Seventeen years ago today, Aug 13, 1995 – I was a very young, very in love bride.
We were married in the front yard of my childhood home, along the creek in which I’d learned to swim, and spent my summers playing. It was a beautiful day – hot, we ran out of water, and my dad took his pre-wedding bath in the creek… My hose had been soaked prior to putting them on, to keep me cool. I wore sandals down the railroad tie steps, and then my Dad stooped to change my shoes before we made the “bridal march” up the aisle, to the spot under the trees where I’d played with my “sunshine dolls” (think barbie, just much more real looking) in front of the tire swing that had always been my favorite place to hang out. There was music – a beautiful song written by a friend, and a lovely number by my aunt. Family and friends, a couple of dogs, and a praying mantis attended.
We pledged our love, our hearts, our fidelity to the other – to accept the embrace of no other…
There was food, the blessings of a caterer, gifts for our bridal party of homemade blueberry jam, a yummy cake, and the mountain girl who kicked off her shoes just to climb the hill high enough to toss the bouquet, and as a prank, I’m pretty sure my dad got out his shotgun.
We drove off into the unknown, full of hope and expectation and made it to the little town of Linville Falls, where we sealed our covenant and began the journey as husband and wife, at 21. No one told us how hard marriage could be.. tho, to be fair, I’m not sure we would have listened…
I’ve already written, elsewhere, the good, the bad, the hard, the growth, the joy, the pain of the following 16 years… So I won’t go on about that, other than to say, since I’m staring it square in the face today – I’m still trying to reconcile a year ago this weekend. The juxtaposition between the two realities is just too hard to make sense of … *shakes head*
In the end, the covenant we made was broken in more than one painful way … and in early September of last year the foundation of trust and faith was shattered. (see blog, “Let Him Go” here: http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-3S)
As I tried to make sense of what to do next, as I tried to pick up the pieces of my heart, while at the same time shepherd my boys’ hearts, I did what I’d always done, I ran to my True Husband and Creator and Redeemer, Yehovah, and asked, “What would Your Love do here? In this?”
And I started walking out His directions.
“Let Me Love you”
“I’ll carry you”
“Rest, here, in my arms”
Shaking and reeling from the trauma of the hours before, I packed a few things and left my home on Sept 9, 2011, returned the following week to gather “personal effects” and two weeks after that to get the furniture I wanted, following the granting of an Order of Protection.
By the end of September, YHVH had already done so much to give me the strength to carry on, to deal with the details… but the highlight of those first 30 days, was the day before the Day of Atonement – October 8 – almost exactly 1 month to the day after the “incident”.
The boys were with their dad & supervisor (my dad that weekend).
I was beginning to feel, to the core of my being. The hurt, the anger, the rage. So very angry.
Thanks to some dear friend’s encouragement, I found Cloud by Day/Fire By Night, downloaded both albums and danced/bounced/pounded my anger and yelling and retaliation and sobs out on the trampoline just outside my bedroom door. Two hours later, my broken heart was spent, and Yeshua wrapped His arms around me and held on tight while I cried… He took me down to the river to mikvah(wash) in the cold, take your breath away river, and I came up out of that water clean, and whole and so very much in Love with HIM!! Yeshua, my Redeemer, My Truest Husband!!!
Since that day, when He washed the pain away, there have, of course, been times of grieving and pain, when I beat on the steering wheel and yelled & cursed like a sailor at the invisible person in the seat beside me, or when, I just simply ached. However, Yeshua has held me thru it all, and has given me so, so much. This blog is really about Him, well, He and I and the incredible ways he’s tended my heart this past year.
This is, “My Stone of Remembrance”, my summary of His Goodness in my life this past year – These are my “bridal portraits” … the places of surrender, and the look of joy He gave me this year:
In mid-October, I said, “Yeshua, you’ve told me to let go, and I’m trying, but I don’t know how, show me how, walk me thru this”. By December I could see clearly the steps He’d taken to do just that.
There was my tallit – and all that it meant, which I blogged about here: http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-dz
In a nutshell, He told me it was a sign that He was my covering. He spoke the words of Exekiel 16:8 -14 over me.
When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love,
and I spread the ‘corner of my tallit’ (kanaph) over you and covered your nakedness;
I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord YAHWEH,
and you became mine.
There was the weekend that I heard from two different sources, my dear insightful brother, and my pastor with a vision, that I was to rest, rest in His arms. The call by His Spirit to my heart to sleep safely in His arms was immense, and the following picture sums up my heart’s desire in response to His call.
That same week, He led me to drop my online name (tho there have been a few places I’ve been unable to change it and still keep accounts open) and to take “Beloved of YHVH” as my moniker.
Blog on the week found here: http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-eg
Next, we were headed to AL, and He took me to the very place I’d taken up His call to be a missionary in my own home, to show His unconditional love, and He instructed me to let it go, to rest in Him. And, so I did, hidden away in the thicket between the cotton fields and the subdivision. Blog located here: http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-ey
The following weekend, I was in a funk. Irritable and pissy, ready to tear someone a new one…. With reason, but I didn’t want to stay there…. and wasn’t sure how to get out of it. He told me to go to Cherokee Lake, but on the way gave me the gift of laughter. I was driving past the flea market, and what a surprise to see, prominently featured, on the front row – a metal rooster. I burst out laughing, turned around, and came back, laughing all the way, to get a closer look. Ok – so if you don’t get it, go google “Bloggess (plus sign) metal rooster”. It’s crass, yes. It’s not ‘holy’… BUT, If you’ve ever had one (or many) of “those” arguments, you’ll laugh too, and you’ll wish for a metal rooster to leave on that “somebody’s” doorstep. AHhhhhh, still laughing, still wishing I had the $200 to spend on a big metal rooster.
That laughter was EXACTLY what I needed, and He knew it!!! It brought levity to my irritable, broken heart and was pure medicine.
After the laughter, I packed and went down to the lake. Yeshua hid His purposes from me. The gate to the main entrance was closed, but the gate to the dam was not, so, I drove down to the dam, and hiked back to the picnic area. And then, it hit me.
See, I was baptized in this lake the weekend before my 9th birthday. A little more than a month after my 19th birthday, he’d asked my hand in marriage in the parking lot, just above this lake. At some point, in my teens, the park had built a fishing pier, right across the place I’d been baptized, and after he proposed, we walked down to the pier, and committed our life together to the Lord. As I walked into the clearing, I viewed it all – the Lake, the Pier, the Parking Lot, and I knew…
I hung my hammock on the pier and then He led me to the parking lot to “Name” & speak what had taken place there those years before, what had been broken since, what was no longer now …
Next I walked “down the aisle” of the pier, the strains of “Beloved” wafting across the water, into Yehovah’s embrace, and, standing above the place where I’d first been baptized 28 years previously, we spoke our vows of commitment and love and resting and protection. Absolutely, positively breathtaking!
We danced to “Hallelujah”, I wrote, we talked, I napped in YHVH’s embrace, and as the light waned we danced again upon the pier to 10th Avenue North – Over and Underneath… ah, “Lovesick” – sweet sweet surrender.
My Heart – Full!!!
The following weekend, I found myself in the town where I’d first set up a home as a married woman. I was there for a memorial service, but I had time to kill, and so, He took me one more place, to say goodbye – to let go… The little cabin in the pines above the pond on the horse farm. Fond memories of early love, a white kitten, the mourning dove’s call, a brake job, early mornings by the little wood stove came rushing thru, along with the not so fond memories of the first fight, the old 67 wrecked, fire explosions…. Saying goodbye, letting go…
Next I drove to the lake mud flats – more memories of joy… more letting go…
As I walked across fields of winter wheat, I again, danced out the good, the bad, and most of all, my love for Yeshua. He truly had walked me thru “Letting go”
In Mid December I was yearning for even deeper unity with YHVH and began to wrestle with both doctrine of my upbringing on the “outpouring of the Holy Spirit”, AND the sinister forces that were not willing to “Let me go”… The winter and early spring of 2012 was good, and beautiful – study and prayer, and school and camping and Passover, a little boy’s birthday – all lovely and so very Good, but something was off.
Finally, in early May, I followed Ruach’s (Spirit) nudge to go up and ask for prayer while I was in TN, visiting my home church…
“I don’t even know what I’m asking for – I just, feel a catch in my spirit. Something is off…”
Friends gathered round, and began to pray, asking for direction, asking for answers… Their words were a balm to my heart. They were healing, as just the week before abusive messages had been given by one of the former in-laws, and YHVH knew I needed the affirmation to not accept those messages into my heart. The strum of guitar further soothed.
Once He’d started the healing there, He showed my pastor, clearly, what was holding me back. He named the spirits and strongholds loathe to let go. Dead on accurate. Yes! Exactly! Uhh-huh, that one too! Oh, yeah, that’s a big stronghold.
In the power of Yeshua’s life and death and resurrection, we broke them all, together. Ruach also told me to break soul ties with all the former family – oldest to youngest, and I did…
And in the Freedom He offered, with my little one in arms, I again danced it out before Him, and the fellowship – these witnesses to my life, to His freedom.
“There is power, in the blood of Jesus… Break every chain, … there’s an army, rising up”
Words of life were spoken – “The seed of the righteous is being/will be saved.”
Words & acts of healing enacted – “Removing the dagger of all the messages, and lies, and pain from your back, so that your heart can heal…” I saw them, the messages – like so many bits of computer code, go rushing out… I felt it, deep within. I took a deep breath of freedom and in full joy and tears of relief fell into the arms of the messenger.
Ahhhh, I can BREATHE!!!!!
Three days later, we sat, he and I, across from one another in the attorney’s office and signed our divorce agreement, the marital dissolution, and the “permanent parenting plan”. We are the required 90 days from that now, but the judge’s have been sick this summer, so court hearings have been moved forward, and, as yet, we don’t have a date so that the State can agree with us and make it “legal”, but for our part, it’s over.
The next evening, I again joined dear friends in fellowship. Again, deeply healing words of hope and life. Again, witnesses to my life, to His freedom. Promises from HIM of deeper intimacy.
Morning came, and I took “repossession” of my home in the mountains. As the shofar sounded, reverberated throughout the cottage, the memories, the strongholds of the abuses, the painful words and actions vanished and YHVH’s Voice, His Shalom, His presence settled into the very fiber of the 2×6 frame, concrete slab, metal roof and all within… as well as the trees and ground surrounding. His Resonance filled the entire property. Peace. A refuge once again. A refuge for the next occupant, a dear friend in need of a deeply safe place to be.
A week and a half later I was back in TN with my church family, and I shared my testimony with those dear witnesses, told them what they had not known the evening of our deliverance, and thanked them, profusely for their prayers. Several later came to me, speaking words of life of confirmation that they saw the change. That same evening – a conversation that would take me most of the summer to process, but which would take me deep into the choice to surrender to the timing and sovereignty of Yehovah with newly “available” parts of my heart. (Blog found here: http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-nF )
Pentecost came next, and with it – a new song on my heart to Yehovah and forgiveness. Forgiveness in just the right time, for, the following week, we met with longtime friends of the heart to talk thru the past, so that we could move forward, together as respectful & kind, divorced parents of two great boys. Hard, but Good – I walked away with Shalom knowing I’d said what YHVH needed said.
(Pentecost blogs start here – there are 6 : http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-lQ )
June was very full of much good and beautiful – all gifts from YHVH. A concert by longtime friends, hearing songs I’d only read in lyrics for the first time, several which had been birthed out of the community of our collective friendship. Learning more about the curriculum YHVH brought me to last year for my boys. A lot of travel highlighted by surprise stops to fellowship with Vineyard of Yahweh, my “home church”, several nights in our mountain home, short visits with dear friends, and time to spend with two of my sisters & their families, plus lots of drive time, on country roads that gave my heart space to think, process and continue healing. I do so love WV and TN country roads!
July was a hard month with illness & wrapping up accounting details to pass off, but still, YHVH’s sovereignty was in it all. Highlights included a week of classes for me for homeschooling, seeing my sister a bit, and a quick trip to celebrate new life with a dear friend. It ended with the joy of the birth of that expected, beautiful little girl, and the sadness of my Grandfather’s passing, but even that sadness was eclipsed by a deep Shalom of restored relationships, and the joy of knowing my prayers were thoroughly answered, and I was in the right place, at the right time, during his last week. I knew, going into July, that it was going to be a busy, can’t stop month, and I’m just so thankful that YHVH carried me thru it! Praise Him for the incredible Shalom with which it ended!!
Now, I’m in August. As is often, there’s lots to do, but boy, YHVH has been so good already! After the hard month of July, my Mom graciously gave me a weekend free, so I made a trip to TN, and it was perfect – the alone time, the fellowship time, sleeping in my own bed in my mountain cottage, time on “The” mountain balds – alone in the fog, and with friends in the beauty of lifted clouds and sunshine, the work, the rest… excellent, every bit.
Last week I began the process of catching my breath, and in catching my breath, I was reminded of the dates coming in the next month, but YHVH even had that in His perfect timing, and has given me what I needed to face today, and, the days ahead, with His grace, in the midst of whatever emotions come, and whatever healing takes place.
This weekend, I unexpectedly had the opportunity to visit another mountain, this one my “alma mater” of highland balds. While I was in Highschool, the first time we hiked into the area was in the fog and rain, which cleared, after sunset, but before we arrived at our planned camp site. We rounded the last bend and saw, ahead of us, what we knew had to be the “shining rocks” a huge outcropping of white quartz which glistened in the moonlight. At the end of the weekend, on a clear Sunday morning, we’d hiked out over the mountains (rather than around as we’d done coming in) – the top of each offered better and better views, and we were singing “Awesome God” the entire way out… Black Balsam was the last, the highest, the “baldest” … 360 degree views. The Parkway, Cold Mountain, Shining Rock, Waynesville Valley, Pisgah, Looking Glass, NC Piedmont… all visible. Absolutely gorgeous! So, when, my dad invited, and my boys’ father & supervisor were up for a sleepover I jumped at the chance to hang a hammock in the pines on the slopes of Balsam and get up with the sun. Wonderful Balm for my heart, even if I was sleep deprived! I hiked up to the peak as the sun was just putting color to the tops of the low lying clouds, and spent 3 hours and several hundred pictures enjoying the Master Artist’s handiwork. Pure Gift from YHVH!!!
Sunrise with Yehovah…….. breakfast with Dad 🙂
Yes, it’s been a year. It’s been hard. It’s been emotional.
(for a bit more on that, see Humanity Disclaimer – http://wp.me/p1Tc3u-ob )
It has, however, also been deeply good, deeply healing, and exactly what I needed. YHVH has been my Redeemer, My Wonderful Counselor, My Lover, My Friend, and My Confident.
I am my Beloveds, and My Beloved is Mine! HalleluYah!!