“…a date which will live in infamy.”-President Franklin D. Roosevelt said regarding December 7th, 1941 when the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Empire of Japan. The noun “infamy” is most often used to talk about famously evil or terrible people or historical events that are famous in a bad way. Today is December 26th, and this day has changed from a day of infamy to a day of freedom, wholeness, justice, redemption and faith. This site is entitled, “The Jungle Journey”. I thought that the FIVE YEAR remembrance of 12/26/2013 would be fitting to share the journey to the jungle…
I bet the entire naval base at Pearl Harbor can remember the EXACT time the first missile hit. I’m guessing they can remember what they were doing, the weather outside or even which song was on the radio when that first missile hit. The missile that hit me struck at 10:02 PM on a ordinary night on December 26, 2013. This missile rocked me and shook me. It made me drop to my knees sobbing in agony. I didn’t know which way was up and the world seemed to stop and all I could do was remember to breath in between howling cries. A husband’s unfaithfulness caught on Facebook Messenger with a dear friend will do that to you. As I read the texts, my stomach began to churn. My hands began to sweat and the anger and rage began to swell inside of me. The life I had been living was a lie. My eyes were open and I realized the abuse, neglect and manipulation that had been taking place and I had to get out. That day lived in infamy for a few years.
How was I going to move on? How was I going to trust ANYONE again? How was I not going to completely lose my mind and act out in my anger and deep sorrow?? I remember the moment those questions got answered. God gently started to reveal to me that FORGIVENESS was the key to the prison that I had put myself in. Forgiveness paired with justice and mercy would unlock the shackles on my wrists and ankles of bitterness, hatred and anger. Seriously? I would have to put on my big girl undies and forgive people that 1. deserved consequences 2. didn’t ask for forgiveness 3. broke up my family and 4. this has to be a bad joke. The movie scene that quickly came to mind when I thought about justice and mercy was from “Gladiator”. Maximus held a sword to the throat of his enemy and then in an instant he showed mercy and dropped the sword. His enemy had attempted to kill him and even murdered his family. He deserved the consequences that were coming to him. I struggled with this because I felt like consequences, bitterness and anger were WAY better than forgiveness and mercy. God softened my heart and opened my eyes to see the people in my life that deserved the worst but I extended mercy and forgiveness. The beautiful outcome of forgiveness was for ME. I had set myself free from the dungeon. I could breathe again and life was completely different.
Saying YES to Jesus is not always the easiest thing but I know that it is always the RIGHT thing. Two years ago I was running a very familiar route in my neighborhood. About 2 miles in I felt God say “Do you believe in miracles?” I mumbled under my breath, “Yeah.” Then He said it again, “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?” I stopped and raised my hands to the sky and shouted on the side of the road, “YES!!! I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!!!” Then God responded…”Then watch and see what I am going to do.” ummmmm alright then. Bring it on! I’m ready and I say YES!!
I had no idea what I had just committed to but I knew it would be good because God is a giver of only good gifts. The journey that began blew my mind and was beyond my wildest dreams. God began to bring back Belize. Yeah Belize. You know, the place I went when I was 17 and delivered a baby and God said “These are your people and this is what I want you to do!” Yeah, that place. I felt as though that story was not done. But it had been 17 years….God knows the mess I just walked through. How could a single mom with kiddos do missions in Belize. Well….that’s the beauty of this story. When you say yes to Jesus, He will do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.
The next two years were filled with short trips to Belize, some alone, some with my kids and some with teams. Each time I went, God had new connections, established new relationships and grew my faith. I am not a cookie cutter missionary. You know what? David was just a shepherd boy turned into a king. Mary was just a teenager that gave birth to the Messiah. Joshua tore down the walls of Jericoh by people yelling. Sarah had a baby in her old age. God is a God of miracles and uses people that make themselves available and say YES! A single mom who is a nurse that leads volunteer teams to the jungles of Belize and has kiddos…why not?? God has not disappointed at all.
Forgiveness is not just a one and done type of deal. It’s a daily decision. Those people still do things that hurt and remind me of their sins 5 years ago. It could be so much easier to harden my heart and fire my tongue back at them but that’s not forgiveness, justice or mercy. Recently, some of the “characters in my story” decided to tell their story and their journey. I was able to read their book before they published it and the intense feeling of being violated rose up inside of me. Parts of MY story, MY family and MY life were in that book. I had kiddos to protect and I felt if people read this book, I could be easily identified, even though my name had been changed in the book. I felt like my thoughts, feelings and retelling of events had not taken into consideration and I wanted to stand on a mountaintop and cry “BUT WAIT!! WAIT!! NOBODY ASKED ME IF I WANTED THESE DETAILS PUBLISHED! WAIT!!!” I begged the authors to not publish the book and take my family’s feelings into consideration but they didn’t. They kept pressing on without regard for my feelings. I wanted to lash out. I wanted to contact the people that endorsed the book and tell them my side of the story and how they may be mended as a family, mine was utterly destroyed by choices that weren’t mine. I felt like I lost my voice.
After a few months of this eating at my heart, there was a significant moment that God brought me to the story of His trial before the crucifixion. He stood there. Publicly humiliated. Silent. He didn’t lash out at the lies that were being said about Him. He let the TRUTH of His life speak for itself. This was exactly what I had to do. I stand for complete truth and healing. I am not defined by the words in that book. I am no longer that “character”. Jesus has taken me and changed my name, healed my heart and put my feet back on solid ground. A path that leads to promises fulfilled, a greater calling and walking into miracles. The enemy will try and come at you in different and new ways when he knows you have figured him out. This was a new tactic. My past is a prime weapon to be used against me but I know I serve a much mightier God that has transformed me. So, long story short, I didn’t last out. I didn’t attack them or the supporters of the book. I am going to let the truth that my life is infused with speak for itself and continue to forgive. Daily.
As I sit here, the clock just passed 10:02 PM on 12/26/2018. FIVE years later. The day that once lived in infamy now lives in complete freedom. WOW. I never would have thought I could come to this place but I am reminded daily that my God is a God of miracles.
If you read this entire entry, thank you. If you have questions or would like to talk further, I would be happy to do so.
Now….onto the JUNGLE!!