Wednesday 22 November 2023

Hope at Thanksgiving

My amazement never ceases at how completely our Heavenly Father is involved with the minutest details of our lives; preparing us for the tough times - often far in advance - even if we are unable to see it. I was ready at the first of last week to write my reflections on the sacrifices and difficulties that so many of our ancestors endured during the first few Thanksgivings in America when, if they were truly fortunate, they were living in one-room log houses with no electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, adequate bedding and clothing and only a fireplace to keep them warm. Each day was a struggle for survival and each meal put on the table was both challenging and most likely somewhat unpalatable since they only had the herbs and vegetables they were able to grow and the wild meat they were able to kill in an untamed wilderness. 

Unless they were in a small colony where cabins were built close together, they had few neighbors and were continually fighting with Indian tribes whose greatest desire was to destroy them for invading their land and taking away their way of life. Preparing fields for crops must have been a nightmare since the ground itself was overgrown and untamed and their tools almost nonexistent. They had to rely wholly on God for sun, moisture and protection from wild animals and Indian uprisings so they could produce even enough to subsist on.While painters provide works of art depicting joyous meals where tables were laden with food and peaceful Indians stood watch, I doubt many of the early American frontiersmen and settlers enjoyed such moments. 

Life was hard and each day was a struggle. But they had what so many of us lack in this day of indulgence and waste - a cohesive and loving family unit with an original father, mother and children working together to provide the necessities of life. We may claim that we have come a long way, and I suppose we have when it comes to the material possessions and the ease modern life has to offer, but I fear our abandonment of the values of home, family and country that once made this land so powerful and great have eroded to the point where it is almost unrecognizable to those of us who may be in our twilight years but still clearly remember what it was like to grow up with strong Christian values.

I thank my Heavenly Father each day for the blessings He has given me, along with the trials that cause me to draw closer to Him because there is no place else to go. I suppose that's why my original post was never written. The past week has caused to me look at life in a different way as my emotions have been like a pingpong ball bouncing hither and yawn with the slightest movement of the air. It started on Monday the thirteenth when I listened to a message given by Glenn Beck that can be found on YouTube under the title America - A covenant Nation. It was powerful and well worth watching and helped prepare me for the bombshell that would be dropped the next day.

I was on my way home from running a few errands when I got a phone call from my son saying that he and his wife needed to talk to me. I could either come to their house or they would come to me. Since I was already in the car, I turned it towards the mountains as soon as I could and headed in their direction. All I could think about was what I may have done to upset them because I tend to express my thoughts and opinions more than I should. But the haggard look on my son's face let me know that this was far bigger than anything I might be steeling myself for. 

The two dogs that are so often in my home came running to sit beside me - the youngest one jumping on my lap and trying to lick my face before my son could get his first word out. You know those moments when your head starts to swim and everything around you seems to be floating in an almost tangible mist? That's how I felt as he told me that my ex-husband was going to be arrested on Thursday and they wanted to tell me why before I heard it from someone else. 

Now many of you have read my earlier posts where I talked about his cruelty towards me during the years we were married and how ill-equipped I was to handle it. His insensitivity, quick temper and lack of emotional support made life truly miserable and our home was anything but a peaceful and happy abode. I worked like a slave to help him acquire what he wanted, abdicating my own desires and dreams so everything would look perfect on the outside. His need to be admired and respected by others was always foremost in his mind and when things went wrong he was quick to the point his finger at someone else.

That's why what I was about to learn was a surprise, but somehow not a shock since our greatest flaws are often our biggest downfalls. Sparing you the gruesome details that are so stuck in my mind I feel like vomiting most of time, he was being charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor for sexual molestation of minors within his own family - my granddaughter along with three step-granddaughters and a stepdaughter. My son was the only one willing to take a stand. His step siblings just wanted to look the other way so they didn't have to become involved. And my ex-husband's wife was livid because everyone was making too much of minor indiscretions that would destroy her comfortable way of living.

Words cannot express the range of emotions I went through during the couple of hours we sat in that still living room with fall decorations all around on the floor waiting to be put away and talked about hideous truths most families will unfortunately have to address at some point. And it's all due to the fact that so many people have turned away from God and embraced the philosophies of Satan that are so aptly administered by both men and women in the name of social progress. The evilness in our world today may be wrapped in nice pretty packages called by many different names but they all point to the same thing; the destruction of the family unit, reducing the worldwide population and enslaving those who are still free. 

I can't help but surmise that we have surpassed, and many times over, the vileness and depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah, and yet we as Christians know it will only get worse until the Savior returns. What side will we be on when that time comes? Fear, uncertainty and the constant influx of ideologies that are counter to everything good and wholesome will not stop now that Satan's full power had been unleashed in a world so willing to accept it. I had an uncle in the fifties and sixties who was a crossdresser and had been arrested for indecent exposure. Of course, we didn't know anything about that until we were adults because people understood back then that sexual deviance was a mental illness with side effects too grossly inhumane to even be discussed. Now those who violate human decency are applauded by certain like-minded groups who understand only too well that they will never be prosecuted because so many of the people in positions of authority are doing the same thing and they will do absolutely anything imaginable not to get caught.

Certain ones of us in the family are sickened by what has happened. And our agony is not lessened by the slow-moving arm of justice because  what we are enduring has become so common. The courts in our county is so backlogged with similar cases that a preliminary hearing is three or four months out, and if my ex does not do the decent thing and confess to his crimes when that time comes a trial will be two, three or more years in the future. While a no-contact order is in place he didn't even spend a night in jail. The uncertainty of what will happen and the amount of time involved only intensifies the pain and anguish of beautiful young girls and teenagers who have been irrevocably scared because of an old man's disgusting behavior. 

And I will never be rid of the concern that he may have done the same thing to other young girls while we were married, and that includes my own daughter who as yet can only say that she felt uncomfortable around him at times but has almost complete memory loss when it comes to her childhood. My son said the same thing about not being able to remember, and that's my story too. That should tell me all I need to know about the quality of life in a home I wanted to make memorable and happy for the children I prayed so long to have. It has also awakened my own recollections of being molested by my violin teacher when 10 and 11. The only real difference is that my mother wouldn't believe me. My granddaughter has a strong support system who will help all they can but the work of recovery and healing always remains a personal journey.

So here I sit at my computer a week after such a devastating blow was dropped feeling very grateful that as of yet no one has fallen completely apart. My son even sounded a little better when I talked to him last night. I am so proud of him for having the courage to protect his daughter even if it meant others believing that he was responsible for his own father's arrest. The truth is that the situation was taken out of his hands the minute my granddaughter confided in someone else. But my strong, compassionate son has been given no choice other than suffering for the actions of a man he still loves, even though he knows that what he did was totally reprehensible and deserving of any retribution he gets.

Where any of us go from here remains to be seen. We're each taking it one day, and even one moment, at a time. In ways, I feel vindicated for leaving my husband nearly thirty years ago. I promised myself that I would never say anything bad about him then and I have no intention of  broadcasting any of this now. My anger still makes the tears flow and my heart feel like it's a huge lump of lead inside my chest, but even under these horrific circumstances I am not the judge. Only God knows an individual's heart, and I left my life in His hands when I walked away from marriage and lost nearly every friend I had because I didn't tell my side of the story. I just wanted to protect my children from any backlash I could. In many ways, I pity the man who let the praise of men and women consume his life. I hope he will take responsibility for his actions now, but that's up to him.

My hope lies in the truth that our Savior atoned for each of us individually; feeling every pain and sorrow. Our sins truly are graven in the palms of His righteous hands. He will forgive, but we must do our part and the path to full repentance is rocky and rough. I have been on that path often during my life, but I can attest to the glorious peace that comes when one battle for righteousness is fought and won. My prayer for this Thanksgiving is one of hope, love and redemption. We must be in this world but not of it if we want to make it back to our God who created us and loves us with every fiber of His heart. 

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