My Story Isn't Finished

Serena, you, like art, are many things to many people, but you, my child, are the apple of my eye.

This is my story. I lived it and I am living it.

This is what I know and what I believe.

This is my soap box. The platform I chose to communicate with my daughter.

For me, I have not had contact with my daughter, Serena, spoken to her, or held her for fourteen years.

I walked away from a traumatizing (to say the very least), custody battle in 2009, when Serena was six years of age.

I spent the next four years of my life rebuilding myself personally, professionally, financially, and mentally.

It wasn’t enough. I would never be enough.

In 2014, I was finally ready to re-establish my relationship with my daughter, after letting the anger of the betrayal subside. So, I filed my application and was granted a hearing. I foolishly believed that the adversary had changed. After all, they got what they wanted, didn’t they? I walked away in 2009. Surely they would be happy and content by now. Wouldn’t they? No.

I soon found out it wasn’t enough for them to get what they wanted, no, they wanted more.

It soon came to light; the depravity people will sink to, to get what they want. They weren’t satisfied until all memory of me was erased, maligned, and destroyed.

Turning the clock back to 2003, when I was twenty years of age, when this all began, I responded with violence against those who sought to destroy me, not knowing I was playing right into their hand.

Like vultures waiting to pick at a dead body.

I lost myself.

My parents, intervened with tough love and that’s exactly what I needed. Thank you Dad and Mom!

“A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.” [Proverbs 13: 24]

I learned I can’t repay evil with evil and expect anything other than evil in return. Now that I am forty years of age, I know this to be absolutely true.

At the time, twenty years ago, it felt like nothing except retribution and vengeance could stop them. I thought this was my only choice.

Back then, I was double minded in all my ways. Listening to two voices vying for control and influence over me. I let both guide me: the voice of falsehood and lies, and the voice of truth and goodness. I freely hearkened to both and chose who to listen to, and when, based on my own circumstances. Foolishly, I leaned on my own understanding, which was pathetically ignorant of the world and stained with pride.

The old adage with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other is the point here.

In today’s world, there are millions of voices vying for our attention and seeking to influence us. All these voices will, without exception, fall into one of two categories: Truth or Lies.

The task therefore is one of discernment. The most cunning of lies will mix in a little truth in their cauldron, before spewing forth the lies from their mouths. These are the most deceptive and destructive.

Today, I strive to live in truth, sincerity, and straightforwardness, and I am empowered.

"As a servant of the Supreme Divinity, I stand with myself in every way, in much endurance, and cheerful constancy; in persecution, tribulation and pressure, in hardships and constraint, and in anguish; in calamity, imprisonment and disorder, in pain, sleepless nights and abstinence; in purity, wisdom and knowledge, forbearance and uprightness; in being set apart, by and for the Holy Spirit in sincere, without hypocrisy, love.

In truthful speech and by the miraculous power of the Supreme Divinity; with the instruments of righteousness and justness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, defamation and praise; viewed as an imposter, yet genuine; as unknown, yet well known; dying, and yet I live on; disciplined, yet not put to death; sorrowful yet always rejoicing; humble and poor; yet often rich; having nothing, yet possessing everything." [2 Corinthians 6: 4-10] Written to stand the test of time; true and real in every way. 

I had to learn the hard way that not everyone is like me. Not everyone lives by the same code of ethics as I do; not everyone believes what I believe; not everyone thinks the same things are right and wrong as I do.

When the enemy attacked me, I was like a ship without a helmsman; tossed by the wind and the waves.

I responded with fear and violence.

The accuser, much more experienced than I, knew exactly how to manipulate me. The enemy sat back and laughed while my life spiraled out of control.

The deception was as thick as fog.

The board was set. Their queen was positioned to take my king.

I learned there are those who believe they can take what is not theirs and lie with impunity.

They believe they are doing God a service by destroying me.

I spent six years dancing with these devils, until I realized that by doing so I was cooperating with my own destruction. I was slowly being killed, while watching the ones I loved the most, suffer the most.

I had to choose between cooperating with the enemy, under the delusion that if I just jumped through enough hoops, then they would finally come around; OR, cut myself off completely from their control and manipulation. The second choice came with a huge cost; however. It meant I would lose the very thing I desired the most.

I decided to stop cooperating with evil and completely cut the proverbial cord.

I realized my accuser wielded more power and control than I and they would always use fear, intimidation, coercion, and manipulation to control me. They knew I would do anything to get back what was mine.

I decided I wasn’t willing to compromise with the devil and lose my soul. It was the hardest decision of my life. A part of me died that day. The part of me that acquiesced to evil died. It’s taken me fourteen years to clean out all the carnage left behind; to throw out all the trash.

I know now what it means that, “outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, those who prostitute themselves, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” [The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 22]

It was the start of my journey of faith. One road ends, another begins.

I always think of The Judgement of Solomon. A story from the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. King Solomon revealed their true feelings and relationship to the child by suggesting the baby be cut in two, each woman to receive half. With this strategy, he was able to discern the non-mother as the woman who entirely approved of this proposal, while the actual mother begged that the sword might be sheathed and the child committed to the care of her rival. 

The past is like a compass, if we know how to use it, it will provide navigation. And, like a compass that can be interfered with by magnetic forces, the past can also be interfered with; throwing navigation off and leading us astray.

I came to the conclusion that I have Hobbiton within me. Where everything I trust and know to be true is good, wholesome, abundant, overflowing and beautiful. Right inside me.

I also came to the conclusion that outside, in the physical world, it’s really Mordor. It’s Mordor dressed up like Hobbiton.

**If you haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings movies, then you may not understand the metaphor**

Now, some people will disagree.

Some people believe ‘might is right’. They believe the stronger, smarter, more powerful can, and should take what they want. They believe it’s their birthright.

They might think I’m just a loser who was weak and vulnerable and ignorant, so I deserved what I got.

But, that’s not what I think, and that’s not how I live my life.

I think I would rather be the loser than be the winner, if being the winner means I have to lie, cheat, steal, or even murder. I’ll be the loser if that’s how to win.

But, you don’t have to agree. Remember, this is my story.

I also know I don’t have to be afraid of the truth. I can be prepared for it.

I can start by separating from those things I know are wrong.

I can resist those things that seek to tempt me into compromising my values; no matter how seductive.

It takes faith and courage to stand up for oneself, especially to family or friends; the members of our own household. Do not be afraid of them.

For my daughter, Serena, today I ask, “Who’s voice do you hearken to?”

Listen, my child; allow me to make known to you knowledge and wisdom:

If people are lying to me, then they are shaping a false reality for me. It doesn’t matter who they are; it could be my ‘mama’ or ‘papa’, my ‘mom’ or ‘dad’, my ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, my ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’.

If they are lying to me, then they want to control me and they want something from me. It could be devotion, loyalty, compliance, resources, etc. They want me to see them and the world through their lies.

The very good news is I can just say, “No! No More! No More Lies!”

“I won’t be lied to anymore and I refuse to cooperate.”

That’s the hardest part. No one likes confrontation.

But, I tell you the truth, confrontation is coming.

Lies, like Edgar Allan Poe’s beating heart under the floor boards, will always surface. It’s only a matter of when. Lies are empty bubbles, vacuous air. Once released, they eventually find their way to the light; where all things hidden are revealed.

“Many of them that sleep in the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” [Book of Daniel, Chapter 12]

If someone really, truly, loves you, and you confront them about their lying, they will genuinely repent, and care how it has affected you. They will confess their lies, all of them, and make amends. In this case, the relationship can be salvaged, even made stronger.

If they don’t sincerely love or respect you, then they will refuse to confess, get angry and defensive, deny, deny, deny, and somehow make it your fault, or even justify their lying as ‘good for you’ or ‘for your own good.’ These are the ones who are incapable of empathy and lack compassion; who’s god is their belly.

“These are springs without water, mists driven by a storm, for whom is reserved the blackest of darkness.” [Book of 2 Peter, Chapter 2]

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” [Ephesians 5: 11-13]

“These people complain, find fault, follow their own desires, say arrogant things, and flatter people in order to take advantage of them.” [Jude 1: 6]

They eat with you and don’t feel ashamed. They are shepherds who care only for themselves. They are dry clouds blown around by the winds. They are withered, uprooted trees without any fruit. As a result, they have died twice. Their shame is like the foam on the wild waves of the sea.” [Jude 1: 12-13]

So, in conclusion, and “finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints. Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Fast forward, circa 2023. I am still ringing the door bell of your heart; waiting for you to open the door. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.