Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't think I have it in me to do again...

Sometimes when you are a pastor, you get called on to do really, really tough things. There was a time, over ten years ago that a grandmother in our church got a court order that gave her custody of her two grand kids. Her daughter and the daughter's boyfriend were hooked on drugs and the grandmother took action.

This was a tough decision for the grandmother. She felt she had no choice.

So she asked Victor (and me) to help her take the kids. Police officers would be with us in case things got out of hand.

Backing up a bit... When Victor was a young man and stopped being a full time rock 'n roller, he worked for a time as a 'bug-man'. He had a regular route and every few months would go to this grandmothers' house and treat it for bugs. At the time the daughter was a young girl and Victor talk to her a bit and made friends with both of them. The daughter always liked Victor.

Now back to the story... 10 years later:

The date and time were set when we were to go and get the kids. It would be a 'surprise' kind of thing.

Victor and I drove over to the apartments to meet the grandmother and the police. On the way there, we started praying. I asked the Lord to "Please let the parents be asleep." I kept thinking of the story in Acts 16 when Paul and Silas were in prison and the guards fell asleep and the jail doors opened up etc.

*Queue up the racing-heart sound*

Grandmother (with the police men wearing bullet proof vests) goes to the door and knocks. The two young children answer the door. Grandmother says "Hi sweeties, open the door I'm here to pick you up." The kids were happy to see her. She takes them and the police go inside.

"Mom! Don't take my kids!!" The daughter actually was asleep and woke up and figured out what was going on. She was now screaming and crying and kept saying over and over "Mom, don't take my kids! PLEASE!"

The two kids screamed and cried and said that they wanted their mother.

The daughter sees Victor and is stunned. The police hold back the boyfriend. One of the officers has searched the house and he comes out and says "There are no beds for the kids. No food in the kitchen and the place is a mess."

Victor hugs the daughter and tells her that it's going to be 'OK' and that the kids needed a safe place to live until she get her life back together. She just weeps.

As this whole thing winds down, we head back to our car. When we get in, I burst out in tears and have a good cry. I could not get the anguish of the mom and her kids out of my mind and cried the whole way home.

I thank God that I haven't had to do that again.

What brought this story to mind was that Victor said to me this week, while we were driving around, "What was the name of that grandmother that lived out in this area?" I told him her name. I hadn't thought of her in years. So right there, we prayed for her. I hope she, her daughter and precious grand kids are doing well. The kids would be in their late teens now.
God bless them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Jonah Day

Last Saturday started out as a Jonah Day. You know the kind of day where everything goes wrong.

I had come home from running errands and saw our Bradley in the window and thought that he should come outside to go potty. I was with him in our front yard when a bicyclist came riding by and suddenly, Bradley took off after him!
Then I realized why.
The guy had a leash and his big bulldog was running along side him. Bradley came at him like a torpedo and startled the big dog. Yikes! The bulldog defended himself and Bradley was getting chomped on. Oh, the yelping! (screaming?)

After the man got a better grip on his dog and was smacking him, the dog let go of Bradley. I won't forget the sight of Bradley hanging from the big dog's mouth. I thought "If he dies, it is my fault because I didn't watch him close enough."

Bradley ran up to our front porch all muddy and shaken.

I apologized to the guy. I should have had Bradley on a leash even though it was just out front.

I let Bradley in the house and took him up to our bathroom and started the bathtub. Ugh! He had literally gotten the poop scared out of him and I just now noticed it. He shook out the mud, etc. all over the bathroom and I was NOT HAPPY.

A little knocking on our screen door. I see the bulldog owner. He is hoping that Bradley is ok. I think he is. I didn't see any blood so far. The man's name is Spencer and he lives on the next block. He tells me his dog is still a puppy and is caught up on all of his shots. Nice guy.

Victor came home soon, told me to "go shopping" and, thankfully, took over and cleaned Bradley up plus the bathroom :)

I then got in the car to go to the Downtown Mall. An accident was on the side of the highway and a woman had her hands on her head like she was just shocked. I thought to myself how I still felt shaken and jittery. I kept seeing Bradley getting bitten and me not able to do anything about it.

My exit was backed up and I thought it was because of the accident. Cars were entering in trying to get on the freeway, while others, like myself, were trying to exit. It was kind of a strange weaving in and out of cars. We were all going about 5mph.


I was hit from behind-Oh! I pulled over to the side and the other car did too. We got out and talked. They wanted to see if I was ok. I was and so was my car. Again, no harm done. Just startled.

It is about this time that I start thinking about our "Adversary." I am not the sort that believes the Devil is everywhere, yet his job is to get us distracted and discouraged. I thought about that for a while. Thankfully though, the rest of the day was really good!

Next day at church our pastor was speaking and talked about the 'whole armour of God' Eph 6:10-20. Especially about the 'shield of faith'.
He said "I'm talking about the large shields like the Romans used. After all, do you get tiny arrows coming at you?!"

I like that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Abuse and Healing

Victor and I went to a neat couples' house for dinner tonight. We had a great time talking and catching up. Then our conversation turned to our past experience leaving the old church we all had belonged to.

Victor and I helped to pastor a church for a long time. It was really the only church I had known since becoming a Christian at age 13--the only church our kids had known. It went bad, actually had been bad for quite a few years, but it was getting worse. When Victor confronted some things that really needed to be changed, the other leaders turned it around and blamed Victor. Blamed us. We had to go, that much was clear.

Thus we were launched, broken-hearted out into the unknown....

It was the BEST thing that could have happened to us!!

Through all the tears and pain, and, even great sickness, I can say "Thank you Lord for bringing us through!"

It is a classroom I never want to sit in again. I think I have learned my lesson.

It is strange that we even talked about this subject with our friends. Earlier this week I came across a woman's blog where her sister had written about the cult they had grown up in. It was called 'The Children of God'. The leader promoted sex between the children and adults in the group. It was a truly traumatic experience and some of the kids have grown up to commit suicide (and one murder of an abuser)-horrible! One former member put together a documentary that was shown on HBO. I watched about 7 minutes of it and had to turn it off. It was absolutely disgusting.

I commented on the woman's blog and told her that I was so sorry that she had suffered under that evil group. I told her that I had gone through a bad church experience myself (Not of the sexual kind. Bullying, misuse of authority and guys that shouldn't have even been in leadership) and that I hadn't given up on my faith in God.

I told her that I hoped she wouldn't be offended in any way, but that she would be in my prayers. My heart goes out to her and to others who have been damaged by people and groups purporting to know God and to know His way. There are some bad leaders out there who are out for their own egos and worse. I totally get it when people lose their faith and feel that they could never trust a church or church-goer again.

That was almost me.