Braving the Winter Storm


I have been shopping for Christmas gifts, and I found myself getting very emotional in a store yesterday. I was looking at things for my mom. I remember, as I’m looking at clothes. Her hands are frail and she’s having difficulty with the simplest of tasks. Buttoning, unbuttoning. Opening little things. She’s even requesting that I walk her from one room to another. I find myself thinking, how many more Christmases do we have?” Time is so fleeting. It seems like yesterday that we were young and celebrating Christmas, with anticipation.

She recalls these days, often. “What I loved the most was going to church on Christmas Eve.” She says. Yes, I recall these very special years, in my life. We all went to school right down the street. It was Atonement Lutheran. Every class participated in the Christmas program. Each class was responsible for reciting parts of the Christmas story. When it was time for the kids in Kindergarten, to speak, it was always the best. So cute, and there was always, one or two, kids who were trying to yell louder than the rest. With their missing teeth and squeaky voices, it was adorable, even to us older kids.

At the end of the service, we would leave, to go home and on the way out the door, we were given stockings with peanuts and oranges. It’s amazing how wonderful this gift seemed to us. I think if I were to give that to my son, he’d say, “What the heck? Is this a joke?”

We lived down the street in a place called, Parklawn. And although, we were the poor kids, we all had a great sense of community. My friends from the outside, would beg to come visit me. They were so intrigued by us, “Parklawnian’s.” The poor people, who seemed to live in a perpetual party.

I have to admit. As rough as the Project life could be, we found our own entertainment. And back in the 60’s it wasn’t as violent as it is now. Although, we did have our share. We would get into physical fights and meet up at the park. But we didn’t have gangs or carry guns and knives.

My mom, tried to make our holidays special, even with her meager income. I appreciated that. Looking back, I’m amazed that she even made attempts. And her whole purpose for sending us to this school can only be God. She had to become a member, and I would sit in on the instructional classes. It was taught by Pastor Schaefer. Who happened to be the grandfather, of a girl in my class. She would later become a good friend.

You really never know what you’re doing that will influence a child. My mother would take me with her, because I was the oldest and she thought, I would behave. I always brought a book to read, but I was so interested in what this pastor was saying, that I would just listen to him. Seeds were planted in my spirit. I had the fertile ground to cultivate those seeds. I  hadn’t realized this until much later in life. But just coming through the spiritual storms, had dredged up this dry ground, and I was absorbing this ‘Water of Life.’ It was perfect timing in my life, to hear the Word of God. “And faith comes by hearing, and hearing, by The Word of God.”

As my mother and I recounted these experiences, I said, “Mom, I remember the earliest Christmas. It was with you and dad and we lived at, The Green House. This was the term we used to refer to our house we lived in, right before my mother and dad split. It was a cute little green house, (hence the name) Built brand new. I still remember the smell of stained wood and new paint. I remember the excitement as a child, moving into this house.

It’s amazing how many memories we have. I told my mom, “That year, I wanted a Barbie Dream House. You and dad gave it to me.” She had remembered that they stayed awake into the wee hours, trying to assemble this thing. I loved these memories. My dad,would place a sheet over the entry to the living room and we weren’t allowed to go in until after we had breakfast. My mom would bake cookies the night before, for Santa, and there were a couple bites out of each one. It is actually my only memory of her baking.

We would eat our cereal, with so much excitement, just to race into the next room. I wonder at times, how they did all of this, considering the major dysfunction with my dad’s drinking and the abusive nature of their marriage. Perhaps this is why I love these memories; it shows how a sense of giving,  can bring people together. If it is only for a day. How healing comes through self-sacrifice.

That Barbie Dream House, had all of my own fantasies, wrapped inside. I had drifted into my own world. As I watched my brother, Dennis, I grew so attached to him. I taught him to walk and he would seem to know when I was coming home from school. A few short month’s later, it seemed, he was gone. Spinal meningitis, had stolen him from me.

My father and mother were separating and I was in crisis. Yet no one noticed. After all, I was a child. I learned very early on, that the Dream House was destructible.  It would not withstand the test of time any more than my whimsical family life.

Now, I am sharing memories with my mom and wondering how much time I have with her. I seemed to have turned a corner in our relationship. For years, her attitude has been stubborn and argumentative. I see a softness in her.

We had watched a movie starring Betty White, yesterday and I commented on how vibrant she is. “Yes,” she said, “You have to have something to look forward to.” I thought, this is so true. We have to feel relevant. It was the reason my father, lost his desire to live. He felt he had no purpose and it’s the reason that people just give up.

Just last Christmas she was upset about a toaster. And this year, I bought a bright, red toaster for her. I can’t wait until she opens it, as it has become a joke to all of us. I went into a Salvation Army, the other day, and amazingly, I found a little porcelain toaster too. I was so tickled and knew it had to be God.

Toaster

She is happy with the simplest of things. My son gave her a little ornament last year. It says, Grandma, on it. It lights up. And she keeps it on the table so she can look at it. She pick’s it up every few minutes and says, “This is so cute, isn’t it?”

I realize that I’m getting sad, that she doesn’t keep talking about her return to Wisconsin. She used to drive me crazy with this incessant talk. But now she hardly mentions it, and I feel more upset about not hearing it. Is she beginning to give up?

I woke from a dream this morning. In this dream, I had a doctor’s appointment, with my mother. I had been out shopping and a snow storm, was just starting. I must have lived somewhere else. I looked all over and couldn’t find my mom. I asked my kids, “Where’s grandma?” They told me she went out for a while. I was frantic. “Your grandma can’t go out by herself! She doesn’t even know where she is!” I was furious, and terrified, at the same time. I started running from room to room, with the hopes that they were wrong. “I’m sure I’ll find her sitting quietly on the bed.” I thought. Every where I looked, it was empty.

I’m now wondering if I should call the police. I look outside and it’s beginning to get dark. The street lights are on and the snow is coming down so hard, it’s blowing sideways. There’s no way she can survive out there. I’m panicking.

I go into a bathroom and see a hole in the ceiling. “What in the world? I climb up and realize that my daughter and a friend, had broken some lights, and had found a hidden room. Then I remember, there were rooms in the highest level of this house, which I never went into,because of fear. It is a nightmare I’ve had for many years of my life. I would not enter into this highest level and open these doors. But now I was looking at them from below. I see that my daughter and her friend had found this secret room. And there were all kinds of things in here that I could use. I saw paint containers and tools. I was looking at a ladder, coming down from one of the rooms which I would have never entered. But somehow, from this perspective, it was all so non-threatening. I felt a sense of relief, that I had been able to finally access this all alone.

When I woke, I began to dissect this. Of course, I know that this dream, had bit’s and pieces of my life throughout. I see that the Lord has tried to show me how fearful I’ve been to open certain doors. As I’ve been told in my past, these are the areas, He wants us to give to Him. And as He helps us to open them, we will see that, we have all kinds of tools, which will help us. “I know the plans, I have for you,” says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

My mother is one of those rooms. I hold on so tightly and I am afraid to face the winter storm. Distracted in my search for her, by a room which had hidden all of my fears. He revealed to me that, He is in control and I felt Him trying to prepare me. At times, the thought of her leaving, makes me scared. When she wakes up too late, I have fear. When she loses interest in little things, like her Soap Opera, I try to rekindle her fire. As if by doing this, I’m the one holding onto the silver cord of life. Christ reminds me that He is the reason we celebrate this holiday. He is the “Light of the World,” on Hanukkah, and the “The Greatest Gift,” on Christmas. He’s greater than any Barbie Dream House, and He’s not a fairy-tale.

I’m so thankful that my mother listened to the voice of the Lord and gave me the opportunity to Hear the Good News!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

The Blizzard

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Ministering Angels


I just returned from a vacation with my mom. I went for a week. I took my son, my brother, and her. I have never seen her this frail, and this unsure of herself. She held me tight as we walked. At every step, it seemed, she would ask me, “are we going that way?” And she would point her tiny finger. I would always let her know in advance, which direction we were going, as I could see, she was very fearful, of the unknown.

I realized that she has lived her whole life this way. I remember many of these fears, she has tried to project onto me. Her mother had five girls, and she left them in the care of their grandmother to come to the city. My grandfather had a seven-year affair, which no one was supposed to speak about. My grandmother, chased him down, which my mother and I agreed, we would never do, and although she won him back, it was by default. He had a heart attack and the woman never came to the hospital to nurse him, when my grandmother did.

Finally, she had him back, but at what price? My mother and her sister’s never forgot. Their mother was gone during the formative years, and the bonding was for their grandmother, not their mother. This explains a great deal, when I deal with my own mother, and I am well aware of this. In turn, my mother had more affection toward her father, than her mother, when he did return. She told me, “We called her, ‘mother,’ isn’t that strange?” “Well,” I said, it’s rather formal.” “Yes, she said. ” I sure thought so.”

They never slept in the same room again, after they reconciled. So what was the point? You may as well as have been roommates. But each relationship is different, I suppose. We had a lot of skeletons, in our closets. It just shows you how it affects the future generations.

My mother always said, “There were five of us girls, and I was the odd one in the middle.” “No mom. You were the cream in the middle of the cookie. The very best part!” I told her. And I’m here to keep reminding you of that.” I wanted to tell her this, because I had remembered reading a psychological report from her doctors when she had her breakdown. It was after she lost my brother from spinal meningitis. I was a little girl and it was traumatic for me as well. One of the things the struck me was that the doctor made note of the fact that my mothers  sisters were so instrumental in her pain and suffering. They were the ones who had placed her children in the Children’s Home, after all. Yet, when it came to her own description of her relationship to them, she stated that she felt she was the black sheep. That because of her divorce and lack of income, she was left out. This made me very sad. At that moment of reading those words, I wished I were older to hold her and help her. But I was a child.

Now I am an adult and oddly, she is like a child. I feel the Lord allows me this time to tell her all those things that I wanted to tell her . “No mom. you are the cream in the middle of the cookie. The best part. You are the queen. You should be in a resort every day and treated like royalty.”

My son was feeling jealous yesterday at the pool. He feels rivalry with my brother at times and I have to discipline both of them for fighting. I took him and made him sit on the chair. “You should make him sit on the chair too!” “Well, I can’t, because then he’s sitting by you and both of you are fighting.”

Later, after they returned to the hotel, they fought again, and I sent him to his room. This time I went in to find him crying. I sat down and talked with him to find he needed me with him. So I told my mom. I need to cuddle with Noah for a while. I fell asleep with him and I saw her walking the halls to find me. I had to put her to bed a child. “Oh, she said, I thought you went somewhere.”No mom. I won’t go anywhere without telling you. I promise you.”

I fell asleep with my son, and I woke up again, with tears. It was the third night in a row. I had been dreaming of my mother, and I was sobbing. It was so much that my face was wet with tears and this time, I heard the Lord speaking to me. “These are ministering angels. They minister to the heirs of salvation.” He said. “Wow, so this is what this is all about, I thought. It has felt like I have been purging my soul. When I sleep, it seems as if everything I’ve been feeling inside, is coming out. It is so deep. It is as if I cry the tears my mother cannot cry.

I think these angels help me to purge everything, so that I can find the strength to make it through another day. I felt them lift me out of myself to higher ground. To get past the pain and trust in the Lord to hold it in His scarred hands.

The other day, I asked her, “Mom have you always been so terrified of everything?” She became very angry. I”m not terrified!” “Ok, mom” I said. But, I remembered something from my past. When I went to Chicago for my interview with my first airline, I was with my mom, my mother-in-law and my ex-husband. We decided to take them to Chicago for the day. It was my initial screening, which meant it was like a huge cattle call.

Hundreds of people come to this, and I wasn’t surprised. As we drove into the parking lot, my mother exclaimed, “My gosh! Look at all this competition!” At this my mother-in-law, said, “Don’t say that! You’ll scare her!”That’s when  World War III began. My mom actually said, “”I’ll scare her if I want to, she’s my daughter!” And they began to argue, as I exited the car. I didn’t let it bother me, since I had grown up with my mother’s insecurities. I had to fight against it. Anything I wanted, I had to figure out how to do it on my own. But I understood, the reason’s behind my mother’s insecurities, which made it easier to deal with. I had compassion for her. I see how difficult her life has been and I want to try to make the last stretch as smooth as I can. I want to take away the pain of some of the bad memories, when I can. And if the Lord gives me the opportunity to bring her some justice, I will do so.

I try to advocate for her. I’m not saying I always have patience. I don’t. Sometimes I snap. And then we just laugh about it. But, I love her and I protect her. And just today, walking out of a store, I see a man, running to the door to open it. Saying ” Bless you, mommy!” I see this, just like the one’s who are compassionate to my brother. These are the ones who the Lord is speaking of, when He says, “And if you give unto the least of these, then you are giving unto me.”

I’m Holding On


Don’t Be Afraid

I was in Kennedy all day today, waiting until my checkin for my trip.

Then the news break; Fighter planes, flanking a commercial aircraft to JFK.
 
I have to say that my anxiety soared. I felt a panic in my body, trying to take hold. The throat beginning to close, and my breathing quickened.
I felt the tears coming, so I abruptly left the table of flight attendants that I was, only minutes before, laughing and joking with.
I went into the bathroom, where I began my breathing exercises. Almost the same thing which I learned in my birthing classes, when I was pregnant.
I found that after having a severe panic attack, a couple of years ago, this exercise seemed to work.
Almost by accident, I discovered, if I slowed my breathing and concentrated on this, I would not experience a full panic.
I called my daughter and asked her to pray for me. She immediately did this while I was on the phone with her.
 
The Lord reminded me, that He has been here in each fearful circumstance, and He will never abandon me.
I remembered a song, which I used to play for my daughter when she was little. “When I am afraid, I will trust in Him.” I began to sing this in my spirit and felt a calm, begin to wash over me.
 
Yes, the fear is still in me, yet the Lord reminded me that He holds me. He has sent the Holy Spirit, “the comforter,” to give me peace.
As long as I have Him, I know that I can overcome.
I have been through terror and depression in the past few years, but it has drawn me so much closer to the Lord, as I have come to realize that my trust should be in Him, not man. Of this point I am sure, “He is my refuge and my strength. Of whom shall I be afraid?”

The Dream(A Family Held Captive)Part Two


After receiving a check from this incident I was in, I was always in fear. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, from the events I experienced. I started to experience strange symptoms. I had no idea what was happening to me and the doctors told me that this was related to the stress. I had a trip to the same city I had experienced the event and had to stay in a hotel there after the initial incident. I thought I would try to “get back on the horse,” so to speak. I was so terrified, I wouldn’t come out of my hotel room. It was Christmas eve and even when someone knocked on my door, I was so scared, I called the front desk. I was told they were delivering cookies because it was Christmas eve. I remembered the day we all rode back to the airport when this happened to us and how scared the crew was. Some were crying. I continued communicating with one of the girls that was extremely traumatized by this event. She sent me a very sad email and was treated terribly after this event. I advocated for her and others that knew this was an injustice.

“A man gives her refuge. The man calls for help.” I had a situation that happened that was another unfair event not much later. A supervisor started to harass me about my hair color. I had been in contact with a vice president and I let him know what was going on. Then a team of supervisors ganged up on me and before I knew it the manager directed my supervisor to alter my work history and I told this man it was probably best he didn’t get involved. I thought the Lord could take care of all of this, but the reality was that I was not walking strong in the Lord at the time.

“She says my daddy knows everything, but she speaks in fear and doubt as if it is is a lie because she has not told her father her situation.”

“The dream continues, the rest of the family becomes imprisoned searching for stairways and exit doors for escape.” When I started to find out about what was really happening, my whole family was brought into this nightmare. Corruption does have an affect on everyone around you, even if you are innocent. It was making me physically ill and it was now hurting my children as well. I was being harassed by people just for having knowledge of their deeds.

“Doors sound alarms they are surprised and again ensnared. Every time repeating the same behavior expecting a different outcome, yet repeating the same way of escape.” Yes, I know what your thinking. That’s the definition of insanity. Believe me, thats how I’ve felt during this at times. But the Lord has given me a sound mind and this is how the enemy wants you to feel. And let me ask you, how sane is it for people to make a crew of uniformed crew members walk down a street while bombs are exploding? Why was I the only one to protest this legally? If I’m the one that is insane then I’ll be crazy every time you place me in that situation.The dream seems to indicate my attempts to find the right door to open up for freedom from this captivity. The captivity of what? Well it’s TRUTH that sets one free, and the whole problem with my situation is that the truth was covered up. I have asked the Lord and each time He reminds me of my mission and He tells me that “His grace is sufficient for me.” He constantly reminds me that I am not the only one involved in this process and He has sent me to “set the captives free.” They are the blind ones. They are the ones that do not understand that they are covering themselves, yet He wants them uncovered so they can be free as well.

“Escaping once and running through the desert, finding refuge in a church.” I did escape and was in a very dry place. Just existing. Knowing that I had been traumatized, not just from that experience , but repeated experiences with these people. Harassment that is never ending from people trying to cover up their own behaviors. At times I have not even wanted to get out of my own bed. Then I finally found my refuge again. In the church with the fellowship of other believers that know what it is like to hold me up when I am too weak to hold myself up. They understand the spiritual man and that the importance is the soul. That I am the one chosen because I cannot be bought and I care more about the souls of men than anything else. Yes, the Lord will choose any means necessary to bring about His plans, however, I will not bow to the things of this world. Not when I can look into the eyes of men and see their destination is still unclear. What is more beautiful than a soul that has turned his eyes from the world to the Lord? That’s what I live for. That’s my purpose to which I have been called.My Calling is Clear

A Family Held Captive


It’s the dream that my girlfriend gave me in 2001. I had it tucked into my bible since then.

I have used it as a guide in this last year. The Lord has revealed it’s meaning in entirety and the people that are in it don’t even know who they are yet. All the players are part of Gods plan to bring about redemption.

I have suffered such hardship and terror that it has taken a toll. No one could even imagine, but it has been to bring about my own righteousness as well as the salvation of others. I have felt a loneliness beyond understanding at times. This is all part of the dream. The woman that had this dream is an intercessor and she prays constantly. As I stated before, she could not believe that she was so instrumental in being used by God in this way. But she shouldn’t be surprised. He always uses the humble servants to bring about His greatest purposes.

I will tell the dream exactly as she gave it to me on 11/14/01

Dear Carrie,

This is the dream I read to you from my journal. A family held captive is how I titled it in my journal. Jesus the doctor who came for the sick.

The dream started with a woman kidnapped. She was in her bathroom. She had her makeup and 2 gold chains and someone came in to hand her a check. She escapes and continues to run and hide in fear. She hides in doctors offices and hotels. She ends up in what appears to be a doctors office or bank. A man gives her refuge. The man calls for help. She says my daddy knows everything, but she speaks in fear and doubt as if it is a lie because she has not told her father her situation. The dream continues, the rest of the family becomes imprisoned searching for stairways and exit doors for escape. Doors sound alarms they are surprised and again ensnared. Every time repeating the same behavior expecting a different outcome, yet repeating the same way of escape. Escaping once running through the desert, finding refuge in a church.

There are two brothers, one fits into the sanctuary feeling safe and hidden, the other too big to make it through the door. The scene looks like Alice in Wonderland. Not willing to leave the other behind, they are captured together. Later one escapes prison.

What seems like years later the other is released from prison. The prisoner still make the same decision. Tries to go through the alarmed exit door. The other warns, No! But the door opens enough to trigger the same alarm. But this time they both escape. The entire large family is released! Set Free! Restored to joy at the time the last brother is released from prison.

They reflect; how did we escape? The alarm on the door was triggered yet we were not ensnared. It seemed as those in authoritiy were looking down watching and directing their escape plan through all their bad decisions.

It was their time to escape to be set free and no alarm or entrapment was able to stop their release from prison. Every obstacle was lifted, every stumbling block removed. A clear path to freedom was set before them. Not by the power of their decisions, but because a way of escape had already been prepared.

There was a part of the dream I remember later and wrote at the bottom of my journal page. It seem to deal with being careful not to be angry or offended when others try to put a label on us.

I am continuing to pray for you.

Now it wasn’t  until recently that the Lord revealed the minute details of this dream to me and it was most amazing. Gods is merciful and slow to anger. Full of compassion and He loves mankind. He is not willing that any man should perish but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth. It is an amazing thing to me, but it is not without suffering. Believe me. This is a lonely road. Very few people whose souls cannot be purchased and some can be bought for virtually nothing at all. In the end the Lord promises to restore us, but we must always remember that it is the souls of men that are at stake and even one man’s soul is worth more than anything this world can offer!

“For what is it if a man shall gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” What we can see at the end of this dream is a picture of grace. Unmerited favor. Nothing that can be earned but is freely given. This is what Christ offers all of us and the only release from prison is truth. It is the truth that makes us free.