Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My husband and the beginning of our journey together.


I remember when Paul first proposed to me. We had been together for a little over two months. We were walking past a DIY car wash very late in the evening. I was talking to him about something while he was holding my hand and all the sudden, midway through my spiel, I felt him stop. When I turned to look at him he proceeded to get down on one knee.
Honestly, I thought he was bending over to tie his shoe but instead he took my hand with both of his and asked me to marry him as he slipped a silver smiley face kiddie ring on my finger. We both busted up laughing. I told him why not, I was leaving soon anyways.

I met Paul in mid-September on the exact same day that I got hired by a major airline company and I was scheduled to leave for Texas at the end of November.   

The day I met Paul I knew, immediately before I even set two eyes on him, that he was "THE ONE". 

Now "the one" to most people (especially women) would mean "the one" whom you are to marry or "the one" whom you believe is your soulmate to spend your life with and have all the dreamy-imaginary feel-good goo-goo blah, blah, blahs of life. You know, all that "romance" stuff. 
That was NEVER the case for me. 
I didn't believe in romance and I didn't believe in marriage. Especially happy ones.

"The one" to me meant that he was THE ONE TO GIVE ME MY PROMISED SON.

If you have not read my blog on choosing-to-be-a-mom then you won't understand this blog because this is the very beginning of my journey, not just as a mom, as it was the day God revealed to me that He had been speaking to me my whole life
All the times, as a child, that I thought I was talking to myself ... it was ALWAYS HIM at the other end.

Paul and I met the night my friends wanted to take me out to celebrate my new career. 
As I sat outside the club alone smoking my cigarette I felt like I was being watched (something I was use to but this set of eyes felt heavy and different) and before I could look to see the person, in glowing white at the furthest part of my left peripheral vision, I heard a voice speak so clearly that I couldn't ignore it. It was a very familiar voice.

It said "he's the one".

In my mind I asked this voice "what one?" and it answered "the one who will give you your son" and I, immediately, was reminded of my 13 year-old self crying out for someone to help me and I heard the same voice say "I will give you a son." 

Now, if you're reading this and saying to yourself ... "oh, give me a freak'n break", trust me IT GETS WEIRDER.

After hearing this I, immediately, looked to my left to see who "the one" was. Unfortunately, I was NOT impressed.
Paul looked away the moment I looked at him, He looked like he belonged in a church. He was wearing a white button up shirt and light blue jeans. 

I then, immediately, told the voice in my head "nope, he's not my type" then finished my cigarette and walked back into the club to dance with my friends.

As I was dancing, THE VOICE said "go outside, sit at the last table and he will come to you."  
It spoke to me so LOUDLY that I couldn't hear the music. I was so irritated that I just obeyed it because I wanted it to leave me alone. 
I looked at one of my friends and asked him if he could go outside to have a cigarette with me and the moment we sat down Paul walked up and asked if he could join us. 

We talked and I asked him if he would meet me again in the same club a couple days later. I did not give him my number. I decided that if he was really "the one" then he would show up. And he did.

The next day I contacted everyone I was “seeing” and cut them off. Now that I found “the one” I needed to focus. 
My friends thought I was crazy but I knew what I knew and knew what I heard. 
I still didn’t know whose voice I heard but I was POSITIVE that I was now heading in the right direction.

Being with Paul was so NEW. There was nothing that we had in common. He was not like any man I had ever contemplated as a possibility for my "type".
  
He was kind, thoughtful, shy, quite and lacked in confidence. I was a cold hearted, in your face, self-centered bitch and, unfortunately, proud of it. He was my opposite.  
(on our first date I scared the crap out of our waitress and Paul never lets me forget how cruel I was. I don't think I want to forget. It keeps me kind.)
Paul was far from the type A, workaholic, arrogant jackasses that I usually found myself being with. I attracted men as arrogant as I was. Paul was different.

What really drew me the most into Paul was his objections to my way of life. I was intrigued.
As a “girlfriend” I was wild and my "ways" were reckless and he REFUSED to have any of it.

  
         The beginning of our journey literally started on a boat. Why is Paul not smiling? Because he was trying to jump ship.

Now, you would think that once I met Paul and stood in front of the man butt-naked he would give me the sperm I needed, right?? Ooh... NO! 

Paul had this thing called "morals" and "convictions" and he refused to give me sex.  
He equated sex with meaning. My internal voice was screaming -- what in the hell is going on?!

At that time he never told me why he refused me, he just admired my nakedness and then turned me down and turned away. He was the weirdest man I had ever met. 

I was 21 years-old, accomplished in everything I was doing and in the BEST shape of my life and he REFUSED to do anything sexual with me. I had never been through such a situation. I've dated gay men before and I knew he wasn't gay. 
Trying to understand how come I couldn't seduce this man was frustrating. Especially knowing that he was "the one" that was suppose to give me my son.

I started to doubt the voice I heard because I couldn't understand what was blocking my advances.

Paul would only hold my hand and kiss my face. He REFUSED to touch me sexually. I would place his hands on my bare breasts and he’d remove them and step away from me. The more I pursued sex the more he withdrew.  

He finally told me (during our boat cruise pictured above) that he needed to get away from me. Honestly, I was shocked. I had never met a man like that before. He was so weird. 

On January 13, 2013 I finally asked Paul about how he met Jesus and what he remembered about our courtship. Mind you, I’m asking this after 13 years together and two kids. Yes, I was extremely self-consumed when it came to my relationship with him. How he put up with me is a freak’n miracle.  
 
There's a reason why God tells us to journal your journey with Him. #ToRememberHisFaithfulness

What Paul shared  that night was that everything in him wanted to disobey BUT he was told TWO THINGS by the God he served:

1.      Do not talk to me about Jesus. He was not to mention ANYTHING about his Christian faith and to wait for His timing.
And then…
2.      He was warned NOT to have sex with me and was told to wait for an appointed time or else he'd lose me.

When he shared this I was in awe because I couldn’t believe the DETAILED CRAFTSMANSHIP OF GOD’S HANDIWORK.

He knew the sexual abuse I grew up with and how I had learned to utilize it's destruction and He also knew the hate-filled words spoken over me by the first “Christian” person I had ever met as well as the hate I carried for religion and it's leaders.  He was there in every moment and He did NOT forget me.

Because I was usually trying to get pregnant (and yes most of the guys knew) I would have sex with men and if I didn't get pregnant within a certain amount of time (usually a month) I would leave. My womb and body was not mine. Nothing in me emotionally was invested. Everything was disposable. 
 I was trained as a young girl that men were ONLY for breeding. Other than that, they were useless. There was no such thing as “love”.

With Paul, I was FORCED to get to know him as a person, as a human, and as a child of The Living God. 
I was FORCED to invest in him and allow him to invest in me.

He was the first person I ever spoke to about my past. He was the first person to be angry for me. We were becoming friends.


Our little family EXACTLY eleven year to the day of when I convinced Paul to take this journey with me.

In God’s mercy He prepared a husband for me. I don’t know why. 
Perhaps it’s more that He prepared a father for the kids he has given us to steward together because if there’s anything Paul and I fight about more than anything it is -- the best possible future for our kids. 
We want to remove as many generational curses off our kids as humanly possible and trust God to remove the rest.

 
Our marriage journey has not been easy and there was so much darkness but as I sit today to write this… I would NOT change a thing.

The LORD has done an AMAZING work in our lives and we are so glad that we said “YES” to His invitation to go on this journey with Him.   


"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."~ Psalm 27:13,14



#ThankYouJesus

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's not "My Story"

If God is the Author and Finisher of my life then is He also the ONE to blame for my story?

"Like an open book, You watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before You, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day." ~Psalm 139:16

I've always hated my story. I've always hated my life but I didn't realize how much I hated it until I became a Christian and started sharing it.
I didn't think that my story was too outrageous or strange.

It was what it was -- a story. I was just a main character. 

A few short steps into my Christian walk and I was made aware that my story was so rare that it needed to be shared more broadly. I, at first, didn't care because to me it wasn't that big a deal. It was just the account of my life thus far.

How naive I was. How blind... 

I never thought for a second that God could use a story as foolish as mine. My story is of nothing but the culmination of human mistakes. All five of my parents and their choices being main contributors to the darkness of what was "my life".  

Me in D.C.
I am the type of person that is very passionate about what I believe in and each time I spoke up at a public meeting or event I was given an opportunity to speak even more. People wanted to hear more and, honestly, it freaked me out.
I was called a "rising star" by a reporter and I was being written and spoken about by people who made major life altering decisions. It wasn't what I expected. It was way too much attention for me. I got scared.


The day I never wanted to speak my story again.
My tipping point came when I was invited to be a speaker at a national convention in Washington, DC. I was very well paid for a sliver of my story and in the end I walked away that day horrified at the fact that I had a story that was indeed rare, not because it's really rare but TABOO to speak of publicly. So taboo that I was reminded of how "different" I was. Again.
I was an open book shining a light on incest, rape, depression, cultural norms, suicide, and repeating the cycles of sexual abuse. I made people uncomfortable with my vulnerability. It wasn't what I wanted. I just wanted people to understand people like me and to show us some compassion. There's a reason behind our hate and anger. Help!
I didn't know how I impacted people but after the convention people lined up to just hug me. Some told me their stories. They wanted to stay in touch. I hurt so bad internally, I just couldn't. I wasn't prepared for all the feelings. Everything in me hurt.

I felt a great sense of shame for being different. Again. I've always been different. I hated it and now I had an audience. I felt like a freak show.

I thought sharing my story would help me fit in better with other people because then they'd understand why I was such a mess but it didn't. So, I stopped. I refused to engage with people who wanted to hear more of my story.
I wanted to be accepted as "normal" or "alike" NOT "rare" or "unique".

Then God opened my eyes to see His authority and His life in mine when I heard this song:



I remember when I first heard this song. I was driving and I didn't understand the meaning of it until I heard it again. I quickly realized that the words are about how the stories of our lives are really about Jesus and how we were ordained, created and entrusted to share our stories in a world that needs to know that they were created by a God that loves them and has made them for purpose.

I hold in me a story of purpose.

A story that I must surrender to Jesus DAILY if I want to see it unfold in the way that it was meant to be read by His kids.

Here is a short synopsis of the story I have been entrusted to tell:
  • I was literally found. Where? Several stories have been told to me but as a child I was told that I was found near garbage. I was a throwaway therefor I was treated as such. I don't know the truth. Perhaps I don't need to. I trust that God will tell me in His own time. 
  •  I have three different family groups. A biological, an adopted, and a blended family. I was found as a toddler, spent about seven years in my adopted group and about seven years with my blended group. Parental supervision for me ended at fourteen.
  • I have five parents and none of them can definitively claim me without hesitation. As a kid I never knew who I belonged to. This is where most of my doubts about God stem from. I always have to ask Him if I'm His girl. He has and is always needing to confirm this for me. I am His.  
  •  The first seven years of my life was spent in the Samoan culture and the next seven years of my life was spent in the American culture. I left home at fourteen. 
  •  From fourteen to twenty-one I belonged to no one nowhere and I bounced around trying to find out where I belonged and who I belonged to. Most adopted/orphaned kids go through this season.
  • At twenty-one I met my husband who put a Bible in my hand and introduced me to Jesus.
  • Today, I'm a married mother of two beautiful kids and a follower of Jesus Christ.
  
 I'm no longer scared to share my story.
It's just hard to share it because it's so complex. My own family gets confused when I tell my story because they don't know which family group I'm speaking of when I share a story. It's kinda frustrating. I guess that's why God has me writing it out. :)

For me, having closure with my biological mother in 2006 and my adopted mother this past April (along with the deaths of both of my father figures) has given me the freedom to acknowledge just how beautiful my story is because of how God used all of them to make me the mother and the woman I am today.
Yes, I purposely left out my biological father because I don't believe he is worth mentioning at this time. We have yet to meet. The Lord is working on how to share him until then I am very blessed to have survived what I survived enough to share it with others and to share how my story is really about... JESUS and His redemptive power. 

"Women who stepped up were measured as citizens.... this was a people's war and everyone was in it."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

When the devil's move is obvious

Have you ever gotten into a fight with someone and in the midst of the fight, out of nowhere, your adversary attacks you in a way that you know -- that you KNOW -- they have come to a place of desperation because they're losing ground and they don't know what else to do but make stuff up???
And right when you thought that they were winning the fight and you were growing weary, all of a sudden you gain a burst of energy and strength and you can't help but bust up LAUGHING...?
BUT... not just any old laugh though; ohhh, no... it's a bust-a-gut-laugh-out-loud-utter-relief laugh in knowing that you were just being hit by an inflatable kiddie bat?
You know the annoying ones you win at the fair and it squeaks when it makes contact with it's target? Yeah, those ones.

Well, several weeks ago I was feeling like a complete failure and wondering if I'm really hearing God correctly in my decisions. Decisions that make no sense to me and where I felt like I was walking in the dark with only a voice directing me. I was struggling to separate His voice from my own and doubting my closeness to Him. Where is He!?

Then all of a sudden I see a light of Hope.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~John 8:12

When I first decided to be a follower of Jesus Christ I was NEVER warned that I had also entered into a spiritual war. And that this war between good and evil, right and wrong, light and darkness has existed since the beginning of mankind.
This war happens on a DAILY BASIS and most people have no idea that they're involved in it no matter if they believe in a god or not.
Those who are made aware have a choice to fight or die. Sounds dramatic, huh? It is.

We have a REAL enemy out there that hates us and will do anything, in his (limited) power, to take us out of our God-given purpose. His job is to make our lives a living hell through deceitful lies planted in our minds.     

Well, it has taken me several years in my walk to REALLY recognize this enemy.
He has several names: Lucifer, Satan, father of Lies, etc.... you get the idea.
I call him the devil and I have, for the most part, chosen to ignore him.

I never wanted to give him any credit or acknowledge him in any way just in case God was testing my faith or disciplining me for being self centered. 

Well, this time I will give credit where credit is due because he must be getting desperate for my attention to recognize his presence and give him some acknowledgement.

Okay then... hello stupid!

"I keep my eyes always on the LORD..." ~Psalm 16:8

Wow...really!!!?
That was my exact thought when I opened my email that morning to receive my daily devotions.

I couldn't help but bust out in laughter because over a year ago I would've fallen straight in the hole of darkness I have been scraping to come out of.

You see, I had NEVER in my over 25 years of having an email account gotten anything so blatantly pornographic. Ever! In almost 3 decades!
Even when I was not following Christ and living in that lifestyle did I even receive any porn.
I've got great filters for this junk but somehow it got through for the first time ever and (I believe) that because God knew this day was going to come, at this very difficult season in my life where I'm left very vulnerable to sexual sin, He made sure I was protected in every possible way with His word and His people.

For the past 2 years I've sat in a room to learn about sexual purity and relational wholeness and for the first time ever I felt the need to ask my group to hold me accountable for porn and masturbation every week since my husband and I were abstaining from sex until we went through counseling.

This would be, for me, the first time in my life that I would walk out sexual purity. It was really strange because my first memory in life was sexual. Sexual immorality was very normalized for me. I recognize it fairly quickly.

Purity is what's foriegn to me. I had to learn about purity.

And then what made me laugh even more was the scripture that Christine had right below them. Psalm 16 is all about the hope of the faithful and the Messiah's victory.

It's all about our victory in Jesus. 

That morning I laid there after a few minutes laughing and just felt the joy of the Lord pour His salve on my heart. He was SO near and because of Him...

I survived this battle.

Psalm 16 (NKJV)

1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. 
O my soul, you have said to the Lord,

You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.
As for the saints who are on the earth,
They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
Nor take up their names on my lips.

O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Before all my parents die



After my last blog I found a lot of relief and comfort in knowing that there are others out there with messed up beginnings like mine and, like me, they're trying to change that mess into a message of hope and healing for others.

It's very encouraging and healing. 

I miss my dad terribly and talking about him has gotten easier especially knowing that I have a tribe out there who understands the complexities of our story.
I know that my story will not be very common in it's totality but I want the parts that people can relate to to be heard.

Who knows... I may have been created to have several tribes.

For instance, I'm a throwaway and not everyone is a throwaway and so one of my tribes could possibly be a ban of orphans, state juvinials, adoptees, loners, introverts, isolated peeps, and so on and so forth.

Along with that messy tribe then you've got the child abused tribe (sexual, spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological, etc...) you get the idea.
Doctors and so called experts have called my abuse "extreme" and have placed labels on me like "bipolar", "manic...", "compulsive..." "victim...". Got the idea? Good because their list of labels for me goes on.
It's their list. NOT MINE!
I've had to fight long and hard to not internalize their labels upon myself and to remain free of their prescriptions.

And last but not least is, what I believe, will be my most important tribe and that is my ragtag team of messed up parents tribe. This tribe will most likely consist of adults that have grown up in homes having addict parents, religious parents, atheist parents, gay parents, divorced, cheating, abusive, domineering, good grief.... the list goes on about bad parents.

I have yet to meet anyone who has been given the diverse group of parents that I was given BUT I KNOW YOUR OUT THERE. Somewhere.

I really want to find you. The journey of life is easier when you've got company.

So, lets continue... 
because I don't want to travel alone!

"Son, even if your father and I abandon you, the Lord will hold you close" ~Psalm 27:10*

Yesterday I was reading a memoir that really got me thinking about how important it is for me to write out my story before the rest of my parents die.

I've actually read several memoirs about kids growing up and finally when their parents die they all of a sudden want to write about the horrors of their childhood and making peace with what happened.

I don't like that AT ALL!!!

There's always two sides to a story and that's where I come in.
Plus, I don't like the idea of poking at someone's character behind their back especially when they're dead.

NO WAY!!!
I want them alive and able to respond to me. I'm not scared.

I ain't waiting until they die. I want to make my peace with them while they're still alive and have the opportunity to change the course of our (currently nonexistent) relationship.
Hey, a girl can hope. I mean for goodness-sake they're suppose to be my parents. The ones that should love me the most.

I don't want to wait until they're all dead for me to allow them the chance to know that I forgive them and that I'm thankful for my life and that (God willing) I am willing to have some kind of cordial relationship.

Out of the five parents I received, the three parents that remain are "the ones" whose decisions have impacted my life the most. They are my two mothers and my biological father.

I don't want them to die not knowing the impact of their choices.
I want to give them an opportunity to change the direction of how I tell my story years from now. Lord willing.

Nothing from the past can be changed BUT there is a God being glorified through the pain of my life.

"Angel, even if your father and I abandon you, the Lord will hold you close" ~Psalm 27:10*
Parenting is hard. I get it.
  • I want them to know what I learned from their abuse, neglect, abandonment and rejection. 
  • I want them to know that their hate has taught me how to love. 
  • I want them to know that their abuse has forced me to fight against abusive situations because I know how negatively it effect children in every aspect of their life.
  • I want them to know how their racism, partiality and biases have taught me to be more inclusive with others especially with how I teach my own kids to see other races and classes.
  • I want them to know that I learned a lot about the destructive aftermath that takes place when you're not faithful in your marriage. My pain-filled childhood going through two divorces and then being blamed for the first one keeps me aware of never blaming my marital problems on my kids.
  • I want them to know that I survived the destruction of their choices and that it has become a catalyst for how I parent my kids, how I function as a wife, how I serve my community, and how I serve, walk, and breathe my Lord and Savior:
Jesus Christ.
Last but not least... I want to be FREE!

NO FEAR
NO PAIN
NO HURT
 NO HATE
NO BLAME

I want nothing that is short of what Christ died to give me!
 


(*) verses were personalized.










Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rina, burn the f*cking boat!

It's been 2 years since he's been gone.
Every Father's Day I remember 2 major events in my life: my daughter's birth (2006) and my dad's death (2015). Both events were life changing. I grieved both days.

To share the story of either events would always be a showcase of God's grace, mercy and love to the listener. But, for me; pain.
Of course the pain is only there until I receive revelation into God's bigger plan and then... AWE envelops me BUT the "awe" only comes as I trust Him with the pain. 

My dad. God's broken vessel.
For the past few weeks I've been in a state of pure sadness. A depression.

I struggle to share how unconventional my relationship with my dad was because I don't believe anyone would understand.

However, I was told that I don't need to make others understand. I just need to tell my story.


Last Father's Day I told myself that I would blog about my last dad but I struggled to find words to write.
Then I thought that I'd do it on his birthday but September came and went. Then I thought maybe it'll be best to write about him on military holidays because he was a veteran but those days  came and went. Then I thought  maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Years would be best.

With each day that passed I got even more hesitant to write about him. I kept procrastinating because  I couldn't seem to say or write about him like I did with my other dad.
My other dad was easy to write about but not this one.

I thought that time would make it easier to talk and write about him but it's not. 

Then this Father's Day, as I was preparing to celebrate my daughter's first birthday party which she had to share with her dad and grandfather, I was listening to a podcast and I heard the speaker describe what missionaries would do to show their commitment to follow through on a task to take over an island for the gospel of Jesus.

The missionaries would "burn their boats" so that they would not have any way of backing down from their calling.
As I was listening to this story I immediately saw in my mind my dad's head hung down in disappointment as he said to me in his own way (the way I remember him):

"Rina, burn the f*cking boat!"

I couldn't help but burst into tears because I knew exactly how weak my Christian walk had become. I was already disappointed in myself. I've been hiding. Cowaring in defeat because of fear.

I didn't want to talk about him or the things that he had taught me about life because he was wrong.
I loved him and I wanted to protect him by being silent but I know that if he were here today knowing what he knows now about Jesus, he would be very disappointed in me.
In fact, I believe my mother would also be disappointed in me if they heard my current whiny prayers.  They didn't raise me to whine and cower. Not even to them.

I was raised to fight. Everything. Whether I'm right or wrong, it didn't matter, I was to fight. 

In my mind I could see me sitting with my dad as a young girl on the porch having a cigarette and drink together.
I thought about what our conversation would sound like today and he would tell me to fight. He would tell me that he is okay now and that he wants me to use our relationship to help others to come to know the saving grace of Jesus. His Savior who grabbed him at the eleventh hour.

So dad....

How do I share that you were my first adult buddy?
That you taught me how to drink alcohol like a fish, smoke cigarettes like a chimney, cuss like a sailor, shoot a gun like a badass and to see the human body as a candy-coated carnival ride.
How do I share that sex was to be seen as a survival tool for financial gain? That a woman's body is the closest you'll ever get to meeting a god because ecstasy was the only god you were willing to acknowledge? How do I share your atheistic beliefs and your hate for religion? Oh, dad... and your issue with race? What a mess...


I don't know how I'm suppose to share my journey with my dad but I know I can't be the only one who has had a father like him. I'm hoping that as I share my story others who can relate will know that they are not alone.

I feel alone but I know I'm not.
hold, aim, pin-point your target, shoot!

I don't know why I miss my dad so much but I do.
I feel like I should've gotten over him a long time ago since our relationship was so dysfunctional but even as I write this my heart hurts because I know that he loved me the only way he knew how.





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When Jesus hijacks your life -- LET HIM!!!


First off, I will be honest in sharing that Jesus didn't just change my plans HE KILLED'EM!! All of them!
In fact, when I asked Him which of my plans I could hold on to He said "nothing but Me."

For several years I fought against Him but I always lost and today... I'm SO glad because I didn't know how much He wanted to bless me.

Take my advice and save yourself the headache and heartache: 
LET JESUS HIJACK YOUR LIFE.

I was raised to be very analytical and so I set a lot of goals for myself. Anything that strayed from the target was quickly eradicated.
You ever meet those kids that know exactly what they want to do when they're older? That was me.

As a young girl I had literally planned out my whole life by the time I was 14.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it and even with so many odds against me, when I turned 21... I was done.

My plan was simple -- travel the world.

Of course, I never planned on meeting Jesus... 

At twenty I had accomplished the very things I had planned on since childhood and I was still miserable. 
The people who were actively in my life were good to me and I was still miserable.
I wasn't tied down to the responsibilities of kids or marriage nor did I desire it and I was still miserable. 
I had more money and materialistic crap than I've ever had or wanted and I was still miserable.
I had my own apartment (which was uncommon for first year stewardesses) but I was traveling and staying in 5-star hotels and I was still miserable. 
I could travel anywhere in the world dirt cheap but I was still miserable.

By the world's standards, my life as a young woman looked perfect.
With all the obstacles that I had broken through to get to where I was at I should have been happy but I was miserable and extremely suicidal. I already wrote about my salvation day here.


Anyways, when I first accepted Jesus into my life I had no idea what it entailed. I figured that I'd try Him out and see what happens. If I didn't like Him then I would just leave. I had nothing to lose. Right??

BOY WAS I WRONG!!
 
 But at the end of the day, I didn't care because I couldn't get away from Him. I had fallen in love with His presence. 
When I was obedient to His promptings... He was very near
 Likewise, when I was disobedient He stepped away and waited for me to come back to Him. I knew when He was near and when He was absent.
 
When I was told that accepting Jesus was accepting an actual PERSON into my life I didn't understand but I forged ahead anyways and I lost EVERYTHING that "I believed" was important to me.
  •  The plans that I thought I wanted was exchanged for Jesus's presence, plans, and purpose for me.
  • The toxic people I thought I couldn't live without has been replaced with people who are safe to entrust with my heart and that of my children.
  • The shameful habits I thought I needed in order to feel fulfilled has Jesus walking with me as I seek hope and healing in community with His people.
  • The isolation I thought that kept me safe but in reality was keeping me hostage has been filled with people that love me and my children.
  • The marriage I never wanted gave me my very first best friend ever. He's so gracious to me it's ridiculous.
  • The children I never wanted teach me EVERY SINGLE DAY about the LOVE, MERCY, and GRACE of the God that calls me His.
 
I would NEVER have imagined my life the way it is today. Never.

"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." ~ Jeremiah 29:11


Monday, April 10, 2017

God, I forgive You. I don't want to be angry anymore.


It has taken me years to come to a place where I can finally say "God, I forgive You" and then really thank Him for giving me EVERYTHING I received in my life.

 Both the good and the evil.

I know that it sounds arrogant for a mere mortal to say such a thing about forgiving God and I've been rebuked by the churched for even implying that I was mad at Him but I believe that many people with childhood wounds, like mine, need to know that GOD IS SORRY for the evil that they've had to endure.
It was NEVER His intention for us to get hurt. I, for one, needed to know that He cares.

It is painful when children suffer at the hands of the adults in their lives and no one takes notice nor cares and then brushes off the lose of their childhood as "part of life" and that they should just "grow up and get over it." Especially when that lose includes sexual abuse.

For me, I would have rather been killed. Out of all the abuse I endured sexual abuse hollowed me out.
I learned to feel nothing. I hated being touched. I kept people at a distance and to this day I still do but God is working on me. And I am willing.
I want to feel my emotions the way they were intended to be felt.

I remember the first time that God wanted me to look at my past and I absolutely refused. He waited. Several months would go by and as I got to know Him a little better, He would point back to my past and I would get mad at Him and refuse. He waited.
A couple years went by and our relationship had really blossomed into a great friendship and then again He pointed me to my past and I finally lashed out at Him but in the middle of my fury He gave me a vision and said three words that stopped my hate dead in it's track:

"I'M SO SORRY."

He weeps for us.
Honestly, I was so shocked to hear it that I asked Him "wait, what?" and He said it again. I became undone.
I cried for what felt like forever as He spoke His love over me and His promise of protection.

I didn't realize that I was serving a God that cared about healing my past wounds. I didn't know that our relationship had become so intimate that He would apologize to His own creation. Nor did I think that something like that was even possible.

I had been reading the Bible and Jesus spoke of having that sort of intimacy with God if we surrendered our lives to Him but I didn't believe it until then. Which is a good thing because in the following year, 2016, my past punched me so hard in the face that if God had not worked with me earlier I would have been crushed by the weight of it's darkness.

When the news of my nieces and nephews sexual abuse reached me I lost my mind long enough for God to step in and remind me that He had me exactly where I needed to be.  
His timing was at work and He had full control of the situation. I just needed to trust Him. He had a plan and purpose.

Where did I fit into His plan??


Last week I sat down and had a serious heart to heart with the woman that raised me. The woman that I highly admired but also the same woman who had caused me so much pain and suffering.
We had not seen each other in almost a decade and we last spoke on the day my dad passed away, almost two years ago.
When I saw her and said "hi mom" I was reminded that this woman was everything I ever wanted to be in life. When I think of the word "strong" I think of her. Actually, anyone who has ever known my mother has described her as strong. She always said whatever she wanted to say and she didn't care who she offended. She was fierce. Both her and my father together were a fearless duo.

Speaking to her last week about my past and the pain that sexual abuse had caused me and our family was rough BUT it needed to be said. Listening to her responses was disappointing but it made me realize that God had orchestrated our meeting in His perfect timing. He had prepared me for this day.

The thought of speaking to my mom always caused me a great deal of anxiety because I always felt like I was a pauper speaking to the queen BUT on that day God reminded me of who I was in Him and He gave me the strength to not only speak His truth to her but He also strengthened me to love her in her brokenness.

In the end I was able to tell her that I had forgiven her for everything from my past and that I have forgiven the family as well and that if they wanted to ostracize my children and I from the family I was okay with it and I forgive them for that too.

Hate and unforgiveness is too heavy a burden for me and my children to carry.

I'm done being angry!!!


"Unless the Lord had been my help,
My soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul."~ Psalm 94:17-19