Make It Count

Ever had those “duh” moments when you finally catch on to a lesson that is being taught? You almost laugh at your ignorance that the answer was right in front of you and then you almost cry at the pain you went through searching for an answer.

It’s that moment when you realize that everything and everybody around you seems to be saying the same thing. It’s all leading up to the same conclusion. It’s almost like you were listening to the same song over and over and all of a sudden the words made sense.

Ever since the years of abuse, the divorce and ultimately Dan’s death; I’ve been walking around with the heavy question, “For what purpose?”

Songs I listen to, movies that come on and finally a church service yesterday morning have all been pointing to one truth.

(Lyrics for Live For Today – Natalie Grant)

I’m gonna live for today
I’m gonna follow in your way
I’m gonna let my little light shine
Like there’s no tomorrow
I won’t worry about the past
I know my future is intact
So I’ll choose to live my life one way
I’m gonna live it for today

You told me not to worry
About what lies ahead
So I am gonna focus on today instead
Making every moment count and counting
Every single blessing
I’m gonna set my mind on the
Here and the Now
This is what I want my life to be about

The line that kicks me in the pants every time is “I won’t worry about the past; I know my future is intact”

How on Earth am I supposed to look at my past trials and blunders and believe that my future is intact?

Then I saw a movie clip…

A mother who had a horrible relationship with a real jerk was patronized by her son and the comment was made to her “well you married dad so I can’t trust your judgement.”

Her response was that she’d do it all over again if it meant she got her son out of it.

After days of hearing the same message, I started to get that little heart tickle that I should be getting something out of all this. The zinger came through the lines of another Natalie Grant song “Will Not Be Moved” and the words of a preacher.

Bitterness has plagued my heart
Many times before
My life has been like broken glass
And I have kept the score
Of all my shattered dreams and though it seemed
That I was far too gone
My brokenness helped me to see
It’s grace I’m standing on

The pastor talked about how sometimes our blessings are disguised as trials and rather than falling into darkness we should let our light shine.

I flash back to that moment in the hospital. That moment when I held onto a little insane hope that perhaps the medical staff had been able to save him although common sense told me he was dead. Within the course of about 30 minutes I went from explosive anger where I hit a chair with fists while my parents tried to comfort me to standing in front of the woman in charge of organ donation begging her to let his death mean something. Dan’s family tried to convince me that he would have been against donating his organs, but he had never discussed it with me. When the woman told me of the countless people who could continue life or have a better life…I chose for his life to mean something. He selfishly chose to take his life from his daughters; I chose to give his life that he stole to someone who would make it count.

I’ve spent the better part of a decade hiding the darkness. Never letting anyone know about my heartaches. I was standing at the counter at a store trying hurry through some purchases to move onto something else and the woman behind the counter said something that pricked my heart. She didn’t reveal anything major, but I heard a familiar pain in her voice. Taking a deep breath I revealed a little of my past. We ended up talking for about 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes I discovered that she was in a painful relationship and was losing sense of self. I gave her my phone number and email and we are on a fast track to helping her find some solutions.

Using my brokenness to let my light shine.

I’m not saying that God designed all this pain in my life, but I am believing that those painful moments can be used for good if I allow myself to shine. Like the mother in that movie clip; I look at my daughters and realize that if I hadn’t been through what I had; I wouldn’t have them. I look at the emails that come from women in abusive relationships and realize that had I not lost all hope; I wouldn’t be able to help them find their hope.

Regardless of what happened or what is to happen; I now know its not up to me to find the purpose. The purpose has already been designed. It’s up to me to stay open and flexible.  It’s up to me to chose not to live in my past and let it define me; but rather to live for today and allow every moment to count. I am choosing that moment similar to the organ donation in my own life where I am now looking to God and saying “use what you can of me…I want my life to count.”




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17 replies

  1. I can totally relate to all of this! Pain often brings about a greater purpose than good times ever will! So glad you are using them to help others and heal yourself 🙂

    • Thank you Sarah…Hoping you always ugly cry as you know you are being rebuilt and rewoven into something beautiful! Stay strong girl. Always here for you!

  2. Thanks for this post xx I know that when things get really low for me I seem to work myself through it by helping others, even those who probably don’t deserve it. I use my pain and suffering to educate. Not sure why, but it works for me and I feel better as a result. I used to think I was a glutton for punishment, but now I’ve learnt to trust myself to do what it right, and it seems to work. A little faith in yourself goes a long way. Stay strong lady xx

    • Thank you Bonnie for stopping in. I don’t think I have seen your name here before, but thank you so much for opening up and sharing how you are shining! I appreciate your kind words and your loving spirit.

  3. I have been doing the same with the bad situation handed me. I am using it to help other, too.
    You are in my prayers.

    • Debbie….you have held my hand through these past few months with your support and love. You are also in my prayers and anything I can do to help…say the word!

  4. “Patience: trusting God’s timing.” was on a church marque recently. God has plans for all of us even when we don’t understand them in the present. Thinking of you often.

    • Thank you my shutterbug friend! That timing thing is so hard to wait on sometimes. In the world of Google where we get instant answers…patience is the nails on the chalkboard of our hearts. Thank you for the reminder!

  5. halfway through this post, i had tears in my eyes. by the end, i could barely read. I SO know where you are and what you mean. I’m glad you’ve found this place. (Also – Firework by Katy Perry started playing via Spotify right as I started reading this post… there goes that universe thing again) love you, Alycia. So much. Now I’m off to get Kleenex.

    • Lauren…you exemplify using pain for purpose. Keep up the good work! I know there are countless women who have been healed and are whole because of your work. I’m honored to know you and you are a daily inspiration to me!

  6. 1, 2, 3, 4 Counting Every Moment. You ALWAYS count. You always have, and you always will.
    Counting Wranger…
    counting the hugs 1, 2, 3….

  7. We are born to shine. I believe that with all my heart. I often wish the journey was easier, but then we wouldn’t get the gifts along the way. This piece reached out and touched me as I’m sure it has others. Your gifts, the words you string together and the images you create, are gifts for everyone. And they count more than you will ever know.

    • Thank you Sandi. I credit you with first fanning my flames within myself that I would eventually shine the way I was meant to. Your hours that you spent listening, guiding and comforting will always be that pivotal moment I look back on. I love you, dear friend.

  8. Alycia, I had no idea of the heartache you have endured…but I do remember that wonderful, strong-spirited girl you were when you stepped into my life. I’m 57 now, have buried both of my parents since 2000, and a little over 2 years ago, by best friend and only sibling, CHOSE to allow a massive infection to take her life rather than to continue to endure horrible recurring pain from degenerative discs in her back. The day before she died, we found her only son dead from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose b/c he was self-medicating to deal with the pain of his impending loss. We had funerals on consecutive days.

    I tell you all that so that I can have credibility with you when I say you can come out on the other side of it all with more strength than you ever thought possible. Through wonderful friends and a great counselor (and good meds!) I have allowed myself to grieve AND I have also given myself permission to be happy again. I can truly say that the latter was harder than the former. As you continue to heal, God will continue to place people, events, songs, words from sermons, and whatever else you need to grow strong once again.

    One of the things that I found the hardest was to admit I was weak, sad and needy. Somehow, it seemed something to be ashamed of because I, too, have always been a strong-spirited girl. I saw it as some sort of weakness. But God found it so important that we have a support system that he gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell us because He knew we were gonna need that.

    I’m really enjoying playing word games with you. Tell ya what, I vow to you right now that everytime I send you a new word, I will also be sending a prayer for your healing. By the way, add “I Already Knew” by Dave Williamson to your iTune list. The words are a perfect reminder that God isn’t surprised by anything that happens in our lives. Much love to you and your precious children…and I think it’s your move!

  9. Oh my goodness, I am just sitting here in awe of the things you are doing, the hands that are reaching, the love you are sending back into the universe in spite of the heartache. Xo

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