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."