Faith Journey

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up walls is something I struggle with because I sometimes live in fear. I am choosing not to live in fear because fear is a liar. Honestly, I am so tired of living under the judgment of others. Let me tell you something, friends, oh my word. I’m fixing to use my words and all of them. My words may not be pretty, but sometimes you must let it out.

I will have to take a few minutes and watch a Chopped episode. My brain moves faster than my fingers, and the emotions are strong. Let’s say I am completely and totally over it. A change is coming, and it may take till Jesus returns, but I am done!

Let’s Try This Again

I am not a people person. Yet, I’m empathetic (so I’ve been told), and I have the heart to help others. Those people who are unseen. People that other people snub their noses at because they don’t dress/live/act “appropriately.” I’m just saying that those are my people. I see them, I feel them, I understand them.

Their problems, I feel deep within my soul. The look in their eyes can tell a thousand stories, and they want to share that story. They want to be loved, accepted, and NOT judged. I CHOOSE to love, take, and not pass judgment on them. Honestly, I want to meet them where they are currently and walk into their world. It is an honor to step into their stories.

Hard Realization

What a brutal realization that most people in this world do not think the same way. I just don’t get it. How can you not love and SEE the people around you? The unseen, the less than, the “you are not in my circle. Therefore, you do not exist” people.

For the love of all that is holy, Jesus’ second greatest commandment is to LOVE OTHERS. Matthew 22: 36-40 clearly states, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. The first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

The Things That Have Happened

I cannot and will not detail the struggles we have had this summer. It has hit me hard that not everyone thinks like this. Love as Jesus says to love. What they want is to steal, kill, and destroy my joy. My joy is my family. They are all I think of and commit to 100% every minute of every day.

So Much Loss and Pain

The loss and pain were entirely preventable. Let’s try something radical. If you think something is wrong with a friend or their family, then TALK TO THEM. Ask how you can help them, pray for them without details, and listen to their cry. Clean their house, run an errand, cook a meal. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Radical, you think?

Outcome

Well, our outcome has been standing on Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight your battle. You have to be quiet.” I was quiet. There were lots of tears, lots of reflection. There was a period of hiding, a valley of severe depression and anxiety, another medical condition for a child due to the STRESS so-called “friends” put us through. Thank you for that, honestly. It’s been the most fun.

My Oak

This woman. She blew in like a whirlwind. Then, she ironed out all the people in my house. Next, she found me. With that hug, I melted into her arm. I felt her love permeate every single molecule of my body.

She gently walked me upstairs, and we both lay down and talked. I cried, and she sat in silence and rubbed my hair like when I was a little girl. She permitted me to wallow for a day, but tomorrow I have to get up and wash my face and face the day. There will be no hiding for her little girl.

She loves me. Unconditionally. She sees me. Truthfully. She knows all that has happened, yet she loves those who hurt her baby so profoundly. My kids will be blessed if I am 1/2 the mama she is when I grow up. She blesses me.

A Few True Friends

We discovered those who would stand by us and those who judge us. Prayer warriors surrounded us and kept us safe. We stood before God clean. Our family came out on the other side with no truth coming from the claims and lies.

For Now

I choose self-care. Pet a cat (or 12), bake, eat candy, smile more, block people on social media, keep loving on the “less of these” people, wash my hands, wear a mask, parent my kids, love my husband, and love my God. My enemies cannot hurt me because God goes before me, after me, and stands on each side of me. If you want to get to my family or me, you must go through Him first.

Good luck to you.

 

 

 

Adoption

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family. The short, simple answer is to trust in Jesus. Yet, sometimes, that is hard for me. Our family has been fractured for a long time. There have been cracks here and there, but this year, it is different. I’m not going to lie; it has been a struggle. Since 2014, but even before then, due to some extenuating circumstances. I don’t want to discourage anyone from adoption, but there is so much more I know now than I did almost 14 years ago.

What You Need to Know

When people are in the process of adopting a child or children, it is an exciting thing. We do all the things that are required. You have to do background checks, have money in the bank, fundraisers, fingerprints (if international), and so on. We work hard on those dossiers. Our homes are spotless for our home study. We eagerly anticipate our referral or a picture. There are so many support groups where we talk about our discouragement of NOT getting a referral quickly enough.

What We DON’T Realize

Is that we are waiting for a family to fail in some way. If it is foster care, we are waiting for a family to abuse, neglect, or hurt a child or children so they will be placed in the system. Then we jump through all the hoops. For the next 17 out of 23 mths, we will wait for the termination of parental rights.

Or, if it is a newborn, we are waiting for a sweet birth mom to make the most difficult decision of her life. Her life will be altered forever by choosing the blessing of adoption. If international, we are waiting for a birth parent who may be dying, the child is starving, or some other tragedy that places them in an orphanage.

When you adopt a family member’s child, you are waiting for drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, or abandonment. There are other circumstances, too, but that was my circumstance for my son. You start looking at YOUR sister and think…she is my son’s aunt? Grandmother? Both?

The Dark Side

We are walking into the blackest chapter of our children’s lives. Our greatest joy as an adoptive family and what we worked so hard towards will come at our children’s most tremendous loss. Whether an infant or an older child, that loss will forever be embedded in their brain and heart. They are the only ones who have heard their mother’s heartbeat from the inside out, and your heart is not the same.

My heart aches because, in a perfect world, my kids would still be with their birth families. Succeeding, thriving, living, loving, and yet because of certain things, they are not there. They are with me. I am grateful. Indebted. I am forever changed because they grew in my heart, not under it!

They will always wonder what it would have been like if they had stayed with their nuclear family. They have been raised by their birth parents or in their birth country. Try explaining all of the things when they are older. It’s super fun, aka traumatic.

Getting It Straight

I do not regret any of my children. None of them. They are my joy, and I’m so thankful to God that He wove my family together beautifully and intricately.

But

Trauma is an awful thing. Plain and simple. Talk to ANY adoptive parents, and they will tell you the same thing. Trauma can come in all shapes and sizes. It can come with a list of diagnoses, and then there is “traumaversary” That leads to sabotage of all good things, behavior issues, confabulations, deceit, manipulation, and so much more.

My Family is No Different

We have, and continue to have, all of the above things and the “so much more” times a million. What started as one child exhibiting out-of-control behaviors due to FASD, PTSD, RAD, blah blah blah trickled down to other children. Another child was exhibiting similar yet different behaviors. Then, a third child goes above and beyond. Lastly, the fourth child struggles with anxiety and more.

It has wreaked havoc on my person. My husband, other children, and even my pets will lose hair when life is escalated in my home. Sadly, this usually occurs November-March and then in July-October; as I look at that typed out, it is from October-July. That gives us two mths trauma-free.

All the Things We Have Tried

We have done the things. Doctors, specialists, therapists, counselors, pastors, family, medication, no routines, homeschool, private, public; All. The. Things. One child, nothing has worked for that child. Another child, we hope, is in the process of healing. The third child is excited right now. The fourth child, we deal with it day by day.

I am exhausted. My husband is tired. Honestly, even the kids are tired. Mix all this crap with a pandemic and being in this house, and you have Funville. My underwear drawer no longer holds underwear. It is stocked FULL of candy. I wake up, in the morning, with a bag of snickers under my arm and wrappers everywhere.

There is a newfound love of Limeade Slushes. My teeth are going to rot out of my head. I have become a human GPS because I take LONG drives on roads I have never heard of or driven. My favorite pastime is driving to my neighbors and seeing if their pig is in the front yard. I cry; a lot.

Falling Apart

Sadly, I feel like my family is falling apart. That Scripture of satan lurking around the corner to devour my family is happening! Honestly, at warp speed. I have so many words. So much has happened that my fingers will not move as fast as my brain.

I am praying that this pandemic ends. I am praying for healing for my medically fragile children. Salvation for two of my kids. Wisdom with all of them. Healthy delivery for one (going to be a granny!) A healthy relationship for two kids. School to open for one. One to come home safely. Another is to stop making REALLY poor and dangerous choices.

I want my family to heal and to be whole. I want God to intervene and DO SOMETHING. Honestly, I am just ready for Jesus to come riding down on His white horse and take us all home. Home, where there is no sadness, no darkness, or pain. Just glory.

God is Bigger

I have to trust in that. Right. Yes, trust. The hardest thing for me to do is trust Him with my family. Maybe that, alone, needs to be my prayer. Lord, let me trust that You have plans to prosper and not harm my family. Help me realize that You and only You can heal the fractures.

 

Adoption, Life or Something Like It

An Apology Without Change is Manipulation

An Apology Without Change is Manipulation

An Apology Without Change is Manipulation

Gracious, this is such a reminder of what I live with daily. It is so hard when you have such consistent, horrible things said to you and then a fake apology. That is exactly what it is. Fake. I probably have done that, but I learned to be sincere with my apologies. When I do something wrong or hurt someone unintentionally, it hurts me so badly. 

It Was Not Her Fault

There was an issue with an acquaintance, and though that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, it was not her doing anything wrong. I was just emotional. Yet, this is one isolated instance. I was not manipulating her, and I was sincere in my apology.

Now for my family member, this is a different ball of wax. This member has many types of diagnoses. Part of me thinks that this individual cannot help it. They do something wrong, have a hollow apology, and then do the same thing 10 minutes later.

It is almost to the point where I don’t want an apology. I want this person to leave me the heck alone. Can we say BOUNDARIES? I do not have boundaries, but they certainly need to be established.

Kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder

They do this quite often. In this quote, kids with RAD are good at manipulation, Confabulation, and triangulation. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to manipulate means to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means, especially to one’s advantage.

Confabulation means filling in gaps in memory by fabrication. To “normal” people, this means to lie. Then triangulation means allying. In this situation, it is a child with one parent against another parent.

It is all exhausting and makes my brain work on overload. My boundaries had to be firmly placed, though they broke my heart into a million pieces. I had to take into consideration other family members and myself.

The stress was hurting all of us.

Life is Hard

The Lord did not promise us a walk in a rose garden. If we had that or all the answers, we would not need Him. He completes and sustains us even when we are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from creating those hard boundaries.

He gives us the wisdom we need when we seek it, to “speak” to us. For me, this is done through intuition, Scripture, other people, and dreams. I have learned to accept that my family member does not understand what it means not to manipulate and to be sincere in the apology.

It is hard. Completely and totally. Maybe one day, the Lord will heal her mind, body, and spirit to where she can function well in the world around her.

 

Adoption, Faith Journey

It is Time to Let Go and be Free

  1. It is Time to Let Go and be Free

It is Time to Let Go and be Free

What a phrase that is. Val Kilmer typed that to Tom Cruise in the new movie Maverick. I have been praying a lot. Primarily for clarity in a few situations that are ongoing in our family. God speaks in a variety of ways. I guess speaking through a film is one way to do it.  

At some point in my life, I have to stop torturing myself so much. It is constant. I torture myself daily. I am the kind of wife, mother, daughter, and sister that owns all the things. I question my motives, intentions, desires, and thoughts. Where things go wrong, regardless of who is at its root, I torture myself. Torturing myself has gone on for years. I can’t just let it roll off my back, it absorbs in my soul, and I wear the wrongs like a cloak.

I believe it is time to torture myself a little bit less. Today is a good day. I can believe everything I’m typing. Tomorrow may be different.

As I was floating in our pool, listening to H play, I thought of everything I “own.” Running through my list, I went through all our children, my siblings, parents, marriage, etc. Then, it hit me. 99% of what I torture myself about has nothing to do with me. I didn’t cause it, and I can’t fix it. Let’s jump back into our adoption years.

Life Just Isn’t Always so Tidy.

God’s plan isn’t always so easy to understand. Our first plan was international when we decided to expand our family through adoption. I knew Ethiopia was in our future at a young age. Yet God had other plans.  

He brought in our first set of kids for a season, reuniting them within about a month with their birth mom.  When the left, I thought I had done something wrong.

For some reason, I believed it was my fault that they returned to their mother. I was so young and inexperienced in foster care and adoption through the foster care system.

I know now that reunification is always the first thing to do, if possible. What a beautiful thing that they got to go back to the one that gave them life. It was a short season with her, but I know that they are safe and loved with the family they are with now. I can let that go. My love for those kids will always be powerful. Yet, God had other plans. Now, I can be happy and thankful I was a safe haven for them. They were loved by us and loved by so many people.

Release.

Sometimes Reunification is Not a Possibility.

When we got the call for our second set of kids, I allowed fear to creep into my heart. Sadly, I had not healed from the loss of the previous two children. Again, I wore a cloak and tortured myself for something that wasn’t mine to wear.  

Reunification was not in the cards for our second placement. We met these kids so full of tentative smiles and lots of hyperactivity. We were eager to expand our family. Yet, we tried to do everything right to reunify them with their birth mom. Sadly, that didn’t work, and trauma was prevalent.

Coming from Foster Care is a Tricky Thing

These kids were coming from multiple foster homes. Living in numerous homes was due to behavior, PTSD, and more. We were so ill-equipped to handle the needs of one of the children and we had no help or resources from the state.

Looking back, almost 16 years later, we see all the signs. Then, we just wanted to heal, love, and show this child Christ. One of my kids has written some powerful things about foster care and abuse. Those things are very well-spoken.

Now, this young person is someone I don’t even know. A lot of damage has been done, and bridges have been burned. However, my (our) love for this child will always remain steadfast, though we have to protect the other kids in our home.

I hope that one day, we can all be reunited. Forgiveness can take place, and healing can happen. Healing and forgiveness can only be orchestrated by the One that loves us all.

Right now, that isn’t what is going to happen. For years, I thought I was crazy. Hindsight is 20/20.

Now, I see where I was at fault, and I’ve apologized and made peace with it, for the most part. Again, I’m wearing a giant cloak that is not mine.  

I am not responsible for the decisions being made now. The things in the past I’ve owned, asked forgiveness for, and tried to remedy within myself. Sadly, I have no control over what is going on now. I pray that help is sought, proper medication, therapy, nutrition, sleep, and a lot of Jesus will permeate this child’s life.  

In my life, I choose to continue with therapy, confide in those closest to me, seek the face of Jesus, and prepare for rain. Preparing for rain looks different for everyone. In our case, we have cameras up, people who need to know are made aware of things, an attorney if things go in a way they shouldn’t, authorities are on alert, and documents are gathered. Preparing and doing these things are not indicative of anything other than protecting my other kids. My hope and prayer are still that the Lord reunites my whole family.

Release.

Things are Looking Up

Our pool is working, the air conditioning is cooking (though it is limping), we are all healthy, and great things are on the horizon. I have introduced my grandkids to music! Music is one thing that we missed in those years. We had to limit it due to some obsessions. Now, my home is flooded with music and dancing. My grands love opera! We listen to blues, the 60s, classical, praise and worship, old hymns, Frank Sinatra, and much more. Then there is J & D’s music. I’m not sure what you classify that as, LOL. It is so joyful and peaceful (most of the time).  

I have plants that are still alive. That is a fantastic thing! We are slowly redoing the things that need to be renovated in our house. Thankfully, I’m not obsessing over those little things. I’m reveling in the fact that we can and are making progress. H has made great strides and improvements with his OMS and behavior. J is thriving. D is succeeding, and his growth astounds me. Our relationship has improved a 1000%. We talk every night. I mean, honestly, what teenage boy wants to talk to his mom every night. Yet, he calls like clockwork, and we have the best conversations. My bigs are healthy, grandbabies are healthy, and my son is having an event in March. My parents are here often, and I love that so much.

Release.

In All the Thanks for the Above

I still miss my one. Still, I want that one here enjoying everything and being a part of our life. Yet, that isn’t going to happen right now. It can happen, and I pray that it will. For now, I continue to pray for healing. I revel in peace. Slowly, I take off the cloaks that are not mine. I’m giving them back to whom they belong while owning what I need to own. I’m prepared for the rain. I am not afraid. We are good, safe, loved, and healthy.   

Release.

Quotes

Ooh That is a Toughy

Ooh That is a Toughy

Ooh That is a Toughy

Ooh, That is a Toughy. Again, some of these quotes get me 25 kinds of stirred up. So, let’s dive into this one. I’m not sure if I can think about this enough, but it is a good reminder when someone you love is a jackass. That was tacky, wasn’t it…

Quote of the Moment

“An unhealed person can find offense in pretty much anything someone does. A healed person understands that the actions of others have nothing to do with them. Each day you get to decide which one you will be.” ~Unknown~

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Have I encountered this or what?! I would guess most people have had situations like this occur. The only way this would not happen in someone’s life is if they were a hermit and lived with cats.

Maybe I should live with cats…I do love them.

Am I healed? Oh, hell no. Am I on the road to healing? Yes. I am learning through prayer, the wisdom of a few people, and lots of reading and learning also therapy. I cannot control the actions of others, but I can control my reactions.

That’s a hard lesson to learn, especially when you are in the heat of a moment.

Grace Upon Grace

I think, in some situations, I’m “graced out,” so I’m thankful that there is a God and that he never is “graced out.” I know I need it. I know that I need to extend it. I need to realize that when someone lashes out, it is their demons they are fighting…I just happen to be standing there and vice versa.

I’m not immune to being an idiot. Saint is not under my strengths. This is where I have to have the ear of those I know who love me and have the best in mind for me. They can tell me when I’m stupid. Does it hurt my feelings? Hell, yes, but once I simmer down, I can see their truth and how hard it must have been for them to tell me where I screw up.

Today, I can say that I don’t have grace. I don’t have forgiveness in my heart. I don’t. Guess what? That is OKAY! I don’t have to have those things today. I can be mad, hurt, angry, sad, disappointed, or scared, but the Lord is the Redeemer of all those things. He will make glory come from all those bad feelings. Grace will happen. Love will happen. Forgiveness will happen.

I won’t always choose to be and feel all those things. God will clear it up and clear it out. He will not let me stew in these emotions. Clarity will rise, and it will all be okay.

Someday.

 

Faith Journey, Guest Blogger

Tested by Fire

In today’s world, a couple who has been married for 27 years is a rarity. My wife, Brandi, and I have been married for that long. One thing I know is you don’t stay married for that length of time without going through the fire. We have had our fair share of fire, for sure.

 

At the beginning of our marriage, I was not a believer. That put a massive strain on us. The first seven years of our marriage were pretty rough. I was not following the Lord and leading like I was supposed to. On several occasions, we were on the verge of divorce. But in 2001, I did surrender to Christ, and things got better, not because of us but because of Him.

 

However, things weren’t all rainbows and unicorns after I was saved. I had an addiction to pornography that started when I was in middle school. My wife was unaware, but light was shown upon the darkness with any sin. Sadly, my addiction continued after she found out, and again our marriage suffered to the point of divorce. But God saved me from my addiction, and I have been delivered from it. He worked a miracle in me and saved our marriage.

 

But as always, life gets in the way of happiness. Job, children, finances, etc., were all distractions to our marriage. Many hurts happened, and we had grown apart. It felt like we were spiraling towards separation again, but God intervened. It was like he hit me over the head with a frying pan. He showed me that I was too focused on myself. I fell on my face and gave it all to the Lord. I decided to love, honor, serve and cherish my wife. God made me realize I was not fulfilling my role as her husband.

 

Since that night, I have done my best to live up to that decision. And I must say; that our marriage is on the mend.

 

Are we perfect people? No.

 

Will we always do or say the right thing? No.

 

Do we/I have the power to choose to love, honor and obey God and each other? Yes.

 

What I’m trying to get at here is that through it all, we have persevered. Has it all been bad? Not. We have more good years than bad. We dwell on the bad more, which is not how it should be.

 

But truth be told, God put Brandi and me together for a purpose. He did not make a mistake because He doesn’t make mistakes. I have loved her from the beginning. I have never stopped. She will forever and always be the one I choose and the one chosen for me. I love her more every day and will love her for the rest of my life. Love you, babe!

 

 

Faith Journey

Whatever it Takes, Do It

Whatever it Takes, Do It

Whatever it Takes, Do It

 

Whatever it takes to keep your peace intact, do that. I am serious. As hard as it can be, Whatever it Takes, Do It. According to Webster’s Dictionary, peace means “a state of tranquility or quiet or freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

These two things walk hand in hand with me—a state of tranquility and freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions. The last SEVERAL years have been riddled with chaos, pain, confusion, sadness, and intense oppressive thoughts and feelings.

Scripture

My Scripture reading for today was in Philippians 4:8, which states, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Whatever it takes, please do it. Whatever it takes to fix your thoughts on what is true. The definition is “freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions.” When our thoughts are on the things of this Earth, they can quickly become oppressive. Yet, God wants us to have freedom in our thoughts.

You can have freedom from your thoughts by capturing those negative emotions, casting them aside, and realizing what is true. According to the Lord, the truth can be hard to do, but it can be done.

Honorable

What is honorable? So, whatever it takes to be honorable, please do it. Be a person that is that city on a hill, be the salt and light of the world. When you are in that spot of depression that yields a lack of peace, it consumes all of you.

I almost feel like I am in a barrel, and sometimes I cannot even see a pinpoint of light. The last two years have been horrible. I have no peace. I am getting it back, but it was gone, like the wind. I did not do whatever it took for peace. It’s almost like I succumbed to the chaos around me.

There was no honor in anything I did because all I did was put down myself and live in self-pity. There was no self-care, self-acceptance, or self-love. I let the actions of others dictate how I looked at myself.

What is Right and Pure

Nothing I did was right or pure. I was derogatory towards myself and my circumstances. Sadly, I let a few people control my mind. Satan used “friends” to destroy my self-confidence. I’m so thankful the Lord allowed my vision to clear up.

He’s doing that allowed me to see people for who they are. These are the people that I had to step away from for my sanity. I could not have done what I did without the encouragement of my husband.

He sees me daily, and he sees through me. He sees my pain and offers love, support, and occasionally thoughts that would lead me to fix the problem. I am blessed with him, my mom, and my sisters. Without support, I may not be working towards healing.

Whatever it Takes, Do It.

I had to do the unthinkable to begin my peace journey. There were minor things that I changed, like being off of Facebook. Facebook is toxic. It can be a pleasurable space to keep up with family if you can change some settings.

I shut everything down. No one outside of my friend list had access to anything. I deleted all my albums and began a new email address to keep those unsavory wolves in sheep’s clothing away from me.

That is minor compared to the other things I have had to do and am currently doing. My goal is to achieve peace and retain what joy I have left. It can be done. Doing this has been the hardest thing in my life.

In The End

Be done.

Not mad, not bothered.

Be done.

Protect your peace at all costs.

 

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

My guest blogger wants to step back in time and parent that child who was abused and never truly parented.  She wants that little girl to know that what is happening is wrong and that she is not at fault.  What a beautiful way to begin the healing process.

0 gs4pat2pfw1d8s89

 

Sarah,

I have written numerous letters to others who have significantly hurt me, but I have yet to write a letter to the person I feel has hurt me the most. 

That person is me. 

For years I have “punished” myself for things that were not my fault. It has been hard to remember that when bad things were happening to me, I was between the ages of 7 and 11. I have blamed myself for years for the people around me dying. I have blamed myself for not being there for them while they die. Like, for goodness sake, Sarah, you were like 9. It is not your responsibility to take care of people who are dying.

Changes

When my dad divorced for a second time, we had just moved, and we were tight on money. It is not that my dad was not making enough. It was because he gave his ex-wife a good chunk of his money. So, I started skipping meals to ensure everyone had enough to eat. When I ate, my brother would comment on my weight or how much I was eating. I stopped eating for weeks and started working six days a week. 

After over a year of doing that 

I finally realized that it wasn’t my responsibility to ensure everyone ate. It was my father’s, and he was incredibly absent then. So I slowly started eating again. I have better eating habits now, but I still have days when I feel I shouldn’t be eating. To this day, if I have to get weighed, I can’t look at the scale because If I see what it says, I will spiral.

Absent Parent

Around that same time, my dad was incredibly absent. All of the cooking, cleaning, and children became my responsibility. I was the parent in the household. I juggled all of my duties at home, schoolwork, and band. 

The only thing I remember from this period of my life is being incredibly exhausted. It was at this time sister would hardly sleep. And she became violent. So I would wake up at three in the morning to her punching me in the face or pulling my hair. I remember the countless morning of me just crying because I was so tired and in pain. 

That was a super dark time in my life. 

This was the beginning of a super dark time for me. I had zero will to live. I didn’t care what happened to me. Honestly, I wish this part of my story had a happier ending, but I’m still learning that Madison isn’t my child or my responsibility. 

I feel guilty when I go out while she’s at the house. Also, I feel anxious that something terrible will happen to her while I am gone. I feel like I have been better about leaving her home, so that is a step in the right direction.

The Shooting

Then, I guess the last piece of this story is about the shooting. I remember that morning going into the band room with my friends. I stood across the room from him and just stared at him. The atmosphere that morning felt off. 

I used to blame myself for not talking to him that morning. I used to think that he wouldn’t have killed two people if I had just talked to him. That was his choice, not mine. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It is not my fault. After a while of repeating that to myself, I finally believed it. 

 Love,

 Sarah.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

This is When It Began

This is When It Began

In This is When It Began, this sweet girl reflects on her father and the beginning of her abuse. It is so painful for me to read, yet I know it will be healing. As I have said before, you must walk through the pain before healing. That is precisely what she is doing.

I Remember When

I remember the days when we would sit on the couch and watch tv or work on my homework together,

The days when I was the one you cared for, the apple of your eye, so to speak.

I remember us taking four-wheeler rides through our land back when we were still a single-family.

Back before the war between the parents where the kids had to choose sides

Where the kids had to learn who would do what.

Relearning Life

This was before the manipulation and the lies from both sides.

I wish we could have the same relationship as we did then.

When you were the one I cared for the most

But then it happened.

You Left.

You should have tried harder.

You should have at least fought for your family

but you gave in and moved out.

This is When it Began.

Mom found a new man.

We stayed with our grandparents most of the time.

This is where the abuse began.

The man who was supposed to be an uncle

turned out to be a child abuser.

As I stayed in silence, he became your friend

and this is how it came down in the end.

You Did Nothing but Sit

You didn’t try to do anything.

Instead, you said you knew people inside.

This was probably a lie.

Which are you didn’t care what had happened

or at least you didn’t care enough.

If you did, you would have done something. Anything would have been enough.

Enough to Show that You Cared for Me

Anything at all would have sufficed.

Years later, I still hold you at fault whether I should or not.

I just wish you had seen what was going on.

I mean, there were signs.

But I Can’t Blame You for Someone Else’s Decisions.

Just for yours at that was to do nothing.

Yes, I’m still mad and still sad.

And I know I should forgive you for this one thing.

But I just can’t until I understand why.

Resources

If you or someone you know is being abused, PLEASE reach out.

ChildHelp Hotline

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

Faith Journey

Power of Intentional Forgiveness

Power of Intentional Forgiveness

Power of Intentional Forgiveness

The Power of Intentional Forgiveness is something that is not lost on me. Forgive is a verb or an action. You are actively doing something. It means to grant a pardon for or absolve something; to cease to feel resentment against (as in an enemy). I love the beauty of forgiveness.

Forgiveness DOES NOT mean that we are somehow giving permission for another person to hurt us or excuse the choices of another towards us. It is, however, a release for us. We are releasing that pain and memory so satan can no longer use that against us.

God is Clear

That He is the ultimate Judge and Jury. He states in Exodus 14:14, “the Lord will fight your battles; you simply need to be silent.” Thankfully, He knows what is ahead of us and already has the PERFECT provision in mind for every situation. We just need to stop, be quiet, and get out of the way.

For Me

I am pretty quick to forgive but not quick to forget. That is a fault of mine. It is hard to just shut that infraction out of my mind. Well, I guess it depends on the situation. It is like the sting of the pain is gone, but the scar remains. So, in satan’s proper form, he presses on that scar and picks at it. What a vicious cycle.

The Hiding Place

As I was reading this book, it was SO impressed me with the power of love and forgiveness. Seeing the person that hurt me with a different set of eyes. With the eyes of Christ.

I have been talking with a friend, and we have worked through this concept a lot lately. The end of this inspiring story of Corrie ten Boom struck me so much that I took a screenshot of it and sent it to her.

Preface to a Section of the Book

Let me preface this quote by giving some context. Corrie and her family were turned in to the Gestapo for hiding the Jews and helping them. They had served in several different and horrific concentration camps. They lost their father, nephew, and many friends to these camps.

At this moment in the story, they discovered who it was that turned them in. Corrie is wrought with anger for this person. She is beyond hurt, mad (understandably) at how a “friend” could harm their family in such a way.

This is the conversation between an angry Corrie and her sister Betsie.

Corrie: Betsie, don’t you feel anything about Jan Vogel? Doesn’t it bother you?

Betsie: Oh yes, Corrie! Terribly! I’ve felt for him ever since I knew – and pray for him whenever his name comes into my mind. How dreadfully he must be suffering!

*****Excuse me, people, but what freaking kind of angel is Betsie to “feel for” and “pray” for this man who caused SO much death, destruction, and pain. Yes, I yelled that while I was reading.*****

Corrie’s Thought Process After this Conversation

“For a long time, I lay silent in the huge shadowy barracks restless with the sighs, snores, and stirrings of hundreds of women. Once again I had the feeling that this sister with whom I had spent all my life belonged someone to another order of beings. Wasn’t she telling me in her gentle way that I was as guilty as Jan Vogel? Didn’t he and I stand together before an all-seeing God convicted of the same sin of murder? For I had murdered him with my heart and with my tongue.”

Emphasis Added Was Mine

For real. To put Corrie ten Boom, who sacrificed her family and her life to save others, in the same category as Jan Vogel… a man who killed several humans out of devotion to Hitler and the cause, is insane.

Insane.

Then, that sentence that I bolded. God does not distinguish between sin. Sin is black and win. You either sin (gluttony, lying, adultery, homosexuality, murder (the physical kind), murder (spewing hate in your heart), stealing, the list can go on and on), or you don’t sin. We are human; we sin. We needed a Savior to die on the cross to save us from our sins.

She despised this man, and this man killed and tortured many. In God’s eyes… the boy sinned. Let that sink in for about 3 minutes. I need a swig of coke. She killed with her tongue and heart. He killed and tortured with his hands. Yet, both were created in His image. Both are loved by God. Finally, both sinned in the eyes of God.

I’m having a hard time with this. Can you tell?

Her Prayer

“Lord Jesus, I forgive Jan Vogel as I pray that You will forgive me. I have done him great damage. Bless him now and his family.” That night for the first time since her betrayer had a name, I slept deep and dreamlessly until the whistle summoned us to roll call.”

For. Real. People. Absorb that prayer. Adapt it to add the names of the people who have hurt you.

Friends who abandoned you in your greatest time without a word. These same friends make you question everything you could have done wrong, and you are eaten up with pain and confusion. God is NOT the author of confusion. Let that crap go. Forgive!

People who rip your children out of your arms claim you are an unfit parent because they are jealous and want these precious beings for themselves. Hateful humans wish to remove children just because they feel like it, with no regard for what is right and wrong. Forgive.

So Many More Scenarios

Pastors who you trusted hurt you and your family. Accusations are thrown around like confetti. Allowances of idle gossip within the church to try and accuse you of being an awful parent to kids from hard places. Pastors refusing to help others, accusing you of affairs, chastising you in dark stairwells because you are trying to protect your children. Pastors blamed a child for someone who preyed on them and molested them. You are asked to leave, yet the accuser stays, and he is free. Forgive.

Men who claim to love Jesus and the law who underhandedly try and destroy your family. They do so while still talking about their love for Christ and family. They lose no sleep. Let me tell you…what man meant for evil, God meant for good. Forgive

A family who disowns you for falling in love. Co-workers treat you like crap to your bosses but never to your face because there is no basis for the hate they spew. Forgive.

Oh, this woman goes on!

Am I speaking my pain? Are those deep dark chambers of my heart being unlocked? Let me tell you. I have a situation right now that I have buried so deeply for over a decade. It is completely fine, tucked away in the back corner of the attic.

Guess what?

God has a sense of humor. In being content with my pain being hidden away, He decides (cause He is a funny God) that He is gonna bring it back up. Just like vomit. What this man did was atrocious and unforgivable by my standards.

Yet, there is God. Only God can orchestrate what is happening. I have played out every scenario of meeting this human and everything I can say. Honestly, I want to make him feel like shit on the bottom of my shoe. No lie.

But God

Clearly, He sees that I can’t move forward until I move past this. Again, forgiveness is not about giving permission for that person to do what that person did. It is about releasing Satan’s control over it in my heart.

I know that.

Now, He has aligned the stars to where it is time for me to face one of my deepest hurts. It is like a train coming down the tracks. I see it. Yet, I don’t need the ticket right now. This train is going to run over my family and me.

God is my Protector, Defender, Shield, and Stronghold. May He be my words. I pray I can see through the past pain to see the hurt this man must have gone through and is going through. May I show Him the love of Christ.

Right now, my flesh wants to bring down a world of pain. Yet Christ died for him. Forgave Him. What more does He need to give?

It is time.