Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sunday Shortie: Single Minded Morning

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Another Sunday Shortie. A few quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

Beautiful morning. The sun is shining,  the birdies are all twitter-pated. Coffee on the front porch, stiff and black. Neighbors running leaf blowers way too early.  A dog under my feet wanting a little rubdown.

I like freedom. I enjoy being single. Mornings remind me just how much I like this newest concept of alone time.

Most of my divorced friends and acquaintances  remarried, many within a  year of signing  papers. On the whole, they seem happy with their decision but I’m suspicious enough to wonder sometimes. Occasionally,  I ponder  this foreign concept of life with someone who actually likes you and wonder how the mornings play out.

I’m guessing they get up and smile at each other. Stumble through coffee without getting nervous enough to hit the carafe against the counter and shatter the glass. No one gets angry about grounds spilled in the sink.  They ask each other, ‘What do you want to do today?’  They might work together painting the bedroom or weeding the flowerbeds. They get more accomplished as two rather than one.

That sounds nice. It’s just not on my agenda.

Marriage is a commitment that takes work under the best of circumstances. I don’t understand those who want to jump back in so soon.  Maybe there’s something missing but I’m just not sure I’ll ever get enough of this blessed stillness.

I Like It Here

Mornings were never my own. I gave away thousands to someone hell-bent on their destruction. Control was his thing. Keeping us all off balance, forever focused on the minutia of his ever changing demands made his day. And I am tired.

During those last few years before escape, I learned to find God in moments stolen between explosions. I’d sit on the deck, quiet my troubled heart and listen. No laundry list of prayer requests, no deliver-me-or-I-perish drama. Just me and my Creator and a few quiet moments to worship for His infinite goodness.

These days,  I wake up slow and ask what’s on the Father’s agenda. I tell Him how wonderful He is. Coffee on the porch, then inside for some time working on His latest project. I tell Him about the kids as if He didn’t already know and ask advice on the latest crisis. Grab a plate of grits and head back out in jammies. He’s never complained, not once. My Lord makes me smile.

Nothing explodes, no one outlines my duties for the day, then tells me exactly how things will be done or else. God has yet to push me against the counter, trap me in a corner or block my way out of the refrigerator. I’m learning I don’t have to look over my shoulder all the time.

I’m free to serve God and serve others. That’s a privilege I don’t take lightly, one I don’t particularly want to give up. I do understand the Father can heal through new relationships. I also fully believe that the One who formed me in my mother’s womb can heal all the hurting places. In fact, I’m counting on it.

Now every morning, I turn to Jesus and see if He wants coffee. So far, He hasn’t taken me up on the offer but who knows?

There’s always tomorrow.

Sunday Shortie: Delayed

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Today’s Sunday Shortie is delayed.  The post is written, but certain persistent types keep standing over the keyboard wiggling their eyebrows. I can’t seem to write the last paragraph with such naughty distractions.

Heading out for a little downtime with the kiddies. Will post a few thoughts this evening~

Kids, Sex and Goodwill for All

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Besides painting,  something  quite fascinating overran my calendar. I’m reading about sex.

Let’s all take a moment to grasp the enormity of this revelation.

Why in heaven’s name would Ida Mae be reading  a book on physical intimacy when she is no longer physically intimate? When she intends to stay celibate thanks much? When she believes Paul had the right idea and singleness is preferable to matrimony?

Because my children keep asking questions I cannot answer, drat their hides.

Annoying Complications of Life and Stuff

Unplanned sex books were not on the agenda for this week but one of the kiddies had the nerve to ask a question on the male physical response. I turned fourteen shades of purple, slapped a hand over my mouth before blurting out something cynical and jaded (although I must admit, rather humorous) then did the only sensible thing. I stalled.

Off we go for this week’s regularly scheduled angry walk.

Why, Oh Lord do I have to talk to these kiddies about sex?  I know nothing healthy. Nothing at all. Did I mention I know nothing? Why me?

Why oh Why oh Why?

How the blue blazes am I suppose to answer when all I have is a nice fat pile of rotting manure? Nothing to draw on, no understanding of loving intimacy— which reminds me, by the way,  You promised to be a father to the fatherless. How about You talk to them?  

Now that is a fine idea. These pups are worse than fatherless. They are  offspring of an anti-dad  who spoon-fed the whole lot poison. Poison!

Why-oh-why-oh-why—

Squirrel!

Just to clarify, many angry walks end in squirrel sightings. I have a sneaking suspicion He sends them around on purpose for just this reason.

Several days later, another dear child of my heart comes along with a question which shall forever remain unwritten. Not that I’m keeping score, but this one was a doozy.  And then another. It becomes quite apparent that the kids are trying to kill me.

What is this madness?  Spring fever? Synchronized hormones? Much prayer and many angry walks later, I chose the only reasonable course of action–let them learn on the street like the rest of us.

The kidlets are on their own.

Problem Solved, Life is Good

The day after number three takes awkwardness to Olympic levels, I am busy minding my own business. My heart is at peace, nary a stray thought of physical intimacy within a two block radius. Being as the weather is fine, I head off to God’s Store to peruse the latest selection in mismatched dishes (that’s Goodwill to you heathen).  I browse through ugly lamps without lampshades, saucers without cups, tables without chairs and there, on the book rack between Harry Potter and  Rug Making for Dummies sits Intended for Pleasure by Ed Wheat, M. D.

I may be dense, but I can take a hint. As I walk out the door, book in hand, I hear the Lord snickering, no lie.

Remembering Who Loves Me

When He promised to take care of those who put Him first, He meant it. When we ask, it delights Him to provide. Sometimes I forget. But not this week. Standing there in the middle of a store I’ve visited a bajillion times, holding exactly the right book at exactly the right moment—at thirty percent off, no less—I  know Who stocked the shelves.

Sometimes the challenge of just getting by takes me under. Simple stuff like finding a job or renting an apartment consumes massive amounts of energy needed for better things. How will I ever handle the important  stuff? Like parenting these beautiful, annoying, lively children who just want a chance to be happy?  How can a Mom ever guide her offspring, providing the wisdom of both parents, when she’s so damaged herself? Some days, it’s too much to bear.

And then God surprises me at the thrift store. Glad He didn’t send a squirrel to hold the door, that might have been a bit much.

Thanks Dad~

Quiet Days and Watercolor Pictures

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Found a simple book on watercolor technique. When I can’t write, I immerse in the colors.

Watercolor does this thing that’s both annoying and beautiful. It refuses to stay put. Touching wet color to another area of wetness gives you that mottled effect. That use to bug me something fierce. My artsy friends told me to switch to acrylics.

Don’t know– seems like a metaphor for life.  Something about watching the red and yellows blend and merge, knowing I have little control over the outcome isn’t so bad. There’s rules. Don’t mix too many colors or you get a muddy mess. Let certain areas dry completely. Touch the brush to areas of wet pigment where you want the surprise of mingling, then trust the process.

I can’t control everything but I can study the properties of pigments and water and the outcome can be beautiful regardless. I’m okay with that.

Thinking of all of you and praying for those going through the fire right now.

Rough Week

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At one point, I promised writing on the bad days.  Since this is walking-through-pudding rather than stuck-in-concrete, I’m going to give it a try.

The trigger: an encounter with the anti-husband. Came home to find him driving past my home. No words exchanged, couldn’t get a shot of the license plate. But he knew and I knew. Mocking email came the next day.

Fallout: Confusion, anxiety, bad dreams, physical pain. And I’m losing my words again.

Confusion—every thought ends in, ‘but my husband would say. . .’  which generally ends in some type of blaming. Confused enough at the moment I can’t come up with an example although this has been going on for several days now.  I’m reminded of the scripture, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)

Anxiety—like swallowing a vibrating rubber ball. Stuck right in the middle, won’t go down, won’t come up. Checking, double checking the doors, jumping at noises, obsessing over trivial things like whether the laundry got rotated. Everything feels overwhelming—how will I support myself at this age? What’s going to happen to the kids?

Bad Dreams—one after the other. Dreams of children closed up in dresser drawers. Holding babies I’m not sure are still alive, getting left behind, tops of feet covered in blisters. Wake up, get water, visit the little girl’s room, go back to bed, dream starts up all over again without skipping.

Pain—neck is tight. Upper back is tender to the touch. Stretching my arms out wide causes so many joints to pop it startles the dog. Migraine threatening, hovering close. Old wounds inside are throbbing.

Word Loss—this one’s hard to explain. It starts when I can’t finish a sentence. This kids try to fill in my thoughts and I pick like multiple choice. “I need to head to the drugstore and get—“  Aspirin? Toilet paper? Shampoo?–  “Shampoo! That’s it.” If it sets in for long, I won’t be able to write. Answering email’s out of the question except for a quick reply. Editing this, or any other post is laughable.

Healing

  • I’ve talked via email with  a couple of friends about the inciting incident. Telling what happened, then listening to their advice provided concrete steps to take for safety.
  • Called the massage therapist and set up an appointment, hoping to break this cycle of physical tension. I live in a big town and we have schools I can afford. The piggies go unpainted this quarter.
  • I’m painting with the music cranked. Working through the process of a few watercolor flowers seems to help.
  • Praying. Lots of praying.

Thankful in All Things

A reminder’s in order that this was my continual state of being for most of three decades. This little spell’s  been going on less than a week. And what started it? The near proximity of the anti-husband. No words exchanged, not heated debate. His email hit the trash bucket without reply. In some ways, it’s a good reminder of how toxic he is.

I haven’t gotten to fetal-position on the bed just yet. I can carry on a pretty decent conversation. I’m still taking phone calls and telling friends I’m fine.

At times like this, I also have to remember—the wounds from emotional/verbal abuse are very real. Healing takes time. And ultimately, the divorce that terrified me years ago will cauterize this wound and give me the freedom to move forward.

 

Sunday Shortie: Raggedy Holiness

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Another Sunday Shortie. A few quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

Hang with a few abuse survivors and you’ll see—we’re all a little rough around the edges. Living in a dung heap will do that to you.

Once upon a time, I thought I had control. I watched my mouth, trying like crazy to never let a stray word get out that might betray my thoughts. Eventually I realized nothing in my life remotely resembled control  and whatever was in my heart was coming out, one way or the other.

I told the beast he was full of shit.

The sky did not fall, lightening did not descend. This little slip, however, gave him ammunition—he retold the story countless times as proof that I’m a hypocrite and (get this) demon possessed. How do I know? Because for several months, I heard versions of this story from his new recruits. Each telling became progressively wilder and by the last version, he had me dragging him around and snarling in his face with an unearthly glow emanating from my eyeballs.

I went right down to the local bishop and signed up for exorcism classes.

Interesting to note that if we’re counting curse words as proof of demonic control, the man is one pig short of a one-way trip into the Sea of Galilee. He might want to google ‘hypocrisy’ sometime before bible study.

Control is an Illusion

So many things out of control, so few ways to compensate, but brethren, I found them all.

For awhile, I went all Pentecostal and refused to snip my hair, wear makeup or pants of any variety. And since skirts were holy, frumpy skirts were extra  pious as everyone knows God shops at Goodwill. Pictures from this era  are just sad. Everything looks black and white, even in full color.

Another time, I purged my household of all secular items. Children’s book with animals dressed like people went in the trashcan. I can’t remember why. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales also exited the house as they weren’t true.  I listened to only Christian music, then filtered down to only Christian churchy-type music full of organs and stuff.

This is no longer the case. I paint my toenails and—to top that off—I pay someone *else* to paint my toenails sometimes. The fact I can’t reach my feet so well has nothing to do with anything.  It’s a tiny luxury I can afford, something I would never consider back in the day.  I read regular old books from the library without a Christian disclaimer in sight and if they get offensive, I know how to close the book and find another author. My music playlist is rich with all sorts of artists who’d never pass the respectability code of my more uptight days.

Once I broke open on the Truth, I learned that holiness is internal. As the fire of these trials does its work, I’m sanctified—set apart for  fellowship with my Father. I’m changed into the image of His Son because He loves me. And I love Him right back. Spending time in His presence transforms my heart.

I do not have to pretend everything is hunky dory when it most certainly is not. God accepts me just like I am, He simply has no intention I’ll stay this way. Working on all those outward signs of godliness did nothing but turn me into the hypocrite the beast accused me of being. And furthermore, it took up way more energy than I had available when I should’ve been doing things like figuring out why I lived in hell.

You can argue if you want, but the night I told the anti-husband he was filled to overflowing with bodily excrement, I was closer to the Father’s heart than all my mascara-free days put together—because I told the truth.

The truth sets us free. I don’t regret it one bit.

But I sure would like to burn some of those pictures from 1983.

Hearing God’s Voice in the Rubber Room

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Love my journals.  Should they perish, Canadians would hear the  weeping and join the chorus, sorrow unmatched in this, or any other continent. Perish the thought–

My backups have backups. I fret each time the computer freezes which is silly as I have plenty of backups. Still, in the interest of International Peace and Good Will, I check my collection from time to time and make sure they’re all healthy and happy.

Nobody wants a chorus of weeping Canadians on their conscience.

Journals are kept in digital format, password protected. Without that luxury, I couldn’t journal as  the anti-husband could not see anything  negative or critical or his delicate feelings might be hurt. No, I’m not joking. Never mind that my thoughts and feelings were never safe with him. Not that I would know but I heard a rumor once that’s how its suppose to be with husbands and wives.

My journals begin November of 2005 and continue through last evening. In general, I sit down to chronicle every day or so unless something out of the ordinary happens in which case, I may write three or four times in twenty-four hours.

Over the years I started and stopped plenty of journals. This time around, something changed. This time, I was desperate.

Always before, I wrote only safe things in case I got busted. I colored in events with pretty colors when the facts were less than lovely. I left out hurtful events unless I intended to take the blame. I also developed a talent for punishing myself on paper,  a reminder to  do better in the future. This verbal playacting got old pretty fast and another half-empty journal joined the pile,  collecting dust on a closet shelf.

The password changed everything. Even so, I wasn’t so good at telling the truth. My reality was harsh, ugly. I refused to say what I really thought.  I didn’t know my feelings were valid, and  it was plenty okay because God knew what I was thinking anyway so who was I kidding? With time, I’ve gotten pretty dadgum good at laying out the trash and sorting through later.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

My reasons for writing were twofold—I was confused and needed to hear from God. At first, I had no idea why I was so confused.  Maybe writing stuff out  would bring clarity. Took time but that is indeed what happened.

As a Christian, I believe God is plenty alive  and He wants fellowship with His children. I believe in prayer. I believe in answers to prayer. I felt certain He wanted to speak but in the state I was in, I couldn’t hear a thing. I thought maybe by consistently recording experiences, thoughts and prayers, I could learn discernment.

There’s a Party Going On

Ultimately, there were too many voices.

I heard things alright. Lots and lots of things. Sometimes I heard my mother’s voice, telling me I was nothing without a man and if I couldn’t please my God-ordained husband, my life was a failure. I should lose weight, fix myself up, stop letting myself go. Since mom was still alive and talking plenty, it got pretty easy to tell when she was carrying on inside my head without permission.

Another voice sounded like mine. I transcribed its rantings on a regular basis. It told me I was a failure, I deserved to be punished for my faults, I couldn’t get anything right, there wasn’t any use trying anymore.

Give up, give in and die already.

Sometimes this one spoke in the background, more an undercurrent of hopeless, helpless frustration. Other times, it got really, really loud. The more I wrote these words down, the more I began to see their point of origin.

These lovelies belonged to the voice of my husband—not  his actual words, but the message received after so many years of trying and failing to gain his love and approval.

This voice needed a good crucifixion, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m still working on that.

God Said What?

I can’t tell anyone how to hear from God and that certainly is not my intention. After all those years of continuous verbal and emotional barrage, I wouldn’t have known the Voice of God if it bit me on the posterior. Which it didn’t, in case you’re wondering.

But over time, I learned a few things.

  • God doesn’t speak inside my head. All that chatter going on right and left came from someplace for sure, but it wasn’t Him.
  • Those compulsions that cropped up occasionally weren’t God either. 

Go back and check the mailbox right now! Write out a check to such and such ministry for one hundred dollars before you go to bed!!

These turned out to be just another version of the same mess the anti-husband pulled, ordering me around, insisting I do it right-now-or-else with either option sure to cause trouble.

Write that check? Get in trouble with the anti-husband. Don’t write the check? Big trouble with the heavenlies. Over time, I learned these directives were not from my loving heavenly Father but another manifestation of that state of the double-bind the husband kept me in, on purpose, at all times.

(I have got to write that blog post on bounded choices. . .)

Another type of compulsion came with a whole bucket load of fear.  I have to get out of here. Danger-danger-danger-something’s wrong, something’s wrong, something’s wrong.

Once upon a time, I thought these feelings-out-of-nowhere were a form of discernment. Not so much. These anxious thoughts turned out to be triggered by some current situation recalling a past trauma which fanned those fight or flight reactions into a white-hot pitch.  By writing them down afterward, I learned to see where the little devils originated.

Writing about the evil force attacking me in the hardware section of the dollar store brought to mind the time the anti-husband went on a tirade over the drill bit I bought—

  • that he sent me into town to buy—
  • that I called him about from the store to double check the specifics—
  • that he swore later he never told me to get and besides that, I never called—
  • that cost way too much and—
  • how could I be so stupid?—
  • Women don’t know anything about tools—
  • you can’t send a women to do a man’s job—
  • why would I ever ask for a titanium bit when all I’m doing is hanging a picture?
  • which he would now bring up in front of company forever-and-ever amen.

Totally off-topic side note: These morphed into full-scale panic attacks once I left. They didn’t last as long as I  knew where they came from (thank you sweet journal). Then I could transfer all that emotion from the evil tools to the evil man who caused the problem in the first place. I still don’t like drill bits much but at least these days I can walk by without hyperventilating.

Elijah in the Cave

So how do you hear God’s voice? If I knew how to answer that question, I’d skip right over and tell you how many angels dance on the head of a pin. I’d glow with radioactive holiness. Everyone would stand amazed, basking in the reflection of all things pious and sanctified. I’d send out a few prayer cloths, dripping in overflowing saintly stuff and pass the collection plate.

Since this is not likely to happen anytime soon, I’ll start by confessing I use the shorthand version in general conversation that makes some folks cringe—God spoke to me and said this or that. Well no, not exactly. In our church from my younger days, we use to say, The Holy Spirit impressed upon me and I believe He’s saying—which  is probably more accurate as it implies the Lord may be talking but you might be interpreting His intentions all backwards.

Around here, it’s like this—

Sometimes a still small voice comes along, welling up from a place deep inside that isn’t so much a voice as a knowing. A bit of truth. It doesn’t sound like any other voice in my life. I try to pay attention to these whispers of substance and write them down, then put them on the shelf. I decided long ago that Mary had the right idea when she pondered things in her heart.

Nothing the Father says or does requires immediate action or else. If He leads, if He speaks, He will confirm and carry out His word. He’s got plenty of angels for all that right-this-minute stuff. We are His children. His delight. He loves us so dearly.

God’s word is truth. Learning to hear His voice leads deeper into prayer and study not away. It lines up with the proper study of scripture and it sets captives free. It’s consistent with His loving character but also with other aspects of His nature we might not be so familiar with like justice and vengeance so it’s important to remain open to the idea that we may have picked up wrong ideas and teaching along the way.

I’ve learned that my view of biblical marriage wasn’t His. He brought peace, joy and freedom. The religious teaching I learned as a young adult brought bondage, fear and a deathly fear of drill bits.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch. . .

Journaling pulled away the confusion of the moment and helped me see the truth.  I got things wrong. I made plenty of  mistakes. But I learned to hear with my broken spirit instead of these ears.

A quick point that may not apply to anyone but stubborn me–along the path to getting free, I realized my head was chattering way too much. In response, I shut down the whole she-bang. I figured if I couldn’t tell God’s voice from others, I’d just quit listening. This was so not helpful.

There’s a risk in seeking the Face of God. There’s a possibility of making mistakes. For those of us who’ve internalized the voice of our enemy, it’s a painful process to learn discernment. From personal experience, I’m saying—keep an humble heart, keep a deep love for the truth and the understanding of the Cross—humility, sacrifice, laying down our lives for others—and press in to Jesus.

In Him is truth and light and freedom.

The destination is worth the sacrifice.

Covering as God Never Intended

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For years,  I covered for my husband. I thought telling the truth about our family was disloyal. I refused to be anything other than positive, upbeat and supportive which meant for the most part, I kept strangely silent.

My husband did not reciprocate. He took subtle jabs in front of company calling me such lovely names as dimwit and ninny. I shrugged and walked away. To any of our former house guests, in case you’re wondering, those are called ‘red flags.’ Normal, loving husbands do not call their wife a ding-a-ling and no, it wasn’t a joke.

Another favorite pastime involved covering for the anti-husband’s words and actions with the kids.

“Your father didn’t really mean that.”

“You know your dad loves you, he just has a hard time showing it sometimes.”

“Maybe what he said was a little over the top, but your dad had a rough upbringing.”

The day I figured out that—

a)      yes, he really did mean every single word he chose to say with his very own mouth

b)       he loved no one but himself and

c)       his rough upbringing should’ve made him more compassionate not less

–was the day I started walking in truth.

Turning Lanes

I remember the day this Cover for Dad policy changed.  I’d taken to carrying the cordless phone everywhere, 911 on speed-dial. I’d calculated how long it took the police to arrive at our home and kept a close eye on the clock. Things were about to break open.

I knew it. I smelled it. I wasn’t going down without a big fat fight.

The beast had been carrying on for days.  Read that–hollering, yelling, stomping, screaming, slamming, cursing, muttering, raging, without taking a breath—for days. One afternoon things got particularly spectacular so I loaded the kiddies in the car and pointed the front fender southbound. After a few tense moments of silence I turned to the front seat passenger and said, “You know what your father’s doing isn’t right, don’t you?”

My son imploded. He sighed so loud I heard it over Travis Tritt on the radio. His shoulders slumped. He melted on the seat and ran into a puddle on the floorboard.

I’d finally told the truth and there was no going back.

I sat and listened while my son spewed and I did not say one Mom-ism the entire trip. All the kidlets knew—something changed that day. They still talk of it.

Apologies Not Accepted

I tried later to cushion my heinous crime just a little. I told the kids I was sorry for putting their father down that way. What I heard opened more than my eyes—I got a dose of reality nothing else could match. My kids unleashed. They said exactly what they thought of their dad and what kind of man he was (or was not in this case.) They were angry, furious, resentful, frustrated. And hurting like so many scalded pups in a washtub.

Not long after, my grown children took me aside and gave their silly mom an intervention. They said they didn’t want to hurt me but did I have any idea the things dad had been saying, about me, to them, when I wasn’t around? For years.

Well no, golly gee. I sure didn’t know that Bumpy.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Lying doesn’t help anyone. I may not have purposefully told windies but neither was I walking in truth. All my covering, dodging, and weaving just made everybody seasick. I added to the confusion. I was a linebacker, blocking so a man who refused to care for his own family could keep barreling on through, trampling everyone in the process.

I was not being loyal. I was not supporting my husband. I was providing cover, making it easier for him to get a clear shot. Big difference.

Talking to the kids since leaving has been tough. I struggle with how much to say and when to say it. Mostly I just listen and let them vent. The beast says I’m poisoning the children, but saying  I’m at fault for finally admitting the truth goes beyond ironic and borders on the absurd. The fact that the man has no relationship with his progeny rests squarely on his shoulders because (duh!) he verbally, emotionally and physically abused and bullied the dog mess out of them. He refuses to admit he fed them a steady diet of arsenic all their lives and now, for some odd reason, they won’t have anything to do with him.

Several have tried talking to him. Each has come to the conclusion it’s hopeless. He fusses, he fumes, he refuses to accept responsibility saying they are–each and every one– a rebellious lot. Later when they quit taking his calls, he tried playing the god-card, starting with  the ‘if-you-don’t-forgive, you-won’t-be-forgiven’ line but since I taught them the ‘bring-ye-forth-therefore-works-worthy-of-repentance’ retort back in grade school, somehow his biblical fuming doesn’t work so good.

I guess they’re smarter than their mama.

Saint Ida and Her All Girl Band

Before you get the idea that Ida Mae is a saint and all the little kiddies are gathered about, holding hands and singing campfire songs, let’s put that to rest. The kids are damaged. I’m not going to talk much about them here, not yet. They have their own stories to tell and I imagine some day they will. I doubt I’ll get knighted in any version.

Some are doing better than others. Some of the girls have problems picking men. Some of the boys are mad as hell. Oh wait, some of the girls are too. They show, in various degrees, all the effects  of growing up in an alcoholic/abusive household.

One blessing—in every case, their faith is intact. For that, I am profoundly grateful. Now, I have to trust in my Heavenly Father’s care to finish the work He began in them, just as He’s completing the work He began in me forty-two years ago. It’s not easy. Some days it’s impossible.

But there’s always tomorrow and for that, I remain forever grateful.

Recommended: Anna Wood: Alone Except for God

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Anna’s written a heart-achy post over on her blog, At the End of Myself, At the Feet of Jesus.  Many understand the sadness of living without hope but few can articulate so beautifully. Anna nails it :

Some days tears come unbidden, time and again, as if they will never end. Other days, she feels numb, dead inside, and no matter what happens, no matter how her abuser tries to hurt her, there are no tears left to be cried

Often sadness threatens to overwhelm her: the loss of the love she’s never known seeps deep inside her and flows out in aching ways.

She hurts daily for her children: for what they haven’t had and for what they have had to endure. Sadness threatens to drown her as their pain mixes with her own and flows into black. If not for God, she couldn’t hold on another second.

I can relate. You can read the entire post here.

Thank you, Anna.

 

Valentine’s Day Heart Attack

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Woke this morning with a strange little puppy of a feeling wiggling around my single bed. Odd little fellow—who are you exactly?

Ah yes. That’s Joy.

Our little house is bumping over with the stuff. Cookies baked and spread with Royal Frosting. Construction paper snipped, glue sticks worn to a nub.  The front porch is covered in red construction paper hearts and festooned with crepe paper, a sneaky little present from one of the kid-lings.

Friends started checking in days ago, worried I’d feel lonely on this day dedicated to all things Red and Romantic. That is not the case.

I feel loved. Blessed. Full and oddly satisfied.

No one’s stomping through my house expecting payment in equal exchange for the amount spent on flowers. No twenty-four hour truce sure to end at the stroke of midnight. No horrid gifts chosen to embarrass, humiliate or punish. Thirty years of Valentine’s Days, thirty awkward, uncomfortable stories.

But none today. Today, I’m playing with the puppy.

Today, I’ll play lovesongs in the kitchen and sing out loud. I’ll eat sugar cookies for breakfast and pretend I don’t notice when the youngsters do the same. Later I’ll take a walk and spend a little extra time thanking my Father above for this day, stuck right in the middle of winter to remind me of all His big-hearted love.

Today is a very good day indeed.

Wishing you and yours the same.