Christmas 2009 was certainly an experience!
We woke at 8.30am, opened a couple presents, got ready for the day/ate breakfast/went to church, after church we went up to visit Mike’s Grave (It was a surprise to see how busy the Cemetary was! Makes total sense but we had never thought of that before now), went home/put the Christmas dinner in the oven/opened more presents, ate our Dinner, opened more presents, watched a movie, opened more presents… and we finally stopped opening presents at about 7.30pm?! Talk about talking our time!
It’s been an interesting day… I’m sure many of you experience similar experiences of Christmas… what a build up, then the day is over! Haha.
Laura shared a really sweet story with me last night before we went to bed. She told me she had a dream about Mike and it was the first time she dreamt of him.
“I was walking along our road to meet my friends, and Mike was with me. We got to the place I always meet my friends, where Saint Michael’s Church is on the right, and the park is on the left. I stopped to wait for my friends, but Mike kept walking down the road. I called out ‘I love you Mike’ … but he didn’t stop… He then turned back and called, ‘I love you too’… and continued on with his journey.”
Well, I know many of you have been wondering about my family and I this Christmas season… so I figured I would update you 🙂
“Christmas tree (check), presents (check), food (check)…” Anything missing?? Actually, No.
We went up to see Mike’s grave today and I have been wondering, “I wonder if they celebrate Christmas in Heaven”… I reckon they do actually. I miss Mike a lot, the whole family does… but, He is always going to be with us, and we WILL see him again. Everyone has been questioning how we will be this Christmas… we’ve had a number of phone calls already from friends and family saying they’re thinking of us… and yet again, we feel so blessed and humbled to have such wonderful friends. But, by God’s Grace, we’re enjoying the event! Yes ok, there are a number of presents missing from under the tree… but in all honesty, I don’t think we’re thinking about what is missing… I’m not. Mike isn’t missing.
Each year, I have asked God for something I can’t wrap, or put in a box. This year has been in a very strange way, is possibly the best year of my life. I have a family, who loves me heaps; I have an incredible Man in my life; the depth of Love, Kindness, Grace, and Genuineness that I have witnessed this year by my friends and the friends of my family has left me with no doubt that I am alone in this world. Weird statement right? I have so much to be thankful for. Very special memories and challenges. I have been so so blessed this year…
I could look at the Christmas tree and see what’s missing, but nothing is missing. I have it all, and my brother is in Heaven. Merry Christmas and I love you all heaps. Thank you xx
Today I am learning yet again the art of advice. It is definitely a very very tricky one to get right. I know I have failed so many friends and people on that, and for that I am really sorry.
May I suggest something, if you have not been through something before, don’t act like you know the answers. You don’t. I have experienced death but do I understand what it is like for someone else… NO! What do me and my family have to offer after going through it… other than a listening ear and a hug?? ALMOST NOTHING! We struggle to know what to say to people when they are grieving! why?! No two situations are the same. You and I can go through the exact same situation… but the dynamics involved can be COMPLETELY different!
How dare we be so ignorant and short-sighted? WE… and I do know “WE” because I speak for a number of people when I say this… struggle so so so much to be real and honest about our lives, feels, thoughts, and situations and all it takes is one statement to wreck it all for someone. It takes one word to trigger an intense battle with compartmentalization and masks. Depression in the mist of vulnerability is 100% interrelated! Fragility does become apart of who we are in the mist of a battle.
If you don’t like the way someone is responding or agree with it… like for example, they struggle to think about the future or be positive when they’re battling through the present… then I tell you STOP JUDGING. What the bloody heck would you know if you have not been through it or know exactly what this person is going through in light of ALL the dynamics one faces. Be very very very careful what you say to someone when you offer them advice or challenge them. Don’t get spiritual about it. Get practical and get along side that person. They are the expert of their own situation. NOT you. The other dangerous thing in times like this is you can completely destroy a relationship with someone, especially if you are not that close to them in the first place!!!!!
In due time, the advice you could possibility offer will become relevant and appropriate… but question yourself for goodness sake. Ask yourself, “What the heck do I know????” and get off the high horse in the mean time!
I’m sitting here in my living room, I like my living room at christmas… it’s really cosy… but making it more cozy is the fact that i have a 5kg cat sitting on me. I’m sitting cross-legged and this stupid cat of mine is sprawled across my stomach with its head on my arm and it’s paw drooping over my arm… writing is a bit of a mission! I can’t see the key board! haha… he knows he’s not allowed on the sofa other wise mum will kill him. so he’s learn to sit on me instead haha, as long as he’s happy! oh… and he’s a spitting image of Justin Lowe 😛
We had snow today!!! Dad and I went into a shop really quick and when we came out in a matter of 5 minutes there was a whole heap of fresh snow!
I wrapped up the christmas presents tonight. I have to stop buying presents!! I can’t help it!! I like spoiling the family… maybe i should get the cats a present this year haha. Dad jumped in the jacuzzi so he could enjoy the snow from the hot tub… Laura is busy as ever with her friends and mum is always at the lap top… must be this time of year!
In the last few days, in response to the confusion and frustration I’ve been feeling, my Grandma and my Man have been sharing with me about the confusion Mary (the mother of Jesus) went through in life too.
I’ve kind of been thinking, every single person in the bible went through some sort of period in their life where they had absolutely no idea what God was up to. Mary, Abraham, Naomi, Daniel, Jesus’s Disciples, Elijah, Job, Moses… but each one of them continued to put one foot in front of the other, making the decision to trust and follow… even if it really didn’t look like that on the outside.
Dad sent me the latest Kutless CD a couple weeks ago and I really like this section of one of the songs…
“Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do”
It seems to be the journey is a long and difficult one, one where the choice is constantly being renewed. I knew that, but in many ways, no matter how many times you hear following God and trust God is not an easy path… I feel like no amount of warning could have prepared me for it. I hear all the time God will never give me anything I can’t handle… but you know what I’ve discovered, God has no limits. No boundaries. In many ways, after everything that has happened in the last 4 years, I feel like I’m just living for the next thing to come along. Whats God going to throw in my path next?
Every day I’m faced with this decision to keep going. I told Fitz today, I’m ready to give up. What I mean by that I havent a clue. But I’m in a place where I don’t want anymore. Mentally and emotionally I want to walk away from everything in life. The only reason I’m still going, is far from self achievement. Far from drive, determination, self pity, or a defence/survival mechanism… my mind feels so numb sometimes and all I can FEEL is a gentle pull from God. One more step. One more foot in front of the other. It surprises me sometimes that God’s Grace even extends to what feels like Him saying “OK Akila, if you are not in the mood today, I will get you through it in my strength.” I wish I had the faith of those you see in the bible. Truth is, God is doing a lot of this living for me.
It’s official… I haven’t a clue what God is doing in my life. I don’t understand Him. I don’t know what to do because there are so many issues that are multi dependant on each other and I whether I do something or nothing about them… there are consequences. What is right? What is the right thing to do?
Does God care how I feel? That I want to move away from where I am now and be with family? What’s more important? Education or happiness?
We continually ask God “open doors, and close doors” … so why do some doors appear to be open and then get slammed on you as you try walking through it? What if what God could be saying… you disagree with way more than you agree with it?
As I wrote on Facebook “I have no idea what God is doing… or where He’s leading me. It seems the only thing I do know is whether I walk to the left or the right, I can’t move away from the centre of His will… but what on earth is it because I just don’t know what to do anymore…”
It’s been 19 weeks and 6 days, or, 4 months 2 weeks and 2 days since Mike died. It’s been an additional 3 weeks since I last saw my brother, the 11th or 12th of July.
What makes me really sad is, I can’t for the life of me remember when the last time I saw him was, what we did, what was said? I left to go back to the ship on the 12th of July, but I don’t think I said goodbye to Mike because he was at work… but I don’t know…
I think all this time the overall sadness and pain of Mike’s death, in all it’s dynamics, was fuelled with “I can’t believe Mike’s dead”… But last night I realised “Mike’s not coming back”… I know I’m entering another part of the grieving process and it’s all normal… but it doesn’t feel that way. I wish I could remember my last moments with Mike…
Today is my last lecture at university. What a strange feeling!! Most of you know the journey I have been on these last 4 years. It was almost as though I was never meant to complete my degree at a few stages!
But here I am, my last two hours of lectures… How did I get here? All the pushing, struggling, and now… I’m here. I still have a lot of work to do, but effectively this means I’m running the last half a mile of the marathon… which actually, started seventeen and a half years ago when I first started my education at four and a half years old!
Thank you to all those you have walked and prayed this journey with me, and thank you God for carrying me to this place in life!
I’m always amazed that people read my blog… I’m even more amazed that people find encouragement from God through God kindly using my blog. What I’m most amazed by though, is this…
So many times I never know what to write. Dad bought me this blog as a gift for Valentine’s Day and I waited 8 months before using it. I’m one of these people who would LOVE to be able to keep a diary, but I don’t have the patience or the discipline. But when I do write on this blog, usually it’s just something I’ve been thinking about… I write purely for me. Yet somehow, God seems to use these things as seeds that have been planted, and when someone reads the blog, well, they get something out of it.
I’m no special exception, my family together, all the time we’re told we’re an inspiration particularly in light of Mike’s death… but why?! We’re not behaving in any special way! We’re just being our normal human selves! But I don’t want to discard these comments completely because I’m not an outsider looking at myself or my family.
Dad and I talked a bit about this… and we think EVERYTHING about our lives at the moment is a choice. Since Mike died we have had to face many “firsts” in life. The first christmas without him, the first birthday without him, buying his favourite food without him, deleting his email from our family distribution lists… we are 100% learning to live again differently. Each of this little daily situations can either be funerals or celebrations… we have a choice. We can make the most out of the situation or we can curl up in a ball. But again, we are no different, each of us, along with the rest of the human race, is faced with a choice every second of every day.
Planting seeds for God is a choice too… but I think in many ways, it’s a less obvious than “shall I go to the toilet or wait til my bladder bursts”. But heres the thing… planting seeds for God, is far more important than many of the decisions we face each day. So why are we so shallow and superficial in this area? I am realising more and more, God only needs you to do the littlest of things, like write a blog, talk to a friend, go out your way one day for a neighbour, and He can make it so much more out of it than you realise… why does this not radically change our behaviour?
Just wanted to give you a small update on life!
Mike Trust – We have kindly been giving financial donations, a Gibson Les Paul 1960 Classic guitar, a saxophone, and promises of more… We are SO blown away by people’s kindness. May I humbly continue to ask for you to (i) Bless the lives of people who would like to be educated in the art of music so they too can share their passions and led worship, and (ii) Bless churches and other Christian institutions in third world and developing countries who have limited musical instruments for their worship groups. How can you bless them? The three keys ways you can help is to give financially to the trust, pray, and raise the publicity levels! Laura and I are also going to work on a promotional video for the Trust too.
University – Well, the last lecture for my course is on thursday! The end of this long period of life is coming to an end! But I still have a lot of work to do. So I’m trying to crack on with that!
Placement – there are still some finer details to be ironed out. So I would greatly appreciate your prayers on that!
Where is Akila these days?! – Well, I’m contracted to the property in Leicester for an academic year, however, I’m coming to Carlisle for two months and then onto london for 5 months. So I’m looking to replace my tenancy. I’ve had small interest, and the land lord has a viewing on Wednesday… so I’m praying and trusting god! But please join me in prayer because that would be an incredible release for me financially. Currently wherever I stay in London I will have to ask that my board is for free, however this release might mean I can contribute a tiny something towards the persons kindness for putting up with me!
Christmas and life in general – Since Mike died it’s almost like people have been holding their breaths while they watch my family and I go through this time in our lives, especially the lead up to christmas. I wondered what it would be like without Mike but in all honesty, we’re going to be ok. Dad and I have had many chats on this and like he said, we’re sad and we’re hurting REGARDLESS of what day it is! Why will Christmas be any different. I think there are two reasons why christmas will not be a struggle without mike. 1 christmas is about the birth of Jesus, it’s a time to come together with loved ones and celebrate his birth and our purpose in life. we have a CHOICE to either curl up and ball our eyes out (snot and the lot), or remember the very essence of christmas. We can still make it fun! Painful, hard, sad… yes… but genuinely, mask free, still being 100% honest and real, do-able. 2 The prayers and encouragement of you all. Dad put it very well the other day, we feel like we’ve been riding on the wave of your prayers. None of this has been in our strength and in many ways, I WILL argue, Mike’s death as almost been easy… How could I possibly say that?! Because of the Grace, Love and Kindness we have been showered from both you all and God as you guys have picked me and my family up and walked with journey with us.
My Man – Ahhhh only 44 days to go! Then he will be in England for a couple weeks! It will have been 121 days since I last saw him and I’m super excited! Laura found out what he sent me for christmas and cried?! I asked if it was a ring?! HAHA… Well! I couldn’t work out why she reacted the way she did! Anyways, phone lines have been RUBBISH for the past 6 weeks so we haven’t spoken on the phone for over 6 weeks now! I’m certainly looking forward to them leaving Guyana and going onto Netherlands Antilles (Beautiful Island in the Caribbean) so we have a wicked chat!!!!
Ok on a really random note I have no feeling where I was injected last week… that can’t be right can it?!
I’ve been thinking a lot about those who are hurting lately. Recently we’ve had devastating flooding in Cumbria where homes have been complete destroyed, I have a friend who’s best friend was killed in a car crash recently, and I have other friends who are searching for love and belonging. I guess my list could go on and on…
My heart breaks for these people. Many of them come to me looking for answers and even when I’ve been through so much and can relate so well to their pain, I struggle to give them the perfect answer.
I think the world is crying out for “Real”. But being real, comes from depth of character and how does this depth grow? Through digging. Digging is not easy, or fun… even when there is treasure to be found, no one finds treasure with a child’s plastic beach spade and bucket. It takes sweat, tears and blood. I think people will never be happy in this world. It’s impossible, money doesn’t buy, lust and infatuation doesn’t stay, and relationships crack with a gentle breeze of conflict.
I don’t have the space to write as much as I would like, but through my own experience (I’ve been told to write a book by several people haha), I really believe holding onto God is the way forward. I do. But intertwined with this is communication. You have to be real in how you talk to people. Be honest and stop being afraid of what people will think or how they will respond. Be gentle when you challenge others, be genuine when others come to you, respect people, and be honest when you need to speak.
I wish I could say I have it all together, I really don’t. I wish I did! But the problems in life will never go away if you don’t speak out, and act on it! Like I suggested, by holding onto and rooting who you are in WHO God is. I wish I could be there for my friends far more than I am. I hope they all know I am here for them. But I know who is always there for them no matter what. But it’s your choice whether to put your trust in that person. Please, if my words have any value, then please, start and/or keep talking to God. I promise you, He will NEVER disappoint you and in your hurt He WILL shower you with Love.
Books – I’m reading a book called Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb, you should read it, it’s pretty good!
Love – My sister is in love with Taylor Launter and is devistated he’s dating Taylor Swift… this is what she said to me “Akila!!! Taylor Lautner IS dating Talor Swift, I’m so GUTTED!!!!! But if they get married they’ll both be called Taylor Lautner!!! Which is SO stupid!!!! It should be Laura Launter…OH NO!!!! That’s EVEN worse!!!!!”
University – 2 more lectures and I’m done and moving back up to my folks for two months… the LONGEST I will have lived there in 4 years! I have two essays, one dissertation, one 80 day placement, one placement porfolio, and 7 modules for a computer course to complete in 9 months. My goal, before Fitz comes to England I want to have completed one essay, 3 computer modules and 1/2 my dissertation.
My man – Less than 7 weeks and I get to see him again! Will have been 120 days since I last saw him!
Other random news – I still have a whole bunch of Christmas shopping to do and I’ve been reorganising my room at my folks, first time in 4 years too!
Last night around 2am I was rudely woken by an agonising pain in my left side. Unsure what to do first or what was going on, throw up or get in the bath and try and use hot water to ease the pain, I did the later, quickly giving up after 10 minutes and got my parents up.
Walking around was reduced to rolling around on the floor of the bathroom half in pain half trying to keep the vomit out my hair. I tried to make use of my time by praying for those with problems with their kidneys and for God to keep my friends and family safe. After a couple minutes I tried walking but every time I attempted it I would just be sick again!
2 hours later after all this, a trip to the emergency doctor, and 3 injections… I came home and went back to sleep. What did I learn from it? 1. If kidney stones is like giving birth, then giving birth is going to be a breeze! 2. I should never of eaten so much cheese on Friday according to Laura. and 3. Women can multi task even when in pain!
Whatta weekend it’s been!
I travelled up from Leicester on Thursday night and started the weekend off early Friday with a trip down to the City Courts. Mike’s Inquest was held at 10am. Wasn’t sure what to expect emotionally but as they proceeded I couldn’t help but feel emotional! Dad was called as a witness and had to swear on the bible and give a statement of who Mike was and his role here on Earth. It was somewhat fitting that before God and the Law Dad gave this somewhat closing testimony of Mike’s Legacy and to declare to the Heavens and Man, Evil did not take Mike.
Friday morning evolved into Christmas shopping in the afternoon, a surprise gift waiting on the front doorstep from my Man to my folks (a bottle of Champagne!!), and a Christmas meal with OM in the evening… I ate about a kilo of Cheese! I think it’s more comical being there in the moment!
Saturday morning started with writing my dissertation, to be pleasantly interrupted half way through by my sister and large black box with my name on it. My Man sent me 20 red, pink, yellow, and white roses! Todd and Karen arrived from America soon after and the house became even more jolly as christmas decorations were put up, amazing food was prepared, and Todd and Dad got funky with Mike’s left over shower gel in the jacuzzi! The bubbles were more than impressive! Definitely one way to throw out a bottle of gel! Well, to be fair, it was Mikes Scent, crazy as it sounds… very difficult to let go… so Dad did it in style!
Sunday was a little slower, with research being conducted on my sister (yes, I knew she was weird) and 6 of her friends. By the 4th slice of pizza, I decided I was never going to eat again after all the food I ate over the weekend! Until today of course!
Today too was slower, but after an email to my grandma about my placement at Scotland Yard needing ironing out with some key details, I received a phone call from the PA of the man in charge of my placement with an appointment for me to attend! I also received permission to defer a big project for University that was suppose to be handed in middle of January, I now have until august. Shifting pressure to make it more manageable in light of my life and university circumstances.
As those reading my blog know, I have so struggled with the “unknown” in life during recent times, but after that one day, where I suddenly realised this is not my battle, things are still ever so much up in the air… but not once, have I felt anxious about anything. I feel like the “process” is happening, God is definitely orchestrating the things in life to come together, and I have no idea whats next or what my destiny is… and I’m more than OK with it. At peace and enjoying the ride focusing on putting one step in front of the other.
Laura is going through her Mock exams for her final year of high school. Would appreciate all the prayers you can give for her! I know she would love to feel and be able to be confident, focuses, disciplined and at peace!
I had a sweet little time with God this morning, and I kinda wondered if He was promoting me to look at my bible verse calender. Today’s verse was 2 Corinthians 1:3… “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…”
Next to the verse is a little message which said…”There does come a Joy known to those who suffer with Me. But that is not the result of the suffering, but the result of the close intimacy with Me, to which suffering drove you.”
Lately I’ve been really struggling to sleep again at night. My mind seems to switch on and go crazy on me. Especially a very predictable crawl into bed and a burst into tears, followed by, “Oh God, please, no more, I don’t wanna cry anymore…” 99% of the time in relation to Mike’s death. So, I tend to avoid going to bed and driving myself a bit too hard in hope that I’ll just pass out from being so tired.
But today’s verse I think really hit home, for many reasons, the fear of the unknown in life and the result of Mike dying. I’m so tired and drained emotionally, physically and mentally with everything that is going on in life, that the very thought of trying to face another day is a bit overwhelming. But I think God is trying to tell me, not to be afraid of my emotions, my thoughts, and my feelings. Because He really wants to Help me. If I do cry at night, then that’s OK, if I do struggle with something, that’s OK too! Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, He’s next to me, and nothing if too big for Him to handle even when I think it’s too big for me to handle.
I emailed Fitz the other day over something, and I wrote something along the lines of “Oh well, at least it keeps you on your knees before God.” I think I’m understanding one of the dynamics of rejoicing in your suffering. It’s not that you’re suppose to be happy and even positive future thinking over it… it’s because it does exactly what I said to Fitz and what this little message said today… It’s the opportunity and result of drawing close to God that it worth rejoicing about.
Well, it looks like I’m learning a very important lesson regarding Life. Many of my posts so far have been about how out of control I feel, the struggles I’m facing…
Today, like any day has been just that, more struggles, more confusion, more questions. But I also realised today, that God has been reminding me the past couple days that Life, is His battle. It’s not mine, and it is certainly not mine to orchestrate the fight or the outcomes.
God actually made it really simple for us…
“Akila, this is NOT your battle to fight, it’s MINE! I WILL direct your paths and give you the orders when the timing is right, and when it is, it will be clear! Don’t try and take on this job because only I can orchestrate everything to come to together the way I intend it to…all these situations in your life, yourself included… all these things are MY projects! You just need to stay close to me, grow with me and the rest will follow! I will show you what to do… stop trying to do more than what you can!!!!”
I think God is trying to tell me I don’t need to worry about anything because He HAS, IS, and WILL deal with all these things… I think He’s given me the kick up the bum to just focus on writing my dissertation…
Now I need to learn how to listen to His voice and know what He’s telling me to do! …Sometimes He really does take us back to basics!