Living The Dash

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Hubby and I just finished watching a movie, unfortunately, the main guy died in the end.  I said to Felix if I would have known it would have been about dying I would not have watched it.  He said, “Honey it’s not about dying it’s about how you live your dash.”   On June 15th my 57 year old brother died and on July 10th my 72 year old aunt died.  Our family has had a great deal of sorrow in this last month that I can’t really remember smiling this past month at all.  Ok so now the dash.   Since hubby said it’s not about dying it’s about living.  I got to thinking about how much time is actually wasted each day on pointless meaningless activities or just sitting in a recliner and watching television.    The dash – – –

What would you do if you were told you had only one day left to live; what would you do?  Who would you see?  I know I would not be sitting here in this recliner watching television.  I know I would not be wasting my days being lazy, worrying, stressing or being mad at someone.  So with the last month in mind and the pain and sorrow of losing my brother and my aunt I can’t help but think of family.  Under less than desirable conditions I’ve seen my cousins and had some good times just remembering the “old days”.   We have such a large family.  My granny had 13 kids and we have so many cousins some old and some young; some first cousins some fourth cousins but it never mattered to us … we are family.  We were close family.  So why do we allow the mundane of life keep us from spending time with family?  Why do we allow ourselves to become so busy that we don’t try to get together with those that we love?

Most of our days we live like we don’t have an end day that is going to come at any given time.  When God created us He gave us a purpose; are we living out that purpose?  What excites you deep inside?  What stirs your heart?  Lots of questions but do you have any of the answers.   I know I need to do a real spirit check.  I know in my heart that I am to live my life as full as possible.  I know in my heart that I am supposed to love on the broken and wounded women that God allows to cross my path.  I do hesitate.  I don’t think I live up to my full potential.  I sometimes worry too much.  I allow my physical body to wear down.  I sometimes want to crawl in bed by 9pm.  I allow my weariness to keep me from spending time with family.  I allow my broken past to keep me from making lasting friendships.

At any given time on any given day any single one of us could be living our last day, our last hours; what do you want to do with that time.  I feel it is time to call the ones that we love and make sure they know that they are important in our lives.  I feel it is time to start getting together with family members that we have allowed time and distance to separate us.   It’s time to learn a craft or play a sport we’ve always wanted to do.  It’s time to pursue a career path we may feel we’ve missed out on.  It’s time to forgive … let it go, get over it.  Has someone hurt your feelings or treated you badly; well, it’s time to move.

Out of the big family of 13 kids there are now 2 sisters left.  On Monday life support was withdrawn from my Aunt Lavene and she remained unresponsive until she passed at 5am on Thursday.  So in the evenings it would be hard to leave her even though she wasn’t awake.  She was so special to all of us.  Every niece and nephew was her “favorite” and she told us each time she saw or spoke to us.  She loved openly and didn’t once judge us.  She was the aunt we could tell all of our secrets to and she would never tell.  She was the aunt that would bluntly tell us what she thought regardless of the outcome.  She was definitely a feisty fireball and I am proud to be her “favorite” niece.

This Sunday my family will be saying goodbye to our “favorite”.   Even though the movie brought a lot of tears it has inspired me to live.  Not just live but leave a dash so big that a tombstone cannot contain it.  I want to make sure each and every member of my family knows how much I love them and want to be with them.  I want to love on the broken and wounded and show them the healing that comes from God.  I want to live with the freedom that Jesus died for me to have.  I don’t want to waste one second of the dash.  I’ve wasted too much.  It’s time to just do me, loud and proud of the woman God created me to be.  Sharing my life to bring hope and healing of Jesus to the broken and wounded.

Friends, it’s not about money, it’s not about fame … it’s about living to the full potential of your calling.  It’s about kissing your babies, loving on your spouse like it’s your first date, calling your friends, spending time with your family.  It’s about doing you and living that dash to the fullest.

Praise Him!!

My Identity in Christ

My identity is in Christ

On June 15, 2014 my “bruncle” brother/uncle passed away.  He had suffered with illness for many years until this week his liver finally gave out and he left this earth.  This has caused great sorrow for our family, especially my precious mom and dad.  Please continue to lift them up in your prayers.

By now, I know you are thinking bruncle; why brother uncle.  This is a story I do not tell.  As a matter of fact, I have always hidden my true identity . . . until now.  I was born in September 1970 to 15 year old Juliette Alice and 17 year old Bobby Joe Roberts.  By the age of 9 months both of my biological parents gave me to my paternal grandparents, Ron and Geneva Stewart and I was raised as their daughter.

I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly blessed I was to have been gifted two of the most amazing people that God ever created to be my mom and dad.  I am so blessed!  I didn’t always see it that way.  As I grew up I felt abandoned by both my biological parents – given away.  My biological mother was totally out of the picture and my biological dad had another family and had 2 other children.  I always felt lost; without belonging.  I didn’t fit in with my biological mom’s life because she just took off.  I didn’t fit in with my biological dads life because he had another wife and two other children and I didn’t feel I fit with my grandparents family because they had 4 other children all grown and out of the house but one, Tommy who lived with us until about 1979 ish.

So here I was growing up feeling I did not have any belonging, any identity.  My biological father may not have meant harm but he once heard me call my grandparents mom and dad and proceeded to tell me that he never wanted to hear me say that again.  They are my grandparents.  Meaning harm and causing harm is two very different things.  My life was negatively shaped by my circumstances that were totally beyond my choosing or control.   I felt alone.  I lived most of my life with a negative self view.  I was wounded.  Right or wrong – I was wounded.

I ran away from home when I was 16 years old with my high school sweetheart.  I was in love – or at least what I thought was love.  When this boy came along I felt like I belonged to someone.  I felt a since of place and identity.  Eventually we divorced and I was off and running again.  Looking for love in all the wrong places.  I was looking for someone to fill that void in my life.  Someone to love me and fulfill my longing to belong.  Friends, I now know people, jobs, money cannot do that – only God can.

Ok, so four years ago standing in a little café that God had given us stewardship over we had had a music service and my wonderful husband Felix was sharing about the ministry and he asked me if I had anything to say.  At that moment, with a full house I heard God tell me … it’s time, your freedom is now.  I took the microphone and shared my testimony and my hurt and proclaimed my identity in Christ.  As I was speaking I could feel the chains that had been wrapped around me so tight begin to break and fall to the floor.  With each statement a link would break and I could breathe a little easier.

Since that night I have never looked back . . . until this morning.  This morning, I was sitting on the patio at Innkeeper drinking my coffee, talking with the Lord and I decided to look at facebook.  I seen my brother, Tommy’s obituary.  I love the picture he looks so handsome as all my parents kids do. (smile)  I began to read and when it came to the family left behind I seen my mom and dad, his wife and kids, and his two brothers then I seen two sisters.  I can’t begin to tell you how I felt I got a big smile on my face I felt a sense of pride when I read “sister Carol Mckee” and I just knew I would see “and Kim Russo of Cincinnati, Ohio”.  That is not what I read, I read another name.  Tommy’s wife’s sisters name.  I immediately felt crushed.  I immediately felt that negative self image that wounding from childhood.  I began to cry – not over his death but selfishly for myself.  I sat there a few minutes kind of shocked by my feelings when I heard my God say to me.  You are my precious child, your worth is in my son’s shed blood for you.  Your have been adopted into my family.  Galatians 3:26, “ For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”  I am not defined by this my true identity is in God and in that I have total freedom.  I am exactly who God created me to be.  I lived the life that I was meant to live and on September 24, 1970 God placed me into the loving arms of two amazing people that I call mom and dad, Geneva and Ron Stewart.

As I sit and share this with you, my hope is that by me sharing a bit of my story it will touch someone in such a way that perhaps if you are dealing with some kind of bondage or “identity” crisis that you will stop and read Galatians chapter 2.  My prayer is that you remove all negative thoughts from early on in your life or even perhaps circumstances that may have happened just last week and focus on your true identity which is in Christ alone.  Allow your identity to be in Him and His in you and your faith will grow, and your wounds will start to heal.  For me, I now realize that I have an ugly scar from that wound.  I allowed it to remain open for far to long.  But now, today as I look upon that scar I see that God is pleased with me, His creation.  I am not defined by my childhood, my feelings or my emotions.  The opinions of others and how they label or not label me does not define me.  I am exactly who God created me to be and who God says that I am.

2 Corinitians 1:22, “who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.  Ephesians 1:5, “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will.  Romans 15:7, “Therefore receive one another just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.  Colossians 2:9-10, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”  Amen!!!

Today, I am allowing that last chain to break and fall to the floor.  I am claiming that I am a child of the most High King!!  Jesus Christ willingly laid His life down so that I can be with God and live with them in eternity as God’s child and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.  I am worthy because Jesus’ blood has made me worthy.

I will wipe the last tears from my eyes that the false beliefs caused me to live in bondage.   My name is Kim Roberts (Stewart) Russo.  My biological parents are Bobby and Juliette.  My mom and dad are Ron and Geneva Stewart.  I have 3 half siblings, Lisa, and B.J. – children of Bobby, and Karen a child of Juliette’s.  I also have 2 bruncles – my brothers Jonas and Tommy Lee.  I have 1 sister / aunt Carol.  And today I am walking in my identity of who I am in Jesus Christ!  A child of the most High King!  Praise God!!

 

Rest in Peace my sweet brother:

Tommy RTommy Leeoberts, of Liberty, KY passed away Sunday, June 15, 2014 at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, KY. He was 57.

Born March 3, 1957 in Cincinnati, Ohio, he is the son of Geneva Smith Stewart and Ron Stewart of West Chester, Ohio.

In addition to his parents, survivors include his wife, Della Wilson Roberts, whom he married September 1, 1979; a son, Dakota Roberts of Liberty; two daughters, Angela Seig of Warsaw, KY and Beth Allen of Cincinnati, Ohio; eight grandchildren; two brothers, Jonas Roberts of Mason, Ohio and Bobby Roberts of Cincinnati, Ohio; and two sisters, Carol McKee of Cincinnati, Ohio and Debbie Wilson of Jacksonville, Florida.