Archives

Have You Ever Been Mad at the Devil?


Have you ever been mad at the devil?

For masterminding the downfall of man?

After all had he kept away from Eve and Adam,

Wouldn’t we be in Eden ourselves today?

 

Have you ever been mad at the devil?

For exposing our weaknesses so well?

Couldn’t he have just left us alone

Stop using us like his personal pawns?

 

Have you ever been mad at the devil?

For your pain, struggles and sorrows in life?

Why wars, poverty, murder and lies?

Why does it seem love has to die?

 

Have you ever been mad at God then?

For the things He could do but didn’t?

Feed the hungry, give to the poor, heal all the ill

Stop wars and death doesn’t He love us so well?

 

 

Have you ever been mad at God?

Think perhaps He wasted free will on man?

Allowing us to choose Him or not?

He could have forced our love could He not?

 

Have you ever considered being mad at you?

Isn’t that what having a choice is about?

Satan may tempt you there isn’t a doubt

But *God has promised He’ll provide a way out.

 

Have you ever been mad at yourself?

Though blaming Satan and God is easier?

Truth is we all choose our own way

To spend our tomorrows and our todays.

 

Have you ever been mad at yourself?

For the wrongs you do towards any others?

It is those wrongs multiplied intensified

That helps us keep right on denying.

 


Have you ever been mad at the devil?

Have you ever been mad at God Himself?

Have you ever been mad at Y-O-U?

Yes, have you ever been mad at Y-O-U?

                d.f.a.v. 4/6/14

Some food for thought,

–Donna

No Unwanted Children, Just Unfound Families

image

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”  Somehow, I believe the 78 children in Alabama waiting for adoption might disagree with that slogan.  Especially since they are all no longer babies, toddlers or young children.  Of the 78, 35 are siblings, which automatically places them in the special needs category and makes adoption placement hard.

People want to adopt babies or toddlers, not older children.  From experience I can tell you that a lot of that want is rooted in a fear of bonding not occurring with a child who can remember their biological parents.

It can be hard when a child remembers their biological parents, again I speak from experience.  Initially we dealt with anger and self-worth issues as realities of our daughters home life prior to living with us was revealed in play therapy.   As she has gotten older she no longer remembers the bad times.  But she adamantly refuses to speak to her biological mother.  The father has never been in her life.

Adoption is fantastic when the right child and the right family are matched up.  Kids are available for adoption, perhaps as couples considering adoption you could expand your want list to include an older child or even a sibling group?

The national non- profit group Children Awaiting Placement over the last 40 year’s has helped make 6000 adoptions a reality per their web site.  Personally I think that number is way to low!

If you’re considering adoption you can start with the Department of Human Resouces or Children’s Welfare Offices near you.  Adoption in the United States is possible.

Are you the right family for a child?

–Faye

Message to Me

image

This is my public forum.  Here I express, confess, ignore, share, hide behind, hide in and expound upon a number of topics.  My goal is to write about what living the life of a Believer is like and about how I live that life even if my only contribution to my local church congregation is as a “pew warmer” these days.

Sometimes I write poetry, share artwork, tell stories, give voice to other people whose testimonies expire me or simply tell it like I see it.  Since it’s my blog, it’s my message, my testimony and my biggest obstacle is ME!

Yes, me!  I can “own” that truth. 

I don’t want to be labeled as a higher than thou Christian.  So I hesitate to say anything that I fear might come across as judgemental. 

I don’t want to be labeled an opponent to any political party, person or platform, so I don’t write about my political views. 

I don’t want to be labeled as pious.

I don’t want to be labeled as a heretic.

I don’t want to be labeled as a reformer.

I don’t want to be LABELED.

Yet, I label myself.  I box myself in.  I limit myself.  I second guess myself, my abilities, my motives, my knowledge, my thoughts; even my own voice.

Why?

Because I am me.

I am the first grader whose mother moved her to the last seat in the last row on her first day of school so the doctors daughter could sit where she wanted.  I am the fat kid so teased and taunted in school she hid in the bathroom to cry.  I am the child whose father ruled with anger and violence.  I am the girl so terribly shy and found friends so hard to make that her families 13 moves in 12 years devastated her every single time.  I am the girl no one wanted.  I am the girl whose innocence was stolen and who never told until the thief died and his threats could not be carried out.  I am the one who has waited in the wings of her own stage, left unpenned her own truth, and unsung her own life.

By these acts I have labeled myself.

For can a 49-year-old woman seriously look herself in the mirror and point at anyone other than herself for what her life is or isn’t?  No, no I don’t think so.

See, my mother placed me in that last row, last seat BUT I have remained there.  Jesus loved me enough to die for me AND I have chosen to think of myself as a person of little worth.

My father beat me, his beatings eventually led me to losing a leg and those events to losing my identity because I CHOSE to make what I did for a living who I was.  The Living Word of God tells me I am the Daughter of God, not a job.

For every act, thought, or deed that a person outside of me did to wipe out me God has done a hundred times more to keep here. I have just been to busy labeling my boxes to understand.

Yes, this is where I am. This is who I am, warts, scars, flaws and all. I do not write like those whose opinions matter too much to me. I do write like me though.

If God’s okay with that, then I am too.

Let it be!
-Faye

Singing the Ugly Out

Artwork is original to author/artist. All rights reserved.
image

Growing up my dad was country music all the way.  Mama mixed in Elvis.  Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Patton, Conway Twitty…all familiar names whose music helped set the soundtrack of my childhood.  I wanted to be just like them.

Problem?  I just couldn’t sing!  The family joke was how bad my voice was all the time.

God was mysterious to me then.  I didn’t quite trust Him.  My brother’s early surrender to God’s love, gift and call made me nervous.  If we couldn’t trust our dad, how did we trust an invisible Father?  I knew God knew us, He had a plan for each of us.  But, I just didn’t get the salvation message because it wasn’t yet my time understand.

When Daddy moved us 200 miles north my fifth grade year I fought back.  Daddy wasn’t much on girls getting an education but my struggle with math embarrassed him.  So I set about to fail.  I did the first six weeks.

But two things turned it around. One, my math teacher figured out what I was doing, understood and in turn helped me see a larger picture.  Two, I had to take either P.E. and purchase the uniform, band and purchase an instrument or choir and sing.    My mother said, “She’ll take choir.”. Later in the hall she told me to just mouth cornflakes or watermelon over and over and not let the choir teacher know I couldn’t, “Carry a tune in a bucket!”

But this amazing God I didn’t yet trust, gave me the desire of my heart, He gave me a voice to sing with.  Knowing how my parents felt about my singing I kept the news to myself.  Banned from singing in the earshot of my family it was easy to keep my secret.  Imagine my parents shock when I forgot to keep silent and belted out “Mine eyes hath seen the glory…” and it was good!

From then on I was asked to sing.  At home, at church and at school. God’s gift gave me an inroads to survival, even if I never fit in. I passed math.  I even won the science fair award and one for most improvement in math that year.

That was my first answered prayer, God loved me enough to gift me with music. But I never lost those voices telling me I couldn’t sing. To my ears I sounded no different than the years my family groaned when I opened my mouth.

I was a lonely, miserable, misfit who had to undergo our dad’s sudden decisions to move us around repeatedly. God, who I didn’t yet trust or truly know, gave me something our father couldn’t take away. He gave the gift of voice to His child in dire need of something of her own along the road she had no choice but travel.

I’d never be a star, except in God’s eyes, but His gift is always with me.

-Faye

Scurrying Toward Adolescence

image

(Photo the original work of this blogs author.  All rights reserved.)

Today is a special day in our home. Our daughter who in less than 60 days away from turning 12 is going to her first concert, Veggie Tales excluded. Appearing is one of the Nickelodeon/Disney boy bands and another female artist. We watch their T.V. shows and she adores one particular guy in the boy band.

Going means a 3 1/2 hour drive to an amphitheatre in a neighbouring state. A trip I could be making but choose not to so our daughter can go and not have the burden of my wheelchair and needs. Instead my oldest niece has taken the day off to take her.

Her first trip this far without Mom and Dad and her first concert to see her first dream crush, that’s a lot. We trust my 22 year old niece. We trust our daughter. This is a rite of passage into adolescence.

Have we given her roots deep enough to support her wings to fly? Has our training in God’s ways been enough to help her follow them faced with new choices?

Yesterday, it seems, she was a tiny baby asleep on my chest. She was learning to walk. Saying her first words, sentences and developing her own personality. Didn’t we just walk her into her first day of school? Witness her decision to ask Jesus into her heart and believers baptism?

I won’t cry today, at least in front of her. For she is still our daughter who is anxious for this day to proceed and asking if we have a baby bottle for her Pooh bear. True she is scurrying toward adolescence and I can’t slow her down but God reminds me of His instruction and His promise.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”. -Proverbs 22:6

Our daughter’s days of testing her faith against the world will come. They must come. And then too with prayer cover and our own faith we will cling to God’s Word.

Our daughter too must learn to cling while hurrying toward adulthood.

-Faye

Precious Souls

image

Outside one of the most popular tourist sites in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, The Old Mill, an older gentleman sat playing his guitar and singing.  He was tucked into the deep shade of the creaky front porch were it was still hot but he escaped the suns beating waves.

He sang old gospel songs mixed with mountain ballads.  His voice pleasant but not amazing.  There was a very small display of old CD’s still in the manufacturer’s wrapping but clearly remnants of earlier pressings.

My husband who adores the bluegrassy twanging sounds of this type musical offering stops to buy one of the old CDs.  The singer and my husband converse between the man singing and just playing his guitar. Our daughter pouts over not getting a shirt she wanted. Our niece stands to the side and I sit waiting in my wheelchair wondering if I can find out his story.

Then silently and shyly our youngest niece, a 16-year-old whose soft heart is well known by our family slips around me.  In a flash my husband and I see her drop a $20 into the old man’s tip bucket. 

I look at her hand dropping the $20 in and I see a rare beauty.  I know how much of her hard earned money she has allotted herself for our weekend trip and I am swept away in the offering she gives.  I see the deep sweet generosity of a soul whose wisdom wraps itself around her precious soul. 

She hastens to tell us, at our surprised and questioning looks, that she has used her own money.  I assure her we know.  Knowing she is easily embarrassed I turn my face away from her so my eyes brimming with tears are not visible.

A true offering given to support the ministry of a musical missionary by a heart nestled deeply in the soul of a young teenage girl.  I marvel at the purity of her gift and I see another layer of our nieces sweet, sweet heart and soul.  I marvel and I pray for her.  A prayer she will come to understand her real value and gift to the human race.

I pray she will see her beauty and value in and through God’s eyes. Because in this harsh and outwardly trapped society we live in it is hard for tender hearted people, whose greatest gift to the world is seeing the best and beauty of it beneath the glitz and blitz covering the filth. That world doesn’t appreciate the love through which our niece views it, instead it often seeks to destroy it because it cannot be like it. Deep down I believe most of society longs to love and see the beauty our niece sees naturally but they can’t in their race to make themselves number one, to fit into the right group or keep up with an ever rising economic status bar.My heart overflows…I am so blessed to know this wonderful, loving, artistic and tender person!

This marvelous selfless act astonishs me.  What a true beauty resides within our niece’s soul.  I pray she never becomes corrupted by the evil of this life.  I pray to be more giving like our niece for I have seen a peek of Jesus in her and she is beautiful.
Oh so beautiful!

-Faye

Hogwash to Whitewash!

Quite some time ago I learned of a movement to eliminate certain phrases in the language “lingo” of churches.  The word “blood”, for example, created a bad impression for a non-Christian coming into the church setting and hearing songs such as “There is Power in the Blood” and “Are You Washed in the Blood?”, it was gross imagery. 

Well, that of course led to ” cleaning up” the events leading to and of Christ’s crucifixion.  Oh, and let’s not mention the old-fashioned words like sin, salvation, repentance, hell or Satan. A little whitewash here, a fudging of reality there, and we could bring a lot more people into the church by just making things more pleasant and pleasing to the ear and mind.

Paul said, in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

I can put it much plainer. The time has long begun to pass where mankind has whitewashed our sin stained souls with pleasant thoughts, good intentions, pretty words and “feel good” mentalities.

I’m all for presenting the truth by new methods! I’m so grateful Christian films have finally moved out of the “cheesy” category. I think the use of media, blogs, books, music with drums, guitars and a beat and human videos, puppets and dramas are fantastic. I love to see, sing and create them.

But hogwash to whitewash!

Recently as I’ve twisted and mourned my way through having to go on disability one of the saving events of my peace of mind has been my container garden.  Our back porch is a spot of growth and life, green healthy vegetable and herb plants, colorful flowers and tiny buds of tomatoes, squash and bell peppers. I find enormous satisfaction each day as I water, weed, pinch off dying blooms and leaves in the evidence of my “farm”.  There is a connection with my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who were gardeners or full fledged farmers.  It’s in my blood to enjoy growing food and flowers.

As is my love of reading, my skin tone, eye and hair color, body size and build, the shape of my face.  I look at my hands and foot and I see my mother.  I look at my eyes and see my father.  I look at my body and face and see my paternal grandmother.  These things, these characteristics, body or heart, are in my blood, in my DNA.

We can’t “clean up” the legacy of our Christian family either.  The crucifixion and the trail and punishments beforehand for Jesus Christ were gory, bloody, inhumane, and it is by every single wound and drop of blood we are forgiven of our sins.  It is by Christ’s sacrifice of Himself and His death and resurrection we are restored to a personal relationship with God, our Creator.

The power, majesty, love, redemption, salvation and eternity are in the blood.. Don’t forget who you are, it’s in your blood because it is by His blood we are grafted into the family of God.

Faye

The Story Never Completely Told

I firmly believe God uses every experience we have in this life for His glory when we step out of the way. Often times it takes time for us to see this come to be but when we get a glimpse of the tapestry of our lives that God is weaving we see everything woven into His design and we see how He uses our greatest challenges, hurts, sorrows and wasted years to be a beautiful addition to our lives.

In school I always felt different and it went beyond the fact I was always overweight, suffering by being teased by the kids and the last one chosen for any sports team. I was different inside. I, as did my brother and sister, bore the awful “family secret” inside us and it was not only painful and ugly but heavy as well. We knew never to speak of the secret outside our home, and rarely did we even acknowledge it at home or to one another. The endured rages from our father that often escalated into violence and physical abuse upon my brother and I and the horrific emotional rages our mother spewed out on all of us were more than any kid should have to bear, especially bear alone. But bear it we did our whole lives.

In high school as a sophomore the secrets I was keeping became way more than I could emotionally handle. I would sit in church and pray for help. Pray for strength to ask for help. Pray for a person to ask. But the hold of these secrets was stronger than my faith. Every time I would leave services determined to tell my parents I needed help one of them would lose their control and I knew asking for help was impossible. There was no way my dad would allow the family secret to become known outside our walls.

I had been madly in love with a sophomore boy when I was a freshman. He was dark and moody. Quite like my father. Only our relationship initially was the opposite in some way. When it was just Sam* and I he was sweet and caring. He made promises to love me forever and talked of marriage. He wrote me sweet notes and slipped them to me when no one was looking or dropped them into my locker. But when anyone else was around, Sam treated me as a pest. He avoided my attention. He made fun of me behind my back. He told people they had to keep me away from him. When I would confront him with these things, for kids gossiped and I heard it, Sam would deny he had said anything or point out that he avoided me publically because he was a sophomore and I was a freshman and his friends would tease him about it, plus, he said, he didn’t want our relationship to get back to his parents who would not allow us to date. Towards the end of my freshman year the relationship changed. Sam was no longer sweet to me at all. He openingly ridiculed me and the notes he left for me had knives dripping with blood draw in the background or guns with smoke puffing out. After all these years I can still see those notes.

Over the summer between my freshman and sophomore year I decided to drop band to avoid Sam. I reasoned that playing the baritone wasn’t something I was extraordinary at anyway because I was actually a year behind since I hadn’t been allowed to take band until the 8th grade. Despite the fact it was something that had me involved in school beyond academics I knew I couldn’t handle another year like my freshman year. I did pray about the decision but I willfully walked out of God’s will and decided to take a class in vocational education instead of band. I decided with my interest in writing I would take printing. This was the day before computerized typesetting when type was still set by hand in most print shops. It was a rougher type group of kids involved than I was normally around. The teacher turned out to be far more interested in sex than in teaching. He created a situation in class that ended up with several of us being questioned by the school and the next year the printing option for vocational education was discontinued.

Class was tense and the undercurrent had a feeling I was all too familiar with, it was the one we had at home, the one of expected violence with the slightest provocation. I knew I needed help. I also knew I was helpless to get it. Had I gone to my parents I knew my father would say no. He was too fearful of the family secret being exposed, there would be no way he would allow me to talk to a therapist. My mother was not strong enough to stand up for me to him on something this serious and frankly, she had her own reasons for wanting the family secret to remain secret.

So I did something foolish. At the water fountain in the printing classrooms I took 40 Dexatrim diet pills. Yes, 40. By the time we got back to our high school for lunch I was loopy and afraid. I confessed to a teacher who took me to the office and my mother was called. She took me to our doctor’s office and from there I was carried by ambulance to the hospital. The pills messed up my heart rhythm and I was in intensive care being monitored. My father came in the second day and read me the riot act. He told me he had searched my room, he and my mother had read my journals, my short stories and poetry and he concluded I was living in a “dream world”. He burned it all. I was never to keep another journal, write another story or poem. My dream world, as Daddy defined it, was in ashes. With that news my heart beat went crazy and the nurses rushed in, one hissing at him “Do you not understand you shouldn’t upset her like this right now? Do you want her to die?” My father simply turned and left the room. She must have heard what he had said, he hadn’t bothered to keep his voice down and the nurse’s station was only steps away from my room.

Once I was stable again she tried to assure me that Daddy would surely change his mind and that he had spoken to me like he had and burned those things out of concern for you. But she and I both knew different. The difference was she would not have to go on with her life in this situation, I would.

Everyone pressed wanting to know why I had tried to kill myself. I didn’t have an answer. In my mind killing myself wasn’t the goal. It was the only way to get help that I saw. It was certainly stupid, I realized that then and now, but to my overly crowded mind and shattered heart it was all I had.

The school board agreed to readmit me and take the incident off my school record provided I receive professional counseling. So, every other week for a few months I was allowed to go to a therapist office and talk. I found great comfort in knowing I could be honest with this woman. I didn’t have to hide my secrets. But I also knew the “family secrets” could not be revealed or we would be forced into foster care my father told me. I showed the therapist Sam’s notes, recent ones I had received once I was back at school. Rambling ones where he expressed his deep love for me on one hand and demanded proof I wasn’t Jewish on the other. One note would have pictures of flowers drawn on it and the next knives sometimes dripping with blood.

Both of my parents had to go too, usually one would go before or after me and the other another day. Daddy was almost always the one who would take me. My therapist began to suspect Daddy was listening to our session and began watching the door closely. Once she wrote me a note that said, “Please just keep talking. I need to go to the door.” My back was to the door so I couldn’t see what she had seen but I spun around when she yanked open the door and confronted my father about listening to our session.

My session was cut short and Daddy’s began. He didn’t mention what happened and neither did I, although I was curious. I also suspected I’d never see the therapist again. Sure enough Daddy had Mama call the school board and tell them we couldn’t afford the sessions anymore. Since I’d been, as had they, the school board was satisfied.

I’ve lived a lifetime with this secret. I’ve lived a life time with many secrets. But I’ve found more and more often God is bringing back with amazing clarity events surrounding these secrets. Like this one, a memory I had not consciously thought of for many years.

I could weep for the troubled teenager I was then. I could weep for a father so selfish and out of control of himself he punished everyone who loved him most. I could weep for a mother who as she got older realized her limitations and leaned on God much more so that her emotional rages were greatly reduced. Both of my parents suffered with depression. Mama was the only one who ever sought help.

Had someone intervened, and there were people who knew despite our efforts to keep what happened at home a secret, I might never have taken 40 diet pills as a way to force my parents to get me help. Had Daddy allowed the sessions to go on he might have been able to see his own hurt and pain and find healing himself. Mama might have gotten help sooner.

Life is full of “if only” and “what if”. But it is also now, it is reality.

If someone you know, maybe even you yourself, suffer from depression – be kind to yourself and those around you, get help. There is no shame in reaching for a hand to help you get out of the pit you’re in.

If someone you know, or you yourself, go through your days with a “family secret” of abuse of any kind, speak up. It will alter things forever but surely for the better.

If you’re hanging onto a love for someone that isn’t being returned, let go. Sam never loved me. I’d like to think that somewhere in his messed up mind he did but truth is he didn’t. Sam had his own issues he needed to deal with and his own family secrets to hide.

Consider your life and look back to see where God has woven the sorrowful and toughest times into a spot of beauty in the tapestry of your life. I do. I see the strength God has woven into me when I look back at my freshman and sophomore years. I’m grateful my cry for help wasn’t ignored and that I had someone for a little while to help me through for it enabled me to seek help on my own later in my life without hesitation.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28, NIV.

-Faye

*Name changed to protect identity.

Love Anyway

Commitments.
Vows.
Promises.
Guarantees.
100%.
Forever.
Always.
Unending.

Something our pastor said one Sunday morning stays with me.  He recounted couples who came to him seeking marital guidance when one or both partners tell him, “I just don’t love them anymore.”

Our pastor replies, “Love anyway” for fact is that feelings change.  Commitments, promises, vows made before God do not.

Act in love.  Speak in love.  Do in love.  Keep loving when the feeling is worn so you think it gone.

There are extremes that due to human involvement require exceptions.  Personally I think in cases of physical abuse, repeative adultery or emotional, spiritual, mental or financial harm, then breaking the vows of marriage by divorce are necessary.

But from what I witness it isn’t these big rocks that shatter a marriage it is little pebbles, grains of sand. 

Indifference.
Apathy.
Fatigue.
Fear.
Worry.
Misplaced priorities.

Further we all seem to struggle with an “entitlement issue”.  In other words “I deserve to be (fill in the blank).”

I want to be in love and be happy.

I want to be in love and my spouse do with and for me what I want, how I want, and when I want it.

I want a marriage where we both give 50/50, equal contributions.

I want THAT relationship.

Aha…is the grass always greener?

Few relationships fail due to one partner alone.  Multiple relationships survive the hurricane because one partner digs in, stays on their knees and loves anyway.

Which is one of the messages from the movie Fireproof.  Act in love.  Speak in love.  Do in love.

If your marriage is in trouble then be logical.  Seek help.  Working through the sand and pebbles makes the rock slides survival possible.

Paul by God’s inspiration, in 1 Corinthians 13 records for us what love is and is not.  Love does not quit because the journey is tough.

Lust ends. Control shifts. Money comes and goes. Health improves and declines. Bodies age. Opinions differ. Children grow up.

Love survives.

Love does not quit.

Love anyway.

-Faye