Many of you know I did not know when I would continue this story. Because of some of the overwhelming pain of part of it, like the death of our son. I did not realize, but for these 41 years I had hardly shed a tear. That is not the case now. I cried profusely this week. I have given our son a name and his name is Anderson. My maiden name. Somehow this made him a real person to me. Everyone needs the dignity of a name. Through your prayers God has met me and comforted and strengthen me in my grief. More than anything I want Him to be glorified in His story in my life so I press on. I want to encourage you if you have lost a stillborn child, had a miscarriage or abortion, name that child. It will help you grieve the loss.
If you had a hard time reading the last post you might want to consider skipping this one and wait til the conclusion is written. It is not my intention to upset or hurt anyone through sharing these difficulties, nor that you would be shocked. But that you would see and be stunned at the faithfulness and power of our God to an unfaithful woman. I have felt these last few days a battle going on to keep me from finishing writing. You prayed and I am well and this story will go forth by the grace of God.
I have wondered in thinking about the National Championship week if I had know we were going to win would things have been easier and more fun. With that in mind I want to tell you the end of the story now. God is in control. God is good. God wins! See if this will help you sit back and rest in that when you read that there seems to be no way.
Jim Blessing and his wife had run the farm and lived here. They were ready to transition to a less demanding place in there life. We were all packed in. Our things were still stored in the barn. By now things had begin to ruin with time, dirt, weather and rodents. I never thought I was a materialistic person but one day I looked out and saw my table and chairs that I had grown up with flat to the ground. I began to cry. Somehow this rubbish represented my life to me. It was a picture of what was left. It had to happen. It all had to go, my self reliance, self righteousness, bitterness, anger. Not that I don't still struggle with the sins of my heart but for the first time in my life I was broken. I just didn't know what to do with that brokenness. So again, I escaped into my mind of another world.
In many ways the next 16 years are a blur. Lee worked at Poag Reids, a veterinarian, learning to take care of horses, train, rope and everything that went along with it. Elizabeth during this time would go to Clemson and finish. Ashleigh got married. Jennifer and Jordan moved to Columbia where she was in sales at Fox News. Danny spent his time caring for the farm and cattle, speaking at clinics and other special events and investments. It seemed there was always somewhere to be and something to do. It was a good thing. He was trying to find his place I am sure.
I would spend more and more time in the shadows of my mind. I remember my good friend, who I hardly knew at the time coming and making lunch for us. I think my paranoia and psychosis scared her to death, even though she didn't show it. I would ask my friends to come pray with me and walk with me to help get me out of the bed. By this time I was sedated but it was not helping me. I spent the next years in and out of a mental state that seemed uncontrollable. Did you see the movie the beautiful mind? I could relate to that movie and its actor so much. There were people in my life that weren't there. There were messages over the tv to me. Codes to me in books and newspapers and computer. Signs that seem to be pointing to me. Most of the time I was in another world, in a daze. I remember thinking someone had planted some devise in my head and if I went to sleep it would go off and kill me. I called the police. Danny explain to the officer my condition, he left, Danny I am sure afraid and frustrated and me with the fear of my life. That if I shut my eyes I would surly die.
The stigma and embarrassment of the illness only made it worse. I was known as a speaker and teacher of the bible and faith. I was returning home to friends mentally ill. I would go to church and imagine who might know and who didn't and what they could be saying. I decided the only thing to do was to come out of the closet and we did. I did have times of remission. I got involved with the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill. Danny did fund raiser golf tournaments for them. I got educated and did so to others. I led support groups and spoke to police officials and medical position faculty on how to come to the aid of the mi. I spoke at FCA and churches. But the voices of my mind would return with devastation.
I had two attempts of suicide because of these voices and what they would tell me to do. I know it is hard to believe something so unreal could appear to be so real. All I can tell you it does. My first attempt was in the middle of the morning. About 3 am. I got in my daughters car. I drove half way down the road in front of our house thinking people were chasing me to kill me. Then I thought I heard a shot and someone say, they just killed Lee. With tears streaming down my face I drove the car as fast as I could. The voices directed me to wreck the car. That my family would be better off without me. These voices could say good things one minute and then turn on you the next. There was no rhyme or reason. Nothing happened but 2 flat tires. I then headed to the interstate. I have no idea how far I drove or for how long. I just know the sun begin to rise. All I could do was say the gospel over and over again. It was like I was on a radio with a loud speaker. I remember at one point pulling off the side of the road and a man coming up to the car window. I drove off as fast as I could. I then headed to the police station. I told them Lee is dead. Someone has shot him. They went to the house to check out my story and then off to the hospital I would go yet another time. God had rescued me and would many other times.
The second attempt...It was about 6 a.m. I had not slept for days on end. I had eaten very little. Danny was asleep on the sofa. By now my family, especially Danny, never knew when He would awaken and I would be gone. So was this morning. It was breaking Danny. I could see the hurt in his eyes. It seemed the harder I tried to be well the sicker I got. This morning was no exception. I came off the back porch where I had spent the night in a court of law to see whether I was guilty or not, in my mind. I walked past Danny. Got in my car. Fastened my seat belt and bended the curve outside our house on the farm. It was as if someone said now. Then when I did nothing, I thought I felt someone press my foot to the floor board. With as much speed as could build, I drove into the woods. I was stopped by a tree only yards from a house. What if I had hurt or killed someone? I was not dead. I was told if you kill yourself it will save your family. I had to crawl out the window. I said on no what am I going to do now. I went into the middle of the road and stood. The cars swerved around me yelling and curing at me to get out of the road. I know they were beyond scared. What if they had hit me, I can now imagine their thoughts. At that time I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and this quiet, gentle voice of a black man said come with me. It is going to be ok. I walked out of the road and the ambulance had arrived. As I climbed in the back of the ambulance I looked around to see the man. He was no where to be found. All I know is God sent me an angel that day and he saved my life. I saw Danny's face beyond any look I have seen on his face. The police arrived and off to the mental hospital again. God had rescued me again. Why had I put my seat belt on that day? An the gentle man guiding me to safety.
It was to become a familiar place for me, the hospital. I remember going outside with the other smokers and singing gospel hymns. Taking a run around the court yard. Danny and Jennifer could come and visit and bring what I needed. Elizabeth had met me at the emergency room. She was so hurt over my state of being. I think the pain of it to Lee was more than he could bare. Ashleigh was in Texas and would come once and stay two weeks to keep me from going into the hospital yet the 4th time.
There were many other circumstances my family had to deal with. God showed up at every turn. Sometimes I would not bathe for days. I would hardly speak for days at a time. I began to form my own isolation much of the time. I had to control my world and it got smaller and smaller. I was fearful to leave the house for more than an hour at best. Jennifer got educated and read all she could. She got some of my friends, a counselor, my doctor for a support system for me to try to recognize symptoms before they escalated. It seemed to be working. I even got to where I could recognize these on my own. I was seeing more and more remission time but then only to relapse again and we would once again all lose heart only for Christ to bring back hope. That it was in Him.
My friends took an active part in working toward remission with me, praying, visiting, going to lunch, coming and working in my house when I wouldn't come out of my room. My friend Susan K and I began to meet once a week. She became a huge encouragement for me. She knows scripture so well. We would encourage each other and talk about what God was teaching us and our struggles.
I want you to see how God rescued me over and over. But you know what? I have a friend whose son did not survive his wreck. So is God still good and faithful and in control when that happens? A RESOUNDING YES! ABSOLUTELY!
I had been in a sound theological church now for almost 30 years off and on. My pastor Tim Lane and his wife Barbara had befriended our whole family during this time. Elizabeth would baby sit for them and Barbara would spend time with the girls Jennifer, Ashleigh and Jordan. I remember Barbara coming over one summer afternoon and we cut okra out of the garden and then she swam with the kids. It was so fun for me and them. God always seem to send just who my family needed when they needed them. I sure was not there for them. Tim brought the idea of christian counseling to our church. He preached the gospel. He later went as director of Christian Counseling Education Foundation in Philadelphia. I knew the words of the gospel, but I still had not heard the music. It had not reach my heart. But I was seeing Gods faithfulness to me over and over again. I was just as discontent as ever. My life still was not going as I had planned so the only thing I knew to do was to run. Run into isolation and away from the world around me. My then mentor Dave McCartney recommend I begin writing a prayer letter to a group of close friends.
There was the death of Mrs. Ford and my parents. God was grow out family though during this time. Ashleigh had 2 handsome sons and a vibrant little girl. They spent lots of time with us during the summers and they kept me well and delighted. But I still couldn't fix my life and find happiness and it was killing me and I was taking my family with me. I had prayed Lord whatever it takes for my children to know and depend on you, do it. I just ask one thing, don't leave us. He was doing the same for me. During these years the pain my family has gone through, I cannot face apart from the love and sovereignty of God for them. This past year, finally I began to change. Something was different. God was going to bring joy out of mourning and beauty out of ashes.
Thanks for reading. I know this is long and intense. If you know someone who might be struggling to trust God in the hard places of their life would you please pass this on or give them the blog address. I will conclude hopefully tomorrow. Blessings friends.