Three Touches

My mind was overwhelmed!

“ Yak! Yak! Yakety-Yak! “ streamed a mob of multi-topical thoughts.

Out of the blue, one after another, these crazy, nonsensical, hopeless concerns paraded themselves into the forefront of my consciousness!

Looping in and out like late-night TV, these fear-filled thoughts rolled. Disbursed in between frets about family members’ health issues, loomed certain financial concerns. Then, rudely abrupt thoughts of the “impossibilities” of Salvation, for certain people for whom I’d been praying, gouged at my faith. Back-stabbing lies about other matters shouted for my immediate attention.

Temporary paralysis overtook me with a creeping sense of darkness closing about me.  I knew I needed to stop this onslaught or I’d be trapped by the despair that wanted to enslave ME!

His ability for my disability?   Why, sure!

Experience has taught me that what I put in my mind has an effect on what I think. As I made myself BE quiet, and directed my thoughts around the goodness of God, another voice rose up with a stronger directive, “Go to the post office and I will tell you what to do”.

While I drove, I meditated on the instructions in II Corinthians 10:5 where we are told,

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 

Another version says, in part, “”demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself  up against the knowledge of God.”

Since those types of thoughts are not innocent, they need to be dealt with immediately and demolished! That’s exactly what occurs when they come in contact with The Word!

“Father God, help me get started!” I mumbled.

Still feeling like a churning mess inside, I forced my head up, took a deep breath and smiled. That was a start!

“Three touches” came to mind while I walked toward the Post Office. Three Touches?

Touch #1

Standing in the long line at the post office, one woman continued to hold the door for everyone. This unselfish act pushed her to the back of the line continually.  As I watched, it seemed that, not only was she losing her place in line, but that she was also “lost in thought”. My attention toward her did not stray as I opened my mailbox to retrieve my mail.    That’s often how God does it with me.  He sends me on an errand and if I am listening and respond, I find myself right where He needs me to be.

While ripping open my last letter, I heard, “Buy her some coffee.”

Really? Coffee?  All I had to figure out was whether God meant for me to actually take her out, or to give her some money.

She hadn’t yet rejoined the rest of us in the present so I couldn’t catch her eye. I checked my cash. Hmmm…. not that much, all told.  Softly stepping up beside her, I touched her shoulder as I offered, “Excuse me….  I believe God spoke to my heart to get you some coffee.”

Now I had her attention! Eyebrows inclined, she was fully engaged as her hand mechanically closed around the $10 I held her way. Her wide, inquiring eyes never left mine.

“Go get yourself some Starbucks…or … whatever you enjoy,” I whispered. “I’ve gotta run.  Be blessed”.

Her surprised delight fueled a huge, spontaneous smile. A barrage of quiet “thank you’s” followed me all the way to the exit.

Touch #2

Back in my vehicle, I prayed over her and then waited a few minutes.   The urge was unmistakable.  As I drove the 10 miles to a place I assumed I was to go, it became clearer that something else was in the wind.  Turning off the street into a parking lot, I found myself continuing to drive past the paved portion and stop the car out into the field beyond.

Weird but amusing.   Here I am sitting in a field, while there were perfectly good parking spaces in the lot behind me.  My inner radar alerted as I caught a glimpse of a slight figure pacing back and forth. Then this same figure started bobbing up. What was going on?

Blankets and coats on a fence. . . small boxes everywhere . . . other nondescript stuff blowing around in the wind.…all this activity afar off the wrought iron fencing behind the strip mall.  Strange stuff.   I needed some field glasses.   Although this individual as beyond my definitive vision, my spirit said, “Homeless woman”.

Staying observant, I waited and watched for a time. My mind began to crank!

“I wonder what I have in here that could be useful.”

Since my regular vehicle was down for the count, I was driving our old van. Most of it performs just fine, but the locking mechanisms are in dire need of replacement. This wasn’t the car in which I usually I kept my stash of food, clothing and other supplies, and I wasn’t certain what I had in the back – OR – if I was going to be able to get to it!

Then I remembered!   I had placed a bag of clothing in the middle section of the van yesterday, and it just so happened that it WAS accessible.   In a grocery bag that I had forgotten to remove the day before, I uncovered apple juice, crackers and a few other items.  I searched the van….no money.  My other vehicle always had a stash of $1’s and $5’s.  Oh well.

Brandishing the few one dollar bills left in my purse, I closed the doors and slowly drove across the field and onto the truck-delivery section behind the stores. What would I say?

The individual didn’t seem to take any notice of my arrival or when I got out and slammed-shut the heavy sliding door. She seemed to be in her own world.  If ever a person personified one of Disney’s old-witch type characters, it was her!  I’ve seen a lot, but this was rather shocking.

I imagine she was in her 80’s, but maybe not. Who could know but God? Leathery wrinkles vouched for her time in the harsh weather, making her eyes nearly invisible. Missing lower teeth became evident. Bizarre and low crackly rasping sounds composed her “voice.”

“Help me, dear Father…”   The stench was real.

She didn’t even see me. Maybe it was because she was accustomed to not being “seen”.  She appeared to be rummaging through old boxes looking for food.  Other boxes seemed to house her personal effects with other unidentifiable weathered items.

She came-to and re-entered the here-and-now as I spoke slowly and quietly. The apple juice caught her attention!  Filthy hands, marked by extremely long, thickened, pointy, fungus-laden nails, snatched it from me.

“This is the good stuff!” she exclaimed hoarsely.

I brought the other items out and showed her the clothing. A few more intelligible words escaped her lips.  As suddenly as she had emerged, she slipped back into her other world, all the while mumbling and referring to elusive things, and talking to people, obviously not present.  I wanted to scoop her up and take her to a safe place, but where?

My heart hurt. This just wasn’t right!

Prayer rolled out of me and she became quiet while I laid hands on her and prayed. That was it, her personality became totally engulfed, once again, in her other world.  People might call her crazy.   Could it be that she was coping with this world’s rejection the best she could?

A worker of the Harvest was desperately needed here. I asked God to send one and I left in tears.

Touch #3

I was headed home when the desire for some coffee all but overtook me. I do believe the car took over!   I found myself turning to access a coffee shop drive- thru when, “The baby needs milk” crossed my thinking.

Wouldn’t you know it! Once the turn was completed, I was confronted with a poor little family of four huddled on the corner.  Two babies in wobbly strollers caught my eye.  A dirty little mama crouched in between them.  A thin man held a sign stating he lost his job and place to live.

There was no place to park nearby. I found refuge under a small tree across the shopping mall’s parking lot.  It was a long walk back in the cold wind.   The family saw me coming and the woman stood to meet me.  Scroungy, well-worn clothing was too thin for the late afternoon wind.  She shivered, embarrassed and subdued.

Of course, they spoke no English. My makeshift Spanish helped me find out that her name was Luisa.  The babies needed leche, por favor.   As there were no grocery stores nearby, a few fast-food places had to suffice.  I pointed to Subway and she nodded.  Food and drink obtained, I put my arm around her and prayed over her as we walked back.  She hung her head, cried and reached over to kiss me.  All I could do was hug her and talk in reassuring tones during the long walk back.  Her husband held his hand over his heart and bowed his head – “gracias, gracias.”

The little ones kicked happily when they spotted the bottles of milk….

What can I say?   The babies needed milk.

And those “Three Touches?”  Yes, I reached out, but you know what?  The touches weren’t just from me to these needy folks.

I returned home energized and well aware of the Power of God to enter into any situation and diffuse the darkness.

Those Three Touches were mine as well. . .

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Toilet Paper Tumult!

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Now that I think about it, it’s not about bathroom etiquette. No, I’m sure it’s not.

If it were about etiquette, I could think of ten things that might matter. These would be The Rules that would control inconsiderate behavior that disgusts the female brand of family member.

For instance, leaving two squares of toilet paper on the roll is just as bad as leaving an empty roll. It doesn’t count!  But, it’s not about that.  Picking up dirty underwear after a shower would be in there somewhere, but it’s not about that.

No, if it were about etiquette, I would be concentrating on all the times I have had to use the Braille method to navigate the bathroom during the night, only to find myself suddenly sitting directly into the bowl. Soggy and seething, I’d wake up in a hurry!

So, I’ve settled it – it’s not about etiquette.

What is it about? It’s a small thing, really. I just that I happen to think that the toilet paper roll should be installed a certain way.  There are no two ways about it!

It should absolutely come up over the top, toward the user, and be accessible by the handfuls when needed!   It only makes sense!

Why would anyone want it to roll toward the wall and hang there with only a small visible piece, teasingly available from underneath?   I certainly don’t want to have to fish around for it when, say for instance, I’m ….. Sneezing. That’s right, a sneeze!

Say I’m suddenly overtaken by a sneeze-attack. For me, the frequency of one of these fits may number more than six, seven or eight convulsions at any given time.   Since the Kleenex box always seems to be empty, it sends me rushing toward the TP roll.    Achoo!  Achoo! Achooooo!   Achoo- oo-oo-oo-oo!

My diaphragm permanently locks, and I forget to breathe!   Reelin’, rockin’ and rollin’ in the direction of the TP, I do me best to cover my outbursts with one hand, but my eyes squeeze shut with every gusty impulse!  Mind you, I’m still moving forward!

Tears gush down my face as the GPS in my head spins wildly! Since I cannot see, my other hand flails in vain, searching for an ample piece of tissue.   No such luck!

Fine! Sneeze session over, I look at the ground.  A hundred small bits of clawed tissue clutter the area.  My head pounds and eardrums throb. I stand there frustrated.  Honestly!   My knuckles hurt from contact with the wall and I feel like I suffered minor whiplash in the process!

And now? Now I have to clean up an elusive mess, not to mention wash my hands, arms and anything else I might have blasted in the process.

Ohhhhhhhhh….. if only someone had exercised a bit of common sense! Am I THE ONLY ONE with common sense in this family???

Absorbed. My thoughts get swiftly absorbed by a myriad of things. If only the  “people in this house” . . .    Well. I’ll leave it at that.

Why don’t they do better? I’m sure I’ve mentioned these “things” to them a million times!

They don’t care!   That’s it!  They just don’t care.  How selfish!  All I do is clean up after everyone else and they don’t even bother to show a little courtesy in the small things that matter to me!

Their rooms! The kitchen! The animals! Their chores!   Every little nit-picky notion of nuisance submerged my usually-happy demeanor.

Swamped with irritation, I was in a “mood!” Gotta  bre-e-e-e-athe.

Of course, this kind of brooding never produces the righteous life that God desires.

Inwardly, I heard,

“It’s not about the toilet paper, or common sense either…”

“No?” I thought to myself, “Then, what is it about?”

Again the small voice,

“…Giving place to the devil…”

Ouch!  My mental tirade was just as bad as if it had been done out loud!

One Pastor used to say that the devil doesn’t know what’s inside unless he jostles the cup and then he can see what spills out.   I had been jostled, big time!

My response? Oh yes . . . that.   Uh, Not so holy.

If the mind is a battlefield, I had just waged a mini-war with a surprise attack and wounded everyone I loved! Those were some harsh thoughts!  I wouldn’t want any of those things working themselves out into words people could actually hear!

Were some of those thoughts true? Sure they were.  Does my family slack here and there?  Of course, but it was the way I allowed the lies attached to the thoughts to overcome me.  They bloomed as I meditated on them.  They fed discontent and anger, and I had unwittingly tolerated it.

I’ve put myself in check since, and not much gets an over-reaction from me these days. I know my source and I run to Him at once. I refuse to be a servant to anyone but Him.

I still get sneezing fits now and again, and yes, I still want the toilet paper to roll conveniently for me. But, when it doesn’t, I’m able to keep my cool.

It’s only common sense when we are led by the Holy Spirit!

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

 

Take My Smile

SAN

Take My Smile by Nancy Kehr 03/02/2011

 

Take my smile…

I can always find another

Anyway, yours seems lost

 

Joy will come

Each morning and forever

One Precious Life it cost

 

Take His comfort

You can’t find One better;

Cease from downcast heart

 

Exchange your life

For true Life, unfettered

God’s smile chases the dark!

 

Take my smile…

 

This post is linked with Tell Me a Story

This is Your Mission – Should You Choose to Accept it . . .

a-agent-secret

This is Your Mission – Should You Choose to Accept it . . .

Tonight I left the engine running. I wanted to be conspicuous.  I waited.   Then waited some more.  At times, exercising patience is just part of the job.

Another white truck entered the nearly-empty parking lot. My growling stomach reminded me that I had left in the middle of making dinner.  One consolation, though, was that every light had turned green, just for me as I drove, and I made it to the next town in record time!

Could that be my contact? A quick flash of my lights should do it!

Nothing. I shot a text to my contact.  She sent a text back.  It WAS her.

I got out and waved. A truck door opened and a woman with long dark hair emerged.  The freezing weather made me shiver, but she had on a sleeveless shirt.  I wondered where her coat was, but I knew better than to ask.

On the corner beneath a single street lamp, dimmed by the hazy cold of a winter’s night, the exchange was finally made. My eyes searching; her eyes were downcast.  Tears glistened on the corners of her eyes as I pressed the small envelope in her hand.   Still she was cautious.

“I want you to know I won’t mistreat this but I will use it wisely.” Her voice trailed.

~~                                               ~~                                                  ~~

It catches my attention. It won’t leave my thoughts!  Like a short commercial that loops round-and-round in my mind, something begins to take shape.

Sometimes certain things weigh on me so strongly, that I know without a doubt that God is alerting me to an assignment, a “mission” if you will.

Usually it happens when I am totally busy, engrossed in another task, or casually reading through e-mail or even Facebook. The alert might comer through a brief introduction, or even a wrong number calling my dental assisting school.

God’s not too picky who He uses. A merciful attitude and open, willing heart are pretty much all the requirements necessary.  Oh yes, and a willingness to be inconvenienced!

Inconvenience is not a condition acceptable to most people. It’s got to be convenient or they won’t sign on!

Sometimes these “missions” are totally “undercover. In fact, most of the time, they are undercover.

Not tonight however.

I was meeting her because of one little line in the newsfeed of Freecycle.

Her only request had been a “pair of used boots for her 14 year old daughter” whose boots had just fallen apart and she couldn’t afford to replace them.

I watched the news feed on and off all day. Usually people on Freecycle are very prompt but no one, I say no one, responded to hers. I felt bad.

That’s when I kept getting the feeling to respond. I knew it would take a few exchanges before she might trust the communication. And so it was.

When I offered to buy her teen some boots, she e-mailed back that she couldn’t let me do that. I probed a little and she admitted that she had a hard time receiving things from people.

Whereupon, I told her it wasn’t from me, but God wanted her teen to have a pair of shoes that would be totally her own and fit her own foot pattern.

My time as a third grade foster-child gave me a great appreciation for shoes that fit. Prior to that time my feet were stuffed into anything that looked like it might do.  The discomfort and damage I endured can hardly be expressed.   As I shared that with her, she began to open up.

We met at the local CVS to make the exchange. We swapped the money I brought and the clothes I had collected for her.

She volunteered that her husband had contracted colon cancer over 4 years ago. He was an RN and was getting his Masters in Theology.  She was the CEO of a big company.  Life was good, and they had the big house with lots of other creature comforts.

As he become more ill, quitting her job in order to care for him seemed the only option. Soon his kidneys failed and dialysis every other day became routine.  Her husband’s work cut him loose just as his insurance cancelled his coverage on a technicality.

One amputation was followed by another.   His body just wasn’t healing.  Finally the heart gave out.  Their world collapsed!  He was only 43 years old

Over the four years that the husband had been ill, they slowly lost everything. She and her daughter were now living in a one-bedroom apartment, scraping for an existence. . Additionally, they were helping to care for the woman’s mother.

She mentioned something fondly about her dad, so I asked if he was still with them. I felt horrible as she explained.  Her father had also become very ill, but decided to take care of things himself.  He took his own life and left her grieving mother in financial straights.

I had put my arm through her arm to hold her as she staggered under the constraint of this burden while she spoke.   Leading her to my vehicle, I held her and prayed.  There was nothing more to say except that, “God knows”.

She cried openly as I gave her money for boots and produced other things I managed to find in such short order. Then, when I pulled out the stuff I collected from others who responded to my Emergency Call on Facebook or via e-mail, she gasped.

Other things unfolded, and we will be meeting again.

Suffice it to say that God gave me a mission. Obviously it was meant for ME. No one else seemed to see or respond to her cry on the newsfeed.

For Eyes Only…. My eyes.

Holy Spirit knows.   He kept stirring my heart.

“Nancy, this is your mission.  Should you choose to accept it……”

The rest is history. Mission Possible!

 

This post is shared at “Tell Me a Story”

 

 

 

 

I Felt Like Pavlov’s Dog!

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  I Felt Like Pavlov’s Dog!

I passed The Company’s personality/honesty test with ninety-eight percent. The Company’s representatives didn’t believe anyone could score so high, so I took another version.   It was as consistent as the first.  Next, I aced the polygraph test, personal interviews and finally, demonstrated mechanical ability, so the job was mine!

It started out as great part-time work where I wore a pager and worked on-call. That first year, the $50 weekly pager-pay bought our groceries, and I rarely had more than two service calls per week.  The calls meant extra money too.  Sha-zaam!

That was many years ago when my kids were young and I worked for a company that did first-line repair of ATM machines.

Everything changed when the company signed contracts with a few large banking institutions. My bosses were new in this game and not very cultured in business savvy. They liked the way I found resolutions for a number of contract, training and employee issues.

Soon I became a manager for much of Northern California and dealt with some of the other Northwest contract installations as well.  When an ATM was down, getting it back into service ASAP was important!  Every non-op minute meant lost revenue for the bank.

Just one hour, that’s all we had. As contractors for various banks, a Field Servicer’s clock began ticking the moment they were paged.   An ATM Servicer was obliged to drive to a troubled machine, get into the bank, deal with security and alarms, access the ATM room, disarm the ATM itself, add money or make small repairs to the ATM and close the call.  –  all in one hour.   Goodness!  Some bank sites were so remote that travel to the location alone, took most of the response time allotted. It was always a fight!

My job kept me on-edge. Although I wasn’t exactly aware of it until much later, it caused sleep issues along with other physical problems. During the hours of 7 a.m. – 11p.m., that pager sang about every 15-20 minutes.  I’d no sooner resolve one issue than another was plopped on my plate.  When no other field servicer was available, the managers had to run service calls too.  My poor car averaged 800 miles a week at times, especially in the summer.

Before cell phones, phone booths were a familiar sight. No matter where I was on the road, if the pager peeped, I’d have pull over to find a phone and call into my dispatch.   If I was lucky enough to be at home, I could track calls from my computer.  That I liked!

Forever on the phone, the job did allow me to work from home most of the time during the day. This was important to me since I had a new baby and other small children.   In the evening, after the banks closed, I was expected to be part the field service team and resolve calls when needed.

One year grew into ten before I was able to move on. I coped, but that type of work really took its toll on my body AND my mind. Honestly, I hadn’t realized just how much it had affected me.  It seems I had been inadvertently trained to always be on alert!  Always ON, never OFF – seven days a week!

Eventually, I rejoined the dental field and felt pretty good after a few months away from ATMs, pagers and road-trips. To celebrate, my kids and I dropped into a fast food place for a relaxing lunch.

Sitting with the family felt good and I was doing just fine until….until that blasted french-fry machine went off signaling that the French fries were ready!!!!

The shrill beep-beep-beep-beep-beep caused me to tense up immediately! I fairly jumped out of my seat and bolted for the car.   The kids laughed and laughed when I sheepishly made my way back to the table.

Just like Pavlov’s dog!  Yes, I was a trained puppy!  The noise of that machine was so similar to my previous pager’s tone,  that I responded like I was going to a fire!

Unsettling, that’s what it was, and I was not happy with my reaction. It was not a good reminder of years of long-haul travel and always being on-call!

It took a while of reconditioning and lots of prayer for me to settle back into a more peaceful lifestyle.

Similarly, each one of us is exercised. From birth, a variety of reinforcements exert influence, either subconsciously or consciously.  Some good, some bad.

Our broken world is ruled by a wisdom that brings no peace but continually steals from us. Why?  Because it is earthly sensual and demonic, holding us at bay, yanking our chains to elicit the required behavioral responses.

What responses? Yank! Worry… Yank! Fear… Yank! Unrest… Yank! Torment …. Yank! Foreboding

It reminds me of how I was chained to that pager and phone for work! Although I liked the work and appreciated a certain amount of flexibility, part of me cringed each time my pager activated or the phone rang.

Well, my brain has been retrained and so have most of my reactions, both physically and spiritually! That goes for work and living life, in general.

Now, my first response to “crisis” is to hold myself calm with The Peace that passes all understanding. That keeps my mind restrained so it won’t respond to the chain-yanks of my flesh while I check in with Father God for instructions.

Notice, I didn’t say it was always easy to hold myself calm, but it does open the door for Wisdom – – from above to take over.

That Wisdom is pure. It is gentle and brings peace! It teaches me how to obey God’s will while filling me with mercy and good fruit.  He is The Good Shepherd and I am His sheep.  I hear His voice and the voice of a stranger I will not choose to follow.

Yep! Outside triggers and unfavorable responses are no longer my taskmaster.   Ring that Bell all you want!

I CAN’T HEAR YOU! ! !

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Rejected, Abandoned, Abused…………..

a-girl-abused

 

Rejected, Abandoned, Abused…………..  

A week went by and this newborn baby hardly saw her mother. The nurses in the Naval hospital cared for her judiciously while trying to encourage the mother to see her.  Mommy refused!  The reason?  This new mother was disappointed that the new baby was not a boy!  Such malicious seed sowed SO early!

Rejection…………..Abandonment………… 

Mommy and Daddy cannot agree on a name for their little girl. Mommy is irritated at the circumstance.  Daddy seems to pay more attention to the new baby than to her.  The emotional distance between mom and baby widens.

Rejection…………..Abandonment…………

Eighteen months later, a little sister was born. Now the little girl was the BIG Sister and mother depended on her to be able to do more things for herself than might have been physically possible at that age – but that didn’t matter, you see, Mommy had a new baby!  This time she wanted a girl. And besides, Mommy didn’t feel well a lot of the time.

Rejection………Confusion………..Neglect…………

Another 18 months – it’s a boy!   Good thing the firstborn is already three.  She is expected to do a lot of everyone’s bidding AND care for the little sister. Not a lot of time to play when you have big responsibilities!  The house needs cleaning and that vacuum is so hard to figure out.  The broom is so tall and the sink is still so high.  Well, someone has to take care of things ‘cause Mommy doesn’t feel well quite a bit of the time and Daddy’s gone a lot. Finding something to eat is another story………

Rejection……. Neglect…..Abandonment……Abuse! 

A bright little 4 ½ year old hopped aboard a train bound for Denver.  She even remembered the name – The California Zephyr!  During the ride, she and the little sister were allowed to run through the train by themselves to get to the “dome” car so they could see the countryside.  There they sat, all by themselves, feeling very grown up.  She wished her Daddy could be here.  He always made her feel safe and when he was around she did not feel like she has to worry about her mother so much.  And….it was hard to make her little sister mind!

Rejection………Neglect…………. Abandonment! 

Now Grand Poppy was a nice enough old guy even though he always wore his hat. Yet, he always seemed to make the little girl feel a bit funny. She couldn’t decide why.  Didn’t he always let her eat a lot of his diet “candy,” Aids?  Even though it was only for a visit, Mommy was often pre-occupied, so Grandpa was expected to watch the little girl.  He snoozed and she wandered over to the nearby railroad tracks with little sister.  There they played for hours, sometimes hardly even noticing the train whistle in the distance.  Then they would scramble off the tracks and watch the giant locomotive whiz past.  Did anyone wonder where they were?

Rejected……. Abandoned………..Alone…….. 

Another new house. This one had a yard, and someone brought home a furry little white ball of a dog.  The girl called him Snowball.   He was certainly something to snuggle and to love – it felt good!  Shortly thereafter, a strange uncle had also moved in.  He had a bright idea to help clear weeds from the backyard.  Being from a farm, he just set fire to the weeds, never considering that it could also affect the fence.  The fence burned down, and as the fire crew arrived, the small dog ran into the busy street and was hit by a car.  No one seemed to care as she cried and cried over the lost pup – her only Friend.  “Go to your room and be quiet!”

Alone again….. 

The Kindergarten day was too short! In Kindergarten, she could be one of the other children.  While she was there she didn’t have to be occupied with thinking about taking care of two other kids or hearing her mother complain about how bad she felt. She loved to sing, and the teacher let her lead almost all the class songs.  In first grade, she even got to be in the Easter Pageant!  The class made Easter Bonnets and memorized a whole lot of music for the event.  School was good.  So was Sunday school – she even got to sing solos!

Acceptance 

Music Lessons, voice, accordion, piano…..this six year old was in heaven! The teacher who came to their home said she tested so well and had perfect pitch.  Then, almost as soon as it all began, everything was removed.  There was no money to pay for these things and Mother was not feeling well again.  The six-year old girl walked, unaccompanied to the store, church, Good News Club and, just about everywhere else.  Still she sang.

Acceptance………….Rejection…………….Abandonment………….Loss……… 

At Good News Club.……..there was some more relief! She was part of a team.  Girls and boys were divided up into Red or Blue teams and competed by memorizing Bible verses.  She was Captain once or twice.  No one helped her at home, but she had a good memory.  She looked forward to Vacation Bible School which was right around the corner from the good News Club – still quite a walk for a 6 year old.   Bible stories were a favorite, but not before she found she had a flare for crafts part of the event. Her mother had spent some time teaching her to sew –hemming, to be exact.  Before she even felt confident, a bunch of curtains were thrown her way….. What an uncomfortable chore!  VBS was so much better – AND – she got to keep whatever she made…for her very own!  No one criticized.

Acceptance………Self Acceptance…..Maybe I am Okay 

You’re not my daughter if you don’t get all “A”s. She hated hearing those words from a father whom she barely ever saw. Her jaw tightened and she tried to suppress the tears.  What a disconnected thing for a father to say!  Didn’t he understand?  After all, a “B” grade wasn’t THAT bad and besides it’s hard to get “A’s” when you have to be absent so much in order to take care of your mother, brothers and sister!

No one ever approves of me! Will I EVER be Okay? 

“Mr. Ono was in a plane crash! “

Those were hard words to hear. Sitting in orchestra that day, the tears fell hot and heavy. The girl would never see Mr. Ono again. His plane had crashed while he was on the way home from his vacation. Something felt like it had been ripped from her very insides!  He had been so kind and helpful.  She loved orchestra and had learned so much under his kind guidance.  Besides coaching her on the violin, Mr. Ono started her on the viola and cello as well.  Now….there was nothing…..  She came home late that afternoon only to find out that her father had taken her siblings and left.  Gone?  Where to?  Her mother didn’t feel very well and was also crying. There was just the two of them.

She guessed she’d better get a job. Who would hire a seventh grade girl?

Rejected….Abandoned …..Alone…. again and again…… 

Without warning, all those random memories deluged my mind, one afternoon as I strained to remember a particular thing about my childhood!

I had not had that clear of insight in years! As a child, I am not sure I could have verbalized them.  Watching the “movie” in my head,  it occurred to me the “set-up” that had been planned for my downfall since my earliest years.

Thank God for His precious Holy spirit! On so many levels, life rarely turns out how any of us think it should it should.  The enemy of our souls is set for our destruction, but GOD knows how to deliver us out of it.  Good beginning or bad, The Father  manages to shine His light into the situation – into our lives!  If only we’ll grab hold of it. Even a kid CAN do this.

Vague memories of an angel appearing at the foot of my bed kept me encouraged. Did I really see an angel, or did I dream it.  I can ‘t say for certain.  I only know that it gave me the courage to keep HOPE alive while everything around me fell apart.  

Childhood?

I can’t really say I had much of a childhood. And…carefree – what was that? I was allowed to grow up but there was no nurture.  Daily existence was rough on a little spirit.

Over the years, God let me know that the important thing was that HE approved of me!

”In HIM I live and move and have my being” was like an IV drip to sustain me!

Psalms empowered me with the fact that HE was the strength of my life, even when my father and mother abandon me.

Early experiences shape our response to our world and to God, but ultimately, God has to train the unrighteous thinking out of us all. What ever time it takes, He reshapes us into HIS image and after HIS likeness.

My fear became confidence in His ability through me. Neglect and sorrow gave way to appreciation and worship.  My stubbornness became steadfastness, and I traded a lack of foundation for a life built on The Rock.

Yes, I know those years occurred, but it’s like a story told to me by someone else.

With God I changed things in MY generation and I trust my children will do the same!

 

 

The Day I Ate a Moth

 a-moth

Running….running…running! Breathing hard, knew I was already late.

Out of breath and gasping for more, I wasn’t planning to stop until I reached the church.   I couldn’t miss!  I had to get there.   With several blocks left to go, I stepped up my race-pace.  The Red team would be toast once I arrived!

Watery eyes made me squint, and I could hear myself gulping air. My lungs were stinging, but I was purposed.  My numb legs mechanically trekked the sidewalk.  Nothing could stop me now!

Nothing that is – – – – except a huge moth!

Into my mouth it flew and plastered itself to the back of my throat.  I had inhaled this monster-bug!   (Well, maybe technically, they are not bugs.)

Ugggghhhh!   Yuk! Pft!  Pft!  Cough…sputter…gag!  Then, ( wouldn’t you know it) my involuntary response kicked in and….I swallowed it!

I wanted to throw up, but I couldn’t.

While I was still bent over, making obtuse retching sounds, a concerned passerby, tried to help. Saliva drooled to the ground and my voice wouldn’t work to respond.  All I could think of was, “Leave me alone!”

My embarrassment overtook me and, still slobbering and wheezing, all I could do was run.

“Let me help you…..” The voice trailed as I left behind my surprised would-be rescuer.

I didn’t care.

Rounding the corner and out of sight, stopping was finally mandatory. Now I was sick to my stomach and the convulsions hit.  My lunch, the moth, and stomach slime splattered the sidewalk and my shoes.

By the time I collected myself and got to the church, I was a mess. All I wanted to do was find the bathroom.

I no longer cared that I was the star of the Blue team and that they couldn’t live without ME. I no longer cared about winning.  The wind had been knocked out of my sails and I was just glad for a place of respite.

Faintly aware that I smelled like curdled milk, I sat in the back and watched the two Bible teams go at it.

Sure I knew all the answers, but suddenly, it wasn’t so important. I realized that it was just good to have a place where I was safe and could recover. My head and body hurt.

That day I actually HEARD many of the bible passages that had previously become rote.

Even though I was a pre-teen, I got it. God’s Word comforted me that day like nothing else.

And next time I run?   I’ll keep my mouth closed!