Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Woman in the Mirror

This is an old post from my facebook page- I have included it here for my new readers...

“You stupid *****! You are worthless! Don’t you see how you are nothing?!? I am so sick of you! You just lay their and take it! What a piece of **** you are!” He grabs her by the hair. Slam! Her face hits the mirror full force.
“Look at yourself!” he screams. Her face hits the mirror over and over again.
This pathetic, miserable girl in the mirror; beaten, battered, bloody and bruised. She must agree with his assessment. He has got to be right, otherwise why doesn’t she do something to stop him. She is strong; she knows how to defend herself. Yet, she lets it happen night after night.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this- this was the man she was going to marry. She loved him; gave herself to him in every way possible! She just knew that she was going to live “happily ever after” with this man. Well, she means boy (he’s only 15)- and she is just a girl. A 14 year old girl, with a pipe dream in her head that a husband, kids and a white picket fence would make her happy. She would finally feel “right”, valued, and important. She’ll feel like she belonged on this planet. No more on the outside looking in.
That didn’t last long however. It always ended up like this – the screaming, the beatings. One time he tried to strangle her until someone happened to come by and stop him. He got tired of her too though- left her like she figured he would.
She finds herself looking in a mirror again. This time dead and empty eyes stare back, no more crying or pain- just nothing. The drugs dulled any pain she might have been feeling. Nothing going on here but intense rage. The kind of scary rage that everyone knows is like a time bomb- good. Keeps them distant- she likes that fine. She is in control now! Never again will she bow down and be that pathetic reflection from the early days.
She stumbles through time trying to fill the emptiness inside. She looks for that right man or right drug that will make her feel better. Can she only be 16? Maybe she will feel different if she leaves town?
She goes all the way to Florida but finally lands in Kansas? How did she end up here? Another man (this one old enough to be her father) but he promises it will be different here. A house, kids, the white picket fence? Maybe- the trip over here was exciting anyway! No, it was scary really! Odd though- someone she met in one of the states between Oregon and Kansas gave her a Bible. She read it- a lot. It gave her comfort, security. Don’t know why. She wasn’t raised very religious. All roads lead to the same impersonal god. Choose what works for you- there is no absolute truth. Right?
The mirror here is old and dingy. Her reflection is harder around the edges but not quite as bad. There have been no drugs for a while but something else is weird. She longs to go home and be with her Mom- to get out of this crazy other worldly life. She’s not sure how; she has been away too long. She hasn’t called or written her Mom in forever. Could she get back? She finds herself sobbing in front of that mirror again. Desperately she cries out to some unknown god to let her go home.
Soon she finds herself at her mother’s door. Dirty, afraid, empty and alone. Nothing makes sense! It is all so surreal! She walks into the house as though nothing has happened. “Hi Mom. I was hoping you could help me.” She looks down at the ground numb yet full of fear and shame. She has secrets she dreads to tell but must. She has found out that she is pregnant. But that can be "fixed" it is just a mass of tissue, right? It has been a tough few years, many tears, many fights but her Mom responds with cautious love. Good enough for her. Maybe she will be happy now.
Soon the drugs are a thing of the past. The reflection in the mirror is healthier and prettier now but just as empty and she cries just as much. Her tears are just in private now. She knows that if she could just find the right guy then “happily ever after” would be hers. She falls hard in love and feels sure that this time it is right. She is 17; he is 37. The off again - on again games continue for almost 3 years. He doesn’t want to get married. He never wants kids!
Wait- here comes someone else – he wants kids and to get married! She better jump on this fast. She looks in the mirror again- how beautiful she is. The dress and veil- the horse and carriage waiting to take her to “happily ever after”! What a storybook wedding! Everything was planned perfectly. Everything looked as though it was meant to be! Her mirror sees something strange though. It is not so clear, she sees a hint of something in her eye- could that be a tear again? No just makeup, right? This is supposed to be the happiest day of her life!
Within a few months her mirror sees a belly expanding. The baby is coming and this time she really “feels” happy! This baby will make this dreadful marriage better. This baby will make her happy. Finally, she will be valued, important and special to someone. It’s going to be great! And it was for a very short time.
Soon, her reflection was of herself and a tiny person. At 21, she was needed by someone. He did make her feel special but not quite full. It was just the two of them now. She definitely had purpose, direction and focus. But, she still was not happy. She had to do what was necessary to raise this little guy alone. Her mom would help but she was the one responsible for this precious bundle - her alone! That was fine- they would make it on their own. She didn’t need anybody else. She would be fine without anyone or anything else involved in their lives. She made it through college! She seems to have it together for now.
What is this new mirror she sees? This one shows a new husband and after a while another baby. Where is that white picket fence? This should bring “happily ever after” right? No. More tears, more pain, more yelling. When will she be happy? Why is this happening?
Then just like the stranger between Oregon and Kansas, a lifeline suddenly appeared. A new church down the street invites her to attend. It seems an odd fit but her children like it there. Things seem better. She likes how she feels as she becomes more and more involved in the church leadership. Accepting Christ as her Savior was easy! Little by little, God becomes more real. She starts to see that it is a miracle that she is without disease, not in prison or dead. She begins to see a reflection in the mirror that is less offensive and a little more responsive to a calling from Above. Her marriage is not as miserable but certainly not “happily ever after”. Has it only been ten years? It feels like forever. Didn’t they say that with Christ life is happy? This road is a long one- a road that seems to never end! Where is the hope? Where is the happiness? Where is the peace? It is a hard road- the road less traveled she figures. This life is way better then her old one. She just figured there would be more.
Then God forces her to look into a different kind of mirror. This mirror reflects Truth. This reflection requires her to die to self and to live for Christ. This new church she is attending is teaching her concepts she has never heard before. For nine years, she has led ministry elsewhere. She has attended tons of leadership conferences and has heard hundreds of church sermons. Her best friend was her pastor’s wife! But she hasn’t heard anything like this stuff. Daily disciplines, corporate prayer, serving her family first, allowing her husband to lead? They are such simple principles and yet so difficult to live them out. Can this be the “happily ever after”?

Her mirror today shows some amazing changes. She can see her gray hair, her little laugh lines and all those stretch marks. It reflects seven beautiful blessings (so far) and each one has changed her for the better. Yes, the mirror does show the hard knocks and some rebellion. But it also shows softness, peacefulness, a security that can not be compared to anything else. It shows an obedient heart that desires to turn from the flesh to face the Truth. It shows forgiveness and repentance. It shows a woman that has broken every one of the Ten Commandments but who is saved from eternal damnation regardless of her past. It shows one who has been set free from her sin by the One who died and rose again!
The woman in the mirror is me, Kristin Mary Easton. Who am I? In Christ, I am forgiven, freed and saved by grace. I am a child of The Most High! I am a woman who deserves nothing and yet has received a Healer, Redeemer and Savior. I am going to live “happily ever after” forever! I am going to Heaven! The Lord gets all the honor, praise and glory! He saved me in spite of myself. By his stripes I am healed! Amen! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So the School Days Begin...

I really love homeschooling - before we actually start. The planning and getting everything organized. The buying of the needed curriculum and researching the best "fit" for each child. Our year looks very academic and engaging! But then...  was that something shiny outside? No? OK. Anyway, where was I?

Exactly! Let's just say that I am easily distracted and get bored rather quickly. My kids know this too and the olders tend to use it against me. I can hear them now... "Mom, this handwriting is boring can we change it up today and go to the park or something? We can finish it tomorrow." (Big smile, wink, wink). Do I do what every "good" mom/teacher does and redirect the child by helping them see the "joys" of handwriting practice? Do I share with them that it really does matter if others can read their writing (even if they are a doctor)? Sometimes. But most of the time- I am rounding up the kids and we are GONE! Cuz, it was boring and we can do it tomorrow.

Self-discipline is one of my downfalls. I have it when I really need it. Before I met Brian it was just Nate and I and I was working part-time and going to school full-time. I managed to graduate with honors and be promoted at work but that was different. I was under pressure from an outside source. Being accountable to someone else is the key for me. God knows that too so, he has put certain people in my life that help me get back on track. PTL! I am so grateful for them.

God also has made two of my olders very disciplined and they must have a schedule in order to operate. That forces me to be scheduled regardless of how I feel. A good friend always said, "You don't have to act how you feel. You are free in Jesus Christ." So true in every area of my life.

So as this school year starts (next week I might add), I will try to NOT act how I feel and pray that Jesus will be at the helm. He's a better captain then I am anyway. I can do all things through Him who stengthens me! Even school... 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I am Blessed Indeed!

It's been awhile since I have had the time to sit and write. I'm  not sure I really should be now- as I write, my youngest daughter Makayla is tormenting her older brother Josiah by trying to kiss him. As "punishment" Josiah is daring her to kiss the floor, chair and bouncy horse. Watching them play is always a laugh. To Brian's relief, Josiah is old enough to resist the girls during "dress-up" and he now refuses to wear the princess outfit (unless he wants to get a rise out of his Dad). I can hear Ezekiel (the 2 year old) squealing with delight in the bathroom; he has gone poopy all by himself! OK- "BRIAN, will you help him with that?" The blessings of two parents! I am blessed indeed!

Life is always exciting around here. I have two boxes of bandaids; one for the "I HAVE to have a bandaid- it huuuuuurts!", and one for the real bandaid needs hidden in the back of the closet. I think I should buy stock in Arnica for the bumps and bruises and we always keep several frozen "boo-boos" on hand at all times for those numerous owies. There are so many noises it is impossible to describe but my favorite is the laughter that rings through the house more often then not and the sound of my family's prayers at prayer time and throughout the day. I am blessed indeed!

I am often asked how we do it. How we live in unity in such a small house; how we love each other through the ups and downs; how we home school with babies and toddlers and life etc...  Well, the only answer is JESUS and our reliance on Him. We are constantly refocusing on Him as the One who gives us all we need and teaches us to be all we need to be for each other and for our Lord. We serve Him - not each other. We love Him first - not each other. There is no magic answer and yes we fail often but, our God forgives us and renews each moment with His grace. This house is full of sinners working their relationship with their Creator out in full view of each other. That is what is lovely about family- chaos and all. I am blessed indeed!

Just so you don't get any high notions of perfection here- I have been writing this off and on for 2 days and have had to stop too many times to count. Most of the time to nurse but also to train, love on and pray with my brood. Thank Lord for ALL your blessings. Would I be crazy to pray for some more? I am blessed indeed!