I am so excited to have Dawn as our first guest writer. This midlife domestic goddess is so excited for you to her amazing words.
I guess introductions are in order; I am Dawn Marie Turner and I have been a pastor of 13 years. For the last four years I have been at two churches in Missouri. Before that I worked with youth and had been employed at the family’s funeral home. Eastern Washington is where I have called home for 44 of my 48 years. We have a total of seven children that we have raised; ages are 39, 28, 26, 22, 20, 12 and 8 that have blessed our lives. It is a “his, mine, foster and adopted-kind of family”. We now only have two living in our home. I am married to a great man of God who has stood with by my side in so many ways and this December we will celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary.
We all have many identities we go by. Many titles we answer too. The titles I carry are wife, mother, daughter, sister, pastor, child of God and the latest title stroke survivor. Some I enjoy, some I am called to be, and others carry a weight.
My latest title has been stroke survivor. I had two strokes to my brain stem. One on June 28 and the other July 5. I am blessed to have survived and to be whom and what I am. The strokes have made me a different person than I was in June. There are struggles to walk and use my left side and arm. God does have a sense of humor as he has left me with the gift of speech. I think my husband might have enjoyed a few more months of quiet.
It has been a struggle, as I have had to learn how to redress myself. I have a new sport I play called bra aerobics. I don’t often win at it and get stuck in some precarious positions. Recently I had to pack away 3 bins of gorgeous high heels. Anyone who knows me knows how painful that was, for a while part of my identity was wrapped in being the pastor who wore the great shoes and boots. I now am the Converse queen.
I have had to learn different ways to parent. Sometimes letting the small stuff go and picking my battles. I have had to learn different ways to work and make sure that my 60 hour work weeks became 20 to 25 hour work weeks plus Sunday. I have had to look at which nonprofits I feel called to serve with and cut back on some. There has been a learning process to not be ashamed to ask for prayers for myself. And there is power in prayer. Let that be repeated. There is power in prayer!!
One of the things I have had to learn is that my identity as a wife was not wrapped around cooking, cleaning and laundry. Also, I had to learn I don’t have to be the strong one and it is okay to ask for help. My husband can make a meal, sweep the floor and put the laundry in the washing machine and the dryer. Those are a few other things learned. Not one of us have died of food poisoning or had our clothes turn pink.
I have learned to laugh; when finding myself on the floor or finding the invible cracks that make me stumble, when my body tightens up on one side, when there is involuntary spasms and twitches at Walmart in the frozen food aisle, when stuck in the bathtub and hollering for help, or when trying to cut that apple and it goes all over the place. I have learned to laugh at the situations instead of crying. Don’t get me wrong there are times when it is necessary to have good, cleansing, cry fest. The times of laughter are greater however.
I am learning a lot. Learning or re-learning to rest in God’s grace and to use all I am and all I have become to His glory. Learning that I am a new creation and as I heal more and more that I am being reformed into His creation. I have learned all things and I do mean ALL things can be used for His glory. I will hold onto that truth and onto his word always.
But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. 1 Peter 5:10