There is something magnificent about watching the
sunset. Radiant shades of red, orange,
and hints of yellow paint the sky. The distant horizon holds the triumphs of
today and the promise of tomorrow. It also reminds me that the hardships and
struggles of today end, and tomorrow brings new beginnings.
not-so-distant horizon of my life, I see the finish line. I will be graduating college
with a degree in BA English & Professional Writing from Regent University
in just six months--May 9, 2015 to be exact! I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself. When I
think of how close that finish line is, I break out into a happy dance— much to
my kid’s embarrassment.
So what’s the big deal?
I know more and
more people are graduating from college these days. Some have multiple degrees.
Some return years later. Graduating from college the first time, second, or
third is quite a feat. Quite honestly, my hats off to anyone who graduates
I did not go to high school. Really. I dropped out
after the ninth grade, and I am not sure you can even count my freshmen year
considering I skipped most, if not all, of my classes. Technically, I had an
eighth grade education when I entered college at 40 years of age.
A Little History
My youth was slightly challenged, to say the least.
I’d like to say my family put the “D” in dysfunction, but I think a host of
other dysfunctional families claimed it first. I was a troubled kid. My family
called me a rebel. Really, I was the black sheep. I was in-and-out of
institutions. A runaway. A street kid. I entered foster care at fifteen. School
didn’t matter. Survival did. So I quit.
So why go?
I reached a wall. I homeschooled my kids through
elementary school. I learned right along with them, but then things got harder
for them and for me. I could not teach them past my own education level. Broken
and ashamed I reluctantly put them into public school. I didn’t think any
college would accept me, so I found a writing program affiliated with a
college. I wrote a letter and was accepted. A bonafide miracle!
Interestingly, a letter landed me in a girl’s home.
Funny how writing affects my life. Along the way, I realized I wanted more and
transferred to Regent University in 2012.
Before I embarked on my college journey I asked God to
help me stay the course, NO MATTER WHAT! I didn’t not want to run away when
things got tough, nor did I want to quit. I wanted to show my kids that no matter
what obstacles life may throw at them—EVERYONE—including them, can overcome the
challenges and reach their goals.
The year I started school, we became homeless for five
months. Really, we lived in a friend’s 8x10 garage room. We were candidates for a
home extreme makeover. Honestly. We lost, and lost the home. We eventually
found another home, two weeks later my husband left on his sixth deployment for
Afghanistan. That same year, I had three back-to-back surgeries. The following
year, my husband returned and his PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was off
the chain causing us to separate. The military forced him to retire after
twenty-six years, and he left for Iraq, as a civilian contractor, for a year.
My husband returned. Jobs for veterans are not as
abundant as people like to think. He remained unemployed for six month before
finding a job. All the while, PTSD was tearing our family apart. Forced to
separate again, I laid it all on the line. Either God was going to answer
twelve-years of prayer for my husband or he wasn’t, but I couldn’t help him.
Another miracle! That was last November. We are together by the way…a story you
can read more about when my book is published.
I had surgery on my cervical spine this past May. I
learned I can’t run anymore because of my spine…still getting over that one.
My mother recently passed away. Her death devastated
me. Her life ended before we could really get to know each other. I may never
recover from this one.
I have another spinal surgery in three days.
I had to fight a constant internal battle. Every day
of studying was a mountain to climb. The foundation I would have received in
high school was absent. So each lesson became a dual study…the high school
foundation and the collegiate in-depth. Most days I cried through my lessons,
but I refused to give up. College—even though I schooled entirely online—forced
me to be incubated from life. All I could handle was family and school.
There is so much more to internal obstacles. Be on the
lookout for some in-depth stories on the battle within.
And that’s only scratching the surface…
Life is relentless. Waves of hardship roll over me and
my family. Every day I cling to Christ to accomplish my goals; including
graduating from college. God’s grace sees me through each and every day, without
Him none of this would be possible.
A Little Encouragement
Whatever your dreams, whatever your goals--DO NOT QUIT! Dreams come true when you overcome the obstacles that try to prevent you from achieving them.
You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it
could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one
day you look and you’ve climbed a mountain. Tom Hiddleston
Labels: grace, Just Turn The Page