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
 ...run 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


    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

    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.