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It pains me each time I think about it.  My husband says his earliest childhood memory is being in his back yard playing at the age of three.  Because of his father’s alcoholism, by the time David was two and a half years old, his parents had divorced and his mother had remarried.

On this particular day an innocent three-year-old’s playtime was interrupted by the sound of angry voices and his mother’s cries for help.  His father, fueled by  alcohol and strong emotions, had made a surprise visit in the middle of the day.  What had begun as an argument between the two adults had quickly escalated into a physical attack upon his mom.  “Help!  Somebody call the police.  He’s going to kill me!” was the cry he heard.  

Running to the back door to try and save his mother was a desperate and frightened  little boy who try as he would, could not open the screen door which had been locked from inside.  The rest of the events of that day are unclear, but the picture and the feelings of panic and helplessness standing outside that door have never left his mind.  He says that perhaps a neighbor called the police to calm the situation but all he remembers are the screams and the door.

 “Help!  Somebody call the police.  He’s going to kill me!”

Oddly enough, my first vivid memory is also in my backyard and also around the age of three or four.  My sister and I had been swinging on our new swing set, one of the inexpensive metal types, not the sturdy wooden ones that are now popular.  

We kept pumping our legs harder, leaning back farther and making ourselves go higher and higher.  Finally the swing set, which had been tipping further the higher we ascended, fell all the way over, spewing us onto the ground.  Initially stunned, when we realized we were alright we began laughing uncontrollably.  It was the first of a thousand adventures we would share together throughout the years.

I am struck by the intense irony of these early childhood recollections my husband and I have which occurred at around the same age in our own respective back yards.  For one of us the experience represents a fond and carefree moment.  For the other the memory is marked by pain and trauma.  The irony I find is that while very different, that initial memory etched in each of our minds was a tiny foretelling of passions that would drive us as adults.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than encouraging women.  I love to laugh with them, play with them, sometimes cry with them but mostly I love to see them walking in free expression of their God given destinies upon this earth.

I have served on the board of directors of a local women’s shelter, have chaired and worked on fund raising events for their needs and have volunteered hundreds of hours helping these battered and abused women and their children find a better and happier way to live.

I have taught parenting classes for moms who are transitioning out of the prison system and trying to regain custody of their little ones.  Always aware that given the right set of circumstances and the wrong set of choices, any of us could find ourselves in a less than desirable situation, I wanted to help them set their sights higher than they had in the past.

 That initial memory etched in each of our minds was a tiny foretelling of passions that would drive us as adults.

My desire to elevate women has crossed cultural barriers when I have visited and helped teach women in other countries like India, Belize, and Guatemala.  I have spoken at women’s conferences, luncheons, banquets and teas.  But the MOST fun for me is when I just get to be a friend.  Sharing the delight of that experience  is for me the grown up version of my back yard swing.  I deeply value the richness female friendships add to my life and encourage those relationships among other women on every occasion I can.

My husband, the three-year-old who could not save his mom, has literally spent his life saving people.  Deciding early on that he wanted to become a doctor, he later chose the field of psychiatry as his specialty.  During his years of practice, he told me the other day, he has seen over 30,000 patients.  Some were alcoholics, like his own father.  Others were the frightened child he had once been.  And many in between were just plain weary from dealing with difficult situations or chronic mental illness.  By offering hope and health to those struggling with various issues, he has literally saved numerous families, marriages and yes, even lives.  

My husband, the three-year-old who could not save his mom, has literally spent his life saving people.

I so admire the work he has done and continues to do.  And I love that he took a painful situation in his own life and allowed God to weave it into the fabric of his future to create a beautiful covering of comfort and caring for those in need.

God does that you know.  He takes ALL of it, the good, the bad and even the ugly and somehow uses it all for good purposes when we give ourselves to Him.  He took my childhood marked by joy and has made me passionate about mentoring, teaching and encouraging women around me to live a life they will love!

He takes ALL of it, the good, the bad and even the ugly and somehow uses it all for good purposes when we give ourselves to Him.

He took my husband’s early childhood wounds and used them equally as well.  Nothing is wasted or worthless if we ask the Creator to assign it significance.  I have been meditating on the words found in Ecclesiastes 3:11 for the past few days.  It reads, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Scripture says that our beautiful world filled with mountains, river streams and trees was once “void and without form”.  The next time you view a breath taking vista, remind yourself that if God can create such beauty from sheer darkness and void, He surely can create something beautiful from what you bring to Him as well.