Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mama and The King | A Story of Release

The cursor blinked for what seemed like days as I built up the courage to begin.
I couldn't believe that I was writing about this. This was indeed my story. My life. My journey.
It started that day. That day changed my life. Forever.
This isn't a story of loss even though there was loss.
This isn't a story of tears although many were shed.
This isn't a story of bravery, courage or strength while much of that was mustered.
This is a story of redemption and release.
For those of you who don't know the story, I will begin with December 21, 2013.
This was the day that my family and I packed the last piece of luggage and headed to the South for Christmas vacation. It had been years since all of us were together with all of our kids and it was time that I looked forward to. I'd planned meetups in Atlanta and Alabama with some blogger friends as well as some time with lifetime friends from high school.
The kids, as well as Larry and I, looked forward to days filled with laughter and memories of years ago with cousins, aunts and uncles and after Larry's recent workload, it would be a much needed break from the monotony of office work and deadlines for him.
I looked forward to Southern food made just like my "Memaw" used to make and laughs about who would fall asleep on the sofa first after partaking of just a little too much of the pies and pound cakes that seemed to last for days.
Those thoughts achieved DREAM STATUS ONLY on December 22.
It was a pretty normal Sunday morning although we were exhausted from the previous day's traveling, we were pumped to finally be with family and the kids were overjoyed to finally get to spend time at my aunt's house. We looked forward to spending time with their cousins in Alabama in a couple of days too.
Grayson, our youngest, was extremely tired though and I felt horrible waking him, so I encouraged the hubs to just take the older kids to church and I would stay behind with the baby so that he could get rest. I just didn't want to "pay" for his lack of sleep later on in the day and to be honest, I was completely exhausted myself.
I'd just finished up breakfast for Grayson when I heard the front door open all the kids bustle their way back into the house.
It was Larry. With a confused look on my face I asked why he was back so quickly. He responded by telling me that the drive to the church was much longer than expected. As the kids retreated to what they had deemed as their downstairs play area, he walked toward me and said, "Honey, I have some really bad news..." .
At that moment, I had no idea what it could be but the thoughts reeked havoc in my brain.  Had something happened to one of the kids? My aunts? A cousin? His family?
He continued, "...your mom died this morning."
"Dear God, did I just hear him correctly? He didn't REALLY just say MY mama."
But, he did.
The confusion, the pain, the sorrow...they all rushed in.
It felt like all the blood left my body and I couldn't even hold myself up anymore. I collapsed. Right there on the floor, Right there in his arms.
He held me as I sobbed for what seemed like eternity. "Someone please make it stop", I thought.
After finally feeling all the blood rush back into my legs I managed to pick myself up and walk up  the stairs and to the bedroom. And there I laid, balled up for a couple of hours.
The tears fell. The memories flashed. The enemy worked in my thoughts.
There were moments of quiet, when I thought that things were back to normal.
Moments when my brain literally checked out of reality and into fantasy.
"She's not dead. She is alive.", I thought. "Wait, what...?"
I heard a confirming and comforting voice, "She IS alive...with Me."
I knew it was the voice of the Lord but honestly that truth, in that moment, didn't lessen the blow. His truth didn't make the reality of my pain hurt any less. This was real. This was happening. Just a few days before Christmas.
Well, this isn't really her story but it is a recap of what landed my mother in full-time, round-the-clock care for over ten years.
My mother suffered a massive stroke in the late summer of 2000. After years of poor diet, broken hearts and dreams and a not so healthy happened.
I was devastated but encouraged. I knew my mother. Mostly because I was just like her.
Strong, resilient...a fighter.
Unfortunately, after years of fighting for more than I would ever know or understand. She relented.
She didn't want treatment, help or therapy. Well into the first year after the stroke, mama had officially, for all intents and purposes, given up. Or, so it seemed.
To her defense, she had dealt with some mental issues as well over the years and the stroke only compounded those issues. So, while part of her brain probably wanted to get better, the other part won over and so fast forward almost 13 years down the road, over a dozen mini seizures and strokes, feeding tubes, on and off life support, more rehab, words of encouragement, gifts and pictures to brighten the day, visits to the home and 4 grandkids later, her fight was now over.
It took a few years and lots of trauma before I saw a heart change in my mother. To some, it may not have been evident but it was there. She was different. I mean, of course her body had changed, her hair was a little more gray. Her skin a little more wrinkled but there was a bigger change. She was sweeter, softer, more gentle and pleasant. It was God.
When my mother first suffered the consequences of the massive stroke, I remember not being swayed one bit in my faith for her healing. Years passed and even after no signs of her recuperating, I still believed. I believed that God was still God. I believed that He had an amazing plan for her life. I believe that for some reason, unbeknownst to any of us, she was still here. He wanted it that way.
As I am now recalling, I believe that she is who God used for many things in my life but her stroke ignited my faith in Him. I believed as I never had before in God's ability to heal and bring change in not only my mom's life but in others' lives. God had used HER to grow my faith in Him.
His love is amazing.
As my mama was released back into the hands of her Creator, that day I remembered feeling a release in my own life as well.
Not at that very moment. It came a few hours after the news of my mama's death was delivered.
As I laid in bed and attempted to settle with the reality that she was gone and would not return, I thought about all the good things my mother had given to me.
I thought about physical attributes, good memories and some...well...not so good.
I thought about my character, integrity and what she'd taught me even when she wasn't trying to teach me. 
I thought about all the things she gave and all the things she didn't have to give.
And then, it came.
"Just as your mother has been released so have YOU. I {God} have called you, created you and released you into a great destiny and purpose for your life. What will you do with your release?"
I saw myself encouraging other women and helping them share their stories and "moments of release".
Needless to say, that moment, that word...changed my perspective about my mother's death. Did it still hurt? Of course. But that moment defined my thoughts about how God used my mama in my life and how HE wants to use mine. In that moment, I stepped out of myself and saw a much bigger picture in it all. May sound kinda strange but just as her LIFE gave me LIFE, so she has done in death as well. And while I will never be able to thank her or God enough for this life of mine I can honor her and Him with it.
Every one of you, all of us...we all have stories. You've just read a snippet of mine.
In 2014, I look forward to seeing how this wonderful story of mine continues to unfold.
Each year I have a life scripture that I hold on to. A few years back, mine was Jeremiah 29:11.
"For I know that plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you {great} hope and a future."
While I am still mourning the loss of my mama. I know that God has great things in store for me and for my family. My release has only just begun...


  1. Bursting with excitement for your life story to continue to unfold. As you walk through this loss, new life, focused vision and anointing are yours. Go get it, my friend!

  2. Thank you for sharing -what a beautiful encouragment in this time of loss and pain. Much love

  3. Dear Kennesha... thank you for sharing your story and for your encouragement. I am so glad to have seen you. Thank you for taking the time... it's all about the time, the heart. Love you girl!

  4. i'm so sorry for your loss but thank you for sharing this beautiful post of inspiration I pray for you and your family at this hard time

  5. I love you dearly, girlfriend. My heart hurts for you as I am all too familiar with your pain. The words you have shared reveal a very strong, faith not stirred, Jesus loving, God fearing woman. Something that has been inside you for, like.....FOREVER.....and your heart for Him just keeps getting bigger and stronger. I admire you for seeing your mother loss experience the way you do. It took me YEARS to "get it". I love you. Always. Forever. P.S. I live in Alabama TOO ~ next time.....I'm gonna be like "Dog The Bounty Hunter" on your trail <3

  6. Dear Kennesha,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am familiar with your pain, as well; yet I also know that my mother's words have continued to speak to me, to impact my choices, and my path in life. Take solace, and you will be guided, as well.

    Jane H.

  7. oh kennesha, i am so sorry for your loss. thinking of you and your family, and i really appreciate your words and insight and thoughts.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. God is amazing. Prayers for you and your family.

  9. Kennesha, your heart is so beautiful, so big, and so full of god-love. What a blessing you are to us all, what a beautiful way to love your mom.

    ~Kristina Sklar

  10. Hi Kennesha, So sorry for the loss of your mama. I love your inspiring words and I am sure your mom was so very proud of you for the mama you have become.

  11. I'm so so sorry for your loss of your beloved mama.
    And I love how you put this all into words.

  12. So good to see you the other your heart and passions girl!

  13. Thanks for the post, Kennesha. Very sad to hear about your mother. My deepest condolences.

  14. I love love-and the love tshirt too!


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