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)

 

 

taking back the name

options were limited and none of them were good. she could run away, but to where and to whom? and who would believe the stories about what really went on at home? did anyone really see her? she felt like the invisible child, even as the oldest.

she heard a voice say, “no one would believe you anyway.” at the age of fifteen, she wasn’t certain who that voice belonged to, but it might be right.

on the outside, their family looked pretty much the same as the other farm families in the area. she never stayed at friends’ homes long enough to know what was real and what was show. one of the neighbor kids had a mini bike that he used to taunt their dog. clearly, there were problems there.

no one heard what happened inside the four walls of the house, or in the barn, or the fields. maybe other farm families were all messed up, too.

she only knew she wanted out. there was no safe place, no haven, no peace. maybe she could go to new york, become a model. anything was better than here. she moved out of the house the summer after graduation. it was too painful and chaotic to stay at home.

a couple years went by, along with a couple of moves and job changes. those were manageable even in her own instability. but then the call came. her mother was hysterical, not making much sense. then her dad got on the phone. something about him having an affair, them getting a divorce. it all blurred together, all the years of fighting, the strife, the fear, the abuse. all of it came spilling out. and it was too much.

now she simply wanted to disassociate and distance herself from all that identified her to the family. it was so broken, such a mess. it felt shameful. their family name was dishonored.

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photo credit: pixabay

for months, she thought of different name combinations that would work, thinking she would legally change her name. she never did. but she no longer identified with that family name. it was just too painful.

the pain got worse before it got better. years went by. people died. perspectives changed. and the big move happened. it was the hardest and it was the best. healing came, layer by layer. the more she cooperated with father god, the faster it went.

distance helped. she could be who she was now. no one was looking over her shoulder, and she no longer needed permission to fly out of the cage and be free.

her mother’s health waned, so there was the occasional trip home. the mommy wounds were deep. forgiveness didn’t come so easily; it was a choice of her will, and nothing else. she certainly didn’t feel it. so she just kept choosing it.

the daddy wounds were different. abandonment, neglect, abuse and blah, blah, blah. the list could go on and on if she let it. family members were getting old. people were dying.

and there was the truth that couldn’t be denied: father god had placed her with her parents. he knew what she could and would overcome. and he said he would cause it all to work for her good.

she and the big daddy talked about the earthly dad quite a lot. “i get that he’s never going be the father i would like him to be in this life. you get to do that for me. i’m good with it now. but, i would just really like it if he would take an interest in who i am and what I’m about. for a minute.”  daddy god didn’t say anything. she knew he heard, so she went on with what she was doing.

then, on a friday night, she missed a call from her dad while she was swimming. concern rose quickly. the only time he ever called was on her birthday. did someone die? was the family okay?

she called him back only to get a message saying his voicemail wasn’t set up. well, of course it wasn’t. she shook her head and tried one brother. he didn’t answer. she left a message.

mom didn’t answer. her voicemail wasn’t set up either. what was the matter with these people and their technology? she called her sister, got her voicemail, left her a message.

next she tried her son. he answered, but hadn’t heard anything. “hey mom, i’m always the last to know. they don’t even invite me to christmas until the same day.” they laughed. she promised to let him know if she heard anything.

she called the other brother. he answered. “i haven’t heard anything, so everyone must be fine.” sigh of relief. if he didn’t know, yes, everyone was okay. and the sister texted back. she hadn’t heard anything contrary, either.

this was puzzling. dad calls on a day not her birthday, doesn’t leave a message and no one is dead. something was at work. she could feel it.

the next morning, her father called her back, “hey, ******, i saw you called last night.”

“yes, i called because i saw you called me. you only ever call on my birthday, so i thought someone died. i was frantically calling my siblings, mother and son to be sure everyone was good!” he laughed, she laughed.

then he asked her the question she wanted to hear. “so, what are you up to, what are you doing? bam. there they were, the open-ended questions that gave her permission to share pieces of her life with the man she knew as her earthly father.

she answered him with confidence and gusto, pleasure and delight. as she shared the details of her life, she heard how full it was, how rich she was in experience, deep friendships, location and above all, fulfillment in her relationship with father god. he was the one who made it all work.

her dad’s initial call? it was a pocket dial. but not really. it was really a set up to answer her prayer and she knew it.

when they were ready to end the call, for the first time ever, she blessed him with words he had never heard before, “i bless you and i love you, dad.” “i love you, too,” came his response. she encouraged him. “stay in touch. you can call on more than one day of the year.” she knew she’d have to be the one to call, and that was okay.

she had released him from expectations he could never meet. father god would be what she needed when others simply could not. and it was all right.

in her heart, the family name became honorable once again. she took back her maiden name, and it was good.

(copyright © 2017 jane doe)

 

 

being seen

it was the first holiday weekend of the summer. it was unseasonably warm. temperatures hadn’t been this high over memorial weekend since 1995.

she had no spectacular plans for the long weekend, save for some reading, rest and a swim. on saturday, she went to the marina for a few hours to sit in the park with a book on the physics of heaven.

she found room under a large tree with others who were enjoying the day. kids squealed from the cold water as they ran back and forth through the sprinkler in the play area.

she settled back in her lawn chair to finish the book she’d begin 1 1/2 years earlier. the chapter she was engrossed in revealed the laws of quantum physics as they related to the power of words. it explained infinite possibilities with both words and intent. fascinating, weighty stuff.

she could only read one sentence at a time, and often had to re-read it several times to absorb the content. her efforts were complicated by the swarms of box elders bugs flying around her head. they began to land. all around her. in her book. on her head. all over her body and the chair. they didn’t bite, they were just annoying. the one that flew down into her shirt required special extraction.

she commanded her angels to keep the bugs off of her. it helped a little bit, but not entirely. as she swatted the bugs away, a young man came flying over the railing above her. he landed in front of her chair and ran down to the picnic table where his mom and younger sister were sitting.

he appeared to be nine or ten years old, quite a handsome young man. he had a lot of energy. he came toward her opposite the sidewalk and began to climb up the concrete wall and over the railing to the deck above. to her dismay, he began to jump from the railing to the concrete below. it was a good ten foot jump. and really not safe.

she watched him without watching him. who was he putting on the show for? he was not careless. he was good. gymnastics would be a great outlet for him. still, this was not safe. she commanded angels to keep him from jumping. his activity decreased but did not stop.

what was going on with the angels? the bugs didn’t stop landing on her and this kid was still performing his circus act. she looked at him more closely when she thought he wasn’t looking. his face was sweet, innocent. there was something else, too. she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

he began to jump from the top of the railing again. when he landed hard on the concrete just feet away from her, she could stay silent no more. “honey, i need you to stop jumping from up there. it’s not safe. i don’t want you to get hurt.” once a mom, always a mom.

he looked at her as he caught his breath. that last jump had knocked his stuffing loose. his expression shocked her. instead of being angry, he was relieved, almost happy.

someone had paid attention to him, cared about his wellbeing. he looked at her, saying, “okay,” as he nodded his head. then he got up and ran over to his mom at the picnic table.

well. that was just odd. he didn’t get mad at her for speaking up. he obeyed what she asked. he’d been acting out for attention, any attention.

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photo credit: pixabay

he felt loved when he was seen. when she asked him to stop so he wouldn’t get hurt, he felt cared for. he mattered to her. his well-being mattered.

and it didn’t matter if this mom wasn’t his. she just cared. and she told him.

his daring jumps were the only way he knew to get attention, to be seen. he didn’t have to break an arm for her to say something to him, to show him love and care.

people act out in many ways to be seen. desperate for love, yearning for someone to say, “i see you. you matter. i love you.”

any attention is better than no attention. so someone might show love.

(copyright 2017 © jane doe)

the unwrapping

not long after they met, she began to see layers wrapped around him and weights upon his shoulders and back. the layers were like bandages wrapped tightly around a mummy while the weights were heavy, unbearable yokes.

the heaviness weighed him down and the layers restricted his movement and freedom, robbing him of the joy he had been gifted with in his mother’s womb.

she first experienced his joy at the airport as they waited in a long line. he was humming a happy little tune. she closed her eyes and listened when he first began. she felt herself becoming lighter. her cares were leaving. his joy was spilling over to her.

delighted, she turned to her left to look at him. “what is that?” she asked. he grinned and stopped humming to answer.

“it’s sesame street. the mahna mahna song.” she squealed in laughter. “what? really?? i love it!!” his humming had changed the atmosphere around them. it made her laugh and that shifted it even more.

during shared adventures, holy spirit told her about him. she shared with him what she could.  she told him about his joy, about the power it wielded against the enemy, how it would carry him through storms.

it was infectious with others, too. it broke oppression, pulling them out of their own pit so they could see, so they could breathe again.

she gave him oil to help him sustain his power. it was even called ‘joy.’ she wore it every day to maintain her own joy. everywhere she went, people asked what she had on. it lifted them. they wanted what she had, too.

the enemy knew the power of his joy. he came to steal it, to oppress it, to squelch it. and when the attacks came, he did not have the strength to put it on. his mind was attacked, his sleep was attacked. and it snowballed.

one afternoon, they went on a road trip. she could tell when he picked her up that something was wrong. she prayed in her thoughts. “holy spirit, what should I do?” he answered her quickly. “pray in tongues and touch him as often as you can.” this became her protocol whenever they were driving together.

christmas came. they went away for a few days. the enemy was not pleased he was with her light for an extended period of time. the battle intensified quickly.

she looped the same worship song in the car for three hours as they drove. “nothing is wasted,” by elevation worship. he drove, she worshipped, sometimes weeping. he was being unwrapped from bondage.

they went out for dinner christmas eve. she’d made reservations at one of their favorite restaurants. it had a view. their server seated them at the same table they always sat at. they smiled at each other knowingly. it was ‘their’ place. dinner was lovely.

they ate in silence, listening intently to the family behind them with the very bright little girl and her very british grandfather. memories were made at both tables that night.

later on, they settled in to watch a christmas carol. holy spirit showed her the weights on him again. she placed her right hand on his back in various places, and holy spirit gently removed several of them.

the intercession began soon after. she put on her ear buds and worship music. she took hold of his right hand with her left hand and held it tight as holy spirit moved.

her body shook and she wept silently as healing took place deep in his soul. he thought it was about her, and she let him think so. it was better that way.

the unwrapping continued. soon, he would be completely free.

free to see, free to hear, free to feel, free to live and free to love.

 

unwrapping
photo credit: pixabay

 

(copyright 2017 jane doe)

 

 

 

and so it went

they’d only been together a few weeks, still young in their relationship.

the end of this day found them at the marina for a walk along the river. after the walk, they settled on their usual park bench. they’d had conversations here before.

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photo credit: jane doe

he’d gotten more bad news. he was hurting. badly. his expression showed it. so did his body language. she could feel his pain.

he leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, head in his hands. she knew he felt defeated, that he had nothing to offer. she knew she would walk with him as he healed and learned his true value.

she rubbed his back lightly with her right hand. after a few minutes of silence, he slowly turned his head back toward her. then came the question. “what do you want from me?”

she drew in a breath and waited for holy spirit to give her words. “i don’t want anything from you until you’re ready. i promise you this: whatever the nature of our relationship,  i will love you fiercely.”

he had never heard anything like this.

she didn’t want anything from him and she would love him anyway. he had no response.

she had no more words. but she’d said it and it was out there.

and so it went.

(copyright 2017 jane doe)

 

full exposure

it had been nearly three weeks since they’d spoken. it was the longest they’d ever gone without any communication.

she’d made the upgrade in her own identity and it caused a shift between them. in the process, the battle had intensified. father was bringing her into higher levels of rest and trust. after the first week of silence, she settled into it. it was all right.

then the direction shifted. she was still  at work one day when she began to see a restaurant they frequented often in her mind. once, twice and a third time she saw it.

then came the phone call from a trusted friend. after conversation, it was clear: it was time to go back into the fray, to fight for him, to fight for them. destinies were at stake.

she texted him once. he read it and did not respond. she sent another, letting him know where she was. silence. then a text response. “what do you want?” she felt his anger.

this was not normal. “what do you mean?” she texted back. then her phone rang. “where are you?” yes. he was angry. and he had been angry for over two weeks.

after some conversation, the reason for his anger became clear. the enemy had whispered lies to him about her. he had believed the worst of her based on his experience with someone else.

 

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photo credit: pixabay

 

the liar had worked hard to make him believe they were exactly the same. they were not. she unraveled the lie and presented the truth to him.

his face grew darker. in his anger, she could see he wanted to believe the lie over the truth. it was easier than admitting he hadn’t questioned the lying spirits with their accusing voices. pride was right there to justify his actions and misplaced anger.

she didn’t pull any punches. “you need to delineate a clear line between her actions and mine. we are not the same. i do not do what she did. if you don’t keep it separate, i’m going to get the crap beat out of me.” she meant it figuratively, but he went off.

“what do you mean? i’m going to beat you up?” she looked him in the eyes over her bowl of nachos. “no. i mean that i will get hurt.”

he sat back in his chair taking in the weight of her words. she went to the restroom. “daddy, I don’t know what to to. i need more grace and mercy over us here. help me.” she went back out to the table.

his features had softened slightly. “how do we fix this?” he asked. she shrugged her shoulders. “wipe the slate clean?” he nodded, adding, “hit the reset button?” she nodded.

nothing felt like it had been reset. the atmosphere was heavy. not only was he sitting on the other side of the table, but so were the demons who’d been tormenting him in recent months. they hung on his shoulders and whispered lies to him. she could see them and hear when they spoke through his mouth.

he didn’t have a skill set for combatting them yet. but he would. and when he knew the truth, it would make him free.

fear, rejection, poverty, infirmity, jealousy and pride. and here they were all together at dinner. no wonder it was challenging to navigate. and deep within this beautiful man was a small boy who needed healing.

they did okay when the conversation centered around what each of them had been doing for activities, how the family was, etc.

pride became impatient with the niceties and began telling her what he would and would not do, ripping on the plans father god had shown them both together.

she stayed still as long as she could, her heart racing as the liar attempted to deconstruct what father had already begun in building them together as one.

when the conversation crossed the line, she put on her coat and set her purse on the table. she stood before him, hardly believing the words he’d spoken. this clearly was not him.

the pain was in her eyes, in her words. she could see that he saw it. his own pain and woundedness was so great, all he could do was take it out on her in the moment.

she looked over at him before she walked away. shaking her head sadly, she said, “you don’t want to let the best thing you’ve got in your life walk out the door.” it was not bragging. it was arrogant. it was just true.

she left. he didn’t go after her. as she walked to the car, she made one remark to father. “i know, i know, i will believe and trust right now that what the enemy meant here for evil tonight, you will make work for our good.”

she got in the car and waited to see if he would come to stop her. he did not.

she debriefed the whole thing with wise counsel. some of this had been father’s doing. he wanted to expose things in the man that had been hidden. she had called them out and brought light into them.

exposure had occurred. the enemy had lost ground that he would never get back. checkmate.

twenty-four hours later, she was exhausted from the skirmish, unfriended and exiled. these were but temporary conditions. she declared victory and full restoration with a song in her heart.

light always exposes the darkness.

 

(copyright 2017 jane doe)

the promise remains

the walking/talking and moments of silence continued until they reached the other side of the park where the docks were.

the island was in front of them. they’d seen elk here the last time.

they stopped walking and stood together.

she felt holy spirit all around them. the intensity was so great, she could barely get the words out. but she looked him in the eyes. she began to speak the powerful words holy spirit gave her. she spoke softly but with great strength.

“over time, you will begin to see yourself as you are seen and known in heaven. that is what the enemy most fears, because when you begin to live and move in your true identity, when you know…”

her voice broke with emotion as she stopped to compose herself. “…when you know just how much you are loved, you will be unstoppable.”

tears welled up her eyes and ran down her cheeks. holy spirit continued to move in and around them. it was hard to even stand in that place. these words were new to him and he had not often felt holy spirit like this.

her emotion made him uncomfortable, too. she was intense when she talked about father, jesus and holy spirit.

he needed space and walked down the ramp to the dock. she wiped her eyes and watched him from the top of the hill.

she heard the birds screaming to each other before she saw them. following their sound, her gaze moved to her right. two eagles flew in tandem across the water toward the island.

she called out to him so he could see them, too. they both watched them land together in a tree.

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photo credit: pixabay

it was a another sign.

he didn’t know what it meant. but she did.

father’s voice came again, strong, gentle, kind. “the promise remains.”

more tears. more tissues. glory and mess.

after a while, they began the walk back around the park, retracing their steps.

when they had almost reached the parking lot, she looked down to the ground to watch their feet as they moved.

father spoke to her again, saying, “when the walk began, your steps were not synchronized, but by the time your day was ending, you were in lockstep together.”

(copyright © 2017 jane doe)