Life is a Dance

Life is a dance Part 1

It isn’t easy to put yourself out there.  To be transparent to the world, to share all the ugly places that brought me to where I am today.  I find it so amazing that most of the people God chose to use were the very one’s society would quickly cast away.  These people weren’t the perfect idea of a “good Christian”.  The same ones we would turn our nose up at today   God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  So, I shouldn’t find myself in complete surprise that God is taking this modern-day, hot mess, post-fire burned, and refined out of the ashes mom, using me to impact the lives of others for His kingdom.  We can plan and plan all day long.  We can envision how we think our life will play out.   It never really works out the way we see it in our minds.  How many of us as small children remember the dreams, we held close and dear for our future? 

It wasn’t an easy childhood in our home.  On the outside of most families, it looks like the perfect nuclear family.  Well, it was nuclear in our home alright. We never knew when the bomb was going to explode.  I have searched and searched to find something good from my childhood.  I can’t remember finding that place of complete security.  As a young girl, I took many dance classes.  I would find myself getting lost in the music and the rhythm.  I could escape the pain, even if it was for just a moment in time.

The early years of my life were rooted in an alcoholic father and mother who was a classic enabler.  It created a longing for the “normal” family. The families like we would watch on TV. I grew up in a suburb of Dayton Ohio.  Back then it was a smaller town.  We were in one of the first neighborhoods to be developed.  It was suburbia at its finest with a great school system.  For that, I am thankful even though I couldn’t experience the full benefit of a great education.  My mother is an A+ triple gold star in my book.   She did the best she could considering the circumstances of chaos in our home.

 I have vivid memories of my older brother, younger sister and myself in my room many nights, crouched down as we heard the screaming tirades of our father throughout the house. All was OK until the drunken God entered the home and sent everyone to the gates of hell.  If we bowed down to his will, we wouldn’t be the target of his tirade.  We were not allowed to show any emotions.

 I was always so exhausted from lack of sleep.  I always managed to get in trouble many days at school for talking so much.  I think that was my way of releasing the pressure cooker emotions consuming me. That didn’t leave much room for learning and the great education I was supposed to be getting.

  I didn’t realize at the time how deeply those decisions in our home impacted me for many years into my life.   A child growing up in a house with a substance abuser becomes a survivor.  Every day is a challenge to get through.  Each of us had to fall into our role.  Mine was rebellion.  Maybe that is why it took me so long to learn to bow down to my Lord and savior. 

 Strong-willed and stubborn as a mule, so they said.  By the time I reached the age of thirteen, I was completely out of control and wild as a deer.  There wasn’t much I was afraid of doing.  Adrenaline was like a drug to my soul.   As I look back over the years and the events of my life, I can see how those attributes have helped me through many difficulties in my lifetime, some due to my own choices and decisions. It was the choices of others that have brought the most devastation in my life.  I have suffered abuse, physical and emotional at the hands of those I was supposed to trust.  My track record in relationships was not exactly the best. It is extremely difficult to hear those words from your own son.  I guess if I went down the list of the ten commandments, I am guilty of disobeying many of them.  Children learn from their parents.  Our behavior as a parent affects children far more than we realize.  “Like father, like son” is not just a simple tossed about cliché.  Experience proves many children follow the lifestyles of their parents.  Making the same errors or achievements generation after generation.

Children growing up in dysfunctional substance abuse homes become selfish in order to survive the home.  How then do we become selfless after years of selfishness?  How do you break the chains and end the curses?

He loves for you to live in fear.  He keeps control when you are in fear.  Anger and hurt give him power.  He loves the power to destroy all that is good.  He can’t say I love you for he doesn’t even know what love is.  He tries to kill the light with the darkness and the cold.  He has the power to make you and your heart so hard, so cold.  He created a hatred within me that burned to my very core.  On the outside to some I appeared to be full of life and laughter on the inside was a darkness that was so overwhelming, and I was drowning in it.  I didn’t know what that darkness was that lived in our home.  I didn’t have a name for it.  All I knew was, I needed to run hard and fast to stay away from it, yet I kept finding myself right back in it, time and time again. The darkness just had a different face.

Today I know what that darkness is, and I can name it.  It is evil at the deepest level and is the enemy of our soul.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil ruler’s and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians 6:12        

Life is a Dance part 2

I have chosen to share my background because the battle doesn’t just start at the gate of war.  Sometimes the warzone isn’t in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan but right within the four walls of our home. Many of you may be fighting addiction or have children that battle with addictions. Maybe you have suffered abuse at the hands of others. What you need to know is there is a battle for our hearts.  This is a battle between good and evil.  Between right and wrong.  The battlefield is littered with a myriad of deeply wounded and hurt human beings

 We can’t change our yesterdays, all we have is our today.  I have had some people say to me “but it is too late the damage is done”. My friend, I am here to tell you that it is never too late.  We can’t change the hearts of others but what we can do is change our own heart.  It seems whenever I get to a place where I am struggling with difficulty, my mind wants to take a giant step backward into the black abyss of pain.

 That is an attack from the enemy.  He wants us to live in a place of fear, bitterness, and unforgiveness.  Bitterness will cost you your life purpose, your fellowship with God and your loved ones.  We have to step out of bitterness at all costs.  We MUST trust God to do the battle for us.  You may ask how in the world can I do that?  Believe me, I existed in that place for many years.

We have to find that forgiveness for the one (s) that hurt us.  There is a misconception that if we forgive someone who hurt us, that they got away with it.  It took me years to understand that forgiveness was for my own healing. When we harbor bitterness and refuse to forgive, we become our own persecutors. You see, forgiveness = freedom.

I was finally able to come to that place of forgiveness and release the bitterness I held toward my father. Jesus said we have to forgive others, as we have been forgiven. He said I will take your burden and give you back light.  You need to release it to him and trust him because there is no one else that can fix it.

  My father and I were able to develop a relationship in the last years of his life. He found his relationship with the Lord and started attending church. Several years ago, he developed dementia, losing much of his memory.  Last September, I sat with him in a memory care unit just before I left to come home. I hugged my father; told him he was a good dad and that I loved him.  With tears in his eyes, he looked up at me sharing these final words that I would hear: I love you too, Beverly, you know that don’t you? A few weeks later he passed away.

Psalms 139:14 tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. My father’s choices in life were the result of unforgiveness and bitterness from his childhood. No one ever told him he was fearfully and wonderfully made. I am grateful I was able to humble myself, step into his shoes and have empathy and mercy and remember I was bought at a very high price. We can continue the generational curses we have no control over, or we can choose to break that chain and offer a better life to our children and grandchildren

The best part is God knows all the facts of your situation.  He can make something of great value come from all your pain.  That is where faith comes in. Faith is not just a casual word to be tossed around. Faith is much deeper than what my perception of it was.  Faith is an unusual measure of trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 What I did not know was God was right there with me all along.  God also sees things much different than we can ever imagine.  If we could see all He has planned it would completely blow our minds.  As I look back over the events of my life, I can see God right there with me in my messy places.  Even though I didn’t have that personal relationship with Him, he was never far away. He always has his hand out.  Some people are raised knowing His love and presence.  Others find Him in the bumps in the road.  I found Him in the pit, the war zone, and the darkest tragic time of my life. It was there I heard his voice and found the truth.  I am thankful I have surrendered my life to the Lord to use however He sees best.

My question to you, would you know God’s voice if he spoke to you?

I am looking forward to the next miracle God has for me, in the meantime, I will enjoy this dance.

But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. ~ Phillippians 3:13-14

©Copyright 2019 Beverly Shoemaker

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