Two comments I think all authors want to hear – “I couldn’t put it down” and “Can’t wait for book II to come out.” I’m still amazed at the response I’m getting for “Dodging Her Chariot”. It seems I’ve joined the small number of men and women who’ve become a voice for those many silent one’s who experienced similar traumas in their own childhood. I get words of gratitude from people as young as 13 and as mature as 65.
Evil flourishes as long as it can remain hidden and only succumbs to the pressure that stems from exposure. Yet I’m not surprised at the number of people that suffered in silence. Statistics are only accurate for those willing to be counted. Most of us were too afraid to speak up; we knew the number of those included in the count were only a small percentage of the real lives because we could recognize the signs in one another as well as we could the abusers. Yet we couldn’t speak out to be counted.
To all of you I need to say – My freedom to write this series grew out of forgiveness. I cried the tears you shed now, year after year, until I learned to forgive those who took my childhood. That’s the secret to the freedom that I enjoy now.
Mom passed away in our home. She was saved and knew her God the last 20 years of her life. She was a different woman from the one I grew up with. But even before then I realized something that was such a simple fact that at first it made me angry for wasted time and then made me determined to redeem any remaining time I had left on this earth.
The simple fact is, like it or not, that our abusers rarely feel enough remorse for their actions to lose even one nights sleep; while we spend months and even years lying awake with a pit of hatred eating away at us because we know we have every right to hold as much hate as we can muster toward them. I realized that the bitterness I clinged to only hurt me and potentially those closest to me. I saw that my hate continued the pain someone else started even after they eventually stopped.
We know that while abuse is happening, the abuser has full control over his or her victim. My question became – Who keeps the pain inflamed long after the abuser is out of sight and control? It wasn’t easy to accept the answer; the truth was almost too incredible to believe. I didn’t want to.
But I realized that I was causing the knots in my stomach and the needless fear. Worst of all, by insisting on keeping my sentence of hatred for them, I was giving them continued control over me that they no longer knew anything about. That’s where the anger and determination came from. I decided not to allow them another moment of influence over my emotional pain or my life choices.
To forgive is a decision, not a feeling. The feeling comes in time. At first I thought it was too much like letting my abusers off the hook for what they did. But in time I understood that I was the one suffering, not them. I had no idea what was to come. Again, first I did make a decision to forgive them. I didn’t feel any different toward them or even want to. But I knew my freedom to live a fulfilled life was at stake. Next came relief. I was surprised at the weight of the burden I’d carried for so long. Hatred is a cancer that tortures its host more than it does the one it’s directed to. We’re not created with the ability to carry any kind of evil without it harming us.
The next phase of my decision brought indifference. I don’t know when my hatred left me to make room for apathy. I just discovered it in conversation one day. Once I forgave my tormentors, it became possible to ask God to forgive them. Again, I didn’t want to, but I felt a need to.
In time my prayers took on sincerity. I wanted them changed. I wanted them forgiven. When I experienced the reality of a simple fact and the outcome of a single decision, that’s when I knew that we didn’t have to remain perpetual victims.
Today, I and many others with the same or more difficult pasts are living proof that we can not only overcome the evil done to us but become stronger, more compassionate productive adults because of what we survived.
Today, I miss my mom. Eventually she learned how to express the love she had for us. She kissed us and hugged us often. She told us she loved us every day. Forgiving her opened the door for love to take over and slowly and gently work its way into all our hearts.
Hey everybody, I’m on Youtube!
I feel like Steve Martin’s character in the movie The Jerk. Remember the scene when the long awaited phone book arrived? He opened it, found his name and ran outside shouting something like, “The new phone book’s here. The new phone book’s here. I’m somebody now.”
I’ve been asking God to surprise me with something unexpected. Something I had nothing to do with; Something to take my mind off of the crutches and stylish black Velcro boot that have become part of my everyday wardrobe for the past seven weeks.
Falling from a ladder wasn’t part of my imagined summer fun activities. Out of necessity I reacquainted myself with wearing only dresses for the first 6 weeks, and when I say “only” I really mean only. It was either that or risk falling in the restroom while trying to balance and hold on to the crutches while trying to pull …you get the picture. TMI you might say but wait – I only mention this to keep any other unsuspecting woman who (God forbid) might find herself in the same position as I am. Here’s the tip – Don’t go out on a windy day!
I had to hold on to the crutches when a gust of wind blew the back of my dress up past my waist. I dared not look back to see who might be behind me. I didn’t want to get known for the same thing that made a mark in Marilyn Monroe’s career. When I grow up I’d rather be known for my superb writing talent. “Um, Granny?” I heard from behind me. Fortunately my granddaughters were with me to hold my dress down until we got into the restaurant.
I’ve had several such learning experiences since my fight with that now disposed ladder. Enough lessons that I was sure my request for a delightful surprise wasn’t asking too much.
So there I sat last Saturday at an author extravaganza, 56 authors in all, crutches behind me and boot under the table out of sight when a woman – Suzanne Lieurance – began an interview with an established author sitting next to me to place on Youtube. “Someday,” I thought. Imagine my surprise when she suddenly turned to me at the end of his interview. She looked at my book for a few seconds and interviewed me on the spot.
All I can say right now is thank you Lord, “The new phone book’s here!”
I have become acutely aware of age lately. Not the limitations of growing old, but the opportunities involved with becoming a centurion. I don’t recall a sudden desire to live past 100 years old. I simply said it enough times to different people that it sounded like déjà. Not just “I’ve been here before” but also that “I’ll be here someday.”
A story on television about someone celebrating a 105th birthday catches my attention with the main curiosity being – is he or she healthy? More often than not, the answer is yes. When I read books like Having Our Say by the Delany sister’s I can easily see myself in life at their ages.
I’m delighted to hear how they and other people, these centurions, independently care for themselves. I listen for their physical endurance, eating habits, outdoor activities, mental alertness, how their faith, if any, influenced their lifespan and any other facts I can glean from their examples.
My desire to become a centurion isn’t stemmed from a fear of death. Being a Christian comes with the surety of going to heaven when I leave here for good so I’ve not been afraid to die before an acceptable time. My 30 year old daughter’s death taught me that permanent change can happen when we least expect it. I have, among other people, her and my mother to reunite with.
At this writing I sport a gauze wrapping and a less than fashionable black boot with velcro strips on my left leg from a fight with a ladder, (Regardless of the crutches visual, I won. You should see the ladder.) and I’m reminded of limited physical endurance and the occasional weariness of life. Walking in full strength on golden streets looks pretty appealing right now.
I’ve always expected to stay active in my latter years, Still, my uninvited determination to become a healthy centurion surpasses any previous expectation to slow to a halt by the time I approach 80.
In all this, recently I was pleased to see my 9 year old granddaughter walk into the room, stand still in obvious thought and finally ask, “What did I come in here for?”
“I have the mind of Christ, I have the mind of Christ, I have…, what do I have?” I ask my sister. It’s been like that at times last month, and this month is just as full with several places to be, invitations, posters, and press kits to produce as well as putting together short stories by 11/1 while working on chapters for the 2nd book of the “Chariot” series before 11/6, writing and memorizing a speech by 11/19 and polishing poetry for a November contest deadline.
I open my eyes each morning thinking, “Father, I love you this day and I can’t do any of this without You. Please help me with everything.” If I didn’t, the rest of my prayers would fade from me beginning at that moment like many of my dreams do upon waking. He answers with His presense, sometimes in ways that surprise and delight me throughout the day.
I have two signings to tell you about:
The first one is at the Cass County Public Library in Pleasant Hill, Mo. – 1108 N. 7 Hwy on Tuesday, 11/17 at 6:00pm.
The second one is at Parkside Books in Blue Springs, Mo.- 208 N.W. Hwy 7 on Saturday 11/21 from 1:00 to 3:00+
Invitations are going out soon. I’ll be excited to see many of you at the one easiest for you to get to.
The first time of many things are small. God says, “Despise not small beginnings.” Today the first bookstore of many bought a couple of my books to sell. God keeps giving me favor with all that have anything to do with these books. I’m reminded that if He can trust us with small things, He will put us over many things. He continues to surprise me. On my drive home today I saw a picture of God pointing to those I come into contact with and kindly saying to them, “Take care of her.” It was a nice reminder of what a watchful Father does for His children.
Hi friends, my first book signing so far will be held near one of my many old stomping grounds at the Cass County Public Library in Pleasant Hill, Mo. I’m still attending writer’s groups and now public speaking work shops to prepare for the promotional push that’s coming before the holidays. Recently a fellow author asked me, “Don’t you just love being an author?” It was like a new awakening (pardon the pun) to a seasoned fact. I do love what I do. Getting caught up in the business end of things allowed that fact to take at least a passengers seat if not the back.
My drive is once again behind the wheel where it belongs and my hands are writing the vision to make it plain. The second in this series is going well and the third is into the second chapter. I still have to pull over at times to market but my goal remains to touch and encourage the hearts of my readers.