Preface to the Preface
I planned to post this on 12.31.13 on my sister’s birthday; I wanted my family to read this first…thus the delay…
– – –
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, so adjust the volume as needed…
As a writer/artist and mother, I choose to openly express my vulnerabilities, in order to give transformation — the way God comes into our lives — permission to change my heart.
I guess I can honestly say that 2013 has been a tremendous year filled with new challenges; in a nutshell, my heart has been through the shredder; if you gather and tape together all the pieces, I think this is what you would read….
I have recorded many instances where I have fought incredibly hard to be strong, in some instances (maybe all), I kept people an arm’s length away (okay, so maybe even hundreds of miles). This year, circumstances forced me to confront my insecurities and fears; I’ve learned more this year, than ever, that all things grow with love.
For years (well into adulthood), I couldn’t push through the victimization of my childhood, I always took pride in declaring that I was a survivor, but internally, I remained wrecked as a victim. Body paint made me a warrior, but my soul lost its ignition somewhere along the way. Loss homogenized itself in being lost, while attempting to turn the car around in more promising directions.
During therapy as a teen, I was told by my therapist, that it was up to me to break the cycle of abuse. For years, I never knew completely, what she meant, because I was caught up in blaming, rather than accepting the responsibility of taking ownership of my life. I basically designed a battleground with trenches, for my heart to hide while my soul searched for answers; I was completely immersed in muddied waters.
No matter what I achieved in my life, I kept returning emotionally, to the closet of my childhood; a safe haven for my wounded heart; time and time again, my fears filled years with unnecessary tears until I became camouflaged against the wall, my spirit sunken with insecurities; I was squeezed, dried and exfoliated with anxiety. Honestly, I have felt like a pile of rags, not even worthy of a rummage sale.
To overcome challenges, I learned how to thrive within muddy waters. I think the Son has a lot to do with that! Many times over, amazingly enough, at my own ground zero, I have felt the extraordinary generosity and compassion from people all around me, but the first time, I encountered growth, was in the embrace of my foster family, who loved me for me. They nurtured and provided me with a home, when I felt unlovable as a teenager.
I have learned to daily resign my fears and give my roots permission to become acquainted in the salutation of being entirely welcomed. Just as I was welcomed into a family 20 years ago. This is the lesson/gift I wish to pass on to my son….
All things grow with love . . .
On Christmas Eve of this year, I presented the women in our family with a necklace, which symbolized much more, than just a family tree. With children (too excited over gift-giving and receiving) in the room, I could hardly speak, I attempted to make a formal announcement, explaining the symbolism of the gift I was giving. I but I could not literally speak all the words, I wished to speak, so, here they are . . .
. . . this year is a special year; it’s the 20th anniversary of an important day in my life. I wish to take this moment to celebrate a life-changing conversation that took place at a winter retreat held in Ripley, West Virginia; we sat around a 6ft table and you changed the course of my existence through your open invitation to join your family; your decision to love me, enabled the transformation of a fragile young girl into a strong woman. Nearly 21 years ago in 1993, you opened your hearts and invited me to become your daughter and sister.
During my personal struggles this past year, I have been reminded repeatedly, about your gift of family. My heart is filled with gratitude for the decision you made to love me, when my own biological family rejected me. The circle of family is truly, never-ending, which has given us the awesome opportunity to grow in love. The tree has many branches, for we have grown both in love, and in numbers, including the arrival of five grandsons (Papa’s basketball team). Through all the seasons, for many years, no matter what, you have nurtured my faith to withstand all the stormy seasons of life (did you notice, that the leaves are still intact?) Again, my heart is filled with gratitude and I am thankful for the love that has grown between all of our hearts (especially between all the cousins) – I am so thankful to be a member of this family!
I love you.