Thursday, February 15, 2018

The power of ONE decent adult

As a young girl and teen I was in trouble a LOT during my schooling years.
I was a walking time bomb. 
Very rarely did I fight with my peers but every adult I encountered I fought with. And THEY FOUGHT BACK.
These adults that were "supposedly" trained to handle kids... couldn't handle me. (And, honestly, as I look back I don't think I was that bad a kid.)

The more detentions, suspensions, and expulsions I received the more I fought, the angrier I got, the more violent I became and guess what??? The angrier the adults got, the more vicious their words were, the rougher they physically handled me and the LESS they were able to teach me anything of value.

With every punishment I received I was also being beaten with meaningless words. All the words that could have been good for me to hear were made WORTHLESS with every syllable uttered by their hypocritical mouth's.
I trusted and listened to NO ONE.  I pulled them down to my level of communication and they stayed there. The "adults" were no better nor wiser than me. I grew more cynical from those experiences and laughed at their lack of composure and maturity.
They would try to use their "power" but always succumbed to my anger, rendering them the title of a "bullying" adult. They eventually disappeared and were replaced with more bullying adults.

Between private schools and public schools almost every nun, priest, teacher, counselor and principle couldn't stand me. They didn't know what to say to me other than to resort to being mad which made it even harder for me to control my anger. 
My ability to feel, hear, and see humane emotions were numbed. 

All my young life I was told how worthless I was and so I saw no need to get better nor did I want to because I didn't see a reason. I had NO HOPE of seeing a better future for myself.

I had nothing to lose in living recklessly while hurting others....... until Mr. Mitchell.
IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO CHANGE A WHOLE LIFE. You don't need to be "perfect" just decent.

 Mr. Mitchell was my first ever "black" teacher. This was a big deal for me because I was raised in a home where blacks were spoken of in a very derogatory manner. My dad preferred that his kids didn't associate with blacks. He eventually grew out of it in his elder years but as a young girl blacks were off limits and I learned that the hard way.

Anyways, Mr. Mitchell was an older gentleman who was one of my teachers at an alternative school that I had been sent to due to my ever growing destructively, distractive manners. The school was specifically made to house "troubled students".

When I first met him he shared that some students called him "teddy bear" because he was kinda "fluffy" and liked giving out hugs. I thought it was because he looked like a teddy bear since he was always wearing a brown sweater and had brown skin. I was not receptive to his hugs.
I did, however, notice his proactive willingness to help me stay academically on course.

For ninth grade alone I attended four (or five) different high schools in three different states and I was considerably behind.
My family didn't know what to do but shuffle me around until I could stay out of trouble.  

It was the beginning of my sophomore year and I had been caught smoking again on campus by the security guards. I was with other students but for some odd reason I was the only one who got picked. I won't say that it was because I was the only minority within that group but I was and I decided to mention it to him. He ignored me and handed me a detention slip. In exchange I threw my cigarette butt into his vehicle. He then said something about suspension and I upped the ante by not just getting myself expelled but getting my own personal guides off the property in cuffs.
Nothing was new and nothing suprised me, I was in trouble again and I, honestly, didn't care. I would just end up somewhere else with different faces and names. I didn't care.

I had nothing to lose... except for ONE thing.

Before I got cuffed Mr. Mitchell asked my uniformed escorts if he could have a minute to say something to me and they allowed him a short moment and that moment changed something in me.      

He took me out of the room I was being interrogated in and sat me down on a bench. He looked at me and tears welt up and ran down his chubby brown face. He could barely speak but eventually asked if I had acted alone for what I was being accused of because it was impossible for one person to do it alone. I said nothing then stared forward into the courtyard. But at the corner of my eye I saw him remove his glasses, hang his head and heave a sob.

To this day I remember that moment very clearly because it was the first time that I had seen anyone cry for me for getting in trouble. I was use to adults giving me the cold angry stare while I'm being removed. But this was different and new. 

His tears made me question if I had some sort of value. 

To me, tears always cost someone something and it was NEVER insignificant. It always had a value attached to it. 
As a young girl, I had a very emotionally hard mother that I had only seen cry twice and it was so rare to see her show any emotion that I took a mental note of it.

The greater the heartbreak, the greater the tears, the greater the value.

Who cried for this kid? Who showed him that he had value enough that he didn't have to steal tears and souls?

There are so many of us "trouble-makers" out there who society has thrown by the wayside and all we need is ONE DECENT ADULT TO GIVE US HOPE THAT THERE IS A BETTER FUTURE IN STORE FOR US.

But, of course, this is gonna be a political upheaval on gun control or lack there of.

Here is where I stand with gun control:
  • I will always protect the 2nd amendment. If a person really wants to kill someone they will kill someone whether the gun is legally owned or not. They don't need a gun to kill groups of people anyways. They can use a semi-truck to bowl people over. They can stand on a bridge over a freeway and drop large rocks on cars causing multiple crashes. They can use small box-cutters to high-jack planes and crash them into buildings. They can collect groups of people in a building, lock them in and set it on fire. There are so many ways to kill people, how far are we going to go into legislating it??
  • Gun control education and regulations on how guns are propagated for entertainment value should be highly legislated. Kids should not be made to think that pulling a trigger on a video game to kill innocent bystanders is normal and that violent movies where guns are recklessly utilized is normal. In other word, normalizing reckless gun use in entertainment should be heavily regulated.
  • I don't own a gun and I don't believe I ever will because I don't want to ever have to choose that as an option over walking away from a fight. Maybe one day I will own one but not today.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Happy birthday baby girl!

Lord, let the story that you have entrusted me with be a showcase of Your love for us. Let my survival display Your sovereign care. Let no enemy on earth or hell steal what you have given me to share with Your children. May You be glorified with every word that is written.
In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

One of the lessons that I've had to learn when I came to grow in my knowledge and relationship with Jesus was that I needed to EMBRACE my past for what it was and push forward towards the future with the knowledge of what I had been given, all while being obedient to surrender to His call on my life to share my journey with Him.
It's a tall order but God has been faithful to light up the path He has ordained for me to walk and He has been very present.
In the beginning...
My birth parents named me Natalia. Today my name is Surina. 

The journey between those two names is 5 other names and exactly 39 years of struggling to discover:
  • who I was
  • where I came from
  • who I belonged to
  • why was I born
 I have discovered throughout my journey that sometimes the truth is, unfortunately, more painful than the lie I was told about my beginning.
However, I choose to except that pain because I know that God's got a reason for it.
In 2006, I met my biological mother and she gave me this picture of me. I want to love this baby girl well.

When I was almost twelve my mother sat me down at the kitchen table to tell me that we were going to be moving again and that before our next move she needed to share with me her version of my adoption.
She felt that it was important for me to know since we were moving to a place where my presence would stir up gossip. She wanted me to be prepared.
Well, she was right to warn me. Unfortunately, her version was not all truthful.

At that kitchen table my mother delivered to me a story so incredible that it's no wonder that I worshiped her for many years. To this day I love my mother dearly but the story I was told robbed me of any worth that I could have had as a twelve year-old girl. It has taken a lot of years to restore in me a sense of TRUE worth.

Story #1: The version I heard as a child.
Once upon a time there was a teenage girl skipping school and she came across a baby sitting near a pile of garbage. That baby was me. 
I was found with scabs covering my body and only wearing a diaper and I was holding a bottle of rotten milk. I was old enough to sit up but not move.
The girl didn't see anyone around and decided to stand from afar to see if anyone would come for me. As the day was closing towards night, the girl decided to take the abandoned baby home with her. When she brought the baby home to her parents the parents decided to call the police to see if someone had reported a missing baby. There was no report of a missing baby.
The girl's parents then asked the police if they could keep me until they found my real parents.
A week went by and they finally found my biological mother. When they tried to return me to her she did not want me back. My mother was a prostitute who could not care for me.
When the girl's parents were told that she had declined my return, they decided that they wanted to adopt me.
When my biological mother heard that this couple wanted to keep me she became greedy and decided to make a deal with them. She would make the adoption process easy for them if they bought her a travel ticket and a carton of cigarettes.
The couple made the deal with her but then they found out that I had a "very loving" biological father who would refuse to sign the papers but they gave him money too and that was it... the adoption was made.   
However, when my biological mother saw that I was growing healthy and beautiful she decided to kidnap me to sell me to a different family. She was found and beaten and I was returned back to my new family. 

In conclusion, I was rescued from a life of poverty and my hero was my new mother.
The End.

For two decades I lived believing this story and it always became the justification for why I didn't fight when I was repeatedly abused. I was made to believe that I deserved everything evil that came my way because of who my parents were and the conditions of how I was found. I was garbage and no one wanted me. The daughter of a prostitute who traded me for a carton of cigarettes and a ticket to leave town.

I was accursed.

It has taken a decade for God to slowly reveal to me the TRUTH of what really happened and who He intended me to be.

I strive to be a better human being. :)

Story #2: The version I've discovered thus far...
 Once upon a time there was a baby born to a couple who were having marital problems. That baby was me. I was their second child of three girls.
One day the wife was so overwhelmed by the stress of motherhood and her cheating husband that she gave his favorite child away without his permission.
The father became so distraught that he threatened to divorce her if she didn't get me back.
When she tried to get me back her request was denied. In her desperation she resorted to kidnapping. She was found and beaten and I was returned back to my adopted family.   
The defeated mother went on to divorce her husband and abandon her other two daughters.
The End.

Isn't it amazing what ONE human baby can do before their first birthday??

1.      Yes, I was found but not in a pile of garbage. I was left on a bench near a stop sign at a farmer's market.
2.      No, my mother was NEVER a prostitute. She was a lesbian, which was worse to my Catholic mother.
3.      Yes, there was a trade of material and monetary value but it's inconclusive what that was. Cigarettes was definitely a part of the trade.
4.      No, my biological father was not "loving". He was a womanizer.
5.      And.... my biggest discovery was that both my mothers were childhood friends. They've know each other all their lives. They are distant relatives.
The reason it was difficult for my biological mother to regain custody of me was because I was adopted into the most affluent group in our culture and when they wanted something (baby or not) they got it. Power took priority. 

When I look back at my life and the people who had a hand at molding me into the person I am today I can not help but look at both of my mothers and their journeys. Their story and pain weighs heavy on my heart. 
Sometimes I ask myself "Lord, was there no other way for them?"
I can't help but wonder how different their lives would have been had they both had husbands who loved them. Instead they were abused by the men who promised to love them and whose children they carried. 
They were made to fight battles for their children that they should never have fought.
I have been BLESSED.
I don't look back at my story anymore and see an abandoned baby or a young life riddled with abuse.

I look back and ask myself:
  • How can I make sure that what happened to me never happens again?
  • How do I make sure that a woman is NEVER so overwhelmed by motherhood that she throws that baby away??
  • How do I make sure that abandoned children understand their value as a human being when their own parents tell them that they're a worthless mistake??
The ONLY answer I got is JESUS CHRIST.

He showed me that I was born for a purpose and with a plan that ONLY HE can unveil.

He is my Hope and why I share my story. 

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity" ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

    Friday, February 9, 2018

    Healing a Hitler heart

    Have you ever hated a specific group of people so much that if they were set on fire and you had the ability to put it out but you hesitated because you had to think about whether or not they deserved to live??

    It's sad that I would ever admit to having this much hate in my heart for a specific group but as a follower of Jesus Christ I need to shed His light on it or I can NEVER truly FOLLOW HIM.
    The purpose and plans of God for my life will be (and has been) stalled and no matter how much I try to manipulate my journey to move forward I will always fall short and go around the same damn mountain again because the root of my hate was never plucked out.

    BUT... it's time.

    For 2018, I do NOT want to continue the year with this much anger, bitterness, and hate inside of me because I've been called to walk alongside these same people. These people that I now call my brothers and sisters in Christ. My spiritual siblings.

    Lets address my journey with religious leaders and how God brought me to a place where I can see them as human beings able to do more good than harm.

    It's not enough to "tolerate" people. YOU MUST LOVE THEM!!!
    Before my dad died we had three conversations and the first conversation that we had (after 18 years of not talking to each other) I shared with him my choice to be a Christian. 
    He, of course, was displeased and concerned for me. He then said to me "Rina, remember how I raised you."
    Of course I remember.
    He was the reason I questioned every religion and spiritual person who came into my path. Whether a person was nice or not didn't matter because I had a very thick filter to screen out religious bullshit. Oh, yeah, his voice was heard loud and clear.

    As a young girl being forced to conform into my mother's Catholic religion or be beaten to a pulp; I hungered for the god he said didn't exist. I wanted the "no god" he had because the "god" being represented to me was one of hate, lust, and pure evil. 
    But at the same time my dad was an alcoholic who held little hope for human kind.

    So, the question for me as a young girl was:
    What is the purpose of being alive when the "god" being represented is one so hateful that I hated life and why fight to stay alive when there is nothing better than death? 
    Why not just kill myself and end a journey that should've never begun?

    This has been my decade long journey with the God I thought I knew. And at every turn He would reveal to me His truths and would not let go of me no matter how much I ran away from Him and clawed at His kids.
    Every time I tried to escape His sight, even in the most lewd of places, He would put one of His kids in my path to remind me of His presence. Unfortunately, so did satan.
    Spiritual warfare is no joke. 

    So began my lessons to learn the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, God and no god.
    And my teachers all along the way... religious leaders. Some good and some not so good but all appointed to guide me along my journey.

    Each leader flawed in a very specific way to remind me that my eyes are to stay on Jesus.
    Each leader showcasing a weakness or strength that I am to learn from. Each leader extended grace sufficient enough for their own path set before them. A path that would momentarily cross my path to teach me of the God that loved me so much that He came to give me a heart of flesh for His people and His Spirit to guide my feet Home.

    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh"~ Ezekiel 36:26


    Wednesday, December 27, 2017

    Danny: A brother for Christmas.

    My whole childhood is captured in one name: Daniel

    I'll never forget the day I saw and met Danny. I was seven and he was five. He was short with long hair, silver teeth and a mouth that always got him into trouble. I didn't know who he was when we first met but, unbeknownst to us both, we were about to be bound together for the next seven years.

    Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve.

    On the Christmas Eve of 1986 my whole world changed.
    My parents that had adopted me divorced and my custodial dad gave my mother permission to have me for, what was to be my first, Christmas. On that visit I was taken and never returned home to my dad. The pain of that day stayed with me long after we reconnected a decade later.

    That year for Christmas I was given a new home, a new language, a new culture, a new name, a new brother, a new dad, and a whole new lifeThe process to assimilate me was immediate.


    This past year God has really been trying to show me the beauty of my story because I don't see it like He sees it. It's taken me years to see an ounce of beauty in my journey because I see mostly hate and anger and most of it is directed at Him. But here I am... still walking with Him. Striving to see what He sees. As frustrated as I get at Him I still try because something in me hurts when I don't.  
    The pain of stopping is greater than the pain of continuing.  
    The only thing that I am certain of is that my purpose is VERY specific and He will only show it to me as I take steps of obedience towards Him. Like this blog.
    Honestly, I hate it.
    I wish He would just tell me what the end goal is so I could just do it and end what feels like a slow death... BUT, NO SUCH LUCK.
    He wants me to just walk with Him. One step at a time. Slow and steady. Not to miss anything.
    Details, no matter how minute, are very important to Him. He's meticulous.

    There's a story behind my year-round Nativity. One of love and redemption.
     A couple months ago, as I was reminiscing with my kids about my childhood, something in me happened. Throughout the next few weeks God kept reminding me of Danny. He kept reminding me of our childhood together.
    Lots of memories: the good, the bad, and the ones I have tried to scrub out and forget. Each memory came with either tears, laughter or anger.

    Danny had a way of making me so mad that I'd throw knives at him or laugh so hard that I'd get into trouble. For seven years he was my constant companion.

    My memories of us together were all over the place.
    One minute I'd be laughing about cutting his hair so people would stop thinking he was a girl and bullies would stop picking on him, however; I found out later that it wasn't his hair but his mouth that was getting him into fights. Fights that I had to get him out of or I'd get in trouble for not protecting him.
    And then the next minute I'd be crying my eyes out over the memory of how he would help me to get dressed for school after my beatings because my body was so swollen I couldn't lift my arms. 
    He was always there helping me escape to a better place; even when it was only in my mind.

    Back and forth my memories went. Laughing and crying but always trying to stay clear of "those" memories. Sexual abuse... I can't go there. Not in this blog. Not this year.
    In the midst of all the memories playing in my mind, God finally asked me:
    "Would you do it again for Danny?"
    I was taken aback by the question. Somewhat offended. I would've never asked such a question to myself because my whole childhood was wrapped up in him and I couldn't even imagine it any other way. Anyone who saw Danny saw me and that was just the way it was. We were inseparable.

    The thought made my heart drop and my stomach feel sick because I would not have survived. He spoiled my suicide.
    "As painful as my childhood was to live through, I would do it again to have Danny in my life."
    And with that answer, my ability to see God's story in my life slowly unfolded a little bit more for me.

    I had focused so much on the loss of my dad that I didn't realize the gift God had given me in exchange.
    My first Christmas gift was my companion, friend and brother Danny. 

    I can't be mad anymore about that part of my life now. A painful memory made beautiful.

    The last gift Danny gave me before I was sent away.
    On the Christmas Eve of 1993 my whole world was about to change yet again. I was being sent away.
    In less than 24 hours I went from a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean to the frigid cold state of Alaska.

    Before I left, Danny gave me a little box. In it was a shiny gold cross. He put it in my hand and walked away. He was mad at me. I can't blame him. I was leaving him. In seven years we had never been apart.

    Several years later, he would remind me that I had left him and that a void replaced me. My mother's rage was also redirected at him and I was to blame. He was right.
    It was never my intention to alter his life in such a negative way by leaving but at fourteen I didn't know what else to do. I was not given an option to stay and I was tired of the beatings.
    After high school I was asked by our dad to return home but it was too late. There was no turning back.I had to continue moving forward. I was no longer the same teenage girl that left home.

    I had become independent.

    So, how significant was my relationship with Danny??
    Two of the most important, life-altering decisions I've ever made were because of him. Both blessed by God for my life journey.

    1. My decision to have a second child. 

    Inara's birth. I almost didn't have her but Danny's name was used and here she is.
    In 2001, when my son was born, I had several plans written and signed. One of the papers that I had signed in the very beginning of my pregnancy was to have a tubal ligation after his birth. I had no plans on keeping a child or having another child.
    Paul, my son's father (whose now my husband), agreed that I should never have kids since I wasn't keeping the one I was carrying.
    Everything was going according to plans until my son was born.

    As we were waiting for the doctors to take me to another room to have my surgery Paul started freaking out about his son needing a sibling. I don't know what possessed him to start talking so crazy but I was tired from giving birth and I was not in any mood to hear his nonsense.

    I couldn't wait for everything to be done. I had accomplished what I had set out to do and I was ready for everything to end.
    When the nurse entered our room with the wheelchair, I got in and sat down. As she was about to push forward to leave, Paul got on his knees by my side and in a last desperate attempt said:
    "What would your life have been like if you didn't have your brother Daniel to play with and make you laugh?"
     And with that question, my life plans changed direction. It pained me to think of not having him.

    Four and a half years later I got pregnant with a girl. I never expected to have a girl but God knew I needed a daughter to set a holy fear in me. And she does. She blesses my life tremendously.

    2. My decision to allow my current pastor to speak into my life.

    No. I wasn't calling my pastor an ass on facebook. He was trying to be funny in describing a word and I wasn't afraid to call it out. And no, I'm not sorry for doing so.

    To say that my experience with religious leaders is "not good" is an understatement. God has had to put me into a corner at times to get me to see that not all religious leaders are evil, conniving little monsters. I'm still in process.

    In May of 2012 I was given a very specific pastor. I don't know why but I do remember specifically walking in and standing at the stairs near the large water fountain when my husband pointed him out to me. I remember the first words I spoke to the Lord were "nope! I will not be trained by a child!" because that's what I saw. Everything about him was childlike. He kept bouncing around and laughing. He was way too carefree as a pastor in my book. 
    However, when it was time for him to teach I, literally, saw the Holy Spirit fall out of his face. I was moved to my knees but still not totally convinced that he was "my" pastor. I needed a more solid confirmation.

    You would think that his name (Daniel) would have been a solid enough confirmation for me but it wasn't.
    I continued to attend his sermons and decided to read his book and research his beliefs. Still nothing.

    A few months later he taught on sexual immorality within the church. I couldn't help but look to my left and right because the shocked faces and conviction within that building was absolutely beautiful and when he didn't apologize at the end of his sermon (like my previous pastors) I knew he was my pastor.
    However, I still needed more. I needed to hear God's voice about him for me.

    I needed His confirmation to be so solid that I could stand still and no matter how much I pulled away it would yank me back in place.

    So, I continued to wait.  

    2015. It was a rough year.
    On the Christmas week of 2015 I was given the confirmation that I had been waiting for. God's voice.

    A week prior to that Christmas I received news that the brother I had forgiven for sexual abuse was now in jail and that his kids were placed into foster care. The charge: child rape.
    What I absolutely feared would happen -- happened. I was devastated.

    I immediately told the Lord that He needed to put me back at my old church where I could have people walk with me. I needed help to stay sane. He didn't respond. 

    On the day after Christmas, I awoke early, grabbed my Bible and began to search for an answer since I wasn't hearing Him. My heart was extremely heavy and I didn't want to blame the only ONE who could help me find answers. I was a desperate mess.
    As I was walking past my Christmas tree, to fill my wine glass, an ornament caught my eye. It was a silver angel with "Bless and protect Daniel" inscribed on it (first pic on this blog).

    I, immediately, heard:
    "Surina, I had a Danny walk with you in the beginning and I have a Danny walking with you now. Be still."
    Well, His confirmation was very clear and His command was simple: BE STILL. I was to stay put at the church He sent me to because I was exactly where I was meant to be during that season of my life. 
    It was a hard command to obey but I did it and I learned a lot about God during that season.

    When I left home I took no pictures with me but here he is. My Danny.
    Sometimes I wonder... how else will God use Danny as a confirmation in my journey of life? How much more will his name carry weight within me? What's the next life-altering decision to be made because of him?

    This blog. About him. 


    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Dear son, mommy was wrong...

    Baby boy, I treated you unfairly! I'm so sorry!!
    In the beginning...

    I brought you into this world for all the wrong reasons. I worked hard to get you here only to despise the day you were born.
    When I had to keep you I punished you for that decision and when I had to keep your father around, I blamed you for ruining my life.
    For over a decade I told you to grow up and leave because you were never mine to begin with.
    You heard me loud and clear. I hurt you...
    Son, mommy was WRONG!!! I am very SORRY!!!
    You did not deserve to enter the world in that way.
    But God had a plan...
    The day you were born I refused to hold you. I was so cold and distant.
    There will be no pictures of me holding you and loving on you in the hospital because there are none. I felt nothing towards you. 

    your daddy did what I wasn't willing to do.
    He was willing to hold you.
    I wasn't willing to hold you until a nurse came into our room and asked if you were to be bottle fed or breast fed.
    Before I could give an answer I had to call the person you were going to go to and ask her what she preferred. She said "breast" and I answered "breast". She wanted you as healthy as possible.

    I was like a robot. Completely programmed to remember that -- you're not mine.
    You were just a package being prepared for delivery. 
    a "gift"
    As they placed you in my arms and taught me how to hold you for a feeding, I still felt nothing. As you latched on to my breast, I still felt nothing. Nothing in me latched on to you.
    All my doctors knew my plan for you from the day I was told that I was pregnant but, for some odd reason, they thought that I would change my mind after seeing you and bond in some way. They were wrong.

    your daddy was in love with you the moment he laid his eyes on you.
    Love at first sight.
    Son, your daddy put up with so much of my hate just so he could hold you in his arms. Even when he knew that I had plans for you that excluded him.
    But, he didn't care. That short time with you, to him, was worth it.

    Your first bed.
    Because I knew that you weren't staying with me, I didn't buy you anything other than what was necessary to get you from the hospital and onto a plane to your final destination.

    That's okay though. You had no need for a crib because your daddy's chest was where you slept best. He wanted to hold you as much as he could.
    The countdown to your departure was nearing.

    God, I put that man through hell and oh, how he tried to change my mind BUT...

    when the doctors gave me the okay for you to go on a plane, we were off within the week.

    Son, your daddy hated me. As I write this, I really can't blame him but he later understood my deep desperation.

    Into the sky...

    As we boarded the plane, people who sat near us got immediately irritated because they thought you would cry throughout the flight but you amazed them by sleeping comfortably from the gate of departure to the gate of arrival.
    They didn't know that you were a flight baby. Being in the sky was your second home.
    They felt guilty for being rude to us and so they offered to carry all our stuff to the baggage claim.

    Son, people judged you at a month old. Welcome to the world. Get use to it. 
    It will serve you well to learn to persevere through worldly judgements. Don't ignore it, discern it.
    Not all criticism should be ignored. It can grow you tremendously.

    Well, son, obviously something happened and you never reached the "final destination" I set out and planned for you.
    I won't go into it since I already wrote about it in a different blog.

    So let's move forward and touch on how I handled my new role as "mom".

    In keeping you...

    Well son, as you know, mommy did not handle my new role very well.
    I was clueless on what to do with you so, I left you with your dad and went back to work.

    I flew in to see you once a week for less than 24 hours. Each time I saw you you looked different. I hardly knew you. 

    One day I placed you on a couch not realizing that you were able to turn over and you fell off. Your daddy got mad at me and I did what I did best -- I went back to work. I wasn't a mom. I was more like an out-of-town visitor.

    Holding you felt awkward but I still tried.
    Son, on that trip back to work I sat in first class with an older gentleman that saw me looking at your picture that I had placed in with my name badge and he asked me if you were my son and I said "yes."
    He decided to pry a little more by asking me how old you were and why I was at work and not at home with you since you were still a bitty baby. For five hours I sat next to this man as he poked holes in all my answers.

    Son, you know mommy must've been too worn out to tell him to mind his own damned business but, obviously, God was at work because he told me something I needed to hear and it changed the whole direction of my life. He said:
    "...if your son becomes a total success you can never lay claim to him because you weren't there to help BUT if he becomes a total menace to society it will be your fault because you weren't there to guide him. Being a parent is that important."
    Son, you know mommy was a societal nightmare and out of that whole five hours conversation the thought of you not being guided to do well in your life due to my absence placed a VERY STRONG FEAR IN ME.

    I never wanted you to be treated or seen as a criminal. Less than worthy of human treatment.

    That was my last flight. I, immediately, came home and your future became my new focus.

    That decision ultimately became the end of me and... the beginning of us.
    Our first unintended pro-photo together. You screamed the whole time and refused to let anyone else hold you and  I didn't know what else to do but get you naked and be in the picture. It worked.

    Immersing into motherhood...

    When I told your daddy that I was going to try to be a mom he was in full agreement but, unfortunately, no one was ready for the Pandora's box of "crazy" that was about to be opened. Not even I was aware of the depth of my own mental instability.

    As you already know, I hated my role as mom.

    I didn't know what a "mom" was suppose to do or be like. I struggled to cope. I became the version of the only mom I saw and knew. I became the person I feared. I was so scared and at a loss of any hope for the both of us.

    If the state did not enter our picture and threaten to take you away from me I don't believe that I would have changed.

    It's only by the grace of God that you stayed in my care.

    As suggested by your teacher, I put mirrors around the house so you'd know who you were and smile. :)
    Son, due to the court orders, mental health doctors, social workers and other community resources I was given the help I needed to become a better mother for you (and eventually your sister).

    I failed in my first attempts at trying to be your mom but I learned and became stronger through trial and error.

    Son, failure is okay but DO NOT lay down in it, GROW from it. Failure is great fuel for growth.

    I know that I still have a ways to go in raising you and your sister. I know that I will continue to fail in areas that I have yet to trek in my parenting journey. But I also know that you have been so gracious with me especially since Jesus has entered our picture.

    Intergrading Jesus...

    Son, do you remember when I first told you we were going to start going to church? You were almost 7 and Inara was almost 3. You cried and were confused to my sudden change of heart. 
    Trust me... it wasn't intentional on my part.  
    When I think back to how it all started it was almost like I got tricked and the treat was a Savior named Jesus Christ.

    Your first Vacation Bible School experience. You, eventually, got use to it.
    I don't blame you for fighting me when we first started. The first years of your life I told you awful stories about church folk and I used "church" entertainment to punish you when you were being bad. 
     I thought I was being funny and protective but I guess the joke was on me because God was working hard on all of us in spite of my madness. 
    Even with all my warnings to keep you two safe of religion and it's abuse God saw to it that we grew to know Him better. And for five years that church pumped the love of Jesus into our little family. They loved us to life.

    2017 Mission Trip
     Son, when you went on your first mission trip I prayed that God would meet with you in some special way to show Himself. I was not disappointed. The Lord was faithful to meet you... through a little native boy. 
    I'm not the least bit surprised with how He met you. You've always had a love and tenderness for children.
    Do you remember when you wanted to get baptized at 8 and I told you to fight me for it and you lost? Son, you weren't ready. You were following the people so I had a solid NO to stand on. 
    But, I bet if you fought me now, you'd probably win. I see so much of Jesus in you. 
    So when you're ready to take the plunge I'd love to see you get baptized before I die. If not, I'm fine with that.  
    Just keep your eyes on Jesus. I want that most for you.

    Well, son, it's been almost a decade and you have seen that mommy was wrong with almost all of my assessments of the church and it's people. Humans are flawed. 
    I still want you to be careful with the leaders though because they stand in a place of great authority. Be especially discerning with them just like you are with your daddy and I. 

    We are authoritative voices but make sure to...

    Grow and learn from us... DO NOT follow us!! FOLLOW JESUS!!!

    Humans will disappoint you but Jesus is your very solid Appointment towards your intended purpose in life.
     Stay close to Him and follow Him hard!!!

    And last but not least...

    Investing in your future "Bride"...

    You treat your sister with so much love and care, thank you! Your bride will be blessed indeed.
    Saulomon, watching how you handled the breakdown of your relationship this past month was nothing short of Godly love and wisdom. 

    It became the reason I chose to write this apology in such a public format.
    It is my hope that whoever reads this can see our journey and see Jesus as their Hope and Guide forever. 

    Son, the way you handled that whole situation with so much love amazed me. 
    Most adults couldn't handle that much pain and function properly (like I did) but you did it with so much care and dignity for the other person that I couldn't understand what you were doing. Or, in actuality, what God was doing through you.
    I was so mad but, obviously, God needed to show me something.

    Son, do you remember this day? I thought you were accepting Christ as your Savior but you were just helping someone not feel alone going forward. When I met his mom, that is how she remembers you. Her son's friend that walked forward with him. I'm so proud of you!

    Son, most parents, if they're honest will admit that even though God will tell them that He's got their kids, parents will still have their doubts.

    Worry is a human condition that worsens once you become a parent because kids are an extension of us. You and Inara both have pieces of my heart and certain things cause me to lash out for your protection and care.

    So, when I tried to "remove" the cuckoo-religious crap from your mouth because I couldn't understand your sudden "spiritual awakening" and you got up and wrapped your arms around me to reassure me of your love and understanding for my position as a "mom", I was hit with the stark reality that God did His part exactly as He had promised to me the day I stepped into the waters of baptism as a new Christian believer.

    He promised me that He would never give you and your sister a life where you two felt alone in your pain IF I came to Him for guidance and obeyed His teachings and taught them to you both.

    Son, until that day, I had forgotten that He is more powerful than anything that I may try to do.

    I can speak life into you all day and all night and if you decided to throw it all away in spite of everything you heard and know ONLY GOD can redirect your feet onto the path of life and Only He can be your Peace and Anchor amid your storm. Only He can be your Healer and Comforter for your broken heart.

    And I... can do nothing but pray and watch Him walk with you and bring others to walk beside you.

    Son, to see God use your leaders to cup your hurting heart and hold you tenderly as your daddy did when you were first born has been quite an experience for me. Their investment in you could only have been of God Himself. As a mom, I'm blessed. God kept His promise to NEVER leave you nor forsake you.

    Son, I was wrong to get angry for you and at you. I was wrong to speak words of hate over someone that God created in His own image. My wrath and judgement was uncalled for no matter the case.

    Son, thank you for not heeding to my level of pure evil.
    I called her all sorts of foul names and you called her a child of God.
    I wanted to see her burned into the ground and you wanted me to see the good of God in her.

    In my anger, I sinned. I am sincerely sorry.

    If this is you at the tender age of 15 then I wonder how you will be ten years from now as a 25 year-old man???

    Honestly, son, this is one of the main reasons why I want you to grow up and go live your own life.

    I have always been curious as to why God would give me two kids to raise.

    Do you remember all the years, when you were angry with me, you would ask me why God gave you to me and I would tell you to go ask Him and you'd reply with "I hate Him and you." Those were turbulent times for us.

    Oh, son, how amazing it is to see God at work in your life. How awesome is God to show your dad and I the fruition of our guided parenting.
    I know that it has built our faith more seeing God hold you together.

    In conclusion... 
    Saulomon Paul Nash, I love you!!!
    You were always God's gift to me. I just didn't see it till now.
    There is so much to love about you and here are my top 3:
     1. I love your heart for our family. It helps me to see the importance of being together.
    Son, I'll never forget the day I decided to come back to your daddy. We had left the U.S. and we were living far away where he wouldn't be able to find us. You were 3 years-old and I was pregnant with Inara. And, yes, I was running away again.
    Our family pillow fights.
    I didn't know how you would feel by us leaving him behind but you were devastated. I had trained you to hold all your emotions inside so much that I didn't know how you really felt. But when you hid from me and I found you clutching his picture and crying behind a door, I knew right then and there that I had to return and try to give you a family unit. I had to start thinking about your feelings. I was still learning to be a mom.

    Now look at us all. It's been almost 12 years since that decision and we've become an amazing family unit. We're not perfect but we sure do laugh a lot under this roof. Even when we're all fighting, which is even funnier. :)

    Our first family comedian night.
    Our family game nights.

    Our family after dinner walks...or to push each other into the water walk.

    We're always in one room together...
    ...usually with your dad playing his guitars.

    Our first and best Christmas Day getaway weekend...
    ...with a Jacuzzi next to our beds that we filled with bubbles.

     Yeah, son. I think coming back and making our family unit work together was the best decision for all of us. Even me.

      2. I love your heart for people. It helps me to be mindful of them.

      Remember when you got mad at me for calling a kid you were playing with "black" and you corrected me by telling me to call him "African American" because I was being politically incorrect and (in your 10 year-old estimation) "racist"??? LOL!!

      And you fought me for a week about it? LOL!!
      You were so relentless and annoying but I finally just gave in. Good grief!

      Just a side note but I think we were both wrong on this. I think he would be classified as "black American". Just saying...

      You didn't know I took this pic but I needed to remember this day for some odd reason. Maybe it was for this blog. :)

      3. Saulomon Nash, I love how you have helped me grow to be a better human being (a.k.a. more like Jesus Christ).

      I love it when you correct my speech and yell at me for cussing. Very few people know the amount of profanity that exits my mouth on a daily basis but you have, even to your own detriment, wrestled with me to stop dropping the "F"-bomb. Especially around your sister.

      Son, did you notice I didn't use it in this blog?? You're welcome! :)

      I also love it when you fight for what you believe in. I have seen you lose friends and, obviously, a girlfriend because you were not willing to compromise your faith or value.
      I love how you argue with me about your political views. Although, we don't agree on several issues we still agree that you and I are some how very much a like.

      There's so much to love about you son. Thank you for forgiving me every time I mess up. 
      It is an honor to be your mom. 
      I thank God for the opportunity He has given me to steward you to Him.

      Son, on this day of your 1st math competition, I couldn't help but realize that God had brought real redemption for me because the grounds we were standing on had a restraining order against me over 20 years ago. The last time I was there I was a teenage nightmare in cuffs for fighting with security but not anymore... I was now there rooting for you to win a math award. God is so GOOD!!! Thank you  Jesus!