‘Lead Me’

I first heard this song in 2010. I was in a marriage that left me broken and used. The song convicted me, because I wanted so much for my husband to be a godly partner and father, to be someone who I could freely love and worship God with. I prayed for this for 17 years. It didn’t happen. After years of threats, battering, and manipulation, that marriage finally fell apart in 2011. My worst fear came true and I lost my children, but  God knew what would happen, even when no one else did, and like the ever-watchful Guardian, He’s been there since the beginning.

Two years ago, after my failed marriage, when my world was completely turned upside down, God saved me when I was drowning in sorrow.  He reunited me with my childhood friend Adam.  Adam helped my soul heal.  He didn’t know it, but he was God’s instrument.

Instrument…. that has more than one meaning to Adam.  Adam is a lifetime musician.  Since he was old enough to hold an instrument, he’s played…whatever he can get his hands on. You leave him alone with it for ten minutes and he figures it out. Well, God has left me alone with him for two years  🙂  Over 24 months I’ve seen him grow from out of his own shell, and release emotional pain that has manifested physically.  I’ve watched him survive a stroke and rebuild himself slowly, and have been extremely blessed to watch as he accepted Christ and became a baptized believer, with the conviction of a knight.  My heart was renewed that day.

The Bible says in 1st Peter 3:1, Wife, be subject to your own husband, so that even if he does not obey the word, he may be won without a word by your conduct.  My grandmother told me that verse when I was in my mid-20′s. I was newly married at the time to my (now ex) husband, and I had asked her what to do, a little bit desperate, because my husband was not Christian.  We didn’t share the same beliefs about God.  Very clearly, the Bible gave instruction. I prayed every day during our marriage (which lasted from 1995-2011), for him to be baptized, for him to share time with me reading the Bible at home everyday.  He was jealous of my relationship with God. At first, he scoffed at me for seeking out a church home,and then belittled me when I taught Sunday school, and then he came to accept my doing this, but he never condoned it.

Deep down inside, I knew that my ex-husband and I would divorce someday, not knowing the how or the when or the why, so in faith I continued to serve my husband, and love him. Sometimes that required work. I had to force myself to love him. He was cold and insensitive, and constantly spewed ugliness out of his mouth, sometimes breaking me down, which made me feel worthless.  Sometimes we even fought physically, because I would constantly fail in my husband eyes.

Faith was my strength. In God and in the verses like that one in 1st Peter.  I leaned on God.  I lived in a constant state of prayer. I believed that God was watching and protecting me and my children, even as I was attacked by my spouse, as I lost various freedoms over the years due to his jealousy of my relationships with family and friends.  And when he threw me out in 2011, when he bribed my children to stay with him instead of going with me, I still prayed and leaned on God’s understanding – which is greater than my understanding.

During this time, I’ve been surviving…. and I wanted to do more than just survive, I wanted life.  I longed for the closeness that God, and no one else, gives me.  So I grieved the loss of my children. I grieved the loss of security and self, and let it go. That was a very hard transition.  During this time, God has been building me up to prepare me for discipleship.  I do this with a humble heart.

Even though Adam and I have been a couple now for 2 years, I feel as if we are at the beginning of something beautiful, because we are now both Christians who both love God, and we want to share that with others, in celebration for all that God has done, is doing, and will do. I feel like God rewarded me for my faith all those years, for putting my trust in Him, for giving the life that was out of my control over to Him.

It’s true…my children are still living with my ex-husband. My heart still aches for them. But my heart is healing. Adams heart is healing. What a difference it makes in your life, when you just let Jesus in! Watching Adam be baptized renewed my soul. Sharing bible time together as we both grow in Christ and allow ourselves to be molded, and praying together, is such a gift! It’s such a peaceful foundation to root and grow a relationship.

Thank you God, for everything. For convicting my heart back then, for protecting my children through all that has changed, and for convicting Adam to become a godly partner, molded by You, just for me. You are the Great Physician, and truly the Miracle Worker.

Peripheral Vision

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In my childhood memories, he was always there in the corner of my eye.  He would appear calm in the face of adversity or chaos, bringing sunlight to a soul walking alone, while we both waited for the moment when we would finally meet.  Did he know then, that my heartbeat followed his? My imaginary friend, my angel… the voice that kept me safe in the dark.

I wrote this for the 79th Trifecta writing challenge. Adam and me first met in 1986, when we were teenagers.  Since then, we’ve felt each others presence no matter where life has taken us, even during a 19 year stretch of time when we were out of contact, due to circumstances beyond our control.  Since then my heart beat strong when he was close by, and it has ached in a physically measurable way when we were apart. Recently his mother gave him a photo album made of his baby photos, childhood photos, every photo she had of him dating up to the present. It was a beautiful piece of artwork in itself.  Looking at his baby and childhood pictures made me realize that….I had known him all along. I knew him for years before we met. I recognized his spirit in his childhood pictures, as the imaginary friend I had, who would sometimes visit me in my childhood, especially (that I recall) between the ages of 4 and 7.  That explains why when we met that first day in 1986, both of us were overcome not with the newness of being introduced to a stranger, but with something that felt more akin to “It’s so good to finally find you. Thank God you’re really real!”

Immeasurable Miracles

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I took this photo 2 days ago. With it, I want to talk about healing.

God is the Great Physician. God heals miraculously, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Sometimes when we pray for healing, we think the prayer is answered only if the measured miracle happens – the illness disappears.  For a disease, we ask for a cure.  During and after a crisis, we ask for safety and security.  When we are watching a loved one deteriorate at the very end, we ask for a peaceful passing.

I remember 3 months ago, praying for Adam to survive his stroke.  There was a warm feeling that rushed over me when I pleaded with God for a miracle, and I knew Adam would live. I knew he would never be the same, but that there would be a greater good happening as a result.  I didn’t know the details. I didn’t know the when or the how, or the why. I’m thankful for that, too – because waking up every day, seeing his progression as his spirit and his physical body heals,  is such a gift.

As I’ve watched the physical and spiritual transformation happening to my life partner over the last 3 months….over the last month…over the last week….as I come to grips with his newness and appreciate his oldness, I see Healing before our eyes that is without form, immeasurable, and undeniably God.

The world around us says that healing takes place one way, but God will give it His way. In truth, the Healing that comes is for the Glory of our Creator, and it’s only in whatever form God says is right.

It’s not always visible and immediate, but it is given always.  

Watching God Work

3 months ago, Adam survived a massive stroke that stripped him of his left side, of many memories, of the ability to open his left hand and play guitar, of the ability to remember the words and chords to the hundreds of songs he has played to eclectic crowds for almost the last 30 years. He’s spent the last 3 months relearning how to walk and talk, trying to grasp the concept of time and keep track of it. God has moved Mt. Vesuvius for Adam to heal mentally and physically as much as he already has.

Today, another miracle happened. Today Adam was baptized by Christ!  Not in a church, but in the campground where we reside here on Mother Earth. Because, that is where we are.  Adam wanted to be washed clean and become God’s servant, and he reached out in obedience.  Dian, our friend who is not an ordained pastor, but simply a brave, obedient and open minded servant of God, agreed to drive an hour to our doorstep, and give Adam God’s gift of salvation.

It was better than being in a church! I watched the partner God gave to me two years ago today, become the husband that God is making for me.  I watched a shell of a man that I have known and loved for 27 years become filled with the Holy Spirit, and sins washed away, curses removed, and a lifelong hunger filled.

I’ll never forget what Adam said as he repented his sins – “I wanna be washed clean, ” He begged, “Please let’s get some water.” He could barely sit still, he wanted it so bad.

I’ll never forget the words Dian spoke as she prayed over him before and after she used my grandmas old pot to pour the water over Adam’s head.   She asked that all his afflictions be taken away, addictions lifted, and he be healed, and if God sees fit for Adam to play the guitar again, that God use him however He see’s fit, to fill hearts with heavenly music and lead others to Christ. I felt stones being laid, like the beginning of a path.

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It goes to show that you don’t have to be a member of a church to be used by God, to spread truth and give hope and strength.  You don’t have to be certified on paper. You just have to have a heart for God, and be brave enough to answer the call when you’re asked.  It was breath taking. And I know that in order for me to be the wife Adam needs in our future, that I need to woman-up and give Adam Godly discipleship.

 

A perfect house

I finally realized today, why I am terrified of a museum clean, perfectly decorated and ordered house.

I’m talking about one of those houses where you’re afraid to be there as soon as you walk inside. It’s the falsity of it. The owner, or more commonly the owners wife, spends every waking minute putting their life into keeping the order.  They welcome you in for whatever reason, and alarm bells go up. You know not to touch anything, not to interfere, and you feel like you are breaking the order just by being there. You feel like there is a monster living there, and the monster is meticulously,  carefully hidden from view so that the whole world believes that everything is perfect.

The monster may be a hidden abuse or addiction that is going on…it may be the despair felt by one spouse controlled by the other…it may be a sense of personal failure…a failed dream, failed conception…it may be the shame of a buried criminal background….it’s anything that could taint that feeling of safety and inner peace we all want. The monster is that feeling that normally makes you want to lock your doors to keep it out, except the real horror is that it’s inside, hiding in plain sight.

The feeling I get when I walk into a home where there is clutter and disorganization is that at least this person has the courage to be honest. Their world, in all its imperfections, is in your face. Nothing is hidden, there is no falsity or lying going on. You feel the freedom in the air.  I feel comfortable when I’m there. I’m not afraid to sit down, breathe deep, and laugh out loud with my head thrown back.

The real difference is that one place feels welcoming and projects expression, and the other projects rigid structure and a mind forced into closure.  To each their own, but I appreciate the freedom.

The Other Side of My Cardboard

God has really worked on me today…this morning I woke up so unable to celebrate the Easter holiday, apathetic and still buried in sorrow from the loss of my children…

My heart is broken. That hasn’t changed. But, I have so many reasons to celebrate Easter. I know that Jesus is my Savior. I love God, but God loves me a lot more.

If I can add to this cardboard testimony….

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Signs of Equality

8545_10151845914042468_2116655436_nI love the equal signs that have flooded Facebook today!  The message is warm, and ultimately respectful. I so want to see Congress grow a pair…and take action to allow equality in every aspect of life, and marriage is only part of that picture.  How sad it is, that we must rely on a government that was built on freedom from oppression, and developed with fierce diversity….to dictate to us… who we can marry, who we can legally kiss, hold, live a life with, parent with, cherish the golden years with, and die beside.

If you need a social comparison of how bizarre it is…to judge people by who they love…to understand it..

I wasn’t prejudiced in the 70’s growing up, when integrated schools were “new” and “being tried out experimentally in various school systems” in Alabama. I was raised to be open minded, to form bonds with people based on their personality, not by their skin color, not by what they wore, not by what they believed in, not by what political party they supported, or who they married…by my grandparents, who were all born in the 1910’s-1920’s – who must have been raised to be equally respectful of others by their parents and grandparents (born in the 1880’s-1910’s), despite societies norms which purposely divided people according to race in the time of my grandparents and parents, and according to sex in the times of my great-grandparents.

In this day and age, it’s almost ridiculous to think that white women were not treated equally, not given an equal chance as a white men to have an education, or to vote, or to work, or to make an equal wage. It’s almost absurd to think that people were once separated in schools, or assigned to different classrooms, simply because their skin colors were not the same. I remember not being able to share a classroom with my neighborhood playmates in the first years of elementary. It’s painful, but it was real. I saw it.  Alabama was one of the last to integrate. It blows my mind personally, to think that if you had the unfortunate experience of being born a natural descendant…if you were of the 3rd or 4th, or 10th generation of a person who was kidnapped and sold off the docks of Africa in the 1700-1800’s, and you were born and raised in the USA, and you worked here, and raised your family… and you were even able to fight for the country in war and die with pride doing so, you were still not allowed to cast a vote in my country until the 1960’s.  You couldn’t even use the same bathroom or drink from the same water fountain.  That sounds so painful to read in black and white. The “you can’t be gay” rule is no less ridiculous, absurd…painful.

Please let today be a new beginning for equality in marriage across the USA. Many of my friends and some of my family have been waiting on this moment.

Some of them for a very long time.