Welcome to Our Blog
Grab a cup of coffee and dive in. We pray that you find hope and truth in these posts. This blog is written from three perspectives.
His. Hers. Theirs.
His. Hers. Theirs.
Something's wrong? My neck hurts. Whats going on? Nurse, stop! stop! stop! That doesn’t feel right. What are you doing? God, please have her quit. She's sticking a tube down my throat. I feel it in my chest.
I can’t move someone. Please anyone have her Stop! The nurse stops looks at me and says “Hello. We just need to make sure no water gets in your lungs. I know it hurts. We just have to make sure we vacuum any liquid." Later, I’ll learn the reason I can’t talk is because I have a Tracheotomy. There's a hole in my throat with a tube connected it to it that is allowing me to breath.
I lay there, glad it's over. But, are they going to do this everyday? Not cool God. What happened? Why am I here?
I hear voices, the lighting in the room hurts my eyes. I see the woman whom I've just recently learned is actually my Mom. Her arms are crossed. She’s listening to the doctor. I’m trying to listen? I can’t make out all the details, but Mom looks like she’s doing some solid, intense eye contact with the Doctor. They’re moving closer to me. Good…. The Doctor says, "He’s showing signs of brain activity. This is good. His body has suffered a great deal of trauma. However, if he makes it. His life will consist of a team of people helping him for the rest of his life, living in assisted-living facility. He suffered a major traumatic injury to the brain. Your going to need to decide what to do.” Wait. Stop. Hello? Are you saying I’m not going to make it? My God. I'm on life support. I suddenly hear her voice, "My son's strong. He’s going to make it. He’s a Fighter! He’s a believer. You keep him alive. My God will deliver him. I know what my God can do!"
Yep. She named me Adam. She’s one of those Bible people. Look at her she’s hurting, she’s all alone. This is to much for her. She walks over to the corner chair, sits, and begins to pray. She crying and pleading with God. She gets up and she’s pacing back in forth in the room. She’s pointing at me and telling my body to heal. She’s massaging my legs and arms. Wait. Wait. Is she …? … Yes. She’s singing. She’s singing to God?! How can she sing at time like this?!!
God, I can’t do this. You heard the Doctor. I can’t put this sweet lady through this. Please, it's not right. It's not right. God let me die. Please let me Die let me just slipway. This is too much for any person to see or go through. God, I don’t want to be bed-ridden for the rest of my life. I’ll never marry. Never have kids or contribute to society…What life is that? Or worse yet, I'll have people aid me for the rest of my life. No Mom deserves to live and go through what she’s going through.
God help her and give her peace in knowing that its ok; to let go of her boy. I'm ok with it. Take me Lord. Please, I beg you. I know you hear my thoughts and know my heart. Just please. I can’t lay here and see this beautiful woman hurt. Please. Please. Please, God.
My Mom and Dad had me when they were only teenagers. My Mom was 14 yrs old, Dad was 16. This was obviously not socially accepted then (or ever!). My Mom’s parents were not supportive. When my grandma found out about her pregnancy. She took my mom home and shaved her head bald as a punishment. She said, “Lets see if that boy sticks around now?” Long story short, My Mom and Dad ran away together before I was born. They lived in a van and traveled around the Dallas metroplex. Because of their ages, they had extreme difficulties with job placement and home rentals. Needles to say, I was born at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX. After being released from the hospital, my home was a van - and that remained a reality for the first three to four years of my life.
My dad worked at the airport as a union painter. Because the van was also his only mode of transportation, my mom would take care of me at a local, city park while he was at work. For me, this was the only reality I knew of. My version of normal was a Van as a Home, the City Park as my back yard, and my Best Friend (My Mom) playing with me all day long. We had the best of times. I used to enjoy hearing my mom sing to me and play. She was my everything. Her smile and angelic voice would heal this little boy’s hunger pains. I remember my mom giving me bird baths in the city park restrooms, feeding the ducks, and playing all kinds of made up games by Mom. We couldn't fit furniture in the van, so my bed was a bean bag. At night, she would rub my legs and pat my stomach while she sang me to sleep. My home was full of love, acceptance, and the warm embrace of a caring mother. I felt that no matter how bad the situation was, she was Mom. And a Mom loves unconditionally during the highs and lows. I would learn years later what the meaning of this unconditional love would be to my life.
I wake up and see those eyes staring back at me again. I try to speak, but I can’t. What is going on? Ask me something. Say something. I’ll blink, please!!! Adam. Adam. My Name is Adam. Say my name. She’s not saying anything? What are you doing?
She begins touching my arms and legs. But …. Oh my God, why can't I feel it? Why can't I move? Why is my name Adam? Who names their kid Adam? Think, think!Do you remember anyone saying your name? There has to be some memory. Ok, calm down. No tears. Your name is Adam. Your parents gave you a Hebrew name? Am I Hebrew? Wait, God created man in His own image and named him Adam. I wonder if I have my Dad’s name or maybe they’re just Bible people? Dad? Mom? Can you remember their faces? Can you remember any faces? Think. Think. Think!!!! I can’t!
Ok, so for right now, you'll be my Dad, God. You can be my Dad… Breathe.
God, you’re my Dad. I need you to help me here. I don't know what’s going on or why I’m here. I need you to tell me, please. Please. Can you just give me some hope here?
I take a deep breath and lay there in bed. Then, I hear people talking. It’s that lady again, but this time, there’s another woman here too. She's sees me and leans forward, “Adam do you know who I am?” I lay silent. She turns the other woman, as the other woman in the room says, “You’re a good Mom. Your son’s showing progress. This is Good.” She smiles and says, “I know. He's a fighter. He's going to make it…..” My God. You’re my Mom. You’re not a nurse. Mom. Mom. Mom. She walks to the corner of the room and begins to pray. She's pacing back and fourth, praying and singing.
Wait. Wait. Damn it, I’m Crying!!! Mom, I know that voice! You’re singing! I remember your singing. Don’t stop. It’s so beautiful. It’s so angelic. It’s sounds just like …. Home.
I close my eyes as she rubs my legs and I drift back to sleep.
Faith, Family and Friendships is a mouthful. For most people, these three F words are intimidating, exhausting, and challenging. They certainly were for me once, not too long ago. They all require work, vulnerability, and commitment - and sometimes, that's just feels like "too much" to give. But I learned the hard way that they were vital to my own survival.
At the tender age of 20, I found myself in the pool of unexpectedly single mothers. As a result of social and peer pressure, I too fell for the "I can do it all by myself" mentality. I thought that's how all single mothers managed their lives - by themselves. I didn't realize that the old adage "It Takes a Village" was so true and should have been welcomed. Without a network of fellow mothers to help me navigate these waters, I found myself very isolated. Supported by my amazing parents who offered free child care while I finished my baccalaureate program and held a full-time job in the banking industry.
Now, I should mention that I had a wonderful group of single women who were kind, good hearted souls and whom would have been my network of support - had I asked them. But I never did. That was my own mistake.
I Trust God, But ...
Fast forward to years of burning myself out, thinking I could do it all by my own strength and sheer will. Mind you, I've always had a strong faith. But it was more cerebral and an overlay on top of my life - not practical, tangible, relational. I knew God had a plan for me and I trusted that plan, but I was doing my best to work the plan myself. Pausing, so that you can <insert your laugh here>. I had no idea of what living a fearless life without worrying about every day would look like. I felt that I had to worry about it all in order to keep it (life) from unraveling. But I didn't realize, I wasn't the one holding all the yarn in her hands - it was Him, my God.
Family is a priority?
Growing up in a blue-collar home, I never saw the practical prioritization of family. Rather, I grew up thinking that work was the most important element of your life and that work ethic was a man/woman's worth. It's not that my parents didn't make us children feel loved and appreciated. I erroneously interpreted their pride in strong work ethics as their priority. They held those low-wage, blue-collar jobs because of the priority of family. They spent time with us every evening at the kitchen table. But I could never visualize them saying, "I can't go to work on Saturday, my family comes first."
Their workweek was a Monday thru Friday structure with minimal overflow into family time during evenings or weekends. This is so contrasted by the advancement in remote working capabilities that pressure today's employee to check work email during evenings, weekends, holidays, and family outings. There's a lack of separation due to our accessibility.
This transition into a fluid and accessible employee really sidelined me. I never saw it coming until I found myself working past midnight on regular basis while working for a Bay Area company at the age of 30. By this time, I had devoted the majority of my life to moving up the career ladder with one goal in mind, "never needing the help of anyone (especially my child's absent biological father), ever."
Feel the Burn?
I started seeing how often I became ill during that time. I was always battling something. I quickly developed a severe dairy allergy that would invoke the angriest of sinus and ear infections if left unattended. Within 48 hours, I would be overwhelmed by the sinus pain. This began a course of antibiotics and steroid prescriptions. These bouts of sickness continued for years. Until one day, my boss told me that the only way we could make my role successful was if I would move to the bay area to manage priorities and team onsite. We both knew I would never uproot my family, so that was the beginning of the end of a relationship. I took time to prep my exit plan and train my replacement. I was just as devoted to the organization on my last day as I had been on day one.
The first day of my unemployment during those years, I was overcome by the realization of, "what happened to those years of missed school events, date nights with my wonderful husband, time with God, and time to cultivate friendships?" Most of my friendships were distant by then, limited to writing annual birthday posts on Facebook. My time with God was continual daily prayer chats (e.g. Lord please help me with this today, it's a challenge), but never real conversations where I sat to actually listen to him (and be still). My time with my family had always been the left over from work. Often rushed and distracted. While I tell myself I put them first, I didn't give them the best of me - I realize that now and I regret it.
I vowed to change - and I did. A little, not transformed completely. I worked 60 hour weeks instead of 80. And I dove more deeply into my family, leaving little room for God and no room for friends.
The Morning that Changed it All
One morning in 2016, I woke up to a devastating family crisis which shook my entire world. It changed EVERYTHING about the way I saw life, faith, family, and friendship. I'll explain it in detail in another post, but what transpired was a health crisis that affected my husband. While I didn't make perfect decisions - there was a moment in the hospital room while I spoke to my husband (who no longer knew me) where I made a conscious decision - "I need help, I can't do this alone."
I reached out to an amazing support group called "Blended Families" at our local church. We'd been part of the group for a few years, but never truly became real family members until this season in our lives. I was very honest about where we were as a family and our spiritual and physical needs. It was horribly painful for me, but I found peace in being honest and transparent about our challenges. It was SO unlike me, to say that I could not do it all myself. It was freeing and scary at the same time.
What transpired was a series of coordinated, thoughtful and sacrificial actions taken by my Blended Family peeps as I call them. They were heroes and heroines in my eyes. They became the living, breathing, visible manifestation of God's love for me. It was so real, so touching, so honest - I couldn't escape it (Him). One of the ugliest seasons of my life, became hundreds of moments in time where God literally reached out and hugged me, fed me, counseled me, supported me from falling, made me laugh, encouraged me. It was AWESOME!
Okay, I give, I give!
And so, I learned my lesson. The more I try to hang on to my little world by myself - protecting my family from the elements, the worse I feel. The more resistance I will feel from life and the challenges that come with it. The more I surrender to the possibilities of my faith in God, my devotion to my family, and my vulnerability in friendships - the richer my life experiences become.
I truly wish I had learned this lesson in my twenties. That I had reached out to a community of mothers, leveraged my network and supported peers in doing so as well. That I had created a huge division between family and state (work) to protect those special moments and give my family the best of me much earlier on. That I had stopped to spend time with God more in my youth and truly listened. He would have helped me avoid so my of the mistakes that my free will inevitable allowed. And when I have these moments of regret, like I do this morning as I write this blog - I give these guilts and sadness to God. I know that there was a reason for the path I took. And if it meant that a single life was changed because of it, then it was worth the sorrow. I pray that he gives me the discernment to understand when I fall into old habits and helps me focus on my priorities. God, Family and Friends - yes, in that order.
I pray that he'll help you avoid my mistakes and that through reading this note, you'll see practical reasons why I truly cling to these three truths.
Raquel Gonzales (Kels) - Raquel is a 36-year-old wife of an amazing man, and mother of three beautiful blended teenagers (Elijah 18, Lulu 16, Abby 14). She has thrived in a creative career for over 11 years. Her passion is to empower others by the lessons learned in her own life and challenges through transparency and honest conversations. As a creative soul, she loves to write, design, create and publish. She hopes to please God in doing his work by leveraging the talents he gave her. This blog is but one of those digital artisan crafts. She hope it pleases Him.