Archive for the ‘family’ Category

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Living Life in the Face of Nastiness…

March 30, 2012

There are people in life who are simply nasty. They are mean, disrespectful and really don’t care how what they do affects others. When confronted with such people, we have choices to make. We can either react to them, wherein we lose ourselves by allowing them to control our lives and determine how we will live. Or, we can respond to them, wherein we maintain our own autonomy and integrity and choose how we shall live. I prefer the latter. That is my choice.

When I am confronted by nasty negative people I choose to remember that I, too, have had my “moments” of being nasty or ugly. It may not have been intentional. I may not have even been aware of how I was coming across. Or, I may have realized it as it was happening, but did not know how to “fix” it. Or maybe there was no fix…the damage was already done. Any way you look at it, I have had a negative impact on others at times in my life. So, I believe it is worthwhile to remain humble toward others, recognizing that I am certainly not perfect, either!

I also try to remember that everyone is the way they are for a reason. For good or bad, we have all had negative and positive experiences in life that have helped to shape us into what we are today. Sometimes, the balance between positive and negative was fairly even overall. But for some of us, one heavily outweighed the other.

For those whose positive experiences heavily outweighed the negative it can be difficult to understand those of who whose lives were the opposite. We may fumble where they do not. We may react to things that do not faze them one bit. I think it is good when each person can believe another’s story and try to imagine living in that reality. It can help us to be more empathetic toward others.

For those of us who weigh heavily on the negative, and some even in the extreme, it can be difficult to imagine life without that. We see the way others live and struggle to comprehend how they can do that. It just isn’t even on our radar.

Thankfully, though, there can be some good experiences even in the midst of craziness and evil, that give us some positive skills for life. For me, knowing my Creator made a HUGE difference. It is part of what helped to shape me and, I think, to temper how the abuse affected me.

I still deal with the physical effects of trauma brain and I can still experience flashbacks that are part of PTSD and getting  triggered.  However, I have learned over the years how to cope and work around the aftereffects. I know what I can do and what I cannot do and I no longer feel guilt or shame over what I cannot do…even when others do not understand. It is frustrating at times when people look less favorably upon me for what I cannot do. They cannot comprehend how even the simplest of things can be overwhelming at times. But I have learned to live with that and simply accept that there are things they simply do not know and, even if they did, might not be able to understand.

Life is good…even when it is hard. I am OK with that. My heavenly Abba/Father/true Daddy walks with me. So does my Messiah…Yeshua. Their Ruach/Spirit lives within me and that strengthens and comforts me…especially when life is hard.

I refuse to give up. I refuse to hold grudges. I refuse to not forgive. I choose to walk in freedom with my head held high…even when I am shaking inside.

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Grieving the Finality of What Will Never Be…

March 9, 2012

I found out yesterday that my mother passed away on December 24, 2010. Yep…that is 1 year, 2 months and 14 days, plus or minus. And he is already remarried…I have NO idea for how long.

We permitted our son to call my mother…it’s a long story. When he asked about his grandmother, my father told him that she had died two years ago on a date my son did not remember. I got the actual date by calling the coroner’s office. They were able to confirm the date of her death and the cause…melanoma. I was told that she had been in hospice care, which was why her death was reported to them. It is a law in that state to report all deaths of people in hospice care.

Over the years I have grieved for what was and grieved for what wasn’t. And now, I need to grieve for what for sure will never be. There will never be reconciliation. Never be recognition. Never be an apology or forgiveness extended. Never be so many things.

I have a lot to think about…and a lot to feel. It can be difficult not to second-guess myself, but there are things I need to face in order to settle things in my own mind and heart. I was told she was dying, but not that she was in hospice care or that it was imminent. My father just kept playing games and, I believe, actually kept us apart…especially given what she said in the one time I did talk to her…a call that was interrupted by my father.

Things are a bit complicated and I am having to sort them all out. I need to own whatever is mine and refuse to take on whatever is not. I will not try to pick up another’s guilt. It is simply not mine to carry. Nor is it for me to run from my responsibilities. I went into this with eyes wide open. I knew the risks. I took the chance. Now it is over. Now I will process from a different place…on the other side of her death.

It is sad when someone lies so much that even when they tell the truth it is not the whole story and you don’t really know what you can believe. There are so many what ifs that I could run through. And taking a look is not a bad idea…but living there is. I must face what I must face and trust my heavenly Abba to walk me through to the other side. He has never let me down.

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Regarding My Mother…

May 20, 2011

My sister is dead. My mother is going to die. So is my father. Those are important things for me to keep in mind. I liken my relationship (or lack thereof) with them to my relationship with my ex. So first, I want to talk a little bit about my divorce.

When I came into my first marriage, both of us were very broken…although I do not believe either of us had any idea really just how broken we were. I know I sure did not. I still did not have any clear memories of sexual abuse or ritual abuse, although I did “know” that something was wrong. I I always “felt” that I was somehow different from other folks…I just did not understand it all.

Two very broken people tried to make a marriage. It didn’t work very well. Over the years, we both suffered. We both did things that were unhealthy. I had to learn to make healthy boundaries. It took me a LONG time, but I did finally start making them right about the time my second child was a toddler.

I did it in baby steps so that it would not be noticed for the real boundary drawing had to begin in my heart. It had to begin inside before it could be expressed outwardly. So, I started to say “no” inside and then used little things to move it to the outside…little unnoticed things that slowly built up and gave me strength.

Several years later (about 9), it culminated in my outwardly saying “no” and drawing the biggest boundary I think I had ever set up to that point. I knew there could be some very serious ramifications, but I was “prepared”. Meaning that I was ready to take whatever came…no matter how ugly or painful. I said “no” and it got hairy, resulting in a final separation within the week and, ultimately, in a divorce.

There are three key things here.  One…I did everything I knew to do to make my marriage work. Two…when it all came down, I drew firm boundaries and stuck to them. I stood my ground. Third…my family is generational cult.

I have a lot of reasons to believe that my marriage was cult arranged. That kind of colors everything that happened. I was still “tied” to my parents, but I did not understand it. When we separated, they moved in. Very handy. Thankfully, my parents did not live with me for very long. They moved out of the area about an hour and a half away which gave me a good reason not to see them very often. Several months later, I and boys moved in with some other people and lived with three different families before getting into our own home.

When I separated…which was one of many miracles in my life…I had tried everything I knew to make the marriage work. However, while I drew closer and closer to G-d, he drew further and further from Him. We were going in opposite directions. I was working on my issues. He was…well…let’s just say he was definitely NOT working on his issues and leave it at that. Things were getting worse and worse as I got stronger and stronger until it finally came to a head and G-d told me to set that final boundary.

After we separated, I gave him every opportunity. I was willing to go to counseling. I was willing to wait a year while he dealt with his drug and alcohol issues. At the same time, I would not let him back into the house (not even in a separate bedroom) for that year. I withstood his attempts to “blackmail” me over the support he was voluntarily giving me and exposed his tactic to the courts. Every move he made, I countered. I stood my ground. Anything I gave to him I did of my own choice, not because I felt I had to. I fought for the sake of my children, and I no longer sacrificed myself to him out of a mistaken idea that it would somehow benefit them.

When it was all said and done and the decree came, I stood tall knowing that I had truly done all I could to save that marriage. My conscience was clear. I walked in my integrity. Even though I filed for separation and then divorce, he was the one who chose to walk away by refusing to do anything to save the marriage. He refused counseling. He refused to deal with his multiple addictions. He tried every manipulation tactic in the book, but G-d had brought me to a place of being able to recognize what was happening and to withstand them all.

Now, with my parents, it is similar. When they die, I will know that I tried everything I could, while maintaining healthy boundaries, to give them an opportunity to have some kind of relationship. I don’t need one with them although it would be nice. In fact, I really doubt that anything beyond the surface is even possible short of a HUGE miracle because my father still wants to control me, but he cannot.

I broke free of them about 9 years ago. It was a difficult journey, but just like in my marriage, G-d prepared me. He took me step by step by step, helping me to see the truth and to respond to that truth with boundary drawing. He also blessed me with a good non-cult husband (another miracle) who helped me. I cannot imagine trying to do it without him.

So, yes, I still contact my folks from time to time. I offer them an opportunity to get real on some level…or to at least talk about life in general. Yes, my father sends me BS and tries to give me grief and my mother ignores me after telling me that she really wants to talk to me. That is OK. I know not to take it personally. I am offering them a gift. If they refuse to take it, I will walk tall in my integrity. I will mourn for what could have been, but I will know I did my best and my conscience will remain clear.

I really think the biggest key is motivation. My motivation is one of love for them…in spite of them. It is a love I can only have because Yeshua enables me to have it. I have been forgiven for SO much. I know the darkness of my own heart (and I am sure it is even darker that I can see). How can I not forgive them and love them? They, too, are survivors. All of us are, in one way or another. Some are just more so than others.

Forgiveness and love do NOT mean letting them be ugly with me. It means standing in front of them and responding rather than reacting. I can do that now. I could not do that before. The programming is broken. The chains are gone. I have been set free.

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Maybe…It’s That I Contacted My Cousin…

October 20, 2010

I found a cousin on my mother’s side on FaceBook. It is interesting connecting with her. I have never been close to any family members. We always lived really far away from everyone. I would really like to add her to my friends list. Thing is…she most likely has a cult background, too. There is every indication that my family is generational…on both sides. So…do I just add her and trust that all will be OK?

My former therapist noticed something about when people break free from the cults. For some unknown reason, they find that the breaking free goes across and down…to siblings, cousins and children. So…maybe she is free. She did mention that she had been trying to figure out what issues the family had, but that she could never figure it out…that it was always a secret with them.

Could she have broken free without knowing about her past? Could it be they are just leaving her alone? I don’t know. I have no connection with family on either side. I have no real desire to connect with anyone on my father’s side. I got to meet my relatives on my mother’s side more frequently…albeit only a few times.

I don’t really know how to resolve this. I hate to bring up the SRA. Perhaps I should mention my growing up amnesia and see how she responds to that. I so want to connect with my cousins. Right now…she is pretty much it. Even she does not seem to be close to her other cousins. She was not sure where some of them are.

If it were not for my own children and grandchildren, I would just befriend her. She is being very understanding about connecting in private. I am grateful for that.

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Cruelty and Healthy Boundaries…

September 17, 2010

What my mother has done is cruel. I keep trying to empathize and to understand her pain. But not matter how much I empathize…no matter how much I forgive…it still hurts like hell. I am the unwanted daughter. I did not step up to the plate. I did not take over. I stepped out of line. I left. I have no desire to be a princess other than in the One True Creator God’s kingdom.

I will never live up to her expectations. Her expectations (and his) lead to death. I have chosen a different path. If they do not want me…they can forget my son. I was actually willing to let them talk to him on the phone, but if they don’t want me…forget it. That is not being selfish…it is being real. It is not being vindictive…it is setting boundaries…healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are not OK in the cult. My whole life I had no boundaries. I did not know where I ended and other people began. I was trained to be a chameleon…to anticipate others needs/wants. Those in the cult who knew the trigger words and actions could get anything they wanted. NO MORE!!

I was accessed by a “Christian” therapist after we moved here. He had experience with cult clients. Little did I know that he was not only cult himself…but that we had met many years ago. It ends here…and now! I will not kowtow to my parents. I will not kowtow to anyone but my Lord…and He does not ask me to. He lifts my head to look into His eyes so that I can see His healing love.

I hurt. I am angry. I do not deserve to be treated this way. Even IF I had been the worst daughter on the planet…rather than simply and imperfect one…I do not deserve this. I have reached out via email for a year and a half. It has gone nowhere. I tried. My conscience is clear. I have done what I can. It is their loss. They can blame me all they want…but they have a part in this. I am an adult. I will not submit to them or to their control. I will not go back to the way things were.

So I will continue to mourn what was and I will mourn what never was. I will mourn the dream of having a somewhat regular family. I will keep my heart open until there is nothing left…and at that point…I will mourn for what will never be. I have dreams. I have always had dreams. Many of them are just broken dreams…turning to dust beneath my feet. Oh, well.

I have survived. I will survive. Nay…I will thrive! In spite of how hard my life is right now…I have more freedom than I ever did living under their control. The Creator has given me the gift of who I am…all of me. I am His…and no one else’s…no one’s.

I hope we can make peace before she dies…same with him. But if it does not happen…I refuse to beat myself up with guilt that is not mine.

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What Do You Do With Anger?

April 19, 2010

I feel like saying something. I feel like wagging a finger in someone’s face. I feel like getting a bit loud. I feel like yelling. I feel like…what??? I don’t know. I don’t do anger very well. I try to be very understanding, very forgiving. I try to let go of my wants for the sake of others. We give…for their sakes…but they don’t even have a clue how much we give. And for one of them…that is OK. But the other. I need some acknowledgment. When you work so hard to present as “normal”…whatever the heck that is…it is so easy for the other one to forget who you really are…what you really are…who ALL you really are. It has been building up for some time.

So…what, exactly, DO you do with anger? With frustration? With an inability to get to what you feel you need? An inability to do what you feel you need to do? To process all the stuff you have had to put on hold for the last few years. Talk about healing interrupted! I know it is not totally interrupted, but in so many ways it HAS been.

I have grown in the sense that I have actually been holding it together through all of this. Well…I believe it is my Abba who has really been holding me together. Many times I have reached the end of my proverbial rope and it is my Abba who has kept me going…who is holding me together.

I am human. I have feelings…sometimes very conflicting feelings…depending upon the who and the what. Again…something that tends to be forgotten by the very one I most need to remember that. I am OK…but that does not mean that I do not have those feelings to battle at times. He does, too, and even from some of the same things. We each have our stuff. And then…I have stuff for more than one.

I think it is time to remind someone. I am praying about the how and the when. Do I write it?  Do I speak it? And then there is who should write it or speak it? What “voice” do I use? What will be best heard? Best received? I am not talking about manipulation here…I am talking about practicality. Know your audience. Speak accordingly.

Is it hopeless? Sometimes it feels like it is. Some times…it feels as if things will never change.  It feels as if I will always have to hide a lot of myself. I have to accept that life might just be that way. Can I do that? Can I trust enough for that?

Our living situation is going to change…most likely during this summer/fall…maybe sooner. That will bring a lot of challenges of its own…while also opening up some things for me. How will I handle that? I don’t know yet. I am trying to get prepared for both change…and for no change. I really hope that I do not have to face no change.

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Update…of Sorts…Rambling Thoughts

April 18, 2010

So here I am…sitting here with many thoughts going through my head. I think I will share some here…in no specific order.

It is amazing how my heavenly Abba works things out. I recently reconnected by email with an online friend. Then I went to a webinar. During that webinar (which was excellent, by the way), we had the opportunity to respond to what the presenter was sharing about building healthy relationships with others.

Well, in the process, someone else there really related to what I was sharing. So, I gave out one of my emails…not the one I typically use with the aforementioned friend. The woman I met on the phone at the webinar wrote to me and I recognized her email addy. It was my friend! We actually got to “meet” on the phone and did not even know it because we were using screen names that were different from when we had met before. The funny thing, too, is that we knew each other by at least two other screen names each. Know we have a third! We were both excited to reconnect in two ways!

I am thinking about the webinar I am planning on doing. What artwork will I use? How will I get decent photos of the pieces? What will I share? I am looking forward to writing something up and picking out the pieces. I am excited about doing the webinar and hope I can be ready by August…given the unknown of my living situation between now and then.

I am thinking of mother’s day…of father’s day…of my parents. My “relationship”, which is pretty much non-existent, was part of what I shared about in the webinar. The ball is in their court and I am waiting…patiently…for his eventual response. Truth be told, most of the time I don’t even think about it.

However, Kitty (the presenter) shared something called DARVO. Boy, did that describe my family. D is for Deny, which is the first thing the abuser does when confronted. Then…they Attack…which is A. RVO is for Reverse Victim and Offender. By attacking me, when I confronted my parents, I became the “offender” and they the “victims”. I was “hurting them” with what I was saying. I also related to the fact that Kitty, when talking about denial, used the phrase “I don’t remember”. That is EXACTLY what my father said…”I don’t remember doing those things.” Boy, did I relate.

I am thinking of my my marriages…and the vast difference between the two…and the similarities, too. After all, I was in both of them and I have issues. How my husbands responded to my issues is different. And yet…there are times when my current husband can set me off.

I am thinking about sexuality…but that is a whole other post.

I am thinking about my sister, my birthday and her death. She died on my birthday…while I was regaining cult memories. Her death was odd…the manner, the timing. Everything about it and about what happened afterward was just plain wierd…and had the earmarks of cult.  Why was I stronger? Why did I get out? Why am I free? Is she even really dead? Or do they have her somewhere. So many questions…ones that I doubt I will get answers for before I stand before my Creator at the end of time.

I think about my sister…how young she was…how she was living on extended time as a hard core alcoholic and bulimic. I think about the cult family she was living with and how they treated her. I think about her boyfriend who never married her…which was good in the end. I might never have even known she was dead if his parents could have been able to claim her body. I think of their attempts to manipulate me…and of my parents’ attempts.

And I wonder if my parents think of her…and what they think of her. I wonder if they really even think of me…or is it still all just about my son?

I think about the art I want to do…and have no place or privacy to do. I long to do my art…to get back to processing things…whether by art or by writing…by poetry, journaling or blogging.

It has been difficult to find uninterrupted time in my busy days to write here. I feel as if there is so much inside to write about…and yet it is difficult to actually write. I feel as if I am just rambling in my thoughts…rambling in my brain and rambling on “paper”.

Ah, well. Sometimes it is good to just get the rambling out. Maybe it will only make sense to me. That is OK. I know my online friends won’t mind. They are very forgiving. Perhaps more thoughts of substance will come another time. For now…I will live in today…one day at a time. And I will love the people in my life today…each and every day. They are gifts for a time and I cherish them.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring…what joys or what sorrows…what new memories will be made or what old ones I will be reminded of. I do know Who holds me together and Who will always be with me…no matter what…my heavenly Abba, my Creator. I choose to walk. I choose to trust. Whatever comes with each new day…I will be given whatever I need to handle it.

I hope this post makes sense to others and that it helps someone else. I know it helps me to get things out. I wish I could write more…but I am keeping someone else awake. This is my best uninterrupted time…but it is also not my free time.  There is a weight hanging over me. *sigh* Maybe I can write more tomorrow. We will see.

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My Sister

February 16, 2010

My sister had a brave heart. She was beautiful and childlike. She was a fighter who would not give up. She was trapped…caught in an unseen web that was too sticky for her to break free from. They had her where they wanted her.

My sister ran away from one cult family right into the arms of another…but she didn’t know. Neither of us did. At that time, we were both amnesic to our true history.

I wonder…did she ever figure it out before she died? Did she finally remember her childhood abuse…the younger years? Did she remember “everything”…or just the minor “stuff” she used as an excuse to run away?

My sister kept trying…in recovery and out of it. I remember her telling me how she had to fight with the recovery people to get her a counselor. She kept saying she needed one, but they did not want to give it to her…not even in those fancy, high class, expensive recovery places.

Was it because it was being paid for by his parents? After all…counseling might mean that she would remember something…something important…something damning…about them. Maybe she would finally wake up to the truth about her boyfriend and his parents…the family she lived with. Or…maybe she wanted a counselor because she already had an inkling of the truth? I will never know in this life.

This is the time of year that I especially think of my sister…as her birthday approaches in a couple of days. And I wonder about her death…and sometimes, I wonder if she even really died…or if they have her holed up somewhere. It didn’t look like her. And my father would not leave me alone with her. If he had…what would I have done? I don’t know. We weren’t supposed to touch the body…but I think I would have. It did NOT look like her. I had seen her within the last year.

My father said it did, but he had not seen her in years…so far as I know. But then…it is not exactly like I came from a truthful family. Ha! “Family”. What is THAT supposed to be? Not the caricature I grew up with.

It’s funny how everything seemed to be so good…on the outside looking in. All the memories I concocted about growing up seemed so OK…yet I was so not OK.  Stories my mother told me were woven through my mind with photos from the family albums. Childhood. Sure…that was my childhood…only…it wasn’t.

I remember the day I suddenly realized that it was all a lie…a fantasy. It has been so long now that I cannot remember if it was before or after I realized that I could not remember growing up with my sister. It is as if she did not exist…yet I know for fact she was there…in the same house with me.

So many things are buried in the mists of amnesia with a tiny flash of a snippet here and there that blazes through so fast that I can barely figure out what just went by. Yet…those flashes ARE there. And I do have the photographs. My sister was there. Some of the photos I took…yet, I can barely see anything beyond the photos themselves. Whatever I see is more like a surreal picture in my mind.

She died on my birthday. At least…I am told she died. I saw what was supposed to be her body…but it sometimes haunts me to this day. I know she was becoming “inconvenient”. I would not put it past them to agree behind closed doors while pretending to hate each other to me. Two families…warring for her body. It was sick. It was insane. It was my sister.

I will never get the chance to get to know her. Her living…except for the few times in the later years when I finally did meet up with her…is buried deep within. What I do remember makes me wonder if I really want to remember the rest. I don’t know. Maybe I should just create a life with her just like I created a life of my own? No…I want to honor her by remembering the truth…if I can.

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Yay! Angela Shelton for MacKenzie Phillips!

September 29, 2009

I am so proud of Angela Shelton! She spoke up for MacKenzie Phillips. MacKenzie has been taking a lot of flack for coming out and talking about how her father raped her over a period of years. See: High on Arrival – MacKenzie Phillips

It is tough enough for those who have been raped and abused to speak out. When it is a parent who does it…it is even harder. Harder for the child to accept it themselves and harder to share it. When that parent is high profile…rich and famous…and even beloved…it becomes even harder! The last thing these victims need is to be ridiculed and their integrity questioned.

So…yay, Angela. Thank you for speaking up. Somebody needed to. People need to wake up.

One of the things, too, that MacKenzie is taking flack for is her use of the term “consensual” once she turned 18.  Well…that is not surprising. When a child is raped by their parent…and that is exactly what it is…rape…the child is in a position of subservience to the parent. It is very difficult for a child to believe that a parent is evil or bad. A child takes on the idea that they have to be somehow at fault…that they somehow enticed or wanted it or???

The child is being groomed to be a “mistress” aka “sex slave” to the parent. This does not suddenly shut off at 18. In the mind of the child, it can seem consensual because of the age…but that does not make it so. Once groomed to be a sex slave, it continues until something happens to break the cycle. That something can come from within the child/now adult…or it can come from without. The parent might suddenly stop or someone else might find out and bring it to a halt. Any way you look at it…it is NOT consensual. It is merely the extension of a relationship that was based in rape and NOT consensual.

If a child is part of a ritual abuse family or group, going beyond 18 can be the norm. Or, even if it stops as a teen, it can be resumed later on as an adult. The child is groomed from an incredibly young age…oftentimes starting in infancy. It is not difficult for the parent (or other adult) to trigger the mental conditioning aka programming to get the person back under their control…and yes…even to the point of having sex with them.

I wish people would stop believing that people just cannot do these kinds of things. They can…and they do! It is time to bring this stuff out of the shadows and stop judging those who are brave enough to bring it into the light.

Go, MacKenzie! Go, Angela!

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Being Thankful – It’s a Choice

November 27, 2008

I am thankful for many things. I have a warm place to live. I have my family. I have true friends. Most importantly, I have Yahweh God. I simply could not do life without Him. It is that plain and it is that simple.

I have a purpose. It is to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to serve Him to the best of my ability according to the giftedness He has given me.

I have experienced much pain in this life. I have experienced deep losses. I can choose to focus on those things. Or, I can choose to focus on the good things in my life. It is my choice. I will always find negative things about life if I look for them. In the same way, I can always find positive things…if I look for them.

There may be days when my struggles cause me to have to look really hard for things to be grateful for, but I can still choose to look for them and to focus on them.

It is a choice I have to make.

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Homesick

May 27, 2008

I want to go home! I just returned from a trip home from visiting family and friends and I miss them all. In some ways, I don’t think I really appreciated how physically close I was to them until God moved us out here.

We are praying about what to do now. We do believe that Yahweh/God has moved us out here and we have grown in many ways. However, we are thinking that maybe our time here is done. Hubby is looking for a job back home. We have family and friends out there that need us…and we need them. I am hoping that it is time to go back home…even though it probably won’t be to the same area we left. Still, it will be closer than we are here…no matter where we go. It feels as if we cannot really get much farther away than we are now.

We don’t really have the resources to make this place work well…and yet, neither do we have the resources to move. But one thing I know…God is more than able to open and close all the doors necessary…according to what is best. I will continue to trust Him to lead us and guide us.

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