parents made! Still, it is quite possible that, while we may be more tolerant than our fathers or mothers, our children may be complaining that we weren’t strict enough! And it is not unthinkable that, while we were making sure that our children were free to choose their own lifestyle, religion, or career, they may be talking about us as weak characters not daring to give concrete direction!

The tragedy of our lives is that, while we suffer from the wounds afflicted on us by those who love us, we cannot avoid wounding those we want to love. We so much want to love well, to care well, to understand well, but before we grow old someone will say to us, “You weren’t there for me when I most needed you; you didn’t care about what I was doing or thinking; you didn’t understand or even try to understand me.” As we hear these remarks or feel the criticisms of those we love, we come to the painful realization that—as we had to leave our father and mother, brother and sisters—they too have to leave us and find their own freedom. It is very painful to see those for whom we have given our life leave us, often in directions that fill us with fear.

It is here that we are called to believe deeply in the truth that all fatherhood and all motherhood come from God. Only God is the father and mother who can love us as we need and want to be loved. This belief, when strongly held, can free us, not only to forgive our parents, but also to let our children forgive us.”

Does this strike a chord with you as well? Do you agree with Nouwen’s essay?

Photo by Allison K. Flexer.

3 Comments

Filed under Beginnings and Endings, Extending Grace, Faith, Family

A Prayer for the New Year

Father,

Looking back on the challenges that 2010 held, I realize that I am not sad to see this year come to a close. It was a year of sadness and grief. A year where I lost three close friends to death. A year of mourning and a year with disappointing ends to relationships. At the same time, it was a year of birth — my two nieces bring so much joy to our family. It was a year where I faced disappointment and some very dark times. I learned that I still have trouble letting go and giving complete control to you. However, I am thankful for the pain, though it was horrible, because it strengthened my relationship with you and my dependence on you. Thank you for showing me your character in 2010 — thank you for teaching me about your love and faithfulness.

Lord, on this brand new day of 2011, I want to make this a year of HOPE. I choose hope. I choose to be positive. I chose to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I choose to say “it is well with my soul.” I choose to depend on you. Let your Spirit clearly guide me in the right direction. Father, I trust you. I trust you with the desires of my heart. I renounce the spirit of FEAR. I renounce despair. I renounce the lies from our enemy that I have believed. I choose to rest in you and believe your TRUTH.

I Believe….

I believe that you created me with love, exactly the way I am. (Psalm 139:13-14)

I believe that you have a unique purpose for me that only I can fulfill. (Jeremiah 29:11-12)

I believe that you have ordained my days upon this earth. (Psalm 139:16)

I believe that you sent your only son to be a living sacrifice for my sins and that you have completely forgiven me through the blood of Jesus. (John 3:16, Psalm 103:12)

I believe that you love me more than I can ever imagine. (Psalm 23:6)

I believe that you are faithful and good. (Psalm 100:5)

I believe that you have chosen me to be your daughter. (Hebrews 2:10, Ephesians 1:11)

I believe that someday I will live eternally with you in Heaven. (John 6:40)

I believe that each day is a gift from you. (Psalm 118:24)

I believe that all things work together for good in your master plan. (Romans 8:28)

I believe that your plans are better than my plans and your ways are higher than my ways. (Isaiah 55:9)

I believe that you are God, and I am not! (1 John 4:7-10)

Amen.


(Copyright Allison at Anointed With Grace, 1/01/11)

6 Comments

Filed under Beginnings and Endings, Faith, God