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...He removed the blindness from our eyes...

I know, I know....I have blogged in 3 months, and for that I am truly sorry. Writing these blogs is cathartic for me and the FOED Family brings me such a sense of peace and a feeling that I am never alone. I have really missed blogging and, even more, interacting with the FOED Family.

A lot has happened since I blogged back in September. Part 4 of the Swift Kick in the.... series brought the idea of perspective full circle. The series focused on some of my personal triggers and my practical approach to how I find perspective, especially when the darkness starts creeping in and seemingly swallowing up all of the light in my life. I wrapped up the series with a personal account of my father, his unexpected heart issues and how it has impacted our family...all for the better. I have actually thanked God over and over for the whole situation, which was not easy to do. It was difficult to think about all of the "What If's" if the situation had not turned out like it did. The amount of positive that God has blessed our family with during such a potentially dark time still baffles my mind, and humbles me more and more everyday.

This blog is an update to that story over the past few months, and how God continues to work diligently in our lives.

The changes in my parents are truly by the grace of God. I mentioned before that things are just Different...Different Better. I still struggle to articulate exactly how things are different, but they just are. Different doesn't mean easier, different just means a new normal...a better normal. Dad and Mom are living the healthiest lifestyle of their lives, which is amazing. They had both quit smoking cold turkey and haven't looked back since. The eat heart healthy meals and....get this....exercise together. There is a gym within walking distance of their house and they workout together a few days a week. Keep in mind that my family, for many, many years, has lead a pretty sedentary life.

Bobby and I live about 45 minutes away from my parents, so it is not super easy to see them as much as we would like. It just so happens that I have a design project about 2 miles from their house, so I have taken full advantage of it. Anytime that I know that I am coming up their way, we schedule time to get together, just the 3 of us, and go to lunch...or just talk. When I saw them last week, we just sat and talked for a few hours. No agenda, just talking about nothing and everything, all at the same time. I made the comment to them that our relationship feels different now. Of course, I love my family and I have always loved spending time with them, but this is different. Our conversations go so much deeper and more heartfelt. It felt like talking to my best friends, seeing a therapist and being in church....all at the same time. I don't want to spend time with them because they are my parents, I want to spend time with them because I love them as people, as friends...not just as my parents. It is as if, through this darkness, God removed a blindness from our eyes and has allowed us to see each other for the people we really are, not just a parent/child relationship. It is one of my biggest takeaways from this whole journey over the past 7 months. Dad and Mom are my friends now....and they just happen to be my parents too. It sounds silly, but that is exactly how I feel....and it is kinda awesome. This has allowed us to remove the barriers that we had between us for so many years. Barriers that I didn't even realize were there, but they were. We have always been so close, but looking back, we were only close to a certain extent. I feel as though we have broken through the barrier of idle smalltalk and entered a new world of real conversations....deeper conversations....and a deeper love and appreciation for each other, and the gift of life that God has given us.

As if that weren't enough, our story gets better. As I have gotten older and really started to grow and mature in my faith, there has been a habitual prayer that I have prayed that has seemingly fallen on deaf ears. It hasn't stopped me from praying it, but I have felt that God has just been silent. Well, is there is one thing that I have learned, it is not to underestimate God and His abilities. Just because my prayers haven't been answered doesn't mean that He isn't listening, it just means that He is working on HIS plan, not mine. The power struggle is real and I find myself constantly trying to fight Him for control....yeah, well guess how that turns out? It always makes me think of the saying "Thy will, not my will". For as much as I think that I always know what is best, I don't. Far from it.

For years and years I have prayed that my family would go to church. We would go to the occasional family Easter service or random Sunday service, but that was about it. Bobby and I have been going to church together for about the last 6 or 7 years and, based on how our lives have been enriched and our faiths have grown, I have always wanted that for my family. Even when we have gone, we went and that was about it. We didn't get into thought provoking discussions about the message or how it applied to our lives. What is possibly the most amazing takeaway (let's call this #perspective) from Dad's heart situation, aside from the fact that he is still with us, is that Dad and Mom have started attending church. Our church has multiple locations within the state, and partner churches all over the world. There happens to be a location just a few miles from my parent's house. The great part is that the network of churches share the same message series, so if we are attending intown location, Dad and Mom are hearing the same messages in the northern location. When I talked to Mom and few weeks ago and she told me that she and Dad had gone, I was almost speechless. To be honest, I got off the phone and I just cried. Tears welled up in my eyes....tears of pure joy....and prayers for thanks and humility flooded my mind. This is everything that I had ever asked and prayed for, year after year. God was listening the whole time. Imagine that.

It is one thing to be happy that they walked through the doors, but it is another to be happy seeing God work in their lives. This is just one more way God has chosen to bring us closer together....through shared faith. What He has done is opened a door for more conversation....deeper conversation. Wait....this seems familiar.... The days of superficial conversation with my parents have fallen to the waste side and have been replaced with deep, meaningful conversation with my friends. Hmmm. It is as if God had this plan all along. We were all so stubborn and hard headed that it took a major life occurrence for us to realize what has been in front of us all along....our family, the family that He has blessed us with....with Him as the center of it.

You see, things are just Different...Different Better.

I'm going to wrap it up here today. I had originally planned on this blog being about my family, as well as a story about what has been going on with Bobby's family over the last few weeks. As I began writing, I realized that both need their own blog, because both stories are equally important. I will pick it up next time with my story of Thanksgiving and how it can be complete torture when you suffer from ED or BDD, and how it intertwined with Bobby's family, forced perspective and God's unwavering grace.


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