My heart is driving me. If giving up comforts can possibly equal helping even one precious family…
I have skills, I have energy, I have desire and I want to believe in myself. I was born in the 50’s, I grew up in the 60’s, so it was natural to question the ‘status quo’. Did I want that? Will that give me satisfaction?
Then in the 90’s I became a missionary. Did that give me satisfaction? I discovered that I did not fit that mold either.
But where I did find satisfaction was ‘with the people’. Riding my horse, carrying medicine into the hills, helping rebuild homes after a devastating hurricane in Nicaragua (see photo above). The days I was ‘out there’, involved, bringing hope and love, that is where I fit. Have I changed the world? Not much, but I think I have helped change some lives, helped people begin to believe in themselves again, improved their quality of life at least a bit, and that is better than the remote control of my big TV, even better than a nice comfortable big bed (oh, but that is sooooo nice and I love it).
Sometimes when I am sitting in my Wagon, wondering where to go to work on my laptop, or wondering where to get a good cup of coffee without paying five dollars, or hesitating to humbly ask one of my kids for a space on their couch, again..I pause and think maybe I am just crazy. But I believe. Not yet enough in myself, but I believe that there is a God and He has called me, He has trained me and that I have work to do, work set aside for me. If I do not step out and jump off this cliff of faith, the work will get done, but I will miss out, greatly.
I believe in people. I very hesitantly believe that when I ask, the resources will be given and I can GO and DO and maybe some others will come with me and then they will begin to believe in themselves and they too will bring hope and they too will bring along others…
Just like when I used to have all my babies born at home – when people asked me about it, I always tried to be quick to say, ‘it is not for everyone’. This too, is not for everyone. But sometimes I get lonely, doing my thing, and maybe by writing about my journey, I can encourage you and then maybe you can encourage me! I would love to receive feedback, I would love to hear what gives you satisfaction and i would even invite questions about what the heck I am doing….maybe this is a new way to have pen pals! (oh, did that show my age??)
I am moving in eight days, again. When I had all my kids at home (all ten of them) they used to love to shock people by telling them we have moved 19 times over the years. Am I military? you might ask. No, not at all. Then why would I move so many times, especially with such a large family. Good question and one that is too complex for me to delve into today, maybe I do not even understand totally.
But all that moving certainly did produce well-rounded people, with not much need for the security that comes with a ‘permanent home’ (is that maybe a bit of an illusion, anyway?). One of my comments used to be that I wanted my children to have their security inside of them, not in external circumstances. most of my kids are in their own homes. My youngest is at the stage that he has one foot in and the rest out, sort to speak.
I have a dream that I have been chasing for many years – building up a non-profit to help empower people who are helping others. Needless to say, this has created a lifestyle for me that is not too security-based. I am now 60 and I continue to believe and give and live for my passion, for my dream. I have to be out of my apartment in eight days and just found a place to sub-let yesterday. I act like I eat stress for every meal and enjoy the flavor, but lots of times my insides churn and I fight that enemy, anxiety.
BUT, I have been living like this for 40 years now (40 years!) and it appears that the older I get and the more my kids are independent, the more I feel driven to shed my ‘stuff’ and be free to keep trying to fly. One of the biggest struggles has been always, over the years, finances. Even freedom costs money. The lack thereof and the pressure produced by that lack tends to produce anxiety. Sometimes big, bad, ugly anxiety. How do I deal with this damaging enemy of mine?? I have faith in a higher being than myself. I believe in God and that He is directing and guiding my life.
I have this impression these days, and I might be wrong, that it might be more accepted for me to make known that I am gay (though I am not) than for me to announce that I believe in God and that I hear His voice and that I try to follow Him with a passion. My struggle with beginning to blog was this: do I hide my faith in the closet? I want to be accepted, I want to build my readership, I want people to read my words and I long to encourage people. So, do I hide the very thing that sustains me? I do not attend church but my faith and my belief that I am following divine direction keeps me a bit saner as I push through the brambles and thorns of life, to see people set free.
As I stated in the beginning, I am moving. And it is all very precarious at this point. I developed a migraine headache yesterday. A bad one – I thought, uh-oh, I know these signs, that stupid stress monster is rearing its ugly head and making me sick. I cannot sleep. So this morning, I turned to my Bible. I stopped. I got on my yoga mat. I stopped. I got quiet. I tuned in to something in me, yet so much bigger than me. I was led to John 14:1. “Let your heart not be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Then I opened a very old devotional book I had on my shelf – have not opened it for a long time. Opened to this: “do not worry about your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…” Matt. 6:25. For years and years and years, when I find myself out on a ledge once again – needing to jump and needing to believe that ‘He’ will catch me, I always have to come back to this same question. ‘Is my God real? Or am I crazy?’ And time after time after time after time, He has proved to me, He is real (and yes, I am a bit crazy).
So, here is my story, here is my song. The real one. The continuing saga of a simple woman, with ten kids and now 8 grandchildren, still determined that my God is real and that He cares for us and that we really can make a difference.
I am writing this today to apologize. Brene Brown says in her book ‘Daring Greatly’: “Lord, give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”. Yes, I have shown up, I am here. But I have still been hiding a part of me and actually, I think it is pretty much the best part. So, today, I am telling the whole truth. I began this blog for me and for you, but also for the hurting, struggling people I have met and come to know and love. I run a very small non-profit organization and it is what drives me in my life. I live a bit on the edge for the sake of my work and I love it with a passion. Do you ever have those stupid ‘what ifs’ run through your mind? What if people get turned off by my blog because I talk about my projects? (like what? Cheri???), what if people…. whatever, my mind is so stupid sometime.So here I am with all my stuff hanging out – I hope you continue to follow my blog and to be really honest, I hope that some of you decide to get involved. Wow, I said it.
The photos are of past experiences I have had with my mission – Missions of Grace. And please know that I do have a very strong spiritual existence, but I respect and never push it on anyone.
Much more to come. Exciting stories and introductions to some awesome ‘unsung heroes’. Got to run. Have a great day!