Confession #3 of 2014

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Something is UP! 2013 for me was a year of sowing and working under the brutal sun rays of trials I thought to be unbearable. Still, the hope of all this having a greater purpose peeked into the lowest of my meadows.  All year I lived with a feeling of “something is up”…”I can’t quite put my finger on it”.  But, sure enough it hit me like a tidal wave crashing my most sacred walls of protection.  Those who knew me well knew I was not well at all.  Getting up was like pushing through layered bars of unmerciful steel.  Again, my spirit whispered, “something is up”.  While it all seemed like a never-ending story of a roller coaster of emotions, I later realized something was up. And, while I spent almost half a year looking down and around, I entered 2014 accepting something is up all along.  I’d like to confess today, SOME THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE UP…I must remember to not let them carry me away into an aimless unknown or taint the beautiful portrait God is painting of my life with unresolved fly-a-ways.  No. When something is up I need to check my spirit.  I need to look up first.

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The Dark Night

Yesterday night around 10:40 p.m, Miguel and I were getting ready to go see the midnight premier of “The Dark Knight”. A good friend was at our house weeping about the marital problems in their marriage. Their marriage is beyond repair at this point. Here is how their story goes for the last 19 years of their lives:

The wife, prior to their marriage, was living on the streets, and had an unstable life with children from a first relationship. The man got her back on her feet, and they married having two children of their own. In many relationships, the man is abusive. In this one, she is the one who has abused him for years. Their house, bank accounts, cars, and valued belongings are under her name only. She tells him that it is because of his legal status in this country. The man works hard only to cash his check at a local store, give it to his wife, and she deposits it to her account and only gives him enough for gas. Aside, from the fact that she over protects her kids, he comes home to a house where he is the “imbecile” and good-for-nothing (well, to bring home the bacon), ignorant man. She has managed to work things for her benefit. There is no legal way for him to prove that all these years he has paid everything they own. There is no way for him to show that the money in the bank belongs to him because it is his personal earnings.

The abuse is heartbreaking. But, yesterday, she cross the limits even more. She took away the keys to their truck, the one he uses to commute to make a living. She said that her credit was getting worse, and she was going to return the vehicle, plus gas too expensive. So, it left this man out on the street, with not way to get to work, and a broken heart.

I was disgusted with the stories he said in between his tears. How was this possible? How could this woman claim she knows the Lord? It is sad to see a broken-hearted woman cry, but it is even sadder to see a man cry. I felt compassion, and shared his pain and tears. While we attempted to minister him along with my parents, I could not help thinking that so many times we take people for granted. Life is too short (just think about Heath Ledger’s short life). Why live in darkness, when God’s truths are light before our path? Our friend does not want a divorce, but he feels that he has been broken down so many times that it seems appealing at this point. I think he needs to help himself first, before he can set out to restore his marriage.

How can you lead and help others when you yourself are broken and lost?

He Died For His Name: unBEARable

This is Bear (Oso in Spanish). Last week, we found him crippled by our driveway fence line. He was scare, and a big plush white bear lay next to him. Mom’s tears were inevitable since Bear was her first-born from Pinta (her favorite pet she recently lost). It was heartbreaking to think someone can be so cruel. It was as if they hit his lower back with a bat. We think he must of gotten into a neighbors backyard, and ran away with the stuff bear. Bear painfully pulled his lower body that had lost all muscle movement. His legs were starting to bleed, and his condition was unbearable to see. I took this picture as we talked about what to do with him. His eyes seem sad; I’m sad. So, the decision was made that Pet Euthanasia was to be applied. We cried for him, but his condition was inhumane. He died on Monday, and was incinerated.

The Best of Friends

A couple of years ago, I met a young lady (Well, she’s 32 now). I remember our encounter. I was sleeping in our friends’ living room. My husband had offered to pick up our friend’s aunt from Los Angeles. Our friends were in their late 20’s so I figured their aunt was about 40ish. It was late at night, and I dozed off. My hair was 1/2 an inch long…or short should I say (Yes, 1/2 an inch…I had shaved it 2 months earlier…another post). When they arrived, I kinda just said “hola” and went back to sleeping. The next morning, I saw this shy quiet gal in the far end of the living room. She was the same age as our friends Mick and Merit. Her hair was short…and she was not that tall too. She had beautiful bronzed skin. She looked Asian to me, but I very well knew that she was from the enchanting city of Acapulco, Mexico. She seemed very sad, and as if she had been crying all night long. I was embarrassed that I looked like if I had just woken up…uh…but, I’d just woken up. I got ready, and began to talk to her. But, she was not much of a talker. Our conversation consisted on me asking a series of questions, and her answering with a yes/no. I asked her if she had ever gone to a Christian Bible study before, she hesitantly replied no. (ah, “how am I going to get her to come to one with me?”) Well, the day continued as we barbecued, and CUPERTINA ANORVE (Cuper or Beba as we now call her), was still stuck in her cocoon. I thought she was so anti-social, and weird. Little did I know that she was going to be one of my best friends!

At the end of the day, I invite her to a women’s fellowship night and Bible study. She said that she did not know if she was going to able to go because she did not know how to drive. Excitingly, I offered to pick her up. (I AM A VERY PERSISTENT PERSON). She said yes. The funny things is that two days later I am knocking at their door, and she is “hidding” in her room telling Merit that she said yes to me so that I would stop asking, and that she did not think I would really come. I wait for her, and off we go to Bible study. There was prayer at the end, and Beba began to quietly weep. I place my hand on her shoulder, and share with her my experience with the Lord. Our friend Mirtha lead prayer for her. That night, she accepted Christ into her heart, and a special bond between us was born.

I would see her frequently, and would always pick her up for Bible study. One night, she spent the night at our house after Friday night service. Miguel had to work early the very next morning, so we stayed in the living room drinking coffee and munching on snacks. It was not until then that I learned of her difficult childhood and past. She is the second youngest of 13 children. When she was a couple of months old, her mother abandoned them to go to her “other family” in Mexico City. So, her older sister cared for and even breast fed her at times. Her biological mother would return from time to time. She shared with me that she had a routine going: She would be with them for a while—then she would say she was going to the farmer’s market—and….she would not come back! She would then call then in a couple of days or weeks. She said that what she hated the most was that she would bond with her and then she would just cut them off of her life. So, she called her older sister “Mom” for that is who she mostly remembers. This activity of coming and going continued throughout the years until she was about 28 yrs old. (I met Beba’s family in Acapulco, and I met her biological mom about 3.5 years ago. She is a very nice lady. So, I cannot judge what or why she did what she did.) I will share more (if that’s ok with her) some other time.

But for now, know that God has done some awesome things in our lives. We’ve live through thick and thin together. There

was a point in my life where I shut myself from the world around me, and this girl was there to help me through. We are like sisters….we defend each other like sisters…and we even fight like sisters.

You know how you can get mad at your sister, and even want to just uh!? But, don’t let anyone (other than yourself) say something bad about her or tell her off because you are there to back her up!)

We’ve fallen together. We’ve gotten up together. We’ve worked together. We know each others good and bad sides. When I mess up with Miguel, she is honest enough with me to tell me that I am wrong. Even when I don’t want to see the truth, she puts it right in front of me. I am honest with her too.

Yes, that’s Beba and me.

I Walked In Naked

This morning I came to Him as I was.

I did not try to hide with garments the flaws I saw in the mirror.

I walked in naked. Just as I was.

The many eyes that stared in shock of such an act gleamed over me.

For no one presents themselves as such.

They could not possible understand how I felt. Where I came from.

The whispers began to fill the room.

What in Heavens is she doing? How dare she approach Him like this?

I did not look to either side.

My eyes were set in agreement with my heart to get to Him as I was.

Wounds and desperation adorned me.

How fearful was that walk from the gate to His secret chamber.

Would He reject me as the rest?

Would He take me in just as I was, and not despise my nakedness?

Would He turn His back on me?

Would He see pass my stained skin, and embrace my lonely soul?

This was not our first date.

When we first met, I was at a low point in my life. He rescued me.

We had been lovers since then.

One day, I decided to wander into the garden by myself to explore.

I new the stories He’d told me.

I new that we were meant for one another, and that I loved Him.

Yet, I betrayed Him. He knows.

I thought of returning but, I was not the same beauty He knew.

My flaws seemed more visible.

I finally decided to come back, and return to Him just as I was.

It did not matter that I was naked.

It did not matter. I just wanted to be with Him. Not one more time.

“I want to be with You forever”.

So, this morning, I humbled my pride, shed my excuses, and I repented.

I walked pass the gate and multitudes.

I walked in naked into His sweet presence, and was not disappointed.

His love covered my all, inside and out.

He erased once more the memories of my past giving a second chance.

We loved each other as on our first day.

“You are the Lover of My Soul, and I never want to be apart from you again.”

No Pain…No Gain

I’m back!  The old cliche came to life when I was rushed to our local hospital.  I had been experiencing several health complications for about two weeks (I kept the symptoms to myself).  I have no medical/health insurance so going to the emergency room is not and easy decision to take.  The abdominal pain was increasing, and I could no longer hide the excruciating pain.  So, off we went.  I could barely walk.  I broke into a cold sweat.  I informed the nurse of the symptoms, and she asked me to sit in the waiting room while I was attended.  After several minutes, the nurse checks my blood pressure, temperature, and weight.  I get to sit back in the same waiting room.  I honestly felt like punching the pain out.  Coiled in my chair (20+ minutes later), I finally get called from the back door.  I walked through it only have to walk down a hallway into another office.  She is not the NURSE nurse; she’s the REGISTERING nurse! OMG!  I sit there for several more minutes as I again give my personal information, the last time I was in the ER, my current address, my healthcare situation, and a whole bunch of other mundane details.  “I know you’re in pain maam’.  It’s just that this info is important.  As soon as we are done you can go back into the waiting room, and wait to be called.”  Back to the waiting room.  My friend, my husband, and myself kept looking at the watch, at the door, and the clerk, and still no one.  My husband goes to the front desk, and was told that people are taken in according to severity.  My folder was marked with a “III” for third priority, I guess.  Well, to make this short, I finally get called into an ER, and I am given a warm blanket to lay down and WAIT.  The pain began to decrease.  The head nurse comes to see me 40 minutes later to tell me that there was really nothing he could do but to give me a pain shot.  He recommended to go to my gynecologist at my earliest convenience, or to come back if pain persisted.  No blood work.  No pelvic check.  No x-rays.  No ultrasound.  Just a shot.  It knocked me out within ten minutes.  When I woke up, the nurse was in front of me telling me that I was ready to go.  So, I learned that sometimes (as those exercise infomercials say) “No Pain, No Gain”

m&ms: From the Tunnel to the Cave

The most memorable moment in my life would have to be the day I was born, December 19, 1977 in San Jose, California. However, I want to take you back to about 1-2 months before I was born.

My mother had been living with my dad for several years, and had unsuccessfully been able to have children. They were in a very abusive relationship. My father was a chronic alcoholic, and would constantly cheat on my mom. Needless to say, my parents were not followers of Christ. There was constant fighting, and domestic abuse was a common characteristic in the home. My mother tells me that when she found out she was pregnant with me, she was delighted. She said that her nights would seem less long, and her hopes of happiness were once again viable with the thought of her not being alone anymore. Her pregnancy was not as the one painted in so many “girl movies” where the loving husband accompanies the new mom to their ultrasound, the doctor visits, Lamaze, or even the birth. In fact, a few weeks before I was born, my father and mother had an argument that as usual sparked the violence in my dad. I don’t know how I have this vivid image in my head about this inciddent because I was not born yet. I don’t know. I had this recurring dream, and I shared it with my mom. She thought that she had told me about it, but I don’t recall her telling me first. So, who knows. I do know that the dream came about in a time where God was healing my father-daughter relationship. (I was 19yrs old, and it is another blog). This is how the story and the dream goes:

It is late at night, and as usual, my mother is waiting for my father. Her over-sized belly is causing more and more discomfort as she is dozing off on the flowered-picturistic orange sofa. She is tired of reheating dinner thinking my father will arrive soon. Not having the dinner piping hot and served on the table was a possible factor for a beating. The kitchen’s layout is tiny. There is a small sized tan colored refrigerator, and a white gas stove separated by a gap of two feet. The dinette table is brown oak with gold tone steel pipe legs. It seats four. She peaks through the window. Sure enough, it is him because the lights approach their parking space. Fear begins to overshadow her pain and her mixed feelings of anger and disdain. The food is hot, and served. He is intoxicated, and knows that she is upset. He grabs her from behind to aim a kiss on her fair skinned neck. Mother’s muscles tighten as she shrugs her shoulders, and turns her chin opposite of his lips to avoid the smell of his fermented mouth. The tension grows at an exponential rate with his tyrannical responses. He is questioning her about her “coldness”. He is face to face with her. She is asking him to calm down and eat before the food gets cold. His hands on her upper arms are like clamps pressing her in place. His tactics to terrorize her work every time. He tangles his muscular fingers to the lower part of her black silky hair, and brutally pulls her down so that when he walks she is forced to walk with him. He screams that she is his. Utensils are all over the place. By this time, they are close to the stove and the gap between the refrigerator. Jolting and screams are my mother’s useless defense. My father shows her who is in charge by beating her face, pulling her hair, verbally abusing her, and to end the fight…he hits her so hard that she lands in between the refrigerator and the stove. There, the jolts from my movement remind her that she is not alone. All she can do is cry. Her fear of her baby girl being hurt before she was born overtakes her. She cries as her hands wrap her belly. Fear and pain are shared by both mommy and baby. My father is screaming from their bedroom to hurry up and clean up the mess so she can “fulfill” her bedroom responsibilities. A couple of weeks later, I was born. My sober dad visited the hospital, and was extremely happy that he kissed my mom, asking forgiveness, and kissing me. He was so happy that he left to go “celebrate” with his friends the birth of his baby girl. I had left that temporary safe zone in my mother’s womb, traveled through the universal tunnel of life, and entered into a cave in this world, whose darkness was to be explored.

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