I want to tell you a story.
I want it to be big and wonderful and glorious, but I also want it to be true and right and honest…a story from the heart…for God’s glory and His alone.
I want to tell this story, not because it is easy to write…it’s not…not because it makes anyone look good…it doesn’t…and not because it has a fairy tale ending…it probably won’t. I want to take a risk and open the deepest recesses of my heart, so that the enemy loses ground in all of this. I want to “kick him in the head” so to speak. I want the Name of Jesus to be louder than any other song, and if God gives me the words, maybe this small contribution will move that goal forward.
Some of you will know parts of this story…those of you that know any of it will think that it started 10 years ago… it actually started much further back then that. It started when my mom was born.
Honestly, I never thought that I would write much about my mom or my childhood until my parents had passed on. I don’t desire to hurt them in any way or to divulge things that might embarrass or offend…and if I tell this story like I want to, it has the risk of doing both. Only just recently did it even occur to me that this might help someone else, and so I will take the risk.
My mom was born in the 1950’s in Washington State. My grandpa was a butcher as far as I know of his career and my blood grandma was schizophrenic. She has one sister who is 10 years older than her and they were never close. I don’t know very much about my mom’s childhood because she has never been particularly open about it, but I do know that it was filled with instability from the start. When my mom was 14, her mom, who had been institutionalized for mental illness (in an age where there wasn’t much hope for people with her problems), passed away. Six months later, my grandpa brought home the only grandma that I have ever known and sent my mom to live with relatives in Oregon. My mom had been very close to her dad and I am sure resented this new woman who had “replaced” her, so I am certain this, along with the loss of her mother, was very traumatizing to her. I cannot imagine such darkness. While living with relatives, my mother was abused. I have no details, I only heard this come out of her mouth to the intake counselor at the hospital just a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea. Cast off, abused, shunned… the list is probably a mile long of things working against her from the beginning.
My mother’s teenage years were filled with experimenting and destruction. I am sad to say that I don’t even know how she came to know the Lord exactly, but she met Him and her life began to change. He lifted her out of the miry clay and she began to establish a life. She met my dad shortly after that and though he was unsaved, he pursued my mom with a passion and eventually met the Lord as well. They got married and became pregnant with me.
Around Christmas time before my July birthday, my mom thought she was miscarrying me. She began bleeding and had to be rushed to the hospital. She tells me that she prayed and prayed that she would not lose me…she had already had a couple of short previous pregnancies and she wasn’t sure that her body would carry a child correctly anymore. Obviously God was gracious, because here I am today, but after my birth, postpartum depression threatened to do my mom in. I know only bits and pieces of the story, but the part I do know that she has always told freely and without reserve is that Jesus walked into her room one day and touched her and she was able to once again function normally. She has always been very adamant that she felt His physical presence. Oh, how He loves her.
Despite my mom’s relationship with the Saviour, there were many things that she could not seem to let go of. She held on to some major insecurities and some major fears. She had a tendency to be controlling and manipulative, no doubt out of fear that she would lose the preciousness of what God was gifting her with. She had three more kids after me and we became a good bit of her world.
My mom was born with a gift. She is a very talented musician and over the years led worship in several churches. Even in that gift, she had very little confidence, always berating herself for the smallest of errors, always feeling less than and threatened…never truly trusting the Giver of all good and perfect gifts, though I know she loved Him as much as she knew how to love. Just as she loved us as much as she knew how to love…and looking back, I know that she didn’t really know how to love at all…not as she really wanted to.
Our childhood was somewhat unstable. I will spare the details, because all I have is my 33 year old perspective and my moments with my own children. My mom and my dad had marital issues throughout, but I specifically remember a few seasons that were particularly rough. As the oldest, I took on a good bit of mental responsibility that I was not ready for. I became a confidante in the rough times and children are just not meant for that burden. Fear was often a way of survival and a close friend. After many years, my dad left and my mom gave up.
Despite everything that my mom was not when we were growing up, she was my spiritual hero. She loved Jesus so much and spent a good bit of our days trying to make us love Him too :). She wanted so badly for her children to serve the God that had rescued her. Our foundation of faith came from her. I used to think to myself that if I knew one thing to be true about life and one thing that was stable and unchanging, it was and would be my mom’s relationship with the Lord. I felt that if that ever fell apart, the world would probably end.
And one day, it did. My dad left. And this added more damage to a woman whose fractures had never truly healed. You see, though my mom loved Jesus and followed Him, she could never quite forgive herself or leave behind the guilt, shame, and pain of all that had gone on in her life. She couldn’t quite shake off the victim mentality that the enemy had planted from a very young age. She knew the Word backwards and forwards and she believed it fully for other people, but when it came to herself, she just couldn’t fully accept that she was worth the effort. I think to this day she might believe that she is the only one on earth that was born unworthy and beyond even the help of her Creator. I also think that when she got saved, she believed that everything was water under the bridge and she would never need to seek out counseling or speak of the darkness that had formed her into adulthood. She was saved in a church age where church faces needed to be happy, free, and hopeful. If you know Jesus, it fixes everything after all and we should go on to live glorious, free lives. There was something wrong with you if an encounter with Jesus didn’t fix your whole being for the rest of your life.
I want to stop here, because some of you still believe this. You believe that when you got saved, even though you might still have trials in your circumstances and tragedies on the outside, when it comes to the inside of the cup, you should be perfect…never doubting, never fearing, never remembering bad days, or wrestling with horrible memories. After all, you are a new creature…old things have passed away… and they have! It is true! But unfortunately, the minds that we are created with do not become new over night. They must be renewed and they must believe what God says…on purpose. You MUST know the Word and you MUST work to believe the Word. Your mind will not just automatically accept what God says. Some of the things He says will go against EVERYTHING the world has taught you to believe. And the devil will fight. He doesn’t play fair…he will use every weapon in the book when he feels that you are moving forward in your gifting and purpose. Many Christians never face these battles, because they never attempt to move forward. They are content being heaven bound…who cares about changing a hopeless world that God will make new one day any way. Some of us with this mentality need to examine if we are even “in the faith”, because anyone truly following Christ will pray and work to be a good steward of the “talents” God has given them. Once you begin walking hand in hand with God’s purpose for your life, things will get challenging. The enemy will fight, and as a good soldier, you have to be ready, or he will sweep the rug right out from under you. He uses the most sneaky tactics and he has studied every one of your weaknesses. If you haven’t dealt with issues in your past…faced them…forgiven others and yourself…laid them at the cross and decided this life is not about you or your past…he will know and he will throw it in your face for the rest of your life.
My mom was moving forward. She was working in her calling. Then crisis hit, and instead of running to her relationship with Jesus after my dad left, my mom ran to what she thought would ease the pain. She took control and ended up out of control. The enemy had all of his weapons directly aimed at her weakest points and had just been waiting for an opportunity. Her shield went down and he struck. Eventually and through many horrid circumstances, she ended up institutionalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. She spent the next 8 or 9 years getting back on her feet and trying to reestablish some semblence of a life.
About a year ago, God was very gracious and seemed to grow my mom in leaps and bounds. She seemed to be doing better. She got out on her own. She felt that God had once again rescued her and given her a purpose and I am very sure that He did. I just don’t think she was prepared for what the enemy thought of that. There are still old and even new wounds festering with infection inside my mother. Wounds that need to be brought into the light and wrapped with bandages of godly love and counsel. When the enemy fought he knew exactly where to swing and he is currently standing over her thinking that he has given the knock out blow.
My mom is back in the hospital. They are trying to get her meds adjusted and saying that it is deep depression, and no doubt some of it is a physical problem…but my mom also has a host of parasites. They are lies. The lie that she is not good enough and never will be. The lie that she is guilty and her sins have finally caught up with her. The lie that no one really loves her and she is unlovable and that’s why no one ever stayed. The lie that she should have been something great and look where she is. The lie that she is powerless and hopeless and defeated. She is consumed by these…never learning how to battle against the fiery darts with her name on them. And she also has amnesia… What my mom forgets is that she is a child of a King. She is a beautiful princess. She has been given treasures that the enemy can NEVER take away. She forgets that he is a liar and the father of them and that when she gave her heart to Jesus, she became safe and protected. She forgets the end of the story and that she was truly created by a God who knows what He is doing with His creation. She forgets that He is full of redemption and his favorites are the most broken, the most unworthy, and the most hopeless. She forgets that God don’t make junk! And I think the Devil has forgotten too. He has dared to mess with a princess…to kidnap her and make her believe she is his slave. He has dared to put his ugly, nasty, “damned to hell” hands on her and he has forgotten that he will pay. He has forgotten that when God’s children cry out to Him in desperation, he comes running with smoke pouring from His nostrils and fire in His eyes.
I don’t believe this is how the story ends. I want to believe and hope that I will one day soon blog again and tell you amazing stories of how God rescued my mom, gave her hope, and placed her in a wide open places. I want to tell you of the ways that Jesus is using her for His glory and how happy and fulfilled she is. I want to finish this story with redemption and restoration…restoration of everything that the locust have eaten in my mom’s life. I want her to have a double portion. I even want her to have a husband…to not be alone anymore. I know that He can do it. I know that He has her plan in His Hands even now. But I also know that even if she never gets better, He is still God, and He will use her story for His glory. You see she belongs to Him…eternally…whether or not she believes it…and not all of the God’s children’s stories have happy earthly endings, but I am confident that they all have happy eternal ones.
The older I get, the more I realize…the less we make life about us, the happier we are. I must decrease so He can increase. I am only a vessel…and when I am only a vessel, there is no pressure for me to have a reputation or respect or success or beauty or material possessions…that is all up to the Filler of the vessel. He has the plan, and I am being taught right here and now to trust that more than anything I see with my eyes. I pray that He will use what He has helped me to write tonight for His Kingdom and His Glory (and to knock the devil’s head off).
Our desire is for Your Name and Your Renown.