Thursday, July 30, 2020

Why do bad things happen to good people?

So many people, righteous people, seem to suffer some of the most horrific tragedies, and we are left scratching our heads wondering, why her, why him or even why me? Let’s get one thing straight, NO one is righteous, NONE!  (Romans 3:23) There is only One who was righteous, without sin, I think we can all agree on that.
I’m a silver jewelry freak. No, I don’t collect it, but it’s all I wear. I don’t know why, but I don’t like to wear gold. So, I’m going to use silver here as mental picture of life being refined.  So, let’s look at silver in its natural state.  When silver nuggets are mined in their raw form, they are mixed with several elements and impurities which have to be refined out in order to make that beautiful shining necklace, earrings, or bracelet that pretties up our flawed bodies.  Are you starting to get the picture? The only process to remove the impurities of the silver nugget is to boil or melt the silver in hot liquid. The hotter the fire, the more times it is boiled, the finer the silver becomes, until it can reach a point of 99.9% pure. It can never reach 100%, nor can we ever reach 100% pure, so don’t even try. Shoot for that 99%, and you won’t be frustrated. 
The most we can be refined is six times because we can’t make flawless state. Now does that mean you will go through only six trials, of course not, but the heat of the flames determines the refining process.  If you have been selected to go through that refining process, consider yourself honored above many inthe sight of God. I of course, need to refer by to my BBF’s (Biblical  Best Friends) Let’s look at a few people honored by God.

Let’s begin with my favorite hunk of raw silver, non-other than the biggest screw-up of the entire Bible. Friends, it doesn’t get worse than Samson in the book of Judges. Of all the Biblical heroes, he was the most flawed, had the most impurities, yet, God chose to refine him. The trouble he got into was his own fault. The man had an eye for women that took over the commonsense in his brain. He didn’t just love women, but he loved bad women. He wasn’t satisfied with a woman from his hometown or tribe, no, he had to have Philistine women. All of them got him into some hot water, or boiled. It took the hottest test to finally refine him, years in a Philistine dungeon after a treacherous betrayal by one of those poorly chosen Philistine women, with his eyes poked out and his hair finally grown back, the truth of who GOD chose him to be, as well as what kind of man he should have been, finally became clear as a bell, right before his non-existent now, eyes.
The last day of his life, he did his greatest deed,  and did what he was supposed to do before all those women distracted him from his purpose, it was then, as a prisoner being mocked that Samson’s supernatural strength returned by faith, and was able to take down main supporting columns of the “theater” and take out all the Philistines, along with himself as the sacrificial lamb in this final act. 
Notwithstanding, Samson being the roughest of raw silver, there were several others, which GOD had put into His Love letter to us, for the very reason of showing us just how refined and shining we raw humans can become with a some Divinely placed logs in the fire, in our fiery furnace of affliction.  To name just a few others, there’s the greatest of the Hebrew Scriptures, and that would be of course, Moses, a well-educated man with a temper, trained for one-hundred and twenty years. Forty of them he spent learning from the finest institutions and teachers the known world had to offer, then hidden forty years after his temper and bad timing chased him to a life hidden with a foreign people, taking care of their sheep, and at last, then forty more years in the wilderness, leading near two million contemptuous revilers, until the first generation died of, he lead the next generation to the border of the Promise Land. This was the land promised over four-hundred years earlier, to their father Abraham.  Yet, Moses was only able to go as far as the border, because like all of us, he was not perfected beyond human status, which brought his life to an end in the wilderness, just beyond the reach of the promise, he trained all his life to attain. 
 Jacob, the trickster, 100 years of wrestling with God, the father of the twelve tribes which produced Joseph, who was trained first as a slave, then in Potiphar's Prison, to be placed by GOD’s hand in the second highest position of power in the world, that of, Prime minister of Egypt.  That heat of that refining is what saved not only Egypt, increasing its dominion, but saved his entire race of seventy people, enough for GOD to grow them to near two million in the safety of the womb of Goshen. There were countless other, which we will come in contact with in the course of our lifetimes, others who will inspire us with their flaws, and encourage us on with their flames of affliction to become that which GOD has designed for us since before the creation of the world.

So, the next time you are tempted to say, why me? Instead of saying in a groaning complaining tone, I suggest we ought to in humble adoration with a thankful heart, bend the knee, bow the head, and in humility, say, “Oh, God, why me? What good do you see in me that I should be so honored to go through these fiery furnaces?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

When the pain is blinding.

I have had something like fifteen surgeries. Seven of them have been cesarean section births, two new feet, some corrective plastic surgery, hand surgery, and oral surgery. The worse by far was the parotidectomy. Your parotid gland incorporates nearly the entire side of your face.  One day I found a tumor right next to my right ear.  Everyone told me it was nothing, probably a benign cyst, that I shouldn’t worry, but I knew different. This was one of those times when the voice in the back of your head says, “God’s got a work for you to do. Be prepared, He’s turning up the heat.”
That voice is almost always the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding or convicting us.  Almost two agonizing months after I found the tumor, I lay on an operating table for near six hours while my gifted oncologist, with great precision, removed the tumor which did have some nerve involvement.  Because the nerve was involved, I was supposed be left with anywhere from minor to major facial paralysis. to completely unable to even blink or smile.   Best case scenario would have been Bell’s Palsy as a lasting effect for the rest of my life. By the gracious and miraculous hand of GOD, and complete surprise to all medical personnel, I experienced none of the above.  The story doesn’t end there. After proving to be a stage one malignant tumor, my oncologist recommended daily radiation therapy for a period of six weeks to burn out any remaining cancer cells in the area
I foolishly assumed that the recovery from that surgery was the most painful experience in my life, however, it was a scratch on my cheek compared to what came next. For ten weeks, I endured swallowing razor blades, radiation burns, radiation sores, complete loss of my ability to taste anything, and fatigue like I’ve never known, even after having birthed and raised eight babies. I was supposed to lose all my teeth and very little hair, but GOD had a different plan.  I lost no teeth at all, but half a head of hair. I was bald as an eagle from the middle of my scalp down, but no one knew because the top layer covered it.  I had to walk around with a mullet hair style for over a year, but considering I wasn’t supposed to keep my teeth, I was all too happy to be out of style, looking like that achy-breaky, country artist from the early 90’s. 
 The last difficult ordeal, and I use that term loosely, was pain-med withdrawal.  The fool that I was, about two weeks after my last treatment, when I figured I could stand the physical pain, I just removed the pain patches and threw them away. Let me suggest, NEVER to do that!  I wasn’t interested in tapering down, I was interested in getting back to work and normal life.  The withdrawal I experience was similar to the kind of withdrawal a heroin addict experiences. Now, don’t go assuming I was high and having a ball all that time, because when narcotic painkillers are used properly for pain, there is no high as a kite. There is only pain-relief to a degree, enough to live, but not enough to forget the pain that was ever present.
 All during those months, I had lost sight of the reason for the pain. I had forgotten that it was all for a greater purpose. I grew angry, bitter and near impossible to live with, a time of my life of which I greatly grieve. It’s a funny thing about pain, sometimes it can be so severe and life-draining, that the only thing we can focus on in our daily life is the pain. Everything else becomes a blur, and we think is this the way it’s always going to be?  We wonder what if felt like to not be in pain.  We can’t remember life without it. It drains our energy, saps our joy, and steals any happiness or hope we have for the future. Compassion and agape love are gifts given to us by GOD, some get more some get less, while empathy is an equal opportunity employer of our future work. 
That year my husband and I both survived dual cases of cancer, however, our three decade old difficult marriage did not.  The physical pain was over, but the heart pain was only to get worse.  I do thank GOD for every dark, dreary, bleak, hopeless, despairing, oppressed and painful moment in my life, because good will come from all of this. I’ve heard over and over the amount of difficulties and obstacles a person has to endure is in proportion to the size of the ministry GOD has planned for us after we have survived it all.  I hope that is true. 
Currently, I am in one of those extremely emotionally painful times where my back is against the wall and there is no way out of my situation, short of the Hand of GOD. There is no easy way out of this one, and sometimes, I get so lost in the pain, I can’t remember the thousands of promises GOD gives us in His Word.  One of them is what GOD gave me the weekend before my cancer surgery. This one is in Exodus, when the Israelites were at the Red Sea, with the Egyptian army closing in on them. There was no way out for them, or so they thought
Sometimes I lose focus, and I look too much at the circumstances, the storm, the waves, and not the LORD who just told me I could walk on water.  Sometimes we fall into the devil’s trap of only seeing and feeling the pain.  This is the time that GOD uses not to test us, because He knows if we will pass, but to prove to us that, yes, we can endure it. We have two choices in pain, grow a deeper love for GOD or withdraw from Him. I choose to grow deeper in love, my husband on the other hand, chose the opposite road. People tell me everyday that GOD would never end a marriage. People who say that don't know GOD very well, because in His Grace, He did.  We were both drowning in a sea of despair. I was on the top trying to keep my head above water, while he was under the water, trying to pull me under with him.  
I thought being free from the trap of a dying marriage would make it better, it only caused more grief, because daily, he is a reminder that it didn't work.  I am in constant daily heart pain from that and a few other heart-crushing events since then, but I march on, or as I tell my children when they are in physical pain, "Kerri-Strugg-it. If she can do a perfect vault and win the gold for her team on a broken ankle, then you can do whatever it is you have to do while smarting a little, or even a lot.“

Recently, I learned that I focused too much on Psalm 27:13, the promise that life would get better and that I would see the "goodness" of the LORD in the land of the living, and that made it worse.  NOW, I focus on the character of GOD, because that is always good, always gracious, always faithful, and always for my good and the good of His Kingdom.  That is where the numbing agent really is. 

The Bible as a Treasure Chest

As many of you know, I'm an Old Testament buff, in fact, I buff it out so much that the more I buff it out, the more brighter the shine that comes out  to near blind me and confuse me.  The brightness of that shine of the Old Testament is so illuminating that my eyes can't comprehend it, and my mind cannot filter it.  There is so much there that the human mind is incapable of comprehending all of it in this lifetime.  Yet, it is so highly ignored by most Christians. 

Most Christians these days are New Testament Christians only.  Yeah, they see the Old Testament as a good story book, a good poetry, a good  intro to the Gospels, but they don't understand, the Old Testament is the cake under the frosting.  If you don't have the cake, there is no frosting. Most of the Old Testament Scriptures that are quoted over and over again don't even show the tiniest fraction of the whole picture.  Everyone has their favorites, but their palates are so accustomed to the taste of the favorites, that the people don't want to try and find new flavors.

While praying about this and asking GOD what can I write about the Old Testament gifts, I saw a treasure box.  Go with me here for a second.  Open the treasure box, and there is a tray on the top of the box that holds all the greenbacks of the US Treasury.  Sure, those green backs are good. They spend like real money, and they can buy you anything you need or want, however, the gold and jewels that those greenbacks are based upon are underneath that tray.  You know they are there, and if you lift the tray you can see the beauty underneath.  The real problem is that unless you take out the tray, and pick up each piece and carefully examine each jewel and the glow of each piece of gold, you are only getting 1/4th of the treasure box.  A quarter of the treasure is good, it's enough to make you rich in Christ, but how rich do you want to be? 

Too many Christians are settling for that top tray, because it's good enough.  Good enough was never good enough for me. That is why I got in trouble with my children and my husband.  They think that I was never satisfied with them, because they were not good enough.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, I set the bar high, but so didn't GOD when he came here as a baby in a manager and when Jesus stretched out his arms and died on that cross for you and me.

 Psalm 119 is the perfect example of the gold standard of the Old Testament.  The jewels in this Psalm is in the poetry.  Yeah, I know it doesn't rhyme, and that's because we don't speak Hebrew.  The Psalm is divided into 22 sections, each stanza begins with a Hebrew letter.   Recently, I started studying some of the Hebrew alphabet.  I'm telling you, GOD loves letters, but even more so, He loves numbers.  Each Hebrew letter has a specific meaning in Hebrew, it doesn't just represent a sound.  Each letter has a number assigned to it, and each number has a meaning behind it.  For example, 1 Represents GOD, as GOD is one, the only One.  My favorite letter in Dalet, the 4th letter, it means door.  My favorite number is 8, which means new beginning, and if anyone needs that, it's me.  There is such beauty in GOD's creation and the story of His people.  Knowing some nice OT Scriptures as comfort verses is like eating beans in a can when GOD offers us an entire banquet table in which we can feast.  Not knowing the Hebrew alphabet is again, like only tasting the frosting and not the cake underneath.  The English Alphabet is good enough to create the words that teach you the Gospel, but the Hebrew Alphabet is the gold and jewels that will make you far richer in Christ than you could ever imagine.
Might I encourage you to take your Bible, learn it in Chronological order in historical context, learn the culture behind the stories and the people, and you will find such treasure in the truth and knowledge of GOD that you've been missing all this time, just eating beans out of a can.     Not knowing the Hebrew alphabet is again, like only tasting the frosting and not the cake underneath.  The English Alphabet is good enough to create the words that teach you the Gospel, but the Hebrew Alphabet is the gold and jewels that will make you far richer in Christ than you could ever imagine.
I'm working on my final book, Living as a Jeremiah in a Job's World, and I hope to have it done by the end of the year.  It has three sections, The BODY ~ A Reason to Believe, The SOUL ~ A Reason to Hope, and The SPIRIT ~ A Reason to Change.  I don't expect to accomplish anything from that book myself, but I do hope that GOD takes that book and somehow from it, I would like to see the Old Testament to make a huge comeback this year.  I think it high time and long overdue.  The Old Testament is not the book of a wrathful GOD, it's the book of the Merciful GOD pleading with His people to turn back to Him.  He is doing that very same thing today.  When reading the Prophets, I do not picture GOD speaking to an ancient people, threatening them within an inch of their life, I picture GOD speaking to His people today, in His church.  I see GOD calling out His remnant saying;
"Here I am, I'm over here. You've been looking over there, and that is just a reflection of me in a mirror.  Turn around and see the real thing, the full figure of Who I am."

Monday, July 27, 2020

When Backed up Against the Wall, Do What GOD's Heroes Did. 

Divorce papers un-opened before the Cross of Christ 

      Three years ago, I wrote a blog post on my former blog, "The Woman at the Well,"  entitled, "Top Ten Reasons There Will Be No Divorce."   I recycled it for this blog and you can find it if you scroll down on the right side of this page.  I supposed an update is needed, seeing how there has been some new devastating developments.  

     As I've said in all my blogs, I live in the Bible, because with my life situation, the way it is, it's the only place to find hope.  I've been doing this now for these past eight-twelve years in the fiery furnace of affliction.   Recently, I'm not sure if the heat just got turned up, or in fact, if the furnace has been shut off, and the door is about to open.  I think maybe, he who threw me in the furnace might himself find that GOD is about to reverse the roles.  This time, sadly, there will be no way out for this man.  

       Four days ago, while serving at the local food pantry, I got served.  I didn't get served food, though, I got served divorce papers.  After six years of waiting this thing out, hoping that my husband would turn back to GOD, he instead, underhandedly went behind my back and retained a human divorce lawyer. He then locked up all the money and told me that I didn't need a lawyer.  I beg to differ.  I need a lawyer, only I'm not going to pay for one, he is.  Sadly, though, probably not with money, but with something far more devastating.  I retained a Lawyer long before when this all began, and He has been advising me through this mess.  My Lawyer, as I stated, works pro-bono, and the Judge in the case, always serves Justice where justice is due.  
     My husband is fighting me over money.  That's all this comes down to. He doesn't want me to have any part of his "windfall."   My husband who used to be a dedicated man of GOD, raising our eight children with me for almost 30 years, has laid claim to a new god.  His god is money and a woman.  Not me, mind you, but another woman.  It's a travesty, but more than that, it's a tragedy in the making.  He knows that GOD has called me to special task, and he knows better than to go after a servant who is working for the Kingdom of Heaven full-time.  He has seen the mighty Hand of GOD pull off some pretty amazing feats on my behalf. This is why he is being so foolish, and I do not understand this risk he is willing to take. 

      When we are persecuted, really, it is not us who are being persecuted, but Jesus.  In Acts 9, when Saul was stopped cold dead in his tracks on the Damascus Road on his way to arrest, persecute and put to death those Jews following the Way, Jesus took that moment to let him know just Who he was persecuting. While Saul thought he was taking ordinary men to court, he was really taking Jesus to court.  Jesus was having none of that, because Saul had a destiny, one he never suspected.  (You will have to open Acts 9 and see what Jesus said to Saul.)  His destiny would change the course of the entire world, and he would go from being the church's chief opponent, to the church's chief proponent, and write 1/3 of the New Testament for all of us to benefit for these last two thousand years.  

      Well, I don't have that kind of destiny, but there is a work GOD has for me to do, so by my husband taking me to divorce court, what he is really doing is divorcing Jesus.  I've tried to warn him that it was not me that he was stealing from and up against, it was GOD that he was going up against.  Let me tell you, many people have tried to go up against GOD and GOD's people, and to this date, NONE have won.  When I got those divorce papers in front of all my volunteer friends at the food pantry, I did what good King Hezekiah did.  First, I didn't even open them, because I knew if I did that I would get very very angry, so I took those folded up papers straight up to the sanctuary, and laid them flat on the altar right under the Cross of Jesus.  Then, I laid prostrate on the ground and cried, and literally CRIED out to my GOD for help.  (After I did that, I put them on his car, secured by the windshield wiper, prayed it wouldn't rain, and put a verse on the back side of those un-opened papers to let my husband know just Who was fighting my battle.)

    Whenever things get really bad, when my back's up against a wall, the only thing I can do is find someone in the Bible, study what they did, and do the same. The good King Jehoshaphat did the same thing.  I'm going to do something I do not normally do, and I'm going to give you a link to the two places these good kings took their fear and panic, and how GOD answered their pleas.  Below are the links.  

2 Kings 19:14-37         &        2 Chronicles 20:1-30    (Please read these and find strength through what GOD's people do in dire circumstances)

      As I stated in my last blog, I could have struck first and filed for divorce, because my husband has been in a relationship now with another woman for going on three years now,  and it has progressed to him sleeping at her house many nights a week.  So, not only is he committing adultery, going up against GOD in a divorce court, but he is dragging this woman down into the pit with him.  Now, I know she is not innocent, but she is surely a victim here, just as much as I am.  Let's face it, we women are the weaker vessels, and some of us feel more secure with a man by our side. There is NOTHING wrong with that, and do NOT let any feminist tell you otherwise, my sisters. We were created by GOD to be nurturers, and men were created by GOD to have that natural protective nature.   I've spent the last six years crying my heart out in my bedroom every  night over the break up of my family.  He's been spending the last few in her company in her bed.  This does NOT go over well with GOD.  

     And as I stated in my earlier blog, although David had every right to defend himself from a mad king hell-bent on killing him, David did not strike on those two opportunities that GOD delivered King Saul into his hands.  I've had plenty of opportunity to do some serious damage to that man, and at times, I will admit, I was tempted, I even threatened him.  When I realized the error of that, I told him that I would not do to him what he feared the most, and I would not sign divorce papers or fight him in a human court room.  Armed with that "security,"  I guess he felt he could strike first and deliver a deadly blow, however, it's not me who is dying here. 

    I will admit, I panicked when this happened, even after I prayed and read the Bible.  I wept bitter tears, loud bitter tears for two days, so much so that my head was about to explode, and my eyes were nearly swollen shut.  I had an army of social media friends praying, and what a difference that made in a couple of days.  Like David in 1 Samuel 29, with their help, I was able to find strength in the LORD, and turn it all over to Him, again.  I know that GOD will never leave us, even if at times if feels like He has.  Eventually, GOD does come through for His servants, sometimes we have to wait it out in the fiery furnace of affliction, but GOD is never late. He is always on time, even if it's not what we consider on time.  He sees the train wreck ahead, and he changes the directions of the tracks so that the speeding, out-of-control train will not alter the course GOD had planned for us before the creation of the world.  
      I have begged my husband to turn back to GOD to no avail.  I  have begged and pleaded with him to withdraw these divorce papers, again, to no avail.  He has no idea, nor does he care what this is doing to our family.  When a man attacks his Godly wife in front of their children, he isn't just killing the one-flesh, but he's destroying his children in the process.  The father's role in the family is so very vital and crucial, and when the head of the household goes bad, like a any creature  with it's head cut off, the whole body dies.  GOD takes very serious a man who is willing to destroy his children and his wife, and GOD will not allow it.  I know that too many women have been victim to their husbands throwing them away like yesterday's newspapers, and have been dragged into divorce court, against their wills.  They have been forced to fight back with their own human lawyer, causing financial devastation to the children and the home.  Well, I'm here to say that divorce is the cancer killing the church, and I am its chemotherapy.  I will NOT get a human lawyer. I will NOT be dragged into divorce court.  

    If it gets that far, that man will stand at a table, with his lawyer, facing a judge, and the defendant's table will be empty.  He will have to explain to the human judge why his wife did not show up for court.  Now, some say that I could be charged with contempt of court for not showing up.  Be that as it may, I will say what Queen Esther said, "If I perish, I perish,"  because I will NOT show up. They will have to drag me out of my house in handcuffs in front of my children, and haul me off to jail.  I have broken no laws here. I am an innocent wife, abandoned by her husband, (when I had cancer, by the way), and left alone to raise these children all by myself, while he takes them a couple of times a month for a couple of hours.  I am the full time parent, 24/7, at home taking care of their every need.  Yes, he's forking over their financial needs, but children need way more from a father than money.  GOD knows that, I know that, but sadly, my husband either doesn't know it, or doesn't care.  

          This can only end badly for him. There is no good outcome here unless he repents, and this is something I am sure that he will not do.  There is only one alternative ending for my husband, and he has been warned for several years now. "DO not go up against GOD, because it will not end in your favor." What is even more tragic than all of this is that since he filed and got caught sleeping over his girlfriend's house, he has not contacted or even tried to see his children.  I'm not sure if he is trying to set me up for some kind of legal battle, or if he is just too ashamed.  I have not forbid it, however, I have not hid the truth from our children. 

     You see, sometimes children have to see the bad outcome of a grown up full-on-scale rebellion from GOD, if only to keep them from doing the same when they are older and the opportunity to rebel arises. I liken it to the riots and anarchists out there causing so much damage.  We wonder why President Trump is allowing it, and not calling in a full scale military Martial Law to curb this violence. He is letting the American people see just what anarchy and a socialistic demonic-controlled government can and will do to this county if we do not stop it on November 3.  

      I am hoping that this will be a life's lesson for all of us, my children as well, as they watch their father's disintegration into a shell of the man he used to be, or worse, end up grave-side, and I mean not standing, but lying in one. If a man is doing more damage to the Kingdom of Heaven, or to the Work of Jesus, then, it is GOD's option to take that man out.  Job 12:10 says that the very life and breath of every creature on this planet is in the Hand and control of GOD.  It only takes one second for the last breath to occur, and then there is no turning back.  GOD's judgment is final.  My husband had a stroke already, and then he had cancer.  If you ask me, that's two strikes. Being the baseball fan that he is, he knows that the third strike means the player is OUT.  It's such a tragic and sad ending, but one that may keep others, and maybe my other rebellious estranged son to turn back to GOD and rejoin the family. Hopefully, for the rest of their lives, they will remain on the straight and narrow trusting Jesus to be their Lawyer and GOD their Judge when or if the going gets bad for them.  Who knows, maybe there is a wife who has been thrown away by a rebellious cheating husband and she doesn't know that there is free Legal Counsel from Above, and that any man who goes up against his wife who is Represented by the Lawyer who not only wrote the Law, but died for our sake, defeating its death hold on us, that rogue husband will find himself on the wrong side of wrong and the Law will come after him. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

What would Mom think?

(This is another recycled post from my previous blog right after my mother died. This was how I processed the hurt.)
To quote a classic line in a classic movie, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," anymore.  Sorry for the language, if some of you are offended, but there is no other appropriate response.  I have arrived home from my two week trip to Hell up north.  Yes, I said Hell up north.  I had to go home to watch my mother die, then manage through her funeral, my first one, in a receiving line.  It was brutal.  The absolute worst part of that trip was being there with my siblings and all of her friends, after I did the unthinkable.  Confession time!   I read Mom's emails that she sent to my siblings and her friends about me.  I was only interested in what she said about me, and I got an eye full.  WOW!  I knew my Mom could be a Jekyle and Hyde, but I never thought more Hyde than Jekyl.  
 Mind you, I love my mom, like most daughters do.  I'm going to miss her, like anyone else, and a part of me has died with her.  I, however, understood my mom, maybe even better than my five siblings, because I am a chip off the old block.  I am exactly like her.  We clashed a whole lot while I was growing up, and they were nuclear.  Now, that's not uncommon, we all go through spells, some worse than others, but the stories I could tell would curl or uncurl your hair.  I won't even dare to go into any details out of respect, just know this, my mom was reacting to six decades of her mom rejecting her.  My grandmother was reacting to nine decades of her mom rejecting her.  Yeah, we keep it in the family all right.  I'm the only one who gets it, and gets another chance to get it right. 
  My great-grandmother had  seven or eight children.  Her sister could not have any, so what did Great-Granny do?  She gave one of her children away.   You don't have to go back, you read that correctly.  Great-Granny picked out of all those children to give away, my Nana, thus the cycle of rejection and abuse and life in prison began in the early 20th century.  What is worse is that they lived in the same area, so my Nana's sisters were all tight with each other, and Nana was the outsider, always feeling rejected by her mother, father, and siblings.  Enter Grand-Dad.  He was sixteen years older than Nana, because he was previously married.  His first wife, the love of his life died while my aunt was young, so Grampie went out looking for a mother for his precious reminder of the love of his life.  Everybody loved my grandfather's first wife, she was the belle-of-the-ball,  she was the life of the party.  
 Do I have to tell you what that did to my grandmother?  She competed with a ghost her entire marriage, and never did she ever rise to the standard.  What makes this story even worse is that she got pregnant and Grampie wasn't all too happy with that.  Into this hurtful, hateful world comes a bouncing baby future dysfunctional mother, who was not only not welcome, but she was constantly passed over for the favor of the first daughter.  Nana thought the fastest way to Grampie's heart wasn't through his stomach, it was through his daughter.  Oh, the horror stories I heard. 
 Mom meets Dad, and her fairy-tale begins. No more will she be passed over, play second fiddle, be a pest, a nuisance, unwelcomed, OR so she thought. Early in the marriage, my father started cheating on mom, and did for decades.  Again, the dysfunction got even worse.  Dad had political aspirations and wanted an obedient trophy wife.  Apparently, he did not know my mom very well. She wasn't going to go down without a fight.  So, what's the solution?  CHILDREN  six of them.
Mom never received unconditional love and acceptance, unless she was pregnant, and that new baby loved her and made her feel complete.  Life for the toddler above that baby didn't go so well when a new one came, the older ones were virtually invisible to mom.  It all went south from there.  He said, she said, what does it matter what stories are told from whoever's perspective? Six children were irreparably damaged from their dysfunctional life and marriage. 
When the marriage ended, my mother demanded, within inches of our lives, total devotion and loyalty to her, and we were REQUIRED to hate our father. She made life a living hell for us, because she didn't have Jesus.  She taught us to reject people before they get a chance to reject you.  Guess who resisted!  Every little fit Mom took, I got blamed for, because I wouldn't put up with her nonsense, accusing us of being out to get her on our father's behalf.  We weren't even allowed to see him, how could do that? 

Now, I was obedient, somewhat, while I lived there, but when I got married and pregnant, there was an all out war, because I wanted my child to have TWO grandparents.  No one dared go up against Mom when it came to having a relationship with our father.  Oh, the fight that ensued, and even my siblings totally disapproved, all but one.   That just went along with my trouble maker, black sheep title in the family, anyway.  

Last week, I was in HELL up north in New England, acutely aware of some dreadful things my mom said about me to my siblings, putting all the pieces together and finally figuring out why they didn't like me and rejected me, like mom did, and her mom did, and her mom did.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  Well, history always repeats itself and my husband and father to our eight children, walked away from a three-decade old marriage.  Could failure be anymore set in stone?  (Allen means stone?)  There happened to be one little, or as some would say, MAJOR difference.  

 GOD called me to something different!  Jesus called me out of that rejection cycle, and  gave me a chance to live my mother's history all over again and right the wrongs.  Let me tell you, I'm doing my best, but definitely failing most of the time.  There is no mistake so big that we can make that GOD can't fix.  Phew!  What a relief to know that. You know, it took Jacob in Genesis one hundred years to finally get it right?  I'm only at fifty-six, so I have some play room, here. 
 The last few years have been so rough for me. I pretty much had stopped calling mom, because the conversations were mostly negative.  She scoffed at everything I did, every word I said. I think she favored my husband over me.  She disapproved, and she always let me know it.  Whenever I spoke about my writing or my books, she couldn't believe GOD could call me for anything special. She didn't believe, because she had her own pre-conceived, but erroneous concept of who is GOD.  He wasn't the miracle working, personal, and very involved GOD, the loving unconditionally GOD that the Bible tells us.  Therefore, if she didn't believe in the miraculous GOD, she surely didn't believe I was anybody special to Him.  
This week, if finally realized that I've been in prison all this time.  I've been in "What Would Mom Think Prison."  I've been trapped by a spirit of unbelief, knowing anything I told mom about my writing or work for GOD meant absolutely nothing to her, and she did not approve.  In fact, I knew in my heart, regardless of what I did, mom would not approve.  She even said, "I disapprove" over and over for the five and a half decades that I knew her.  
I never realized until today, just how hard I've been working to accomplish the impossible.  I've been trying to get mom to like me, to approve of what I do, to see that I had real worth in the Kingdom of heaven.  That was never going to happen.  I did not even realize that in the back of my head, while I always contemplated my future, I would always think, "What would Mom think?"  Immediately, I could hear her scoffing in my head, knowing full well, that was what I was facing.  
I'm free, now. I never have to think that way again.  Now, GOD can do whatever He wants or planned to do with me, and I don't have to worry about Mom 'poking' fun at my delusions of grandeur.  I wonder just how many billions of daughters and sons out there are trapped in the dungeon of disapproval, and who will like me, finally be able to breath the fresh air of freedom.  

No one is promised tomorrow 
so make sure you logout!
(Addendum: I wrote this last year August 16, 2019, right before my mother's funeral in my previous Blog: The Woman at the Well)

Tomorrow, I will bury my mother with my five siblings, of which I wrote in an earlier post. It was an unexpected death, not sudden, but surely unexpected.  Cancer came in and humbled my mom, because sometimes, that is how GOD has to do it.   People say that GOD never sends cancer, well, I happen to disagree.  The Bible is clear that GOD sends calamity.  Maybe it is not done by His hand specifically, but He is ultimately Sovereign, and nothing comes by us or to us without His prior knowledge and permission.  
 We read in the first chapter of Job that GOD was bragging on his faithful servant, Job, when the devil approached GOD and accused him of being faithful only because he had everything served to him on a silver platter, to quote a contemporary colloquialism.  GOD let Satan stricken Job taking everything away from him, children, livestock, servants, and all his earthly goods.  When Job did not curse GOD, the devil had something else up his sleeve, PAIN!  It's one thing to loose all our earthly goods, it's a whole new ball game when physical pain and discomfort torture us, wearing us out.  
Again, Satan had to seek permission from GOD, and it was granted, however the devil was to spare Job's life. (Hence, the devil has power to take life, according to this Scripture.  Remember that little point!)  The devil has to seek permission for everything he does, so the devil gets the blame, but GOD gets the glory in it, if we let Him. (Romans 8:28)   The devil hit Job with everything he had, and yet, Job did not curse GOD.  
 Now, Job may not have cursed GOD, but boy oh boy, he surely did complain, and who wouldn't?  This is where GOD becomes an even bigger GOD, who can handle all our complaints, and He actually prefers that we do come to Him, and Him alone.   Job was not suicidal, but he cursed the day he was born.  Things went from bad to worse when Job's "friends" instead of grieving with him, accused him of deserving of this punishment from GOD.  There was no mention of the devil in those days, so all things came from GOD's hand, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The mere thought that something so dreadful just happening upon a righteous man, for no reason other than to resolve a bet between GOD and the evil one was simply unheard of, unthinkable, and quite frankly, disturbing beyond human comprehension.     
My mother's cancer came like that, out of nowhere, unexpected, unannounced, and unheard of, as cancer was not in our family history.  I guess we all thought we were safe.  Cancer runs in families, right?  If no one in your family or line of ancestors had cancer, well, then you were going to dodge that bullet, or so we like to think.  How wrong we are.  I was the first in my family to contract it, a very very rare form, parotid cancer.  Only one in every 400,000 women, my age contract this kind of cancer.  It is even rare for older men, let alone a middle-aged woman.  This I knew was from GOD, because I sort of got a heads-up on it.  I believed that the Holy Spirit warned me two years ahead of time that cancer was coming to humble me and keep me humble. Again, I wrote about this ordeal in an earlier blog.  (Cancer, Death and Humble Pie).  
My cancer was stage one, so easily defeated with a little radiation HELL!  It was slightly under six months of hell for me, but it did the trick.  It drew me closer to GOD. It taught me more of Who He is and His grace being sufficient in my weakness.  It had the intended purposed affect on me, and now, I'm a "ticking" time-bomb with all the radiation I did receive, thus perpetually feeding me humble pie for the rest of my days here on this planet.  My mom's cancer was quite a bit different.  It had an appetite for her body that was ravenous, and it fed on her like a famished lion.  In less than twelve weeks, my mom was gone.  
This cancer was brutal, tumors grew like wildfire and burned like it also.  My mom suffered terribly for about eight weeks.  It was a suffering one would never want to watch their parent endure.  I learned that it is just as hard to watch one's parent suffer as it is one's child.  As would any child, I rushed home from one thousand miles away to be with my mother in her worst hour of suffering, and to be with her and my siblings as she exited this world and entered the next.  I don't like to use the word dying, I'd much rather call it graduation or demotion.  In my mother's case, I truly think it was a graduation, as I did not know her spiritual status.  I did, however, receive what I thought was revelation from GOD that He had her up there in heaven, and all was well, now.  The minute after she died, John 3:16 popped up as the first tweet in my Twitter feed.  There was one other thing that I believed was from GOD, and that was what I was reading the second she took her last breath.      
I just so happened to be in 2 Chronicles 33, reading about King Manasseh.  Now, that was a bad king, so bad that he caused the final judgment from the Lord, to come upon Judah, the southern kingdom in 586 B.C.  Both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom had turned their back on GOD and worshiped other gods, and that was the least of their sins, from a human perspective.  There were far more evil things they did that you can find out with a little investigative work on your own, but be prepared to have your stomach turned upside down.  King Manasseh, though, he took the cake, and the frosting, and the candles, when it comes to evil.   It is said of him that he lined the streets of Jerusalem with the blood from one end to the other.  It is even reported that he had the prophet Isaiah hung on a wooden X and sawed in half from the bottom up.  Now, that's a scene I can't even fathom to visualize, nor would I want to.  You really can't get much more evil than that.  
 Both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles speak of just how evil was the son of the good king, Hezekiah, but only 2 Chronicles tells of Manasseh's repentance.  When God wants to humble a person, He knows just what it will take, and a hook in Manasseh's nose and bronze fetters on his feet did the trick.  In his affliction, King Manasseh called out to the LORD.  Now, we humans would have said, "tough cookies, bud, you deserve this."  Aren't we glad that we are not GOD and GOD is not us, that we don't think like GOD and GOD doesn't think like us?  One small act of humbling himself before the LORD, a sincere act of repentance (a change of heart), and GOD restored the evil king, who was immediately transposed into a good king.  He proved his repentance was genuine as he went about restoring Jerusalem, the Temple, removing the wooden idols, and demanding that the people worship only GOD.  It's an amazing story of just how big and wide is the Grace of GOD with one simple, sincere act of humiliation before him.  

As I mentioned, I was reading these verses just as my mom took her last breath, and that is no coincidence.  I truly believe that GOD wanted me to know that all the sharp words my mom used were thrown in the deepest part of the ocean, gone forever, and not held against her, and let me tell you, she had a tongue sharper than than a finely tuned razor blade.  She could chop a person to pieces with it, with no effort at all on her part, and in no time flat.  She wasn't just a Italian Yankee firecracker, she was a nuclear explosion when her fuse was lit.      Little did I know that later, by accident, I would happen to stumble upon some of her emails  she wrote to my siblings about me and my children. After reading about twenty of them, because I had to stop there, I had seen more than my eyes should have seen. There is NO question in my mind why my Stone siblings hated me so much.  Mom was the fuel that fed that fire of fury  She had said the most dreadfully horrible things about me and my children that no decent relative should say about another, let alone a mother about her own child.  I had no idea that my supportive mother who could pick a fight with me in an instant, was not only not so supportive, but she had hoped to see me fail.  I will never understand this, but here is where that BIG huge Grace of GOD comes into play.  
My mom's heart was like every human heart, deceptively evil, hard to fathom, (Jeremiah 17:9), and GOD, knowing that her time was coming soon, instead of letting her evil heart drag her into hell, he gave her an opportunity to be so afflicted that her only option and hope would be to call out to GOD, as did King Manasseh.  The Bible says in several places, "Whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved,"  and I heard many times during that brief time of severe suffering, her calling on the name of Jesus for relief and mercy.  I could hold a grudge against my mother, but what purpose would that serve?  My tongue is just as sharp as hers, and I've ripped a few people apart in my day, even in recent days, when my fuse was lit.  It's a terrible sin, but it's the human condition.  We let our emotions dictate our words and actions when under a great deal of stress or distress.  I am no angel and in need of just as much mercy from GOD as was my mom.  My mom didn't get a chance to apologize to me, but GOD let me see just how He works in forcing an apology, even a silent one out of one's heart on their deathbed.  I, on the other hand have plenty of opportunities to apologize, still, and I plan to make that a common habit, hoping for a little understanding a great deal of mercy from those I've offended.  
There is a difference between the human condition, falling into sin, and an evil heart, plotting sin.  My mom with malice-aforethought, and for no reason, said the most hateful things about all of us.  I am in the former camp. Either way, sin is sin, and we are in need of forgiveness from GOD for every sin, past, present and future, whether it is planned or unplanned.  Here is where GOD looks at the righteousness of Jesus and his work on the cross, and not the decades worth of sin that we either fall into, or plot in vain.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I see this suffering as a gift from GOD.  He could have just ignored her evil intentions, and let them slip her into the eternal abyss of suffering and gnashing of teeth, as Jesus warned, but He didn't.  I would like to believe that He took pity on me and my mom and taught us BOTH a very valuable lesson in how GOD not only humbles us in our sin, but just how BIG and WIDE is His grace and mercy.  

Saturday, July 11, 2020

When Adult Children Aren't

          I have thought that hell on earth for me began on December 15, 2008 when the truth hit me that not only was my daughter not engaged to prince charming, he was in fact,  the spawn of Satan.   This man had such evil intentions behind everything he did.  He lied about everything, and he manipulated my daughter to hate her own family, leave ALL her old friends behind, and become the one who worshiped the ground he walked on.   We lost her for SEVEN horrendous years, but, that was Humpty Dumpty's great fall, as far as I could see.  I needed to be pushed off my pious sanctimonious wall and broken in a million pieces so that all the king's men and all the king's horses couldn't put me together again.  To this day, the King  of Kings is still picking up some of the broken pieces and super-gluing them back on me.  Yes, we lost countless memories we could have made, but we are making better ones now, because I am a different person, and so is she.  It’s that verse, again, the one I can’t stand, Romans 8:28, which everyone uses with a bad thing has happened.  You won’t find too many people using it for anything other than comfort for the bottom falling out on us in one way or another.   

      Ever since my children were able to talk, I would tell them the evils of family estrangement.  Our family has been irreparably damaged by it, and I mean irreparably, because some of the perpetrators of such an evil thing are dead, and some of the victims of such and evil thing are dead, and those years can never be made up for, or recaptured.  I have been on every side of that miserable fence. My hell on earth began all the way back in 1978, not 2008.   I’ve been the daughter, the sister, the grand-daughter, the mother, grandmother, and according to some manipulative adult children that are not, I’m the cause of it for a family “across the pond” 9,000 miles away of whom I’ve never even met, let alone sat in their presence.  Of course, I refuse to take responsibility for adult (and I use that term loosely)  children who truly are not being adults, but rather spoiled, manipulative, demanding, controlling, dishonoring, disrespectful, and downright evil to get what they want, and that is total control over their incapacitated suffering mother.  They  treat their beloved mother as if she was their child, and they were going to brainwash her to think, feel and do just as they say.  I’ve never met these “adult” CHILDREN actually, but I know their mother and she has my sympathy. We were goods friends to her childen's dismay.  I use the word WERE, because they got exactly what they wanted.  They've done it to her with all her friends.  They do not want her to have friends, they want to keep her emotionally imprisoned, dependent only on them for any kind of relationship.  If I could get on a plane and bear 9 hours over an ocean, I surely would and I’d bring my rod of correction and help their father make up for LOST time.  

   I know what it’s like to be brainwashed by a family member, and in my case it was my mother.  Out of the six of us, I was the first one to break free, and I re-established bonds with my beloved brother, father and the dearest person in my life, my rock, (Because Allen means stone) my Nana.   My mother trained us to believe that our father was a snake in the grass that even Satan did not dare go near, thus if we did we’d be kicked out of the house and never let back in.  When you are 9 years old, or even 15 years old, you believe a mother who had threatened that for years.  

     She hated my father with a passion, and she was going to get back at him by taking his children away from him.  I’m not so sure that she wanted to hurt him by denying access to us for him, BUT, she wanted revenge by teaching and FORCING us to hate him, and lie to the courts and social  workers when he put up the measliest of fights to get visitation.  When he saw he couldn’t beat my mother at her evil twisted manipulations, he gave up and just assumed that when we were all adults, we would see what my mother did, the lies she told, and we would return to him.  BIG MISTAKE! 

      My mother wasn’t satisfied to do irreparable damage to my father and our relationship with him, but she went after his mother, my dearly beloved Nana.  She was going to find the measliest reason to hate the woman who was better to her than her own mother, and do serious collateral damage to her, also. (No pun intended, well, maybe intended a little)  The thing that sunk and ended that relationship permanently  was when my grandparent’s tried to recoup some of  the several THOUSANDS of dollars they loaned my father to get him out of bankruptcy, and keep us children from losing the house and ending up on the street.  My grandparents saved our home, but because they wanted some of the money back, in lieu of a lien on the house, or because Nana would not ban her own some from her own home, and take my mother’s side, swearing undue allegiance, that was all my mother needed to empty the half-filled glass of love, the only one we were getting at the time from the only source.  In my eyes and heart, she did  the most EVIL thing any “adult” CHILD can do, and that is to weaponize one's children for revenge, by stripping my grandparents from any contact with us.  

    The year was 1978, and not only did I lose my father and was not allowed to have any contact, but my mother took from me the only thing and place I ever felt happy, and that was at Nana’s house.  Back then, there were no cell-phones for children, it was AT & T, and long distance was just two towns away, and we were not allowed to call them, nor were they allowed to call us. That meant no birthdays, no holidays, no summers of pure bliss at Nana and Grampie’s, no visits to or from them.  It was FOUR years of hell with my mother, and no place to escape, and no loving Nana who always made us feel loved and secure.  I don’t know who it crushed more, us or our grandparents.  I’m going to have to lean on it crushing them, more, because when we were old enough, and our mother could not legally control us and with whom we spent our time, or at least I thought. The echoes of her hatred played like a broken record in the rest of my siblings hearts and minds permanetly. 

      The power of manipulative controlling brainwashing is so much stronger in compliant humans than it is in us rebel firecrackers.  So, as a writer of a wonderful fiction story GOD had given me seven years ago, about this very subject, broken hearts, I put my Nana in the pages of my favorite book, the book about redemption.  That way, when I am long gone, and when my siblings are gone, my Nana will be imortal down here, lving and loving and healing broken hearts in a place that has no end, and a story that does not end sad, if I have anything to say about it.   

        In 1980,  when my brother married a less than stellar young college co-ed, in my mother’s eyes only, she just pulled out her old bag of tricks and did the same thing to my eldest brother.  No one was allowed any contact, and he was banned from the family.    In 1981, when I finally hit 18 and I got my own vehicle, the very first place I went to was my Nana’s to bask in the love there.  When I went off to college, weekends home meant weekends at Nana’s sleeping on the couch or the 3-seasoned porch and lots of Johnny Carson with my beloved Grampie.  Nana was an early riser, and Gramps’ eyes never opened before the noon day meal, which was breakfast for him.  Those two were my most treasured family members, and those college years with them were the best.  I had a boyfriend who told me how sick he was to going to my Nana’s all the time, but I told him that I had to make up for lost time.  Turns out that darling young man turned to my Nana when I broke up with him, hoping she could talk me into going back with him, the basis for my favorite chapter in book 3.  He was good boy, and I was sick of being a good girl.  I was young and I wanted to party like my other college friends.  


    Sadly, the only two of the six that reconciled with my Nana and Gramps, was my eldest brother and me when my mother threw him out of the family.  The others remained disgustingly loyal to a lie and an evil manipulation.  They said that they wanted to go see Nana and Gramps, but they heard my mother’s voice in their heads, and they felt terribly guilty in their presence, as if they were stabbing our mother in the back.  She deserved it for what she did to us.  Eventually, when I married and became pregnant with my first child, the first grandchild on both sides, I decided that my child would have ALL its grandparents and great-grandparents, which meant reconciling with my dad. I will admit that was difficult, UNTIL I learned all the lies we were told  were my mother’s fictional tale, and not nearly the truth. You know in a divorce, there’s his side, her side, the kids’ side and then there’s the truth which no one really knows except GOD.  That’s why He hates divorce, not because He hates divorced people, but He hates the irreparable damage it does to people, the people and children He loves so dearly.  

         So, with all that family estrangement growing up, the damage it did, the manipulative lies that tarnished and devastated our family so badly, having become a mother, I vowed to never let my family fall into the most hated thing in my vocabulary, and that is estrangement.  Little did I know that the harder I fought to keep my family together, the harder the devil and his minions fought to shatter it to a dozen or more pieces.  This is why Humpty Dumpty hasn’t been put all back together again, because there are too many pieces that have shattered from that wall, and the devil’s minions have blown them away into the wind, sadly, maybe never to be found.  

   So, now, I’ve been a daughter taken away from a parent, a sister, taken away from a brother, a grand-daughter taken away from beloved grandparents, a mother taken away from her first born, a mother taken away from her 2nd born, a wife taken away from her husband, and worse even yet, a grandmother who hasn’t seen her only grandchild in over four years.  I can get angry and blame all these people for the damage done, however, we all know, like Paul said, it isn’t flesh and blood we fight, but it is powers, principalities, and authorities of this dark world, the cunning, destructive demonic spiritual entities hell-bent on destroying families, thus doing all they can to hurt the GOD who created them, because they chose to follow a proud angel turned more evil than our human minds can fathom.  


       It is my hope that someday, I will see my son again, and my grandson, but will it be in time?  Will one of us, me and/or his father be in heaven?  Will there be another generation of irreparable damaged hearts because of the term-limits GOD gives us on this planet.  Like Job 14:5 GOD has set limits, He has decreed the number of our months of which we cannot exceed. There is a song that I heard when I was in college, and I used to play it really loud and cried all the way through it, hoping beyond hope that it would not become our family’s theme song. 

    It "In the Living Years, we must make amends, because after our last breath, and no one knows when that will be, regret becomes the ghost that never leaves our home, lives, heart, or destiny.   My heart is sick, because my grandparents never saw my 4 siblings again, and I’m sad to say, I’m sure that my father will never see his remaining four children, again, after 40 years of manipulative control, even after the manipulator is long gone.  They wouldn’t be stabbing my mother in the back anymore, because you can’t stabbed ashes interred into a grave.  Now, it is the memory of her that they would dishonoring, they say as a reason to not reconcile with our father before it is too late.  It’s okay to hurt my father, but not my DEAD mother.   I'm quite sure that my mother is likely up in heaven, wishing she never tarnished our hearts like that, but it's too late to make up for it, or make things better.  

     So, to those manipulative, controlling, children across the pond threatening their mother with the most devastating thing that could ever happen to her, I say, STOP it.      Before it's too late...., listen, learn, love, and let go of your need to control who you have no business controlling.  She is GOD's child, not your.  In the Living Years

      Believe me, you  are making many mistakes with your own children, and let me tell you, what goes around comes around.  If you strip those beloved children the love of their grandmother, I promise you, it will come back to bite you in the butt, in way of a blog, a book, or worse, estrangement of your very own,  shattering your own damaged heart.  You've alreadyt stripped her of all her friends, because you don't want her to have any, thus keeping her unhealthily imprisoned under your control.   I'm sure that we won't be friends, again, but SHAME on you for taking away, or threatening to take away the only joy that woman has left in this mortal world, her beloved grand-babies.  SHAME on you for using your children and weaponizing them for such evil.  

David was a mass murderer, GOD killed babies in-utero and it’s time to throw away  your crosses! (Part 2)        So, now that I...