How Did I Get Here? The Post That Started It.
I was wondering this week, how I got here, so you may be also. How did I go from Ohio, to Indiana, to Tennessee to Hawaii, and back again. What am I doing on an island in the middle of the ocean where I know no one and have no family and CANNOT GET AMAZON TO DELIVER TO ME!!?? Sorry, got distracted there. Well I’ll tell you what I think. I’m going to include some of my favorite verses for you to reference. These have helped me now looking back, to recognize where God was working in all of this. Sometimes it can be hard for me to tell while it’s happening.
While I was walking to the facility I work at now here on Lana’i (Say La-na-E, FYI), passing the tall pine trees reaching to the sky, it reminds me of Missanabie Woods, Ontario. The air, smell, the quiet and the rain on my face. Most of you know that I went to a pretty intense “camp” in Canada for pretty intense kids. Teenagers who lost their way somewhere and ended up out of control and in the middle of nowhere, as miserable as any human could be. So how is it even possible to close my eyes and smell the air, feel the rain, and smile and think of Missanabie Woods Academy? Because that is all there was. There was the air and the sun and the trees and the real person I was, moving rocks from one location to another in the pouring rain, for no purpose other than to break your spirit. It took you to a place where there was nothing to hide from anymore.
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
Psalm 139:9-12 NIV
Although Missanabie helped me recover from addiction and take me back to the root of my true self, if didn’t happen immediately after I got there, or as soon as I left that place. I was an addict for sure. Not to cigarettes, alcohol, or weed. I was not addicted to cocaine or opium, or stealing or running. Not even to the high of seeing what would happen if I pushed it just a little farther than the last time. I was addicted to all the appealing lies that I had and living in a self-serving, people pleasing loop of feeding my own anger and hurt by doing whatever I thought would get the most attention or ease the hurt that I had that no one could understand. It did not ever bring happiness to me and it hurt people who loved me.
When I got to Canada I was already jaded and hollow at 15 years old. I knew “about” God as a child but God started to remind me of who He really was while I was there, even when I still hated Him for how hard everything had become for me. When I left camp, I was leaving for a new start from the nest of protection and I fell hard and fast. Right back to where had I come from. You can have the best plan for yourself, but if you take that plan back to where you have consistently failed, you will very likely keep on failing there. I have learned alot since then and have surely come a long way. I look back and see the start of a promise that is still being fulfilled 20 years later.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
The four years we spent back in Tennessee was the most successful I have ever been in my life thus far. It was the most happy my family has ever been, in the best place in my career, friendships, and finances. Why would I leave there?! To know what was left for me after all of that.
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 NIV
Walking to work here on Lana’i, I am confronted with the air and the trees and the real person I am. There’s a lot to be said for me and changing scenery.
A person who has healed from immense hurts and left it all behind, in more than one way. I have a healthy marriage and children who are growing up to be better than me, and hopefully learning you don’t have to do everything the hard way.
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.””
Genesis 28:15 NIV
Maybe for you it isn’t as drastic as leaving a place you love and moving across the ocean. Maybe that isn’t being asked of you. I know I needed to take a step back and catch my breath again. The best I’ve ever had, the nicest house and the best friends. Those things are amazing and blessed me immensely. To say I was terrified to leave that behind would not do it justice. Here on Lana’i I am struggling to adjust to how different it is, wondering why I feel like I had to do this to figure myself out again. It’s frustrating. But believe it or not, that is the best thing for me. Nothing like a little time and separation to get real with yourself.
I understand doing something huge isn’t right for everyone. Maybe you can just prioritize setting aside some time for yourself this week and take a walk and clear your mind, think and pray. You could look back on how far you’ve come, close your eyes and smile. If you aren’t at that place, maybe you do need to do something more drastic. Take a vacation, make a sacrifice that makes you feel uncomfortable, change your job, or your scenery, or your perspective. Challenge yourself and your norm. Change enough that you get down far enough to feel something.
This is awesome Nena !!
Thank you my friend!
Nena, you are a natural writer! I am spellbound by your story. You a Jedi have alway impressed me. Such mature Christians for your age. I have always wondered about how you became that close to God at your age. My boys raised in church, now never attend. We were not perfect parents, but we loved them and tried our best to teach them the importance things that we had learned from our godly parents. We just wanted them to seek God and put Him first in their lives. They accepted Christ at a young age.. They know truth, but are not walking in it. One son loves the Lord and says he is a Christian but doesn’t come to church. Our other son claimis to be agnostic now. We trust God to finish the work that He began in them. I get impatience, but I am glad that God is patient, loving and kind, Your stoyi is so encouraging. You should write a book. I can’t wait to read “the rest of the story”. Keep writing. Love you girl! Zilah and I miss Callie. She is a special girl. We always enjoyed the times she spent with us.
Thank you Debbie. We miss you too.
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