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Peace Seeker: Mother’s Day

So on Wednesday, I awoke with a plan. I cleaned my kitchen and thought:

Hey! I should bake cookies!

I put on a podcast and set to my plan.

Alas. No brown sugar.

Double Alas, no baking soda.

“Callan, let’s go to the store!”

Somehow on the drive to the store, my entire day got changed. Cookies can be baked another day. No harm, no foul.

I spent my day helping my parents plant their garden.

I ache. For real, stepping on dirt clods hurt my feet.

I came home for Alex, promising to return to finish tonight.

And that’s when it happened.

“I’ll bill you for my pedicure!” I joked to my mom.

She didn’t hear me, and I am glad.

Hang on, y’all. ‘Bout to get honest up in here.

See, this is the woman who unselfishly delivered still warm, homemade chicken noodle soup the week Callan got pneumonia. The woman who taught me so much about life, cooking, loving…

There is one night I somewhat remember with much shame.

I had recently been introduced to alcohol. And it was a welcome escape. First to drown the sorrow of a breakup, a boyfriend I was positive I would never stop loving. A short week after the breakup, a boy from church pulled over and raped me. And from that incident on, alcohol became my escape.

I stopped at a school friend’s apartment. And after having 1 drink and a half that had been handed to me, could not stay upright. Her boyfriend, who had given me the half drink, began to act strangely. And he took my car key. I called my brother. The one down south and asked for help. I don’t remember much. I remember stumbling down a lot of steps. I remember walking down the street, and falling so often. I remember stumbling into the local fire company. I remember a lady helping me in the bathroom and she called my parents.

My mom arrived and my dad and my brother. I don’t remember a lot from that night. I do remember the look on her face. A lot of love, equal amounts of frustration and disappointment as well. I remember hearing her lecture the girl who provided the alcohol, and the young man.

My mom has flaws.

So do I.

My mom is an amazing. She cooks. She gardens. She watches her grandchildren and spoils them. She cares beautifully for her family and neighbors.

Her example to me has been great.

And often I’ve wished God had molded me more like her.

She and my dad had 3 biological sons. Then they opened their home to adopt another son, foster to legal guardian another son, and adopt me.

5 boys. 1 tomboy. I mean, the house was a constant zone of craziness.

Yet she maintained order and cleanliness, teaching us early responsibility and teamwork.

Garden every summer. Sharing the fruits of her labor with family and neighbors.

She has a degree in nursing, yet for only a short season did she return to work.

She has rarely complained, has taken all the ups and downs of life in stride. And there were downs, believe me.

And sadly I provided so much heartbreak for her. And I deeply regret that.

She has been a godly example, a woman who loves and serves others.

So tonight, we plan to gather as a family and honor her. We will provide treats, celebrate as a family this woman who is the [earthly] reason we are family.

* * *

Then there is Lamar’s mother. Despite big differences in not only our zip codes but in our lives, she accepted me from Day 1. She loves my boys and cares deeply for us.

Made a special trip to PA for Liam’s graveside service. Who called often just to check. She loved from afar.

She raised a son who has been so good for me. Who has not run from the baggage and emotional pain I come with, but has stepped up and carried the pain with me. This man who loves me, flaws and all. He does my grocery shopping most weeks yet, tolerates my snark and sarcasm and trashtalk, encourages my writing and creativity in painting and decorating our home. He holds me through the painful nightmares, the tears over the son qe have lost and miss, the valleys that life has brought us through.

These women, play a big role in me being a mother. Their advice, their love.

And these boys, they make it possible for me to have my arms full on this Mother’s Day.

For those who have empty arms this mother’s day, I am sorry. You also, are seen and loved on this day 💕

As always, with love…

Rachelle

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Peace Seeker: Farm Life

Driving- it was something I could NOT wait to do! I mean, clearly I had to, but I was so excited to finally drive.

I still love it. There have been several times I’ve grabbed my key and went for a drive. A long drive, loud music, getting lost in slowing down my brain. Effortlessly shifting through my gears. It is the cheapest therapy I’ve found yet!

But 18 hour drives ? That isn’t my jam. And every year, I dread it. This year I attempted to set aside my dread. I packed a fun bag for the boys. Snacks, a few “new” toys (Dollah Bins from Target FOR THE WIN!! 🙌), and a friend gave a bag of DVDs she snagged at a steal.

We loaded up and hit the road. And we had barely left my parents zip code before Callan was snoring.

My trick for traveling with kids? MAKE. THEM. TIRED. Alex was in school all day, then came home and helped to clean up and pack up. Callan spent the day with my parents. And he doesn’t nap there so by the time we picked him up, he was well fed and exhausted.

Traveling to my in-laws isn’t so bad. It’s the last few hours that seem to never, ever end. (Same with coming home though too!) Wisconsin is flat. You can see for so long.. it makes the last hour feel like an eternity.

That’s my excuse for whining and I am sticking to it.

Alex was determined to see Chicago. Which is why at 3 am, both boys were chatting and talking a mile a minute while I rolled my eyes and inwardly complained.

In case you’re wondering. I’m a bit of a bear without sleep.

Chicago. It’s a big, beautiful city. At nighttime the buildings look beautiful against the night sky. Alex was awestruck. The architecture. He asked “What’s that building for?” about every single building.

Every. Single. One. Remember, it is 3:30 in the morning. I’d been up since 6:45 and hadn’t had a nap either.

*sigh*

These moments. The ones spent in a car, even they’re precious. Despite the midnight breath, despite the irritation, despite the exhaustion.

(Photo from before we left.)

But these two boys. I am so thankful.

We arrived.

(Photo used in other blog)

“GRANDPA’S!!!!!” Callan shouted.

And this began life on the farm…

My mother in law has beautiful flowers. Greenhouses where she sells these beauties. She puts together all the planters and hanging basket arrangements.

Gorgeous.

Turns out, we feel Wisconsin is extra bright after traveling and Callan being amazing and having slept a majority of the drive.

Better.

And for my boys, farm life is THE BEST LIFE EVER!!!

I’m largely undecided. While I enjoy the slow pace, I can say with all certainty:

I am not created to be a farmer OR a farmer’s wife.

Calves are my favorite bovine.

Fa-vor-ite! I mean, all the heart eyes at the cuteness that is a baby calf!

Sky pictures. Because, well, how beautiful are these?!

What’s a farm without equipment?

Mama cat moved her babies within an hour or two of this photo being snapped.

No judgement, mama cat, we get it.

Father & son photos are my favorite!

Also. I want to add : I have 2 sons. However when Grandpa and uncles are around, Alex is right on their heels. And here, we give him that privilege.

I love that his gentle loving side came out around the animals!!

On Sunday we opted to stay home. Alex was commanded to read his Bible Memory and the relaxing and slowness was a welcome break for everyone.

The boys actually fell asleep. So Lamar and I took a little walk. These creatures may be big, but I venture to assume they’re probably as curious as cats!

Sunday night, we went to the pond on the property to catch some slow moving fish and roast hot dogs and marshmallows.

I love how this one loves holding my hand lately.

Alex was Lamar’s right hand man when it came to building a fire.

S’MORES!

Farm dogs

The only reason I ever stepped foot in Wisconsin 💕

The moon! 😍

We threw one stick for Skipper and it became an all evening must. Callan got very brave at bossing Skipper.

Farm life isn’t a life I see myself taking on anytime soon. But I’m grateful we get to experience it every so often for my boys’ sake!!

Unplugged. Chores. Slower paced.

There’s a beauty in this life.

Mama and baby Blue Roans at Lamar’s brother’s farm.

Getting on the calf’s level.

Interrupting the cow pictures to tell a kind of funny story.

Lamar was fixing a Cat Challenger on his brother’s farm. Callan decided to help.

And by help, he had a little tool and socket wrench top. And he stuck it in a hole in the rim.

And when I went to get it out, I pushed it in farther and got it stuck!!

We got a magnet and Lamar needed to get it out. And then Callan and I went to look at puppies, far away from the tools and equipment!

Baby Jack Russel puppies.

We had a wonderful visit. We headed home the last day of April. Going home is always the hardest. We love seeing everyone but the drive is just so hard. Especially coming home.

I came home with lots and lots of flowers. And it will be nice to see these plants growing and think of the lovely woman who gifted them!

Being married into this family, I’ve learned a lot. I’m an outsider. I don’t know the dos and don’ts of these circles. But they are gracious. And kind. And accepting. And that’s what counts.

I try to build and grow each individual relationship with each sister in law. To care and share life. Even as hard as it is sometimes.

I have shared most of my photos from Wisconsin.

I wish I had wedding photos to share.

I wish I could share real life video experiences.

The laugh they all enjoy when I step into a barn and a cow poops.

The laughs we share when I bungle a Dutch phrase.

It’s a good experience. And I am glad God brought that farmer’s son into my life.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Love, Rachelle

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Peace Seeker: Culture Shock

I do not mean my title disrespectfully. It is a drastic change of life coming to Wisconsin, to spend time with my in- laws.

I wish phones were acceptable at these conservative weddings. You simply must take my word for it.

We arrived Wednesday, midday.

Callan, as you can see, was absolutely thrilled. “GRANDPA’S!” He shouted. I think too, he was super excited to get out of his car seat.

We had lunch and then I needed a nap. I toured my mother in law’s greenhouse but the sun was too bright, the tiredness was overwhelming and so I took myself to bed. Driving overnight is a blessing because the boys sleep well. There is a price though for me, and I don’t love paying it.

It has been 4 years since the last wedding. And the nervousness and anxiety never gets better.

I don’t expect it ever will.

I tackled getting the boys dressed, which was a frustrating event in and of itself. At home they need not wear black dress pants, fancy shirts, and vests. And no, there is no pictures because before the wedding was over the boys were muddy and dirty and again, phones aren’t allowed.

The wedding has it’s own unspoken rules. When we arrive, the men stay outdoors and the women go inside. There’s a receiving line, sort of, to shake hands with the bride and groom to be, and the attendants. And to drop off gifts. The room was impossibly small, the bride to be’s parlor, and again, my boys were less than cooperative. I heard later the attendants found my boys’ objections humorous it was just the laugh they all needed.

Awesome.

At 8:30 A.M. (no, that’s not a typo) they served cake and wine. (No, that’s not a typo either!) Tiny squares of cheesecake and little, tiny shots of wine. (Literally, wine being served in little shot glasses that looked like beer mugs, complete with little handles!) Then after that, they call you by name to sit for the wedding. There we can sit as a family.

My boys had toys and strict instructions to sit quietly. And they did. For that, I was grateful. The preachers and their wives sat directly in front of us, and facing us, so if there’s gossip to share it won’t be that my boys behaved badly. (Can I get an AMEN for little blessings? Haha)

I admit, my nervousness may color this post a bit. I don’t always know the rules and unspoken traditions. And that is really hard for me. They are a gracious and kind people. And while there will be judges and gossipers in any group of people, my in laws are not those people. And the family that hosted the wedding (the bride’s family always hosts the wedding and the groom’s family hosts a formal reception later) was gracious and kind as well.

There are two preachers who preach at the weddings. Then a third minister gives his testimony at the end and the other two share their testimony also. The testimonies can get long winded at times but not this time.

The first preacher shared many stories and real life experiences/examples. He was interesting. However it was also sad. The things shared that I know to not be biblically based. It hurt my heart. To see the solemness and sober faces, I always feel a wedding was a time of joy and celebration but not so in this culture. Instead they use weddings as an opportunity to speak of the evilness that is fornication and lust, the punishment you are sure to endure should you fall prey to that carnality.

The preacher isn’t wrong. Those are sins and if not repented of, yes there is eternal damnation. However I feel a wedding is a terrible platform for that message.

He also linked severe illness to being a chastisement from the Lord, he spoke of abusive husbands, and stated that loud and vocal women are not women who get married.

Thankfully Lamar did not get that memo.

The second preacher. I admit I missed a lot of his words. I think I was trying to pick my jaw up off the floor from the shock of preacher number one. He didn’t speak as long and when he switched to German, I knew the vows were under way.

The mood was solemn and mournful as we slowly, so so slowly, sang another song. In German. And by we, I mean not me or my boys. We were dismissed row by row, to shuffle out of the garage and shake the hands of the new husband and wife.

Within quick order the garage was transformed to an eating area. Tables had been set up, covered with table cloths, and prepared for us to eat. They call you again to file in and sit. That was when I lost Callan. A young girl brought him to me then.

The food.

This is where I wished for my phone for the camera. My goodness. The wedding meals are simply the best. And if you are on a diet, just reading this may cause you to gain weight!

Rolls and butter and jelly. Mashed potatoes literally swimming in melted butter. Topped with brown butter. Noodles. Meatballs. Cheese curds. Pretzels. Some type of fruit in jello. Ice cream. Cupcakes with 2-3 inches of icing.

I mean… WOW.

After the meal, they return thanks and you are dismissed. Again, all segregated. The men sat in the driveway, the women to the house or porch. They also took turns touring the greenhouse. The children are left to play and this particular home has a really nice swingset and play area.

There are again, these unspoken rules. And me, well I broke the biggest one. A wife never approaches the husband to go home.

And I did.

Twice.

The second time I stated he may stay but the littlest one needed to go.

I hate doing that. I hate feeling like by being a “vocal woman” I’m offending an entire group of people. I apologized to Lamar since. He says he didn’t mind.

I hate that the grace that’s spoken of so often in the Bible, is so rarely preached on. And even less to be offered to fellow Christians.

We came home. And all suffered the consequences of so much butter.

I reflect back on the wedding day, where two people joined in marriage.

Besides for my sisters in law, a handful of other ladies spoke to me. Plenty of glances and whispers. But very few approached. The first one who did is my father in law’s sister. A woman who I suspect has not had an easy life. But these things also, are kept quiet. She offered her condolences on the loss of our sweet baby. She shared her son and his wife have buried two babies, babies who lived and suffered tremendously in their short lives.

Others shook my hand and offer a quick “vee gaehts”. (Translation: how’s it going?) (Not the correct spelling. Not even going to try that!) Stating they know who I am and they’re glad to see me again. Rarely offering their name, maybe assuming I recognize them too. I’m ashamed to admit, I don’t.

Life in these conservative circles is fascinating. Full of interesting people, each carrying his or her own story. As I watched people talk and laugh, I wonder what their stories are. I would be honored for a glimpse into their worlds. I viewed the youth who served our tables. I wondered if any of those girls felt the call to just be free from the rules and regulations that are man ordained. I wonder if any of them could care less about the youth boys who hassle you for tip before you leave. I consider that one day one of those youth girls may one day be a sister in law.

I am blessed. My in laws are beautiful and wonderful people. Welcoming and gracious. And generous.

Not all can say that.

This trip I’ve challenged a few points the preacher made. I have shared that I believe him to be misrepresenting the Word. (Only when asked, not openly and defiantly. I’ve chosen my words carefully and been respectful.)

I don’t share this post to be disrespectful or unkind. It’s a different world in these churches and family circles. Everyone is connected and everyone knows everyone’s business. And for the most part there is caring and compassion and love. But there is also admonitions and unsolicited advice.

They are people. Fallen people living in a fallen world just like the city slickers of New York City to the hunters of the jungles a world over. Just like you. Just like me.

While I object, strongly, to the rules and customs, I see the wisdom. I respect them. And am as honoring as I can be.

Maybe by the next wedding I will learn to keep my opinions to myself. To be the quiet, docile and submissive woman they preach of.

Doubtful.

But with God, all things are possible tho.

I will share more life on the farm things next week. Here I can get photos to share.

Love, Rachelle

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Peace Seeker: Contemplating Rules

I should be packing or cleaning, but inspiration struck for this post, so here I am… blogging.

My husband’s family is very conservative and we leave this week for a family wedding. Which has brought up this entire thought process of. . . .

WHAT DO I WEAR?

Insert all the negative body image issues.

Insert all the frustration when I realized the color choice.

Double that frustration when I could not find said color choice as an option ANYWHERE.

So here we are. The week of the wedding and my outfit really isn’t going to be matchy-matchy with the other Martin wives.

Plus side, I will be dressed. So …

As I drove today, I was thinking over my recent panic/anxiety attack about this wedding. Part of it is dread. Everyone will know She’s the one who just lost a baby! and say all manner of things. Part of it is a few years ago, a sister in law confronted me on my attire and stated because of my wardrobe choices, I am surely going to hell. Except she left out the “surely” part and ended with, I will keep praying for you.

Awesome. Thank you.

I know my wardrobe causes questions for people from my (and my husband’s) conservative backgrounds. Jeans aren’t modest!

*sigh*

The command is to dress modestly.

Did you know modest is also used to describe one’s demeanor? Um, for example it isn’t used to describe me when I am very happy and forgetting to be aware of the volume of my voice or mindful of the words I am speaking. I am competitive, prone to fit in with guys and comparing vehicles and abilities versus dress material and new recipes.

Many conservative churches have rules defining modesty for their individual churches.

And those boundaries and guidelines come from what? That was the thought I have been pondering. Why do some churches demand a cape? Others an apron? Why do some churches require no print, others the print must be smaller than a quarter? Certain color dresses shall not be worn, yet other churches allow the forbidden harlot’s color?

Boundaries are often established to prevent hurt, pain. Boundaries and guidelines are often in place, I believe, to guide those who would be a fence walker.

The bishop at my old church described fence walkers one time. Some travel near to the fence, the guideline every now and then, some walk right by the fence, and others tip toes right on top, often falling to the other side of the fence.

*GASP*

Who would EVER be one of those? Destined to fall to the other side, FOR SURE!!

Me. 

I mentioned in my Child Abuse Awareness post about not being a lover of authority. That was part of my problem. And for someone like me, rules are a good thing. I mean, a posted speed limit of 25 usually keeps me from doing more than 50. Usually. I believe rules are good for everyone.

But rules like that, rules that make it sound like if you don’t follow them you will fall into the abyss that is surely death, that’s wrong.

I cannot explain all the reasons for these rules, nor will I debate or trash the churches that practice and teach these beliefs. For many people, it was recently told to me, it is a salvation issue.

And I can see that.

I am saved. I did not leave the Mennonite church just because I wanted my way. And yes, my husband knows I wear pants.

All answers I have had to give.

It hurts to step into these church situations, to be judged and cut down before I have ever even opened my mouth to say “Hello” and smile.

It hurts.

And if I am being 100% honest, I don’t want to be nice.

I would like to judge them, be snarky, and leave them feeling less than.

But that proves their point.

So I made a few amendments to my wardrobe, and attitude. I will wear a skirt, as I always do. But it’s comfortable for me. Comfort means I am less likely to speak rashly, even to the negative ones. Not a too long maxi skirt that we all know I will trip over. I will wear dressy boots. (Can I get a HALLELUJAH!) My nails are actually done. I had a gift card two weeks ago and I decided to just get a refill. My hair will be up and not too fancy, and not showing. I will wear a sweater, because just last week, Wisconsin had like 18 inches of snow. (Can I get an eyeroll here?) No jewelry, and I am barely myself at these shindigs for so many reasons.

I will plan to have fun. I am doing my best to face this event with positivity, because it matters deeply to my husband. And he matters in a big way to me. And I am a representative of Jesus, even in settings where it may seem like I am not.

There are rules everywhere.

Speed limits. If I’m being honest, I have a tough time with those.

Even where we live, there are rules about animal noise, building permits required, burning, property maintenance…

There are rules about emissions, inspections, mufflers, headlights …

Rules are not created as a bad thing. I mean, God even has specific rules in the Bible.

Do not murder. Honor your father and your mother. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not covet.

You get the idea.

And because people, like me, needed guidelines.

It was a good realization. Because sometimes I get lost in judging them for minor things that being told how big the flowers on their dresses can be. We are human. We are all sinners. We are all serving and loving the same God. And I don’t need to work to earn their approval or change who I am, because by grace, through faith I am saved.

And while I have sin areas that glare me in the face every single day, this is not a burden I need bear. Jesus died for their sins, just as He died for mine. If I am following His commands, if I am respectful and loving them as I love myself and not causing any brothers or sisters to stumble, if I have peace before God and my husband, He will take care of any and everything else.

I told the one who told me I was going to hell:

I don’t answer to my bishop about the clothing I wear. I answer to God and my husband. And for me, that’s a bigger responsibility. I want my husband’s approval. I want God’s peace. I want to please God and bring Him honor and glory, even if it’s clothing. I want to serve Him, keep Him first in my life. 

And I think that goes for attending these weddings and being around our families and wearing skirts. Not because I feel guilty. But because if it causes another to stumble by causing a fight, it’s my job as a Christian to do my best to honor and respect.

Anyway, it is high time I close this rambling post. The last minute things must still be done.

I will try to post next week, possibly photos and tidbits about the culture shock we have out there. Also the fun and memories we are blessed to make.

Love, Rachelle 

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Peace Seeker: Child Abuse Awareness Month

Hello, all!

Here is my follow up post on child abuse.

I sat down and googled “child abuse statistics”.

STAGGERING.

(I will include the links to the two articles I read at the bottom of this post)

Fair warning: This post may trigger you!

The knowledge I have from reading, researching, listening, lived the life of an abused child was minimal compared to what I could find on Google.

In 1999 (that’s a long time ago, I know!) it was reported that 14% of men and 36% of women who were in prison were abused as children!

Children who experience abuse and/or neglect are 9 TIMES more likely to be involved in criminal activity.

2/3 of people in drug abuse treatment were abused and/or neglected as children. This statistic is reported from 1998!

Are you a little shocked? Are you eyes a bit more opened to the hurting world around you?

Let’s move to statistics I found for 2015.

Nearly 700,000 children are abused annually.

700,000

In that number, 205, 438 are abused sexually.

“Of those alleged to have abused children, nearly a quarter were abused as children.”

Hurt people, hurt people. 

Is your mouth on the floor?

As I type this, I am aware of a clock, ticking. I am scheduled to be at my son’s school today to help with Bible Memory testing. In that class of 29 kids, I wonder often what stories they have lived. What life holds for them.

I am aware too, as you should also be, many cases of child abuse go unreported.

Many children are silently suffering a hell, terrified of the consequences of speaking truth.

Does that make you angry? Does that break your heart? It should.

We should be angry about this, we should be heart broken. We should resolve to live and love, making ourselves and our homes safe places for any one of those 700,000 children that may reside on your street, in your schools, or in your family.

Child Abuse is defined by Federal Law as:

“Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation”;

or

“An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

Use this link to read more or read the definition for your specific state: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/defining/federal/

Child Abuse doesn’t always mean bruises and tears,  declarations of honesty.

Sometimes it’s the quiet kid in the corner, scared of every male (or female!) in the world.

Sometimes it’s the loud, boisterous girl, labeled a rebel because she defies every authority above her.

Sometimes it’s the kid who flinches when you extend a hand toward him or her.

Sometimes it is the bully. The kid knocking other kids around, needing to feel in control of his (or her!) life.

Abused children have no specific mold other than this: Fear grips their lives and hearts. They feel like even if they look and dress and act like all the other kids, they are still marked as different.

I was the loud, boisterous girl. I was the one who refused to respect and honor men, other than my Dad and brothers. I was the girl who clung tightly to her secret, convinced that there was no way God could love her. I was the girl whose nightmares and flashback kept me from feeling like a normal pre-teen girl. I am the girl whose walls were so high, no guy stood a chance.

I was the girl.

I was the girl who became a pro at faking, a woman determined to never, ever be hurt ever again.

I was

but God

and now

My sins are forgiven. My abusers forgiven. My grudge is gone. My nightmares are gone.  My eating disorder is gone. My anger is gone.

My joy is restored.

I have mentioned before about key ladies in my life. One was a lady who worked where I volunteered. I will refer to her simply as L. I was a bit of a, oh I don’t know. I had some maturing to do. In order for that to happen, I needed some safety. And she provided that. Many times I am sure she was absolutely frustrated and annoyed by my antics, but she was always kind. While I am not sure she ever knew my story, at that time, she saw behind my walls. She saw a hurting heart, and she loved.

Who do you now that is hurting?

A hurt person can deal with their hurts in so many ways.

Drugs. Alcohol. Promiscuity. Self Harm. Suicide attempts.

Abuse, especially sexual, takes a child and destroys them. Nothing is safe. No one is safe. Fear has a deep, lifelong hold because of threats.

life long. 

This cycle continues, and given the sin cursed world we live in it will never cease.

BUT

There are practical things we can do.

Be a kind human. No, don’t scoff at me as you scroll this, sipping your coffee. Have you ever mocked a drug addict, jailed for the umpteenth time? Have you ever spoken unkind things about that promiscuous cousin who is pregnant AGAIN? Have you ever looked down your nose at the kid in your child’s classroom who is ALWAYS mean?

I am not saying every person/child who does these things has been abused.

But do you know each person’s story?

Imagine if L had never been kind to me. Imagine if I had never finally confided to my parents the nightmares I didn’t understand? Imagine if Lamar had walked away the first time I pushed away because trust is so, so hard?

Imagine if just once, I had allowed Satan to convince me that death was the only way I would have peace.

Imagine if, it was you. Imagine if, it was your child?

Would you want grace? Would you want love? Would you want someone to stand beside you. thick and thin, and love you?

My clock is still ticking. And it’s time for me to close.

I hope I have poked your safety bubble, pricked your heart for the people in your life who are hurting and need your kindness and love.

If you have questions, feel free to email me at: peaceseekerblog@gmail.com

In the meantime,

As always..

Love, Rachelle

 

https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/    http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/media-room/media-kit/national-statistics-child-abuse

 

 

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Peace Seeker: Facing Forward

April is Child Abuse Awareness month. Did you know that?

Do you know a child who has been abused?

Were you an abused child?

I was.

Do you ever look at a perfectly put together woman and think, “Have you ever even experienced anything that is actually hard?”

Full confession: I have.

Women who seem to have it all together, I struggle with jealousy. I really do!

I am sorry if I’ve judged you wrongly.

I recently stated to a friend: “My life has literally been one awful thing after another!”

Hurt people hurt people.

Let that sink in.

Has someone hurt you?

Have you hurt someone?

As I age, my heart softens more and more toward children who are not my own, children who are not my nieces and nephews.

Child abuse.

It can be mental. It can be physical. It can be sexual.

Are you a parent? Are you a teacher? Are you an aunt/uncle, grandparent?

Do you know the signs of an abused child? Are you a safe place?

I can’t tell all of my story.

I do not resent or despise anyone involved. But the hurts are there and small things trigger them.

Abuse can happen anywhere.

STRANGER DANGER!

Yeah, that’s real. But how about the people you trust? How about family reunions? How about school, church, neighbor?

Be involved with your children. Be honest. Ask pointed questions. Be a safe place.

You as a parent cannot always be your child’s friend. You can always be a safe place for them.

There are several dear ladies God placed in my life at opportune times who were safe places for me. I don’t remember how truthful I was with them about my life, but I appreciated their presence. Their calm. The safe feeling they provided.

As I age, my heart is more and more broken for the choices I see people making.

The ones desperate to control their life, the ones needy and begging to be noticed, the ones pushing people away…

These traits are all ones I’ve noticed in friends in the last week or so and it aches my heart.

I did those things. And more.

Fight cat

That’s what Lamar used to call me.

I am a fighter. But I am learning to choose my battles.

I am learning, slowly, to listen more. To see actions, to see people as Jesus does.

People are hard. As I look forward in my life, I would love to see a rosy picture and no more “drama”.

That is the latest battle cry.

#dramafree

No judgement, mamas, I’m there with you.

But Jesus walked with the broken, the dramatic, the hurting.

Maybe I’m reading too much into the Scripture.

Maybe.

I’ve come to realize as I get day by day closer to a new decade of numbers: hurt people love differently.

I view life differently.

I raise my children differently.

I do marriage differently.

I view friendships differently.

I run at the slightest hint of difficulty. I cannot handle it, my brain doesn’t comprehend how to “excellently navigate” drama, difficulties, etc.

I often seek help, which may seem like I’m seeking attention or asking people to choose sides. I’m not.

Life after abuse is hard to navigate.

Be involved in the lives of the young humans you love. Be a safe place. Be a person who doesn’t just hear the words but seeks their expression and reads the truths between their words.

My friend Trudy blogs well on the subject of abuse. Her blog is: splash4ripples.com

She works hard to advocate for victims, to mentor and love people in the deepest painful circumstances they find their hearts in.

I hope to sit down this week and have a follow up post for this. But tonight I strongly encourage you to protect the young ones in your life but to also acknowledge as we face our next day:

Hurt people hurt people.

This little girl. Innocent.

It’s me. During the hardest years of my life I avoided cameras, hated life, and thought often of suicide.

Those lies returned as I struggle through the pain of losing and burying my son.

But God.

But God. He made for me this amazing and understanding husband.

What Satan meant for destruction and death, God created a fighting spirit. A woman who is passionate to show others that pain doesn’t need to end you , nor define you.

I have 2 amazing sons. Beautiful hearted, loud, amazing, imaginative sons.

The little lights of my life.

But God.

I have to let Him use me. And that means writing this post. That means being vulnerable. Open. Sharing my story in appropriate settings to share God’s hand, in taking someone else’s sin imposed on my life to create this woman that He is still shaping and working on.

April is a month to focus on a lot of worthy things that need to be addressed. One I’m sad wasn’t focused on much on my social media is this one.

So pause your _____ (whatever you’re doing) and talk to your kids.

As always, with love,

Rachelle

Uncategorized

Peace Seeker: Influential Women

I baked cookies this week.

I know, this is something that shouldn’t be blog worthy. But it actually is.

When we first got married, I baked cookies for my husband. He ate them but they definitely weren’t like the ones his mom made.

So I got her recipe. Still no glowing praise.

I literally cried over this. And while today it doesn’t take much to make me cry, back then it did. I found different recipes here and there. I tried butter. I tried margarine. I tried everything.

No glowing praise.

We went to his parents a few months after our wedding. They live out of state. And while there, I told his mom the trouble I was having getting him to like my cookies.

She thought for awhile and said, “Well, I often don’t hear the time so they bake to long.”

Sure enough. That’s what he meant by “brown cookies”

It’s been a source of both humor and annoyance for me. I don’t like burned cookies. He doesn’t like soft cookies.

This week I baked cookies.

I baked them for 10 to 11 minutes instead of 8 to 9. I lined them on my cooling racks carefully. I texted Lamar and be sure to let him know, then stated my friend was coming and we would probably eat the whole batch.

I apologetically told my friend I baked them to Lamar’s preference. She didn’t laugh or mock, she approved.

We celebrate 8 years of marriage this May.

And through these past almost 8 years, there’s a few things I’ve learned.

1) Marriage is ridiculously hard.

2) If there are 2 sides to an issue, Lamar and I will typically find ourselves on opposite sides.

A) I’m very competitive and it’s really hard for me to lose. So yes, it’s okay to pity Lamar sometimes.

Our marriage didn’t survive all our low down valleys and mountain top moments because I overbake the cookies or because I’m some super wife.

Believe me. If there’s a guideline on the perfect wife and mom, I’m probably no where close to reaching it.

I have had amazing women in my life, women who’ve kept me know that even though I don’t love pink, keep a Martha Stewart style house, or always have my ducks together in the same pond, it is okay.

Not even joking here: I used to pray that God would make me into a boy.

I have made the local police jurisdictions quite a bit of money from fines from my heavy foot. [*facepalm*]

I prefer jeans over dresses or skirts.

While I have good, truthworthy friends now, I used to prefer being in the garage with my husband and his friends.

I can service my own car and in the event that my husband is away, I am independent enough to survive.

I am strong willed, opinionated, and I don’t back down from a fight.

Well I am learning to choose kindness, walk away, and bless and release toxicity but it takes a lot of praying on my part.

I am a natural leader, and a fixer of problems.

Again, a lot of prayers go into my silence in the faces of some folks I believe to be in need of fixin’!

I have godly ladies sprinkled into my life. Well placed. Firmly rooted. Ladies who love me, care for me right where I am.

A bad day when I can unload and say “This isn’t fair!” and they can respond without judgement or a cliche.

Ladies who don’t ask if you lost your sweeper or forgot the parenting rulebook when they come over.

Ladies who say “I made cookies. Let’s have coffee.”

Less drama. Less judgement. Less hate. Less comparisons. Less of us, more Jesus.

More cookies. More coffee. More real conversations. More sharing life. More caring. More love. More love.

And if in doubt, sprinkle in some extra love in someone’s life via cookies, donuts, coffee, and hugs.

I hope someday to be a woman like the many amazing ones God has placed in my life.

As a girl, I had a woman I affectionately called Mom. She was a woman who stood in my life, tall and proud as a Christian that didn’t ram dresses and sewing and rules in my life. A woman who saw a pain filled young girl and loved her through it.

A counselor who showed me it’s okay to be me. I am who God created me to be. That same woman later connected me with a group of women who could love me through a season of marriage where all I wanted was a divorce and away from the fiasco we had created.

A mother. A mother in law. Sisters in law. Friends.

Women at church. Small group. Worship team.

All different. All beautiful souls that God strategically placed because He knew I would need them. And lately, whether these ladies know it or not, I cherish their texts. Their gifts. Their love.

Ladies, stand up and let’s seek to be women who stand up and love other women.

Let’s be women who love without conditions, without expectations

(Not sure who to credit for the photo. I found it on Facebook)

Love, Rachelle