Jump

Today I find myself overwhelmed with feelings of thanksgiving.

Why?

Well that is the beautiful story I want to share with you now…

4 years, 6 weeks, and 4 days ago God called my family to make a decision

We had lived in the city where we were for the past 16 years

That is where I went to College, met my husband, and had our children. 

We thought of ourselves as ‘home base’ for alot of our friends we met in College, who now had moved away either across the country or over seas.

We were comfortable

But a skype conversation with family sparked a question

They asked us ‘would you ever consider moving here where we are?’

I was stunned, the thought scared me and intrigued me all at once.  

My husband and I didn’t really respond.  After the call ended we looked at each other, our wheels turning inside our heads. 

We talked about the possibility for a few moments… and then we both agreed to leave it in God’s hands, He would have to make a way for it to happen, there were so many variables, it would be up to HIM and HIM alone, if HE wanted us to go HE would make it known, and that is what my husband and I prayed

*truthfully I never thought much would come of that prayer, if I am to be really honest…

We went about our lives…

24 hrs later a call came in from our family…

“Hey Guys you know how we asked if you would ever consider moving here?, Well I am a superintendent at my Father in Law’s building and we have an apartment for you! If you want it?”

My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief….

Okay, God what are you doing? 

After further discussion we told her we would have to pray and think about it. 

*and still at this point I was intrigued but thinking honestly it was not going to happen, the rent was too high and there was no way…

12 hrs later another call…

“Hey Guys I decided to have a talk about the rent with my Father in Law and he decided to lower it because after all you guys are family.  So what do you think?”

I walked out of the room looked upward and said:

“Really God? Are you serious right now?”

We still had to think and pray about it we told her. 

That first night my husband and I did not sleep at all.  We held each other, talking, crying, prayingGod was making it quite obvious it was time for us to move on from where we were, but it was our comfort zone

How could we? 

It was so scary to think about, but as my husband and I discussed it more and more we became a bit excited about the possibilities, not only for us but especially for our boys.

Each hour that past over that weekend my husband and I would look to God and say “you have to make a way about this or about that…” and each and every time God answered and found a way for each and every thing we had worries about.

God was asking us to jump into the unknown, to trust Him completely, and we were so terrified.  We had so many ‘what ifs’ that we were concerned about.

He just kept saying to us:

‘Just jump, I’ll be right here to catch you…’

He had not abandoned us before, why would He now? 

So by the end of the weekend we had an answer. 

We called our family and told them ‘yes’.

We had 6 weeks to pack…each time I would get scared I just kept reminding myself that God had called us to do this, He had made a way, and He had a plan for our family. 

Moving Day came, and there God was at the bottom of a ‘canyon’, arms stretched out to me, ‘Just jump, I’ll catch you…’

As we drove away and got on to the highway that would carry us hours away from everything we had known for so long, it was like I had taken a deep breath, and ‘jumped’ off that ‘canyon’ soaring downward to God, fully submitting to His will for my family.

4 years, 6 weeks, and 4 days later…

God is SO Good!

Right from the moment we got there He had doors open for us

When we walked into the Church we had chose, it was like we had finally come home

Instant connections with people…

Where others might say ‘magical’ moments,  I say firmly the friendships we started to develop were God ordained appointments.  We were finally being ‘reunited with family, with  Christian brothers and sisters!  It was so refreshing.

I realized that we were just existing before, we had become stagnant, and now as a family we were finally starting to thrive

God showed me that when He called us to make that decision He was giving us ‘growing pains’, not physically, but spiritually growing usDeepening our faith, stretching us beyond our ‘comfort zone’.  As believers He is never ‘done working on us’.  He is always remolding us, remaking us, and always teaching us.

In the 18 years of having a relationship with the Father, these past 4 have been the most fruitful, not only for me but for my family as well.  

All the new friendships, the God ordained appointments, were all in His plan to help shape us as well.  Each new person an instrument in His hands working in our lives.  And many of them making an impact on our lives and thus leaving their mark across our hearts forever. 

Even after 4 years, each new day brings a new blessing, a new experience, and new growth. 

God is Good!

*ask yourself something…is God asking you to ‘jump’?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mirror

A week ago I had quite a bad fall here in my home.  I walked away with a few fractured ribs.  This happened as a result of something ongoing in my life that I try to ignore daily.

I was diagnosed with OCD many years ago.

For some of you who don’t know quite what that is:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings.

Some of you might wonder how this could contribute to my fractured ribs?

How my OCD affects me:

-I have a particular way of doing things, and I get caught up in having things just so, and can not get around that thought pattern, it is not like I don’t want to do things a different way but I have this urge inside that makes me feel like that is the only way to do it, and if I ignore that urge it nags at me constantly until I do it in ‘such a way’.

-I have to have everything neat, orderly, clean, and if I feel/sense that things aren’t that way in my home I have been known to have panic attacks

-When I have tasks to do I am very orderly about them, lists upon list, and even if something pops up and needs doing or attention I can not leave whatever task I am doing to attend to it.

And then there is what happened to me a week ago…

I was in the shower getting ready for Church, and I had been thinking about something I had to check on that I was doing later in the week.  I could not get that thought out of my head, it was nagging at me.  So I jumped out of the shower, grabbed my towel, and desperate to ‘quiet’ my mind, I swung open the door, and ran around the corner to get to my bedroom…

We have tile floors in our hallway, I was dripping wet, and I went flying and landed dead on the right side of my chest.

Logically I know that I should of just ignored that thought/need and just finished showering, drying off, getting dressed, and then attended to that need.  But that is what I deal with all the time.  I can’t get past a thought sometimes, and even though it could wait, it is almost like my mind/body won’t let me do just that, or at least let me do it peacefully.

In the days that followed I was forced to finally look myself in the ‘mirror’.

My youngest son has recently been diagnosed with OCD, and it made me think:

How am I to help him walk through this if I continue to avoid, deny, ignore my own diagnosis?

I am struggling through this at the moment. 

I have always been one to accept whomever, however they are, and for the most part I accept and embrace myself, and my flaws.  But my OCD has always been something I have struggled to accept.  And up until recently have tried to ignore that it even really exists. 

But I felt God telling me very strongly that ‘enough is enough’ and I need to look in the ‘mirror’ and face it once and for all.  That He wants me to be truly free and facing it will allow me to help my child face it, accept it, and walk through it.

So now I just have to surrender, and ‘Let Go, and Let God’.

Something tells me though that the path that is before me will not be an easy one, but I know who is Sovereign over me, and as a Mom I need to lead by example.

This verse has been very helpful lately…

Philippians 4:6-7…

6. Do not be anxious about anything,but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Reality

It seems that this year has started out with a bit of a reality check for me.  My 12 letter word has decided to rear it’s ugly head and the ‘Storm’ threatens to approach me.

My 12 letter word is Fibromyalgia, and the ‘Storm’ I am speaking of is the obstacles that this illness challenges me with everyday.

Each New Year I refuse to make ‘resolutions’, instead I just proclaim that my life and the year to come to be in God’s hands and according to His will, for He is Sovereign over my life.

I am not saying it is God’s will for me is to suffer with this illness.

However, He uses every situation in our lives to teach us, and to grow our Faith.

In recent days I have found myself more in bed than usual, my illness has reared it’s ugly head and I have found myself with ‘my face in the mud’ a lot lately.

When those days happen I really only have 2 choices on how to react at that point.

The first choice would be to allow the physical pain to get to me immediately, allowing it to ‘rattle’ me.  Questioning God would quickly follow, with many tears involved.  Fear would also creep in, followed by depression, and feeling sorry for myself.

The second choice would be for me to quickly remind myself of what happened with Peter in the Storm with Jesus, as long as he kept his focus on Jesus the Storm around him seem to fade away.

I am not saying I have always picked the second choice, there have been moments for sure that I have fully allowed my ‘flesh’ to scream at me and I pick the first choice.   But over time I learned that it doesn’t do me any good to go that route.  The ‘Storm’ gets too big and swallows me up, and the recovery from that is brutal.   And that only satisfies the enemy when your focus is on anything else but God, remember that is the his number one goal always.

So I often chose the second choice.  As I lay in bed, in pain, flesh screaming at me, I remember Peter, and I maintain my focus on God.  When the pain is almost unbearable, I proclaim out loud ‘God is Good’, no matter what I am going through.

Sometimes I think of Job from the Bible.  He had everything, he loved the Lord, and the enemy went to God and said:

“Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it?  You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country.  But now suppose you take away everything he has—he will curse you to your face!”  Job 1:9-11

Job then lost everything, his children, his livelihood, everything.  His response?

“I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!”  Job 1:21

In spite of everything that had happened, Job did not sin by blaming God.  His Faith maintained it’s strength.  And I look to that example when I am in the midst of my suffering.  Sometimes I also find myself speaking to the enemy and saying:

” you can try to rattle me all you want, but take everything away from me and no matter what I will always have God as my Lord and Savior and He will never leave me nor forsake me!”

By doing all of these things it has helped me to navigate through my illness.

I think my newest ‘obstacle’ is a few of my loving friends do not quite understand my illness, they don’t quite understand the limitations I now have. That I need to have.

It is not their fault, I have always been that friend who says ‘yes’ to everything, always being there for my friends no matter what.  But now I am learning to say ‘no’ more for the sake of my health.  As frustrating as it can be for me at times, I quickly remind myself that ‘God is Good’, and I am no longer who I was before and that is okay. 

I have an opportunity to discover who God wants me to be now.

After all we all are clay and He is the Potter shaping us, and then reshaping us again.

He is always ‘working on us’.

So He is ‘reshaping’ me, so my prayer is that my friends who do not quite understand the journey I am going on at the moment will just see it as that, that I am being reshaped, and during this process I have limitations, and all I ask for is a little Grace during this time.

For everything God has a reason, and a season for it.

God is Good.

 

 

 

 

Testimony – Fingerprints

Writing these last 6 parts has allowed me to reflect once again on my past.

It has been an honor to share my journey with you.

It has reminded me where I come from, and more importantly what God has delivered me out of. 

As I look back I see the pain and suffering I went through, BUT! now I also see God’s fingerprints all over my life.

Allow me to share with you now where I see those ‘fingerprints’.

For many years I felt that I should of never been born, or that something was ‘wrong’ with me, that I was unworthy of love. A lie that the ‘enemy’ put in my head.

In fact…God would put people in my path to be His light here on earth…

My Nan had been covering me in prayer right from the very beginning, she was on her knees in the waiting room, as my mother was giving birth to me 2 and a half months early.  She was praying for my protection, praying that I would live, and most importantly praying I would find and accept God. And she kept praying for me

Her letter to me after finding out I came to know God shows this:

“…… I have been praying for you since I knew you were in your mother’s womb.  This is an amazing answer to prayer.  Now we shall prepare for the harvest!”

God had me covered right from the beginning

When I was 3 years old I was raped by my Uncle, where was God during that time?

I have been asked this since writing that first entry.

God was ever present weeping as one of His children were being harmed, but free will and the alcoholism of my Uncle made way and sin happened.

In fact…Years later I found out that my Uncle had been struggling greatly with alcoholism and mental illness at that time.  I also found out it was my Nan who sent him away, and after years of not speaking to him she forgave him for what he did to me.

Through that example and healing on my part I was then able to forgive him.

I went through abuse, in various forms, and I cried out to God

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

In such darkness, and depression I found solace in my childhood friend.  My times at school with her offered respite, and I see where God’s fingerprints are all over our time spent together.  She not only gave me friendship but God was using her to show me unconditional love since I was lacking that example at home.

I blamed myself for the abuse, I hated myself even at times, and I turned to harming myself to ‘cope’, or to ‘punish’ myself.

Another lie that the ‘enemy’ would want me to believe.

I even tried to take my own life, but God interceded

My mother never woke up early, but that morning she did, she could not ascertain why?  Her alarm clock was not set to go off for another hour, but she said she just felt an urgency to get up, and to go see if I was up yet. 

(Which normally my mother would of never done…)

I got to the hospital ‘just in time’ they said, any longer and I would of passed away for sure.

The last time my ‘step dad’ and I ‘horsed around’, he carried me up the stairs, threw me on his bed, but then he stopped, his faced changed, and he retreated.

Knowing now that my Nan was always praying protection over me, I know that played a part in that moment, that God interceded, and convicted him in that moment. 

The last time I ran away, looking for unconditional love, looking for escape.  I ran right into the arms of another abuser.  Even with depression setting in, being covered in bruises, being hospitalized, the seeds my Nan planted in me all those years ago came to light.  Those precious words from The Lord’s Prayer, were God’s way of trying to remind me of that unconditional love that not only she had for me, but He had always had for me as well.

Tragedy happened, I lost a baby, at the time I said it ‘broke my spirit, but looking back I don’t think it was entirely broken.  It changed me, indeed, but a certain ‘toughness’ came upon me, which helped me stand up to my mother when she slapped me when I was 16, which then ended her physical abuse towards me.  I can see where God’s fingerprints were there, how He took the results of tragedy and used it to ‘wake me up’.

God was always patient with me.

I think He knew I needed a man almost just as patient as He was.  He knew it would take a gentle man as well to walk with me through my brokenness. 

College then provided me with distance from my abusers, and an introduction to life without them over me.  Which then allowed me to meet my best friend and start a new journey towards God, and my future husband, unbeknownst to me.

After everything I had been through I think God knew it would be best to lead my best friend to salvation first, showing me by example what surrendering looks like, and the healing that can occur by doing so.  Also, it was always God’s plan for my best friend to be the vessel to lead me to salvation, so He prepared him first.

I think on the rock cliff at the cottage I knew deep down that I would eventually surrender to God and accept salvation, and that scared me, and I think I also knew my best friend was right when he said:

“you never know you could be sitting next to the person your going to spend the rest of your life with…”

..and that scared me, because I was afraid of love, unconditional love.  I had been told for so long it could never happen for me, I was not worthy of it. 

Another lie fed to me by the ‘enemy’.

So I was afraid and I ran.  But God was patient, and my best friend patient, but they never gave up on me.  They were always right there to reassure me that they ‘were not going anywhere’ They pursued me with unconditional love.  And it led to my finding the love of my life, and my salvation.

Not long after I became a Christian I began to sing again at ChurchI felt whole again.

  Psalm 40:2

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

In the end God gave me that last push to stand up once and for all against my abusers, He gave me Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

In that moment all those years ago God broke the chains that had me in bondage for years, and I was finally set free I found my voice, and I stood on my two feet firmly and said ‘enough is enough!

It has been 12 years since that day…I would of loved to tell you a happy ending about my parents, but the truth is I have not spoken to them since that dayWith the exception of a phone call a year after that day where my mother was sweet to me one minute on the phone, and then calling me names in another breathe, and continuing her verbal abuse.  

Which confirmed for me I had made the right decision a year prior.

Years ago after I became a Christian I was reflecting about the past brokenness I had endured, and God told me this:

” you were broken, but I took those pieces and have now made a beautiful mosiac with those pieces…”

A friend once told me after hearing some of my Testimony:

” you have not wasted you pain”

When I asked her what she meant, she showed me that my life could of ended up an entirely different way, it could of led to a hardened heart, bitterness, and it could of affected my parenting negatively, and how I treat others

But instead, I have ended up actually alot like my Nan. 

I have made it my mission to always show kindness, and unconditional love.

A piece of scripture comes to mind at the moment:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

I am so thankful I had her as a beautiful example of God’s light here on earth.

She would say to me sometimes:

“when you suffer He suffers, when you cry, He cries with you, and He will always be there to carry you when you feel like you can’t walk….”

God loved me so much, He was patient, He never left me, He pursued me, and was there with arms wide open, when I was ready to accept Him.

My prayer is that by reading about my journey you will see that you are not alone, and you will see God’s fingerprints on your lives as well…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testimony – Breaking Chains

After I had given my life over to God, and got married, I still maintained a relationship with my parents.  The physical and sexual abuse had long stopped, but the mental/verbal/emotional abuse was still present.  I just could not break the chains that held me to ‘tolerating’ it.  I wanted to show them grace, I wanted to be a ‘good witness’ to them.  God never gave up on me, I couldn’t give up on them either.

My mother never really liked my ‘new’ life, but she never came out and said anything.  She was always super controlling over me, and my now having a husband only made her want to control me more.  Calling me numerous times a day, trying to pit my husband and I against each other.  The stress was so much that sometimes our marriage was held together simply with God’s promises alone.

There were times in private she would remind me of our talk all those years ago:

“…you need to understand that moving forward you can not tell anyone about anything that has happened.  If one day you want to have a husband and a family you better not tell him anything or he will leave you.  No man will love you if he were to know the truth…”

Little did she know I had told my husband everything, and he wasn’t going anywhere. 

Still she would try to use it as a ‘scare tactic’ at times.

When I became pregnant her ‘grasp’ only got tighter on me. 

The first time I laid eyes on my son was one of the most precious moments of my life.  I was so overwhelmed with so much love for him.  But most of all I was so overcome with thankfulness, that God would deem me worthy to care for one of his creations, and I swore right then and there to always protect my son no matter what came our way.

After we went home with our son, my mother’s grasp over me was at it’s tightest. 

When we would go for weekends she insisted ‘my house my rules’ which pretty much meant I had no say in how my baby was treated.  This caused some discord with my husband, he knew my past, he understood, but he was desperate for me to finally break the chains that she held over me.  But fear is a very real thing and I just couldn’t stand up to her. Time went on, and the idea of giving my husband and I a ‘break’ came up, where she would take our son for a weekend here or there, and that was fine, and then it turned into a week here or there.  I just could not say no to her.

As a Christian I was so confused, here I thought I had found my freedom, but I was still being held in chains by my past, by my abuser.   I leaned on God’s promises, but I still would ask him why? and he would give me this scripture:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

It made me realize that I was forgetting who was indeed sovereign over all, and that God was bigger than my abuser.  So I prayed that God would help me with strength and courage because those were things that I was never really good at when it came to my parents.  I had no idea that God was preparing me for the storm that was about to roll in.

The day everything changed, started out like any normal warm August day.  We were staying with my parents visiting for a week with our son.  We had headed out to my Uncle’s house for dinner that afternoon, and my mother and I were discussing plans for the next day.  She had an appointment out of town that I would join her on with my son, and my husband would stay back.

She insisted he stay in the trailer that we slept in and not the air conditioned house while we were gone.  I immediately was not okay with this as I had looked at the forecast and it was suppose to be one of the hottest days the year.  I made my concern known.  She gave me a dirty look, and then the silent treatment the rest of the way there.

Shortly after we arrived at my Uncle’s house, we were sitting outside watching our son play, and my mother stomps over and sits down with us.  I knew something was about to happen, I just didn’t know what exactly.  Then she started to explain to me how it was going to be the next day and that she did not care what my concern was, my husband would not be welcome to stay in the house while we were gone.  I sat there in fear of saying anything, my husband did not hesitate, he spoke up and aired his concerns as well.  She then stomped away in a huff into the garage where my step ‘dad’ was with my Uncle. 

I just sat there staring at my son playing, and then Joshua 1:9 recited in my head:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

As this happened, my step ‘dad’ came storming out of the garage yelling at my husband He got right in my husbands face, and he was holding up his fist threatening him I looked over to see that my son had stopped playing and was now looking up at them crying

All fear that had built up inside me for years immediately left me, and I stood up, walked over, and I now stood between them, face to face with my step ‘dad’, my mother standing behind him.  They seemed very surprised by this, and I spoke firmly:

” I have had enough, you will not do this to us anymore!”

I wasn’t just referring to what was currently happening, I was speaking to everything that they had ever did to me.  I had finally found my voice, and in doing so finally breaking chains that they had kept me bonded in for so long.

I, with my new found strength and courage demanded they take us home, and I made it clear I did not mean their home, but my home.  They were angered by this, but I was not backing down this time.  In the car on the way to their house to get our things my mother muttered hurtful things my way, but I stood firm.  I was no longer interested in this toxic relationship any longer, it wasn’t just about me anymore.  I had my son to think about, and my marriage.

We quickly packed up all of our belongings and then headed home.  It was a very quiet ride to my home, about 2 hours drive.  The whole time I held my son’s little hand, and looking out the car window I knew some hard decisions would now have to be made.   When we arrived my husband and I unloaded our stuff, I had left my son with them, so now we needed to go and get him.  My husband looked at me, so upset by the events from the day, and asked me to go get our son on my own.  I was not upset with him for this request, I understood why completely.  The elevator ride down felt like forever, and as I walked the long hall to the side door where they were waiting I was reminded of Joshua 1:9 again.  And as I pushed the door open I took a deep breathe and prepared myself.

I picked up my son up, he was now on my hip, car seat in my other hand, and my mother strangely looked at me as nothing had happened that day, and attempted to give me a kissI backed away“are you serious right now?”  that angered her, and she began to yell at me and call me names.  And I spoke again, firmer this time:

” You will not do this here!  Enough is enough! You will not do this to me anymore!”

She scowled at me, she went to speak again, and I said:

” No! No More! You now have to reap what you have sown!”

This upset her, and my step ‘dad’ who was standing on the other side of the car.  He began yelling at me, and slammed the door shut and started coming around the car as if to physically attack me?  I quickly shouted at him to ‘stop!’ and he did…to which I looked at him and said:

“You will have to reap what you have sown as well…”

Then with my weeping son on my hip, I turned and went inside.  As I walked farther away from them down the hall I felt lighter.  As I approached the elevator and got in I began to cry uncontrollably.  When I finally got back to my apartment I just sat there holding onto my son tightly sobbing.  I looked over to my husband and knew that life would now be very different

That night as I lay in bed, even though I felt so exhausted, so emotionally drained, I had a peace over me for the first time in my lifeI had finally been set free from the chains that kept me prisoner for so long.

 

…to be continued…

…Part 7 of 7 – “Testimony – Fingerprints” Coming Soon…

Testimony – Hope?

…I was so mad at him when I realized he had ‘lured’ me to ‘one of those Christian meetings’…but not wanting to cause a scene I ‘endured‘ it…

I found myself sitting there quietly observing everyone.  They were all happy, too happy in my opinion. I felt so out of place, but at the same time there was a familiar feeling I had not felt in a very long time as well.  So I kept going every week with my boyfriend, what did I have to lose? In my mind everything had been taken from me, I was so tired of being ‘broken’.

Each week I would go and listen to the others talk, they would speak of hope, and memories of my Nan would come flooding back.  At times I would get so angry inside sitting there.  But I kept going, that familiar feeling growing within me, my curiosity stirring within me as well.  I had given up on hope, but was there still hope for me after so much darkness?

My depression had deepened, my past wounds screaming at me, controlling me.  I was so tired of it all, and one cold night in January I sat in one of those ‘Christian meetings’ and I told the pastor that I had officially ‘hit the bottom of the barrel’, and he told me he would pray for me.  I left and went with my boyfriend back to his room to watch a movie, Stigmata of all movies.  While watching the movie I found myself starting to ‘wake up’, I was feeling feelings I hadn’t felt in years, and then it hit me.  I was feeling hope, and more importantly that hope was a possibility for me!  As the end movie credits played, I began to ask him questions about Jesus, this took him back a bit because I had been so resistant before, but this excited himHe brought out his bible, and with complete surrender I gave my life over to the Lord, with my boyfriend leading me through it all step by step, and ever so patiently

It for me, was like I was finally seeing the sunrise for the very first time. 

  Psalm 40:2

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

The world had color again…

And that familiar feeling…it was unconditional love, the kind my Nan had always shown me, but this time is was from the Father in Heaven and he would not leave me nor forsake me.

In the days to follow I couldn’t contain my new found joy.  I immediately wrote my Nan a letter, and she replied, and this is what she said:

” I am so overjoyed that you have finally made this life changing decision.  I have been praying for you since I knew you were in your mother’s womb.  This is an amazing answer to prayer.  Now we shall prepare for the harvest!”

Now my boyfriend and I were on the same page, but fear still hung in the back of my mind, he did not know ‘everything’ about me, and as my mother once said:

“…if one day you want to have a husband and a family you better not tell him anything or he will leave you.  No man will love you if he were to know the truth…” 

So at a all night prayer meeting God called me out to face my fear

I, kneeling between two pews, praying felt a strong urge that it was ‘time’ to talk to my boyfriend.  No matter what I needed to tell him everything and not hold back.  When I opened my eyes to find him in the crowd he was already on his way to me.  He kneeled beside me, gave me a gentle smile, as if he knew I had something to tell him.  With my heart racing I poured everything out to him until there was nothing left.  I had done so looking down at the floor, tears streaming down my face, afraid to look up at him as I spoke.  When I finally had the courage to look at him, expecting nothing but rejection, he just smiled at me gently, and then he said:

“I’m not going anywhere…”

Immediately that lie that my mother told me was shattered, the fear was gone, and tears of joy now streamed down my face.  Pure happiness, overcame me as I realized I had found someone who would love me unconditionally as the Father did.

A few months later we found ourselves back at my boyfriends Godmother’s cottage.  And hours after I was baptized in the beautiful river, my boyfriend would kneel next to me by the fire and ask me to marry him.

2 years later we were married, and 16 months after that we would welcome our son

And then without warning, dark clouds would roll in, and my mother’s controlling, abusive spirit would show it’s teeth…

 

…to be continued…

…Part 6 of 7 – ‘Testimony – Breaking Chains” Coming Soon…

 

Testimony – Silence

…the next few days after that horrific night were a blur…

I just laid in bed, feeling empty, numb, and that my spirit had been broken…

…I had been forever changed

After a few weeks it was time for me to go home.  My mother came to pick me up, and after we got in the car, she spoke:

” I am very disappointed in you, you tried to ruin us, you need to understand that moving forward you can not tell anyone about anything that has happened.  If one day you want to have a husband and a family you better not tell him anything or he will leave you.  No man will love you if he were to know the truth.  Not that any man could love you anyway…”

I sat in the passenger seat in silence, numb, nodded my head yes, and then she started the car and we went home.  We didn’t speak of it again.

Weeks passed, and I felt like I was just a floating empty vessel, coming and going to school.  I had even stopped going to church, and stopped singing altogether.

A few weeks after my 16th birthday my mother got mad at me, and she slapped me across the face hard.  Without hesitation for the first time in my life I reacted and slapped her right back just as hard.  In my mind I had nothing to lose.  She looked back at me holding her face in horror, and walked away.  She never touched me again after that moment.

Throughout everything I still managed to get good grades, my focus was getting to College, and getting far away as possible.  When my acceptance letter came from my first choice College I was happy, and terrified all at once.  When I read the letter to my parents there was just silence.  The next day they informed me they would get the tuition money sent, and I was relieved.  When I went to school I knew I would have to tell my childhood friend that I was going away to College, that I would be leaving her behind, it was easy to conceal our friendship going to the same school, but moving away I wasn’t so confident.  She was happy for me, she was sad that we would be parting, but she was above all else happy that I would get to get away from my parents.

Last day of school came, I sat with my childhood friend before home room bell would go off.  I knew it would be the last time I saw her.  I handed her a letter and we sat next to each other in silence.  When the bell rang I stood up, I couldn’t look at her, I walked away, leaving a piece of my heart behind me, and the rest of my heart was breaking.  And for the first time in a long time, tears streamed down my face, and I was afraid of what lay ahead of me?

Graduation came and went and before I knew it it was move in day for College.  The car ride there was met by silence, no one spoke, no music, no laughter or excitement shown.  Just silence.  When we arrived cars were everywhere, people with boxes, bags, all moving in, it was chaos.

As we started to unload the van I heard some yelling over the chaos, and it grabbed my attention.  When my eyes located the yelling I saw a young man running across the front yard yelling at his family, and my thoughts were ‘Oh God! I am gonna stay away from someone like that!’…

Once we got all my stuff unloaded I walked my parents back to the van, my ‘new Dad’ stuffed some money into my hand leaned forward and said:

‘now your someone else’s problem…’

I looked to my mother, and she was nodding in agreement.  When I said thank you, I was just met with silence, and they got in the van and drove away.  I went back to my room, sat on my bed, and was terrified of all the unknowns that ly before me.

About 2 weeks into my new College life, a girl in my program came knocking at my door, she wanted me to come with her somewhere, and knowing I was a ‘hermit’ that never left my room she was determined to get me out.  So I went, I wasn’t happy about it, but I went.  As we were going to the boy’s wing of the dorms she was telling me she met a guy and was crazy about him and wanted me to meet him.  I was not up to this but I kept going with her.  When we got to the door, a familiar face answered the door, it was that young man I had seen a few weeks before on move in day.  I couldn’t believe it, and I was not up for associating with him.  I looked at my friend and she quickly said to me ‘no it’s not him, it’s his roommate’.  We entered and even though I didn’t want to associate with this guy, but I was not up to watching her kiss her new boyfriend.  So I sat for hours talking to this young man, realizing that maybe there was more to him than what was first presented.

Over the coming months,  I would find myself spending more and more time with this young man, and he would quickly become my best friend.  I felt a safety with him I had not felt in a long time, not since my Nan, or my childhood friend.  He was patient with me, he understood I came from alot of pain, things that he too came from.

Summer came, and that meant going home.  I quickly got a job that would keep me away from home most of the time.  So before I knew it it was time to go back to College.  When my best friend and I were reunited there was something drastically different about him.  He told me he found Jesus.  That near the end of Summer he became a Christian.  It bothered me, and I did not like what I was hearing.  Still we remained friends, he then invited me to his Godmother’s cottage for a weekend, to get away from it all.  It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen.  I felt so different from him now, it made me mad I was so broken inside and he was having his pieces put back together. 

One morning at the cottage we sat side by side on a rock cliff over looking the water.  I was feeling so broken, wounded by life, tired of it all, and upset that he was so different from me now.  He could tell, we sat talking about life, and then he looked at me and said:

“you never know you could be sitting next to the person your going to spend the rest of your life with…”

Anger immediately shot through me and I responded quickly:

“I really don’t think so!”

And then we sat in silence staring out at the water…

When we got back to the College I stopped talking to him completely, I had no time for him or God, why would God want me?  I was too damaged, too broken, not worth it…

I quickly became ill, violently throwing up, couldn’t keep food down, barely sleeping, my best friend found out and demanded he be there for me, and I couldn’t stop his determination.  So he would keep me company, he would sleep on the floor next to my bed, he wouldn’t let me be alone going through this. 

Then one weekend he asked me to go away with him to his mother’s house, that it would do me some good, so I did.  Rooming together we sat up talking.  And in the dark I asked a question:

‘where do I stand in your life?’

Then there was silenceit seemed like forever, and then he gave me an answer I was not ready for:

‘I have loved you since the first time I laid eyes on you…’

I quietly began to cry, him love me? how could he or anyone love me I thought?

Then he asked me the same question..I was frozen in fear, I knew how I felt but I couldn’t find my voice.  I was so scared, scared of love? Was I worthy of it?

Then with hesitation, I poured out my heart to him, and explained to him that I wasn’t what he wanted though, I wasn’t like him, I was damaged, broken, but it did not matter to him…we came back from that weekend away both different, and now together.

This was all new territory for me, the only love I had ever received was from my Nan and my childhood friend.  But a man’s love? it was foreign to me, scary even.

Through all my flaws he loved me still.  I was still so depressed from life, my past always at my heels.  I was wounded, and he was patient with me.  I figured he found Jesus so I need to find something to help me heal. 

So I found a native spiritual healer and started getting counseling.  After one session I came out into the waiting area to find a note on my backpack from my boyfriend, it read:

‘meet me in the Student Lounge when your done…’

I did not think anything of it and I headed that way, when I got there I could see him in a ‘meeting’ with a group of people.  When he saw me he stood up and greeted me and welcomed me in.  I sat down, everyone was smiling at me, he was smiling too…

It suddenly hit me, and I looked at him and quietly said:

‘this is one of those Christian meeting things isn’t it!…’

 

...to be continued…

Part 5 of 7 – ‘Testimony – Hope?’ Coming Soon…