Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Must Marriage REALLY Be Legal To Be Blessed By God?

On another site, I stumbled upon a letter written by a woman whose son was in a relationship he called a marriage without having gone the legal route of a marriage license and certificate. Her letter, essentially, asks if his marriage is valid and, if not, how can she convince him otherwise. After reading the reply written to her, I decided to raise a few points with her respondent. He hasn't gotten back to me yet (it's been a couple of weeks), but I've gone ahead and posted his original reply along with my points (highlighted in blue) below. Hopefully, it will help someone else struggling with this issue. Enjoy:



I read the following reply to the question of "Must Marriage Be legal To Be Blessed By God" on your website (www.ComeReason.org). While I greatly appreciate the emphasis of marriage being a sacred covenant, I must admit that I have a few questions and criticisms of key points within your reply. I've copied your reply below and have highlighted in blue my own interjections within:


1. Marriage is an institution created by God and therefore is holy.

Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 19 when He said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

Because God created marriage, it becomes more than just a cultural idea. It is a holy union blessed by God. In recognizing such, it deserves a certain amount of respect and recognition beyond "we say we're married so we are". (I'm fine with that opinion, but doesn't Messiah, in Matthew 5:36,37, say not to swear to anything, but to give our word as in stating that "yes" we will or a "no" we won't do a thing? And that anything more than this comes from evil? Is it coincidence that He makes this statement immediately following statements about marriage and divorce?)

2. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

In creating marriage, God defined it precisely. Genesis 2:24 states, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." (I agree that true, biblical marriage is ONLY between a man and a woman. Regarding scripture, it appears that He has given His instruction on marriage and, seeing as there is no indication of anyone in the bible doing anything "extra" (i.e. no one presiding over marriages, no ceremonies, no vows, no government contracts, etc.) why do we now nullify what is put forth in the word by saying that what He defines in Genesis 2:24 is no longer enough because "man" now says otherwise? And, a study of the creation of legal marriage in the U.S. proves that "man" only began to require a certificate in approximately the last 100 years or so. From the beginning of time until then, marriage involved leaving and cleaving, nothing more or less.) Marriage can only be between a man and a woman where they are joined together as a single entity. It involves the leaving of the old, childhood life and starting something new.

There are many kinds of unions between people. However, that does not make them equivalent to marriage. Living together may be a type of union, but it does not join the participants into a single entity. Our laws recognize that spouses cannot testify against one another; precisely because they are joined in such a union.

It also answers the question of so-called "homosexual marriage". Since, by definition, marriage can only be between a man and a woman, homosexual unions are not marriages. They cannot be. You may use some other term to describe their relationship, but to use the word marriage is incorrect. The definition won't allow it. (Agree. But the State says otherwise, because in the State's marriage [at least in Massachusetts], not only is homosexual State marriage called legal marriage, but so are a lot of other things that our Father says is a no-no in marriage such as remarrying when an original spouse still lives, divorce, etc. All of this is to illustrate that State marriage and biblical marriage are not one in the same...at least that's not how the State views it, so why should a believer be told that they have to accept the State's, immoral copycat form of marriage in order for their biblical marriage to be honored by the Most High...our heavenly Father?).

3. Marriage is more than a commitment.

In your question, you state "He said they had made their vows to each other and consummated the relationship, ... He also stated that nowhere in the bible does it state you have to go through a 'ceremony' and he felt what they did was enough." Your son said he felt making vows to each other was enough to constitute a marriage in the eyes of God. However, the Bible actually does take a different view.

You see, marriage is more than just making a commitment to someone else. It is also entering into a holy covenant before God. (Yes, for us, but not a state requirement. In "their" marriage He does not have to be recognized as the state certainly doesn't. If they did, believers would be able to partake of their own marriages, even performed by or witnessed their own clergy if they like, and that would still be recognized as legal marriage. This isn't the case, however, as the State does not recognize Him in our marriages.). In Malachi, God is rebuking the people of Judah for not following His laws. There we read, " 'Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion, and your wife by covenant.. For I hate divorce,' says the Lord." (Mal 2:14,16). (For more on divorce, please see "Is Matthew 19 a Contradiction?").

God says here that marriage is a covenant, one witnessed and sealed by Him. A commitment is a civil agreement. A covenant is religious by nature and should be presided over by a religious official (Is this your opinion or is this biblical? I have not found where such a requirement is stipulated in the bible, so if it is, could you please give me the book, chapter and verse where this appears?). Breaking a commitment can be done by mutual agreement. However, a covenant is considered binding and can only be broken if God has provided for such a dissolution - such as adultery.

4. Marriage is to be witnessed.

Because marriage is a covenant to be entered freely by two individuals, is must be witnessed by at least two or three people (Again, I'll have to ask for book, chapter and verse where this is clearly stated as there are several instances in the bible where covenants were formed between two individuals and no one was present to witness it. Specifically, at this moment, I'm recalling David and Jonathan's covenant in 1 Samuel 23:18. Who, besides our Father, witnessed it?). This idea is confirmed in Matthew 18:16, where Jesus quotes Leviticus, "Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed (Yes, in correct context, this is to confirm that an attempt to resolve a conflict with a brother has taken place [if that brother will not hear you, alone, then taking him before witnesses is the next step], but I'm not convinced that this applies specifically to covenants as I don't see evidence for this requirement in scripture. Again, please cite book, chapter and verse so that I may study this if I'm mistaken)."
Ruth 4:9-12 shows this applies specifically to marriage when Boaz seeks out witnesses to secure his right to marry Ruth, the Moabitess. There, the witnesses even pronounce a marriage blessing on them (While I am not opposed to witnesses and I do agree that Boaz had a witness, there doesn't seem to be a clearly established practice of using witnesses for ALL marriages or that it is mandatory for one to do so. After all, Isaac made Rebekah his wife by simply taking her into his mother's tent in Genesis 24:67...no witnesses are mentioned. If this were both necessary and mandatory, wouldn't it have been clearly stated?).

5. Marriage is to be held in honor.

If we take all of the above into account, we can see that marriage is an institution not to be taken lightly. In fact, it is a union of the highest honor. "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled..." (Heb. 13:4).
Interestingly, this verse links the idea of marriage to legal custom (links to "legal custom"? I don't see it, but okay, lol). In Romans 13, Paul tells us that we are to be in subjection to governing authorities. In other words, we are to obey the laws of the land because God has placed those people in power. Then, in verse 7, he writes, "Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." (Okay, a few points here: Yes, Paul did tell us to obey governing authorities, but we're also taught to resist unGodly authority in Daniel 6 and Acts 5:27-29. How much more unGodly could an authority be that allows abortion, adultery, no-fault divorce and is, to a large degree, on the fence about same sex marriages [which is already legal in Massachusetts with more states to possibly follow]. Could the marriage offered by the State even compare to a biblical marriage in that it allows for divorce, allows for people of different faiths [and NO faith] to marry, allows for remarriage in ANY situation where it's proven one isn't already married and they are free to remarry as many times as they like as long as they can continue to prove that their last marriage was legally dissolved? That an atheist and a believer are given the same certificate, tells us that State's marriage, in and of itself, is not one of religious nature. Could it be that the State's marriage is an imitation of the real thing, but is not the marriage that Yahweh intended and instituted at the beginning?
Further, as for "law of the land", could you please tell me, specifically, what this law states? I know of 7 states who say that people must marry legally in order to live together as man and wife (although it's not common practice to enforce this law in any of the 7). If you will, please tell me where I can read up on this "law", because in my state (California), I don't know that one exists. Here, in order to be legally recognized as married and to enjoy the legal benefits extended to those who are legally married, one needs to partake of legal marriage, but it's purely optional and not anything that is forced upon anyone and not the least bit illegal to pass on.

Also, one scripture which tells us to obey the ordinance of man is 1 Peter 2:13. I find it interesting, however, that Strong's defines "ordinances" as:

1) the act of founding, establishing, building etc
a) the act of creating, creation
b) creation i.e. thing created
1) of individual things, beings, a creature, a creation
a) anything created
b) after a rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called)
c) the sum or aggregate of things created
c) institution, ordinance

In context, this means that the ordinance of man is literally what man established, founded or created. Who created biblical marriage...Yahweh or man? Yes, man created a type of marriage, but it is not nearly as sacred or holy as the original creation by our Father. If they were the same thing, there wouldn't be no-fault divorces, same sex marriages, remarriages even among adulterers, etc. allowed in State marriages. In Mark 12:17, Matthew 22:21 and Luke 20:25 our Messiah tells us to give to Caesar what is his and to give to our Father what is His. Clearly, marriage...true biblical marriage, is our Father's. It was created and instituted by Him and is clearly His ordinance, NOT man's. At least that's how it appears. How is it then that to partake of His marriage ALONE is seen as wrong, but to partake of the State's marriage ALONE is not? If He is the Creator of marriage...it is His ordinance and His institution, why is any other validation necessary? Is such truly honoring Him? And, for those who choose to take a pass on the State's marriage, why are they wrong if they abide by biblical marriage ALONE? With the exception of a few denominations, most will accept a State marriage ALONE as valid (as in one solemnized at a courthouse), but will not accept one pronounced at a church without a State certificate as valid. Why is this?

Also, at no point in scripture, can I find where He gave man dominion over marriage. I also can't find where Messiah, any of His followers or where any high priest ever solemnized a marriage. To me, it appears it was understood that only Yahweh joins together (as scripture repeatedly states). If I am wrong, I humbly and sincerely look forward to your correction)

We know that marriage is honorable and the Bible commands us to render it honor properly (And I'm not sure that State marriage, with its unholy laws and approach to marriage, is the best way to do so, but I hear you and I do agree that marriage is honorable!). Further, it shows that we are to obey the governing laws and respect the customs associated with Biblical marriage (I've discussed my thoughts and questions on the governing laws issue, but you touch on "customs" which I think is an important distinction here. Clearly, the marriage ceremonies and contracts of today are just that, "customs", and while I don't begrudge anyone the right to partake in these "customs", should we force them upon people and then attempt to make them appear biblical? Are we in danger of adding to His word when we do so?).

Our laws recognize the holy union of marriage (point number 1), require it to be between a man and a woman (point number 2), recognizes the covenant nature of marriage by sanctioning clergy to perform marriage ceremonies (point number 3) (I do wonder why a separation of church and state argument is made on every other point where the two meet, but never on clergy solemnizing state marriages. Sorry, just thinking out loud here, lol), and requires witnesses (point number 4). Therefore, in order to give marriage proper honor and to render the proper respect to the governing authorities, legal marriage is both required (Again, by whom is it required??? Please cite book, chapter and verse if it is biblical or the exact number or letter of the law if it is a legal requirement. By requirement, I mean that it would be illegal to otherwise live together as husband and wife [outside of the 7 states I made reference to earlier where the law is there, but goes largely unenforced]. From what I can gather, legal marriage is an "option" if one wishes to receive the legal benefits package that goes with it.) and appropriate. It does not follow that legal marriage is not necessary in today's society.
Taking all into account, the Bible clearly shows that an official marriage ceremony governed by clergy is entering into marriage appropriately (Please support this with book, chapter and verse). Jesus blessed official marriage by performing His first miracle at the marriage feast in Cana (John 2) (He did not bless the marriage. The bible says nothing of him blessing the marriage. He also was at a marriage "feast", not a wedding ceremony, so we still do not know that this marriage was "an official marriage ceremony governed by clergy" as you've stated. I respect your opinion on this, but this doesn't make it a biblical truth.). His relationship with the church is compared to a bridegroom and his bride, again showing the holiness of the marriage relationship.
It is an unfortunate commentary on our society that we've reduced the idea of marriage to one of comfort. With Las Vegas 30 minute weddings and no-fault divorce, we are straying farther and farther away from the idea of the holy covenant God set forth. It is to be binding, not broken by any man. (Amen!!! Marriage has been greatly reduced as we've allowed it to be by believing that what the State presents to us as marriage IS biblical marriage while the 2 are far from being the same.)

I would question your son's sincerity in his intent for marriage. If he truly is serious in vowing "until death do us part", then why would he be resistant to making that vow legal? (I just want to interject here that some don't believe that State marriage is honest, true and biblical marriage. Therefore, they choose not to condone its falsehood by partaking of it and pretending that it is the same thing. There are several scriptural reasons which many will offer to accompany this, but I do believe that most true believers of the bible have the sincerest intention for marriage even without going the legal route. A man-made, legal contract can not measure the faith of a believer. Such is measured by a couple's honoring their covenant as is evidenced within their actions. If State marriage were any guarantee of sincerity, there would be no State divorce...which, btw, is rampant even within the Church.) Many times people are betrayed by their concern for the consequences of their actions. The consequences of dissolving a legal marriage are much less than they were, but are still significant. It could be those consequences are what bothers him, which means he isn't entering a covenant relationship, but merely a temporary agreement -and that isn't marriage. (For some this may be true, but can we really apply this to all? Especially to people who we don't know? As you and I both know, legal marriage is also a temporary agreement in the minds of many who take the attitude of, "if it doesn't work out, I can always divorce"!)
I hope this has helped you understand what Biblical marriage is and why it is important. Please let me know how things go. I will be praying for you and your family. May God bless you


One argument that you didn't present and that I can respect you not doing so is that a legal marriage is helpful should a couple split up. Many who argue in favor of legal marriage being the ONLY true form of marriage will often make this argument. Funny thing is that they will also vehemently argue against divorce and against prenuptial agreements. However, when a marriage certificate is seen as a tool which may be used to aid in a future divorce and in the division of property, it then enters the realm of a prenuptial agreement and of a truly unGodly intention (when sought for legal support in case of divorce or separation). Again, I respect that you don't seem to view it that way, but I just wanted to put that out there since I've seen it argued so many times before. In parting, a few links I'd like to share with you are: The Lawful Path which will shed some light on how at least one state views legal marriage and a great essay I recently discovered on the covenant of marriage, which I know you'll enjoy (I certainly did!). The latter doesn't debate the issue of legal vs. biblical marriage, but does an excellent, in-depth job of exploring the actual covenant aspect. (If any of these links do not work, please let me know) I realize that we'll likely disagree on many of the points highlighted here and that's okay. I trust that both of us seek to honor marriage and our Father even if we disagree on how this should be done. I do sincerely welcome any correction in any areas where you believe me to be in error, all I ask is that you do so with pure, very clear scripture (as opposed to opinion added to scripture). I'm willing, however, to even take your opinions into consideration too, as I already have, so feel free to share them as well. Blessings to you and to the wonderful work you do in helping to guide others along the correct path. He truly is the Way, the Truth and the Life, so may we all hold fast to Him as the only route to the Father.

Thank you for your time in reading this and thanks, in advance, for your time should you choose to reply.


So, folks, I hope it's clear here that, first, it's important to know for yourself what the bible states. If you don't read and study, the wool is easily pulled over your eyes. I don't believe the respondent here had any ill-intent (quite the opposite), but the twisting of scripture cannot be tolerated, especially regarding such an important topic. Secondly, as you will hopefully begin to see, marriage IS clearly defined by the Most High. Man cannot define it for you, nor can man govern over it, nor has man ever been given authority over marriage and its ordinances. And, finally, if you're planning on marrying soon or if you're already married, please take the time to carefully learn what, exactly, marriage is and do not be fooled by the man-made legalities and customs of traditional marriage. Legal, biblical or both is your personal choice and, YES, you do have a choice! Legal marriage is NOT your only option and, in fact, it is NOT the same as what Our Father gave us and is NOT the one that is blessed by Him.

In closing, since my letter has yet to be responded to, if any of you wish to clarify or rebut my points above, please feel free to email me at LaLaLives@yahoo.com. It's my pleasure to consider all sides in this debate and I do reserve the right to post any emails delivered to me on this or any other topic related to this blog.

Have a superb day in Him!



Sometimes I think we really have been dealt an unfair hand. Unfair in our favor, but unfair nonetheless. Think about it. Christ died because of our sins. He died in our stead. We were due the penalty, yet it was heaped upon Him and He took it without protest, without blame, without shame. He took it all and He deserved none of it. Now, all we have to do is believe who He is and accept what He's done for us and we are forgiven. Too easy. And we're so not worthy of it. Yet Our Father sacrificed Him...gave Him for this very purpose. So unfair, but so loving.

When I really think about it. I mean, really, REALLY think about it, sometimes it makes me sad. I know it's not supposed to, but it does.

However, reading scripture this morning, I was reminded that Our Savior did this, not only willingly, but with joy! Amazing. Check it out:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

He knew the entire plan. He knew that the reason He had to endure was so that we could be cleansed, we could be redeemed and we could spend eternity with Him. There was no other way, because left alone, we wouldn't have made it. Try as we may, we fall too short and too often.

It's incredible to think of what He's done for us. It's also incredible to think that Our Father thinks enough of us to sacrifice the one and only Perfect One, just so that we can be with Him forever.

How can we not feel special? How can we not feel loved? How can we not feel grateful when One loves us so deeply as to go to this extreme? Most of all, how can we reject this when all He wants is us to say, "yes" to Him? We don't have to die. We don't have to do anything special...all we have to do is say, "yes".

So even though I feel sad sometimes for what Christ endured for me. Even though I don't feel I was worth His pain and sacrifice, my thoughts turn to why He did it and the joy He experienced despite the physical anguish He endured and then I know, no matter how I feel, that I must have been worth it and that I am truly loved by someone who is capable of loving me beyond my finite comprehension.

Truly amazing...I give all glory and honor to Him...for He loves me sooooooo good!

Hopefully you all know this too and, if you don't, today's a good day to begin to know Him and that knowing begins with a simple word to Him..."YES".

He loves you. He REALLY does!

My hope is that you'll believe Him.

Take care,


Monday, June 25, 2007

Marriage Has Already Been Reformed

Well, it looks like 2 couples I've mentioned here are deep in Splitsville. One, Mr. Free and I thought had perhaps changed her mind. Turns out she didn't. She packed her things and moved out of her home this weekend leaving behind a husband and 2 stepchildren. It's been less than 3 years. She's in her 40's and this was her first marriage. He's in his 50's and it was his second.

Then, my cousins Wes and Macy have major drama going on. As previously mentioned, my family...well, one aunt at least...continues to provide "easy escapes" for Wes by taking him on trips without his wife, giving him places to stay (though he and his wife have their own place), etc. This weekend, he goes home to talk to his wife and I happened to call just as they were sitting down together. I encouraged them both towards remaining married and the next call I got was 2 days later after Macy stabbed him in the arm during an argument and is now in jail. I don't know the full story. My sister called to tell me, but I wasn't too interested. She found the whole thing funny. I can't laugh. I continue to pray for them. They've had domestic violence issues between them before, but it's always been him against her. This time, it seems she snapped and, well...now she'll probably have an attempted murder case.

In the meantime, I wonder if people on the verge of divorce (or those who actually go through with it), realize what they're doing. Do they know and do it anyway? Or are they blind to the fact that they're breaking a covenant that's never supposed to be broken? In instances of violence (like Macy and Wes), it's obvious that they don't need to continue as they are. I'm not saying they need a divorce, but they need something...some sort of help/intervention and, apparently, sharing the same space together isn't going to work for them. But for those who aren't dealing with life threatening issues, I wonder if they realize what all a divorce entails. Like marriage, it's so much more than a piece of paper or the breaking of a contract. Breaking a covenant that was meant for life is not Our Father's intention for us. For this reason, it's ULTRA important for people to really know one another, to really know themselves and to really understand the committment they're making before they make it. This is why I can't get with that whole 2 year deadline rule for marriage.

So many fight against marriage reform as a way to block same sex couples from State marriages. However, marriage has already been reformed. None of us accept it as it was given to us in the beginning. It's all about paperwork now. Let no man put asunder is nothing more than an ancient ideal.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Divorce is NOT okay!

Mr. Free got a phone call this morning. Another couple divorcing. It was only 2 years ago, almost to the day, that we attended their wedding. Tragic. Hopefully, they'll come to their senses and call it off. I'll be praying.

This couple did everything according to the social norms of our day. They dated for the customary 2 years. They had the big wedding celebration. They got the marriage license and certificate. They even know Christ as their Savior, study the bible, pray and attend church regularly. What went wrong?

They don't know what marriage is.

Yeah, I said it.

And I truly believe it.

This is about the time when Mr. Free tells me I'm being judgmental. Maybe I am. Or maybe I'm onto something. He's already told me I don't know the whole story. Neither does he. We do know, however, that the couple in question are at odds over financial issues. This is their reason, supposedly, for getting divorced.

Is this a reason for divorce? I'm looking for scripture on that and can't find that reason anywhere. My bible says that Father hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). My bible says that divorce is only allowable in cases of infidelity and, even then, it's better to forgive (Matthew 19:9, Ephesians 4:32). Tough to do, I know, but that's besides the point. My bible doesn't say that you can rid yourself of your spouse...break your covenant...and offend Father because you're at odds over financial issues.

Then again, maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. After all, the state says you can divorce for these reasons all day every day.

I'm tired of the charade. I'm tired of the act. I'm tired of Believers being fooled by this imitation of marriage that tells them divorce is okay. It isn't. It never has been. It never will be. Got a problem with that? Take it up with the Most High. After all, it's Him who is most offended by divorce.

What do you do when you just can't seem to make it work? You figure out a way to make it work! But the bottom line is you don't give up.

Ask any couple that's been married for any length of time. You don't get to your silver or golden anniversary by giving up. And if you don't think this is possible for "everyone", then you have no business getting married in the first place. All of those who made it 25, 50 or even 75 years (like Mr. Free's grandparents), have dealt with the same issues...and more...as most couples out there. Marriage ain't easy, folks. Getting married might be, but staying married isn't. These people who make it work aren't perfect people. They're no better and no smarter than you and I. They have no secrets other than they stay even when it makes more sense to go. They forgive. They accept. They change. They grow. They endure. They stay.

After entering into a marriage covenant. The "D" word should be entirely and forever stricken from your vocabulary.

Impossible, you say? I don't know what I'm talking about, you say? Not for everyone, you say?

I say that's why more than half of all marriages end in divorce. MORE than half!

With statistics like that, why even get married if you don't believe you can be in that less than half that stays together?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

No Respect!

My family needs prayer.

They just don't respect marriage.

Sure, they say they do.

They even believe that they do.

But they don't.

I wonder if they even truly understand what marriage is.

Now, I don't mean this to be a personal attack on any of them. I really don't even think that it's entirely their fault. Pretty much they've grown up in a family, who has grown up in a society that does not value real, honest, till-death-do-us-part-and-nothing-can-separate-us-before

Too many stories to tell, but tonight I'm venting on the most recent one that's causing me horror.

First, let me introduce you to my loved ones:

Donna ~ My oldest aunt. Married twice, but has been single for most of my 40 years and has never bothered to divorce either one of her husbands. Her reason for never divorcing even though she's didn't grow old with either, is that when each of them died, she planned to collect whatever spousal benefits she could. Didn't work, but more on that in a minute.

Technically, she hasn't been completely single for all of my life though, there have been a few live in boyfriends through the years. Oh, and for a brief minute, she reunited with spouse #2, but seeing as he was a lifelong convict, that didn't last long and, soon enough, he was back in prison. He was finally, for the last time, released about 8 years ago, but ended up dying from AIDS about 4 years ago (they weren't together at all during that time. She didn't even attend his funeral). And as for those spousal benefits, well, let's just say he didn't rack up a whole lot of dough behind bars. Nevertheless, they had a child together, my cousin Wes (now 46), but she was a polygamist (or is it bigamist?) for nothing.

Though I love Donna (she's my favorite aunt), she's been a drug addict for years. Currently, she's in a rest home after being hospitalized for a variety of ailments over the last few years. She never quite recovers from her hospital stints, because she goes home and, though she's on an oxygen tank and close to 70 years old, she still gets high, which greatly impacts her health and lands her back in the hospital. There just doesn't seem to be any real recuperation when she goes home, so her social worker and doctors have sent her to a rest home to "rest" indefinitely. Doesn't look good for Auntie Donna and whenever I go visit her, I realize each time could be the last time I ever see her alive.

LaVerne ~ My aunt right under Donna. Married a rather odd man and divorced him after having one child (Michael, my favorite cousin, now 34, but I don't have much of a relationship with him anymore since he is a paranoid schizophrenic and bipolar. I still love him and I miss the "real" him dearly. He lives about 5 minutes away, but it feels like he's dead. There's nothing left of the old Michael at all. He's a very scary person now.). I think my aunt and Michael's father were divorced before he even entered kindergarten. Not an unusual plight in my family. All of our parents were divorced before that stage. Sad, but true.

LaVerne has managed to do pretty well for herself career wise, though. She's worked hard all of her life, owns several pieces of real estate and has prepared a nice little retirement for herself...if she ever retires. At 65, she still works full time and is in the process of opening a new business.

Coral ~ My mom. Married twice, divorced twice and one daughter from each marriage (myself and my sister, Lynne, 29). More on Coral later, but since she's not too relevant to tonight's issue, that's all I'll say for now.

More family to expound on.

Donna's son, Wes, is a drug addict. Like mother (and father), like son. Crack caught hold of Wes in the 80's and, despite being in the military (twice...Army AND Marines) and several attempts at rehab (including military rehab), he's still going at it. At 46 years old, he's been married technically 3 times, although the first 2 times were to the same woman. They divorced each other twice and now he is married to another woman, Macy, who also has a drug problem. I really like Macy, though no one else in my family is wild about her. She and I have developed a relationship though where we read scriptures together, pray together and that sort of thing. She really loves Yahushua (whom the world calls Jesus), but is battling something terrible with drugs and her marriage (the latter being the subject of tonight's post).

Back to Wes for a minute. He's also a dog. Has always been one. This is not a judgment, it's the truth. He could do better, has lots of potential, but always behaves in the most scandalous ways. I've known him for 40 years, so just trust me on this one. The only one that can change him is Yahushua. I pray daily that He does. For right now though, I have to call a spade is a spade.

Drugs aren't totally to blame, however. Even before the drugs, Wes was known for backstabbing, lying, cheating, using people (especially women and family), has stolen from family, freeloaded off of them, yada, yada, yada. Crack didn't create the ugly in him, but it hasn't helped either. Oh, and he's a very mean drunk! When he takes a break from crack, he drinks and smokes a lot of weed. While drunk 2 years ago, he cussed my sister and my mother out, was physically intimidating and made some pretty scary threats. He and my mom didn't speak for about a year until he apologized and she forgave him (that's what family's for, right? Don't know if I could've done it so easily, but then again I need lots of prayer in that area, so I commend my mom for allowing him to make peace and letting him back into her space again).

Not quite done with Wes yet, though...

He's also very arrogant. He is the kind of addict that doesn't get high for 2 weeks and swears he's free forever. He also then begins to degrade all of the other addicts he gets high with, including his mother and his wife. Wes does this to make himself feel and appear superior to them. Instead of having compassion, he goes around to other family members and talks about them something terrible often, I believe, in an attempt to weasel his way into a place to stay or a little pity money until he can get on his feet. The rest of the family, over the years, has gotten hip to this strategy...except for my Auntie LaVerne who, I believe, has always secretly wished he were her son and has ALWAYS had a soft spot for him no matter how many times he's driven a knife right through the middle of it. It never fails, however, that after dragging their names through the mud, Wes is right back at it getting high with his mom, his wife and all of their crack buddies all over again. Messy. Very messy!

Just to not give a totally bad picture of Wes (and in the interest of fairness/balance), let me point out a few of his good qualities. Wes is very talented. He can fix anything. Drive anything. Sing. Dance. Has an awesome speaking voice (he really would do well in radio and/or voice overs) and he is a very loving individual at times. There's rarely a time when I speak to him (which isn't too often, but still...) when he doesn't end the conversation with, "I love you". Wes, at times, will really work hard to please people, he's funny, protective, hardworking (sometimes) and often very patient with the crazy women in our family. He turns into problem child when he's high, when he's trying to get high or when his pockets are full, but other than that he's easy to be around. In his defense, Wes hasn't had an easy life. Raised by an overbearing, drug addicted, trash talking mother and a father that was in and out of prison his whole life didn't do a whole lot in teaching him how to be a decent man. He's also been babied a lot by my late grandma and my Auntie LaVerne. Coddling someone because you feel sorry for him does nothing to help him become a man and take responsibility for himself and his actions.

(Deep breath)

Okay, now to tonight's rant.

I already told you that my family doesn't like Wes' wife, Macy. My mom (Coral) is actually better with her now, but it took a long time for her to get there. The primary reason is because she felt like Wes used to force Macy on her. In the beginning of their marriage, whenever any of us would call Wes, he'd put Macy on the phone to talk even when the other person clearly didn't want to talk to Macy (nor she us, lol). He also came to my mom's house one holiday, had dinner with the family, went out for an errand and didn't come back for several days. He left Macy there (and no one really knew her then, other than she was his new crack addicted wife) while he was out (we assume) with another woman. It was a very tense time. My mom and I have discussed Macy, however, and several months ago my mom realized she really didn't have a reason to dislike Macy, she just was resisting Macy being "forced" on her and so she has made more of an effort with her. I'm proud of her for that and Macy tells me that my mom and her are okay these days.

Ditto for my sister. They're all just so-so on her now, without fully embracing her as family though.

Auntie LaVerne, on the other hand hates Macy. Hate is a strong word, I know. She hates Macy. Her reason? According to her, Macy isn't "good enough" for Wes! "Ummm, Auntie, Wes is a lying crackhead that has stolen and totaled your car, stolen money from you, involved your son (when he was sane) in all sorts of "grey" activities and, since your son has been ill, has literally fought him in front of your own house after a family funeral (Okay, Michael technically started the fight with Wes, but he had enough reason based on things Wes had done to him over the years). I've tried to help her to see that Macy, and women like her, are of the pond Wes swims in and that water seeks its own level, but she loves Wes so much, until she deliberately ignores reality of the life he's carved out for himself and continues to hate Macy. She also says she dislikes her because Macy has missing teeth and isn't what she deems as pretty. Stupid and superficial if you ask me. She's never even gotten to know the woman and Macy has done NOTHING to her, but she just hates her looks. To me, Macy isn't bad looking, but that's all besides the very petty point.

So, my aunt does everything she can to reach out to Wes while ostracizing Macy. When Wes and Macy were homeless for a while, she allowed Wes to stay in one of her vacant apartments, but Macy wasn't allowed to step foot on the property, even for a visit. When she invites Wes to her home to do work (he's very handy around the house and her son, in his illness, refuses to lift a finger), Macy can't come. Because of this, and the family's initial treatment of Macy, she doesn't typically come to family events much anymore regardless of at whose house they're held. Sad. Very, very sad. They are husband and wife, people...where is the respect?!

Fast forwarding because I know I'm taking forever here, lol.

Auntie LaVerne and my mom got together a couple of months ago and bought Wes a car. He's a grown man, with a career (he's a truck driver when he works) and is an able bodied handy man, mechanic, basically anything work involving his hands, he can do...but these two get together and bought him a car like he's a paraplegic (a drug-free one at that). Of course, during this time, he's doing the routine of "I'm off drugs and everyone, including my wife, who I used to get high with, sucks. They're so beneath me and aren't you proud of me for distancing myself from them?" They fall for it, let him weasel his way back into their lives (he's been doing work for both of them on their properties) and buy this scamster a car. It's their money, I keep my mouth shut, but I'm still like, "Wow, no they didn't". Between you, me and the lamppost, I only think my mom pitched in because LaVerne was. They are highly competitive with each other like that. And, both of them love their sister, Donna, dearly and since she's in a rest home and pretty much disabled, they've picked up where she left off and, seemingly, have decided to baby this 46 year old married man, who doesn't have any children to provide for and who is perfectly capable of working (and making good money driving trucks, or fixing them, or whatever...basically, he's too darn old for them to be buying him a car!).

Tonight, Macy and I are on the phone talking and, as usual, she's got the blues because Michael routinely serves them to her. She tells me that, since he's gotten the car she's been in it a grand total of 3 or 4 times, still has to bum rides or catch the bus to get around town, he leaves her regularly home alone for days at a time (tonight he's "staying" at one of my aunt's vacant properties) and, basically, is being a total jerk to her. He's not even paying the bills at home, though she took a peek at his bank statement and, she didn't say how much he'd saved, but she was deeply hurt that she's been having to borrow money to eat and keep the lights on (because he tells her he has no money when she asks and, yep, folks, she has to "ask" her husband for money for food to eat because she's spending all of her money to keep the bills paid). All of this and, according to her, he's amassed a nice little sum in his bank account (which also means he's really been off of the drugs lately. On a side note, I truly do pray he can make this permanent! I've seen him do it before though, so not to be negative or anything, but I'm not totally convinced he's done just yet).

She also tells me that my Aunt LaVerne has promised him her vintage Mercedes and one of her houses when she dies. Unbelievable! Macy suggested to me that the will was already drafted. Someone please tell me why you would do that to a drug addict? Without demanding he seek treatment? Do you know what he's going to do with a $500,000.00 house and a Mercedes? Not a wise choice. That's just enough for him to kill himself with. (shaking my head just thinking about it) Oh, and it bears mentioning that the house she's giving him is currently occupied by another cousin who is a single mother with 5 kids still living at home. What's going to happen to them if he loses the house or kicks them out (which I wouldn't dare put past him)?

I know that sounds negative, but sometimes you have to look reality square in the face and just deal with it.

Now, this weekend is our family reunion down South. Auntie LaVerne is paying for Wes' plane ticket, his hotel room and his meals. Of course, Wes is leaving Macy at home. Not that she wants to go, but I just think it's extremely foul to interfere in a marriage like that. I say "interfere", because I believe this is what my aunt's goal is. I love her, but I believe this is the truth. I think she purposely gives him a place to stay (even though he and Macy have an apartment) and keeps a little money in his pocket from odd jobs she hires him for, just to control him and keep him away from Macy (or at least to keep strife between them). We've talked about this and I've told her it's not right for her to allow him shelter, but not allow his wife (this is before they had their apartment, when they were homeless). I mean, after all, before Wes even met Macy, he'd stolen from my aunt and had done a whole lot to take advantage of her, but she continues to forgive him (and she should, within reason). Macy, on the other hand, has never been anything but respectful to her. But because my aunt doesn't like Macy's looks or lifestyle, which she shares with my cousin, she refuses to respect her or their marriage.

If a will actually does exist, I firmly believe she's put a stipulation that as long as he's not with Macy, he can have what she's willed to him. Not putting 2 + 2 together, Macy doesn't realize that this is why Wes is so distant, doesn't come home (stays at my aunt's vacant apartment for days at a time, comes home for a day and then is out again for another stretch), doesn't allow her to drive the car, or even ride in it, doesn't give her any money for household expenses, etc. She thinks he's just being cold on his own, which he's quite capable of, but this time I know there's more to it. Auntie LaVerne is actually giving him paid incentive to behave in these ways! Though she knows my aunt dislikes her (he routinely and with great, cruel pleasure tells her everything my family says about her...adding to her poor self image), she has no idea why or how deep it goes. And this is the woman, problems and all, who has stuck by him through some very difficult times when even his family WASN'T there for him (during one of his periods of burnt bridges). Now, though, he's in my Aunt's and my mom's good graces and, suddenly, his wife is dirt.

So, I continue to pray with Macy and give her scriptures for encouragement and advise her on continuing to strive to live holy and true to her marriage vows (i.e. don't cheat), but this really pisses me off. I mean, it really hurts me that my family can have so little respect for marriage. From Wes on down, how dare them treat her so callously? I know she has issues (who among us doesn't?), but her issues are no worse than my Aunt Donna's or Wes' as far as the drugs are concerned. We embrace them, despite their struggles and Macy has no one (her parents are dead). When she married into our family, she inherited all of us too! She is a full-fledged member and they need to cut this bull of treating her like she's an outsider, out. When they married, the two became one!!! Anything the family gives to or does for Wes should be done for Wes and Macy, not just him and it's wrong to encourage him to act in this way. Yes, he's ultimately responsible, but no one taught him otherwise, so he truly is ignorant. And my family, at least my aunt anyway, is gladly contributing to his ignorance.

That just really peeves me to no end!

Though I don't plan to approach him on the subject this weekend at the reunion, if Wes says anything to me about Macy (which he undoubtedly will), I do plan to remind him what the bible says about not dealing treacherously with your wife (Malachi 2:15b). Or about how a man's prayers are hindered if he doesn't properly honor his wife (1 Peter 3:7). And I'll definitely tell him, again, how he is to be the head and love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:23-25). And for my aunt...well, I've told her before, but I think she needs to hear again Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:9, Matthew 19:6 and Ephesians 5:31. They are one flesh, Auntie, and what He has joined together, let no man (or meddling auntie) separate!!!

I tell you, some people have NO respect!

Thus, here ends my rant, but please, PLEASE pray for my family and pray that people, in general, begin to value marriage according to its original intent (oneness, family and community) and cut the crap on thinking it's just a piece of paper. It's a covenant, holy and honorable before Yahweh. I pray we all learn to honor and respect it to its fullest someday!

Love to one and all,


P.S. Okay, it's the next day and, upon rereading, I shouldn't refer to Wes as a crackhead. I was upset, but he is a child of the Most High and, though the things I said about his behavior and his addiction are true, I don't like that label of "crackhead". He is a human being and just because I'm angry, I can't reduce him to anything other. I'm not better than he is and it was wrong for me to call him that, particular, name. Rather than edit it out, it was how I genuinely felt at the time, but I do want to apologize now.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Take Your Time And Do It Right

I love weddings! Really, I do. While I don't agree with the level of emphasis that's put on legal marriage and all of the imposing traditions which typically surround marriage, I can't deny my love of a beautiful, romantic, well-planned ceremony where two people promise their lives--for the rest of their lives--to each other.


Some folk are just ridiculous! LOL

How any clergy person in their right mind marries some people is beyond me.

Example (and a very true story):

There's a couple marrying in a matter of days. He is in his early 70's while she's somewhere in her 50's (I'm guessing). This will be his 3rd marriage and her 2nd. None of his 5 children will be in attendance, though all but one of them lives in the same state as he and he has pretty regular contact with all of them (insert red flag #1). He and his first wife (the mother of his children) split some 20 years ago under pretty crazy circumstances (he admits it was all his fault...yellow flag, maybe?). He immediately marries another woman and remains married to her until she passes away 2 years ago. Now, his new-wife-to-be also knew wife #2 as they all went to the same church together. Nothing intrinsically wrong with this, of course, but it's weirding some out. And by the way, he is also an Elder in the church.

Not sure what new-wife-to-be's whole marriage history is (other than working long hours at her previous job contributing to her first marriage's demise).

So after this man's 2nd wife passes away, within weeks he is trying to reconcile with wife #1 who isn't at all impressed and tells him to get lost. After a few more futile, very public attempts to get her back, he gives up and moves on (I'm giving the short version, but he really pulled out the stops). Now, several months ago, he starts staying out all night and is blowing his social security check on some new woman who obviously has his nose wide--I mean WIDE open. Though retired, he still does odd jobs for friends, church members and family. After meeting her, however, tasks he's hired to do are going undone as she beckons him and he routinely drops everything to do her bidding. Outside of dinging his work reputation, I guess that's not so bad. Heck, more than one man has skipped out of work for his woman. lol From a woman's pov, who doesn't want her man to drop everything when she calls? LOL

Did I mention that she also has him dressing like he just jumped out of a scene from Miami Vice? Cute under any other circumstances, but not cute here. Don't know what kind of whammy she's putting on him, but sista-girl has him allllll turned out.

So this wedding thing is really going down. And, although she no longer works and he's on social security, they are planning on 16 bridesmaids (16 bridesmaids!!!), inviting politicians, bishops and every person either of them has ever met since they've been on this planet (or whatever planet they're from. I mean, with 5 marriages soon to be between them and NO money, who has 16 bridesmaids??? And I'm being nice by not adding age to the equation either). They are selling advertising space in their wedding program (yes, I said program) and are requesting generous monetary gifts and donations from well-wishers to help recoup some of the cost of this grand affair (i.e. they will be in debt from now until Glory).

Mind you, they both live in apartments, no real income to speak of and haven't any semblance of an investment or savings between the two of them. And, after they say "I do" they are planning on remaining in their separate apartments indefinitely. No honeymoon and no plans to even move in together. Pretty much they're making their booty call legal and respectable in the eyes of the church AND having a wedding "event" as opposed to truly getting married.

And they cannot understand why key people in their lives are protesting the wedding (as in making no effort to attend) and even asking that they not jump feet first into disaster.

Again, what clergy who really takes marriage seriously, even participates in such an arrangement?

Which brings us to couple #2:

The groom-to-be is entering his 3rd marriage. The bride-to-be, her 2nd. Groom-to-be, at 40 (or close to it) doesn't have a place to live or two nickels to rub together (Sorry, I'm out of red flags, you'll have to insert your own). Has a child from wife #1 and another child, which he had out of wedlock and, to my knowledge, does absolutely nothing for. He also is grossly overweight and has severe health issues as a result (Can I just tell the truth and say he's fat and sloppy? And this is no disrespect to overweight people out there, but there is a difference between a weight problem and just a fat, sloppy person who gives no thought or regard to their health and flat out states that they have no immediate plans to). He also has severe emotional issues and is known to physically fight other grown men over women he's had dealings with.

In fact, at a family gathering recently, he went fist-to-cuffs with a member of the bride-to-be's family. Bride-to-be threatened to leave him because of this (apparently he instigated it in front of her whole family) and he promptly informed her that some not so nice things would happen to her car or her house (forgot which one, maybe both) if she did. It was so bad that one of her children refuses to live in the same house with him after they're married. Still, they're going full steam ahead with the plans.

Bride-to-be is a hardcore church girl. Very churchy. Had to say it twice just so you know. However, when she first started dating groom-to-be about a year ago, she neglected to tell him she was still married and that her husband was still very much in the picture though I don't think they actually were living together at the time, though there is no way to know for sure since she purposely led groom-to-be to believe she lived at a place that wasn't hers. On a fluke, however, several months after they were dating and, supposedly madly in love, he found out where she really lived. That was also when he found out about her husband/ex-husband. Drama.

So, it's countdown to the wedding day for now-- a wedding that I'll most definitely skip. I know that sounds mean, but for one I'm not too fond of him, not overly impressed with her (I tried, but she was really rather off-putting) and, after sitting through his first wedding, not knowing about the second until after the fact and hearing of all of the drama before this one even gets off the ground, I can't figure out a reason why I should go.

I promise you that I'm not typically one to sit in judgment of other people, their relationships and especially marriages. Hard to tell from this entry, I know, but when you see a catastrophe in the making, it's difficult to not be honest. And, since marriage is a particular topic that fascinates me, I just want to shake people sometimes and say WAIT!!! It might be greater later, but now just isn't the time...slow your roll. Like I said, I don't know how pastors even give the green light and agree to solemnize these events.

I'll pass on telling the whole story, but I was pretty much done with a former pastor when a former friend switched grooms, but kept the same wedding date, the same wedding plans, etc. at the pastor's advisement. Well, he didn't tell her to switch grooms, but when it didn't work out with groom #1 and she went to him for advisement on inserting groom #2 and he told her to go for it, I was too outdone. The whole switcharoo happened so quickly that I didn't even know about it and I was in the wedding! Of course, when I found out that she'd made the switch, I bowed out. She wasn't happy and Mr. Free said I was wrong, but I literally knew nothing about a breakup or her meeting groom #2, a proposal from him or anything. All I knew was I was expected to come out of the pocket with money for shoes, dress, hair, etc. and she wasn't even marrying her long time fiance who was the groom to be when I originally agreed to be in the wedding. Same date, same time, same everything, but the original groom (and one befuddled bridesmaid). I switched churches shortly after that. I suspected the pastor was losing it and, sure enough, a couple of years later he was ousted for some crazy--and I do mean CRAZY--stuff, but not before he divorced and remarried in a fashion just as quick as the groom switching earlier mentioned. Oops, I did say I wasn't going to tell you all of that, huh?

He takes a lot of bashing from people--especially women (ever notice how vocal women are on this topic, while men seem to offer more understanding) --for not marrying his longtime girlfriend (and baby's mama), but after watching an interview with Sean Combs (aka P. Diddy) recently, I commend him for his effort to wait until he feels ready. After cheating on his girlfriend (the infamous J-Lo relationship started before he'd quite ended it with baby's mama aka Kim), he's still trying to learn how to be a good boyfriend. Amidst a busy life where he's always on the go and always in the glow, he expressed wanting to maintain more balance in his life before taking the plunge. More couples should do this. They get a lot of flack for their situation, but at least they're not faking the funk and heading to the altar, ill-equipped, just because it's the thing to do.

On the other hand, it was her choice to do so, but I don't recommend other women even have sex with a man without being married--much less have children with him. Even if they're not religious folk, just for the children's sake, I think it sends a healthy message that we are a family. Instead of boyfriend and girlfriend, we are committed as husband and wife. Still, they are together, have worked through their issues and, seemingly, are making it work with now 5 children between them (3 together, 1 from his previous relationship and 1 that biologically isn't his, but that he takes full responsibility for). Hopefully, they'll continue to progress, grow together and trust marriage. I add the latter, because much like Mr. Free and I, Combs has stated that he's never seen a healthy marriage up close, much less one that works and where the individuals in it are happy. Because I was once there, I can understand what a confused and apprehensive state that can put one in when they're feeling pressured to take the plunge. I still haven't necessarily seen a happy, healthy marriage last (except for Mr. Free's grandparents, but they're almost 100, so they're from a whole 'nother era), but I understand what a true, biblical marriage covenant is now and, finally, what's required from both individuals in order to uphold and honor that covenant.

Personally, I believe in entering the covenant understanding and expecting it to be the most difficult, trying, life-altering, sacrificial relationship possible and with many obstacles to overcome. I don't think one should expect it to be blissfully happy, insanely sexy or incredibly fulfilling. While it can be all of those, there's a certain amount of work--hard, conscious work--that is to be expected in order to achieve this. I mean, forever is a long time and after the wedding, after the honeymoon (which can even last several years) and after youth and beauty fade, most find it takes more and more effort to be excited about marriage, but that EFFORT is one of the keys to making it last. Marriage shouldn't have an "out clause", unless of course there's infidelity involved and, even then, the bible asks that we be forgiving. Such is hard to do, but that's what I'm talking about---marriage ain't always easy! I truly believe that if more people went into it knowing that building a healthy, lasting marriage is a forever, on-going process that can be rougher than they've ever been told (cuz most fold in the process), that people wouldn't jump into marriage only to jump out years later and wishing they'd never met their spouse, much less married her/him.

Marriage has the potential to be the greatest thing to ever happen to a person or the worst, depending on how selective they are of their mate and how much they're willing to work on the entire process from dating to death.

Back to Combs, though. Well, not really back to him, but I will say this: I've never been a fan of his. Don't dislike him, just not a fan. But I do understand where he's coming from. What I'm wanting to know now is, "Why the pressure, folks?" Why do we push people to get married with all of our questions and our expectations? I've even heard some women say that within 2 years, a man should propose or women should move on. Okay, to each her own. I'm all for women setting strong boundaries on what they will and won't accept from men. But what if 2 years isn't enough time? What if you both need more time for "self" work? Or more time to work on how to have a relationship? A lot of times, couples are still in that rose colored phase at 2 years. And those that aren't still discover that they have little understanding for what makes their mate tick (outside of sex and romance). I can tell you that many, many years into my own relationship, I'm just now figuring out how much each of our childhood relationships with our parents, immediate family and even prior relationships have caused us to act and react in certain ways (not always flattering) towards one another. We read Getting The Love You Want by Dr. Harville Hendrix and were quite amazed at how much of that inner child in each of us was masquerading as an adult in a grown up love relationship. Even as a former Psychology major, I hadn't realized just how much we'd been shaped into who we are and how we respond to one another by these early relationships. I can guarantee you that if we'd married 15 years ago or even 5 years ago, we'd be divorced now. I can also almost guarantee you that, after doing all the work we've done to build our relationship--I mean, to REALLY fortify it--we will be going strong in 5 years, 15 years and the rest of our lives. I have to say "almost guarantee" however, because although I don't expect infidelity, I'm out if it rears its ugly head. I'm sooooooo out until it's not even funny. I'm so out, he'd be left wondering if I ever even existed or if I were just a figment of his imagination as there would be NO traces of me in his life at all from that point forward. Maybe he'd be more forgiving were the shoe on the other foot, but I wouldn't expect him to be, nor would I ever take my chances in finding out. I know the bible strongly favors forgiveness in these matters, but Mr. Free and I have been through a lot of dumb stuff in our earlier years and the lines are clearly drawn that there's just some things that don't go down in a marriage. At least they'd better not in mine.

But I digress...lol

So, I say this primarily to women, because they're the ones who usually put that "time" limit on a relationship before they expect marriage: It's really not about time, it's really about the quality of effort you've put in to learning about yourselves, about each other and about marriage. Don't cave into the pressures of "he must not love you if he's not rushing to the altar within 2 years". I can tell you story after story after story of people who had fairytale courtships, married at about the 2 or 3 year mark in extravagant weddings, bred beautiful children and were divorced before the kids were in high school.

For example, a close friend of mine divorced 4 years ago and is still trying to figure out why. She was devastated by the shock of her husband confessing one day that he no longer wanted to be married. That's it...out of the clear blue...just like that--he didn't want to be married anymore! Though he'd begged for a child (they'd decided/agreed before marriage NO children) and she gave him one perfect, beautiful daughter, before their daughter's 1st birthday, they were separated and he was remarried shortly after her 2nd birthday. Sadly, he was then divorced from wife #2 before their daughter's 3rd birthday (another child was born of this 2nd marriage even though he and the new wife had separated before the 2nd child's birth) and he is now married to wife #3 and my friend still has no idea why her divorce even happened. Her ex doesn't know either or at least that's what he still maintains. (After 2 divorces and a 3rd marriage, you'd think he'd want to figure some stuff out.) My point is that someone, or maybe both of them, never figured themselves out first. Though they dated the required amount of time and had a, seemingly, happy marriage for 9 years, he obviously wasn't ready for the "lifetime" covenant and ran screaming...and then ran a second time...leaving a trail of broken hearts and children raised in broken homes in the process. I was rather close to this couple and was devastated in my own right as they were the only couple of my peers who I actually believed would make it. They seemed to have that "balance" that people like Sean Combs say they're seeking. Oh, and by the way, he was also an ordained minister and both of his parents are pastors. This wasn't someone who didn't have any indication as to the seriousness of marriage.

So, again, it's not about the amount of time you've been together or the seemingly perfect circumstances, there's soooooo much more to know, to pray on, to do, to learn. Don't rush and don't let anyone make you rush. Ignore the pressure and take your time, people. We've got to stop this rush to the altar because our clocks are ticking or because some sort of mental timer is counting down. Marriage is serious business. It is the the foundation on which the most important cornerstone (family) rests. And it's not just adults that suffer when it fails or when it's miserable, but children and our communities do to. And children grow up to be adults who are then almost incapable of escaping the same cycles of marriage and divorce simply because they don't have an example to pattern themselves after. True, this isn't always the case in every broken home, but more often than not, sadly, it is.

Study. Pray. Listen. Observe. But most of all, take your time...do it right, do it one time and do it good!

Blessings to all,


Did You Know?

There is one verse that appears multiple times in the bible. In fact, it appears more times than any other verse throughout the entire text.

Four times it is stated that:

1. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. ~Genesis 2:24

2. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? ~Matthew 19:5

3. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; ~Mark 10:7

4. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. ~Ephesians 5:31

Hmmm, think He was trying to tell us something?



Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Woman I Am (Poem)


(By Yours Truly)

Excuse me while I grow
Before your eyes, you see.
You’ll have to look within your soul
If you seek to recognize me.

I am the daughter of the Creator,
So regal in my glory.
My inheritance is endless.
So rich is my story.

I am the homeless woman
That you avoid when you pass me on the street.
I watch your eyes pretending,
Acting like you don’t see me.
I am the little girl that you pray for,
“Lord, I don’t know what’s wrong with that girl,
But Father watch over her please.”
I am the woman that you dream about,
The one to bring you to your knees.
I am the woman that can hold you,
Melt your pain into my own.
I am the woman that you turn to
When you need to feel at home.
I am the woman who will confuse you
Humor you, and amuse you.
That you cry for and with;
Because of....

I am the woman who will contradict everything you thought you knew about women,
Because...I ain’t no lady!!!

I am the woman who knows everything
Until you listen closely and find that
I know nothing at all...That is where my wisdom lies.
I am the woman with no answers, but all of the questions just the same.
I am the woman that reigns victorious.
Sure, you may know my name:

Cleopatra, Mary, Sojourner, Oprah, Shirley, Harriet, Angela, Nikki, and Maya,

I am the woman who will populate this universe
With my bright eyed babies
Who will carry my teachings in their busoms
Like I carried them.
It is my nurturing that will go forth
And enable them...and you...to do the things that must,
Should, and should not be done.

Yes, I am that woman.

I am the woman who worked the fields all day.
Watered them with the tears shed for the babies given to me by rape
And then stolen, no SOLD, right out of my arms!
I had millions of them, but could not tell you where most of them ended up.
Never knew if they lived or died; nothing but memories,

But I am the woman who survived.

Birthed my babies in the hot sun, cold wind, and under the master’s whip
And never stopped my duty once, besides to smile on my child’s sweet face
Just a bit, before I had to return to my task, wondering if I’d get to keep this one.

I am that woman who encouraged you to hold on,
Hold out,
Hold up!!!!!!!!!!!

I am that woman.

I am that woman on the front line standing up for my rights and even my wrongs.
I am the woman raising my family single and by myself, but not alone, working, advancing my Education, and contributing my love, all at the same time,
Because we have a job to do...together.

I am that little girl in the ghetto
I am that woman crying alone in the dark
I am that woman that you read about who does the impossible,
Makes a way out of no way.

That woman is who I am.

My life ain’t been no walk in the park
No day at the beach
But if you’ve come to rule me, walk over me, or defeat me
I hope you’ve packed a lunch, because I don’t scare easy.

Through my adversity, I have discovered myself.
Through my pain and weakness, I have discovered my strength.
Through my mistakes, I have discovered my perfections.
Through my arrogance, I have discovered my humility. Hallelujah!!!!
Through my abuse, I have discovered my love.
Through my self-destruction and self-pity, I have discovered the Almighty.

I am here to help you, encourage you, lead you, and follow you, I am here to strengthen and Teach you, that was my promise when I carried you in my womb.

I am that woman, that woman, yes I am.

I am that woman who loves you, who loves you, and yes, even you.
I am your mother, daughter, sister, friend.

Do not look upon me and see “just” a woman, no, don’t see me as something so bland.

See, I am a BLACK WOMAN, complex, rich, proud, rare, open, and full of the color of life.

Excuse me while I grow into, reach towards, and know...

The incredible woman I am.



Friday, June 8, 2007

When Bad Things Happen

Deeply troubled by the Kelsey Smith kidnapping and murder, I found myself asking Yahweh, "Why?" Now, I wasn't demanding an answer. I know He doesn't owe me one, but some things are just too difficult to digest and you need some help understanding. Like, how does an 18 year old girl get abducted from a Target parking lot, forced into her own vehicle and murdered by a stranger at only 7:10pm?

As a woman, it makes you feel very vulnerable. As a mother of a child the same age, it makes you sick to your stomach to imagine the pain of her own parents.

So, I just needed a little consolation from my Father. I wondered if Kelsey's parents knew Him? If they knew Yahushua as their Savior? If they prayed every day for her safety and protection? I wondered these things, because I wondered if my own prayers to this regard would be honored. He says that He'll never leave us or forsake us and that He is our helper, so we can boldly say we need not fear man (Hebrews 13:5,6). And then this happens.

Understand, I'm not saying that Elohim failed or that His word isn't true. I believe Him no matter what appearances may look like. I trust Him. There's just so much that I don't understand, but then again, who am I that I should feel entitled to understand? He owes me no explanations for why He does...or allows...what He does.

I pondered and prayed on this most of the night last night. Then it occurred to me that there are powers of darkness in this world and that the Most High Elohim allows them a certain amount of leeway. That's just the way it is. Bad stuff is gonna happen. It's gonna happen to innocent people. Even beautiful, young teenagers who are just starting out in life. It's gonna happen to children. To old people. No one is exempt from being targeted by this kind of darkness. We continue to pray and we continue to believe and we continue to ask that no weapon which is formed against us be able to prosper or prevail (Isaiah 54:17), but the truth of the matter is that ALL THINGS are ultimately in the Father's hands. Without knowing whether such a fate could come upon us at any time, we do have to know that He is in control even if He allows such things to happen (when one isn't in control, they don't have the power to "allow" anything. Just the fact that He can "allow" a thing, tells us that it's ultimately within His power).

While He never seeks to harm us and it's never in His will to allow us to be harmed, for reasons beyond our comprehension, He permits such things anyway. Could He stop it? Yes. Does he ever stop these things from happening? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. That's just the way that it is and a fact of life that we have to deal with. Murder has been in the world since the beginning of humanity, remember Cain and Abel? While we sit around our televisions, radios and computers shaking our heads at news story after news story of heinous crimes, we do have to remember that it's not just us who has to suffer and, hopefully, survive such evil environments, but evilness has been on the earth since our creation. Heck, what could be more heinous than what Yahushua suffered on Calvary? None of His followers realized it at the time, but His death was necessary for our life. We also have to realize that this life...this expression...is neither our beginning nor our end. We are promised an eternal life with Him and the bible tells us that our earthly bodies can't withstand His glory, therefore we can't take them with us (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). None of us (in this time frame) gets out of here alive, so death is necessary. And not everyone will die of natural causes.

I also started to think about my own participation in the darkness of this world. Yes, we all participate every time we sin. May be a sin as small as a white lie or as major as an awful crime, but we all do it. Therefore, before I question why such atrocity exists in the world, I have to look only as far as myself. Before I go questioning the Father, I have to ask myself why I sometimes think bad thoughts about others, or don't do the things that I know are right, choosing (instead) to entertain what my flesh wants instead of what the Father expects of me. My sins may not appear to hurt others and may not carry the magnitude of kidnapping and murder, but the evil one of this world and all of his cohorts are just as pleased to have me doing their bidding when I do sin. In short, as much as it pains me to say, there have been times when I've helped the other team score and it all contributes to the darkness which prevails on our earth. Whether I like it or not, it's the truth.

So, mentally, I had to check myself on a lot of points. This isn't to minimize the crime that's been committed or the awful sin that has taken this young woman's life, but Our Father had to show me that sin is rampant in this world and just as He allows me to commit sins, He allows others as well. One day Yahushua is coming to judge us all and set the record straight, but until then, we who believe aren't in the position to demand to understand the why's and the how's of evils existence. After all, we are often who it exists through and as long as we're contributors (even in the tiniest ways), we have no room to question. Knowing this, our job is to repent as often as we sin and seek to completely eliminate sin by holding fast to His teachings, obeying His commandments and disciplining ourselves to walk after His righteousness.

Evilness cannot exist in our world, if we don't give it room and vehicles to work through. The resistance begins at home, with each and every one of us desiring to allow the Father to use us for His will and not the adversary to use us for his. We need to make our decisions now on who we will serve, because like it or not, we will serve one or the other (Joshua 24:15; Matt 6:23,24).

My prayers and condolences go out to this young woman's family...especially her parents. I even pray for the wife, child and family of the accused killer as well as for his own repentance and forgiveness. Most of all, I do hope that they all know Him or get to know Him intimately and trust Him for their peace in this hour. It's a tough situation all the way around and one that we'll never completely be able to understand "why". But one thing that we do know is that He is still on the throne and we will all meet Him someday. We've only to decide now whether we want to meet Him face to face as friends and children or if we'll meet Him as enemies on our way to eternal destruction.

I want Him to embrace me, so I embrace Him now. I hope all of us will.

In the meantime, I'll continue to trust that He's watching over me and mine. I'll continue to pray that He watches over all of us and thwarts the attack of the adversary on His people. I pray that each and every person who trusts in Him now will continue to do so regardless of appearances, fears or even their own weaknesses. Though we can't understand everything that happens in this world, we also aren't equipped to run it on our own. We need Him constantly and I pray that constantly we'll acknowledge this.

Let's live better. Let's always live for Him.

Take care,


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Resepct, Wisdom and Love

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church ~Ephesians 5:25(a)

It's been said that I put him on a pedal stool and I probably do, but that's because Mr. Free does a great job of being, well, Mr. Free.

While he's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (trust me, he's not!), I do recognize the good in him. We have been through some terribly tough relationship times, but that's what's always gotten us...well, at least me...through. From the very beginning, I think I saw his heart and I know I saw his potential to be the man/husband that he is today.

While on my knees in prayer this morning, it occurred to me that he does love me like Christ also loved the church. I can always depend on him, he's always got my back, he provides for me, teaches me new things, shelters me, encourages me, forgives me, accepts me as I am and I don't have to do anything special for him to love me...he just does.

This past weekend a family member, observing our interaction together, asked why I asked him permission to speak on a certain topic. Now I'm not one of those robot chicks (not even close) who can't breathe without their man telling them it's okay, but Mr. Free and I have an understanding. We know what makes each other tick and what ticks each other off. Being both mindful and respectful of this, I deferred to his wisdom and his comfort before I added my comments on a very touch subject being discussed. This family member was slightly appalled that I would ask his permission, but what she doesn't understand was that I wasn't asking "Can I" speak on a topic, I was asking "Are you comfortable with what I'm about to say" (cuz he already knew). It's called respect. It's called wisdom. It's called love.

And since he loves me well, there's no reason for me not to defer to him in certain instances. In the early years of our relationship, things weren't always this way, so I can see where it surprises some, but we've reached a point of wisdom now where, frankly, it's not an issue. I am treated and taken care of very well, so he deserves every ounce of my respect. In fact, if anyone has room for improvement in this area, it's ME more than anyone (I tend to be a little sassy, feisty, stubborn and headstrong, lol).

I can see where some women may struggle with this, but really such speaks volumes about the man more than it does of the woman. If a man is on his job...loving his wife as Christ loved the church...who would have difficulty with deferring to his leadership? However, if he's not on his job, well...

Mr. Free is a good man. In fact, I don't know a better one and never have.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What's The Difference?

I just have to ask the question:

What's the difference between a marriage certificate and a prenuptial agreement?

Okay, okay, I know what the differences are, but don't they still share a certain similarity?

Hear me out:

Though I've been thinking about it, I didn't plan on broaching this subject just yet. However, it keeps coming up in other conversations, so I can't resist. I often hear people vehemently protesting prenupts, but these exact same people will turn around and argue passionately in favor of legal marriage because, according to them, if a marriage goes wrong without a legal contract, one of the spouses may get seriously screwed. In their minds, a marriage contract is a little legal assurance or protection should a breakup ensue. So it would seem that the legal marriage agreement is looked upon in much the same way...at least in theory...as a prenupt, right?

While it's not for me, I don't have a problem with people requesting a legal marriage certificate, but if you're going to do it for "added security in case it doesn't work out", please, PLEASE don't be a hypocrite and tell others they're wrong for getting a prenuptial agreement!



Tuesday, June 5, 2007

True Love

I knew who He was, but I didn't really know Him. Though I saw images of Him almost every day as a young girl and I knew His life story, it's hard to believe that all that time He wanted to be close to me...be in my life and in my heart like no one else could, but that I couldn't see His wanting. It's not that I full on rejected Him, but I didn't know the truth about Him. Sure, as a kid I heard the stories. I mean, we were Catholic until I was 12. I went to Catholic school, Catholic church and all that, so I knew the story. But as I grew older and we came out of Catholicism, I was told that He was a great teacher...a prophet, if you will. I'd never grasped the former teaching...just memorized it...so it wasn't hard to convince me that He was a good man, but a mere man all the same.

Thankfully, one day it clicked with me though. Talking to Mr. Free...debating some topic that I've long since forgotten...he made the case for Him as my Savior. The one who was persecuted, beaten and died just so that I could be forgiven of all of my sins. All I had to do was believe who He was...that's it, no big ceremony or production...I just had to believe. Something stuck with me that day, He was real.

I don't recall the date or even the year, just that my curiosity was piqued in that moment. Hard to argue with truth. I began going to a different church, one that taught about Him from the perspective of Him being my Savior. My old church was good and helpful to me in a lot of ways and they had a certain reverence and respect for Him, but they called Him Teacher. Yes, He's Teacher, but they didn't know He is so much more than that.

This new church read the bible. I'd never really done that before. I knew a few verses, cuz my mom read and quoted it a lot, but outside of thumbing through my picture bible as a kid, I can't recall ever really reading it, but now I was intrigued and began to study it a little at a time. Mostly, though, I listened. And I watched. I listened to what the preacher preached. I watched what the other ladies did and I tried to emulate them.

Changed churches a couple of times, grew and gleaned new stuff from each one, but they were all basically the same.

At a certain point, I began to miss my former relationship with Yahweh (I still called Him God at that time, though). Seems He'd been more personal to me before. We'd been more in touch with one another and now I was beginning to feel, I dunno, disconnected or distanced from Him. I was still going to church, still praying, still going to bible study, conferences, 6am prayer and going through all of my usual motions, but I wasn't feeling Him like I used to. I wasn't looking for an emotional "feeling" either...there was plenty of that around my church and my circle of new friends. No, that wasn't the kind of "feeling" I was looking for. I was feeling like I was somehow off course. There was a lot of stuff between us now that had never been there before. I felt like, before I'd gotten into all of this, He and I had a real relationship. We talked. He comforted me. He and I were tight like that. I had a Savior now, though. Actually, I'd had Him all along and I sorta knew this from growing up Catholic, but I'd never tuned into it like I'd done now. But how come I had a Savior, yet was feeling, in my gut, I was out of tune?

I had religion, yet I longed for relationship...again.

Years went by. I had questions, but squashed them because they weren't the right questions. They weren't the type that you say out loud unless you want to be ostracized. I also had conclusions, but like the questions, I buried them in favor of other conclusions, even though my gut told me they didn't fit the truth...but they fit the church... so I continued to convince myself that they were true...I just needed to believe...blindly.

Still feeling somewhat out of sorts, though. I said disconnected earlier, but actually that's not entirely true. I knew He was there. Knew He knew me and I knew Him, but there was so much pretense between us now and it hadn't been like that before. I continued to study though. I grew stronger and, truly, was being taught more about scripture then I ever knew existed. I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time in church. Didn't quite understand how or even all of what the Holy Spirit is back then, but He fell upon me and I spoke...REALLY spoke! It would be years before I had that filling again, but I knew it was real and I learned about that filling in church...continued to learn. I traveled to Africa for missionary work and conventions, received the Holy Spirit a second time. This time, all alone, in a hotel room in Kenya. Was INSTANTLY delivered from sexual sin in that moment and I knew it. Can't explain it to you, but I knew it. The pastor had preached on the Holy Spirit in a service right before that. He prayed over all that were ready and willing to let Him in, but I wasn't filled in the little African church that hosted us...I was filled...slain, really...in a hotel room all alone. Wow! Just recalling that moment, brings back memories that I can't even describe. I know it was because the pastor taught and prayed and I was ready.

Church was a good experience. It nurtured me. Taught me. Prepared me. Disciplined me. I needed that discipline. Yep, I talk head about it sometimes, but there was a great purpose in me taking that route. I turned away from a lot of bad behaviors and was redirected, as a woman, to a much more pleasing way of life.

Love church. Disagree with a lot and don't go much these days, but I love it still and always will.

Had to pull out of it though. Things just weren't right. Pastors spending millions of dollars on cars. People judging by appearances. Traditions being taught as though they were gospel. Just too much to ignore after a while. Mr. Free got the unction at the same time, so it was time to go.

Now, though, I knew how to study. I knew my sins were forgiven and that I could go to Him in the name of my Savior and just chill with Him. I could ask Him questions. I could learn His truth. I felt free with Him, like I'd been before...before I'd been introduced to the dogma. No more people and traditions and made up rules and all of that "stuff" in the way. Just Him, Messiah, Holy Spirit and me. Ah, what a relief. I got through that phase of retraining of learning of refocusing and now it was time to refocus again, but in a new light.

Free At Last! Free Indeed!

Began to hunger to know the truth to forbidden questions...well, maybe not forbidden, but certainly not welcomed. Began to question traditions. Why don't we keep Sabbath? Why does Paul seem to sometimes contradict Christ? How come a whole new religion was started after our Messiah died in the flesh? What is marriage really all about? How come there are no wedding ceremonies in the bible? Is Yahushua (though I still called Him Jesus at that time) God? Stuff that my gut was telling me to look closely at, but I shunned because I believed what the church taught me and just, I dunno, felt I'd be out of the clique if I wondered too loudly about these things. I also wanted to know how we, me and the Most High, had a relationship before I embraced Christ? He'd moved on my behalf before and I'd seen Him do it for others who didn't accept Christ. That wasn't supposed to happen, was it? The church meant well and had a purpose, but I now see that purpose differently. So, the questions kept coming, but it was okay. He wasn't upset that I'd asked. He knew the answers and He began to share them with me...is still sharing them. I checked them out (the ones He's already given me), just to make sure I wasn't hearing what I wanted to hear and, yep, sure enough...it was all right there in the bible. Everything He was revealing to me was already there, He was just making it personal now. Ahh, what a relief!

He also led me to new discoveries. He revealed to me His personal name. Even though I'd heard it before, I wasn't ready to hear it then. Wasn't that I didn't love Him and didn't long to know Him better...more personally, but the church taught something different and they didn't deem it important to know His name, so neither did I.

I also learned His Son's name. Yahushua. Not only is He my Savior and my Messiah, but I can have a real...really real...relationship with Him. I'm delighted. To say that I love Him now just sounds cliche. It's true that I do love Him, but loving Him now means something different. He told us that if we love Him, we are to obey His commandments (John 14:15). I can't just give Him lip service, He really wants me to pattern myself after Him. And that's not a laborious calling like I used to think it was, cuz now I'm not doing it to please others, or for appearances, but truly because I love Him and want to please Him...I mean REALLY, REALLY want to please Him. So I study His commandments, His character, I listen to every word He has spoken, I pray for the Comforter to lead me to His truth just like He said my Comforter would do (John 14:26, John 15:26).

I also am in awe of Him. I want to know everything about Him.

Some Christians were upset once because I asked about His childhood...mainly His teen and young adult years. I wanted to know how He kicked it when He wasn't in public ministry. Who'd He hang out with? What did He do for fun? What did His parents think of Him and how'd they handle having the Son of Yahweh as their earthly son? Who were His teachers? Did He go to school? Could He even be taught? They said it wasn't important. But He's my best friend, He's my Savior, He's Messiah...everything about Him is important! But they told me I was wrong for even asking, so I shut up. He's taught me not to argue with people about Him. Sometimes it's hard, but I know that revelation isn't my job...I don't have that capacity on my own...He might use me to bring it to someone, but it's not my job or my call to make in any other instance. But I'm so amazed by Him. So enthralled with His teachings, His character, His wisdom and philosophy. As my Savior, He's awesome, but as a person...a flesh and blood person...He is the absolute coolest and I'm fascinated with how He walked, talked, handled friends, adversity, anger, prayer, leadership...I mean, the list could go on forever, because He's the single most intriguing person to ever live. With all of the other stuff out of the way...the interpretations, the denominations, the church services, the committees, the dress codes, the hierarchies, the bickerings, the motions out of the way, I take joy in reading about Him and letting the Holy Spirit reveal the truth of Him to me. He has truly brought His scriptures to life right before my very own eyes.

He's real. I feel so sorry for those who don't know it, but He is.

He truly is my rock. He is never not there for me. I embrace Him and long to grow closer to Him every day. I look forward to His return. I know His power and I know His plan. I know that the Father's will will be done through Him and I know that He'll judge the earth, free the captives, make the last first, stop injustice, war, violence, sin...all of that...once and for all. He'll bring wrath first though, but His wrath won't be directed upon us who believe, it's just necessary for Him to win that final battle and reclaim all that is rightfully the Father's. He is my Hero and I look so forward to that day. No more suffering. Just peace. How awesome it is to imagine that...just peace.

Yeah, I love Him. He's the captain of my journey. He's who I seek to follow at all times. He's all I need and I'm glad I know this now.

Yahweh, your love is beyond comprehension, but I thank you. You are greater than even the greatest minds can ever know or imagine, but that you've taken the time to give us even a glimpse of your Kingdom is most gracious of you. That you've taken the time to let us know your Son...our Savior...is most merciful. Thank you.

I fall short often. I don't always mean to, but it seems like I've got so much to learn, even when I think I know. So much about me is so imperfect...so polluted by this world...but you're teaching me. You're stretching me. You're showing me that there's so much more to You and so much more to me as your creation...as your child. Thank You.

From the bottom of my heart, thank You!

I love you,