I can't write a post about the darkness of my past without following it with the brightness of my present life.
I waas pretty much your typical little girl as a young child. I lived in Roanoke, Virginia and had a second story bedroom window that faced out toward the Catholic church near downtown. This is a beautiful church and when it was all lit up at night it looked just like the Disney castle. For a short period of time I actually thought it was the Disney Castle and wondered why we never went there. Anyway, the relevance of this to my story, is that even as a very young girl I always thought about the day I would meet my Prince Charming and live happily ever after. I always thought being a wife and mother would be the greatest job in the world and spent many hours cooking up wonderful meals at my metal kitchen set for my baby doll in preparation for that coming day.
As my prior post so blatantly points out, this dream of mine didn't come to life in the way I was hoping. I didn't fall in love and live happily ever after. The first time I truly fell in love was on May 17, 1990 when the doctor laid a precious little baby boy in my arms. Then again on November 9, 1992 when his beautiful sister was born. Then on October 25, 1994 God gave me another amazing son to bring joy to a difficult life. On December 24, 1996 another precious daughter was given to me. Then December 2, 1998 I had another beautiful boy, followed on January 30, 2001 by my final little bundle of joy (another son). I would have another daughter brought into my life years later.... and I will get to that later on.
So this is the beginning of my fairy tale. I truly fell in love each time a child was born. I know most all mothers feel this way. There is an unspeakable bond between a mother and child, that you just can't put into words. There is something about that life growing inside, and then caring and providing for that innocent baby that makes a Mom want to move mountains for her children. Nothing in my life made me feel more fufilled than taking care of my kids. Being a Mom to such an amazing group of kids has always been and will forever be the beginning of my fairy tale. And as they get older those feelings have only grown stronger. My kids and I have been through hell and back.We have failed one another (me more than them), forgiven one another, We have walked through joy and saddness together. I know my children will always be there for me, and they know we will always be there for them. My children did not have an easy life. I will not go into detail on this, as it is their story to tell, not mine. But for those of you who read my blog, you know they faced many obstacles early on. I am so amazed by their strength and their spirit. How all of my children have grown out of adversity, and I couldn't be prouder of them all! As they are becoming adults and starting families of their own my joy becomes even greater. Now I not only have amazing children to love, but four beautiful grandchildren!
Now what fairy tale would be complete without its prince? I was great in the kid department! I had some beautiful, wonderful children, but I wasn't quite as fortunate when it came to tracking down a prince! I stumbled across a few toads along the way, but all the kisses in the world didn't free them from their curse. When my children were young, there were two prayers I distinctly remember praying on a daily basis. 1. Was that God would let my mini-van blow up with me and all the kids in it, beacause I just didn't feel I could keep going on. Or option 2. That God would please send someone who would love and appreciate us into our lives. I am so glad God chose option 2!
I never found my Prince, he found me! He found me when I wasn't exactly the best woman I could be. I was starting to grow out of some of the false thinking, but my life wasn't exactly pristine either. He pursued me and he treated me with a care and respect I never thought truly existed. He was a good friend early on (and my very best friend now). When I look at him, I see every quality I ever wanted in a man, and then some. Early in our relationship I always tried to make him understand that I was not good enough for him. He never saw me that way. Even when so many people tried to tell him he was making a mistake, he followed his heart! I am so grateful for that. I never dreamed marriage could be so wonderful. But the very best thing about my Prince, is that his love wasn't just for me. He loves our children with all of his heart and I know he would do anything for them. He adopted 4 of them. And that in itself is a legal formality. We have children together and all 7 are truly ours. Before Jake came along my kids were MINE. I never felt the "ours" aspect of having children with someone else in this way. The kids couldn't belong to him anymore than they do now even if he planted the seeds himself! I never thought we would experience having such a complete and happy family.
So there is my fairy tale. A wonderful group of children (and grandchildren). An amazing Prince! All the love and support I never dreamed possible. I couldn't ask for anything more!
It is not as often as it used to be, but every now and then I will awaken from a dream that makes me want to not close my eyes anymore that night. These dreams are always the same, and always of my past. They seem almost more horrific to me now, than the reality did when I was living through it. Now some would say that since these dreams still haunt me maybe I have not been healed from my past, or maybe I have not been set free. I do not believe either of these lines of thought to be true! I can honestly say I am sometimes grateful for the nightmare. My life has come full circle and only the nightmare brings back the depth of pain, hopelessness, fear, and sorrow my life consisted of. I believe that memory only makes me more grateful for what I have now, and more willing to share the darker side of my story so someone elses who is hurting knows they too can make it and there is hope! Also I find writing to be therapeutic. It takes away the sting from the portion of my life I just revisited, and gives purpose to the pain.
Like all of my nightmares, once again I find myself in the midst of a fight with my ex. He is drunk and hateful, and I am afraid and broken. I am always trying to find a way to hide my children from the reality of their circumstances. They are the only light in my life and my real concern is that they do not fully feel the pain in which we live.
But this story starts way before the incidents taking place in my dreams. It starts when I was a young teenager. It starts when my father leaves and my mom becomes broken and alone. It starts when I was an awkward teen who fit in absolutely no where. It was these feelings of being unloved and unacceptable that I embraced in my early years that put me on a crash course with disaster! It was the feelings that maybe it was my fault my parent‘s marriage failed, maybe my father didn‘t love me because I really wasn't good enough, and maybe the kids at school didn't like me because I really was a skinny, ugly freak. Early on I learned to view myself as the exact opposite of who God created me to be. Just like so many others I bought into these lies and they had a devastating effect on my future.
At the age of sixteen I was already pretty broken mentally. I only wanted to feel accepted and loved. I soon became involved in the wrong relationship, with someone I would spend the next 15 years of my life with. He was from a very hard life. He had a history of being abused and in and out of foster homes. At that stage of her life and for many years prior, his mom was both an alcoholic and drug abuser. And as it is in most families, he was already starting to follow in his mothers footsteps. I remember the first time I visited in their home being shocked by the living conditions. They had so very little, his mon was drunk and she had transients in and out all of the time. We ate food someone had gotten out of the dumpster from a local fast food chain. Even though his mother was pretty wasted she must have been rather wise and insightful. I remember her sitting me down once and asking me if I loved her son or if I felt sorry for him. I didn't know how to answer so I said "both". Years later I realize how smart she was to ask me that question. Now do not get me wrong. I loved my children's biological father. But now I realize it was not the type of love on which you build a marriage. That was something I would not experience for many years. It was something I was incapable of experiencing until I was able to change some of my ways of thinking.
At this stage of life and after walking through so much rejection and pain over the years, I have come to realize that escaping the nightmare wasn't just about changing the circumstances in which I lived, but changing my way of thinking.I had to come to a point in my life where I saw myself as who I was created to be and not who I had become. It was easy to listen to the lies all of those years that I was unlovable, that I was worthless. I went from a bad relationship with my father, to an abusive marriage, to a life that fell into such a desolate place that not many who end there are able to come back from it.
Still to this day, there are times I struggle with feelings of inferiority. There are moments when my failures as a mother come back to haunt me. There are days I wake up and wonder why my husband and children love me and what they could possibly find good in me. But , fortunately I can also say that those days are fewer than they used to be. As I have come to find value in myself, I expect more for me and my family than ever before in my life. I have come to recognize who God has made me to be. And that person is not unlovable and worthless. That person has a lot of love to share, and alot of herself to give to others. Now my next battle is learning to trust others.
I have been giving quite a lot of indepth thought this week to what it is I actually believe. When I allow the church to ruffle my feathers it seems to temporarily throw me off balance, and I have to take a breath and refocus. As I have pulled myself off my soap box this week, I have decided it was time to write a blog about the positive and not the negatives. To realign ny heart and mind with what God is shouting in my spirit! And that is love, love, love, love, love. I guess for me it is hard to come completely clean with why I believe the way I do. Sometimes I feel like I haven't yet come out of the closet spirituality. I live in a predominantly "Christian" fishbowl, I love and worship God so much. I pray so much some days I jokingly wonder if God feels like an overwhelmed parent and may need me to take a nap so he can have some "Me", time. Now here comes the part where I step out of my proverbial closet......... The closer I get to God the further I get from the belief that the Bible is meant to be taken literally. The more I read it, the more I see how I had been indoctrinated to read it with a specific interpretation. The more I try to keep my heart and mind in tune with our Creator the more I realize Jesus simplified the whole conflicting mess when He told us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts souls and minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is truly my hearts cry. This is where I am going to be placing my focus for the days and months ahead. When I find myself getting sidetracked by all the ugliness committed in the name of God, I am going to remember that everyone (including myself) have been (and are) guilty of the same things. I am going to srtrive all the more to live a life that reflects the love of my Saviour, and I am going to spend more time hanging on to God, because as His love is shown to me I have no choice but to have a greater love and tolerance for others. You know, none of us will EVER get it all right! We all have some truth to learn from one another. May God help me to keep my ears and heart open more and my mouth closed a little more. May I truly learn to practice what I preach and focus on love!