Updated: Apr 19, 2018
Hey Neighbor....how has your week been?
As you know, I enjoy sharing bits of my story as it unfolds but this week I’ve been pouring into Instastories on the daily so please join me over there for up to date goings on...
This time I’m going to take you back. To the little me.....it explains a lot and I do have a point. In the end....I think it’ll help you. Here we go in abbreviated bullet form....
A Complicated Life.
Growing up, I never understood why we were moving every 3-9 months. I went to so many schools I lost count. Several of those moves were across country.......Iowa to Texas to South Dakota, (Louisiana in there somewhere) back to Iowa.....SD....TX....IA.......and on and on......until I was kicked out at 16.
Mom and step dad....They did their thing. I don’t know really what that was but it kept them away from the house a lot. I lived with many nightmares of my ‘dad’ hurting me...trying to kill me and set me on fire....I went through months of insomnia from fear. Anger ran rampant in our home. I thank God He has restored that relationship and the power of forgiveness won out.
To say we lived paycheck to paycheck would be to put it lightly. It didn’t look like we could live (on paper)....we were always in the red. Doubled by the fact that any time they got any (money) he would go gamble it all away thinking he could win big and pay all heir debts....that didn’t work out. In fact at least one Christmas we got all our gifts from a local church who delivered everything Christmas morning....we didn’t know why there wasn’t anything under the tree until these angels with giant smiles showed up to save the day,....thank You Jesus.
We were on food stamp and WIC, we bought everything generic when all the packaging was black and white, we shopped thrift stores for all of our back to school clothes .... not that there’s anything at all wrong with any of this... there’s a place for receiving government help and I’m in no way snubbing or shaming... I love thrifting.....we just couldn’t afford new unless it was Walmart, Fingerhut, or Rent a Center....cause we had to have a tv and rent to own furniture, this is just how life was......they did their best, I know.
Not having enough was just a fact of life......it was embarrassing but I had no idea people lived a different life until middle school. I started caring more about how I looked. I noticed other kids with new clothes (new pants that weren’t too short) and new tennis shoes (of which I wore the Payless brand that lasted 2 months on the playground). I was made fun of constantly.....for one reason or another....my knobby knees, funny accent (coming from Texas to SD), the funny clothes I wore (before I started working).
I was a very skinny child.....very....to the point of bones standing out through my thin, veiny skin. Thank God for free school lunches (even though I was made fun of for that too). When other kids got an afternoon snack after school I couldn’t. I remember not wanting to ask anyone for anything so if they didn’t offer then I wouldn’t eat. Those times I was among friends getting a treat after school....I’d have to say I wasn’t hungry.....cause I didn’t have any money...ever....even when my stomach was growling I couldn’t push a button on the stinkin’ vending machine. It made me angry. And there’s the summer I ate ONLY Lucky Charms cereal....for 3 months. I had major issue with food...still do.
I was never given anything. I had to work for anything I wanted. And work I did. I often had 2 or 3 jobs that served two purposes.....to keep me from boredom, the house, and to keep me in cool clothes. One day I’ll have a whole chapter just on this subject....it’s all quite fascinating.
When I was 13 I lied on a resume saying I was 14 so I could work a summer in the cornfields of Iowa. I spent the next 6ish weeks sweating, puss all over my ears and shoulders from 3rd degree burns, hands being sliced (through the gloves). It was a nightmare. I think we woke up at 3 amor something crazy to make it on time. We cried every day...even the guys were crying. Several folks quit after the first week ..... I felt tough and weak all in the same breath. I told everyone hell was a cornfield and I believe I could be right.
I did all that summer work for $500. Wanna know what I spent every dollar on? Clothes......from the MALL (that was a BIG deal)a. Guess jeans, boutique finds, The Buckle skirt, off the shoulder 80s style sweater......I was in heaven. It was then I realized I had expensive taste .... so much so that I de-tasseled corn again the following summer....as a true 14 year old.....availing myself to the same torture of yesteryear....only this time my mom did it with me...she cried too! Hell on earth.
A doll house, bike and Nintendo were other luxuries we could never afford. I have actually played Mario Brothers game 3 times in my life.....I’ve never been to the end of the first level. I was always jealous of those “kids who had all the fun.” I had to buy my own first bike...used with bad tires for $5.....and it was a rare occasion that we would attend a movie, in fact I don’t recall one time growing up going to the theater as a family....or eating an avocado until well into my 20’s....pretty well sheltered, eh.
My first car was a ‘69 Ford Falcon Futura black ... manual. I learned to drive it in an hour under scary, grumpy supervision of my ‘dad’. Next day I had to drive the thing to school....in the Black Hills of South Dakota....steep, hilly roads....I stalled out 3 times in front of the school...everyone laughed. I paid $300 cash that I earned myself. How are these gullets for you? Am I skimming fast enough?
I tried. I’m so thankful to God in heaven He saved me......they pumped my stomach and I lived. I was just so sad. I didn’t know I was bipolar at the time. I felt like a free spirited Arabian horse hobbled in a tiny stall while all the other ponies went out to frolick and play in the field. You get it. I was only allowed to do something outside of the house twice a month. That’s IT! Talk about a small cage for the making of a butterfly! Long story, all of this, I’m just giving you ‘highlights’, you see.
Some of you may know, my dad was in and out of jail and prison all my life but he was a super cool guy. Everyone in town had a Stan story.....he was wild, unpredictable, fearless, a daredevil, life of the party and a severely depressedalcoholic. He said many hurtful things that broke my little girl heart. Things that no girl should ever hear about herself. By the way I’d like to celebrate (not boast, of course) that I’ve never been arrested....I proved my father wrong. There were about 82 close calls to put a guesstimate on it....and a handful of times in Mexico....but those stories are for another day....or never.
The day I was kicked out to live with my estranged father (I didn’t even know he was alive) turned out to be the best day of my life (at that point). I went from 1,627 rules about everything under the sun to only two rules. “No lying and Don’t get in my business.” I can do! I had to do a LOT of forgiving during this season of my life. We had some fun highs (road trips, roofing, fixing my car, taking adventures) and viscous lows (no need to expound here)....forgiveness prevailed in that relationship as well....we were on great terms when he suddenly took his life a few years back.
A human being can come back from anything.....anytime....no matter how dark life is or how hard of a situation you find yourself in. I made it through SO MUCH more I just wanted to say......I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for God picking me up...time after time.
God has your life, every detail, in the palm of His hand. He truly is on your side and wants what’s absolutely best for your life. He’s cheering you on with a giant smile on His face....so proud of you.....get up.....take another step.....you can do this life! He’s even working on your behalf as you sleep at night.....oh He cares so much. We can’t truly grasp how much He loves us. He’s in all the highs and lows....the ins and outs of life.
He’s giving you a story to tell....a unique story that only you can tell....however He wants to use your story, let Him.
Bring light to the world around you. I made it through poverty, hatred, shame, abandonment, neglect, loneliness, abuse, depression, miscarriage, homelessness, and more. You can make it and God has some mighty remarkable plans for your life and He wants you to simply surrender to Him......this was and still is the hard part for me .... to surrender daily.....not as I see fit or when I can squeeze Him in....but daily...in all things.
I want you, neighbor, to live a happy, fulfilled life of victory and peace....it’s possible. Walk through the valley to climb your mountain....there is nothing impossible with God....not one thing too difficult. Put those cares and concerns in His hands....watch miracles happen.
Now, In order to do our part we must give thanks....no matter the season. Be grateful and make it known....share with others....write in a journal....blog it....make it yours. It’s your life and you are the only person in charge of you. The power of gratitude will be seen and felt as you embrace a thankful heart in everything.
Make the most of every minute. Shine y’all, living decorated each moment.