Friday, September 25, 2009

To The Kanakuk Community - Satan Preys, Jesus Prays

There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors." Adrienne Rich

Dear Friends,

In the movie The Music Within, a young aspiring speaker was told to 'get a life', go live a little and get some experience, earn the right to be heard and have a perspective/opinion. I could not write a blog, with empathy and insight, 'To The Parents of Columbine", or "To the Parents of Virgina Tech". With sympathy and opinions, yes . . . . but my imagination can only take me so far. Truth is, I don't know how those families feel. But I do know how Kanakuk feels, so for you I relate with empathy. Life is funny that way. It does afford us trials that we may earn a perspective, and hopefully a right to be heard. So with that being said I will share what is on my heart.

When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.
-Robert Pirsig

I didn't feel it was right to take up so much room on the thread that many parents, etc. are writing on. I'm not part of your community, physically speaking, however I am a Christian, a mom, and the office administrator for a Christian camp. (I know that if it were our camp we would be absolutely devastated.) But most importantly I'm a survivor of sexual abuse. So in a sense I am a part of your community . . . of believers, of victims . . .of the confused and wounded, of the down right angry.

If you're going through hell, keep going.
-Winston Churchill

If you've read any of my earlier blogs, which I know you have not because this is my first time to even let anyone know I started a blog, I stated that it would be awhile before I talked of these things, having just come out of a summer where I share my testimony over and over and over. But in light of what has happened, I believe the time to blog on it is now.

"I'm doing this so that people who feel at 21 their lives are over, or they don't know how to have an intimate relationship, that they can be beautiful again."

My story, which I will certainly not share in complete detail, begins when I was around eight. My abuse didn't come at the hands of a camp counselor, or director, but it did come from someone highly respected in the church. Someone very active in his community, in society. Someone that, until that point, I trusted as far as I remember. Someone that was supposed to protect me, love me, teach me the things of the Lord. My father. This went on for eight years. I understand manipulation, fear, and the horrible consequences of sexual abuse to a person's soul.

Please note: I do not know the people involved in your case, I am NOT a counselor, I do not have answers, only my experience and lessons learned through the school of hard knocks and the love of Jesus. Reading this may give you some insight, or help you to undertand the outraged victims better, I do not know for sure how this will help some of you, I just know it will . . . I see the fruit of it all the time.

"People out there must be told about the self-loathing that follows abuse and how it's the greatest breakage in divine law to mutilate themselves, as I have done."

There are many questions. For one, to the parents of the children directly affected and those not directly affected who know Mr. Newman - or Pete as most of you know him - how could you not know? (Quote: When I was little, my mother always told me to beware of strangers. Today, I tell my children to beware of Uncle Chester, their Mother's Molester.”) “Molesters Do Not Wear an Ugly Mask. They Wear A Shield of Trust.”

Simply put, predators are masters at their game. They are cunning. They've thought everything through, sometimes for years. They've instilled their authority, relied on innocent trust, they tell the same old lines they all use. They have an amazing gift to shift the blame to their victims, some make threats . . . silence and secrecy is of the utmost. They 'understand' their victims, so they say, when others don't, and befriend them where a child may be lacking in some way - not anyone's fault, it is part of the human experience to be lacking in some way, or needing in some way, especially at these ages. Predators twist the truth, lure their victims in . . . . I'll say it again, they are masters at the game. They live double lives. The world sees only what they want the world to see, and they live their lie very convincingly. Trust me on this.

Bitter seeds have been planted, and they will at some point, without a deep intervention of Jesus and counseling, produce a harvest. May be years from now before the affects come full swing, and they may manifest themselves in weird ways unknown or misunderstood by the victim and those who love them. Don't let your children, or yourselves, off the hook when it comes to counseling. I refused counseling. Why? Shame, embarressment, fear, and the stigma that only 'sickos' go to psychiatrists. There is also a sense of loyalty to the one who abused you because, believe me, they have developed a relationship with you that evokes feelings of guilt if you tell anyone what they've done. You feel sorry for them, you worry about the consequences to them and to others . . . .It is a stronghold that is not easily broken in some. This I know. It is a mixed bag of emotions, very confusing, especially when "God" and 'trust' are in the mix. Children of sexual abuse are far more likely to be depressed, have feelings of unworthiness and thoughts of suicide, rebel against authority and act out sexually as well. It is sad, but true. I've experienced it all.

"You decide whether you look at your reality or live pretending these feelings don't exist."

"You have to crawl into the wounds to discover what your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin."

As I mentioned before, my Dad was respected in the church, or at least as far I remember. He was called on to lead prayers, to sometimes bring the message. He became this 'holy man' when we were there. But he became someone different at home. He was angy, abusive, negative, manipulative, perverted and controlling. YES, when there is such a contrast between the two lives any kid would make the rationalization that God is a fake. To me, God was mean, a liar, hateful and desiring for me to go to hell. I had no chance of salvation, or so I thought. I was evil, damaged goods . . . trash. I am quite sure I am not the only church-going kid in the world to come to this conclusion in light of abuse . . . .

My mother suspected. My brother suspected. I denied it. They were going through their own form of hell with him anyway. When I rebelled, my father tried all kinds of punishments, one of them being 'killing my beloved pet'. I got the message, I was not in control - HE was. I was nothing. So I lived with that belief and it governed much of my life. My brother, who is now serving a fifteen year sentence in prison, lives to this day with the same belief. He too never received counseling. If it affected him so deeply, perhaps steering him so wrong . .it can and will most certainly affect others in life the same way. A personal relationship with Jesus and Christian counseling are imperative. I cannot stress it enough. You must face your feelings - you must despite what others tell you, advise you with scripture to back up their advise - you must face this head on, embrace what you feel whether it 'feels' godly or not, ask God - it is safe and ok to question God, he is, after all, your father.

For many years, I shut down that place inside myself that needed to rage, cry, ask questions and basically just express herself. I made a conscious choice when I put 'Me' on the record not to stay a victim anymore."

"The last thing I want to be known as is 'The Girl Who Got Abused. The big turn around you make in your head is from victim to survivor."

Remember, WE ARE AS SICK AS OUR SECRETS! If counseling has a negative connotation, then find a Christian 'life coach'. There is no negative connotation associated with a life coach. But let me warn you, do your homework. Some counselors are as sick as the predators themselves and further abuse their clients because they become aroused by the incidents when victims recite their stories. Yes, we live in a confusing and twisted world. I hate to be the one to tell you if you have not come to this realization on your own before now.

To the children affected by this, those who have come forward, or want to come forward - be strong and courageous. I was not. I was a wimp. I ran. I would not testify against my Dad.

Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.
-Jean Jacques Rousseau

Behind each human face is a hidden world that no one can see.
We cannot continue to seek outside ourselves for the things we need from within.
The demons will haunt us if we remain afraid.
Silence is one of the great victims of modern culture.
-John O'Donohue

Let me just say I've had to live with that guilt, other children have been hurt by him. He was arrested years after I left for abusing boys and girls from the neighborhood. It made all the headlines in my small home town. Friends from high school who had NO idea what I went through called me. I was humiliated, shamed. But maybe, just maybe, if I hadn't been so fearful, so self indulgent in my own feelings. . .I don't know. . . . maybe others could have been saved. I'm afraid to think of who all has suffered at his hands. His sexual addiction. Yes, it is an addiction, like drugs, alcohol, food . . .

Alcholics should not pass by a bar on their way home at night, drug addicts should stay away from friends who do drugs, food addicts shouldn't pass by a donut shop every morning on the way to dropping the kids off at school, and sexual addicts, pedaphiles, have no business working around children. When the stage is set, satan moves in. God told Cain, "behold, sin crouches at the door" . . . change your thoughts Cain, get a grip Cain, get over yourself Cain or you're going to do something you shouldn't, like kill your brother. Cain did not listen. He killed Abel. He gave in to his lust, his appetite for revenge. I find it highly unlikely that Mr. Newman 'fell into sin'. I believe this is probably something he has struggled with all his life. He knew . . . . I feel sure of it . . . he knew his temptations and struggles with this. Funny how religious some of the sickest people are. There are churches, bible beating worshipping and praising God churches that all of the members attend naked. Nakedness, sex and religion is not a new mix.

One of my close relatives, since the time he was nineteen, preached the gospel. Yes, he was a bonafide preacher, and counselor of the gospel. When my mother remarried, he banned her from his presence because she had 'no right to marry' (divorce is the 'unpardonable sin' in some 'religions', regardless of the circumstances). A few years ago he died of cancer. On his deathbed the confessions started coming in a steady stream. He was living a double life. He confessed one extra marital affair after another. He was always moving his family, changing jobs, from church to church to church. Why? Affairs. And come to find out, he no longer slept with his wife. He no longer ate in the same room with his wife. This had been going on for years. When he passed, he was involved in yet another affair with a woman he was counseling who attended the church he was pastoring at the time. Five hundred members. Five hundred, probably, unsuspecting, trusting members. God help us all. How do we know who to trust? I don't know the answer to that one, other than Jesus, and we do the best we can.

When I found this out, the adultry, I was devastated. My first thought, being a new babe in Christ, is that Jesus is a fraud. If his power was real this could never have happened. I could not trust Jesus to save me from myself, the devil, much less the wounds of others if a preacher of the gospel could live a double life like this. Preach against it from the pulpit and commit it every chance he got. It threw me in a terrible tail spin. The more I thought about it, tried to make sense of it, the more it was spiritual suicide for me. It took me a long time to come back to Jesus, and try to trust him with all my heart. I know people are responsible for their own actions, but I often forget this fact, and that we all have free will. The natural reaction is 'where is God?". "How can this happen?" I don't have all the answers by any stretch of the imagination, but I know in my knower that Jesus is real, loving, good, and has good plans for us, and not to harm us. I just know it, even though life often looks quite contrary to that fact. Believe me, I've dealt with my hatred of God for allowing these things to happen in my life. He is big enough to handle my feelings . . .

When I was a pre-teen, or early teen, I was playing the organ for a bed-ridden sick elder of the church. We were at his house for lunch and everyone left to either prepare lunch or go outside to play, etc. I was asked to play the organ because he enjoyed it so much, so I was left behind with this man. Old, sick man. After a few minutes he was sitting beside me on the bench. I kept playing. He ran his hand up my shirt and felt my breast. I kept playing. He patted me on the breast and nodded his head in approval with a sickly grin. I dropped my hands to my side, my stomach became ill, I was unsure of what to do. This man had given me shiny new one dollar coins every year to celebrate the new year, as he did all the children in church. (During the 70's this was a big deal.) He was a friend of my family. He was an elder of the church. His wife made wonderful cookies and let us eat honey straight off the comb. I was devastated. It took me a long time to tell my mother, who told my father, who approached this man. Do you believe my Dad protected me? No. The elder told him that he had seen girls in church act jealous of me, and he thought it was because I stuffed my bra, so he wanted to help me make more friends with these girls by advising me not to stuff my bra. But first 'he had to investigate if I was stuffing my bra or not' but, he discovered, I wasn't so he didn't say anything. My Dad said he understood his thinking, his reasoning, for 'touching' me - it made perfect sense in his eyes. Birds of a like feather flock together . . .

My Dad is seventy. Old and sick, as in very sick. Yet he is, probably as I write this, forcing his wife to pose nude for pictures so he can put them on the internet. How do I know? She said so. She's kind of a simpleton, much much younger than he. But she's getting sick of it . . . .God give her strength to fight. I don't know what to do. She's got to stop this.

When he got arrested for abusing the neighborhood kids he burned the pictures he forced me to take because he knew the police were coming. Believe me, predators may play the innocent card but they know they are doing something wrong. They know, yet they justify, they know. And their addiction drives them, unless they are able and willing to give it to Jesus. I would never trust someone with this history to be with children. Never. No matter what. It is too much strain for them, too tempting. Before my Dad was arrested for abusing those kids, he was taking them to church faithfully. The members of that church who knew full well what happened to my family, what we went through, some of them being relatives, told my mom, 'You should see how good he is with those kids. He's changed." My mother tried to warn them, they didn't listen. He had not changed. They were fooled yet again. :(

Why didn't my mother get me out of this mess? She didn't know, she suspected, she wanted to but she didn't know what to do, and didn't want to falsely accuse. She had no money, she had no where to take us, she had no job, and he threatened her that he would kill us if she ever did leave. She just didn't know what action to take. And, to top it off, she had no proof, and her Christian convictions would not allow her to leave him. Sad. Sad, sad, sad. She has turned her back on Christianity. I cannot blame her.

I do not know if I have said anything at all that resonates with anyone who is reading this, who is hurting, that there is hope. Up to this point, probably not. But please allow me. Jesus is the only thing that saved me. From my past, from myself, from fear of my future. No man saved me, the church didn't save me, Jesus did. Jesus is the only way. Not religion, Jesus. Do I still struggle? Yes, some days more than others, some days not at all. But other days something will trigger me. My husband has paid a high price because of all of this, when he was not the one to do it. Not long after I was saved I found a library book called, "Healing Victims of Sexual Abuse". I cried my way through it. Then my husband was invited in to my world of shame, and he cried his way through it with me, understanding me better, and filled with hope that there is hope.

I can tell you right now, no matter what you are feeling, no matter your fears, your confusion, your outrage, your questions - there is hope and there is healing. There is, I know. I've earned the right to tell you this. You must seek it. Please don't assume all is fine. Get help and trust God. Press forward with honesty.

Quote: The desire to forget the past is a form of suicide.
I have come to believe that many of us would sooner die than remove our masks and stand barefaced before the world.
-richard bode

Romans 8:28 (The Message)

26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Quote: If you always watch the demons behind you, then you will never see the angels ahead.

"The idea is to rescue myself from the role of a victim. That I have a choice left. Though I can't change what has happened, I can choose how to react. And I don't want to spend the rest of my life being bitter and locked up."

Jesus can take any mess and make it a message. What you have endured, unfortunately, is not the exception in this world anymore. It is more common than not. There will be others, and you can be there for them but it WILL take time.

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32). That is my mission in life now, to share my testimony - which qualifies me to speak about such things. My sexual abuse teacher in counseling had never been abused. She damaged me with impatience, and scrutiny in my healing process. I truly believe that in some things only someone else who has been there can truly help, if only by listening.

If you have made it this far in my posting, thank you for allowing me to speak into your life. I am praying for all of you. I wish I had more answers, sound, solid advice that would quickly fix this but there isn't a quick fix to this kind of wound - it just cuts too deep, but this I know - you must Choose Life, Jesus WILL walk you through.

Fights are rarely fun. In fact, given a choice, most of us would gladly eschew fighting altogether. After all, constant squabbling and bickering with others can sap our strength, zap our enthusiasm and wreck havoc on our day. And generally make us feel lousy to boot. But someone must take the stand.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big John is sick today. It's raining here, yucky weather . . . . he's going to the doc. Pray for him!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pork fat and sweet tea

My camp team came over the other night for potatoes, carrots, sweet tea and pork fat. Ugh! What a horrible cut of meat, it was supposed to be roast. When one of the men walked in he said, "Why does it always smell like Christmas in your house?"
Oh, I don't know. . . maybe the butterscotch candle, or warm sugar cookies and vanilla poundcake simmering oils mixed with hot rolls and pork (fat) roast? He had no idea how flattered I was by his non-chalant off-the-cuff remark. His question incapsulated my goal, verified my sucess. Of course I had all my lights aglow from their perspective perches: ficus trees, the hearth, the balcony, every corner, nook and cranny. I love a gentle, 'smells like love' home full of warm fuzzies. I need to share my home more, it is a must. A gift of God for fellowship. I've failed til now . . . I've been kind of a hermit most of the time for the past, oh let's say, 'some-odd-years' - too embarressed to say. I was too holy for awhile to go anywhere - had to be home praying or studying. What a moron, life was passing me by as I compared myself to the Apostle Paul who was in the wilderness undergoing his secluded training in the school of the Holy Ghost. Then I was too insecure after the horrible 'church incident' and I wasn't sure if I was coming or going anymore, or if Jesus was a liar or a joke or a man of his word . . . . I had to get that figured out laying on the swing and crying for a period of my life. Then I was too preoccupied with 'my time' and 'the house isn't clean' or 'we can't afford it' . . . . whatever.

Anyway, no one but me cared if the roast was mostly fat. Mr. Jiggly Puff, that cat of mine, ate the attention up (and begged for more) and my son adored beating whoever stepped up to bat on video games. No one wound up in tears but it would have been ok if they had (and its usually me anyway.) We hugged, we ate, we talked, we laughed a little, we had coffee and pie for heaven's sake and I got a new candle for a gift. . . . now that's a successful night folks, I don't care who you are, that's success. We all need nights like this in our life.

Five O'clock Lightening

Five o'clock lightening (in baseball 5 o'clock lightening is a game where the hits and runs finally come at the end of the game pulling it out by the skin of their teeth) . . . a late bloomer, late-comer, slow resurrection - I am all these things. Wish at times I could change that, but I can't. Wish I had come to Jesus YEARS ago, but I didn't. It is what it is, and it is GREAT because at least I am here now.

What good is a $90,000 Benz if not enough gas in th tank and the streets and highways are decaying to the point of third world contries? If things are as bad as some say (and we know it is) and thousands of American soldiers are dead and more are dying, probably as we speak, how can we enjoy 'the good life'.

Rome is burning son and the problem is not with the people who started this, they are past irredeemable, the problem is with us - all of us - who do nothing, who just fiddle and try to maneauver around the flame and I'll tell you something, there are people out there all around the world fighting to try and make things better.

Is it better to try and fail than not try at all; what is the difference if you wind up in the same place?

At least you did something! . . . . . paraphrased from Lions for Lambs (movie)

Quotes of the day: Though I am one I am still one and though I cannot do everything I can still do something, so because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. Dorothy Bernard

America is hungry for people who believe in something.
Henry Hyde

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill

Prayer for the Day: God, I am fully aware that 'Rome is burning' and I for one desire to dash my seemingly insignificant glass of water on my section of the city. Please help me to see where fires rage in my own back yard, the wisdom to bring water to the fire and the courage to act. In Jesus' name, Amen

Luke 16:24 So he shouted, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool off my tongue, because I am suffering in this fire.'

Scriptures: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beautiful Boys

I am very tickeled to discover that Anne Lamott wrote a review for Beautiful Boy, included on the front cover no less. It's as if an old friend recommended this book just for me; "Knowing you Kimberly", (which she doesn't) "I know you will find this book irristable, full of pain yet beauty as well . . . full of reflection after what you went through with your own son." And those terms of endearment draw me in . . .

I am about half way through the book, and I went to sleep crying last night, even though I've made it through my own ordeal. I do have a friend I spent the evening with Saturday that is going through something similiar, as we speak, with her son. It is so very, very sad to me. She's got more fear and more pain on the horizon, and no choice is ideal. All the choices have their good points and their drawbacks. But as parents - as human beings - we can only make decsions based on what we've got to work with, and we have to remember that everyone, even our beloved children, have a free will.

I told her when she called, "I've got ears, and I can listen. I've got experience, I can tell you our mistakes and our triumphs but unfortunately I am short on answers since we never found the answer for our son." But after sharing and listening she told me she had a clearer picture of what to do, and had found renewed strength to do what she needed to do. I do not know what it was that I said that gave this to her, but we often have no idea how profound our simplest words can be to another person, often without our ever knowing it.

Quote: You can never tell what passes through a man's heart by the look on his face.

In sexual abuse class a young woman once said, quite abruptly, "I'll tell you straight up, I hate God!" I was a bit stunned, especially being a babe in Christ just developing my relationsip with Jesus. However I would discover later on (like that night driving home) that I too hated God (didn't know it until she said that). And that realization is when my true healing began . . . .

I have four beautiful boys . . . . I pray that whoever reads this never has to go through the horrors of drug addictions, children that break the law and alcohol abuse. But even if you do they will always be beautiful to you . . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reunited and it feels so . . . (I'll let you know) . .

I've been reconnecting with some old high school friends. Aahhh, the world of Facebook. If you watched Titanic you'll remember that when Rose died at the end and goes back to the ship . . . everyone is there, elated to see her, waiting. Jack stands atop the grand staircase and extends his hand to her, welcoming her back with an embrace and a kiss. A glorious reunion. Well, I'm not expecting it to be like that for me. In fact, it's a little scary for me, returning to old friends and memories. I am the 'girl that got pregnant in school'. In fact I hold the prestigious title of being the first girl to attend high school (this particular high school anyway) through full term pregnancy, sitting cock-eyed in my desk with a protruding belly and leaky breasts during Government class.

Even though I was popular in school and heavy into sports, when I got pregnant and missed my Senior year, more or less, I was pretty much forgotten - no one's fault really, just happens. And not being too good at keeping in touch with people, and carrying around a lot of guilt inside, I guess I chose to stay forgotten. So if there is fault or blame to be assigned it would be mine, after all I'm the one 'who did it' and eventually slunk into obscurity yet at the same time hitting the world scene determined to become someone and not come back until I had accomplished this. Wrong. (Well, sort of wrong. Jesus is setting me straight on exactly what that looks like!)

I got married in high school as well, to my so-called highschool sweetheart. WHAT A MESS. Thank God that whole nightmare is behind me. Three sons later, and two marriages to the same man . . . . I finally learned this is never going to change.
I could say more about that but guess I won't bore you with the details of it all.

Even though I was popular in school and did well, and had a very bubbly personality at times, I also had a moody, broody, short-tempered and terribly insecure side. Not one of my friends, not one, ever knew what I went through at home. It wouldn't be until years and years later when my Dad was arrested for abusing some neighbor kids that one of my best high school friends questioned me about it (I grew up in a very small town). I was so humiliated, openly now, but I had always carried that humiliation and shame in my life secretly and it really, really messed me up. I guess that's why I clung for so long to a man that had no respect for me, love for me, nor could he even tell me the simplest of truths or stay home to be a faithful husband or loving father, yet I held on for dear life. In all fairness though, we were just a couple of kids making mistakes and dragging little innocent lives into our mess.

Anyway, who are we kidding, I was OBSESSED. Funny how we hang on to the very things that poison our lives and destroy us from the inside, like a bunch of termites eating away at our hearts.

The silver lining? With Jesus I've overcome that humiliation as well and the terrible insecurities it evoked and have been remarried for twenty two years now. :)

Anyway, back to high school friends. Missing your Senior year is a big deal. Big deal. I lost most of my friends, for lack of a better way to put it. Life went on, but without me. And when I attended a reunion about ten years ago I left feeling completely and utterly empty and alone. It didn't help that I had hair extensions to my butt, weighed a whoppping 100 lbs. with a (great?) can-tan and short shorts. What would make me think that they would embrace such an outward disply of my insecurities? Good grief, what an ass. They, of course, didn't; that's another lesson learned of the foolish things we do to impress people who usually run the other way from our stupid efforts to 'be somebody'. Plus I still had a desire for my x-husband to eat dirt, be jealous when he saw how great I looked and be sorry he cheated on me - repeatedly. He was foolish for letting me go and I wanted him to squirm in that realization. He was a not show and I was like a balloon with a slow, annoying leak as the night wore on.

It is true that when you divorce you divide things, and friends is one of them. Some of the kids that I was friends with in school didn't choose my side when the divorce came, they stayed 'loyal' to HIM. I was hurt, and felt alienated and viewed everything through a wounded lense, so I'm sure I'd see things differently now if looking through their eyes. In fact, looking back I was SOOOOO desperate, and so pathetic I wouldn't have wanted to be my friend either. I didn't add anything to people's lives, I subtracted. And that's the truth. I would not have liked me either. In fact, that's the whole crux of the problem - I hated me.

Anyway, now that I am trying to reconnect with some of my old pals I fear rejection. But I will not bow to that, I will reach out no matter. I desire to treat them with respect, and love and acceptance. No matter what. I'm a different person now, which is no guarantee that they will embrace me or want to include me in their lives this far down the line. But maybe, just maybe, they will. I'm willing to stick my neck out there and take a chance. Even though many of their lives - well all actually - seem to be going smoothly and seemlessly I know that not everything that glitters is gold. In other words, people only show us what they want us to see. Statistics alone tell us that behind some of those fronts are broken hearts, sick bodies, sick souls, lonliness . . . . casualties of war we call life. And if any one of them, no matter who, what or why, need a friend I am determined to be there, if possible, to mininster to their lives and share Jesus' love with them. Share the real ME with them . . . if given the chance.

So, either I believe my "friends speech" or I'm a hypocrit . . . . truth is, I've been preaching to myself more than these kids at camp, and when I read Tuesdays with Morrie it stirred my heart with a longing for friends. . . . . so wish me luck in building new relationships with old friends.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Serpents and vile things

So, the director of camp found a snake in his office this morning. This is not surprising. I found a snake in the supply closet my first day of work here. We work in the 'wilderness ya know' . . . . sports, adventure and 'wilderness' camp . . . this stuff happens. Anyway, it reminded me of when I got a rattlesnake caught in my hair. A rattlesnake? Gee whiz, how did that happen? Well, I'm glad you asked . . . .

It was many moons ago . . . I was a radio deejay then and had been assigned to cover the Rattle Snake Festival in Taylor, Texas. It was, ummm, interesting. I was put into a pit, yes full of rattlesnakes, with short shorts and boots on. As a gimmick (which quite honestly was not all that funny to me) a handler came up behind me and wrapped a snake around my neck - of course he was holding it very firmly by the neck just behind the head, however the scales got caught in my hair - MY ENORMOUS 80'S HAIRSPRAYED LONG HAIR (even though this was in the 90's). It was not a quick fix untangling me (and me with a tender scalp to boot!) and I was fit to be tied. Of course, I had an audience of people who cheered, jeered, and ate it up. Perhaps this is what a successful stint looks like. Maybe, just maybe, they thought this whole thing was rigged; a stage act to entice the masses to laughter, or heart pounding excitement. For me it was definately the latter . . . .I think I peed myself (well, not actually but it makes for a slightly better story). I did scream.

I sat on top of a billboard off of I35 once and broadcasted a show from there. It was fun, interesting, kinda stupid - we had our reasons. There was a song, can't remember it to save my life now but pretty sure it was a Trisha Yearwood song, that had a 23 second intro before the vocals kicked in. I LOVED to talk through the intro, very conversational, casually, all the way up to the lyrics. I had the timing down perfect, I knew right when to quit talking because I knew the song too well to step on the vocals. But to the guys running the board, it would always make them nervous. I remember being on top of that billboard just a talking away over the intro and the guy running the board was panicking that I was going to run ontop of the vocals (I could hear him in my earphone but the audience of course could not). I enjoyed making him sweat . . . .oh the silly things we get wound up about! And some things in life are just that - silly, not worth the time to get our knickers in a twist over. But then there's the things in life that wound so very, very deeply . . . .

I think about that rattlesnake caught in my hair, his venom so close to me. It's like electricity, if mishandled it can sure cause some damage, like life threatening damage. That's why we have to keep control over it. It's also like unforgiveness, or anger or uncontrolled lusts and impulses. If we can't keep control over these things they'll take a bite out of us that cuts all the way to the bone, and takes forever - as in forever - to heal. Even when part of it heals, another part festers and gets infected, and it never seems to truly heal.

That's where I am with my Father. Where I've always been with my Father. I want to heal. I've forgiven him, only because Jesus gave me the strength. I talk to him sometimes, I tell him I love him . . . truth is I do love him and always will - that's how God wired the child and parent relationship . . .I was with him during his last surgery, I took him in and paid for one of his doctor visits, made sure he had food in his house . . . "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee," Exodus 20:12. "Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee," Deuteronomy 5:16

But I'm still afraid of him because I'm not sure 'anyone' or anything is holding him firmly behind the back of the head, around his neck, keeping his venom away from me -No Higher Power - namely, Jesus. Not that God forces anybody to behave, it's a mind set, a belief system, a Love for Jesus that keeps us in check. He claims to know Jesus but has never asked for forgiveness, so how can he know Jesus - I mean that's a logical question. I believe he is 1. in denial and 2. not so sure he was in the wrong anyway, I mean he can justify himself - no problem. But not admitting wrong over years of misconduct, or being able to see the damage caused in the wake of repeated actions doesn't exemplify a life in or the knowledge of the Jesus that I've come to know, and his love.

If he doesn't know Jesus - which like I said, I can't believe he can and live the way he does - it is apparent then that nothing is holding him back from striking again. . . see what I mean? That's why I can't trust to be around him. He is SOOOOOO hung up on sex - he continues to ruin lives over sex - so I cannot trust him, even at the age of 70. How utterly ridiculous!

<< Luke 10:19 >>

"Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.

This is why I love Jesus. He doesn't abuse me. He loves me, and not in some twisted way. He is patient with me as I overcome - by his strength and authority - the intense negative feelings for my father, among other things. He has walked my husband and I through sexual abuse together so my husband can better understand me, and what he's up against. Jesus cares, this I know. He's not a pansy _ss either, he doesn't let me get by with acting like a spoiled child and doing it my way, but without him - and I lived for many, many years without him -I had no hope. Why wouldn't I want to submit to his way of doing things?

This is one reason I thoroughly relate to Anne Lamott in her plight with her mother. She kept her in the closet for two years (well, her ashes) because she couldn't bring herself to forgive her enough to let her out. It just took time, healing and lots of Jesus.

I think of the blind man that Jesus laid hands on for healing. The blind man says, "Now I see men walking around like trees". Hummm, the healing isn't complete then, so Jesus laid hands on him again. That's me, but I think Jesus is on his twenthieth round at least and I'm still not seeing things clearly . . . . I still 'see men walking around like trees', for lack of a better way to describe where I am in my healing process.

The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida
22They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
24He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."

25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly

Oh well, as Joyce Meyers says, "I may not be where I want to be but Thank God I'm not where I use to be" . . .Later

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crackpots and Crockpots

Finished my last book, "Plan B, More Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott. Equally as good as Traveling Mercies. I dare say she and I are kindred spirits.

Great weekend just passed. I got a hankering for a new lamp, 'new to me that is. As I've told you, I love to treasure hunt so I always choose Goodwill over Walmart or any other retail store first. It's the thrill of the hunt, and for some reason I can justify spending money there whereas I wouldn't spend it at a regular store. Go figure . .

Anyway, one corner of my house is too dark and its bugging me, like bad bugging me. It makes me restless. My hope was to find two lamps, matching, so I could also use one in the hallway as opposed to taking the Victorian lamp from my bedroom and using it. For you to have an appreciation for my house you would just have to see it I guess. It is probably an understatement to say that I love lights and I've got them everywhere, not overkill, just everywhere. Christmas lights, chili pepper lights, lights with flowers and pine cones. I also love candles, oil lamps, western lamps, Victorian lamps and colored light bulbs. I love their warmth.

Long story short, no luck at Goodwill - either one. I only tried two, didn't have time for another stop because some of my kids and grandkids were coming for dinner and I needed to get home. Found one anyway at Walmart, not something I was initially crazy about but I adore it now. So goodbye restless heart fretting over the dark corner. I wish it were that easy to light up dark corners of my heart . . . takes much, much longer I'm afraid, and a strong dose of Jesus.

We had chicken and rice with green beans and my daughter-in-law made a caramel, pecan cheese cake that we devoured with coffee before the games began. We love to play games with our family, matching wits . . . but many times us old folks get our pants beat off. No, not that bad (all the time). . . but we usually do find ourselves defeated by night's end. It is not because we go easy on them either, when we play we have one thing in mind, one common goal: BEAT THE KIDS, destroy them, do not let them win at any cost. They have no mercy on us either, so I do not feel bad in the slightest. We played Phase 10. I skipped my son as much as possible, and giggled with the utmost glee about doing it.

Papa Shaun got out some of his military stuff and gave the kids and grandbabies some cool stuff. They were thoroughly impressed with their gifts. It blessed my heart to see them blessed. In all honesty I would have never thought they would want military garb.

The next afternoon I slow cooked homemade chicken and rice soup in the crockpot and finished my book. Rainy day, not good for much else than reading, cooking and turning on my lights, lighting up some candles, writing some letters, burn a little insense, pet Mr. Jiggly Puff more than ususal (the cat) and put together another gift to mail out. A teddy bear and a copy of the book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom. I picked someone at random from the phone book . . . . I just hope it speaks to someone's heart, and brings a 'hug' into their life. I plan to mail it today.

When I was cooking with my crockpot my mind wandered back to a familiar story, one that never evades my memory any time I slow cook with a crockpot. When I was an EMT I responded to a call to a local bar; a murder by stabbing to be exact. We performed CPR for at least 30 minutes but to no avail. When starflight arrived, after three failed attempts with the defibilator, death was pronounced. As we gathered ourselves together and picked up our equipment I'll never forget what another EMT said. "Well, I've got a roast slow cooking so guess I better get going". The sureality of the fact that even in the face of death life just goes on; the world's heart just keeps on a beating without skipping a beat at all really got to me. And the total irreverance and disrespect, the lack of concern for the loss of life we experienced there by the curious patrons with blood shot eyes whistling for me and making cat calls astounded me. The fact that death doesn't always knock on the door and let us know it is coming in sunk deep into my heart. One minute this man was playing pool, the next he was stabbed twice in the belly and died in a room full of strangers, some just hard working men but mostly crackpots and alcoholics.

As the Public Information Officer it was my duty to report on this to the paper, as with all calls, and I can tell you, what I experienced deep down in my spirit that night was the beginning to my end as an EMT. That dead boy reminded me of my homeless, drug [addicted] brother, and how this could have very well been him. Sadly enough I could not shake the deep, dark well I found myself falling into.

Talk to someone. If you are hurting, lost, scared, not sure what to think or how to process something that has happened . . . talk to someone. Don't do what I did, don't over-react or shoot from the hip, don't quit and throw away something you've worked hard for, TALK TO SOMEONE.

If you are alive and breathing, don't waste this gift. Tell someone you love them, they need to hear it.

Peace and blessings to you! :)