The Key.


A rendering of Queen Esther

Where to start this morning…Which way to go….there are so many things I could say ! It is TRUE, my story has been the key to unlocking so many of yours ! I stand amazed at the way God works, even now. Your individual stories touch me, and keep my heart soft. Your words of love and encouragement open my eyes to the fact that God is indeed restoring my lost years. Not just the years of my youth, but the years spent believing lies about myself. So…I will start here today. I am still asking the Lord to show me the truth about myself. Who am I ? What do you want from me ? What character am I in your story ? These questions roll through my mind.

We got up early, and made it to the first service this past Sunday. It was not a great morning in our house, there were bad hair days, dirty fingernails, and wayward dogs. Use your imagination, there might have been some yelling. It didn’t matter, we were going ! And I am so glad that we did. As I stood,  arms raised in worship of the one who is presently saving me, a gentleman came over and spoke to my husband and I. He said that as he looked over at me that God had said, ” Queen Esther ” , he said that my willingness to be vulnerable and truthful about my life would save generations. Thomas and I were both crying. We thanked him for coming over, and then I thanked God for giving me a glimpse of Who I am. When I posted my story I had a vision of freeing my daughters, and my granddaughter…but God has spoken of other women, and their daughters…generations,outside of my immediate family. Amazing. Queen Esther was an orphan, and I have been as well. At first Esther did not want to intercede on behalf of her people to the king, she was afraid. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai ( Esther’s Uncle ) gives her this advice…If you keep silent now, relief and deliverance will rise for your people from some other place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows ? Perhaps you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this !  Esther took her time, she fasted, and gained favor with God, and when the time was right, she shared her story, and unlocked freedom for the Jews.  I believe that is true for all of us. Don’t keep silent to save your foolish pride, tell your story, become the heroine, unlock your future with your past. God has handed you the key.

the story.

It had been going on for weeks….his flirting, his kindness, his deception.  He listened intently when I spoke, and stood up for me when some other silly high schooler  made a joke at my expense.  It is only now, as a 40 year old wife and mother that I recognize what my 14 year old self was feeling…safe.  His attention made me feel safe, and entirely different from my normally unsure, just on the outside of the popular crowd, girl that I actually was.  He was 17, and larger than life. A junior, a football player…Mr. Popular.  In my small country school everyone knew him, or feared him, or wanted to be known by him.  He had a girlfriend, one of the elite, a cheerleader. I was sure that she would be fine when he broke up with her, she would bounce right back…she had everything.  If only I could have seen around corners.

                                             I remember him saying – you need to invite me over sometime when your mama isn’t there, so we can work all this out.  I was so happy. He liked me. This was going to be the day that he chose me.  And so when my mom left that evening, I called him. Then he was there, in my driveway, in my living room….in my bedroom, that he just had to see.  In the space of a few minutes I realized that his plan, and my plan looked drastically different. Physically, he was bigger, and stronger, and suddenly pushy. Mentally, I was struggling, and strained to get back that feeling of safety that I had thought he offered me.  It was gone, and so was my innocence. And then …so was he.  I believe now, that I was in shock, I was shaking, and shaken.   I gave him time to get home, and then I called him, crying ” what have we done?”  He told me then that he was never going to break up with his girlfriend, and then he hung up on me. I cried myself to sleep, broken open. Surely, at school he would be different.

                                  Morning came, and I walked through the halls searching the faces for his. There he was, standing by the water fountain with a group of friends. I gathered all the courage that the 14 year old me had, and walked over. He grinned at his friends, then bent and filled his mouth with water. He raised his head from the fountain, and spit all over me, covering my shirt. He walked away laughing. I walked away a ghost, where a girl had been.

                       All of his friends knew, and then his girlfriend. And she laid out a battle plan to make me miserable. If she only could have known…I was already in misery. She had her friends call me names, spit on me, throw things at me…classic bullying. It got so bad that my 2 best friends told me that they could not be seen with me anymore, the ridicule was running off onto them, and they just couldn’t take it. I did not blame them.  I began to eat my lunch in the office, the cafeteria was too close to hell on earth. I was utterly alone. I wanted to die, but I remember thinking…I don’t know how. I don’t know how to die. I know now that I was being held by the most sacred love, but at the time I felt a nagging inside of me all the time. I changed schools several times before eventually dropping out. And for so many years that brought such shame, and sadness for what I could’ve been. The girl that was me was gone, and had to be grieved. I just found that out.

                                 I spent the next several years looking for someone to love me, and make me feel safe. At the ripe old age of 20, I started an affair with a married man, and then I became his second wife. The lies that I believed about myself were all being confirmed, I was never good enough to be first, I was dirty, shameful, unworthy.  My new husband did not know the Lord, but he was kind to me.  He saved my life. And when we had been married for a year and a half THE LORD SAVED HIM ! He was a new creation. We have been married 18 1/2 years now, and it is still growing and changing. As I realize where I am fractured, and where the lies that I have believed have caused decay…even in my beautiful marriage, even in my parenting of my beautiful children….I start to heal, and hear the truth about myself.  I believed that I was ugly, the Lord says I’m beautiful in an epic way (still trying to figure that one out), I believed that no one could ever really love me, the Lord says I am worth extravagant love ! My husband is the best example of this, but also my kids. I did tell my almost 14 year old this story. I was scared, and ashamed…but she cried and held me as if she knew the 14 year old me, we grieved together, and are stronger for it.

             I had to pull all of this up, and sort it out. I had been naïve, mislead, and bullied…the worst part was, that I was still letting it happen as a grown woman.  I am new, resurrected…a better wife, and a better mom. A better daughter.  I know it was long, I hope it brought light.


Birthday Girl

Sidney is 20 today. I have known Sidney for 18 of those years. She has remained one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. She is strong. In an unnatural kind of way for someone so beautiful. Her life has been filled with emotional battles. If life were like the American Ninja course, she would would be named a great ninja…She jumps over obstacles, and fights her way through the tough stuff, sometimes hanging on only by her fingernails. She has weathered things that would take down your average run of the mill girl. But she is not average. This girl, this young woman that I’ve had the opportunity to live with, and learn from for all of these years. I tried to smother, and mother…and she pulled away. Once, I realized that all she wanted, or needed was my love…the world as we know it began to look different.

Happy Birthday Sidney. You are loved, and admired, and thought about, and prayed for….but mostly loved. Will you teach me how to be as brave as you one day ?