finishing grandma’s work

the mystery of this place began when she was small. once the beckoning began, it never really left. indeed, it grew over time as more clues were given to her. it was akin to following bread crumbs. when ‘birds’ got to them (aka distractions) before she did, the trail would grow cold.

the first trip to the enchanted land was to celebrate a wedding. their little family got in the car for a two week long vacation, nearly unheard of for farmers in the midwest. you simply did not leave your cows in someone else’s hands for that long. but here they were, taking a break from milking cows and slopping hogs. the adventure took them across the country to hillsboro, oregon.

the memories were foggy. she was in second grade at the time. momma’s momma had died, and the relatives on this side of the family were dwindling. it quickly became important for momma to meet her momma’s surviving relatives. there were two uncles. this visit would introduce them to uncle dwight, married to aunt joan who had three daughters from her first marriage. her oldest daughter was getting married. it was hard not to get it all confused.

the ride across the country was almost tortuous for her and her brother. neither of them fared so well in the back seat of the chevy malibu. there were a lot of stops to manage car sickness, especially over high mountain passes. daddy was angry and frustrated, often getting sick himself just because the kids were. momma had the baby in the front seat with her and daddy, too.

after endless miles, they got into a big city with bridges everywhere. she vividly remembered the double-decker bridge with police sirens and lights going all around them. it was a lot for farm kids to take in. they got to uncle dwight’s house, stayed a few days and went to a wedding. she didn’t remember much else. the place stayed with her, though.

oregon came back into focus via a long-distance relationship years later. the fascination grew like wild ivy. it seemed father god was using the relationship to draw her. it worked. she made plans to visit her friend and looked into a job transfer at the same time.

she went west for a short visit and was completely enthralled. this place was like narnia in every good way – flora, fauna, climate, mountains, ocean. it was all there. it was alive and it called her name.

as she dreamed of moving and transferring her job, a roadblock appeared in the form of an angry boss who wouldn’t approve the transfer. complications, delays, frustration came again. more time passed.

then that book came out, the one that made everyone crazy. it was called, “the shack.” a friend sent her a copy in the mail. when she got it, she opened it up and began to read. by 2 am, she’d read through it twice and within 24 hours, she’d been through it three times, laughing, crying, sobbing. it wrecked her through and through.

not only was papa god doing things in her heart, he was also calling her home, back to her roots. this time, there was no doubt. she had to go. the relationship had fallen apart almost two years earlier after his sister had died from breast cancer. it had devastated him.

she decided to check in on him, and they picked up right where they left off. they talked on the phone every day, sometimes for hours. it was good until she told him she was coming for a visit. he wasn’t ready, afraid of loving again, but he didn’t know how to say it. he stopped answering her calls. he was on the run.

she bought the one-way ticket anyway, she had marching orders. when he didn’t show up at the train station, it wasn’t a surprise. inconvenient, yes, but not impossible. it was a rocky beginning to a new life, but she kept moving forward even in the uncertainty.

after nine months of scraping by, she got a full-time job. her dialog with papa god shifted to asking more focused questions that began with ‘why’ and ‘what.’ “why am i here? what am i doing?” those were the big ones, the questions that burned in her.

one day, she asked the question again. keep asking, right? this time, she clearly heard the response from papa god. “you’re here in part to complete the assignment given to your grandmother.” what?? she wrinkled her brow. sometimes she wished he would just give the answer clearly, right up front. really.

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photo credit: pixabay

he enjoyed the process of walking her through these opportunities for delight while she wanted to stomp her feet in frustration. his answer only led to another question. “what does that mean?” she asked herself.  no one knew much about momma’s momma, her grandma. this woman’s life was like a mist. there wasn’t much to grab onto.

the digging began again, with more intensity. it meant more conversations with momma. and there was more reconnaissance to do. over the years, momma and her stepsisters got disconnected again. they didn’t know she’d been sick, had part of one leg amputated and was now living in a nursing home.

for the past few years, momma had talked about getting in touch with them but never pursued it. she and momma talked about it again over the phone on a lunch break. it was clear that momma wanted to talk to her stepsisters again, problem was she didn’t have contact information for them anymore. she didn’t, no, but the internet did.

she almost ran back to the office to get on her computer. in twenty minutes, she tracked down an address and phone number for the oldest stepsister in kansas city. she ran off to the conference room and made the call. she knew it was the right number when she recognized the voice on the other end. they talked for a little while to get caught up. she gave the stepsister momma’s number so they could reconnect.

there, that piece was done. now it would be easy to get the answers she needed about the grandma she’d never met met. what were her hobbies? her likes? her dislikes? had she hiked mount hood? did she like to go to the coast? what made her laugh and cry?

the most important question loomed larger than all the others. what was grandma assigned to do in the earth that she did not finish?

it was a grand mystery.

(copyright © 2017 jane doe productions)

 

 

 

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letters for momma

the finer details of momma’s life were hard to grasp, often getting further out of reach anytime she asked more questions. it was still so painful for momma to talk about it all. she was just a little girl when grandpa took her to live with his sister and her husband on the farm in the midwest. momma had settled into country life but from what she heard, family relationships were far from healthy or peaceful.

grandpa had married a second time. momma didn’t have good things to say about her. she used the ‘b’ word to describe her, and she said she was mean. when marriage #2 fell apart for him, grandpa divorced and married a third time. this was the woman she knew as step-grandma.

sorting through the memories in her head, she knew momma grew up on the farm with the big white craftsman style house with plenty of cousins and neighbors nearby. she went to a small lutheran grade school and then public high school, both in the nearby town. aunt and uncle must have doted on her. it had to be so. but what else was there?

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photo credit: pixaby

the letters remained secret for decades, their existence revealed when momma’s three stepsisters came to visit. see unpacking old bags.  momma had her own family now, three of her four children born. the girls were there visiting in part because the momma the four of them shared had died. she’d never been able to see her oldest daughter again.

as the four sisters visited and got acquainted over the span of a month, the oldest stepsister finally asked the question. “didn’t you get all those letters momma sent you?” time must have stopped right there. even now, she could feel the shockwaves go through the air as she imagined her momma processing the question.

“what letters? you mean she wrote to me?” oh, god. how father’s heart must have lurched as he watched his daughter learn that her momma had reached out to her, not just once, but many, many times.

letters had been mailed from various locations where momma’s momma, her new husband and her 3 daughters had lived. both women had been having babies at the same time, odd as that seemed.

it wasn’t clear how soon after her daddy had moved her across the country that the letters began to travel through the postal service to the well kept farm. there were more questions than answers. one thing was clear: momma never got the letters her momma wrote and mailed.

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photo credit: pixabay

this was shock and awe, none of it good. it took forgiveness to a whole new level. the very people momma felt indebted to for taking her in and raising her were the same ones who’d kept her momma’s letters from her. her daddy knew, too. who’d made the decision to keep those letters from her and why?

from a safe distance now many years later, she wondered how could her momma process her emotions and feelings properly when the people she might talk to about it were the same ones who were accountable for the betrayal? all this mess explained a lot. her momma had bitterness, unforgiveness, trauma, betrayal and who knows what else thrown into the mix.

the spirit of religion kept a tight lid on the dysfunction and deception. no one talked about any of it. just keep looking good when you go to church on sunday, and everything will be fine. what a bunch of dung.

and there was her poor momma, sick and broken in her soul from all of it. it broke her so badly that any chance for healthy relationships with her own husband and kids was virtually destroyed. that generation didn’t have the same revelation or tools to get on the other side of this stuff. they had no grid for soul or emotional healing.

fast forward to today. it was still all so much to process. the great aunt and uncle that had raised momma had been grandparents to her. she loved them. uncle had died over twenty years ago, but auntie was still going strong at 101, tooling around the nursing home in her wheelchair with a hearing aid that was seldom turned on.

her own emotions went all over the map. it was easy to see now why there had been so much friction between her momma and grandpa. there was guilt. it explained why grandpa’s death had been so troubling.

momma, i am so sorry. i tell you this in all truth: daddy god loves you, and jesus has been with you in all of the pain and trauma.

your story is not over yet. it’s going to end well.

(copyright © 2017 jane doe productions)

 

unpacking old bags

she was just a young girl when the other three girls showed up for a month-long visit. they were close to her own age. her mother called them her stepsisters. this was new information. what was a stepsister and why did her mother have three of them? and who was this other ‘momma’ the four of them referred to? was that her other grandmother?

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photo credit: pixabay

the girls’ arrival opened up the past, like old luggage surfacing at will after having been buried on purpose decades earlier. as the bags were opened and unpacked, the walls of the old brick farmhouse became privy to long held secrets. nothing would ever be the same. tensions flew between elder relatives. conversations were held in hushed angry tones while pointy fingers accused and placed blame. her mother and stepsisters were caught in the crossfire.

years had passed since that fateful visit. she hardly remembered any of it now, save for the trauma of her infant brother rolling off of the bed onto the floor. she’d spent the better of part of the past thirty years (the last five in earnest) trying to piece together the events of her mother’s life. she hoped to better understand why their relationship played out like it had. sometimes it helped to have understanding of the timeline of physical events to see the spiritual cause and effect – and vice versa.

clarity made it easier to forgive, to discard unreasonable expectations. the two went  hand in hand, both were necessary for emotional, mental and physical healing to occur.

it was time for another epsom salt bath, seeking more revelation. that was generally how it worked. the combination of the salt and soaking music opened up her vision like nothing else. holy spirit showed her stuff.

this bath led to a new ‘seeing’ of her mother. an old familiar black and white photo came to focus in her mind’s eye. she saw herself as an adorable toddler holding on to the edge of her pretty dress standing by what might have been her grandfather’s fancy car. in a moment, the little girl in the photo took on the face of her mother at that age.

this image of her mother was not easy to see. she was a little girl, vulnerable, born into a family of broken adults. she knew what happened to momma at that tender age. it was as though she’d been thrust into the part herself. she had asked to see what happened and here it was.

there were issues. momma’s own daddy was broken and drank a lot. momma’s momma was young and her momma said she was too young to be tied down with a baby and a husband. this piece puzzled her greatly. what was going on between this mother and daughter and why would a grandmother reject her little granddaughter? how far back did this root of rejection go?

her memory went back to a phone conversation she had with her momma on a lunch break walk. momma recalled their house in portland, sitting in the breakfast nook eating  with a view of mount hood out the window. she knew if momma remembered mount hood, she remembered other events, even if she didn’t speak of them.

back in the past, divorce proceedings took place in court. after that, her momma’s daddy took his little girl away from her momma across the country. she would never see her momma again. her heart was broken.

this explained in part why she had been unable to love. she’d been torn from her own mother when she was just a baby. that trauma alone kept her stuck emotionally. she’d had no tools to heal, no one to share her grief with. she got stuck there.

and then there were the letters. that is another story.

love your momma even if she can’t love you back.

(copyright © 2017 jane doe)

 

 

he is glorified

it was saturday morning, the first day of the long holiday weekend. waking an hour later than normal, she went downstairs to make coffee and breakfast. a few minutes later, she was back at her desk to eat in her room with a view. it was a feast: coffee with bacon, eggs and a lemon ginger scone from her friend’s bake shop on etsy.
the deer were grazing in the backyard, a multitude of birds singing over them. yellow finches flitted from tree to tree as a crow teetered on the very top branch of a cedar tree. it reminded her of an angel that was perhaps a tad too heavy for the top of the christmas tree. what a good, good day. creation was awake.
“holy spirit, you order my day. i give it to you.” she scrolled through her facebook feed as she ate, responding to messages and posting the words holy spirit gave to her to encourage others. at times, she wondered if it was good use of her time. little did she know.
during the past week, she’d observed an increase in communication with a friend who lived on the opposite coast. they posted comments back and forth. she kept reading, typing. breakfast was excellent, her plate empty. had bacon ever tasted as good as it did today? maybe not.
the little nudge came, the knowing, barely perceptible, but it was there. “call her.” she rose to get her phone from the nightstand and returned to the desk. scrolling through the contacts, she found that she still had her friend’s name and number. the scent of lavender essential oil wafted through the air. it was soothing and grounding as she called the number.
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photo credit: nathan leblanc
her friend didn’t answer the call. instead, voicemail answered with no identification as to whom the number belonged. hoping for the best, she left a message, explaining that she was prompted to call her friend, but apologizing and blessing if the number now belonged to someone else. she ended the call.
going back to facebook, she messaged her friend, telling her she just tried to call, but not sure she had the right number. then she saw the ‘why’ in her call. the messages confirmed the purpose.
friend: “was in gas station most likely the time u called was struggling not to buy cigs. then god. jesus whispered ‘i will, i am helping you. i will help you. you don’t need a crutch. you are healed. took me by surprise how fast the want left when i took his hand. thank you for reaching out to me.” 💚💜😁😁😁
jane doe:”wow!!!!!!!  that was the why!!!! 
i’m an ex-smoker, love.”
friend: “oh wow wow double wow!!! that’s papa!!! 
not smoking is like learning a new language
the urge was intense
his whisper, ‘i will help you.’ over taken in jesus love here. thank you ****** for calling.
i just heard it. and the time is the same time i was standing at the counter 💜💜💜💜💜
wow!!!!!”
jane doe: “you will not be enslaved again in a yoke of bondage. ❤ 
 this would make a great jane doe story. i can write it just from what happened today.
you are not identified and he is glorified.
send me the time of the call.”
she had walked this path to freedom with jesus. she knew. she came alongside her friend with strength to push back that yoke of bondage.
friend: “what a good dad. as he said i will help you. that’s when u called.
12:09. 
i am free this started few weeks ago progressively. I was listening to the birds, water sounds of papa’s creation.
not identified and he is glorified. 💜💜💚💎🍴
i’m so thankful you called. he was working this encounter from the start today lolol.
jane doe: “yes. i was in tears and prayer almost from the time i woke up. and he drew us together more closely this week so we would be in tune with each other. i saw that before today. please put any other details you want to share in here, and i will craft them into the story.”
friend: “Need a min. lol
I seem to talk better than writing here.”
New number so you have it *** *** ****. he is glorified. crying in his love.
jane doe: “got it!
i love what he did between us today!”
friend: “i was just going to tell you that. i love what he has done between us today. powerful love. and we didn’t even know at the time. i’m blown away by the way. in awe of grace. you really called at 9:09.”
can’t wait to read he is glorified. i’ll write later a little more of what was happening.
the timing is father all the way. i told him, i think i think better smoking father my brain doesn’t seem to work as well. words coming out when i hadn’t processed, thinking before i spoke all week. lol wow wow wow. how did this come together today? i’m crying 💜🐦 hope you get to see wonder woman today.”
Papa had swooped into time to rescue his girl through another daughter. on one coast, it was 12:09 pm, and on the other it 9:09 am.
the timing was perfect.
who’s your daddy?
(copyright © 2017 jane doe)