The Faithbook

A place of writing and reflection…

For the First Time in Forever

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And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

—Psalm 1:3 (Amplified Version)

No, I’m not about to sing the song from Frozen, though thanks to my eighteen-month-old I can quote most of the movie every time we play it for her. (If she were old enough I’m sure she would too.)

No, I’m talking about a different first time in forever.

Well…maybe not forever.

But it has been long enough.

I’m talking about a home visit.

You see for those of you who may not know I currently reside in the Show Me State of Missouri in a growing farming community. But I’m not from here and neither is my husband.

We’re actually from the good ol’ Lone Star State of Texas—where yes, everything is bigger. Even the highways.

Living in our portion of Missouri we’ve adapted to the country life—gravel roads and lowly two lane highways. This is the place we’ve grown to call home; where we went to Bible college, married, and where both of our daughters were born—so far.

But about eleven hours south in the big city of Dallas is where our roots begin. It’s been about five years since I moved here and six for my husband, Charles, and yet another three years since we last set foot on Texas soil.

It’s not that we don’t like to visit. It’s just expensive.

Back when we were single, about a couple hundred would get one of us there and back if you planned right. But when you’re married that cost has almost triples and so we put off planning any kind of trips for the most part.

This year after finding out we were pregnant with our second child we decided to try and look at travel costs to visit. Turns out the cheapest way to get there is a rental. Forget flying! We would just have to plan ahead and save up to cover the cost.

We planned for November to have an early Thanksgiving with familia and for grandpa’s birthday party.

When the week finally came we packed up and headed out after much pain of getting our reserved rental and ever so fortunately upgraded. (Ford Escape we miss you!) We gave up on the Tomtom and ended up using our phones and after getting turned around we finally made it—crying children and all.

We were occupied most of the time between kids and familia and of course both the girls got passed around to everyone (when our oldest wasn’t crying from her disrupted schedule or teething pain).

But it was good. I wanted to pull my hair a couple of times, but it was good.

We spent about a week there and towards the end, the question came up as it had before our trip if we, or I, wanted to go see my side of the family.

The side I haven’t seen in five years.

The side I left on not-so-good-terms to save myself from the growing danger of a violent brother.

The side that had written me off—for the most part—due to my great sin of leaving them (in their opinion at at the time).

Since moving I have had very limited conversations with my mother who only recently has become more and more open—even if only for the fact that she now has two grandchildren. My grandmother, whom I haven’t heard a peep from since leaving, also seems happy in regards to her great-grandchildren though neither had ever met them.

I wouldn’t mind seeing them, but then again I could also be content without a visit.

It’s not that I’m say this out of anger or a grudge. Don’t get me wrong. I just don’t want to put myself—or our children—through what I went through there.

But we did go visit the house the last night we were there before the long drive back.

Going there, however, brought a spirit with it I really haven’t missed.

It’s only three blocks from grandma’s house, but the change in atmosphere in just that distance is incredibly noticeable.

Yet it wasn’t enough to make my heart jump out of my chest and make me run away.

We turned the corner and three houses down we pulled into the driveway.

The street was quiet and dark except for the dim street lights, but more than that it felt dark.

Looking at that old house, things felt even lonelier than I remembered.

The mailbox had been moved from the fence to the street. One car sat in a dark, almost depressing, yard. The windows to the front porch were now covered by a big white wall making things all the more shut-down in appearance.

The lack of light—of spirit and not just the street lamps— was heartbreaking.

I say this because I am the only living Christian on my side of the family that I know of. My mother knows of God, but she doesn’t know Him. She has an idea of what Christians mean by the word salvation, but that’s about it. The only other Christians in my family passed away years ago.

Standing in the yard while I knocked on the door and waited for an answer—almost sure there would be none as there had been during our engagement—it was sad.

Anything that had been good there seemed to have been sucked out. Like a big black hole it was gone. I couldn’t help but feel it.

After a few attempts at knocking, the door was finally answered by my brother and I quickly asked for my mother by name.

(Even with my husband there to protect me I was not about to deal with the one who had aflickted me most—not because of hatred. Or anger. More like caution.)

I’d much rather avoid confrontation with two children present.

He went back inside and within a few moments my mother came out with a look that she wanted to cry. We talked for a bit and she went inside to get something she had wanted to send our oldest for Christmas.

When she came back out my grandmother was with her who walked right up and hugged my husband!

That was a surprise to me.

She’s not the type of woman to do that with someone she feels wronged her.

My mother gave us a crocheted doll that had once been mine for the girls. Our oldest was asleep in her car seat, but they did get to see the youngest up close.

All in all it was a good, brief visit.

I left feeling kind of sad for them. Not that I pity them in the sense that I’m so much better.

Of course I’m not!

It’s just sad that they still don’t get it.

IT being the God I serve. The God who saved me out of a mess of circumstances. Who saved me from my depressed and often suicidal teen years. Who brought me to a different place where I could grow and mature in a way that was found lacking there (even though most of the time I don’t feel as though I have even grown an inch).

But what they do see, hopefully, is a daughter, though far away, trying her best to serve God in this life and raise a family away from the muck and mire I had to face there.

And only in Him can I do so.

Now if I would always remember that.

Copyright The Faithbook 2014

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In Mosul, ISIS militants marked with a spray-painted ن (the Arabic letter for “N”) all Christian property to be seized after the ultimatum. “N”, or ن​, is the first letter of the Arabic word for Christian, “Nasrani” or Nazarene. #pray4thepersecuted

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