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Wow. 23 years ago. Today.

Dec. 10,1988.

A date I will always remember.

A day that changed everything.

But would I change anything?

Though the answer may seem shocking to some, I can honestly say… no, I wouldn't.

If the event of that day hadn't happened, I wouldn't be who I am, where I am… not the slightest shadow of who I know me to be would exist. Oh, yeah. The darkest moments of my life wouldn't have happened, but my life would have gone in a completely different direction and I more than likely would have experienced other kinds of hurts along the way.

Not minimizing the abuse I endured. Life happens, and with every thing and every day we have good and bad and the experiences we have are mingled together.

If December 10,1988 hadn't been the day my mother married… August 9,1992 would have come and gone without it being my first Sunday at CBC. And OH, the blessings I would have missed!!

And the awesome thing about God... He allowed all those horrible nights, but with them came many more beau…

"Believe it!!"

Believe it!! That's what I keep being told.

Believe it??

Believe I am the kind of person I want to be, but don't see myself as? Believe God has/is still making me who I long to be, but the Devil has managed to completely blind me of it?

Believe it??

The one who told me these nice things, is one I trust to tell me truth… and she knows me well (better than I realized!- ever feel like the "walls" around yourself are made of one way glass, and you are the only one that can't see through them??)…

"Believe it!!" she insists.

Thoughtful, generous... OK. I think I can accept that (I do tend to "impulse" buy when something brings someone to mind). Warm, inviting?? Not so much… caring, interested??? I try, but with the list of those interested in investing in friendship being so small, I'm afraid I fail…

No, I see blunt, emotionless, cold(?) with selfish tendencies. I've been convinced not many care, so why bother?? And I'm told frequently that…

Hhmmm

Was she really so helpless… so insecure… so incapable… so silly… so foolish… so inept… so over invested in her husband and children… or was she defeated? Simply given up? Convinced it wasn't worth trying, because she would only be laughed at or told she had done it wrong, or at least wasn't good enough?

Did she really believe she never needed a break… a ladies night, or a mom's day off, or was it just too hard to get away and she just gave up…

Did she really never like being alone, or was she never allowed to have alone time?

Did she not know how to relate to people, or did she step back and let her husband do it, until she lost all confidence?

Did she sit and let him do all the work around the house, or did she give up because she was led to believe she wasn't good enough?

Did he build her up? Or did he relentlessly "tease" her about her weaknesses? Did he grant her great measures of respect ALWAYS, or did he condemn her when she defended herself? Could she c…

Don't let me retreat!

When our "heads are stuck in a hole" it is hard to see, hear or breathe.  When God pulls us out of that "hole", suddenly we can SEE!  It is bright (painfully bright... like the sun reflecting of the wet pavement after rain), It is spacious (Frighteningly so... like standing on the edge of a cliff on the top of a mountain)... The senses are made alive- so alive it is scarey.
The desire to retreat into that "hole" can be great! It is far more comfortable to not see, not hear, not feel... when that is the way it has been the way it's been for way too long.  But once we've seen the truth, to go back is wrong... Because freedom from that "hole"... (freedom to feel, freedom to see, to hear, to risk being hurt)... is His will for our lives...

Please Lord, keep my eyes on You and give me the strength and grace to stay out of that "hole". 

Don't let me retreat!

Call me Dottie...

Yesterday God got my attention. What a great, humbling experience.

At church we are working thru a Bible Study by Beth Moore… on the Psalms of Ascent. It's been wonderful…

Before I go farther, what I am going to share is from my heart, truth of my FEELINGS… my PERCEPTIONS… please, don't get your feelings hurt, or take offense… if there's any misunderstanding, it's probably mostly me. If I say something that leads you to believe I am/was wrong, please don't argue with me, pray for the Lord to open my eyes… what I am about to share is from reality as I lived it, what is true as I experienced it… OK? OK. :)

Also I need to share one other insight. "Dottie" is a nickname given to me by the couple I adopted as "Mom and Dad" a few years ago. "Dottie" short for daughter, because they call me the "daughter of their heart"…

As I was saying…

I was doing yesterday's lesson...

Mrs. Moore shared a story about the Forward her husband …

Wow

My current events are blowing my mind… God is SO good!

That prayer I prayed the night my stepfather left my room for the last time… it's being answered. It is amazing to see Him working… it is amazing to be being used, to be able to be open and honest and to be able to be able to honestly say,"I know where you're at. I've been there. I understand completely the fear, the chaos inside…".

Tonight I looked into a face and knew what my Grandma Lady must have seen and felt that night I ran scared to their house… wow. And to see where I was… and to know where God has brought me to!!! Amazing.

Then I had the ever so vivid memory of my first Sunday at this church (the one I am currently a member of)…

The third Sunday after Princess Diana died…. (may have shared all this in a previous post, but oh well. I don't remember, so if you've "heard" it before… too bad!) ;)

The first Sunday. It was awkward. I had been going to the 60+ class in YV for over three ye…

BK

She was probably the best friend I ever had, not because of what she did for me, but how she allowed the Lord to use her in my life.

She told me once she was afraid to reach out to me because shortly before we met, there was someone else she dared to try to help and they told her to leave them alone because they were fine and didn't need any help… I knew better, I needed help, and told her often how much I appreciated her love and guidance.

Our friendship started because a quiet whisper told me to watch her. I don't really remember how the friendship grew from a "hi" at church to near daily phone calls…

I know it was a year of simple "hi." with a smile and maybe a handshake (neither of us are big on hugging everybody/anybody), before I learned her name. Oh, I am sure I'd heard it before, but it never stuck. When they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, they renewed their vows. I wasn't going to go. I was certain I had no idea who they were. …

An example…

I am so amazed by my four-year-old son. Tonight when he heard his cousins' grandpa was very sick and his dad had to take his cousins to see their grandpa… my boy cried. He loves his cousins, and understood their pain, he was sad because they were sad.

I love that he is tender-hearted… almost jealous of it. Moments like tonight put me on an "auto-pilot" mode. That frantically looks for the things that need to be done, rather than a comfort/care mode…

I would love (I think), to one day be comfortable enough with my emotions to hug a hurting friend, or maybe even be able to sincerely share their sorrow.

I generally understand how someone hurts, but I look for things to do (not big things, but the stuff that gets dropped or forgotten in the moment), so that my lack of ability to show my sympathy is missed and I at least come across thoughtful and helpful…

RM

RM was/is the daughter of AM, and the closest to a sister of anyone I knew…

She and I loved each other, but really got on one another's nerves. We would fight and argue, but if someone offended one of us the other was the first to defend, usually with a comment like ," don't talk to her like that! Only I can be mean to her!!". The logic of little kids :)

If I went to her house, everything I wanted to do, she didn't. And when she was at my house, I never wanted to do what she wanted. But our mothers always made us do what the visitor wanted… good teaching on manners!

Our biggest threat to each other was," I'm gonna tell my mom to not babysit you any more!" and it was usually met with," well, I'm gonna tell my mom to not let your mom babysit me anymore!!" like we had the authority to tell our mothers what to do. LOL.

Truth is, I always wanted R to come over when she wasn't around. We had good fun and got into little bits of troub…

Cafeteria work

The bright spot in my day in Junior high was lunch. The Cafeteria manager had been our neighbor when I was in elementary school and she had babysat me for one of my mothers semesters of school. She told me that they allowed kids to help serve food at lunch time. I forget how, but I was able to be one of those student helpers for eighth and ninth grades. It was a wonderful escape from the teasing and the watching my former friends enjoying themselves while refusing to include me. I felt privileged. And I didn't need my lunch tickets (free lunch program) because I got free meals for working in the cafeteria, so (even though I don't think I was supposed to), I gave my ticket to someone almost everyday (different people), even though I knew it wouldn't change anything. These people who begged me for food, still were not interested in being my friends. But I couldn't let someone go hungry, even if they didn't like me… guess I am weird. Maybe that was enabling them to co…

Back to a moment in the dark.

I don't know if you are familiar with Aerosmith and their music. Can't say I'd recommend them now, but back in those dark days of my teen years I spent plenty of time listening to them, OMD, Depeche Mode and other similar groups.
I am not sure what brought it to mind a few days ago, but I was reminded of Aerosmith's song "Janie's got a gun". If you've not heard the song, I'd encourage you to NOT put it's lyrics into your head or mind. If you have heard it, you might understand my connection to the song.
I totally understood "Janie's" mind, and even wished I could get a gun… I praise God that never was possible. I did hide a knife under my pillow one evening while I ate dinner alone in my room, watching TV (meals together, in the same room were unusual, and at the same table only happened IF we ate out and on Thanksgiving). I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the knife, but I had it. My stepfather discovered it before …

Back to the story…

Brad had a very broken finger and we had a very new baby girl and an 18 month old boy…. More than I would have believed I could handle, but we had some extra blessings to get us through.

The ladies that gave us a month worth of meals when T was born did it again with B.(They had promised to do it again if we had another, so that was how I told the one lady :) I went to her and whispered in her ear "Better start cooking again." She understood the message immediately). So I didn't have to cook much during those first few weeks.
I ended up not being "stuck" at home the first two weeks of B's life like we had intended. After spending a day at the hospital, for Brad's surgery, we figured she'd already been exposed to way more than she would have been anywhere else. Plus I had to do a lot of running around for Brad, and she was nursed exclusively and Brad wasn't able to pick her up or change a diaper if needed, so she had to go whenever and wherever …

To feel or not to feel…

Somewhere along life's path I managed to shut off most emotion. I don't "feel" much. I remember working at it. I remember, I think, the start of it…
My stepfather only hit me the one time. I truly believe it scared him more than it did me. Not sure why, but there was a look on his face… I knew he had scared himself by his actions. I think that scared me more than the fact that he had hit me. He had already assured me he had no intention of going back to jail for me, so what would he do next??
Anyway.
After the black eye. My stepfather found more… creative ways to hurt me. He would keep mental stock of what was important to me and "hurt" or destroy those things. I didn't have much in the way of nice things. I had an antique porcelain piggy bank, given to me by a lady in our church (DL, I think @ TCC), a Pegasus lamp, given to me by my grandmother and a few dolls, given to me by my mother's co-worker (I was told they "were not the kind you play…

Remembering…

Having a fond moment of remembrance of my first Christmas here… away from home. I hear of how hard it is for young people to spend their first Christmas away from home… I truly cannot relate.
My first Christmas away from family was great, I didn't long for home at all… probably not too surprising for those who have read this whole thing, but they say people tend to long for the familiar even if it's not good/healthy for them, but I was completely enjoying the freedom to enjoy myself that Christmas (well, the whole season from Thanksgiving through New Years).
I know there is a lot I have forgotten, but I remember being conscious of the truth that I was not family, yet the family I was with continually included me as if I were… amazing.
On Thanksgiving, I got away with hiding in the kitchen doing dishes allowing the family to spend all their time together visiting with less work, but at Christmas they wouldn't let me wash a single one. lol.
During "The Season"…

MD

Though we lived in the same town for only (I think) about three and a half years… she managed to become a large part of my world.
She was sort of the mother figure during the preparation for our wedding and getting settled in our first house.
This was one friendship started because of my birthday card ministry… I am not really sure how or why we connected so quickly…God's plan I suppose :).
She taught me how to shop! Never pay full price, if you're meant to have it… it will be on the clearance rack in your size and color. lol. And super discounted!
She helped me learn how to put things together to decorate my house to make it feel like home. She showed me it is possible to have nice things and not have paid a fortune for them. Have a nice house without a lot of expense… we honor the Lord in all we do and how we care for things and present ourselves. Even the presentation of our home to others… We are to be good stewards of our money and possessions, that doesn't mean …