#metoo

I’m wondering how many people there are, who like me, did not share their #metoo stories even though they had one (or many). during the hashtag craze. I did not mention my story, and I would ask myself why, and get the knowing that it would be the right time later. This past September 13th was that day.  I was talking to my best friend, and the memory that had been buried for 31 years, innocently, and painlessly  , floated to the surface of my brain. So for the first time, and with someone I knew would not allow me to fear my own thought process, I shared what happened.

I was sexually assaulted by 3 teenage boys in a rescue squad building where I volunteered, in 1987. I was the first and still the only female at that time, to ever to join the squad, I was also very good looking and not afraid to show it, and I got a lot of flack from both the men who I worked with, and their wives, for serving my community as a volunteer EMT. Now a days its common to see women in rescue squads. it was not when I joined in 1985. My assault took place in the very same room where I had attended class for EMT certification about one year before, It happened on a Sunday in 1987 when i was 17, that was the same year that my chest tripled in size and I started to feel really self conscious about my breasts, because all i wanted to do was climb into wrecked cars and get bloody, and help people, not be looked at or have my peers assume I was a slut just because I needed a really big bra. After my assault, I started drinking, smoking pot, staying busy with anything I could do to ignore things, and I started not allowing people to get close to me, while at the same time, very promiscuously screwing every guy i could find who would do me the honor. That sexual assault in the EMT room was the 3rd one I had dealt with since my first at age 14, and those first assaults didn’t include the rape at the hands of my great uncle who took my virginity when I was 4. The assault in the EMT room was the last straw, and it had happened in a place where I felt safe. It was the only sexual assault that I felt ashamed of. It was the only one that I didn’t tell anyone about. Not my closest relatives, not my closest friends, no one. I had had enough. Instead of following up on my fantasies of suicide, I buried it, with everything else. No one ever told me I had to be strong, I just was, but I was also afraid of love.

My friend asked me, why now. Why didn’t I say anything in 1987.

Because back then, if I had spoken up about it, I would’ve been thrown out, the captain of the squad hated the fact that I was even there, he didn’t like the idea of a beautiful young woman, being with a bunch of men all day, it was asking for trouble, he said. He told me that when i was a gawky, nerdy, stringy looking 15 year old…

Until I was assaulted at the rescue squad house, I wanted to be a flight paramedic after high school. I ended up not being able to stick with any plan to do anything. Back then we didn’t know vocabulary like “sovereignty” or, being a sovereign being. But I knew on some level I had a choice to either allow this to do me in, or go on pushing forward. Despite that assault and the others prior to that one straw that broke the camels back, I chose to keep going.

Healing takes time. Its personal and unique for everyone. We are always in charge of it. And forgiveness is not about forgetting. Its about remembering. Fear is what helps us forget. Love helps us remember, because love treasures all that we hold dear. Love, when I was finally not afraid to feel it, freed all the pieces of my memory, and when everything came to the surface for me to see without fear attached to it, I gave the pain back….

It’s been 31 years. For all the people out there who think too much time has gone by for them, it is never too late to give it back.

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‘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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