|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 life. The process to assimilate me was immediate.
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.|
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.|
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.
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.|
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.|
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.|
This blog. About him.