Friday, September 27, 2019

God's Timing is Always Perfect

Going through any major life change can be daunting. Whether you've recently been through a breakup or divorce, have recently gotten married, or maybe a loved one just passed away, you may be experiencing the pangs of transitioning. Even if you lost your job or moved from one home to another, all of this affects our mental health and the ability to function one way or another. All of these things are considered "big life events." It affects your entire life: your atmosphere, the way you look at life, a possible change in the people around you, and even changes to in own health. I remember discussing the "7 year itch" with my mother a few years back. It wasn't just for relationships. Every 7 years, we change. Our bodies change. Our allergies change. Even our taste buds change, which is why we start loving one food as opposed to another type of food we used to enjoy. Think back 7 years ago. What was different in your life? What did you eat back then that you wouldn't eat today? Or who was in your life 7 years ago that isn't present in your life right now? There's a growth transition in the 7 year mark that makes us who we are today. So if you have gotten past the already known "7 year itch" with your spouse, then you should be okay. (We hope.)  Sometimes, a couple goes through a phase where their goals and direction in life changes. They no longer want the same things in life they used to dream of. One person may be left with the same dream, while the other person has a new outlook on life. And so, they may grow apart if there is no compromise. If they're not honest enough and fail to communicate, it'll come out in some way or another.

Looking Back 7 Years 

If you ask me where my mindset was 7 years ago, my wife and I were helping my mom after she lost her husband of almost 60 years. I was afraid for her health since she was so exhausted from hospital trips, caring for dad and overall caregiving fatigue and eventually, grief. She never cried in front of us, but sometimes I'd knock on her door to give her breakfast in bed, and she'd be lying down watching the morning news with a pile of Kleenex on her bed. I'd clean up her tissues and give her coffee. Lola would jump onto her bed and lay next to her, as if she knew something wasn't right. Mom would always say, "Ever have one of those mornings when you feel depressed?" I would tell her that it's healthy to grieve and of course you're going to feel depressed for some time. She shook her head, as if in denial of her own grief, perhaps to protect herself emotionally and then say, "No, I just feel depressed." And I'd say, "Okay ma, whatever I can do," and passed her the bacon and eggs breakfast the way Dad used to make it. She loved that kind of breakfast more than eating dinner. She loved having bacon and eggs for dinner sometimes. Typical New Yorker. It usually cheered her up, and then moments later, I would get a call in my office, "That was the best breakfast ever, Debbie! Thank you so much!" And I could hear the increase of happiness in her voice. That was 7 years ago. She was my life. Even during the day, when I felt she was in her dark bedroom for way too long, I'd slip in with my dog Lola who she loved so much, and say, "Hey, I need some sun, wanna go to the park with us?" And she'd smile and would take a minute to decide, then slowly would say, "Okay!" We'd go to the park and sit next to the ponds to watch Lola chase the geese around. When we found out Mom had cancer, my entire life came to a halt. I was having anticipatory grief while grieving over my father. It was too much. That was my "7 year transition."

I honestly never thought I'd see a life without both my parents in it. I never thought for one second that I would see my mother suffer, or even die for that matter. She was my 'go-to' therapist, my early bird dinner date, my best friend, my comforter, my martini with extra olives teammate. We would go to the bar to have dinner and drinks, and they'd even set up a footstool in order to get her onto the bar stool. It was so cute. All the bartenders loved her. Some of the older gentlemen did too. She kept calling this one man, "Norm" all the time, when in fact his name was Bruce. He was okay with it though. We would laugh until we cried. She would tell me stories of her past, and even if I heard it a million and one times, I wanted to hear it again. I never said, "Ma, you already told me this!" Because I really didn't know if she was forgetting, or if she just wanted to reminisce again. Any of it was okay by me. Sometimes, I'd ask her to repeat a story, just so it would stimulate her long-term memory---and she was overjoyed whenever you asked her about her childhood living in Brooklyn, NY. She loved talking about herself and her past, and besides, if you have ever listened to an elderly person talk about the 'good ol' days' ---trust me, it's much better than hearing a millennial talk about theirs.


What Happens Inside the Cocoon? 

A transitional period can be very exciting, traumatic, and sad all at the same time.  It depends on what it is. For me, my transitional period can only be described as a complete metamorphosis. Much like the caterpillar cocooning for its final transition, it may look like nothing is going on, but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. But if you were to remove the caterpillar before this huge transitional period, it would fall out and die. So the pressing and waiting needs to happen before God can present a new life---a new chapter. For the two years following my mom's passing, I was that cocoon, praying for God to remove me from this situation, to take away my loneliness and isolation. In my "prayer and answer" book, He gave me a message that said, "Just endure a little while longer." His timing is always perfect, but my patience however was not. This period of time, I dedicated to God. I would spend two or more hours praying and meditating, studying the Bible and memorizing passages from Psalms, as well as learning more about Jesus and all of His promises. If it wasn't for this transitional period of isolation, I wouldn't be here right now. I used to be sick all the time with bronchitis and asthma, taking tons of stimulants like albuterol inhalers, steroids and nebulizers. Even my voice shut down when I got that sick---(I think many people were thankful for that part.) And today, He has blessed me with health, to the point where I never need my inhaler or need to grab the nebulizer because I'm wheezing up a storm. It's as if He took my asthma away. He gave me new lungs. I give Him all the credit.

Would you want to be where you were 7 years ago? Or are you grateful for where you are right now? Each stage of life isn't going to be perfect. But it's learning to thank God in the midst of chaos. It's learning to praise Him in the storms. I always say, I'm not where I wanna be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. And it doesn't mean that I still don't wish my parents were back here with me, it just means the agony and pain that my family and I suffered is leveling out somewhat. The waves of grief come and go, and that's a normal process of grief in itself. As humans, we are never going to have the "perfect life." It's accepting all of the imperfections that come with life. It's testing your strength and endurance to push through the fog---praying for the mighty inner strength of God to help you through it all.

Are You Dependent Enough?

Independence is somewhat a negative word when it comes to relying on God. God wants you to be solely dependent on Him. And that's what I did. I trusted in God and in my heart, I knew He would take care of everything in His own timing. I never in a million years thought that I could've purchased a home here in New York. It just wasn't possible from the homes I've seen. We were looking at places near Maryland and even flirting with moving to the south due to the cost. But God saw it differently. Everything is possible with God. He made a way to fulfill not only my request, but my mom's request. She always said, "Debbie, please buy a townhouse where you don't have to worry about living up on this mountain in the winter." And a townhome I prayed for. I had doubts, but I believed God would place me in a much better situation....and He did. And even though I still may have a leg and arm stuck in my cocoon, my transitional period is almost here. It's okay if it takes more time than you expected.

"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." --Habakkuk 2:3

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." --Isaiah 40:31

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" --Psalm 27:14

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." --Ecclesiastes 3:11

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
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