Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wings, Fangs, and Flight, Part 3

The year was 2000. It was the 31st of December. I walked out the door where JJ and I had lived, and my life changed forever once more, for the better though not in every way did I see it that way. Some of it took until now, as I write this, to see where God had His hand in my life to a bigger extent than I could sense even then. It’s something I’ve learned over time, that even spiritual hindsight is at times better than foresight or time-centered sight because of perspective. While I could see some of what was going to happen, I had no idea the totality of it.

Photos from WeHeartIt.com

Doing the right thing coming out of the wrong choice means that you’re going to go through some stuff. I didn’t really see that then; all I saw was I was going through and God was allowing it, though I had obeyed Him in the circumstance I was in despite that He had told me five days into the marriage to get out. I resisted because of PRIDE. What would people think? What would happen to me? This man moved into my place, and I just turned in my notice at work! That resistance… which was really saying NO to God… cost me not just the time I was with JJ, but children, health, finances, relationships, a place to live that was stable, my reputation, and in many ways, my family more than I already had lost them through the years due to misunderstandings and other events that built up to a place where nobody really trusted me much other than they trusted me to screw up. They’d always kind, of hinted I was a screw-up, in their own ways, whether it was intentional or not, but when JJ came into the picture, it was finalized in their minds: she has no idea what she’s doing. We knew she’d never make it on her own, and this proves it.

Some in my family considered forcing us apart prior to the wedding. I won’t embarrass them by saying how. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t know until after I left what was up their potentiality sleeve… and it was confessed, “if we had the money, we’d have done it, but we also realized you’d just screw things up that way, too. At least this way you were in arms’ reach.”

Now that I think about it, that’s kind of like an octopus…, they aren’t sure exactly the shape of what they’re holding or touching, but they know they’ve got it.

Anyway, my parents were VERY helpful during the first few days and even weeks of this difficult time, and I’m here to give credit where it’s due. They were sympathetic and I even started taking some computer courses at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers with my mom and on my own as a result. I had gone directly to work when finishing high school, one of three to graduate in 1996 in my class because of how small the school was. As a result, I hadn’t gone to college yet, and it kind of frightened me because of all the times I heard I was never enough; not smart enough, talented enough, with it enough, emotionally stable enough, whatever all it was that you needed to be a success in college, I interpreted from all I was hearing and seeing in life, I didn’t have it. I’d watched kids through high school both on and off campus, tutoring as well as babysitting special needs children, so I had recent experience when I received my diploma. I went fort work through a temp service, and then through a connection at church, ended up at the place I was when I met JJ, where I stayed over two years. Justin and Will and my Dad all, at times, either dropped me off or picked me up, and usually I would take the bus back home three hours. So getting divorced was the impetus God used to get me into class work again, starting with the computer courses I took with my mom and then on my own.

I stayed with a couple of different people aside from staying at two shelters during the early months leading to and directly after the finalization of the divorce. At one place in particular, I was cared about deeply… the special needs child I used to babysit’s mother had me stay with them, and I thankfully accepted. There, I discovered some things about myself that weren’t so pretty, but I also discovered some pretty intense allergies the hard way, and about the affects of food on the different blood types. I was staying there when the divorce finalized, and the stress of it caused me to lose close to 40 pounds in less than three weeks because I couldn’t keep much down nor eat much to begin with. JJ had been force feeding me to “keep me plump like he liked me,” and I had just been through a miscarriage, so I was at my highest weight when I had arrived. God used this time to get my body back to its normal, even if it wasn’t what I wanted… and even less than that. For the first time in my adult life… and the only time… I was at my ideal weight, and stayed there for nearly eight months before it began to creep back up.

Part of the upcreeping weight was for a good reason: I had finished at New Horizons and begun to take some college courses at a local community college. My dad, bless his heart, took a DreamWeaver course with me… I did the homework, and he was bored with it. He took it because it was something we had a mutual interest in and my parents knew once I got my feet wet with college, I’d be fine. I’d always been that way… needing someone to go with me the first time to something big and life changing. At that time in my life it was crippling in its effect. They were right, though… once I started my first class, I really enjoyed myself. I enrolled and took some interior design courses and other computer classes, and eventually transferred to Warner Pacific College, once I learned I was allergic to a couple of the staples needed in interior design. Aside from that, when I did my design boards, I had to do them multiple times to get the lines straight, even with a ruler, due to a learning disability similar to dyslexia. I could see in my mind’s eye what I wanted to do but when it got onto the paper, I knew it wasn’t exactly straight, and I was a perfectionist.

At Warner, I met many of the people who are important to my world today... and THROUGH Warner, I met half of what my friend Michele calls my DREAM TEAM. This will be mentioned later in better detail.

Athena Cage ALL OR NOTHING (From Save the Last Dance)

At Warner, I learned about the Myers-Briggs, that I was an INFJ – the rarest personality type, exemplified by the DOLPHIN because of their mystery – and that I wasn’t a freak of nature like I had grown to believe over the years. God began to show me that I was in a line, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, physically, personality-wise, and etc. with differing peoples based on the different things. For example, He showed me that I’m like certain persons I greatly admired all my life and thought I’d never have anything in common with. Our personality type was the same… though the percentages might not have been exact, since all people fluctuate some with the personality. That is part of being human.

I learned God wanted to use my gifts at a much higher level than I was allowing while at Warner, too. Writing, editing, creativity in general, prophetic and intercessory giftings, compassion ministries, and other gifts He had revealed to me, became more and more a reality. God had begun that work in me at a very early age, but when it was curtailed by fear… chomp! That snake had help from loved ones sinking the fangs in… especially concerning prophecy and prayer because those are two of my greatest gifts. They are the ones God wants to use within the center of my destiny. The rest are complimentary. Everything else revolves around these, and they around GOD in CHRIST.

So as I worked on my undergrad degree – English with a double minor – I was learning life lessons left and right. God was working through the circumstances, the relationships, the coursework toward the end of DESTINY and the enemy was still fighting fang and rattle. I allowed three people from my past to re-enter my life… two of them I learned the mistakes from while the third has become one of my dearest and closest friends. A lot was learned the hard way with the other two. At one point, I even quit school, went back to Community College, the plan changed a second time, and I had to re-apply to Warner, and was thankful to be reaccepted. I worked hard. Harder than most people realized. Several people made comments to me about how I had it made because, to them, it seemed like my whole life was put together. Little did they know I was staying with friends and family all through school and there was the constant reminder I was ONLY a guest, not someone who “lived there.” Little did they know that the reason my clothes looked better or more expensive is because I had studied fashion design from fifth grade to the present in my spare time, just for fun and that I was getting a lot of second-hand things that looked much more spendy than I had the money for. Little did they know one of my aunts bought me a few pieces of the clothes I had… the ones that were truly “nice” by some people’s standards. Little did they know I skimped on other necessities to have 200 a year for clothes so I’d have shoes without holes and coats that were warm. Little did they know I spent upwards of 90 hours a week with homework sometimes and that the reason I never really went to anything was because I was doing all of this with fibromyalgia and family stress and trying to just hold together the pieces of my life with a lot of prayer and Advil.

 Little did they know how many people I never got to say goodbye to during those years, either. At one point, three in a week right before finals of the last semester prior to graduation, one of which was a murder… the fifth to affect my life.


Graduation was nice, but then it was on to search for work, only to find that I needed to repair my credit in order to be hired because JJ had stolen my identity the whole time I was in undergraduate school earning my BA. Several job offers, and all fell through, in the first five months or so after college, so I went to check my credit score to find addresses I never heard of as part of the questions to get my own information. Eventually it was resolved, but it took calling daily, sometimes being on the phone over an hour, nearly three months of calling… but God had given one lady there a special assignment. The first woman I spoke with said to always ask for her: her ex had been nearly identical in his behaviors and so God gave me a wing moment… this woman was my intercessor with the company until the big boss finally broke down and spoke to me. Ten minutes later it was resolved and my credit was cleared. But the damage had been done. I took a low-paying position with a telemarketing company only to not be able to do the work because the earphones gave me infections and the boss was making a lot of very racist comments, including about people I knew. I mustered the courage to call him on it, and that wasn’t appreciated though others actually applauded. To me it was just common sense. If you don’t know someone… why lie about them? Why call someone something they’re not because that is how you want to see them? If it isn’t the case, why say it? Those had, are always things that had set me up to muster courage and speak out… just like prophecy always had, even though I never looked at my gift as “prophecy” until someone spoke it out for me and showed it to me. A gift I’d had as early as three, and I refused to give it a name because I didn’t want to sound pretentious. It took until 22 or 23 before I could say, yes, I have the gift of prophecy. But in that telemarketing job, God had me use both as a response to this boss’ lies. He was speaking of Shaquille O’Neil not knowing I used to date the nephew of a teammate of his. I had the inside scoop he didn’t because I’d have heard a story like the one being told. It was too out there to be true and my not have heard it. Needless to say, I wasn’t there long. I started on my birthday and left two weeks later because of health and the spirit of ignorance and pride I sensed in varying people, with much influence from the man in charge.

My family didn’t want me to go to school after I got my degree, though God was calling me to do so. It was a bone of contention. Finally, things got heated and I moved in with some friends, and while there, got a call from someone in the family, OK you can go to school… I’ll pay upfront for you to take floral design so you know a trade, but you need to pay me back and you have to live back here with us for me to pay for it. An aunt of mine had just gotten me some beautiful new clothes for interviews, and I had a sense the floral design might be helpful in the long run, so I accepted even though it felt like a trap to me that I was walking right into. In some ways, it was… but I learned so much in the class that helps me even today that it was worth it in the end… what may have had ill intentions, God used for HID glory… and if the intentions were good, then wonderful… it isn’t for me to judge. I interviewed at my first shop after the class excited at the possibility, and they said I didn’t learn what I’d need in an actual shop… that I needed more and not to bother applying elsewhere. When I asked God about it, I heard, “I told you to go back for your Master’s degree… not floral design school.” I moved back in with friends again and eventually got back over to Warner and applied with God’s covering. It was a MAJOR WING moment for me.

I say that because 1) the person in charge of letting me in doesn’t even like me; she tried to pretend for a while but by that time, she had stopped pretending. She waived the whole fee to apply since I had graduated less than a year before; 2) had the fee not been waved, I’d have been on the street because my friends were moving; and 3) God provided a place for me before I knew I needed it. And that person was the daughter of my preschool Sunday School teachers who I didn’t even know at the time. Not only did she provide a place, but she allowed me to move in before the semester began, which meant, with no money to pay her until my check came in from financial aid. God provided when there was seemingly NO way… because He called it into being.

Britt Nicole’s HAVE YOUR WAY

The enemy didn’t like that very much.

The day after graduate school began, I was attacked in my home, my new home, the first place of my own since I left JJ, nearly 10 years afterward. It was one of two things I had vowed to myself I wouldn’t ever allow to happen again, and there it was, in the form of an old friend. I hadn’t reported anyone else who had attacked me, JJ included, when it happened before and I was too scared to this time because there were death threats to my family as well as myself involved and he REMEMBERED where they lived. But the enemy didn’t succeed in defeating me… he made me stronger with the brunt force of the bite!!

Instead of doing my thesis on invisible illnesses in the Church as I’d planned, I changed my thesis project to Creative Healing for Women in Crisis and the Role of the Church as a way to help others as well as to work through my own healing process the Lord. God gave me a new name, and I had mine legally changed. My wardrobe changed, my hair changed, my demeanor changed, I reported to the school what happened, I went to counseling and stayed there for all three school years I worked on my Masters degree. Unlike my undergrad graduation, the one for my Masters was small, and I was okay with that. It’s been what has happened SINCE then that has been intriguing…

Stay tuned to find out!

UPDATE 7/16/13-- COME OVER and check out my FUNDRAISER! Journey to a Thousand Voices...