Chapter 11, The Pestilence of the Night**

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Sometimes I can remember the white haired little girl who just wanted to be with her mama.  Mostly, though, I remember the little girl who grew up way faster than most. That little girl was a monster slayer.  So, when I ended up in the hospital staring at walls and trying to write with a dull lead pencil (true story) I figured maybe the monster had finally gotten me.  This kind of thing will send even monster slayers to their knees.  And that is where I found myself one night in the not so quiet night in the hospital.  I was trying to come up with words to pray and this song came to my mind.

“Pencil marks on the wall, I wasn’t always this tall, You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed.  You watched my team win you watched my team lose, watched when my bicycle went down again.  When I was weak, unable to speak I cried Elbow Healer, Super Hero, come if You can, and You said I AM.”  Nicole Nordeman

So, I begged for God to come fix my gigantic skinned heart and mind.  It was a child-like prayer–because that was all I had.  I knew then that my God would get me through this; but not without a whole lot of work.  After all I was dealing with 35 years of trauma.  That kind of trauma deserves some respect, some attention.  But it was so hard.  No amount of medicine can heal that kind of brokenness.

“One tear in the driving rain, one voice in a sea of pain, could the maker of the stars hear the sound of my broken heart?  One life that is all I am and right now I can barely stand, If You are everything You say You are won’t You come and hold my heart?” Tenth Avenue North

So I would pray, and as the nights went on and I was less medicated, the hospital became a pretty scary place to be.  I had no idea what was waiting for me on the outside.  My friends had managed to keep it from me.  But they all knew the day of reckoning was coming and they had to tell me, they could not keep it from me any longer.

“You saw my mistakes, watched my heart break heard when I swore I’d never love again.  And when I was weak, unable to speak, still I would call You by name I said heart-ache healer, secret keeper, would You be my Best Friend?  And You said I AM”

When the nurse walked me through the (now) unlocked doors and outside Crissy was there waiting for me.  It was October so the temperature outside was nice.  I was pretty sure I smelled ocean air too!  I jumped in the car and told Crissy to hurry and leave before they changed their mind!  I knew they wouldn’t change their mind, but my wit was about me and after all I was gonna sleep in my own bed, what could be better?  More importantly, nothing, absolutely nothing could ruin this moment, right?  WRONG

While I was in the hospital I wasn’t allowed to have any electronic devices. No phone, no computer, no iPod…nothing.  One night Crissy was looking in my computer for phone numbers when she noticed I had some email.  For some reason, to this day she still can’t tell you why, she clicked on those emails.  She could probably tell the story better than I, but what she found were 7 emails  that were threats to kill me in whatever way you could imagine.  Cris had pulled Michelle, Kris and Cheryl into the fold on this one.  None of them said a word to me while I was in the hospital.  They didn’t even tell the doctors.

The emails were horrible.  Let’s just leave it at that.  Within 24 hours of being released from the hospital, I was at the police station–right across from the hospital filing for an order of protection from..you know, somebody who vowed to love me forever.

“You saw me wear white by pale candlelight as I said forever to what lies ahead..when I am weak, unable to speak still I will call You by name oh Shepard, Savior, Pasture Maker, hold on to my hand, You said I AM”

Filling out the paperwork that day was horrible.  Again, this is not an easy process, and it shouldn’t be. But I was scared, I was not ok, this was the last thing in the world I needed.  But, the little white haired girl came out swinging.  It was time to slay some monsters.

I filled out the paperwork and we were told to come back to the courthouse in a few hours.  I was granted a temporary order of protection and was given a court date.  I would have to see him at the hearing.  Perfect, just perfect.

I had not even been home 2 nights before the pestilence of the night started.  I didn’t know what it was, at first.  It was all so confusing, at first.  It was all so, so hard, still.  We figured out that I was having PTSD flashbacks because Crissy could hear me from her room across the house.  I had no ability to tell the difference between when I was 7, 17 or 35.  My body reacted as though it was present.  And I was confused.  I had problems sleeping at night before, but this was different.  This was, in a word, horrible.  There was nothing to do but work through it.  It created a lot of problems for me as I would wake up 10-12 times a night.  Crissy finally just stayed awake with me and would make sure I went back to sleep before she would go back to her room.  Like I said, you never know how much the power of a friendship will change your life.  I was amping up my visits to my counselor in St. Pete.  We all knew this was temporary but it sure didn’t feel that way when it was happening.

“Lord I am weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name, Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer, Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer, Lord and King Beginning and the End and You said I AM”

It seemed like an eternity before we were going to court, so I didn’t think about it much.  I could not let my mind go to that place, your mind can only handle so much evil in one sitting.  So, I managed to not think about it.  Until the day before the hearing.

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The Little White Haired monster slayer.  4 years old, I think…

I Did It Already

Just a little break from the story..:)  Not so much really. Recently ran across this, I wrote shortly after moving to Clearwater.  So happy that we are not alone in a world that separates us from people we love whether by death or demise of the relationship.

June 28, 2007

I spent an inorinate amount of time with my father. I would spend countless days hanging out with my father and I would do anything he asked me to do. I never wanted to be away from my father, I had witnessed my father do awesome things; some things that some children only dream of ever seeing. It was more than throwing a ball in the front yard or coming to a baseball game, I watched my father work miracles. It is true, most people think their father’s are the best, but I promise you, my father is the BEST.

 

I would do anything to please my father. So, on the dark day when all of heaven heard the betrayl and my father asked the unthinkable, I knew I had to do it; this one thing He was asking me to do He could not do himself but I could and I knew he had me earmarked for this very special mission. But this mission meant separation from my one and only father, my hero, my king and it meant that He would sacrifice His only son for the sins of the whole world. I didn’t think twice, I did what He wanted and I came into this world as a lowly baby, knowing full well that my 33 years on earth would be bad; but I had a job to do. But I was going to miss my dad.

 

Noone understands how I could be the son of God yet be fully human. I am not even sure I understood it at times. My father gave me full will, I could have said no at any time, but I knew that wasn’t my mission; it was not what my father wanted or needed me to do. He had created man-kind in His own image to glorify Him and somehow it got all messed up and my father could not look on the sins of the world, so He sent me.

 

I still remember the days as a lowly carpenter’s son, everyone knew I was different. I knew I was different, but I knew what was going to happen and all I wanted to do was to please my father; to complete His mission; because I loved Him and because I loved the world He sent me to save.

 

All of this doesn’t mean that separation from my father was easy. In fact, it was the hardest part of all of it. I worshipped my father, He is my king, my everything. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without thinking of Him. When I healed people it reminded me of the powers that He gave me to do so. When I stood in the streets teaching it reminded me of all he had taught me. When I was betrayed by Peter and Judas it reminded me that he told me that would happen one day. When I was out on the water fishing with the disciples it reminded me of the day He created that very ocean. When I was in the garden, with the chance to go back, it reminded me of the day He created the beauty that was around me. When I found my followers sleeping in the garden it reminded me of the importance of my mission. When I asked for the cup to be passed away from me it reminded me that He had faith in me that I could, in fact, do this. And when the day came for me to die on the cross it reminded me of the day He created the tree they used take my life. When I uttered “my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me” it reminded me that he told me I would feel that way. Being fully God and fully man is hard to explain, but all 33 years on earth I just missed my dad. I was happy to complete the mission He created me to do, but the separation from my father was horrible. It never went away; always an empty place in my heart, only one that my father could fill. I completed my mission, I was faithful and I heard the words “this is my son with whom I am well-pleased”.

 

I think on those days sometimes and how horrible the separation was; but I think of all that was gained as a result of the separation from the love of my life; my heart-beat; my everything. I was allowed to go back with Him, but He allowed me to leave something very awesome for you, the Holy Spirit, which interceads for you, so I could stay up with my father.

 

So for all of you who have loved and/or lost, I know, I did it already. I know how everything reminds you of the person with whom you can’t be with, for whatever reason. I know the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that you feel like is never going to go away; I know because I have done it already. But know that I did leave the Holy Spirit for you to be with you so that you would never be alone. And when those things come along, and they always will that remind you of that person, we, all three of us, are there. We know. We have a plan; just like my father had a plan for our 33 years of separation we have a plan for you. We just need you to trust us. We need you to let us hang on to you, carry you when you can’t walk, wrap our loving arms around you, and fulfill our plan for your life. It is true, it hurts, but we have it.

 

You can not imagine this place now. It is like all your best friends, your family, people with whom you had to separate yourself from for other reasons, the ones that have found me, we are all here waiting for you. It is like the eternal family reunion where all you care about is my father. So separation is not forever. If the person with whom your separation has found me you have an eternity to spend with them, with none of the conflicting stuff you guys seemed to have created for yourselves. Free will, I told dad I wasn’t sure it was a great idea…

 

I did it already, I had my father’s help and I left help for you, it’s okay, I did it already.

 

Love Jesus

 

 

 

Written by Amy Watson

 

June 28, 2007

 

Chapter 10, The Beautiful Breakdown, Part 2

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“There’s a place of quiet stillness ‘tween the light and shadow reach. Where the hurting and the hopeless seek everlasting peace. Words of men and songs of angels whisper comfort bittersweet. Mending grief and life eternal where joy and sorrow meet”.  Avalon

My bed was the one by the window.  The thin curtain dividing the two beds did little to quiet my sobs or my roommate’s dementia.  There was no music.  Music did then and does now speak to me as if God Himself wrote the words just for me.  I wanted to write, but they gave me a 1-inch pencil with dull lead, so that wasn’t happening either.

So my days were spent waiting for the doctor to come and release me.  All 4 days that didn’t happen then had me waiting for my friends to come see me.  When they came it was hard and I have a lump in my throat just typing this.  It was hard for all of us to make any sense of any of it.  It was all, so, so hard.

“There’s a place the lost surrender and the weary will retreat, full of grace and mercy tender- in times of unbelief.  For the wounded there is healing, strength is given to the weak, broken hearts find love redeeming where joy and sorrow meet.

My friend Michelle has been my best friend since we were in the children’s home together and she was instrumental in my safe exit.  A day had not gone by that she had not called me to check on me.  When she walked through the double doors into the hospital to see me, I started to sob uncontrollably.  She didn’t even have to say anything, she just held, held on tight.  She begged me to let her help me; no matter what that meant.  She begged me to stop trying to be strong.  Then she made me laugh, and if you know her you know she is just that friend in your life.  I was only allowed to have 2 visitors at a time and the first Saturday, there were 6 people there at the same time.  They rotated in an out and all begged me to fight.  Since my next of kin was my sister—she had to drive from Jacksonville and talk to the doctor.  My friend from Clearwater Christian, Kris was there too.  She is my steady friend who observes more than she acts—and that is what I needed.  She is a psychologist and no doubt helped my friends understand what was going on, and that I was going to be ok.

“There’s a place of thirst and hunger where the roots of faith grow deep and there is rain and rolling thunder when the road is rough and steep, there is hope in desperation there is victory in defeat at the cross of restoration where joy and sorrow meet.”

My friend Cheryl was there that day too.  My mind wandered back to the first time I met her and she prayed for me—prayed for healing and restoration, citing reconciliation as “one of God’s favorite works”.  I believed her then and I believe her now, I think now I just understand that it might not be on this earth.  When it came time for all of them to leave Cheryl hugged me and I thanked her for coming and she said “you are worth fighting for”—I will never forget those 5 words.  It had never even occurred to me that I had value at all.  Crissy was there every time they would let her, and the steadfastness of her friendship would only become clear to me after I got out of the hospital, when all the monsters came to torment my heart, mind and soul.  The day they all left and the door locked behind them I just wanted to die.  I felt like I let all of them down.  I walked back to my room just in time for them to make us go eat.  Or, for me, stare at the food and drink a diet coke.

After standing in that line and getting a new handful of meds, I made my way back to my bed by the window, with a view of the water (just a little gift from God), and fell fast asleep.  Being in the hospital sucked but the meds to sleep were awesome.  I woke up the next morning to an argument between my new roommate and the nurse.  It was time to go to breakfast, and she had just gotten there, she argued.  The nurse relented and I shuffled past her but not before seeing the 5 -inch cuts on both of her wrists. I only went to breakfast that day because Crissy had finally convinced me they were not going to let me out until I ate.  So I started to order grilled cheese and french fries.  I usually gave it away, either way they thought I ate. 

It turns out that my roommates name was Stacey.  She couldn’t remember if she slit her wrists or if her friend did in their drug induced night before.  She clung to me like I was her new best friend, and I do have to admit I probably was the sanest of the insane.  She noticed my Bible and asked me about it.  The rest of that conversation is cloudy to me.  But, something came up about “birthday verses”.  I told her mine was Romans 12:1 because my birthday is 12/1.  I noticed on her armband that hers was 10/31, so I started in Matthew to help her find hers.  We got to Matthew 10:31 and the words literally took the breath from my lungs:

 

 “So do not be afraid for you are worth more than many sparrows” Matthew 10:31

 

Stacey stopped me there, and she wept, as did I.  So, Cheryl was telling the truth when she told me I was worth fighting for, could it be for real?  Either way, I understood the eternal consequences of that moment with Stacey.  And while I know for certain Stacey needed that Word—it could not have been a better message for me at the time either—for that matter today too.

A few days later and after a lot of giving away my grilled cheese sandwiches, I was released from the hospital.  And as if on cue, evilness was released too.   The hospital stay was a reprieve from the war, and so it would rage on, as still it does.

 

“Hanging blameless on a cross, You would rather die than to leave is in the dark.  Every moment ever planned coincidence, just all made sense with Your last breath” Avalon

Chapter 9, The Beautiful Breakdown, Part 1

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I keep asking myself if you are ready for this part of the story. I wonder if this is where most of you will stop reading. This is the part where it gets real, it gets sad and it’s just the beginning.

I had been thinking about heaven. I had been thinking about heaven, a lot. Life’s normal hits don’t stop because your ability to deal is gone. One of my biggest supporters, who I had not known very long, lost a battle with breast cancer but not before leaving an indelible print on my life. Before helping me leave, she taught me the concept of “reason, season, lifetime” friends, and how that was really not a bad thing. She was so happy for me when I got a teaching job. She told me I would always be a kid at heart. On these days I didn’t feel like a kid at all. I felt beat down and left for dead. So, like I said, I was thinking about heaven a lot. I had lost so many people already, my uncle, my aunt, my mom, and my dad. I was homesick

You are in a better place I have heard a thousand times and at least a thousand times I’ve rejoiced with you. But the reason why I am broken, the reason why I cry, is how long must I wait to be with you” MercyMe

Living on this planet really was becoming unbearable for me. I loved my life between 7:15-3:00 when I was in the classroom or in my friend Cheryl’s classroom, everyday after school. When I did go home it was straight to my room with little to no communication with Crissy, because one thing living with her brought was accountability. I wasn’t so happy about that part.

“Help me Lord because I still don’t understand Your ways, the reason why I wonder if I will never know; but even if You showed me the hurt would be the same, cause I am still here so far away from home” MercyMe

Heaven seemed like the only solution to the pain. There was not enough medication in the world to take the ache from my heart and the emptiness from my soul. I felt like it was never really in the cards for me to live a happy life. I had been living trauma for 35 years, why would anything change now? More importantly why would the entire body of trauma, childhood included hit me NOW?

“Grief is like an ocean: it’s deep and dark and bigger than all of us. And pain is like a thief in the night: Quiet. Persistent. Unfair. Diminished by time and faith and love” Unknown

Living with Crissy brought love, safety and stability into my life. Her friendship came complete with a whole family who claim me as their own. The only other time I remembered being that safe was in the children’s home. But everything seemed to get worse with that safety. I would learn later being safe allowed for the inevitable—a complete nervous breakdown. Nights were still hard for me and even though medicine didn’t take the pain away, sleep gave me a rest from it anyway. I was constantly desperate for sleep. And that is what I told the ER nurse when Cheryl took me to the hospital that day. Cheryl was the absolute best person for this task and I look back on it now and know how the Lord had her hand picked. She stayed with me until they took me back, and then in the stainless steel room (seriously, no sharp objects) she sat with blankets wrapped around her grading papers. We laughed because they put a green bracelet on my arm. I asked them what that meant –“it means you are a flight risk”—to which I responded, “but green means go”. They didn’t think it was funny, Cheryl did and I still do. We waited for awhile for the doctor to come ask me all the questions to find out how “bad” I really was—then immediately diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, complete with a 5 day stay in the hospital. I am not even sure I understood what that meant at the time. I was kind of stunned by it all. Just 24 hours before I had taken 9 pills just to go to sleep. I really wasn’t trying to kill myself, but I have no doubt that I would have accomplished that at some point, just to get some sleep. After the doctor left the room “they” came to take me to my room. I was fine with all of this. Until they took my phone, then I cried. There was no connection with the outside world and when the doors closed they were loud and LOCKED. And this, well this, was the culmination of a complete nervous breakdown. It had to happen at some point. Heaven still seemed like a better option for me, but if I had to be alive why not be alive locked in a psych ward with people MUCH worse off than me? Here is an excerpt from my blog that I wrote when I got home:

“I cried as they took my vitals, not because of the phone but partially because I was scared, but mainly because I knew this was rock bottom. I really don’t remember much after that.”

The first night they gave me some pill that absolutely knocked me out. I was allowed visitors twice a day and my only request from Crissy was two of my favorite things, some PJs and my Bible. After her first visit I just walked around like a zombie because whatever they had me on absolutely sent me into another dimension. I think that was the point, anything to literally, give my mind a rest. It was a bit of an out of body experience though. It’s just like the movies where all the patients line up for their medication and then have to prove that you swallowed it. I remember the feeling of release, I was locked in that hospital, so it didn’t matter what responsibilities or additional pain waited for me out there, when I was locked in that building, I was at peace. A very strange peace—it was the time I just gave up the fight. It was all too much. It was time to let the professionals help me now. Another excerpt from my blog:
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That night I slept well, I was so tired from decades of trying to do it alone and for the first time I didn’t care what anybody thought. Here I had no expectations, here was the time to break down.

And break down I did indeed.

“And I close my eyes and I see Your face, if home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place. Lord, won’t You give me strength to make it through somehow? I have never been more home-sick than now. MercyMe

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Chapter 8, Relapsing, Remitting, Reoccurring Pain

“I’m Tired I’m worn, My heart is heavy, From the work it takes,To keep on breathing I’ve made mistakes I’ve let my hope failMy soul feels crushed By the weight of this world.” 10th Avenue North

I think it is important (in order to be a good steward of this story) that I share with you the low times, too.  While my story is a miracle and there has been so much healing, there are days when it feels like it’s fresh and new. Something will happen that opens up the wounds that are so deep that only a little scar covers the pain; and the pain easily uprooted by anything. I think the hard part is I never know when the scar will open, I just know it hurts so bad when it does.

I have often said that I preferred the hits, punches, scratches and knock downs over the verbal abuse during and after my marriage.  It’s hard to hear those words and not let them brand into your heart. So, his latest attempts to get me, feels like a rip of old wounds and I find myself looking to old coping skills to deal with the pain.

It is frustrating to me that after so many years he can still cause such pain, but he can.  So, I guess that is the message I want my readers to hear is that there is no magic pill.  You have to keep on surrounding yourself with people who love you.  Domestic Violence hurts like none other. My prayer is as the years go by the wounds will heal from the inside out, but until then, I know this to be true:

I have a hope, I have a future I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me. My life’s not over, a new beginning’s just begunI have a hope, I have this hope
God has a plan, it’s not to harm me
But it’s to prosper me and to hear me when I call
He intercedes for me, working all things for my good
Though trials may come I have this hope
I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer
I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my life
He takes my darkness and He turns it into light
I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God

My God is for me, He’s not against me
So tell me whom then, tell me whom then shall I fear
He has prepared for me
Great works He’ll help me to complete
I have a hope, I have this hope

 

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