That's what Travis just said to me. Of course he meant that he smells homemade brownies in the oven. It's upside down nature made me think of things that were already swirling around in my mind though. For one- Facebook. That ultimate time stealer (if you let it) and artificial people finder. Not that I should be too critical, I've found several people that I really care about and have even been able to write some encouraging words to friends that needed it. The problem is that I haven't really wanted to be found. Found by college friends is OK, those were good memories. But I didn't want to be found by people I went to high school with. I don't know about you guys but high school was the most wretched, horrible experience of my life. Well, besides just growing up. I think my life started falling apart in 5th grade. No, I'm not kidding. That was my first experience with friends turning on me and spreading rumors about me. 6th grade was actually better because I went to public school that year and everyone was really nice to me. But I begged to go back to private school because it was all I had known. It just goes to show you that kids really don't know what's best for them.
I moved away from Lakeland. It was really all I could think about during my college years. I didn't want to see or hear from anyone I knew growing up. They knew my mistakes but they didn't know who I was. I wanted to get away from my ex-husband and make sure that Amanda was safe. For those of you that don't know my teenage years went like this- I played every sport imaginable, had my daughter at 17, got married at 18 (to my drug dealing boyfriend that promised he'd changed) and divorced him at 19. My divorce was final 3 days before my 20th birthday. The hearing date went like this- I was in college. Because I was getting divorced my counselor felt that a full load would be too much so I had classes at 11:10, 12:20 & 1:30. So that morning I went to court, got divorced, cried driving down the road, my ex-passed me and laughed at me and I made it to my 11:10 class. That afternoon I went to my job at Wal-Mart. That evening I was sitting in the break room thinking about the day and it felt like I should tell somebody, anybody what happened. But I knew that nobody would care. So I didn't.
In January 1993 was when I really got serious about my relationship with God. I was at youth group and the pastor, Mike Tedder- a man that I will be forever grateful to for so many things- gave an "altar call" and I was the first one out of my seat and up at the front. I threw my hands in the air and said "God I don't have anything left to offer you but my life. Take it and do whatever you want to with it". And it's been that way ever since. The next month God called me to ministry. If your familiar with my (former) denomination at all, you know that a divorced person has no place in ministry. Whether or not there are Biblical grounds. I'm not going into it all but I had all the Biblical grounds I needed. This would prove to be a faith builder my entire college career.
Back to Lakeland. My ex got much, much worse. He was arrested for selling drugs several times and even confessed to a mediator (we were seeing her about a visitation spat) that he was selling crack but in the state of FL that is not enough to terminate visitation rights for a child. I knew that my only option was to play along and wait until he got tired of putting forth the effort to see Amanda. I had to quit acting like anything he did bothered my while simultaneously being the biggest, um, rhymes with witch, that I could. It turns out that I was pretty good at it. But I was also very concerned for her safety. Lakeland felt like a prison and I couldn't wait to leave, burn the bridge and only go back for Christmas. It's funny how bridges get rebuilt without your permission.
Back to Facebook. I've been found by a few people that were peripheral and also by someone that made my life miserable. Oh, plus my ex-husband is "Facebooking" now and is friends with the one that made me miserable. And I have to say that I haven't freaked out. The Lord has given me peace. I should probably add that my husband adopted Amanda on election day 2000. She's been safe for a long time. Actually, she's been safe all along. But I did remember every single reason that I hate Lakeland and never, ever wanted to go back.
Do you ever wish that God would just leave well enough alone? Does every single area of my life have to be completely plowed up so that I have to take a good hard look at it? Can't I just forget that my former life existed and live here? A few thoughts came to me though as I was thinking (maybe, possibly pitching a fit about it) and praying. The first thing is that God wants me to fear nothing. There is nothing that man can do to me. People can gossip and hurt me but I'm different and I have an amazing support system now and God gives us wisdom to deal with things. And maybe those same people have grown up the way that I have. I'm not really giving anybody any credit if I think that after 18 years they aren't any more grown up than they were in high school. And the other thing is this- how will God's glory be displayed if I don't stick around for that to happen? I said this before but they knew what I did but they didn't know who I was. And they certainly don't know who I am. The only way that a person can get from so broken to whole is by Christ. There isn't an amount of counseling that can fix problems so deep that only God can get to it. I believe that the purpose for our moving is for restoration. Restoration for our families, restoration for people that we knew a long time ago, and restoration for people we haven't met yet. Facebook wasn't my issue, being found wasn't my issue- fear is my issue. And we'll face it, God and Travis and Amy. And we'll walk it out together.
This is pretty heavy duty stuff so maybe later I'll post about those brownies. Which coincidentally were pretty heavy duty. Maybe it was the stick and a half of butter.