One cold November morning the birth pains came to a young mother. Barely 22, my mother sat in wait of a little girl. The baby girl she had just before her 16th birthday was ripped from her. Having a baby so young was a shame in those days. She was not allowed in school and family felt it was a disgrace. She was treated like she was an outcast and that her prayers did not matter. She never got to hold her sweet little baby girl. A broken tear stained face with eyes staring into the deep corners of the room, they walked out of the room with the swaddled child. She never laid eyes on her from that day forward, or at least all the while she grew up in a loving home somewhere far away. My dad looked through the glass at her, longing to raise her with my mother, but in those times adoption was something they had to choose.
It drew them closer and they ended up getting married. They welcomed my brother shortly after.
Years passed and her heart longed for that little girl, an ache that nothing could fill. That cold morning, a small cry broke the silence of her heart, and the doctor proclaimed, "It's a girl!" And my daddy sat there in awe, tears streaming down his face for God had given them a baby girl.
I was not raised in a church. Maybe they just felt betrayed by the church when they were not treated with love and understanding those years before. As I recal, nature was our church. We spent our Sundays walking in the fields, had picnics, and had good family time.
On a darker note, this is the age I was when I became a target for a preditor. I wont give you any details except that it did shape the rest of my life. I was changed. Certainly not forever. But God used it, lets just say that!
Here is my family. My parents did a lot of traveling with my dad's band. In this photo my mother bought matching dresses in Mexico when they were abroad. By this age I was already interested in Art. My Auntie Lois was teaching me to paint and draw. It became something that I could get lost in. My grandmother had a special spot in her house that I could draw pictures.
I had lots of great memories. I loved hiking, biking, and painting pictures. When I was 10 years old, my family moved to Little Chute, Wisconsin. My dad set his band directing aside and pursued the dog grooming profession. He bought a grooming and boarding business and became very gifted at that. He could master any skill that was set before him!
I had a hard time fitting in at school. I was bullied. It may have been because I was so small. I am sure I was at least a head shorter than the rest of the kids. I was called names and there was even a certain girl who was my main bully. I remember her dumping things on the floor and telling the teacher that I was the one who did it. And I would get in trouble. She would pick me up and stuff me into lockers, throw me down stairs, and trip me. I took it all bravely.
I think you start to become a perpetual victim. I did anyhow. It was almost like there was a silent inscription on my forehead that welcomed the abuse. I once heard a saying, "You deserve to be treated the way you allow yourself to be treated!" And somehow I think that saying is true. I did not have to be the but of all the jokes nor the doormat. I guess I allowed a great portion of it because I did not feel I deserved anything better. But oh, well, that is how it worked out. I did feel worthless all the time...
I was very suicidal. I actually felt like the world would be a happier place without me in it. See the lies. I think the devil knew that I was had a purpose with God to raise a family and do things in the will of God that he felt if he could get me to end it ahead of the game, he would be better off. Well, good thing at that point, my darkest hour, I reached out to God for my salvation. So many of us fail to realize that the devil is working to destroy us. And when we feed into those feeling of being worthless, we fall deeper prey of the enemy. Our thoughts are inward continually, we keep putting ourself first when we say we want to end it all. It is a selfish game with the end game where no one wins except the devil.
I had not a bible nor a person telling me things about Jesus. I just knew about God because I would go to church on the holidays, a Catholic church where my grandmothers went. I knew God was real somehow, I did think that if I would pray, that he would hear me.
One night as I felt so alone, so ready to die, so bitter with my lot, at a young age of 15, I cried out to God. And to my suprise, he saved me. He lifted me from my pit and showed me another path. His path! Over the years I never strayed to far to the right or to the left. I strived to stay focused on the path that was set before me.
I got my first bible and I remember devouring it. It was all marked up and highlighted. When I went to a conference for women from a little church I attended, I had heard about a camp. I went in faith. I wanted nothing to do with men, so I prayed that my time was fruitful in other ways. I loved working with the children. I even yearned for the day I would be a missionary—a mother to the orphans.
BUT there was this guy. You know who! Mark, my husband. He would not leave me alone. I mean, he enjoyed making fun of me because he had heard (I probably announced it), that I was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. When there was an opportunity for me to teach the campers some self defence, I politely asked if Mark could be my dummy. I flipped him, this big 6'5" guy, around a bit. I guess you could say I knocked him off his feet!
As I was working in camp with a friend named Anne, I of course, told her my whole life story. I also mentioned to her that I would never marry, that I wanted to be a missionary to the orphans. She so quickly came back to urge me to reconsider. I was created to be a help meet. She said I just needed to pray for my mate is all.
So one day on a walk, that is just what I did. I prayed specific things. "Lord, if I have to get married, this guy better like to have a big family, live out in the country, and have animals." No sooner did I pray, I found out we were headed to a canoe trip down the river and of course we had to pair up. The canoes filled up one by one and I was not the type to have a ME FIRST attitude, so I stood there waiting to go last. Apparently, Mark was the same type. There was one canoe left and just the two of us. Oh boy, I had to take a ride with MR. DULL, MR. Jerk, who I thought nothing of.
We were in that canoe for about 10 minutes and there was no talking because he just doesn't have much to say. So I broke the silence. I asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He said, "Well, I would love to settle down, have a big family, and live out in the country with animals." I did not waver. I did not let those proclomations sit for awhile in my mind. NO. I just stood up in that canoe right then and there and I yelled with all my might, "Were getting MARRIED!!!!!!" He looked up at me, kind of shocked, yet he steadied the canoe and returned, "okay." Not a loud cry. Not an excited tone. Just OKAY. Just okay. Simple. To. The. Point. And that was that. We were getting married!