I wanna be you

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is how jealous and insecure we allow ourselves to get. How many times have we heard about something good happening to someone, then find ourselves either asking God why he does not do that for us, or maybe even passing judgment on them for the thing God gave them. How many women have said I wanna be Beth Moore or have what Beth Moore has.
Or I wish I had a house like Jeanne, or a husband like Aaron, a voice like Jill, talent like Jenny, a job like Deborah…
I know we have all done it, I will admit I have.
The problem is, we are only wishing we had their results, ya know. We want their victories, we don’t want to ever have to go through what Beth Moore had to go through to get to where she is. So you want to be someone else, are you equipped to face what they have faced? God has called you to be you, if you are saying “ya know God if only I could sing like Jennifer, I could do great things for you” It’s the same as telling God you didn’t get it right, The I you created can not do it. Let God use your story and what ever it is YOU have been through, let God take that and do great works. You are good enough just as you are, You can not be better as someone else. I just want to be happy for what God gives my friends, and what God does through great leaders like Beth, I don’t want to live there story, I want my own.

Bible college and alcohol

If you went to wildwood Assembly in the mid nineties more than liking you went off to bible college, after high school. I joined the southeastern crew in August of 96. It even worked out that Jeanne could be my roommate. Just so perfect!
Take in mind that I was joining this world from a life of chaos. College was to be my escape, my chance to be free from any pain that was still lingering. This college was like therapy on steroids. Everything inside of me, just began to swell up. I knew I wanted God and I wanted to feel happy, and I wanted to feel normal, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't. I reached out to certain people there and made some great connections, but I just got burned out on chasing God. Everyday in chapel felt like I was suffocating. Dealing with my need for God veruses my desire to run, was a battleing I wanted out of.
Soon I made new connections outside of school. I began to find easier ways to be happy. I could drink it all away, I could party without a care in the world. So I did. I wanted to fit in anywhere I could, and it was just easier to fit in with the party crowd. I not only fit in I was the life of the party. I had got to the point where I just could not stand who I was, but with alcohol, I was someone different, someone fun, someone who had it all together. I think to, it was easy to be weak because up until that time I had to be strong for everyone else. I did not want to be strong anymore, I did not want to remember sad times, I did not want to seek a God who never answered, I just wanted to be numb. The first semester at college God had began the healing process for me, I just took resisting to a new level. To be healed we have to admit we hurt.
Looking back that time is such a blur, I was so void, so lost, but looking back I was so looked after.
God let me run, but never out of his sight.
Isaiah 54:10
Though the mountians be shaken
and the hills be removed
yet my unfailing love for you
will not be shaken
nor my convenant of peace be removed
says the Lord who has
compassion on you

All you need is Love

There is a sign on my way to work that reads "watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words they become character"I was talking to a friend the other day, this is one of those friends that I do not see very often, in fact until this last time I think it had been a year. But when we see each other it's like we were never apart. She was a huge instrument of God in my life when I was going through my divorce. And I was telling her last week what a great role she played for me. She was surprised to hear me say that, she felt she did not do enough. She did not really call me often through it, or come to see me. So what was it she did (other than pray). It was her character that I needed, that I relied on. I knew at that moment when things were too dark that I could show up at her house and cry on her couch, that she would be there to pray and read Scriptures and just listen. It's that Jesus driven character. She had love to heal not judge. When Jesus walked through a town people knew without a doubt they could call out to him. It did not matter what they had done, what sickness they had, or how many people tried to quiet them, they Knew Jesus was Love. I want that to be my character. I want people to know I can just love them. Where did the world go so wrong to take love and exchange it for judgement. I have never read where Jesus made anyone feel bad for who they were, other than the religious leaders. When Jesus got water from the Samaritan woman, what was his character, when he loved on the little kids what was his character, even when he was facing death what was his character...Too often people can not cry out for help, because the "christian character" is one of judgement or they are scared of the gossip line AKA the prayer line. I have never understood the abortion picket lines.... That woman or girl going in to that office being starred at and judged by the very people who could help her if they would put down the sign, put down the judgement and extend some love. If a woman was raped, and decides to abort, what does your sign do to heal her? If a girl has no one to help her, with the three kids she already can not feed, will your sign help her? How many kids are you willing to adopt? I choose to love you no matter what you choose. It's hard sometimes to look past some stuff and just be there for people instead of pointing fingers. It takes a lot of love to get a good character!!

The teen years

I used to wish I could run away and somehow go back in time to little house on the prairie. I would ride my bike there, and Laura would be my friend. Together we would forever ruin Nelly. I would go there with fifty dollars, in walnut grove I would be the rich kid. I think as kids we all pretend to be someone else or create a better world in our heads. As kids it’s fun and silly, little boys getting in card board boxes that will blast them to the moon. Little girls living in a real Barbie dream house, with Barbie as there best friend, and Ken as there boyfriend. Somewhere between the trip to the moon and our first encounter with real pain, that innocent game of pretend turns to something else. It seems to turn to a road that leads us to believe we are not good enough. We stop wanting to be Barbie’s friend, we start wanting to be Barbie. We would rather be anyone than who we are. Sometime around the age of fifteen, I wanted to be anyone but me. I had friends and I had a boyfriend, and I went to church, and in that package it all looked good. And man at fifteen I could make people laugh, I could be the silliest person you’d ever meet. I could wear that mask on cue. My acting days started at fifteen. I had a very different life at home, no one was laughing . I really cant remember how it started, but at some point the man I had known as my dad began to slip away. He had always been a hard working good ole country man. He worked to provide for his family, he loved his wife and his kids. He never said so but we knew he did. Then slowly he became a crazy man. No really he was crazy. I am sure there is a better term for it, but at fifteen for me it was just crazy. He began to scream all the time, and drink and constantly threaten to kill himself or kill my mom. I had to hide his keys from him, or get chased in the cow field trying to keep him from driving. I guess this is where I began to get hard (I just looked up hard, here are more words for it: cruel, callous, severe, unkind, brutal, thick-skinned, strict, remorseless, pitiless, harsh, tough. I was all of those) I really did not care if he drove off the road I just thought he may kill someone else in the process. Our crazy home life became normal to me. Once my friend Mallory called to see if she needed to pick me up for church and in the process of talking to her my parents began to fight over a gun, each one wanting the bullet for themselves. In my nonchalant attitude I put the phone down and wrestled and won over the gun. Then picked up the phone and asked Mallory to please come pick me up. I am sure I went to church and did my clown act. I wanted to be sad all the time, I wanted people to hug me and tell me everything would be okay, but it was not okay. And I was starting to see no one wanted to pretend with me, so I tried to keep it all in. Things went from bad to worse. One night after a long day of fighting my dad got a rope and came real close to ending it. He would have died but we cut him down and the impact of the fall from the tree to the ground knocked breath back into him. Here is where I scared myself, I didn’t want to help cut him down. It’s over let him die. I thought maybe if he is gone there will be peace. My brother happened to be there that night to help my mom. I guess God saw through my mask. He knew the extent of my sadness. He also knew one day I would be glad me dad lived, he knew he would turn out to be a great papa to my kids, and he made sure that happened. But God let me stand back God let me get mad, and he loved me even though I thought I wanted my dad to be dead. What a big God we serve.
I always had a good sad story ready to be told, and with a few I let them see the broken me. But then I had a good friend tell me, “Lori at some point you just have to get over it“. Get over it, I was still going through it. I wish she could have shown me how to get over it, I wanted to get over it. Of course now I know my friend was just as broken as I was. We all hurt, and we all wear mask, and sometimes we just run slap out of compassion. That’s what I did I ran out of compassion the night my dad hung there from that big oak tree. But my friends words silenced me for a long time. I didn’t want to tell my sad story. I could have more friends if I was just funny and happy.
I wish I would have been able to see that the friends God was sending me at that time were deep friendships that could be what I needed to get through to get free. Some didn’t last but the ones that did are still going today. I think I was around fifteen or sixteen when I met Jeanne. No matter which side of me she sees, no matter how ugly the moment is she loves me anyway. Another life saver God sent me at that time was Lesli. Lesli let me be sad, she used to let me stay with her, and she would sing to me. It’s amazing what music can do to ones soul. It put such a hope in me, that I knew I could love this world again. Music at that time helped me believe in God. God was someone who I knew from a far, I had not yet allowed him to love me, but when Lesli would sing, my connection to God grew bigger. I wonder if she knows what she did for me. I hope I keep learning to really tell people the role they have played in my life.

Looking back now this part of my story, I know this is the part where satan really thought he had me. But it turned out to be what God used to strengthen me, and to bind me to him forever.

forever came

Here is a little more of my story, I post this only with the hope that someone who reads it, may get a little help in their story.

The last wedding I went to was my really good friend Deborah’s’. I don’t cry at weddings, but I cried from start to finish in this one. My then husband was on the verge of leaving our marriage. If my daughter had not been her flower girl I would not have gone. They had a beautiful outside wedding. I stood there watching her tell this guy that she’d love him forever and him saying he’d love her forever. I had to either cry or laugh. What a joke forever was to me. I wanted to help them say new vows. How about you tell her you will love her until you run out of love, and maybe you’ll get lucky and never run out. (although now, that the bitterness is gone I look and Deborah and just see a great love story)
I met Harry when I was nineteen. I was going to a bible college and waiting tables at night. I remember when he got hired at the restaurant I worked at. He was a strange one. He’d come in with his big curly hair and his big bag of poetry, most of which were written on napkins. Then one day I gave him a ride home. He is such a talker, so that day he talked about life and all his thoughts on the world. And what he wants out of life. He had such passion. I had never met anyone so full of dreams. It caught me off guard how much I liked him. So we went on a date, and it was the kind of date you see in the movies, it was so perfect. Then the magic really happened when I went to see his band play at some little hole in the wall. He was amazing on stage. I was hooked. I had quit college and moved back home, and stared delivering pizza. One night I was headed to work and just could not stand how much I missed Harry so I drove right past work and went down to see him. Another movie moment, it was pouring rain and lighting was crashing, I knocked on his door drenched from the rain, I think that is when he got really hooked. Two months later we went to the court house and promised forever.
I quickly got Harry in church with me. And we both stared to play the role. I wish I could say for certain what went wrong, or where it went wrong. I know we both made a lot of mistakes. I know I did not let him in fully, and I tried to change him and he tried to be changed. I could never say I am sorry or I was wrong or even thank you. I did not support the very dreams that had once made me fall in love with him. We got lost, we both got so lost. Two kids later, life drained all of the joy from us. We loved our kids and we had a lot to be thankful for. But he and I did not laugh together we did not live in each other we simply existed in the same house. Until one day there was nothing left to fight for. And he walked away. If I had fought as hard as I did at the end, throughout our marriage, then I think we would have made it. I could write an entire book on all the mistakes we made. But they each come down to being real. When I was sad and wanted him to just hold me, I told him by nagging him about being at work too much. When I was jealous and insecure, I handled that by making him feel bad about himself. He was more of the hold it all in type, and when he was tired of holding it in, he shut the door and never came back. He never told me until he left that he was tired of God and tired of living a lie. I was tired of living a lie too. I still wonder why we felt we had to lie in the first place.
So watching Deborah on her wedding day I hoped that she would be real, and Wendell would be real. I hope if you are married and up until now you have not been honest, then you will fix that right now, today. If we could just say what we really want and what we really feel………..things could really be different. Your husband or your wife is the person who gets the all access pass. You should be able to share yours thoughts, your dreams, or insecurities, the best of you and the worst of you. You choose each other, and next to choosing God, that is the most beautiful design of love, the most perfect picture of acceptance. I know as the human race we are by nature a selfish people, but we have got to learn to put the people we love before ourselves. I wish I could have let Harry succeed without my jealousy getting in the way. But I wanted to be important, so to make myself more than I was I used my words to tare him down. It’s so crazy that my biggest fear was him leaving me so I did everything I could to push him away. If I had not lived in that fear I could have just loved him. What if I had told him my fears, maybe he could have calmed them. My ex and I have gotten to a place of friendship, and we really do raise our kids to together, so if you can have a “good” divorce, we do.
Here is my short list of things I wish I had done or not done while married to him.
1. I wish I would have supported his dreams more.
2. I wish I would have said more things to build him up
3. I wish I would not have ever called him names
4. I wish I would have let him be my best friend
5. I wish I would have defended him more
6. I wish I would have shown him the kind of Love that comes from God
7. I wish I would not have kept him from my heart
8. I wish I would have not needed to be right
9. I wish I would have told him when I needed him
10. I wish I would have seen him as a gift.
Now let me tell you it is really hard not to make a list of “I wish he would have”, but that is what God it doing in me. If I can focus on me and do what God leads me to do, then I will be giving God room to do what he wants to do in that other person. And while we have moved on from our relationship I still have to see him how God wants me to so that our kids will do the same. Too often I see bitterness take hold of broken hearts and the kids have to suffer, they hear to much, to many times they hear you talk such harsh words about their parent. If only we could look past our heart to see theirs. Let their dad or their mom still be their hero.

if thats what it takes

I am really not sure what God is up to in my life. I feel like I used to feel at the start of my track races. Great anticipation, accompanied by fear of the unknown. Should I be in this race, will I be able to finish, what will every think if I loose, or worse quit. Lately I have felt outside of myself, I can feel God stirring inside of me and I can see the enemy's darts. Every time I think I am past something it comes around for one last right hook. And today I was not ready, and that right hook almost knocked me out, but wouldn't you know it, as I was falling I felt his arms so I fell without fear and just rested a bit, and soon I will get up. I will grieve this and move on. Anyone who knows me knows I just really don't cry, I get sad of course but the tears just don't come...But with whatever it is God is doing, all I can do is cry. I know I want this move and at the same time I am starting to see what I am gonna have to be giving up.. I know in hind sight I will be saying I am glad I did, but here now, living this moment.....I just feel powerless and defeated... I am going to do what God is asking, but I feel powerless to do so, He will be my strength. I really think after this I am going to be rid of some stuff that has been buried and locked and even forgotten.
Matthew 13:45 says the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 when he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and brought it.

I bet that merchant had some really great stuff, I bet he looked at some of his things and said man how can I let go of that. But if that's what it takes to have this pearl, I'll do it.

A little more

At some point love got really twisted to me. I had to be something I was not to receive love. I had to be good enough. I knew I was not good enough. I didn’t really believe that God loved me. I didn’t really love God. The first church I went to as a kid, made God scary for me. I always thought he was looking down waiting for strike three so he could send me to hell. And things just did not add up. The preacher always had something to say about how close hell can be than he would talk about grace and love. I could never understand grace that close to hell. I pictured God holding us all on a rope and some he would let make it up and others he’d cut them off the rope. Many times I thought I had already been cut, because I did not feel a lot of grace in my life. And love didn’t add up either. Were we to love everyone, or just those that thought and looked like us. If it had been simply love everyone, I would have been okay with that. But I remember one Sunday our preacher who up until that day I trusted and respected. He stood up before the congregation, and proceeded to ask us to please pray for his son, he said he had gone astray, because at school he has decided to have a black girlfriend. I waited to hear what he had done to need prayer, but that was it, he had a black girlfriend. Now love made no sense, who do we love, white people. I just didn’t get it. So I stopped going to that church. My next church was where my journey to God started and almost ended. I would probably not have gotten through my teenage years without the connections I made there. That’s where I met Lesli and Jeanne and Sam and Mallory and so many invaluable stones in my path. But the connection with God stayed twisted. Now here you could love black people, so that was good. But somehow you and to be one of the chosen ones to really fit in. I always wondered what they had that I did not. I know they must have had secret “we are it” club meetings. There was a lot to live up to also. Maybe I was not in the club cause I liked the movie Forrest Gump, I remember a whole sermon on why it was bad. I watched it after that sermon, and I tried to be holy and hate it, but I loved it. Of course I told members of the club I agreed with them. Looking back I know why I did not fit in, I was as fake as they came. I was the clown to hide the pain and I said what ever I thought would please everyone. I wonder if I had spoken my own truth, I think they would have elected me their president.
My years at that church taught me a lot. The biggest lesson I walked away with, is we are all human and we all screw it up. Deep down we all want to be good and kind, but we are selfish and a jealous people. We all lie to each other, weather it is about our own sin or our own struggle, we all lie. We want everyone to see us for what we want to be but never for who we are. I wanted to be so important there, and I never was. Looking back I can see why I was there, I was there to learn but not to live. I was there to meet people who would change my life, and I was there to understand that playing church is not enough.

What could have been

I am in the process of writing a little book about my past, I gues more like a jornal for me, but I just thought I would share some of it here. It's a lot to read so it's ok if you don't.

I fought over where to start this journey. Do I start where my husband walked out on me, do I start where my dad tried to kill himself, or maybe I should start where I joined the army. Nah, lets do the typical thing and start at the beginning.
I was born in a small town…… ok maybe that is too far back. Fast forward six years. I was six years old the day my mom sat me down and explained to me about being adopted. I already knew I was adopted, I guess I always knew. But I remember being six when I finally got to talk about it, and even was allowed the chance to ask questions. I was so excited, I had all sorts of questions, like can I meet my birth mom, which turned out to be the end of the conversation. That question sent mom to tears. So that was the big adoption talk. From there on I dealt with adoption in my own head. I wish mom could have seen my question as me dealing with rejection not me rejecting her. I get it now as an adult, I was her baby and she loved me, and the thought of me wanting to know about the woman who gave birth to me, put fear of loosing me in her. I get it now, but boy growing up that was a great, weapon for low self esteem. At six I started feeling disconnected and different. It didn’t affect me to the point anyone would have known, I was a happy kid, almost every day. I think the next time I dealt with it was ninth grade biology, when we had to write our family history for a genetics study. My genetics were a secret. And I secretly felt like an alien in that class, and everyone could tell I was different, like they could see that my genetics were missing. Being adopted was my excuse to listen to the enemy tell me I am not good enough. But if I had not been adopted I know I would have found another excuse. So what would I say to that six year old or that ninth grader.
Dear adopted Lori
Okay first of all you are adopted, get over it. You are here, and that is a good thing. You were born to a mom that loved you, she did not reject you, she loved you. And she gave you to a mom that can not only love but also take care of you. Something that at sixteen she could not do. When you feel like you don’t belong or you feel different from everyone around you, know that adoption is not the reason for that. You are in this world as a guest to meet and greet as many people as you can before God calls you to come home. Sweet girl you are not rejected you are chosen.
I guess this is a good place to finish out the adoption story. By the time I was eighteen I had done enough snooping in my moms stuff to know the name and number of the adoption agency who had my records. So October 21, 1997 I made the call. I was not ready to make that call. And I could not tell anyone cause then mom may find out and I would make her feel bad again. So I sat in my room dialing all but one number for about two hours. Then I pushed the last number and the woman on the other end was on her game cause she answered before I could hang up. So I preceded to tell her my name. Now I really thought I would make the call and get on some two year waiting list. But wouldn’t you know God was ready that day to end the eighteen year rejection mindset. The woman on the other end said she couldn’t believe I was calling, because my birth mom had just called yesterday and she had all of her information sitting right in front of her. It was unbelievable and very overwhelming. The agency had me write Tina (that’s my birth mom) a letter and they would send it to her. A letter, a letter to my birth mom. Now I could really ask questions. I felt like a salesman trying to show why this product is worth having. It was hard, I had so many emotions at that time in my life. I was dealing with a lot, and I just wanted to feel good inside and I thought finding Tina would be the key. So I wrote the letter and the postal service must have been on sonic speed cause like five days later I had a letter from her in my hands. Tina was everything you think you would want a birth mom to be. She was very ready to meet me, said she had thought about me everyday for eighteen years. She never had more kids, so that put even more excitement in her to meet me. I really think I would have done better if she had not wanted anything to do with me. I already dealt with her not wanting me, I lived very well in my own self pity. That sense of rejection had taken hold and help define who I was. But I was not ready to handle her loving me and wanting me. At eighteen I had already become a “hard” person, I didn’t like to be hugged or to say I love you, I never wanted to need anyone or even be needed. But Tina did not read my manual, cause she needed me, she needed me to say I love you and to hug her and to take the pain of not having me away. She needed our reunion to bring us both peace and bring us together. I wish I could start over and meet Tina for the first time again. I did not do it well the first time. I saw her twice over the next two years, then waited until my daughter , Elissa, was three to see her again. She has never seen my son, Ethan. I know now even though it has taken me too long to get it together it is not too late. As an eighteen year old I would not look outside myself, but as a thirty year old I want to be Tina’s friend, and give her as much of me as I can. I want to do it for her and for me. I do love her. My Friends Nattile and Ryan just adopted twins, and they really got to know the birth mom. Watching their story unfold, has really woke me up to what an amazing thing Tina did. Looking back I wish I would have taken myself out of the picture. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see how selfish we are and actually change. I wish I could have dealt with my issue’s on my own but still be there for Tina. I wish I could have made her feel wanted. I wish I would have had the kind of reunion that you’d see on Oprah. But now when I meet someone from either side of adoption I have so much compassion for them and I get to understand how they feel.