- Roxanne Williams
- Kansas, United States
- This started out as a blog about our domestic adoption. So all of the older posts are about that journey. It was an interesting one, and it led us to our son, Jacob. My dream since I was a little girl was typical of most little girls. I wanted to get married, and have children and be a stay at home Mom. Although, not a very popular choice for a profession now a day, I find it very rewarding. As a matter of fact, every day is an adventure! I've been told personally that the stay at home Mom profession isn't 'work', but spend a day with me and you'll see just how much 'work' it is!!! It's blessed work!
Monday, December 23, 2013
How My Story Began (aka How God Saved My Family)
This is a part of my family's testimony of how we got into Church. I thank God every day for the people that God put in our path that helped guide us to Church. Some planted the seeds, some watered...God gave the increase! My family was saved! God can and will still do this in your family too! Are you planting seeds for Christ? Watering? Reaping the souls for Him? Two particular families did this-and my life will never be the same!
(Italics are showing thoughts or actions done in the past.)
It was a bright Sunday morning when the little woman walked into the foyer of the Church. Beside her were two older children, a boy, 10 years old and a girl, 11 years old and a baby about a year old, clinging to her neck. The woman looked around the narrow glassed window foyer almost bewildered at her surroundings. She looked like at any moment she might cut and run if anyone said "boo!". A few people approached her, introduced themselves and shook her hand. They invited her in. She walked along the back row of the pews in the auditorium and spied an open spot on the left side, three rows from the back. She sat down and the children sat as closely to her as was possible. She thought back to what brought her here. She had run into her dear best friend whom she hadn't seen for a few months and she had invited her to visit her new Church.
"This Church is so friendly! The Pastor, Rick Scarberry, is just a great Preacher and just
loves people! He preaches the Word! You really should come visit sometime!" Margie said.
It had been quite a chore to get the children up, dressed and out the door this morning, but they had made it. Right on time! She came to herself as she heard the song leader announce the page number to turn to in the hymnbook. She didn't recognize any of these songs, but it was kind of fun to hear the voices of the congregation sing them. Her children just stood looking straight ahead unsure of what exactly was going on. They sang a few songs, took up an offering, and then sang a few more. The other children were dismissed to their Sunday School Classes, and although encouraged by the teacher, Mary chose to keep the children with her. Then the Pastor got up in the pulpit and started telling a few jokes. They were funny. He spent a considerable amount of time on them. It put her at ease and she started thinking how different he was from the Pastors she had in the past-so personable and real. Then he opened his big black Bible and started to preach. She listened intently as he spoke of a 'new life' that could be found in Jesus Christ. A new life seemed almost impossible at this point. Her life was so messed up. What a great thought that she could have a new life, if she wanted it. He went on to explain how God sent his only Son, Jesus, to earth to die a horrible death so that she could have this new life. It was a fresh beginning. It wouldn't make all your problems go away, but it promised Someone would be there to help you go through it all. Her mind was reeling with the possibilities of all she heard as he closed the service with what he called an 'invitation'. She wanted to know more about what he had talked about. A new life for her and the children would certainly be welcome. A new life would give her children a chance.
On the way out, Pastor Scarberry was tucking his Binaca into his inside jacket pocket when he reached out his hand to her.
"Hi, I'm Pastor Rick Scarberry! What's your name?"
"Mary", was all she could manage.
He shook hands and got the other children's names. Then he patted the baby and said,
"Who's this little Red head?"
"It sure was good to have you visit our services today. We hope you come back and visit again!"
He smiled a million dollar smile that just immediately made you feel like you just met your new best friend. Mary managed a faint smile in return.
As they walked out to the car, Mary continued to think about what Pastor Scarberry had been preaching about. All the way home she thought about it. A new life. One with hope. One with joy. She almost couldn't bear to think about it too long just in case it wasn't true. It wasn't real. She couldn't really stop thinking about it though. Her mind went back to the last time she felt like things were right.
It was so long ago. It was right before her Father left, when she was eight. He was such a kind- hearted man. He worked so hard to provide for his family, sometimes not even getting to eat himself. He had five children to support. The oldest one wasn't even his, but he had adopted him just as if he was. He loved his family. Mary was a Daddy's girl. Then one day, he moved out and another man moved in and the days and nights were filled with yelling and drinking. Then more siblings came along. Two sisters and a brother. She was the babysitter. She lived in a home that was filled with turmoil and completely devoid of love. She vowed when she was old enough she would leave. She would go live with her Father and his new wife. She would run away. Whatever. She just had to get out of there! Then her Senior year of High School, her best friend who was a little older than herself and attending a Vocational School, introduced her to George Franklin. He was ten years her senior, but quite handsome. They went on a double date and before Mary knew it they were off to elope right after she graduated from High School in May. Right away, she could see life wasn't going to be a bed of roses. George had hurt his back at work and had to have surgery. They were living at a farm and George was supposed to be doing a bunch of the work there. He couldn't even get out of bed most days, so Mary would get up and do the chores and whatever else was expected of them. When the farmer found out, he told her he hired her husband and not her and kicked them out.
The years past slowly and Mary found herself three years later, with two little children and a husband who refused to work, was abusive and liked to drink just like her step-dad. They had to move into George's parents house because they had no money to live on. George's parents lived out in the country in Bennett, Wisconsin in an old farmhouse. They were immigrants from England and Wales, and came by way of Canada. They had migrated in and lived in Chicago for a time, until Agnes had developed some lung problems and were told they needed to live somewhere with cleaner air. How exactly they ended up in little old Bennett, Wisconsin was unclear. Mary loved her Father-in-law, Wilfred. He was kind and had a great sense of humor. Her Mother-in-law was a bit peculiar, but still enjoyable. Mary loved to spend her days outside in the country, playing with the children, tending a garden and taking care of her in-laws. Things didn't seem so bad out there. She met the Priems, a delightful farm family with 10 children who lived down the road. She spent some time getting to know them and Margie Priem's Mother, Beulah Maki. They would all have coffee and chat sometimes. They became good friends. It was this Margie Priem that had found her and invited her to Twin Ports Baptist Church. Well, as time went on, George would get jobs and lose jobs. He would come home drunk, and all the things that Mary hated about her home life before George, started coming back. This went on for years and years.
She let her mind wander a little not wanting to remember the all too recent past. She got lunch for the children, and laid the baby down for a nap. Then she sat at the kitchen table of the little rented apartment she had and sipped her coffee. She slowly let her mind wander back, back to about a year ago. Back to the worse night of her life.
Agnes had passed away about eight years prior. She had been taking care of her ailing Father-in-law and had already put him and the children to bed. George came home drunk again. They had gotten into a fight and things got out of hand. She still cringed when she saw, in her mind, her 10 year old son standing by the gun cabinet trying to figure out how to load the pistol he had loaded flawlessly a thousand times before, as George was raging out of control. She still held her breath thinking about what could of happened if he had remembered how to do it. As soon as George fell into a stupor and started sleeping the alcohol off, Mary went into the children's room and packed a suitcase. She started to tear up as she thought about how scared she was. What if he woke up and caught her trying to leave? She could hear his heavy breathing in the other room. She roused the children and got them dressed, telling them to be very, very quiet that Daddy was sleeping. She packed up the car with a few of their belongings and she drove away as fast as she could. She drove to Superior, to her Mother's house. She didn't have to tell the family why the next morning. The evidence was all over her face.
Mary stopped and leaned to the right to check on the children watching television in the living room. They were talking and watching some cartoons. She leaned back in her chair and took a deep breath.
She had found an apartment. She enrolled the children in school. She filed for welfare. She was starting some nursing classes at the Vocational School and had started carving out some kind of existence for the children when she found out she was pregnant. When Doctor Scott told her it felt like someone had just punched her in the gut! It had only been a month since she had left him, and it felt like she would just never be free or be able to breathe again. She couldn't even support the two children she already had, how in the world, could she afford another one! How could she possibly start over...alone. She remembered just crying day and night. They had little money for food or anything else, so she pretty much lived on cigarettes and coffee. She made sure the children were fed, and their clothes were washed and they were cared for. She didn't really care about herself. She was in a deep depression and felt like she could only go on for the children. Abortion was about to be legalized, but even if she could have done it , she didn't have the money. She decided in her depressed state that she would just try to miscarry the baby.
Mary, got up from the kitchen table and tiptoed into her bedroom. She sat on the bed and watched the little, red-headed baby laying in a drawer of her dresser beside her bed. She was very small for her age, born a month premature because of the abuse she put her body through while she carried her. She was surprisingly healthy, though, she thought as she smoothed her wispy red hair. She was so glad that all the attempts to miscarry had failed. She was a real joy to have around, a blessing, if you could call her that.
She thought how different life would of been if she had given in to her Father-in-law's final plea. The nursing home he was staying in called her on December 31, and told her that Wilfred was asking for her.
She drove down there knowing that he had been put there because she had left and George couldn't and wouldn't take care of him. She knew he must of hated living there, but at least he was being properly cared for. She walked into the room and over to his bed. He looked so peaceful laying there sleeping, she hated to wake him. She loved this man. How someone so sweet & kind could possibly birth such a monster she had no clue. George had even abused his parents in front of her. She hated it. She hated him. Wilfred started to stir and looked up to see her looking down lovingly at him.
"There you are! I was looking for you!", he said.
"Hi Dad. The nurses called and said that you wanted to see me. Are you okay? Can I do anything for you?"
His eyes got all teary and he opened up his hand to reveal her wedding ring.
"Would you put this back on?", he cried.
"Dad, please don't ask me to do that! I can't...I just...can't! I have to think of the children. If I could for anyone it would be you...I just can't!"
"I understand." he said quietly as he closed his fingers over the ring again. "I had to try."
Later that night, after the clock had struck a new year, Wilfred passed away.
Mary wiped a tear as that memory came over her. She felt so guilty. Would he have tried to make it longer if she had told him she would go back. Now he would never know his youngest grandchild who was to be born in just a few months. He might of rallied if she could of taken him home to live with them. It still hurt way too much to ponder. She loved him and she knew the divorce was a disappointment and a failure to him. There just wasn't anything she could do.
Mary looked back at the sleeping baby. Just a few short months later, this baby would come on the scene, quickly, unexpected & a month early.
She had just gotten out of bed and went to the bathroom when her water broke. She got to the telephone and called her Mother, Harriett, asking her to come pick her up and take her to the hospital as she was having the baby. This baby was almost born in the car. She got to the hospital, the doctor came in a few minutes later and basically caught her as she was being born. She touched Roxanne's downy head again as she remembered them wrapping her in a blanket and laying her in her arms right after she was born. She remembered the feeling of holding such a teeny tiny baby. She instantly felt love and pity for this little screaming angel. How could she even think of killing her. She was perfect, tiny and completely helpless. The circumstances surrounding her being wasn't her fault. She remembered signing the divorce papers the day she was born. George had come by to see the baby. He wouldn't even hold her. He just looked at the baby completely unemotional and unattached, and said,
"So, whose is she?"
He stormed out. Later, a nurse came in and took the baby's footprint and handprint for the birth certificate and drew some blood from her feet. Some was for the jaundice screening, and some was for the paternity test that George's lawyer had ordered. Her baby would have to stay in the hospital for several weeks as health issues developed. Mary smiled as she thought about how she showed up every time it would be a feeding time to see her and try to get the nurses to let her feed her baby. She thought the nurses must of been sick of seeing her walk through the doors. A few weeks later, she brought Roxanne home to the little upstairs apartment.
A few months later, she had taken the children to school and she decided to go to the cemetery where her in-laws were buried. Roxanne was asleep in a little basket in the backseat of the car. Mary got out and walked over to the graves. She knelt down and started to pull some of the weeds and long grass that had framed the name plaques. As she sat there, thinking about them, she heard a familiar voice.
She looked up to see Beulah Maki standing there. She had been over at her husband's grave and had noticed her over here.
"Beulah? What a surprise! How are you?"
Just then, almost as if on cue, Roxanne started crying in the car. Beulah looked around, obviously distracted. Mary just kept on talking. She didn't want anyone in Bennett knowing she had had another baby.
"Do you hear a baby?", Beulah questioned.
"No, I don't hear a baby!" Mary answered nervously.
Beulah started walking toward the car, following the cry of the little babe. She got to the car and she opened the back door and there was Roxanne putting up such a fuss she could of raised all of the dead! Beulah leaned in and picked her up from the basket.
"Mary! Did you have a baby?"
"Ummm, yeah, I did. Her name is Roxanne. She's about two months old." Mary admitted.
"Oh my goodness! A baby! We just have to go see Margie!!!! She will definitely want to see her! Did you know Margie had a baby boy in January? His name is Jeffrey. Oh! Let's go see Margie!"
With that she laid the baby back in the basket and ran to her car.
The visit with Margie was not as difficult as Mary had thought. Margie was always a kind soul and never pried or wanted to hear gossip. Mary did tell her some of what was going on leaving out most of the details. It was then Margie had told her that they had started going to Church in Superior. Twin Ports Baptist Church was the Church's name. It had only been started a few years prior and the Pastor was from Oklahoma. Margie told her that she had learned that God loved her. She then invited her to come to Church sometime with her, and that she would pray for her and her little family. Mary said she would think about it. She was very non-committal these days. She left Bennett that day, thinking how much she missed her friends. She thought about all the sacrifices that she had to make because of this failed marriage, this failed life. She was thankful for the freedom, but hated the circumstances she had found herself in. Was her life ever going to be any different than it was now?
Roxanne started to stir bringing her back to the present. She got up to go get her. Crying again. This baby does a lot of crying! She thought. "I'd cry too, if I thought it would help!" As she sat on the couch mindlessly watching television with the children, Roxanne on her lap, she decided she was going to make a commitment. She decided she was going to go back to that Church next Sunday. She was going to find out more about this 'new life' Pastor Scarberry was talking about. She was going to see if she could have it too. Her children's future depended on it. HER future depended on it!