Monday, October 3, 2011

"Don't you people know by now I can do anything!" Lucy Liu's character on Ally McBeal

Those who know me well know that I can pretty much do anything! It’s comical, really.  It stems from a deep seeded curiosity rather than a “know-it-all” personality and more times than not, it’s come from pure stubbornness.  Don’t get me wrong! I am a southern woman through and through! I love chivalry! I desire chivalry.  It just boils down to this:
Curiosity + Stubbornness + Severe Lack of Patience = The ability to do pretty much anything
When you add the fact that my personality calls for perfection (from myself. Not from others) the end product is pretty successful.  Just don’t factor me in with that equation. I usually come out looking like I just stepped of the battle field but at the same time, I absolutely LOVE knowledge and creativity so to me, it’s all worth it in the end!
So, why not just ask for help??? The same equation applies with a remainder of PRIDE. I DO ask for help on occasion.  Granted the help I ask for is usually to gain more knowledge in my quest to conquer a certain task, but asked all the same. 
I can paint houses, paint murals, tile floors, tile counter tops, build kitchen islands, crochet: hats, scarves, and blankets, hand sew quilts, make elaborate costumes, make knock-off dresses (GREAT skill when you love fashion like I do but SO don’t have the wallet to match!), plant a garden, fix a lawn mower (without the manual), restore antique furniture, wallpaper a room, reupholster furniture, run cable through a house, decorate a house, hang crown molding, any type of craft known to man, change a tire, jump off a car, cross-stitch, make jewelry, cook like Paula Deen, cut hair, color hair, theatrical make-up, create an entire solar system in a 7 year old little boy’s bedroom, and I can even field dress a deer!
I’m sure there are more. Those just popped in my head. Pretty impressive, hu?
Don’t be too impressed.  I often forget the fine print at the end of my “impressive” equation.

Curiosity + Stubbornness + Severe Lack of Patience = The ability to do pretty much anything including forgetting where my strength comes from.

So often I rely on my OWN strength instead of relying on the One whose strength never tires or grows weary.  In the end, my strength is always a total EPIC FAIL.
BUT GOD… He always has a way of letting us know who is stronger! And I LOVE when He does that!
I mentioned in a previous blog that my ex-husband was taking me back to court to have child support lowered. We finally had “our day in court”.  For four years, I have struggled with the feelings and emotions of what this man did to me and my babies, took from me and my babies, STOLE from me and my babies. I’ve cried a sea of tears! I’ve been to the foot of the cross a thousand times laying it ALL down and begging God to help me NOT pick it back up.  I’ve forgiven way more than 70x7 times!
 I prayed and prayed for this man’s heart to be turned back to his children!
As I watched his life over the past four years from the banks of my own reality, all I could see was him getting everything he desired.  He had freedom, a new house, a new car, a new wife… a new life.  I watched as everyone around him adored him, even in knowing what he had done.  He was defended and praised while the lies he told about me were believed.  My friends and family would tell me things like, “Don’t worry about it! If they really knew you….” Or “If they were really your friends...” or “You shouldn’t care about what he says or what they think!” I just wanted a voice that could be heard!  Nothing I ever said would penetrate the hands of the enemy that covered my ex-husband’s ears so firmly.   
A few weeks before our court date, I truly gave the situation to God.  I had no idea how I would manage financially if the judge granted the reduction in child support but I DID know that God promised to supply all of our needs regardless. 
My mother and I decided to go out for breakfast before our appointed time in front of the judge.  I felt good.  Confident.  Having my momma there helped a lot! But of course the enemy wanted to destroy any ounce of confidence I had.  My attorney called just as I added butter to my grits and I no longer had an appetite.  My heart fell.  I knew he was about to reveal the “wrench”. 
He said that he just got off the phone with my ex’s attorney and they wanted to “work out a deal”.  Here we go again.  Since the divorce was final, I had to have my lawyer (my late step father) threaten court several times to get him pay what he was court-ordered to pay.  I always compromised in fear of getting less or having something else taken away.  I even agreed to him paying me ½ the alimony and eventually gave in to him not having to pay it at all (that was my stubborn pride shining through).  
I sat and listened to my attorney as he explained how they wanted my ex to pay me nearly ½ of what he was currently paying and he would “let” me claim 2 of our 4 children on my taxes. My ears began ringing with my God shall supply all my needs and for a split second I actually contemplated the “deal” until the Holy Spirit smacked me upside the head!  And in doing so, filled my ears with sweet beautiful ballads of promise from my Father!

I explained to my attorney that I had given this to the Father and I was NOT going to pick it back up.  If child support was going to be reduced, it would have to be court-ordered by the judge.  He explained to me that there was a possibility of getting less than what my ex was offering and I in turn explained to him that WHATEVER the judge decided would be from the Lord. I knew that the judge, the case, the entire circumstance was saturated in the prayers of SO many! HIS will WOULD be done!
Not accepting the deal meant we would technically go to trial.  This meant getting on the stand! I was nervous and excited at the same time! In my quest and stubbornness to know all things, I am confident and convinced that I could have tried this case myself. J The fact that I love courtroom thrillers and watch Nancy Grace fueled my desire for justice!  I watched my ex fidget on the stand as my attorney asked him question after question  regarding the gross lack of time spent with the kids, how much money he made, how much money his current wife makes, how much money he spends on daycare for the twins he and his wife had last year, and if he realized that he was asking the court to allow him to pay LESS for the support and care for FOUR children than what he paid out in childcare ALONE for his two “new” children.  When my ex shrugged his shoulders and answered, “I really don’t know how to answer that”, it honestly took every fiber of my being along with the Army of Heavenly angels that were assigned to me that day to stop me from jumping up and yelling, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” <much laughter>
Thank you, God for GRACE and MERCY!
You may have laughed at my “courtroom thrillers and Nancy Grace” comment, but my stellar performance on that stand would have made Jack Nicholson not only confess to ordering the CODE RED, he would have been crying like a lost school girl!  I SCHOOLED my ex’s lawyer! At one point the judge stopped my ex’s lawyer mid-sentence and asked, “Counselor, is there a question there somewhere?” to which he responded, “I apologize, your honor. I was trying to answer her question.”
Who is cross examining whom?
 I promise, I tried to just stay focused on several scriptures I stored in my heart to help me through the proceedings… but the more that attorney asked me stupid questions like Why didn’t I just get another job if I need the money so bad, the more I focused on the fact that he was wearing braces… and for some reason those braces infuriated me!  Lord have mercy (and thank goodness He did!) I wanted leap across the rails of that stand and strangle that man with the wire that held his braces together when he asked me, “Well… have you TOLD Mr. XXXXX that he hasn’t been a very good father?”  I sat there for a minute while my raging psychotic insides calmed down enough to somewhat resemble the well-groomed and well-mannered southern lady who sat before this respected court of law.  The dialogue went something like this:
ME: I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize it was my job to make sure Mr. XXXX was being a good parent.  After all, no one is there to remind me to do my job as a mother. I JUST DO IT.  But to answer your question, yes. I’ve actually begged him to be a father to our children.  Not even a good father, just a father period!
Braces: You said that Mr. XXXX is supposed to get the kids every Tuesday for the evening but has never done that. You also stated that it takes an hour and a half from his house to yours. If Mr. XXXX doesn’t get off of work until 6:30 that would mean he wouldn’t get to your house until at LEAST 8:00 and by the time he took them to dinner or wherever, it would be near 10:00! Now… being the good mother that you are claiming to be, would you want your children out that late on a school night?  Furthermore do you really expect Mr. XXXX to drive close to 3 hours round trip for an hour visit especially with gas prices and the economy the way it is?
ME: (fighting back the flesh!) First of all, I AM a good mother.  Don’t ever question that. Second of all, driving to see his children isn’t asking too much.  It’s the same as me having to drive 3 or more hours round trip to watch my child play a baseball game.  It’s what we do as parents.  And no, I would not allow him to have the children out past their bedtime on school nights. I would however expect him to get off work early at least ONE day a MONTH to come spend time with his children.
Braces: OH! And it’s just SO easy for Mr. XXXX to take off of work early???
ME: Apparently.  He takes off early all the time for Georgia football games, Braves baseball games, concerts, vacations WITHOUT the children…
No further questions

Okay, so I walked way more in the flesh than I did in the spirit while on that stand but I have to admit, having a voice felt great! But nowhere near as wonderful as the sound of my Father’s love as He answered prayer after prayer through the Judge’s verdict.  As loud and strong as I thought my voice had been as I defended myself, my name, my honor, my children on that stand, it was truly no louder than the sound of still water when it was MY FATHER, MY JUDGE, MY REDEEMER’s turn to speak!
As the judge began his verdict, so my Father began to speak His, in a voice so powerful that our ears would ring deaf and our souls were forced to listen. And as He spoke, the chains began to fall to the ground and I was no longer bound by the hurt of my past.
Judge: (as best as I remember) Mr. XXXX, I believe that you are a good man. I don’t believe that you are an evil person.  You have made some very poor decisions the past several years that I can’t imagine you would be proud of.  Your yearly family income is $180,000.  If you are having financial difficulties, I can assure you it has nothing to do with your child support obligations.  You need to reevaluate your priorities.  (Pointing to me) THAT is your FIRST priority.  Not your nice big house, not your new cars, not your new wife, and not even the two children that you have had since. (Pointing to me again) THAT is your first priority.  Do you realize that every time you skip time with your children, not only are you hurting your children, SHE doesn’t get a break! She also has to feed them and take care of them on YOUR time which means more money for her to spend out.  I am not lowering child support.  I can’t order you to see your children Mr. XXXX.  But I do STRONGLY encourage you to reprioritize your life.
In that moment, the weight of the past four years was lifted off of my shoulders!  I INSTATNTLY felt peace.  As much as I love words, I can’t even begin to express the sudden healing and transformation of my heart and mind.  Every ounce of bitterness and hurt was gone. GONE. Oh, HAPPY DAY! I sat in awe at the power of my God.  I looked over at my ex and he looked different to me.  There was no anger seeping from his pores, his jaw wasn’t clinched tight liked it normally does in those type of circumstances.  I smiled knowing that whatever demons had accompanied him or anyone else into the courtroom that day, were cast straight back to hell the instant My Father showed up!

Don’t you people know by now, I can do ANYTHING?!?!

It’s been a month since that day in court.  My relationship with my ex is eerily pleasant.  He has made a HUGE effort in his relationship with the kids.  He hasn’t been ugly or disrespectful to me at all! It’s amazing!  I can think back on the past four years and there truly is no bitterness, no hurt, and no anger.
But really, why are we surprised???  Shouldn’t we know by now that HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS!
I may be able to do a lot of things:
 (Curiosity + Stubbornness + Severe Lack of Patience = The ability to do pretty much anything)
When I change my equation:
(GOD – flesh + GRACE – doubt + FAITH = MIRACLES)
I definitely like that outcome MUCH better!!!
Be BLESSED and don’t forget to be a blessing!!!

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