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Don't discount yourself

You might think its funny but there is a lot of truth to this statement. I went to a birthday party and they had a bounce house. The bounce house was full of kids just jumping and having a great time, including all my nephew's and nieces. It was a perfect day for the adults to just chill while the kids were very distracted by this bounce house. Trust me when your a parent, this is a big deal. My kids are teenagers at this point but they know no age limit when it comes to acting like a fool in the bounce house.

So I got in line to get my food with the rest of the child free adults and then my son popped out of nowhere, "Mom, can you serve me food" Now I love my children, but they rarely eat at birthday parties when there is so much fun going on. So I needed to know what happened. Something disturbed the force, and apparently my Jedi insights were off because I didn't see it coming. But I was ready to fight for "parent peace", so I made my way to the bounce house.

On the journey I saw parents walking their children away from the bounce house like they discovered something of concern. So as I got closer I saw something through the netting in the shadows, I paused and told my son, "Stay right here, I don't know what that is". I thought it was a bear in the bounce house, but I had to be sure, then I heard a noise that sounded like grunting and thought to myself, "Oh my God an animal got in there" then the remaining kids in the bounce house came out screaming as my reaction caused them to freak out.

Now I am not that brave, but when something threatens children Rambo has nothing on me.  I ran to the bounce house as my niece was pressed up against netting in fear so I had to get in and get her out. It so difficult to walk in a bounce house so I just threw myself in head first, grabbed her leg and pulled her to the entrance and out the bounce house then looked to see what type of animal was in the bounce house and there it was. It was so gross, scary, traumatizing and scarred me for life. A couple dressed in goth with black eyeliner running down their cheeks and black nail polish and both in black trench coats in a full make out session.  I quickly withdrew and turned the machine off that inflated the bounce house. When they saw it deflate so did their crazed hormones as they panicked and made their way out of the bounce house screaming profanity at me that I could've killed them. Are you serious? I was going to have nightmares for weeks after seeing that. It was like watching two polar bears in Halloween costumes fight viciously on who was going to swallow who's tongue. Nor was it the time nor the place.

Everyone was a bit queasy  on going back into the bounce house after that so we all sat down to stare at our food at the picnic tables. My mom cracked the first joke, "Well baby if he can find someone so can you". I responded with, "Oh thank God there's hope for me still" and we all laughed. But I did go home that night wondering if there was someone for me. It had been months since anyone looked my way. My friend Sherwin from college, who I had a crush  on said, "Your like Mount Rushmore" and I gave him the look of insult and he quickly followed with, "Your the girl every man wants to conquer" and my heart was just about to melt when he said, " but they all try and fall to their death. But don't worry someone will get to the top let him work for it".

Sherwin is Persian, tall, big  brown deep drowning eyes, intelligent and funny but not at all interested in me. I wasn't Kosher enough for his family. His dad said, "I don't care how pretty she is, you can't put a Kosher sticker on pork, its just not right". Sherwin thought the world of me, but he wasn't interested in dating me. But I was the girl that he came to for counsel or simply just to hang out and laugh. Although Sherwin never stepped foot into the temple or practiced Jewish customs,he did honor his family. I had fun teasing Sherwin, I would wear t-shirts that said, "Hotter than your girlfriend" and he would say, "I am sure you're making every man in the class room wish they were single" He was good for my ego so I latched on to his friendship. He made me feel good about myself. I had no one to tell me I was pretty, or seek me out affectionately, or desire me and I wanted that desperately.

I left class that evening on a high from the attention I got from my t-shirt. But every guy in my class was either in a committed relationship or married. Then this happened, "I was lonely for so long I put myself on discount". My morals went to the wayside, I needed to be loved. So that night I went to church (after I changed my shirt) and noticed a married man staring at me. I looked up and grinned back at him. Yeah stuff like that happens everywhere. He wrote me an email that night and I woke up the following morning to it.

"I just have to get this off my chest. I have watched you for months and I am so impressed with how you handle life. It can't be easy for you doing it all alone. My children are my pride and joy and I would never abandon them. Anyway I just wanted to say I'm impressed. Beauty and brains, it rare...

The letter went on and on showing his intellect.. ooops did I say that. I should have said, The letter went on and on showing his lack of respect for his wife sending me a message and complimenting me. I am not a vulnerable girl seeking attention. But oh I was. So the emails went back and forth for weeks. Then....
His wife saw the emails. It was even brought to the attention of my Pastor who pulled us all into a room to discuss and get this issue resolved. I was humiliated and my heart was completely broken. I was called everything, the home wrecker, a fraud, an unbeliever, a weak single mother who would take any form of attention. There was a women in the room crying and  when she gained enough courage she said, "I admired you and you do this in the church? You do this to another member of the church and hurt their family, you hurt me, I don't know how I will recover from this" . And none of this from the wife, just the people involved in humiliating discovery of the emails. 

 It was then I learned one of the most valuable truths ever, your sin hurts more than just you. She left the church. All I could think of was, "All this over emails". Really that's all it was, emails with emotions. But that's an affair too. You have to call it what it is. Short lived affair and the discovery of the emails was God rescuing me from worst to come.

The women in the room with us that lashed out how they felt about me, left the church. My sin affected more than just me. Also, my Pastor did so much to try to fix it without hurting anyone. But the focus was all on me. No one yelled at the husband who sent me these love letters, no one told him he was wrong in writing the emails. No one said he took advantage of someone vulnerable. No one, it was all my fault cause I am the woman. It was so unfair but that's the reality for women. Its socially acceptable for a man to "slip" have a moment of "weakness". Its not acceptable for a woman, she is a home wrecker a whore and deserves punishment and banishment. I didn't leave the church although everything in me wanted to. Oddly in my pain of rock bottom it was the closest I had ever felt to God at that time. My heart was contrite and I needed help. This particular season in my life as painful as it was, brought me to new strengths.

My dad had this saying for his daughters that I hated, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free". I discounted myself extremely. When you go shopping and pay top dollar for something it irritates you when people treat it with disrespect like it has no value. But when your at a tag sale and you get something for a dollar if it stains, or tears, then it's OK you got it for a dollar. I valued myself at a dollar.

The guy, his wife forgave him and he never looked my way again. They are doing well today. But they left the church too. It was too painful for them to be in the same room.

Me, it was a long journey to get past my reputation of home wrecker. The biggest gesture I received was the wife, she called me to meet. We sat at the park in tears and she apologized for her husband. She said she knew what I was going through and her husband took advantage of my vulnerability.  She said that he was wrong too. Then she prayed for me and said this, "if you think you've blown God's plans for your life, let me be the one to tell you; you are not that powerful"

The following week I started therapy under the council of the church and the woman who was counseling me matched me with other women who I had on a pedestal in my mind as godly women who would not understand. Then they told me their past and the long path to recovery.
There is so much power in "me too" and women building each other up.

You can't find that in the world. You need God to give you the strength to forgive. You need God to guide you and match you with friendships that will build you up. You need God to give you the strength to share ugly truths about yourself in just the right time to help another sister out. Hopefully this helps a sister out, I get it. You will recover.
Only God could pull me through, and He did. So I will end this with the words of the wife who obviously was filled with the Holy Spirit in confronting the women her husband lusted for.

"if you think you've blown God's plans for your life, let me be the one to tell you. You are not that powerful" 

Don't discount yourself.


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