Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Remembering who we are!

I love you Lavada, thank you for sharing your life with me, always being there, no matter what!
I sat on Lavadas porch yesterday, I stopped by for a quick moment, my niece had to use the restroom giving me the perfect excuse to take a break from my busy day to say hi to my dear friend. Lavada sat beside me listening as I shared a remembrance of the last time I sat there.

Stella, you showed me myself, you were the beginning of my new path
everyday in every way I am filled gratitude for the gift that you are
You are my Why, I am changing it all because you helped me to love me!
It was October 2010, I was 6 months pregnant with Stella.  I had come to Santa Cruz three months earlier homeless, pregnant and unsure of everything, except one thing... I was having this baby.  A decision that made no sense to just about everyone in my life.  there I was, over 40 years old, disabled with no income, home or support from her father whom I tried to pretend was not her father at all, deep down inside I always knew the very moment she was conceived.

The decision made sense to me, because I knew that I had said a prayer the morning of the day she was conceived, not just any prayer, "The Prayer", my First prayer ever, real prayer anyways.  Sure I had prayed in a bargaining sense over my life... God if you give me this, I will give you that!  Never any belief behind it, because the truth was that I didn't believe God could love me, yes I thought myself that special that even God couldn't love me, I was the one person on the planet unworthy of his love. When I really wanted to ask God for help, I called my Grandmother, believing she had a direct line to God and could on my behalf ask for me what I dare not ask for my undeserving self.  By this time in my life my Grandmother had passed and was not here to assist me, or so I thought.

I wouldn't change any of it!  All of it was perfect, you are perfect!
On this morning, I said my first real prayer, I laid on the ground with the sun shinning on me from the heavens and begged with every fiber of my being for a New Path as tears raged like a river from the pit of my soul, my heart ached and I plead, over and over again for a new path. I cried out to God, the Universe, my Grandmother, anyone who would listen and at sunset Stella we conceived.

There at one of the weakest moments of my life, when all I wanted was to be loved, love was created and her name is Stella, she is my daughter, she was the beginning of my new path.  I knew this from moment one.  Before I even knew she was growing in me I knew something was different, everyone thought I was crazy, losing my mind.  I could speak to nature, nature could speak to me, my entire pregnancy.  I cannot leave this out, think me crazy if you will, that is fine, however that does not change what was, and it was amazing.  A tree would call to me in pain, I would find a nail in it and remove it, another would call to me and I would find metal wire entangled around it's trunk and remove it and the tree would thank me.  The flowers on the side of the road where I slept some nights in my truck would smile at me in the morning and tell me everything was perfect and as it should be.  This was my experience and I cannot discount it, she gave me this gift for 10 months, I can still sense the leaves on the trees waving at me, the sensation somewhat faded, yet still there in the smallest ways as the biggest reminder to me that I got my new path and that all prayers are answered when we listen.

In my third month with no income to pay rent I lost my house.  I figured that if I was going to be homeless, Santa Cruz was the best place to do it.  After all it was my home town, I had friends and family here, surely someone would take me in and help me and my unborn child.  I was scared to come back, what would they think?  My fear of staying where I was was greater so I packed what I could fit in my truck and hit the highway.  On the way I called my hair dresser in the bay area to see if she had an opening, I had been spending money with her for a few years, good money and here I was with none, I was hoping she would help a girl out.  Hearing my voice on the other end of the line she screeched with excitement... "JoJo, oh yes, you have to come in, I have a message for you, God came to me.  I couldn't find your number, yes please come in, how soon can you get here?

Jamie is an Italian Catholic who spent the previous years doing my hair trying to save my soul, she would wait until she got me under the suds and deliver her messages to me from God.  I always giggled and humored her.  I appreciated her attempts at saving my soul, but deep down I knew the truth that she did not know, God couldn't love me.  So I knew that God couldn't be sending messages to me via her.  However, I loved her for trying to do what she felt was God's work while washing my hair and she was the best hair stylist I have ever had so she could have been telling me that unicorns had messages for me and I would have been an attentive listener.  Hey, any woman reading this will understand me on this... We will drive miles, pay any price and endure any conversation for the best hair stylist, we will!

This visit began the same, as the suds lathered so did her voice... "JoJo, God came to me in a dream, he told me that you are pregnant."  (Well, I do show early, maybe she noticed?!) "He has given you the path that you asked for"  Shocked, tears began to stream down my face.  For the first time, in that moment, I realized, I knew, that God indeed was speaking to me.  How could she have known I asked for a new path?  Confused I sat trying to regain my composure and stop the tears from flowing as she went on... "You are going to walk this path alone, you must, but you are never alone, he is with you every step of the way"  Alone? Well I am certainly alone now, alone in my decision to keep her (I knew she was a her from day one, I could see her face, her eyes, her curls flowing down her face, I knew her before she was born) She continued on... "Your ministry is going to be vast JoJo, but not in your time JoJo, in His!

Stella Star

I was so shocked I had no reply, I sat and listened as she repeated... Remember JoJo, not in your time, but in his.

As I drove away and continued on my drive to Santa Cruz, hair looking fabulous by the way, haha, my eyes swollen from the many tears that still streamed down my face, I was filled with hope.  I was overjoyed, the tears were not tears of sorrow, there were tears of Joy.  Joy at the realization that God is real, and he spoke to me, me of all people, he spoke to me! I had a path! I had a purpose and though I was alone, he was with me.  For the first time in my life I hungered for more of Him realizing that he actually spoke to me, me!

Over the next three months in Santa Cruz I stayed at friends houses, slept on couches here and there, and some nights in my truck.  I had gotten set up with medical and accumulated 11 doctors for my many pregnancy conditions, I had them all, every condition you can think of that a pregnant woman might have, I had it.  And yes I was on doctor ordered bed rest the majority of my pregnancy.  My bed was where I could lay my head.  Until this day, my little sister still gets a tear in her eye when she says... Jo, I don't understand why I wouldn't let you live with me when you were pregnant?  You could have been living in a cardboard box and would have taken in my whole family. My Children feel the same way and for all of them my reply is the same, with a smile and kind heart I say... you were never meant to take me in, I had to walk this path alone, it was meant this way and I was never meant to keep her.  Had you took me in, I would have kept her and none of what has happened in my life would have.  She is where she was always meant to be, we both know that.  Then we hug and I say, please do not carry guilt for what was meant to be, please carry joy for where we are now.

Happy 3rd Birthday Baby
During those three months I went to church on Sundays, bible study on Wednesdays.  I had a path, God was real and I was determined more than ever in my life to know what all this meant.  I listened to every sermon, payed attention in bible study.  I was sure that more of my path would reveal itself to me in the walls of that church and excited about that.  In my 6th month my dietitian was helping me with food plans for my diabetes, I was sharing with her the challenges I faced with eating and not having a steady home to live in.  On our next visit she gave me a number to a convent in Santa Cruz.  A Catholic church that runs a pregnancy program and if you stay there at the convent during your pregnancy you get low income housing after the baby is born.  I was so excited, the idea that I could keep her, that I could afford to support us, yes the means would be tight, but with low income housing I could make it work was like the light at the end of the tunnel I had been searching for.  After months of a deep worry about the knowing that at the end of the day I had no home to bring my daughter home to was such a burden I carried.  Now a solution presented itself, I called the number, interviewed with the nuns at the convent and got accepted.  In a week my bed would be ready and I would have a home and a possible future I could manage.

You are a Miracle
The week went by and I drove up to the door of the convent, my belongings in the back of my truck, excited, so excited.  The sky was growing dark and I felt the first drops of rain dance on my head as I knocked on the door.  Rain was no issue, I had a bed waiting for me.  The door opened and the nuns came out, closing the door behind them.  The look on their face was one of regret as they informed me that they had changed their minds, I could not stay there because of my many health conditions and they were concerned that I would be a liability with the rooms being upstairs, if I fell, if I got hurt, if the baby got hurt....  I stood in disbelief as confusion grew into anger and brewed inside of me like a volcano suddenly awakened.  First I tried to reason... I will sign a waiver, you cannot turn me away, I have no where to go, my voice trailed off as tears began to make their way down my face.  We are sorry they replied, it is out of our hands.  The reason escaped me as I became rage displayed... I am being rejected by fucking nuns? You have got to be kidding me, I have a path, don't you understand, I have a path!!!!!  They closed the door and I stood there, alone, the rain now beginning to pour on me as if the heavens opened up and took a leak right there all over me.  I raised my hand and cursed him, cursed him for lying to me, I had no path, who was I kidding, I had no path at all.

I love you Lavada!
I drove down the streets of Santa Cruz like a crazy woman, dialing Lavada on the phone, she answered to hear a historical voice on the other end.... "I need to crash on your couch tonight!"  What? I thought you were going to live with the nuns?  "I have been rejected by the Nuns" I cried.  Okay, go to my house girl, wait on my porch, I am cancelling my day, I will be right there! She said with an attempt to calm me.

I sat on her porch, crying, tears of confusion, anger, resentment, so much confusion.  Why did Jamie lie to me, there is no God, surely he would not let his soldiers reject me if there were a God.  The storm grew as if it were angry with me, I sat, I cried and the wind blew, I looked out to the sky and said out loud... And what am I supposed to do now?  The tree blowing in the wind beckoned me, it's leaves dancing ferociously in the storm and one fell, it began to dance on the wind.  I could feel it's energy, this leaf was pure joy, it was so excited, it was as if this was it's defining moment, this dance on the wind before it falls to the ground to become one with the earth that gave it life.  The wind shifted and the leaf danced to me, landing right on my chest, resting over my heart.

I sat there crying and this leaf comforted me... everything is as it should be, you are not alone, you are never alone, I have not forsaken you.... The words Jamie said that day rang in my heart and mind... You are going to walk this path alone JoJo, but you are never alone, he is with you every step of the way, you are never alone.  In that moment I realized, I knew with everything inside of me that God was in that leaf and I was not alone.

We are never lost, we simply forget.  We forget who we are, so that
we can remember, remember who we are!  How awesome is that!
That was the very moment I decided to discover for myself who God is.  Later, after choosing adoption for Stella to give her the life I could not at the time, I would find myself again lost, and again the words came to me, you are not alone.  And as those of you who have been following along with me on this journey know, almost a year after Stella's birth I began this journey, I left it all behind, my life as a I knew it and I went out into the world, scared and unsure of everything except one thing... I needed to find myself, to learn to love myself.

Along the way I have discovered I was never lost, I was always on my path.  I learned that I am not learning at all, I am remembering who I am, with each step I remember who I am.  I am love!  You are love!  There is nothing in our lives that can change that which we are.  We are Created by the One who IS LOVE!  There is nothing else, all of this is perfectly designed by us because sometimes to get to who you are, you have to go right through who you are not.

I love you all from a place of gratitude for being allowed to share this very personal moment with you today.  I love you all from a place of knowing that I am you and you are me, that we are love! God created us that way and how cool is that!

One Love,

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