Where does my strength come from? I don’t feel strong. Is it physical strength? Emotional strength? What kind of strength are people referring to? The word strong. I looked it up, and it has a variation of meanings. I’ve been told that I’m strong. I’ve endured a lot throughout my lifetime.
As kids, occasionally my parents would take us to church. At 13, I went forward in a Baptist Church to “received Jesus into my heart”. I didn’t want to burn in hell when I died, and this gave me insurance for eternal salvation. I got baptized, and “spread the good news”. It was very short lived. As I grew older, watching the secular lifestyle my family lived, I wasn’t in any shape to live the “Christian” lifestyle. So, I just fumbled my way through life, knowing about God, and sometimes wondering if I would even go to heaven when I died. I didn’t think that God would want me because I was such a sinner, abandoned Him and church altogether when I got married.
I graduated high school, got married, and escaped my home life. Right into the arms of my high school sweetheart….a sex offender/abuser (not officially, although he should have been prosecuted!). I finally left and divorced him 71/2 years and 2 kids later.
I married another man immediately, got pregnant, and he left prior to me having my 3rd child. He was emotionally abusive.
I met my current husband 13 months after Lindsay was born. She looked like him. She acted like him. She could have been his biological daughter. God knew what He was doing. Or is that what I just told myself? We went through our good times, and bad times. He had baggage, I had more baggage. We struggled. In spite of everything we were facing, we made it. We both knew that we were meant to be together. He helped me raise my 3 kids. He was with me through everything.
I remember when Erica was with Kevin. They were driving truck, going cross country and all over. I remember she would call me to tell me about the exciting places they were in. I remember the endless nights I would lay awake in my bed worried sick because I hadn’t heard from her in weeks. Theirs was a relationship of drugs and abuse. I would imagine her dead in a ditch someplace, and just lose it. The worry of not knowing where my daughter was, was almost more than I could bear. I would think that if she were dead, and I knew it, at least I would know, and I could have closure to the unknown. I’ve heard many people who don’t know where their child is, think the same thing. That couldn’t be further from the truth….I know that now.
I went through a period of time when my son was homeless not knowing where he was. I remember the knock on my door at 3:00 in the morning telling me that he was found in the Golden Gate Park with a needle in his arm, and it was unknown if he was alive or dead. It turned out that the informant giving me the information was out for her own self-gratification.
I went through a period of time when my son and Erica were removed from my custody and placed in Foster Care under false allegations created by the same person who gave me false information regarding my son’s demise.
Those 3 incidents were the most crucial and traumatic of times in my life. Until Erica’s death.
In between those 3 incidents, I had to constantly (like a mother bear) fight to hold back the wolves from coming in and devouring me and my children. You see, I have a sister who was a drug addict. I have a mother who enabled her lifestyle, and took care of her kids. I had a father who also was a prescription drug addict. That’s what I grew up with.
From the time I can remember (15 yrs old), I was always fighting for truth and honesty. I watched as my mother, father and sister lied, stole, etc, in-and-out of jail, and my mother enabling and working right alongside both of them. I taught my kids right from wrong. I worked very hard to keep them away from that lifestyle. But, I would learn that my mother and sister were very vindictive people. If they didn’t like what I did, they took matters into their own hands. So, I learned to fight for mine. Not illegally, just by trying to be smarter than they were. I learned how to be resourceful. I learned how to stand my ground. I learned how to outsmart them. I learned….I learned….I learned. I learned how to think like a thief and a liar. I’ve been told that knowledge is power….right? Well, I could say – I wish I had learned that back when I was 15. But, I didn’t.
I became an angry, bitter and hateful person. I became distrustful of most people.
Then one day I got saved. I mean Holy Spirit complete mindset and heart change! I had been working with a woman who started praying for my salvation from the first day I met her. I had a best friend who was also praying for me. Between those two, there was more power in their prayers (they didn’t know each other), than my family had with satan going up against me. Once I got saved, I couldn’t get enough. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY PUNY DEVIL….RIGHT??? Well, hence began the fight of my spiritual warfare battle! For a year or two, I prayed for truths. For God to expose any and all truths so I could be vindicated! Well, He exposed crucial ones. Not all. Just enough that my faith in Him just grew by leaps and bounds. Little by litte over the next few years, more and more lies would be exposed. I wouldn’t have been able to handle all of it at once. Little by little, my faith grew to the point that now, God is in me in ways I didn’t know could happen, and in ways that can’t be explained. There’s no place in the Bible where it talks about this type of faith and trust. You just have to learn and experience it.
I’ve read and heard about Job. Job lost everything. He lost his children, his home, his belongings, his health….everything. He lamented. He cried out to God….WHY??? I HAVE SERVED YOU!
Why on earth do people compare themselves or others to Job? REALLY??!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
Do you think that Job was the same person once everything was restored to him (including more children), than he was before God allowed Satan to take him to nothing? I will NEVER be convinced that he was. If anything, he would most likely be living in some type of fear. He would most likely have issues with closeness and relationships with others. If God allowed Satan to do this once, what makes him think it won’t happen again? That was a very serious trauma that Job went through! Trauma’s leave marks on our souls. On our spirits. In our lives. It forever changes us from who we were to what we’re becoming.
I suppose not. I read that once, and I thought that was a phrase used for people who have the need to judge and criticize others. It means something different to me now.
I’ve prayed for God to make me like a little child. Innocent. Unassuming. Naive. Pure. Sweet. Gentle. Nice.
I’m really glad that He doesn’t give us what we want all the time. He is forming us to what we’re supposed to be.
He wants me to have empathy. He wants me to have compassion for the broken. He wants me to stop being judgemental. He wants me to stop criticizing. He wants me to see others as He sees them. I get it. I really and truly get it.
When we moved here to Oregon, I applied for Medical Assistance through Social Services for my husband and myself. We had to be put on a list and it was like a lottery. Our names had to come to the top for us to even apply. That was tough! God took care of us in the interim. I understood at that point why people in Oregon were so poor, and why some of them had bad health.
One day (4 years later), I was driving out of a parking lot. A man standing on the street corner had a sign. Lots of them do, and I usually just keep driving. This time, I was reminded of the laws regarding Social Services. I remembered what I learned. Yes, I put my window down and reached in my wallet and just pull out a bill. I looked at it, and it was rather large. For a split second, I thought about replacing it with a much smaller one, but just handed it to him.
Did I learn compassion? Through what we experienced when we first moved here, I did. I didn’t forget that lesson.
I won’t forget that lesson. I saw everything that we went through in that mans’ face. In a very brief moment, what my husband and I went through flashed before me in his face.
So….when I was going through the various situations/traumas that I endured, do I see my strength? No. I feel the pain of what to do, where to go, how do I get through this? I want somebody to pay for putting me through this agony! Lots of what I’ve endured was in my crucial years of learning. God didn’t (or maybe he did and I was unaware) guide me. I attempted to go through my hardships fighting, kicking and screaming the whole way! Anger, hatred, bitterness, wanting vindication and justice, resentment and loss of connection found its way into my heart. It didn’t feel like truth and honesty were to be part of my life.
Once my earthly fight had come to an end, God stepped in. He saw my weakness. He knew my capacity. I was full. I couldn’t handle one more drop. Not even the mist of a drop.
The praying after my salvation for truth to be exposed just emptied my bucket. My bucket started filling up with faith in my God. Truth, honesty, grace, mercy from the most Loving of all. God. And, to top it off, He was mine. I was His. I wouldn’t be hidden from Him. I never was hidden from Him. All I ever had to do was to call out to Him.
What does all of this have to do with strength? I don’t believe anything at all. I call it DETERMINATION. Determined to live a happy, healthy, life in spite of what comes my way. Once I stopped fighting, and started praying, supernatural things began to happen. Not in a “feel good” way like so many people are chasing.
You see, when we’re in the storm, we can’t see what’s going on around us. We’re in the middle of a tornado. Everything is spinning around us, our life feels as if it’s out of control. That can’t be further from the truth. When we make a cake, what do we have to do first? We put all of the ingredients into a bowl. The mixer just mixes everything up.
The eggs- once whole
The flour – once a fine dust
The oil – once a thick liquid capable of so many things
The water – clean, clear and pure
We have a wonderful dessert. None of the ingredients will ever be the same again. But, put together, they have bonded to become something that was impossible without the others.
As it is with us. Everything we experience in life is just another ingredient that is added to make us somebody wonderful.
If I had my life to do over again, with the knowledge that I have today….would I change what I endured? I would. I wouldn’t want to endure the physical pain again.
But that’s why God doesn’t allow us to know or see the future.
I’m determined. I’m determined to allow God to continue to show me in this physical world the things that break His heart. I’ve asked Him to do that. I just didn’t anticipate that He would take me so literal and really bring me to a point that I would lose one of my children. It broke His heart when His one and only son died on that cross. He died for a purpose. My child died for a purpose. Yeshua (Jesus) died that we would all be saved. Why did Erica die? I don’t know. Maybe I will never know. Only God knows.
So…the next time somebody tells me “You’re a strong person”, I will look at them, and give all of the glory to God. He isn’t finished with me yet.