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What's the motto with you?

Updated on March 7, 2012
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Sunshine is a wife, a mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and an author.

I am a Christian, a wife, a mother of four, and my husband's girlfriend. There are so many mottos that I have tried to live by, such as 'hakuna matata', 'cartoons are short, laugh hard', 'do you really want to live forever', 'be a Nike and just do it', and 'TOWANDA!!!'. As much as I loved those, they were fleeting and I changed them as often as I changed my hair color, which if you knew me, you'd know was a lot.

I have been through some pretty hard trials in my life from sexual abuse to losing my sister, nearly losing my life in childbirth, almost losing a child, and losing everything and having to live in a friend's basement. Through it all, I felt like I was always searching for the perfect box I belonged in. The problem was, there were so many boxes and all of them were the wrong fit.

My current husband and I became Christians in 2008 after the death of his grandmother, and not ever having been religious before, I dove into the Bible and got lost. At times, I felt like I needed to start in Sunday school with the kids, because I had no idea what was going on. At that particular time in my life, I was in the middle of hell with a custody battle, an ex husband that I felt was on a mission to destroy ever good thing in my life, and then a terrible car accident on the freeway changed everything.

Suddenly my career was over too. I didn't understand why everything was happening. I was so angry. I took it out on the people I loved, people I didn't like, and people I didn't even know. My anger was controlling me and turning me into a raging bull. Then, something got my attention: Psalms 46:10-Be still and know that I am God. But I was still, couldn't He see? The accident left me immobile. I had no choice but to be still. For 90 days I could not do more than get up and go to the bathroom.

In my new life, I left my nursing career to teach preschool, and although I was filled with anger and resentment for it, I know it was a much better alternative now, but then I didn't see it. Still, I tried to muddle through, but this scripture kept coming back. It would be on a sign, in a sermon, or I'd hear a random person in the store say it to someone. It was like I was surrounded by people and things determined to get me to pay closer attention to the words. Then, something happened. I closed my eyes and became still. I would be still and spend time in prayer. I would be still and focus on healing my body. I would be still and let all of the pain, anger, and anguish wash away. After that, it became my mantra. My motto. I would repeat it every time I felt stress and remember my plan is rarely 'the' plan.

A couple of years later, I was reminded why this is my motto. Someone very close to me attempted to take their own life. There was so much waiting, so much unknown. So many appointments, so much sorrow every night when I had to go home and lay in the darkness. Again, I was forced to be still and let God work. I took my solace in knowing he was present in the situation. I asked him to shoulder the burden, and he did. Together, God and I made it through the waiting period and it strengthened me to the point that I could be strong for my friend.

Then, it happened again, only it was my flesh and blood that I had to let go of as she went off to the hospital for a week. As agonizing as it was the first time with a non-related friend, it was a billion times worse when it was my child. I immediately screamed for God. I closed my eyes and reminded myself to be still as we waited for the news on whether or not she was going to make it. Somehow she hovered just below life threatening all night. I remained still every night that I had to go home without her. I held still and let the people who loved me the most wrap around me and strengthen my soul whereas before I would scream at them that they have no idea what I'm going through and how dare they think they can make me feel better. I reminded myself every hour: Be still and know that I am God.

Now, when I am faced with a tremendous event, being still is the thing I do first. It gives me time to think, to build strength, and to pray for the best way to move forward. It has taken the word 'react' out of my vocabulary, because in the past, reaction was immediate and always wrong. Instead, I act, not on emotion, but on knowing that I have taken the time to act appropriately. It has given me the ability to be there for others. Not to put them back together, not to give them the right answer, but to be a sentinel. To be still and let them lean on me, because I am strong enough to be a pillar when the support has been ripped from beneath them. I teach them to be still and know that he is God.


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