25 October 2013

I just have to get this out...

I have to get this out in words; I’m not even sure I will do anything with it. Will it end up on TEOM? On my personal blog (which I haven’t written anything for in over a year) or will it remain just a word doc that I used to get all my junk out? Truly, as I sit here and write this I don’t know what will ever come of it and if I will share it with even a single soul. Writing is simply therapeutic, and so here I sit, banging away at the keyboard and hoping when I stop, somehow, some part of this journey will make sense. So, where am I toda? exhausted. I don’t even really know why today, but here it is hitting me today. I went to PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel), a Bible study group for women found on most Army posts all over the world. And it was lovely. Everyone was sweet, introduced themselves, there was coffee (obviously this is important to me) and I went with a sweet friend and her gorgeous little baby. It was really a lovely time full of worship, encouragement, prayer and testimony. Except, when I got home, I was miserable. I cried. I retreated to my room and put on a sitcom and curled in a ball. Dramatic much? Yes, I know; it was. I found myself missing Georgia, which for most of you who know me, your jaw just dropped to the ground. Our PCS (Permanent [ha] Change of Station or in layman’s terms: a big move to somewhere new) to Georgia was nothing if not traumatic for me. I was leaving the first place I’d felt home in a very long time, Colorado. My heart still longs for Colorado, yet today I would’ve turned around and headed back to Georgia. Why? Because it was familiar, because I knew how to get to the commissary alone, because even though I despised our PA, at least we had a doctor, because I was allowed to bring Bella into her Pre-K class instead of drop her off at the “kiss n hug” station and watch her sadly wander to her class, because I knew the ladies on the PTO at Timmy’s school, because I had a friend to work out with, a friend to text complaining about the kids homework… Because it was as much home as I had those six months. I never felt quite settled there, but…at least it was familiar. Nothing seems familiar today. Everything seems foreign, from the highways, to the greeting at the gate, from the temporary name badge I received today that just reminded me that I am, once again, the new girl…I’m exhausted. I am tired of putting on a happy face and counting my blessings, plentiful as they are. Before I lose you (if anyone is reading this) or myself…I know full well how blessed I am. Really, I do. Is it ok to be this honest? To tell the truth? To share the messiness that is this Army life? To say that even though I love my life and I am so very thankful for it, that there are days where curling up in a ball seems like the only way to handle it? This year has been hard. We have moved twice. Our kids have been in 3 schools in less than one years’ time. We left a church in Colorado that was HOME, only to wander aimlessly through GA, never really finding one that felt home…and honestly just so tired of looking for a church home, that we don’t even want to church hunt. I think we will just stay where we landed the first week out of sheer exhaustion. At least for awhile anyway. I know this move will ultimately be for our good, that there are great lessons here, that we will watch our children grow here, that we are nearby to my husband’s family for the first time in nearly ten years, that ultimately it is for God’s glory, but right now…it’s hard to see all of that through the tears, the desire for the familiar and the desire to be known. To be near friends who know the full ins and outs. The down and dirty. The most awful parts of you and love you anyway. Those people who REALLY really know me…are all over the country. None of them are here. And Facebook is great. Texting is amazing. But the difference between sitting with your girls with a bottle of wine and cupcakes and chatting them over facebook…is huge. And I miss it. I miss knowing that people really KNOW me, mess and all, and still want to be around me, still love me, aren’t afraid to call me out when I am drifting, and never fail to give me a hug when I need it are just a short car ride away. 10 minutes in the car is a big difference from 10 hours…or a plane ride. The truth is, the hardest part of this journey is allowing yourself to be known first and finding people who want to know you and love you anyway.

29 May 2012

New Journeys????

Well, this post is sure to get people disagreeing, but since I enjoy a good debate, here it goes anyway. :)

I have begun a new journey of sorts; I am sure people will have opinions about it-but with all due respect it doesn't really matter. I am under the advisement of several professionals and have the full support of my husband. That is what matters.

So, that said, I am on the journey to prepare for bariatric surgery, as in gastric bypass. No date has been set, and there are still many appointments to get through; but that said, I am on the journey towards it. I have had four appointments already in preparation for this surgery, not including lab work and PCM visits. I have had an endoscopy, visited the head of bariatrics at Ft.Carson, and have been to the Wellness Center. I still have to go though a psychiatric evaluation, dietician appointments, support groups, and more.

I have been through the weight loss game for quite literally as long as I can remember. I have tried every diet there is, it seems. Weight Watchers, HCG, low carb, working out, RX diet pills, over the counter diet pills, slim fast... The doctor could not believe that at my age I had been through so many diets. The first time I actively remember "dieting" was around Kindergarten. Obesity runs in my family. My biological father died in his early 40's from heart problems. My mother died young as well. There is diabetes, angina, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more in my family. I want to change things for the next generation. I want to know what it feels like to run with my kids and it not feel like a chore. I want to go on a run with my husband and enjoy it. I want to hike. I want to live.

So there it is. It's been a "secret" of sorts for a few months.I decided today, there is no reason for secrets. This is where I am in my journey. I have peace about it.

New Journeys. New Beginnings.

12 May 2012

Love, Loss and a few (more than a few) Tears

It has been a long time since I have blogged. Since about month 3 of the deployment, to be exact. I thought I was weary then; psssh what did I know. Today, I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions. Up, down, tears, anger and everything in between.

I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. Yes, Tim called. Yes, he's delayed (not exactly a big surprise in the world of the Army) But that isn't quite it. It took me a little while to put my finger on it. Today should have been my graduation day. Tomorrow is my first mothers day after having lost my mother. I am feeling loss over both. At the end of this deployment, I was supposed to be walking the stage in Lynchburg, VA at Liberty University. And, here I sit...one year later, with no degree. I feel like I should have pressed on. Made it work. Powered through. And, so I am watching all the graduation excitement online, and just feeling disappointed in myself. Mother's Day with your husband gone is something you get used to in military life. This Mother's Day is a tough one. I hadn't spoken to my mom much in a couple of years before her passing and hadn't seen her in 2 years. But, she was always there. There was always chance, hope for something to change. For reconciliation. Today, she is with her Savior. She is no longer in pain. She is reconciled unto Christ. But today, I sit and ponder what would it be like if I could call her and tell her Happy Mother's Day. Would I have done things differently? Who knows? What ifs don't get anyone anywhere and neither does regret. That said, today my heart is burdened with sadness. I lost my mom. I didn't complete what I set out to. Tim is on his way home soon; and I am not sure what I have to show for the deployment--other than just trying to hold it together.

Today is a tough day. I think we all have them. I am ready for a new beginning.

01 September 2011

Can I tell the truth?

Can I be honest? Real?

I really thought this deployment wouldn't be that bad for us. I'm a Bible Study leader, Tim is a worship leader. We have 1 boy, 1 girl...the perfect little life. I thought we were going to not face the problems common to deployments. I figured our communication would be fine. Marriage would be a piece of cake. We are Christians after all.

Three months done and I am exhausted. My daughter is literally on top of me all day. She's in play therapy. My son is gone all day at school, and I feel like I am not so sure I made the right choice on that one. I have to make all sorts of decisions on my own...except they aren't really on my own. I haven't sent enough letters or boxes. I haven't saved enough money. I haven't given Bella what she needs to cope. I bought my son an iTouch for his birthday because the guilt I feel for being a mom who works p/t, goes to school and leads Bible Studies is beyond what I can explain. I am weary. Really weary. I have been fighting for everything lately. With my apartment community, with t-shirt companies, with people who are trying to hinder these Bible Studies from happening. And, here I sit, 11:36 at night...so tired I can't believe I am typing, and wondering what I am fighting for.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man... 1 Cor 10:13

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

I am clinging for dear life to those verses tonight, as I sit and wonder...am I really effectively doing anything quite right. I am desperate for You, Jesus

16 July 2011

Taking a Stand

Sometimes in life, we make choices and take stands that make us un-popular. This is nothing new to me. I have been in that position most of my life, and is much of the reason I do not have a relationship with my mother. 

So, today, here I am, and I am taking a stand. I am standing for our men in uniform who are currently deployed in a war zone. They are tired, sleep deprived, those in office jobs are still working 14 to 16 hours a day, they live in a uniform, shower when they can, and see things we can never understand. My family is approximately 7 weeks into its 1st deployment. I have never been prouder of my Tim. 

Are things perfect? Nope. Is it tough to communicate? Yes. Do I miss him? Of course. Does my heart break for my children? Yes.-- But do I believe in what he does? YES, resounding YES. As my kids say, "the daddies are in 'ghanistan getting the bad guys." Not everyone is willing to do that. Not everyone is willing to sign up in a time of war, to do what our men do. 

This all said, I'm writing today, a completely imperfect woman, completely imperfect wife, completely imperfect mother, and I am already weary of the negativity coming through this deployment. Our guys bust their tushes EVERY SINGLE DAY! They are facing IED's, terrorists, RPG's and more. They are living in weather that I cannot even fathom. And the BEST of the accommodations are not something I would be willing to stay in for more than a weekend.  Yet there they are, of their own choice, training a nations soldiers to take over their own security, 7,000 miles from their families. And, yet, somehow, when they do find the energy and time to call/write/email us ladies back home...should they be worried that we will be upset with their attitude? I should seriously hope not. We're here, and yes, we are working hard, keeping up with houses, cars, taking care of children, some are working, some are in school, some are volunteering ~it is NOT by any means an easy life. However, unless we are living in a tent, sleeping on a cot, watching our friends or co workers get hurt, wondering if when we go out on patrol if everyone we left with will come back...we do not have it that bad. 

It is not good or godly to blast your husband online. Imagine how he feels, signing on to FB to see you rip him apart. Yeah, maybe he was a jerk today. Maybe he had a right to be~ maybe he was on communication blackout and couldn't call or write. (Which by the way means something not so good happened, perhaps instead of being mad about it, we should be thankful that there isn't someone on our doorstop notifying us that the worst happened to us.)  

I don't mean to sound preachy. I am BY NO MEANS perfect. I certainly don't claim to be. I also have a rockin' husband, who I love dearly. Hey, but we have our little issues here and there, that's marriage. when we marry, we are ONE. United. Though many miles may separate us, we are to remain ONE. So, ask yourself, before you say or post something about your husband...are you behaving as though you are one? Are you REALLY trying to understand where he is coming from on this deployment? Do you get that it SUCKS over there? Is your husband always right while he's deployed? Well, probably not. No one is right all the time. But, put it all in context. He is fighting a war.

I feel like this Scripture I am sharing below speaks exactly to this issue: In love, we must place others above ourselves. God placed us above Himself when He allowed His Son to die for us. Let's be willing to be second fiddle for awhile.

Romans 12: 9-13 (The Message) Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle .Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

29 June 2011

A Daughter Always

I will always be a daughter, regardless of whether or not I have a mother or a father. I am the daughter of THE Heavenly King.

Dear Mom,
Today will be the last day you will have that title in my mind. I'm sorry to say so, but its true. I thank you for giving me life, for not opting to end your pregnancy when you were young and unmarried. I thank you for caring for me. I thank you for the sacrifices I am sure you had to make as a mother.

That said, today I say good~bye. Well, truth be told, you said good-bye first.

The email you sent me today would have broken me a few years ago...and while my heart hurts, I will not be shaken or moved. I have not been the perfect daughter, in fact, far from it. Who is perfect? Only Jesus, and I am so thankful I know Him. I am sorry for the things in my life that I did wrong. I am sorry for not coming home till 4 am, for forgetting to pay my car insurance in college. I am sorry for all of those things.  

I'm not sure why today was the day you decided to say good-bye to me. I am not sure why you chose to remove me from your medical contacts so that I may not know how your surgery goes. I have been giving you the best I could since Tim left. I know that isn't much. I also know that you would tell me I chose this life, so to buck up and deal. And, I am. You should know that. When I left NY a couple of years ago, I had never been more broken. I'm still healing, but thankful I am in progress.

The things of mine that you have, that's fine. You may throw them away. Things do not define me. Nor do memories, awards, etc... Only Jesus does. Having a mother say good-bye to me will not define me. It will not change who I am. It will not stop me from parenting my kids the best I can, learning to be the best wife I can, and following Jesus as hard as I can. 
I am choosing today to forgive you. I forgive you for blaming me for what has happened in our family. You will never need to apologize, because I forgive you anyway. God has given me that ability. It is hard, and I will likely have to do it over and over again, but I will. I know that I have part in this family, and I have certainly erred, but I do not take blame for everything. There are many things that date back way before I was born. If you need me to be the cause, that's your choice and I forgive you for it.

So today, I say good-bye to you as well. I will pray for you. I will pray FERVENTLY that the good new of Jesus reaches you. I will pray for your salvation. And I will pray for your healing. Today, I say good-bye  to you; I was always fatherless, now motherless...but I have the Father in heaven taking care of me. And, He has blessed me. I have 2 beautiful children that I pray will not ever know the pain of being without parents. 

In Him I will live and breathe and move, and because of Him I will make it through any pain that comes my way. 

Love, Alicia Shepherd

12 June 2011

Why Do What You Do?

Why do you do it? How do you do it? I don't know how you do it.

This week I have been thinking a lot about these questions. And, its not what you really think. It's not the "How do you do it with your husband deployed?" question. It's been more along the lines of why do you volunteer for the things you do? I often deflect this question with a joke about my inability to say no. (Which I will admit holds some truth,) I have struggled with these questions. There are times my kids are in the car, running around, to ensure we can get something to someone else. I wonder sometimes if I am sacrificing my time with them to serve others; I pray often for wisdom when it comes to that. In all honesty, I am so glad my children see the body of Christ move. I am glad they see people serving one another...but that is entirely another topic.

The question is: Why do I do what I do? Why be part of the Bible studies? Why make meals? Why take the phone calls? FB questions? and emails? People have been asking me that a lot lately. And not to hurt me, but out of genuine concern for me. They remind me that my husband, too, is deployed.

There are so many reasons; but today at church, it became so clear. What is my intended purpose in this life? It is to serve God by loving people so that more people may know who Jesus is. I could stand in front of a room for months and months and give lip service to Jesus...but if I (we, the Body of Christ) don't walk it out, and put into action what we believe, its all useless. In order to really show who Jesus is and share the GOOD NEWS of what He did for us, we must meet spiritual and physical needs. Can a hungry person hear the gospel as well as one who is fed? Can a person who is at their wits end with their children or marriage hear the message of the cross as one who has been given some relief?

If we really call ourselves believers in Jesus Christ, our lives should be transformed. The gospel should transform us, our Bible Study groups, our communities, our Army posts, our nation. It should not keep us in our churches and groups, safe and sound. It should push us out to serve wherever and however we can. Our Pastor today, said you don't have to cross the sea to be a missionary, rather you must see the cross. If we really see the Cross, how can we not be compelled to serve?

I frequently ask God what in the world He is doing allowing me to lead a Bible study? To be among such amazing women? To be allowed leadership? I am not just a broken vessel; there are days I feel shattered. I struggle with weight issues, I struggle with anxiety...and the list goes on and on. But, for some reason, He has given me this platform. And, I will use it to serve at every chance I get. Why? Because, I look around and see people that Jesus loves, I see people who do not know Him...

The better question...How can I not?