Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Night of Beatings and I Never Felt a Thing.

It was a horrible night.
A night that I have only talked about when asked.
A night that I have spoken about at women's breakfasts or at a few local churches, but nothing that I have openly divulged on my own. I haven't talked about it since the last time I shared at a church, which was three years ago. And I only ever think of it when the Lord touches my heart in my quiet times with Him.

It's not something one would chat about, or at least not me. It's not something I even rest on or ponder about when I'm alone. I don't talk about it or think on it because I haven't found a reason to. The thought may pop up in my mind, but as quickly as it arises, I shut it down. It's not because it still scares me or that I struggle with forgiveness, it's just one of those things that happened and there really isn't any point on dwelling on it, that is until recently.

One day, while I was getting my Bible and journal out I felt the Lord prodding me to think about that dreadful night. The night when my mother and sisters fell head long into a cult. The night I didn't. The night when I wouldn't conform. The night I felt their rage. The night I was beaten, almost to death. I was thrown to the ground. I was forced over on my stomach with my face to the ground. My hands were tied behind my back. My feet were tied together. A pillow case was tied around my head. Then the beatings began.

I hate to think about it, I do, but there it was. God was asking me to think about it- to remember. I tried to fight it. I told Him, "I don't need to remember this anymore. I forgive my mother. I forgive my sisters." But there was that night. Right before me. Bigger than life.

I watched it over in my mind. It was like I was in the first row of a movie theater. What else can you do, but stare at the huge screen before you? I watched how I struggled. I watched how I gasped for breath. I watched without putting my hands over my eyes or squinting. I watched as my brother-in-law repeatedly kicked me in my side and how I tried to protect myself, but couldn't. I watched and remembered how my sister pulled my hair so hard that I was raised off the ground. I remembered them screaming curses over me. I remember thinking, "They won't give up until they have killed me."

Then, all at once, they stopped.
They whispered.
They all left the room.
I waited for their return.
I dreamt about what would come next. A new plot to bring me to my death. Something worse.

This is where the Lord slowed down the film.
This is where a twenty-two year old memory becomes alive with truth.
A horror film turns to redemption.
This is where God is glorified.

He showed me, myself, lying on the floor in my sister's house, alone, waiting for the cult members to come back. He slowed the memory down so I could focus on one essential part.

There I was.
I felt no fear.
I felt no pain.
My head should have been throbbing.
My mouth should have have bleeding.
My lungs should have been giving out.
But I was fine.

The memory sped up again.
They came racing in. Grabbed me and threw me in the back of their car.
I was dumped off.
They were gone.
The End.

God stopped the memory. I went back. I allowed Him to show me again. All these years of wincing at my own memory. My own life story, I just couldn't talk about it. With all their blows, punches, kicks, and hair pulling, I didn't feel a thing. Not a thing. I remembered it, but never talked about it. I asked the Lord, "Why? Why haven't I ever told anyone that I never felt, what should have caused me unimaginable pain, -I never felt a thing? Why?"
The Lord said, "You were afraid that no one would believe you."

Yes. His words resonated in my soul. I've been afraid to tell the whole story. Yes. Why would anyone believe that I didn't feel a thing? I could hear myself saying it. No one would believe me.

I started to cry.
I asked for forgiveness.

The Lord saved my life that night.
I was alive.
I was rescued.

But I'm here today to say, my God fought evil for me. The enemy brought down blow after blow onto my physical body, but my God protected me not only from death, but from broken ribs, bleeding lungs, and a disfigured face. My God stood between me and my own family who decided to follow evil. Oh, how I would love God to show me, HIM, in my movie memory. How I would love to see Him standing over rme, protecting me.
How I would love to see My God protecting me.
But for now, I do not have to have to see it, because I know it is true.
And for all you who know my full testimony of amazing grace, redemption, and miracles, I want to tell you more. My God was there that evil night and He protected me.

Jesus, you deserve all of my praise!

If you would like to read more about my testimony, go to the Page entitled "Mommy Life," on the blog or click these related stories:
Hope Eternal: My Journey from Brokenness to Blessing
On the Bus

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I'm Not Eating Bon-Bons

On a beautifully sunny day at Water Country, USA I was sitting on a bench waiting for my children to come down from their ride when I met a New Yorker =)
(I smile because our conversation was wonderful and I realize that there really is something very special about New Yorkers).

We fell easily into conversation. She shared how she was raised in Queens, then moved out to Long Island and has lived there ever since. I shared my simple story of being raised in Queens and moved to Virginia, but oh how we laughed at our childhood similarities by being raised in Queens.

We realized, as adults we had something else in common, and it wasn't something that living in Queens taught us- It  is that we are both stay-at-home moms. We differed in how many children we have, she has one child, and I have six, but we found our niche, our common love, and passion and we focused our chat on that-motherhood. She shared how she was convicted to be home for her child. She wanted to be home when he was sick, to help out in his school, to simply be there for him throughout his whole childhood. She shared how difficult it was to combat her friend's and family's expectation of going back to work once her son was in school, but she never wavered. She even gave me a bit of advice, "Don't get a job just because they enter high school cause that's when they need you most." She continued to tell me that she has no regrets because it was the best decision. Her son had just graduated from high school and was going off to college in September. Her job of being a stay-at-home mom was officially over and so she had a job all lined up and ready for her once her son went was off. It was a truly amazing testimony of a woman who knew her God-given role as a mother.

She had talked so much and shared so many gems that she hadn't gotten around to asking me, "How many children do you have?" So, as my children came running up to me after their ride, I could see her eyes counting each one. The inevitable question came: "Are these ALL yours!?" I proudly said, "Yes!" and introduced them to her.

She was silent for a moment, probably thinking back over our twenty minute conversation and putting the pieces together. Her next question was: "And you home school ALL of them?!" This time I laughed and answered her with a confident, "Yes!"

I have seen people surprised by the fact that I have six children and home school, but this woman was completely thrown for a loop! She flooded me with questions. I giggled with each response. It's so funny how people see my life, but I loved how much she wanted to understand and how she was completely uninhibited to probe me.

I could see how she was thinking back over her life- remembering the difficult times in raising one child, keeping after him, driving him to his sporting events, staying up late completing school projects, trying to keep the house clean and of course, having a hot meal on the table each night so the family can sit around together to talk. I could see her thinking about how tough, but rewarding motherhood had been and trying in her mind's eye to see herself with six children.

Her conclusion was classic: "Well, you certainly aren't sitting around the house eating Bon-Bons. You're lucky if you get a few skittles from your kids as they drop to the floor."

The two of us cracked up and laughed together. It wasn't a judgment or a rejection of how I live my life, just a candid fact of how busy I must be. It was a perfect summation. I'm not living the high life with carefree days and expensive Bon-Bons, but what I do have is life- running and chasing kids with a few perks of floor gotten skittles!

Our conversation was actually refreshing. To sit with a fellow mom and simply share how we are called to be stay-at-home moms. We were just two moms loving our calling and humbly proud to walk down a road that many would not understand. We understood each other and were proud of other for doing what was in our heart to do. We never talked about what other moms do nor did we speak words of judgment. It was truly a discussion about us and our lives as moms.

I will never forget this whimsical conversation. It sprung up out of no where, completely unexpected, but so validating. I am called to motherhood and in it's definition for me it means to be home. I am busy and sometimes I don't think I am, but I see how I crash in my bed each night and sleep soundly. But most importantly, I am not panting for the day when I get to laze around and eat Bon-Bons, I found that I am content with my few skittles that fell on the floor as I watch my kids freely run and play. I am a stay-at-home mom and so blessed to be one.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Toy Story Birthday Party

My little guy recently watched Toy Story 2 for the first time
and fell in love!
Afterwards I began searching thrift stores for any
Toy Story toy I could find-
we yielded these 3 costumes!!!

And I found this shirt for hubby!

After that we found,
the actual Andy doll with his hat,
and the Buzz Lightyear doll! 
My boy had days and days of fun!
As the weeks went on he naturally concluded that
his birthday party theme HAD to be Toy Story.
My daughter and I got busy!

I made the pinata-
"Mr Potato Head!"

My daughter began making the 'Happy Birthday' sign!
She individually cut out each piece! 
I'm so impressed!

(I made the "alien" balloons you see in the background!
I got the idea off of Pinterest). 

The day of the party was upon us
and they were ready!

We played,
"Capture Woody's Hat!"

(This little guy came dressed as one of the aliens!)

(The prizes were in the 'machine' with the 'CLAW!'
Another idea from Pinterest!)

They were ready for the pinata!

It was a wonderful day with wonderful friends!

Countdown to Jesus' Birthday

Every year I try and make some kind of  'countdown'
to Christmas board for the kids, 
and every year, after the season is over, I think,
"What in the world was I thinking! I'll never make that again!"
But this year I have a winner!!!

I  bought a black board from a local craft store,
and painted the wooden frame with a golden glitter acrylic paint.

Then I bought wooden stars and painted them white. 
(I glued gold ornament stars on top of the white stars).

The nativity scene is actually three dimensional stickers!
I could not find a wooden baby Jesus in His manger anywhere!
(I bought a small chalk board, painted it to look like the stable and placed the stickers on top of it).

The lettering is NOT chalk!
I used my silver paint pen to write out the words!
(The kids cannot erase them =)

Now we are ready for the Christmas season to begin!
Let the count down begin!!!

I will also be using my
"Biblical, Homemade Advent Calendar"
again this year.
Each night after dinner we will read the Scripture for the day.
(Each day the Scripture we read will tell the account of the coming of Jesus).
and of course, one child each night will receive a small present that connects to the Scripture!
I LOVE Christmas time and can hardly wait for December first!
Merry Christmas!!!