I will never for get that day. I was all of seven or eight, up in a mimosa tree in the back yard with my friend Ginger. We were living in a small community in western Oklahoma. We had not lived in this house very long - I would say less than a year. My mind is fuzzy with the time line, but there are a few things that are etched in my mind and this is one of them.
Like I said, we were up in a tree, probably giggling and pretending we were on a ship sailing to...who knows...when we spied Mr. Brown walking up the small hill behind our house toward us. You see, my mom had just gotten out of a tumultuous marriage and we were on our own...not that we hadn’t been on our own before...really since I was about three...but now it was official I guess... I think it is traumatic for any child to go through divorce...and to put it lightly, my experience and memory of those early years was no different.
Let me pause a moment and briefly explain. The things that I experienced and participated in as a child before I was even ten, have left deep scars, some could even be described as a crevasse with an abyss between those former years and my life now. Some memories are so painful, so shameful that I can only attribute my “sanity” to God...but God. Have you ever noticed that common phrase when reading through the Word?...but God...It can be found dozens of times throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and I can see this phrase in big letters when I look back over my life. This is my life! This is my story! These are the early childhood memories that elicit so much hurt, anger, shame, confusion. These are the memories of a blurred line of events that I was a victim of and those that I was a willing participant...how can this be? After this period of chaos, I have experienced all the steps of grief - grief of a childhood lost, grief of innocence lost, grief over what could have, should have been, grief over the repercussions that had an effect on decisions that I made as a teenager and young adult. But as I sit here today, I can smile and even laugh. Because of Christ I am clothed with strength and dignity; & can laugh at the days to come,
Proverbs 31:25. The days when I am bombarded with memories that break my heart, and I find myself crying out to God, “where were You? Why didn’t You intervene?” I hear Him whisper, “I did, I have, I’m still working.” I am reminded of those pivotal moments, some moments that could have been so much worse, some roads that I even chose that could have lead to a devastating end...but God!
This was the little, blue eyed girl who was up in the tree. Up in the tree giggling and pretending when I first remember seeing a picture of Jesus. My momma was a new, struggling Christian who was still trying to find her way through this stormy life. I recognize that she was doing the best she could, given the circumstances. I even recognize that my biological father was probably only doing the best he could. I can only give a fair account from my perspective...a child’s perspective. It wasn’t all bad, there were glimmers of beauty, but I liken it to a glass of milk with mud on the bottom- I wouldn’t want anyone to drink it. But back to a beautiful moment. I recognized Mr. Brown when he walked up. It was a small town and I can guess that everyone probably knew at least a little bit of our story. I remember him being a handsome, medium build man, looking up at us in that tree and asking if my momma was home in his soft southern drawl - a soft spoken accent that I would later come to adore. I can’t remember where she was, but she wasn’t there - don’t judge, it was a different time. He proceeded to tell us that he just came by to see if we needed our lawn mowed. I don’t remember all of the conversation. I really don’t even remember if he mowed our lawn that day. All I remember is a man with a funny accent staring up at us with a crooked grin and asking a simple question. This is the first memory I have of him. The first memory of a man that would, years later, become the man I affectionately call Daddy. This is the man who not only married my sweet momma when I was barely ten, but “married” me and my brother as well. This is the man that forever changed the trajectory of my life. This is the man that, when I was sinful and ugly, stuck close and showed me the gentle way of the Lord. Looking back, the Lord reminds me that this was one of the times He showed up. God showed up in the person of Bill Brown. During a long conversation with Darren a while back, with love and sincerity he said, “you’ve got your dad on a pedestal.” I agreed that right or wrong, I do. However, I would describe it more like a pillar - he’s not the only one, but he is one of the first and most important. This is the first man that I saw Jesus in! This is the man who is turning ninety-two years old today! Happy Birthday Daddy!!!💗💗💗 I will love you forever and always hold you in the highest regard because you were my first glimpse of Jesus💗
I am a simple and ordinary girl who loves to share meaningful stories about the extraordinary people and blessings, the sweet everyday happenings that make me smile. I hope you all have a beautiful day!