An Intense Struggle Every January


I went to bed feeling quite accomplished last night. I woke up and felt immediately like the biggest yutz on the planet. This time of year is so weird for me. I find more problems with scattered thoughts and emotions….its a litter of a traumatized history. Constantly thinking back to what I might have  been doing this day 14 years ago. How I was about to get back my life. How the things that happened to us play out over the years. It’s P.T.S.D. cropping up like mad. It’s in the way a baby at church looks at me with her sweet blue eyes, or a photo that pops up on my timeline, subconsciously reminding me of what this week 14 years ago brought about. It is what the locusts have stolen from me. It invades my dreams and leaves me awake at 3 am praying my way to my morning alarm….my intent is to be focused and productive. I find myself incapable. Its an intense struggle.

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Evidence number 02-00414. The last moments where he smiled, slept, and God only knows what else. My heart bleeds into tears during church…I just can not help it. I don’t even know where it comes from. I try hard to be steady and hide my roller coaster. It always comes out in short comings and tears. Someday, it would just be nice if someone would join me in my tears and not kill me for my shortcomings. Not likes it magically becomes fixed the 14th. Its this weird process of transition from trauma to normal. It takes a lot to go from 1 to 2. Normal isn’t even normal even now. I have a kid with cancer. As much as I trust God, I still flash back to my first sons funeral. noah 040Touching cold plastic pipes surrounded with plastic bags, to keep the fluid in his corpse…..it kinda struck me as surreal. My tear dripped onto Noah’s face, and his makeup dripped from his cheek. I do not think anything can replace that private “viewing” when all I wanted to do was scoop him up into my arms and give him one last kiss………But instead, i watched what I thought was his face drip into a facade of fakeness………I gently stepped away from him understanding he was just a shell of what i wanted to remember.

At the end of the funeral, i threw every last memento out of my son’s casket. Where were these people when I needed help caring for him? NOWHERE. And yet, they showed up in droves for his funeral.

I will never forget sitting there, barely able to catch breath. Blowing through box after box of Kleenex not able to contain my sobs. I was loud and unsettling, i’m sure. My grief so deep. It penetrated every bone in my body. I was so grieved by my son’s death that it changed my being. It changed my very constitution. I will never forget that unforgiving line of fake sorry sayers. Where were they when community mattered to prevent this kind of tragedy? Uh, nowhere.

There was the whole “going through the D.a.’s evidence box” that landed on my doorstep after the man plead guilty to 1st deg murder to avoid the death penalty. He was a capitol offender. He had previously harmed my son, and escalated to intentional murder. He never aired a grievance to my knowledge. Never asked for help or said he needed a break. I never knew it was him watching my son.

I can count on my hands three people who where there when it mattered the most. And, one of them wasn’t really FOR me. the end. Welcome to my annual Jan.

Welcome to the bottomless pit,

Faith

Sometimes, God Says Yes


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So, first off….Great news! John John’s MRI, although eventful was stable from the last. NO NEW CANCER IN THE BRAIN OR SPINE! Thank You Lord! The recent new symptoms are likely due to a new developmental milestone being met and the brain damage manifesting itself in new or different ways. That is OK. We can get him hooked up with the right therapists to overcome these problems.

Now, I really want to talk about something I have come to intimately understand. It is a simple passage from the bible that I have struggled with for years without even understanding it.

Proverbs 13:12 ESV

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

I have been afraid for so long to believe in this hope everyone speaks of. My struggle is, my hope is placed in The Lord. Not in an outcome. This is both right and wrong for various reasons. Why it is wrong for me, is simple. If I do not hope for a miracle, simply pray for one….God never shows up in His full glory. Don’t get me wrong, I have been praying for a miracle from day 1. Its not the  same as placing my Hope in God’s hands. In not placing my hope in God’s hands for an outcome, I avoid God’s power all together.

All the ladies in my Fri prayer group know how I struggle to know how to pray for John John’s brain cancer. I prayed expecting full healing for a long time. Then unexpectedly, his brain cancer spread. It broke my hope. Let me be more succinct, I let circumstance dictate my state of hope. And, thus the struggle of the heart began. I would pray for a miracle, but in a sorrowful begging way that held no hope. Panic would overtake me when I saw things that were not normal happening. I would begin to beg for a positive outcome, but bury him in my mind.

If you do not place your hope for an outcome in God’s hands and let Him decide how it is to be dealt with, you set yourself up for the enemy to swoop in and kill, steal, and destroy.

Prayer is a funny thing. It can become a mind game of sorts. If I pray for a miracle and don’t get one, was my faith not deep enough? If I pray for healing and don’t get an all clear report, is John John healed? If I place my hope in a miracle and he dies, was I in denial the whole time? I have seen varying examples of each of these circumstances.

Look, God is NOT Santa Clause…..If you just believe in the magic. Uh No.

There is a difference between placing an expectation on God and submitting your hope to His mercy. It is not something I have ever heard a preacher or teacher explain to me. I know that hope deferred for so long made my heart sick, because hope is to be placed gently into the hands of The Trusted One. Understanding that He knows what He has in store for me. It is not to be quantified or predicted by man. He already showed me that was not truth. If it was, John would have been dead for possibly 2 years by now. No, that’s not how God wants us to think. We can hear the predictions, grieve the loss, and place the hope in God’s trusted hands. And, in that pray healing, miracles, and tears. Invest Hope in life and God’s plan for our hope.

As this season of my life has gone from bitterness into walking through the doors I prayed for God to open, I see changes occurring. In me.

I act in faith, bring my son for anointing, prayer from the elders. I sometimes sob through my hope. Hope does not always look like flowers and butterflies. Sometimes it comes through tears of fighting with yourself. Sometimes, God says yes. I used to always say, sometimes God says no. It was a rebuttal for those who told me to pray in Faith that God would answer my prayers. But, entering into this different season of my life. I can respectfully say, God can say yes and no. And, it does not have to be one or the other as a finality. That horrific day eating lunch with my family 19 months ago, listening to John John’s Oncologist tell me the cancer had spread….tears streaming down my face in front of my family. They all knew who had called. Steve’s head pressed hard against mine in an effort to hear the Dr’s words so he could find a reason they weren’t correct.

We have spent so much time fighting each other over God’s plan, I think we forgot we are not in control of it. I am going to walk differently now.

Sometimes, God says yes. And yesterday, He did.

Merry Christmas,

Faith

You Tell Me I Am So Strong


Once upon a time, in 1995 I was enrolled in an elite High School on my way to being a Dr. Against all the discouragement of my mother that this was an unattainable position. Against all the odds of having an abusive, ugly, horrific early childhood. I was there, a freshman trying to make the grade and perform. I could absorb information and formulate it into test scores nearly perfect. I was quiet and shy. I never was really a social person. Bullying, abuse, and timidity had held me back. I had read books that college people still debate about today. I had an pre-education in upper-education. I was a walking encyclopedia of information and ability to perform.

I am 34, I envy your letters behind your name and how you rose above. I can barely keep my head above water anymore as far as learning comes. I think I doubt myself greatly. I get excited, but never had the experience of perseverance in anything but survival. Survival. That is deep. I am experienced in survival. Not educated traditionally with numbers of hours, or jobs, or other impressive stats and experience.

My resume includes leaving home at 15, graduating 5th in my class after skipping my last semester in H.S., Marrying my high school sweet heart after he impregnated two other women without my knowing, him doing drugs and walking out on me pregnant and our first child (to do drugs and have threesomes), dropping out of upper-education, falling on my face, asking for help from the wrong people, (including “Christians”) murder of a child, losing my other child in probate court??, Facing the man who brutally murdered my son while watching porn, in court, Recounting how I would never know how to be a real person again with any type of confidence, followed by a wonderful man I loved dying in a car accident, followed by running away to New York. Sure, I was able to accomplish things and career moves along the way. But, things were always shaky. How’s my resume so far????? Shall I get into the today and now? I think my past speaks for itself.

I judge myself incapable of being normal. I embody the confidence, yet not the ability to do what I used to. I am smart and intelligent. I just don’t think I know how to navigate crap anymore. I simply have too much real life stuff behind me to not see things for what they are. I call it as I see it. That doesn’t work in real life. People are too busy being fake or putting up a front. I can not stand that.

Oh, God, I pray……..make me understand who and what I am today. Give me the patience to endure and come out of circumstances wiser, more informed, and practical, than I am today. Strong words…..Strong history…..anticipatory nature of my present.

So my title, Faith Moon, Caldwell, Marandola, P.O.M.C., Momcologist, Professional Emphatic, Professional Grief Processor, Professional Anticipator of Disaster..?m

Wise as a serpent, Innocent as a dove

I can not take you further down my rabbit trail,

Faith

 

 

It’s Christmas!!!! So, Here We Are Again…


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This week was such an up and a down. The kids had their school Christmas play, it was a smash hit! I can not wait to get the videos uploaded to youtube! John was nothing less than a show stealer, even though he was just in the singing portions of the show. He showed up, larger than life! I videoed the singing portions and I laughed so hard I actually snorted. I don’t think I can edit that out. It has been a week of reconnecting with friends we consider family and some problems.

Fireman Kevin showed up even on last minute notice to see the kids Christmas play. Christine was home on a break from exams and came to see her little man too! I was so grateful! I have been very disjointed this year. We haven’t been by the firehouse much. Life just kinda got real busy once John started school. Its intense trying to keep up his schedule of therapy, drs apts, school work, volunteering at the school, and working with the non-profit. It has me burning the candle at both ends. But, I think it leaves me personally in a better place.

Im happier and more relaxed. The last 18 months have taught me how to get out of trauma mode and back into a relaxed life with balanced priorities. Not easy with a child who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. But, its been a good good good year.

So, last year right before Christmas we had a scare. We came to found out it was carbon monoxide poisoning, not cancer like we thought. This year, as luck would have it, we have another scare.

I’m not going into too much detail on purpose. I want to focus on the CELEBRATION aspect of the holidays. Anticipation building for the children. Remembering others and how important the relationships are to us. I want to focus in on family and friends.

Tonight was special.

Please remember us Christmas Eve. We will be getting a phone call that tells us if the cancer has spread or not. We will not be disclosing this to anyone until after Christmas. The brain/spine MRI is on the 23rd. Next wed. It was ordered in an expedited fashion. So, were praying again for one more miracle. Just a crumb from Jesus’ crust of bread. Just a touch to the hem of his robe. Just what the dog’s lick off the floor. That is all it takes to turn Faith into Action. So, you can pray for a crumb to fall on our floor.

We are happy and celebrating. I am not really telling John unless he asks that he is having an MRI. I know he knows he is struggling a bit physically, but I will not hamper his determination. I want for him what he wants more than his little heart can ever understand. My Hope is placed in God.

Thats as much as I can say for now,

Faith

 

Funny Things Happen When You Pray


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I pray all day long, even when I am angry with a situation God hands me. I talk quietly in my head with Him while I work. I talk to Him in the car a lot. I talk to Him out loud, often. I have hit walls in certain conversations with God, where it seems He just doesn’t hear me. But, when God decides to grant your prayers, He always delivers Big.

So, Hope attend a cute little soccer camp 2 years ago. A week long church run clinic. It was inexpensive, all her friends were there, my friends were there, it was summer, there was nothing to do, so we went to play. She came out of the clinic begging me to play soccer. I looked around. It was just out of my budget…I told her, if you want to play soccer, God is going to have to pay for it. So, your job is to pray and tell God how much you want to play the sport. I gave her the advice to not stop praying about it. She inquired at the beginning of the school year again about playing soccer. She proudly presented me with a flyer from school about Denkyem Sports Academy Indoor Winter Soccer. My heart kinda sunk. I quickly dismissed the flyer and said I would keep looking around. Indoor is much more expensive than outdoor. But, please Hope pray to God and tell Him you want to play soccer.

Around the same time the flyer came out, I started taking some classes at Fountain Of Life Church in Columbus. I was trying to get back to church and make some new relationships and learn again. God softened my heart about Church again, so I thought baby steps. It had been almost a year since I quit going to anything aside from a small bible study and listening to sermons online. The kids were in school now and I began to get restless. I know I am not in a season of life that I can go back to school because of John. Talking on the phone to my best friend I debated getting a part time job. My heart wasn’t in it. Menial work serves no purpose. Plus, it would limit my flexibility with emergencies and John’s ever changing schedule of needs. So, she asked if I had prayed about it. I said, no not really. But, I will now. So, my prayer was simple.

“God, show me what you want me to do with my free time. My heart is restless and I am lonely. I need purpose. I need to give something back, but I don’t know how. Will you please just open a door? I promise to walk through it in faith. I want to use my gifts and to have purpose.”

That week Hope got an invitation to her new bff’s birthday party at the skating rink. I said, sure lets go. Her parents were in a couple of the classes I was taking at the church and I had sat with her mom at Hope’s birthday party and talked for hours. I like them, very nice people. At the party I see King and Serita, the kiddos parents’. King and I are standing on the side of the rink watching the kids skate, laughing at the wildly flying limbs on these kids who are just trying not to fall on their faces. He turns to me and says, “Faith, did you get the soccer flyer? You know that’s my Academy, right?” I said, “(insert groan, literally) King, I wish I could afford it times two.” King waived his hand dismissively at me and shook his head. He said, “No, No, No, your kids are going to be on my team. Were gonna work this out.” “Bring them Saturday morning and there gonna learn.” I said, “OK”.

So, In a separate conversation with Hope, I told her she had been invited to play soccer with her best friend. She literally jumped up and down and screeched! LOUDLY! She said to me, “Mom, everyone says God answers prayers, but He actually answered mine”! I smiled and thought to myself, she deserves this. She is going to love it!

I get a text from King the following week. In exchange for soccer, would I be interested in helping him with his charitable foundation, Denkyem Soccer Academy? He asked if i would be willing to do blogging and social media for him? I thought about it, I said ABSOLUTELY! I love to write! I love to blog! Wait, I know nothing about soccer! But, I can write about anything. So, lets do this! He emails me an invitation to a meeting. (I will discuss that experience next post). Its a meeting of his team of volunteers and coaches. Cool. I can take notes!

I call my bff after the meeting and draw out the whole picture for her of what I will be doing and what my kids will be getting for it. She laughs and says to me, “You do realize God answered your prayer, right”? I laugh and say “yes, I guess He did, didn’t he”??

So, now I am technically employed as a writer. I am going to work now, towards publishing my first book. Its been written for two years. I have a willing editor and publisher. I can’t wait to see where God is taking me. I think the writing bug has bitten me. I’m thinking on a collaborative effort with another best friend. So, yes….God answered my prayers. And, as I read my post to my daughter before publishing…she is beaming!

With Great Love, Faith

p.s. come visit my new blog