Day 23: Always Starting Over

31 Days of Starting Over

It would have made a lot more sense to you, my readers, if I had started with this post 22 days ago. But, like most things in my life, I just don’t think that far ahead.  It’s taken me 23 days to figure out that I should explain why I chose “starting over” as my 31-Day topic.

To many, it may seem very depressing to think about having to start over. But, not to me.  It is the single most “hopeful” thing we can use to encourage others – in my opinion.  There are so many people (me included) who are struggling or have overcome, a fear of failure.  Why do we fear this so much? Does anyone really care if you fail? Will your life end if you fail? Will you lose your job if you fail? Not always! Is it possible to learn more from failure than success? Absolutely.

Is there anything that once you fail, you can never start over again? Yes, once you are dead, you cannot start over again. Except possibly in Heaven, and I’m betting there’s no chance of failure on the streets of gold. The only total failure in life is if your destination after death is not what you’ve expected.

So why do I see starting over as the single most encouraging thing we can suggest to those who fear failure?  I’ll give some personal examples:

  • When my son left for New York City with no job, no home and limited funds in his pocket, his question to me was, “Mom, what happens if I get up there and don’t make it?” My reply, “You move back home and start over.”
New York City Subway
New York City Subway
  • When I went through devastating miscarriages, my hope was that in the next few months, we’d be able to try again.
Amy's birthday.
Amy’s birthday.
  • I have a family member going through a divorce right now and my constant encouragement to her is, “this is your chance to start over with a different man who will love you for who you are and appreciate the gift of service you are so lovingly capable of sharing.”
  • When my daughter comes to me distraught about sin in her life, my words of encouragement are, “When we repent, (turn and start again) God forgives us to the point of ‘starting over,’ as if we’ve never sinned in the first place.”
  • Of course, with every diet I’ve started, I’ve re-started at least 8,000 times.
  • If, like my friend, Pat, you lose everything in a wicked tornado, or my friend Linda, who is burglarized and loses everything, are you completely destroyed?  No. Are you crushed? Do you grieve? Yes! But, what do you do in each of these cases? Yep, you guessed it. You start over. Hopefully with the love, support and help of loved ones.  And a good insurance company!
This debris was once a house.
This debris was once a house.
  • What do you do if you are sexually harassed in 1983 and HAVE to walk out of your job? I can tell you. You hit the pavement and find a replacement job better than the one you had before.
  • What do you do when you lose a loved one? You start the grieving process and work your way back among the living.
  • Cancer? You start the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, begin a healthier lifestyle and thank God for every new day you’re given.
A very courageous cancer patient.
A very courageous cancer patient.
  • Drug addiction – rehabilitation, rehabilitation, rehabilitation.
  • Alcoholism – 12 long, stressful steps to a new you.
  • Child abuse-unforgivable, but the ability to overcome and live an abundant life – all things are possible through Christ who gives us strength. (Phil. 4:13)
  • When you are faced with a dilemma that you just don’t know the answer to, you begin with research, talk to experts, and start to educate yourself in all things pertaining to your dilemma.

I could continue forever because the possibilities of starting something over are endless. I do not pretend for a second, that it’s not scary. Starting over causes anxiety, stress, and in some cases – absolute panic when rock bottom knocks the breath out of you; but there is nothing short of death, that we can’t start over.

I am not attempting to make mole hills out of mountains.  It is my hope that the thoughts shared here will encourage those facing the fear of tragedy.  Not all change is bad. Every sunrise offers a new day, a new chance to do it different.

 

Thirty-One Days of Starting Over


31 Days of Starting Over

 

Welcome to 31 Days of Starting Over.

I will be Joining 1,400 other bloggers for the month of October to meet the challenge or writing every day for 31 days.  I will be adding each link by day to this post, so you can find any topic in this one place.  If you have any “starting over” topics you’d like to read about, please leave a comment.  In the meantime, start here.  Thanks so much for reading!

Day 1:  Starting Over in the State of Alabama

Day 2: Starting Over in a Skilled Nursing Facility

Day 3: Starting Over After Being Found

Day 4: Starting Over When the Nest Empties

Day 5: Starting Over After Re-organizing Your Home

Day 6: Starting Over After a Miscarriage

Day 7: Starting Over with a New Diet

Day 8: Starting Over as a Cancer Survivor

Day 9: Starting Over After an Argument

Day 10: Starting Over with an Old Pair of Traveling Jeans

Day 11: Starting Over with a New Christmas Plan

Day 12: Starting Over When Relationships are Unhealthy

Day 13: Starting Over After a Funeral

Day 14: It’s All about the Marriage, Not the Wedding

Day 15: Starting Over with Less

Day 16: Starting Over With Your Feedback

Day 17: Starting Over in a New City

Day 18: Starting Over After Getting in Trouble with Your Parents

Day 19: Starting Over with a Lil’ Ole Theatre

Day 20: Starting Over After Sweating the Small Stuff

Day 21: Starting Over with a New Game Day Snack

Day 22: Starting Over with Photography Lessons

Day 23: Always Starting Over

Day 24: Starting Over After Childhood Abuse

Day 25: Starting Over in a New Church

Day 26: Starting Over with Finances

Day 27: Starting Over with a Newborn

Day 28: Starting Over with a Change of Panties

Day 29:

 

Day 4 – Starting Over After the Nest Empties

31 Days of Starting OverWhile I am not an “official” empty-nester, due to the fact that my daughter lives at home while finishing college, I think I’ve experienced it enough to write on the topic.

In 2003, we moved from Gulfport, MS to Birmingham (which is home) and at the same time, my son Aaron, moved back to Mississippi to attend and graduate from Mississippi State University.

Mississippi State Graduation Ceremony
Mississippi State Graduation Ceremony

Once a child leaves home, it is like a chamber of your heart has been removed and your world has been turned cattywampus on its axis. Of course, I still had my daughter at home, but we weren’t a party of four anymore.  I cried for a year after he left.  In restaurants, I now had to ask for a table for three, at dinner at our own table – his chair was empty.  In the car, his seat was empty.  When I wanted to run upstairs and tell him something funny, his bed was empty.  In the driveway, his space was empty.  So, even though my nest is not officially empty, there were so many places that were.

Table for Three.
One Empty Chair.

In addition to his leaving in 2003, we moved again in 2010, and my daughter began her 2-year campus housing stay. Not to mention, the blessing she was offered with a Disney Internship for 5 months in Orlando, FL.  At this point, I only had two chambers operating and those two seemed to be on life support. Now two chairs, two seats, two beds, and two parking spaces were like black holes in the universe.  Was I depressed?  You darn tootin’, I was depressed and I’m not ashamed to share it with you.  It was like being fired from the best job you ever had.

Amy working at Disney
Amy working at Disney

My sweet husband knew this was going to be hard. So being the planner that he is, he started planning things for us as we drove home from Aaron’s freshman year move-in day and then again when we moved Amy into her Orlando housing.  I’m sharing these with you in hopes that they will help set your axis aright again when your nest empties.

  • Plan a trip for you and your spouse – even if it’s just a weekend. Get outta town.
  • Reconnect with your spouse through photo albums of newlywed days, wedding album, and long talks about your dating days. The goal is to remind you of the good times you had before you had chillren.
  • Plan care packages for your college student.
  • Set goals with your student of how often you will talk on the phone – not texting or emailing… hearing their voice, before they get too big for their britches.
  • Remind each other often that college/living away from home is a good thing!
  • Get involved in your community, church, charity near to your heart or learn an old fashioned card game, like Bridge or Canasta.
  • Invite people into your home.
  • Take up a new hobby like photography, painting, cooking, blogging, crafting, woodworking, gardening etc.
  • Reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
  • Find things of interest from your cities’ calendar of events.
  • Enroll in a class at a local community college or if funds permit, go back to school.  Education is always valuable.
  • If you’ve been a stay-at-home mom, get a job.

Experience is the very best teacher and staying busy is the best medicine. I can happily report that I am operating with all four chambers again.  I’ve realized that I have a life separate from my chillren and it is my sweet, loving husband who will fill all those empty places now.  Perhaps that is how it was all along, but you just don’t think about that the day they leave.

Table for Two.
Table for Two?  Yes, please.

Day 3 – Starting Over After Being Found

31 Days of Starting OverToday, on October 3, 2013, the first thing I want to share with you is a post from a fellow blogger here in the state of Alabama.  It is such a sweet testimony from The Lettered Cottage.

Now, I’ll describe for you my feelings of being in the lost and found. At the age of 14 there was a lot going on in my life. I was an adolescent so everything that happened to me seemed worse than it was – no matter how bad it was.  My pediatrician prescribed “nerve pills,” to help me learn to deal with life’s problems and calm my nervous stomach. All the pills did was dull the pain and help me sleep.

Photo Credit: Clark Atlanta University
Photo Credit: Clark Atlanta University

Now, my family had gone to church every Sunday for as long as I can remember, but at 15 a friend invited us to a different church than the one we grew up in. It scared me.

I knew this place was different when I walked in the door. People were standing up and singing, raising their hands as if they were cheering for a football team and the preacher was different.  While he had on a suit, stood behind a podium and held the Bible in his hands, he was was not like other preachers. He started teaching me the WORD.

He didn’t seem to be yelling at me, he seemed to love me and care about me.  He has long since passed away, but I will never forget him.  His name was Dan Ronsisvalle and if you are interested, you can hear his last sermon, here.

Pastor Dan Ronsisvalle
Pastor Dan Ronsisvalle
Cathedral of the Cross
Cathedral of the Cross 2010

My life was different from the day I heard his first sermon. I no longer needed the pills, but I was still in the lost and found.  In my thirties, things began to change.  Believe me or not; I was sitting in a Wendy’s during a Mother’s-Day-Out eating a burger, thinking about my list of errands, when in my heart, I heard the words, “I never knew you.” This scared me more than Brother Ronsisvalle’s church.  The words I heard were part of Matthew 7: 21-23.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Well, in true Kim-fashion, I began to argue with the Lord.  “You do too know me.  You saved me in a pasture during a rap-session with the youth group in 1975! Don’t you remember, Lord?”  Again, “I never knew you.”  At that point, I surrendered and said to Him, “well if that’s true, then by-golly You will know me.”  I called our church that afternoon and asked if there were any Bible studies being offered.  It was after that call that I began to KNOW HIM.  It makes a big difference, you know. I registered for a Precept Ministries course on the book of Philippians, called “How to Have Joy No Matter What.”

Precept courses teach you the Bible in its original languages.  We learned the Old Testament by studying key words in Hebrew and the New Testament by key words in Greek. I was found in one word.  It was/is a strange word to be found by, but it is because of the fact that He really did know me that I was found in my truest state of being by the great I AM. Philippians 1: 9-10 includes a prayer by the apostle Paul,

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ..

Because of my earlier statements, it would be reasonable to think the word was knowledge, discern or blameless.  But, I was found with the word “pure”.  In the Greek, the word means “unmixed.”   I had become mixed up.  I was truly lost without the pure knowledge of HIM.  People have all sorts of ideas of who HE is, but if they are like I was, they really have NO idea.  I began to pray that HE would teach me and reveal HIMSELF to me so that I would KNOW HIM.  I have to confess here that it has been the biggest and best adventure of my life.  HE has been nothing like I thought. HE is better and HE is worse.  HE is Love and HE is Judge, but all in a loving way… a way that non-believers will never understand.

It may sound trite or even cliche` to talk about being lost vs. being found, but, since starting over with HIM in my 30’s, I’m no longer scared.  I don’t fear death.  I don’t fear HIS judgment and I am immune to man’s, except of course, where our laws are concerned. Why? Because in the purest sense of the word, I am unmixed, because I am found.  HE knows my name.