“He (God) takes all our impurities and breaks them apart to make them useful to God’s Kingdom. God filters our fears and doubts just like the boiler distills petroleum products. This spiritual refining process is a wonderful example of ‘when we are weak He is strong.’
Carla McDougal, author/encourager!
He’s been doing something in me for the past three years. 2007 felt like the end. I had so many questions and few answers; more tall tales than truth. Yet, it was just the beginning for me and I grew stronger as I learned more about God and the whys in my life. That path attracted me to broken families.
Broken families have always drawn me like a puzzle with missing pieces. If only, I think, they had that missing piece to make a complete picture. Children don’t understand when parents divorce. I didn’t understand, and still don’t, the anger and thirst to get back at each other. We’re so used to divorce in this culture. We don’t even blink when someone says, “I’ve been married twice, three times, or I’m getting a divorce.” As I talked about in a past blog on marriage, I believe our views on marriage affect our relationship with God. We’re like Israel in Gideon’s time, but we’re worshiping ourselves, our accomplishments, and we think that we can do no wrong. For a long time, I felt a growing need to tell my story. I’m not about to go on Oprah and point fingers at my mom or anyone else. That would be an injustice.
Women of Faith is having a contest for new writers. The prize is huge. But it’s not the prize that really motivates me. There are some aspects of my story I am forbidden to mention, and those details will not appear in my book. It took me three years to get my testimony right; coincidentally, it took me that long just to grow from the person I had become to the person that I am today. It was a long and painful process. Friends walked away. Relatives walked away. Lies took the place of truth. Depression hit me for months. My weight problems were only exacerbated by the stress.
I first wrote my testimony in 2008. I thought I had forgiven my mom, even my dad, but as more information came my way and as more alarming things began to happen, I realized how I had begun to think of myself as a victim. This victim thought paralyzed me and kept me from growing. In 2009, I rewrote my testimony, exactly two years after my mother left along with my step dad and siblings. In rereading 2008, I realized how much I tried to justify and how much I attempted to campaign even in my own private words. 2009 was a better copy. Less finger-pointing and more inner exploration occurred. I came to know that forgiveness isn’t about reconciliation, but about a long process mixed with tears and anger. In 2010, I sat in front of them at a friends wedding and realized that I had finally forgiven my mother and her family. I felt no anger, a little fear, and pity. I faced the dragons in my life and lived to make better decisions.
I am submitting a book whose intent and motivations aren’t to villanize anyone, but to tell my story how my daddy issues were really about my issues with God. I had looked for Him all of my life and didn’t actually realize Him in truth until 2002. It is a journey and that journey still hasn’t stopped for me. It never will stop, but will continue for the rest of my life. I’ve lost almost 34 pounds, made better choices in my life, and realized that all of my why questions may never find answers. All of the puzzles pieces may never fit. I have a Heavenly Father who always loved me right where I was in both my bad and good decisions. I suffered great fear and many doubts until fear left me. I still feel some fear and doubt in that I don’t know how this book will affect people. I have felt driven since October to write it. Even in my sleep, I write it. I look at the world and know it’s silly to think my words could have any effect, but I pray (and hope you do, too) that I win the grand prize or find a traditional publisher who will put it out on the market. I step out in faith and prayer.
The book is about my journey—how I felt, what I did, and how the circumstances around me affected me. The few people who have all ready read my manuscript have been positively affected by it. One person’s comments made me think and evaluate my past in ways I hadn’t done yet. I write, not from a wound, but from a healing journey. Many people have been steadfast in standing by my side, some simply loving me from the sidelines and not taking sides. Some names have been changed or are composites of a true person or happening. I hope you will support me in this and understand that my desire to help broken families stems from a healing soul; that is the only way to write a testimony or a life story. Some may feel hurt or anger towards me after reading it, and others might be helped. Maybe this story will never get published, that it is God’s intent to use this to help others in my circle of acquaintances and friends. Whatever I did in my life was my choice and I am responsible for my choices. This particular chapter in Reflecting Him affected me. God has done so much in my life that I want others to see Him in it, too. When she asked the question,“Is faith active or passive?” it struck me. I even wrote that down.
I can’t sit from the sidelines anymore. There are so many hurting people with festering wounds living in a culture where anger and self-justification are acceptable; where living on the whims of ones feelings are normal and discouraged is self-accountability. Only God can change hearts. I want God’s glory to show in my weaknesses as it also states in Judges 7:2-3. If this means no publishing contract, but that it helps the wounds of others heal, then I am content. Helping broken families have become a passion. The people God has put in my path have shown me this. The fact that I couldn’t stop writing this book proved to me I needed to write it.
Pray for it. Pray for me. I’m not sure what God’s plans are for this manuscript from this point. The due date for the book contest is January 15. I love how it has all ready impacted two people and improved the relationship with one. It’s all ready working and it isn’t even in print yet.