Monday, November 9, 2009

The New Beginning

I feel like I've come full circle in a way. I started writing this blog without understanding that I was in the wilderness. At every turn, I thought I was finally out of the wilderness. In October of this year (2009), I spiraled down even deeper, and very quickly. And since I'm trying to actually look at the yuck in my life, I finally looked at one of the worst moments in my life. One year before I got pregnant with my now 12 year old son, I was pregnant. I was not married. The father was the man who is now my husband, and he was in his first trimester of school. He panicked. Because I lived for him, instead of following God, I panicked. I had an abortion. He dropped me at the clinic that day. I went into the surgical room. I was prepped. I heard the suction come on. I burst into gut wrenching sobs. The doctor stopped and said it was not too late to stop. But I told him to continue.

Afterwards, we never spoke of the abortion. We split. He was in a relationship with another woman. When he called me four months later, I opened my heart to him again. We bought a house, and I was pregnant again that same summer.

There was no question that we were having this baby. But we never dealt with the grief of the abortion together in any way. And honestly, I never dealt with the grief on my own. However, as I look back through my journal entries, every October I've had a rough period. But it was only this October that I was able to see the connection. It was only this October that I consciously grieved over this moment in my life. And I knew that my Father was with me, I knew that He was holding me that day as I let life be taken from me. I saw Him and I knew in His great love, He brought life back to me the following year.

I am not proud of the story of my child's birth. His father and I didn't marry until 2002, when my son was 5 years old. We went to a Justice of the Peace, with none of our friends or family as witnesses. I believe the reason I struggle with feeling that my husband doesn't really love me is because of the way we began our lives together. It's very difficult, and I am still not sure where the road is leading.

But today, as I read through this blog again, I realized that history had repeated itself in my story. My story is not so different from my mother's. And God is showing me that I must be ready to open my heart enough for my son so that he will have an opportunity to choose a different path.

In May of 2008, this is what I wrote:

"This morning in my quiet time, I asked the Lord to show me a scripture He wanted me to have today; I asked Him this after I asked Him what it is He wants for my life, and this is where my Bible fell open:

Isaiah 40:2
'Speak tenderly to her (he's talking about Jerusalem, but this morning He was speaking to me), and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.'

This is why it spoke to me so perfectly ... I believe that the lie that certain of my sins were unforgivable was passed down to me from my mom, and that was passed down from her mom .... what I heard Him say to me is, 'It's over ... no more shame, no more doubt, just see the double portion of love from Me'."

So I'm ending right now with this, with the knowledge that my life has come full circle. In May of 2008 I did not see it that way, but now in November of 2009 my eyes are fully open to what He is showing me. And now, my life begins, the one that He has planned for me, not just for me, but it includes my husband and my son. It's a story that starts with redemption and rescue, and will continue on a path that will be full of traps and snares. But now I know, deep down gut level know, that if I (we) stay glued to his side we will be safe, even when it looks and feels unsafe. I think I might be ready to truly trust His great heart, and obey His words, as best I can, this side of Heaven.

Monday, October 5, 2009

salt and light

Sometimes I get confused by things in the Bible. Take, for example, Matthew 5:13 where Jesus talks about being the salt of the earth ... if the salt loses its saltiness how can it be made salty again? What does that mean? Jesus was talking to His disciples, although there was a crowd present as well. He said His disciples are the salt of the earth. But if they lose their saltiness they can't gain it back, no longer good for anything ... say what??? Maybe what that means, in light of the rest of the chapter, is if they don't keep His commandments, their words and their actions won't match, therefore they will no longer have any effect on the world around them. Okay, I have to think about that for awhile.

The next 3 verses talk about being the light of the world. Verse 16 says to let your light shine so that men see your good deeds and praise God. So even though we aren't saved by works, our works, our choices, our words reveal our hearts ... so our works are not what save us, but our works reveal God in our lives. And even though we have been saved by grace, that saved-ness will not be evident to those around us unless we follow His commandments. It gets a little tricksy, huh?

Sometimes when I think about these things it seems a little wonky to me, like everything is a riddle. Maybe I think too much. Maybe, just maybe, I haven't fallen in love with Him enough to have my actions take the natural course of love, which is doing what pleases Him, following His commands just so I can be close to Him. I can still remember when I first met my husband. He was so larger than life to me, I wanted to do everything to please him, there was never a moment I wouldn't rather be with him than doing anything else. Have I felt that with Jesus? I have to say honestly that I haven't. So, right now, I'm reading. I'm spending time with Him. Because I want to fall in love with Him. I want to be desperate for Him. I want to desire to please Him. So I'm still reading. I'm still praying. Every day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Today it was the Beatitudes, or as others call it the "Be Attitudes". Again, I saw something I'd missed before. Today, the be-attitude that stuck out in my face was "blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". This past week, the son of one of my high school friends died in a car crash. He was 28 years old. Also, this past week, a woman I went to college with was found dead in her apartment. I didn't know my high school friend's son, but I've seen pictures of him ... he was full of light and life. My college friend was one of those people that was just funny ... she was always (in college) thinking of ways to play practical jokes on others. To this day, I can't sing His Eye is On the Sparrow, without singing: "I sing because I have to" ... in our college choir I was in the alto section, as was my friend, and she always sang that in my ear.

Upon first learning of these deaths, I realized I didn't know my friend's son, and I hadn't spoken to my college friend in 30 years. And yet the news of these deaths hit me hard. For my high school friend, there was the empathy of knowing as a mother that the loss of a child would be the hardest to bear. When I read that beatitude this morning, that's what I wanted to share with her ... that those who mourn will be blessed with Comfort from One Who has known the loss of a child. This past year, with the help of social networking sites, I've gotten in touch with many old high school and college friends. The woman who died last week was one of the people I'd asked questions about to several of my college friends, but the ones I asked had not kept in touch with her either. I found out last week that she had suffered some pretty severe depression the last few years ..... hmmmm ... sounds familiar to me. Could we have comforted one another if we had still been in touch? Maybe. Maybe not.

So I've been in mourning this past week. And I've experienced the Comfort of my Father. Today is a new day. I'm thinking after reading this passage, that I need to be on the lookout for the following things: recognition of the poverty of my spirit on my own; opportunities to be gentle, rather than proud; when I feel hunger, let my hunger be for more of Him; ways to show mercy EVERY DAY; sighting of God in those around me; chances to be a peacemaker; to be able to stand firm in my faith, even if I am ridiculed for it.

I think I know why Jesus gave this list of "Be Attitudes". It's because He knew that our joy, our peace, and our love can only be deepened by these attitudes. I desire deeper joy, more abundant peace, and love beyond measure for those around me. My prayer for myself and my family is that we will choose more often to be poor in spirit, merciful, hungry (for more of Him), gentle, peaceful, faithful (to Him).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just keep reading, just keep reading ....

I've heard this story all my life. Jesus saw Peter and Andrew, and told them to follow Him and they dropped everything and went ... same for James & John. A man walks up to these fishermen, and tells them to follow Him and they leave everything and follow Him. I'm wondering what was it about this Man that compelled them to do that? So now I have access to these stories, and Jesus tells me over and over through these stories to follow Him, and I say, as soon as I get our finances into shape (notice the I), as soon as my marriage is better, as soon as I figure out how to be a better mom, the list goes on. so I'm thinking, what am I missing? Is it just the experience of actually physically looking into the eyes of Jesus and seeing something that pierces my heart in such a way I can't see past Him? How do I get to that without the ability to have that physical experience?

I've noticed something lately. I'm reading my bible, and I'm seeing things I've never seen before. Maybe it's because I've heard these stories my whole life, that finally, now, in my 50's, I'm starting to get the meaning. Or maybe I never had eyes for the stories. I really don't know the answer, just know things are different as I read. I'm actually hearing God tell me to read His word, and instead of ignoring that, I'm doing it consistently. We'll see where it leads ... so far, through the first 4 chapters of Matthew, I've learned:

  • Jesus' genealogy includes Solomon, whose mother, Bathsheba, is the woman who was married to Uriah, and David took as his own, then had Uriah sent to the frontlines of war to die - so Jesus definitely understands all the mixed emotions I've been through since finding out my birth story
  • God's entrance into the world as a human baby caused the physical realm to react: the star pointed the way, Heaven couldn't be quiet, angels sang, shepherds came. If the earth and the heavenly realms reacted like that, then as His creation how can I not worship, praise, and obey Him?
  • When God told Joseph to get up and take Mary and the baby to Egypt, he got up and took Mary and the baby to Egypt. No questions. Just obedience.
  • John the Baptist told Jesus that he wasn't worthy to baptize Him. Jesus had such a clear picture of His purpose, that when He told John that scripture had to be fulfilled by this act, John immediately consented. He didn't argue.
  • Jesus in the wilderness ... me in the wilderness: Jesus had singleminded purpose, to trust God through this time. I, on the other hand, have always sought escape from the wilderness by my own power, not by obeying and following God through the wilderness; I have arranged for my own healing at the hands of whatever small gods of comfort, rather than waiting on His angels to attend to my needs.
Don't know what tomorrow holds ... other than that I'm going to keep reading.

Monday, September 21, 2009


So, I'm reading again in Matthew. Chapter 4, where Jesus is led by the Spirit (meaning His Father's Holy Spirit) into the desert to the enemy. The Bible says Jesus fasted 40 days and nights ... He's in the desert, His flesh is hungry for food, and satan is there to taunt. I get hungry and I go immediately to satisfy that hunger. Instead, Jesus obeyed. He quoted the words of God, and obeyed them. Period. Straight up. He ignored the needs of His flesh, and He obeyed. And He waited ... and the Bible says satan left .... Then God showed up and His angels attended to the needs of Jesus.

All I can say is wow. I'm not sure I've ever done that. I've been in the desert. Mostly because of my choices, sometimes as the result of the actions of others ... or has it been? Nowadays I'm not so sure of that ... maybe my time in the desert has happened because all along my Father has been leading me ... and He led me to the wilderness. But then my sin kicks in when I stay there and go into despair? Or is it sin when I jump out of the wilderness into some other comfort zone ... throughout my life that comfort has looked like many other things: destructive emotions, promiscuous sex, material stuff, gluttony, drugs, alcohol, arranging my own life and my own path ... you name it, I've been there. Maybe if I just hung in and waited in the wilderness, waiting (as in "wait on Me"), just maybe if I trusted Him and obeyed His words, then maybe I'd walk out of that wilderness and discover the path He has written just for me. A new path that is absolutely nothing like any other I've chosen before. Not that it's safe, in fact it might be a bit scary, but it will be a path full of adventure, written into my heart as the desires I've so effectively buried, full of life as I've never dared to imagine for myself.

I was caught off guard a bit by verses 12-16. It says that when Jesus heard that John had been put in jail, He returned to Galilee, then left Nazareth and lived in Capernaum ... to fulfill what Isaiah prophesied about Him. So that got me thinking. Jesus knew the prophecies about Him, and He knew what road to take every step of the way. I think that's one of the hardest things about life .... I don't know (sometimes) which path to take. He did. So I started thinking about what that means for me. On the face of it, it seems kind of unfair. But then again, my life story isn't about me, it's about God's glory revealed in my story. So maybe Jesus already had a roadmap, but He was also human. I guess his biggest advantage was this: He has a personal, intimate, love relationship with the Father, so much so that His words on earth were the Father's words. God in the flesh. So, again, where does that leave me? Maybe, just maybe, if I begin to obey God, put my nose just between his shoulder blades and follow Him, regardless of how crazy the terrain is looking to me, maybe I can develop that personal, intimate, love relationship with the father, which will give me ears to hear His voice and eyes to see the path He has put in front of me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

8-11-09 / a journal entry

Genesis 4:6&7

"Then the Lord said to Cain: 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.' "

That's what God said to Cain. The sin in me (without Jesus) appears so close up and big that I allow it to devour me, instead of working to master it. God spoke to me. He reminded me to work out my salvation (Philippians 2:12).

I must obey Him in order to be purified; then and only then can I "have sincere love for my brothers, love others deeply, from the heart".

The craziness of my path in life is the direct result of the sin in my life. I didn't just "make bad choices", I willfully disobeyed God's word ... WOW .... I've never ever thought of it in that way. I have always packaged my life in terms of the fact that I made bad choices, I didn't think before I acted, blah blah blah .... all of those things are another way of saying that I chose a way other than the one laid before me by God. period. straight up sin.

I Peter 2:8
" ... they stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for."

notes about the birthday indianapolis trip 7-08

OK, so I'm set to go to my brother's surprise 50th birthday party in Indianapolis. The plan is for me to fly to Tulsa on Thursday, get in a car with my youngest brother and my mother on Friday morning and drive to Indy. We'll then drive back to Tulsa on Sunday and I'll fly back to Texas on Monday.

I'm feeling dread. This will be the first time I'll have been with my mother since I was told the secret. I've been asking God whether I should talk with her and He has been silent so far. I have 2 friends who say I should talk to her while I still have the opportunity for a conversation with her. I have 1 friend who says why talk to her when it won't change anything. My sister and my aunt I believe are fearful that I will attack my mother when and if I speak to her. I honestly don't know what to do.

The night before my flight to Tulsa, I'm sitting at my computer. I remember when I first found out about having a different dad, I googled him, and found out he had died in 2006. But I remembered there was an address, and that it had looked as if his wife was still alive. I asked God about it. No clear words, but there was a tug in my heart, a needing-to-know kind of tug. I booked a car, and when I arrived in Tulsa, I drove to the last known address of my biological father. I had no idea if this was the correct Charles Munion, I had absolutely no idea if I would be welcomed or rejected, but it seemed to be the right thing to do.

It was the correct house. I learned a bit more of how it all happened. I sat with his widow, who was still grieving for her husband, and listened to her pour her heart out to me. She had married him after his second wife had died at age 48; she herself was a widow at the time and she had met Charles at a grief support meeting. They'd been married 20 years. She is 73, my mother's age. She had never had children, and Charles' children were not involved in her life .... she was lonely. I asked God in my heart why I was there, and He said she is lonely. So I listened. I looked at photographs. Before I left she called my aunts and made arrangements for us to meet at her house on Monday.

I went to my mother's apartment to get her packed for our road trip. As I was packing, my phone rang. It was a woman named Leslie Munion. My half sister. I listened as she told me she'd known about me for 37 years and had wanted to find me. I listened as she told me that 2 days earlier her mother's sister had called her and told her she was hiring a detective to find me for Leslie. I listened as she told me that she plays piano, and that she and her father had sung together in churches all her life. I listened, and I was amazed at some of the parallels of our lives. I cried. She cried. I hung up the phone and walked back into my mother's apartment. And He spoke, and said, "Now". I told my mother what I'd discovered. I forgave my mother. A burden was lifted, and I knew I was finally free.

When the secret was first revealed to me, it was freeing. Then, I was mad. I was mad that so many people had lied to me. My mother, my grandmother, my great aunt, my uncle, my aunt, my cousins; later on, 2 of my brothers knew about it. It felt as if my whole life had been a lie. I totally understand that as a young child the guarding of the secret had been for my protection. But I couldn't understand why the secret had not been revealed to me as an adult.

But then, I had to remember, as I have to on most days, that there is One Who is in charge of all things. For whatever reason, this was the perfect timing for me to know. And I've accepted that. My sister told me earlier this year (2009) that I was angry. She told me my anger was a wall between my youngest brother and I. And that hurt. One, of all my siblings, I think I'm more connected to my youngest brother than my other siblings (and the enemy was quick to put doubt into my heart about my relationship with my brother). And it also hurt my pride. I didn't want to think of myself as an angry person ... but she was right. She had shared with me a couple of years ago that she had learned that she had mis-labelled emotions her whole life. So I'm trying to label emotions correctly these days. And be okay with letting it be known that I have negative emotions (DUH!).

So on Monday, I go to my birth father's home and meet his 2 sisters. They are clear in mind, so they told me the story as they knew it. And it was good to know how Candy Gay came to enter the world. There was a boy and girl who knew of each other in high school; he worked at a gas station near her home. They flirted and started dating the summer after they graduated from high school. He went to college that fall to play football, and he received a call in October from Charlotte saying that she was pregnant. He left college, and did what was expected. He married her and they set up house together. My grandmother had also introduced my mother to an older divorced man, Gus Summers, and sometime during her pregnancy my mother decided to lay her bets on an older, very handsome and charming man. Charles came home one day after work before I was born and Charlotte told him she didn't want to be married to him and that she wanted a divorce. Charles went to his mother's house, and told her the story. He got the divorce, joined the navy, and never spoke of me again. If anyone in his family ever asked about me, he silenced them. My mother married Gus Summers three months after I was born. He was the man I had always thought was my father, and he was the father of my brothers Cary and Chris.

That's the story of my birth.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

6-1-08 / a journal entry

I opened to Isaiah 41 this morning and the Lord told me that I am the daughter of a king, THE KING - Who hands over nations ..... subdues kings ... turns them to dust with His sword ... to chaff with His bow ... He is in pursuit and is unscathed on a path He has never travelled ....

"Who has done this from the beginning? The Lord, with the first of them and with the last".

All other gods are nothing ... sex, food, things of the world, money, drugs, alcohol, destructive relationships, negative emotions .... every one of them turns to dust in His presence ... none of those comforts, those tiny gods, know anything of battle ... He has fought for us from the beginning and will fight for us to the end.

5-26-08 / a journal entry

TODAY ... maybe my search all along was not about finding missing pieces of my earthly story, but about finding ... knowing ... Him ... I remember singing "My Fathers Eyes" ... what I felt as a young woman singing that song was that even if my earthly fathers failed me .... my true Father was God, Abba Father.

TODAY ... as I was praying for the Father's forgiveness and healing of my heart, He spoke to me ... it was totally quiet, and yet it shook my soul at the same time .... He said,


I've been searching for my missing pieces and He said


5-25-08 / a journal entry

I'm trying to remember when all the searching started. I think it "started" with Sacred Romance by John Eldredge, some time in 2002. But I know in my heart that I've always been on this quest. I've always been aware in my soul that there was something missing ... something not quite right ... but I was too afraid to take a closer look. Two months ago, March 3, 2008, I found out that I have a different father than my other siblings. I'm the oldest of 5. The moment I heard the information it was like something broke loose in me. Moments of my life were instantly illuminated by the truth ... moments when I had been confused, moments when I felt disconnected from my family ... my siblings knew nothing of this when we were young, so it wasn't anything they did or didn't do ... it was just that there was this family secret that the adults knew, and it somehow changed the dynamics of my life ...

I've found out part of the story, but I still have questions. My mother has dementia, and I haven't asked her anything about it yet, and am not sure that I will. I'm asking for God's leading in this area. But I do want to know the story. In fact, I believe I need to know the story.

Today, God showed me Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus. Reading that list of generations and seeing that God thought it was important enough to include in the Gospels, made me see that my story is important. Not because of me, but because of His purposes in my life.

A scripture ...

Psalm 18:

"But me He caught - reached all the way from sky to sea; He pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down but GOD stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide open field; I stood there saved - surprised to be loved!"

Today ... I still feel a bit choked by the void. I know I'm in the wilderness, but I'm seeking Him. I'm reading His word every day, and every day He shows me something new that I've never seen in all the old stories. I know that I've never tried this before, this obedience thing. Every other time I've run out of the wilderness on my own. So I'm going to hang here and wait for Him to lead me out this time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

intro to bebb

OK, I know I've always been a late bloomer ... the story of my life. A couple of weeks ago I was reading a book that contained a quote from "The Book of Bebb" by Frederick Buechner. It's one of those quotes that, in a way, sums up how I've lived my life up till now ... and one of those quotes that made me know that this way I've lived my life hasn't worked out so well for me. This is it:

"We all got secrets. I got them same as everybody else - things we feel bad about and wish hadn't ever happened. Hurtful things. Long ago things. We're all scared and lonesome, but most of the time we keep it hid. It's like every one of us has lost his way so bad we don't even know which way is home any more only we're ashamed to ask. You know what would happen if we would own up we're lost and ask? Why, what would happen is we'd find out home is each other. We'd find out home is Jesus that loves us lost or found or any whichway."

It's strange. I grew up in a fairly normal (normally dysfunctional) family. I grew up going to church every Sunday morning and evening and every Wednesday night. My grandmother was the church secretary and she also taught children's church every Sunday morning. I grew up hearing all the stories of Jesus, attending every vacation bible school, and every session of summer bible camp. I decided at age 9 to give my heart to Jesus and to be baptized.

But I remember something ... I remember being afraid not to accept Jesus as my Savior. I was scared to death of judgment day, and having all my sins exposed, at that day, for everyone to know and to see. I also wanted my grandmother's approval. I guess at that age there's no way to fully understand what it means to walk with God, and I guess that was one of the first steps I took on that journey.

I always knew I had to hide who I truly was. I knew there was something that wasn't right in my family, and I knew that there was something wrong with me, that somehow I wasn't enough for my mother. I knew if I didn't make the right choices my grandmother would be disappointed with me, and I knew I didn't want to disappoint my grandmother.

And I guess what I'm trying to say is that when I read this quote from Leo Bebb (ultimately from Frederick Buechner) it confirmed what I finally have already figured out .... all the pain, all the fear, all the loneliness, all the shame ... it's okay. It has all been used in my life to draw me to Him. And not just to Him but to the ones in my life who see every tiny flaw there is to see in me, the ones I try so desperately to fool by covering up that myriad of flaws when really the flaws are part of my uniqueness, things to be accepted and loved as they are by God. What I'm starting to see is that what happens here on earth in my horizontal relationships reflects what's going on in my vertical relationship with God. And I can't hide from Him and I can't hide from my family .... and truly, finally, I don't want to hide anymore.

I want to be at home where I am knowing that the ones I love most are my travelling companions to a distant shore ... the one we see as the sun sets every night and turns everything to a rosy glow, the one we hear in the songs of the ocean waves, the one we taste in our tears, the one we feel as the wind blows through our hair, and the one we smell when we hold our newborn baby to our cheek ....

My life feels a bit changed today. I know Leo Bebb is a fictional character, but reading this book has helped me to see more clearly the message God has given to us ... life on earth is messy, painful, ridiculous, insane, beautiful, sad, mysterious, crazy ... but this isn't the end, it's only a taste of what's to come .... my home is Jesus, my home is my family and my friends who are wanderers with me through this human experience ...