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!

    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