Monday, December 30

just to keep it straight, 
my hair was borderline
disaster. and i always want
to look my best with my children. ended up
being brushed out, and into a braid
at the nape of my neck. with a
thin, white-stretched head band.

i didn't even know what i
had brought to wear. so i wore
plain and some design tights.
and long tops, layered. and
started drooling in nordstrom
over a pair of uggs. last ones.
in violet/purple. the newest
color for 2014. the ones with
glitter. this may sound really
ghastly to you, but with my long,
lean body, i think it works.

to the sales man, i asked if he
could just hold....
"no! sorry to interrupt you, dear.
it's a policy of nordstrom's....."
blah. blah. i couldn't make such
a decision. $200. the children.

up walked taylor and colson.
"mom! do you like those? do you?"

my eyes began to shine.
to become luminous.
what was taylor hinting at?
he has a big, new job. videographer
at post-graduate naval school,
but he has all his college loans
to pay off, and....

"sir, i'd like to buy these for
my mother.."

colson was grinning. he had
to work all night, but he's in heaven
with all of us together. and i was
now speechless. at that moment, 
every light in this store
went out. complete blackness. 
just two or three minutes. 
but it just added to the glory and surprise
and excitement of one of my children doing this for me. 
i've only taken these uggs off to sleep.

then, i received perfume. and
brock bought me two, darling, long
sweaters (to go with tights).
sacrificial for my sons.
it blew the sun across my face
and made my bones shake with
delight i can't even articulate.

we each had an orange julius.
we held hands walking through
the mall tiers. just so grateful
that Jesus would make a way
for us. and it was just us,
no one else can ever really know
what we've lived through. i took
6-7 pictures. again, pictures...
anything except Jesus and His
grace....just got lost. forgotten.

there were two girlfriends in
the party, but the kids were
more focused on our family because we
were so hungry to simply absorb
our love for each other. my eyes
are wet with warm emotion, 

not perfection.
an aging mom with a sad, 
broken year under my belt.
and fine..such handsome...sons
with their own hurts and sorrows.
and over and over, so many
clerks behind counters that i
shared Jesus with. tears welling
up in eyes. their brokenness.
so obvious. confessionals
behind glass counters. happiness
has blossomed in my soul again.  

what i've lived through the
last twelve months has planted
a compassion so pure and deep
inside me, for others, that i have
a beautiful, new garden
blossoming. a fresh, sweet aroma.

your love and prayers have
done it. you carried me, prayed
and cried with me.. and utterly
embraced me. jan thanks you so,
too, for including her.
you assisted God in lifting her
off a sick bed to be with her husband and children
Christmas day.

"hallelujah! what a Savior!!"

Sunday, December 29

sitting at the bar counter
of a hamburger hot spot between
southern methodist university and
the george w. bush library where
colson has worked. on brock's
days off from bank of america,
he's here. taking orders. tending
bar. all four of my sons are hard

is the end of this party of
love and vulnerability and
laughter and hugs. 
we go to our separate cities and states and
jobs and worlds. and...

go to work at the 
ominous job of addressing
our sins and failures of 2013,
so we have some thoughtful
insights on making 2014
a more peaceful and holy year
for God's glory.

the most sobering day of my life
every year is new year's eve.
am i farther down the road with
Jesus than 12 mos. ago? what,
with God's help, does God expect
of me in 2014?  how does He
want me to run the Race?

never have i been more excited
about a new i am today.
to step across the chasm of such
pain and despair. 
to know God is pouring courage through my veins,
and into the bloodstream of my
soul so i won't be afraid to face
myself in every area that unveils
my mass of shortcomings. i
want us all to grab hands so we can
stand steady and firm together.

can you already detect
some pitfalls? rocks...boulders..
strewn along the race course?
are there areas you know will
have to be faced before you
can be fully used of God?  just
some things to consider as we
approach the new year.

oh, i always hate saying "goodbye"
to my children. truly, you can't imagine 
how much fun we have
together. colson opened the car
door, this morning, and got in before
he realized it wasn't taylor. scared
colson and the man half to death.
and, yes, taylor and i took him
directly to the optometrist, and
lenses are being made.

the angels came.
the choirs sang.
Jesus wrapped us
in His arms, and washed us
with love. He spoke to our
little family, and bound the
chord of love and trust even
more tightly around
us. we are restored in the
magic of His grace and
magnificent love.

"we are marching to Zion.
beautiful, beautiful Zion...
we are marching onward
to Zion..the beautiful city of God."



colson, taylor

Saturday, December 28

Christmas, 2013
over. behind us. most trees
are still lit. children's eyes still shining.
the voice of silence, however, is
stepping back into malls and busy
sidewalks...and especially the decibels
of noise pounding in our brains:

how can i stretch the money?
what should i give...small
my children?  knowing hurting people,
and doing the best i could with what
i had.

it's been the best Christmas,
for me.
maybe because i've
dwelled in such pain and anxiety
all year...and when i watch the complete
devotion and love of my children for each other....
and treating me as if i were a million, sparkling lights
on the horizon. how could anyone not feel as if
i'm dancing on the sunrise?!!!!

please forgive my failure to do blogs.
i was bathing in the waters of Heaven.
my children were full of surprises. i mean
special, genuine love....and all your best
wishes ... and comments....and giving
made me know you would truly understand.

taylor, brock, colson, brandt and jasmine and colben
and i all send you the most heart-felt love and gratitude.
my sons LOVE to see people love me. truly. when i speak
to them about my inadequate and imperfect
they are, but that you all so care that even if it's a bad blog
day...or've stood with me. on Christmas...and
through today...when i tell them, their eyes become so large
and luminous. their faces break into looks of wonder. wide
smiles. that is how i love you. the way they love me.

Jesus, the Christ child.
"higher than we ever could imagine..
and closer than our eyes can ever see...
He is magnificent...." 10,000 reasons

Tuesday, December 24

Christmas eve.
"and the sky was bright
with a holy Light...
twas the birthday of
a King.."

courageous, for me.
i drove to monterey,
via san jose. brand new
routing. three-plus hours.
seeing one of my children
always takes my breath away. like
a gulp. a gasp. has taylor grown
a few more inches? and 
those chiseled, upper arms.
smile. mothers!

we fly out today..
for dallas, texas..where two
more sons are. two more miracle
wonders.  oh, may Jesus come
to us. may we hear the choirs
singing. and literally see the powerful love
the Christ child can
bring into a family. or friends now

pain, given to Jesus,
can truly provoke sunrise and
miracles. the more stark the pain,
the wider the vistas of blessing.
my greatest failure this past year
was not praising Jesus enough
in the shadows. my garden needs
to be better watered. the weeds

"though millions have come,
there's still room for one
there's room at the Cross
for you.."

Monday, December 23

i love these verses
from "The Message":

"you're blessed when you are at
the end of your rope. with less of
you there is more of God and His rule......" and

"you're blessed when you're content
with just who you more.
no less. that's the moment you
find yourselves proud owners of
everything that can't be bought."

tomorrow is Christmas eve.
almost the end of another year.
so many struggling people. a couple
whose heat and electricity were
turned off. phones that were being
disconnected. i did my best to help.
doesn't Jesus tell us to do that?!

but the most riveting experience
was a father who lost it, and,
in the end, called his truly decent,
beautiful, teenager some terrible
names because he is out of control,
and feels pretty awful about himself.

i was with his lovely, ex-wife,
and arrived at the house shortly
after. here was this strong, grown
man. screaming and storming
around...and then, i noticed he
was crying. weeping.

"i hate myself. i know i m
wrong. i just lost it!" and he
spoke this to me by name.
"ann..." over and over berating
himself. ravaged by failure and

maybe you feel differently,
but it broke me, and began to
cover any judgment i had because
he was humble enough to confess
he was a "jerk". wrong. way wrong.

that is what i want to say to
you: if i crossed the line in what
i said about will, my husband...if
i was unkind and demeaning, and
should have kept quiet, i take
responsibility. if i've moaned and
groaned and pulled you down
all year by my excruciating struggles,
i humbly beg for mercy...
and forgiveness.

will and i had so much wrong
with both of us. but i know if
he were alive today, he'd be
telling husbands and fathers
what he saw and learned the
last five days of his life. 
he was always, from day one of our marriage,
confessing he was a
pharisee. it took me a lot longer
to really see my own deep holes
of illness. i was faithful...truly loved will
and he loved me...i just know and
was utterly faithful, too.

when i write my blogs,
i am always trying to think of
where most the world is...and are
enough people being vulnerable
about their weaknesses and
horrors and dark places because
that is what i'm willing to lay on
the line. so you won't feel alone.

loving people.
that is the essence and
core of who i am. and knowing
Jesus is the ONLY Hope. longing
for others to not miss Him. there
is not a drop of good anywhere
else in me.

my children are the rising
sun and soaring eagles. the
afternoon breeze and every
rainbow that has ever shown
itself when the glorious sun
breaks through the rain. they
are everything. i used to be
so proud of their successes..
and i still am, but i'm radical,
down in my soul, about their
walks with Jesus. we are so
bonded. so knit together, but
i want to make sure that is what
they are with Jesus, too.

i love you all so.
a beautiful Christmas to you, 
inspite of how little or much you
have; how tough the Race.

He is Who i want.
the One i long for. His Word
in my heart. please...yes..forgive
the year of maybe saying too
much about pain. for not being
"happy" enough. i promise to
try and lead you to higher peaks
in the year to come. you are the
world to me.

Wednesday, December 18

a week from today is
last night was celebrate recovery, 
and i bumped
into one of my favorites there
who i hadn't seen in a long time.
"mary, where have you been?"
"in a dark place. very dark....
for about six months."

some degenerative disease in
her neck. hasn't worked all this
time. her eyes not clearly focused
from medication. she was telling
my story.
another young mother diagnosed
with breast cancer. recovering
from a hysterectomy. six, young
no Christmas shopping yet; the
rent hasn't been completely paid,
and the husband is on the job at
6 a.m. every morning.

this morning, i received a text
from a great friend. i refused to

"ann, get happy again..and healthy
so you can go on our next trip
with us.."

i felt terrible shame that you
all have had to share my year
of dark pain. have prayed and i
contemplated dropping the blog
many times.

not my best year.
but i've learned heaps of
compassion. with each one who
passes my way, i've studied their
eyes. often, a tear will, with no
invitation by me, slide down
one cheek. my passion for
broken people has become immense.  
i understand it all 
better. what Jesus feels. what
led Him to die for us.

jan, with worsening cancer.
physical pain and foot surgeries
that made my feet far...
than previously.
i lost a beautiful friend my children and i adored.
i feel sad for all of us..

I wasn't stable enough to bring
someone new into my life.. i see all kinds of
things i should have done differently, 

the magnificent Christmas carols.
the wonder of the shepherds and wisemen.  
the birth of baby Jesus.
the Prince of Peace. the Redeemer
who not only delivers us from ourselves,
but all the brokenness that an evil world deposits
into our lives.

"how silently..the
wondrous Gift was given...our
Lord, Emmanuel."

feel the crisp, night air.
see the shepherds and wisemen
as they follow the Light. hear
the sweetest sounds on earth....
a newborn baby's whimper. the Christ-
child of the earth.

Tuesday, December 17

the lights are getting brighter.
my hope is hanging from the
limbs. the joys and carols
are wooing me. the cold ice
and wind are unfolding the
magnificent glory of a briliant,
great news.....Jesus lives.
oh...yes sir....and with Him
comes the sound of His carols
lifting hope that warms the cold
nights..and broken, fighting

"oh, holy night, the stars are
brightly shining.....
it is the night of the dear
Savior's birth."

i love you all.
the sadness is being
eclipsed by the giggles of
young children. let's set our
sights on the victories. of the past,
and the miracles of the tomorrows.

Monday, December 16

i took my friend, sarah,
to the worst, most dangerous
core of my city where her
husband is painting an old,
victorian, three-story house.
they have six children...and his
income from this job is for bills,
and the family's Christmas.

i really love this family.
both vehicles barely run.
money for gas is slim. she
just had a hysterectomy, and
been diagnosed with breast

"i hate Christmas, ann."
exhaustion and weariness
planted on his face. "i have
since i was a kid. wanting it
nice for the kids. but... all the pressure.
really wanting it to be over."

sarah and i had a can of gas
for his empty tank. undercover
police officers were driving
back and forth. ten p.m., and 
matt had started at six a.m.

i was attired in p.j. bottoms,
a nightgown, and long sweater.
compassion like rain and fog
covering my windows gripped me.
the Christmas season is so
difficult for most.

baby Jesus.
born to be our Savior.
ultimately, grown and stretched across
a splintered Cross. the Lamb
of God tiptoing into the world
by pushing out of mary's womb.
a tiny, newborn baby.

my children are scattered. God
has worked it out, by the most
generous person i know, for me
to be with three of my four children
in dallas. i'm longing for this time.
oh, i'm grateful to the Christ-child  
for my little family. how we
love each other. we may mess up
with many imperfections, but we
have each other's backs covered
at all times.

jan is so ill. will is in heaven.
and 2013 has been, hands down,
the most painful, life-shattering
year of my life. worst of all is
the sense that amidst the bends
and twists along the road, is the
jarring reality that i'm not even close
to being what i think Jesus expects
and needs me to be.

but my answer to Him
is YES! YES! YES!!!!!

"the blind see.
the lame walk.
lepers are cleansed.
the deaf hear. 
the dead are raised.
the wretched of the earth
learn that God is on their side."
matthew 11  the message

we are hand-joined.
quietly walking together
to celebrate this glorious event.
Jesus being born, the Only One
Who promises deliverance to
all who long and thirst for it.
i do.
long and thirst.

Saturday, December 14

his name is javier. in
the most dangerous part of
downtown Stockton.
standing at the window of
a fast food sort of place.
advanced road construction
had led me to areas unknown.

i pull in. walk to the open window.
javier appears. handsome, 30'ish,
hispanic. everything spotless
behind him. he's not shabby either.

"how about a crispy, big taco,
and a diet soda?"
"what? no checks or cards
accepted for pay?"

"i'll treat you!" he replies.
a radiant grin spreading from
one side of his face to the other.


"sir, i'm lost. i'm trying to get back to
lodi. i have a very sick sister.
i realize this isn't the most savory
area.....and as i've been praying,
Jesus seemed to take over the
wheels. whipping me directly in
front of your eatery. do you think
it's possible to take me, with vast
limitations, and put me back on
l5 south? one person, ordinary,
with a giant God, can do anything.
at least, my father, a preacher, 
always taught me this.

i received a free dinner. a very
every-day woman, plus the blessing of God.  
was able to talk about
Jesus. found the right freeway.
i wasn't mugged, and called
javier.. and continued 
our Jesus talk from where we'd
left off the night  before.

"isn't the love of Jesus something
wonderful?  wonderful...wonderful?
isn't the love of Jesus something
wonderful.?! ....wonderful He is to

javier was my assignment
that remind him Jesus
really pays.

"I'm baptising you in the river,
turning your old life in for a
Kingdom life. changing you from
the inside out..God is cleaning
house..making a clean sweep."

in this holiest of seasons,
the birth of the Christ child...Who
was born to be our Redeemer..
may our hearts be quiet. listening.
at every moment on call.

"glory, glory hallelujah...
His truth is marching on!!!!!"

Wednesday, December 11

i was in rehab.
Jesus used every tool He
had to pull me out of my denial.
i needed to face myself. forget will.
terrible withdrawals.12 days of NO
sleep. no relief. a nightmare. 
down to 104lbs. at 5'8".
too nauseous to eat. 
could smell cigarette smoke
in the carpet. the walls. i have
never smoked. but the
odor settled in my hair...made me
more sick.

and will was in chicago.
stunned. swimming in his own
nightmare. i had filed for separation,
and received full custody of the
children. divorce was never in
my vocabulary, but i was so hurt
and broken, and i had to stay alive
for the children. because of my
love and devotion for them,
i had become a tiger. until you
know what someone has suffered, 
you can't grasp the severity of
the wounds.

the 12th night,
i was in my room. cranky,
bitter roommate asleep. pain
racked my bones. my soul. i
began to crawl, on hands and
knees. tears dripping off my nose.
deliverance. my prayer. my longing.
at any cost. i could almost taste
freedom. sweet. a cool, damp
cloth on my wounds. begging,

and Jesus came.
He touched me.
i became whole at the
center of my core, and began
to heal. more and more every
day. no longer blind. my hair
pulled back. tight. long ponytail.
the lost, blind, hopeless, enslaved
woman. SET FREE. i walked out
of wounded, powerless a serene, competent
adult. never to forget all i wasn't.
always to remember ALL Jesus is.

after a year of sobriety... a steady
diet of peace and deliverance from
fear for the children, i invited will
to move to california with us.  
God opened a job for him. he took turns
sleeping in the boys' rooms.  i
began to see old behaviors, but i
longed for miracles, and i was a
different woman. i drew healthy
boundaries, but things began to
unveil. not good things.

will was brilliant in areas.
he taught four, impressionable
sons how to have strong handshakes, 
and look people in the eyes.  
he lived out for them
that you love one woman your
whole life; a wandering eye is
sin and weakness. we all learned
to target practice and climb mountains 
and hike to hidden places and fish.  
i believe he did the best he could see.

inspite of terror in my throat,
i felt God challenge me to
walk back into our marriage.
to stand before our children, and
confess we both failed...and with
God's help would become what
Jesus desired. our closest friends
flew in. for me, it was pure obedience
to the still, small Voice.

2mos. later,
will was diagnosed with
renal cell carcinoma.16 mos.
after,november 27, 2000, as he
told each of the children to take
care of me, and he'd see us in
Heaven, he peacefully stepped over
into God's house. my father-in-law,
dr. henry brandt, said at his
memorial service....
"will was a bitter, angry man
until five days ago...when God was
able to open his eyes.."

when Jesus was born, the angels
said, "fear not..." and Christmas
is the celebration of redemption
and hope and peace on earth.
life is a battle. marriage takes
hard work, forgiveness, and Christ's
miracles. i don't know why i felt
led to share all this. it leaves me
raw and vulnerable....but it is
the story of love. that it is never
one's fault, but both, in a marriage
if it fails....and only Jesus can
redeem us. do your best.  
sometimes, only one is willing to
change. just hold on to pure love.
i have no answers or lectures. i'm
at the back of the line. i sin every
day. some days, i can only crawl.
more than anything, i long for my
children to see and feel God's love
all around them...and to forgive
all the wrongs they didn't deserve.

Tuesday, December 10

"if you don't go all the way with Me,
through thick and thin, you don't deserve Me.
if your first concern is to look after yourself,
you'll never find yourself.
but if you forget about yourself
and look to Me, you'll find both yourself and Me."  
matthew 10

i believe that love lives.
that only God knows how to bring us
to the end of ourselves.
that the great miracles and
transformations of life rise out of ashes. 

some of my dearest friends,
herb and dona, saw me on a trip
back east. 1996. i no longer
had hope. i had miscarried
multiple babies. many infections.
dependent on pain pills. sleep
deprived. broken. they flew
the children and me to california
one day while will was at work.
all four of the boys were in
grade school. beautiful. sweet.

suddenly, my heart wasn't focused
on what will lacked, but on myself.
jan flew out and kept the children,
while i entered a 30-day rehab.  
i was terrified. i realized i had
big issues of my own. mainly,
my children needed an adult for
a mother, who could draw safe
boundaries, and who was physically
and emotionally stable. and
off  pain pills.  

while i was in withdrawal from
medication...and didn't sleep
for 12-straight days...and felt
everyone was talking russian
and hurting my feelings, God had
finally stopped will in his tracks.
his wife and children were gone,
and for the first time, he saw i
had some backbone, and wasn't
willing to keep living like we were.

he was willing to change things...
please...but begging me to bring the
children, and come home. however,
i was resolute. not visibly emotional. running to save my
life. if i was gone, what would the children do?
every breath was for them.

final wrap up tomorrow.

Saturday, December 7

though i had traveled the
world and spoken to thousands
at a time; and, with God's
blessing, written multiple, best
sellers and qualified for three,
boston marathons....and,

though i had fearless faith
in Jesus, the Savior and
Deliverer of the world....

there was something about the
events of my childhood that
stole a stable, inner balance
from my core. my father languished
the fact that my brother was not
a Christian. and it scared me
when he would fast and pray
for ten days at a time. i was sure
my dad was going to die.

so i strived to make my godly
father happy. my older
brother was angry, and his rage
scared me. it sewed fear into
the seams of my psyche, and
thus, i became a woman compelled
to keep will happy. to be a perfect
wife. it was so natural for my
husband to run the show. though
i didn't know where his income
was, he and his father had created the biggest, 
seed potato ranch in the world.

will's father had died years before,
and my husband had been groomed
to take over. to be the boss. he
stepped into marriage 
with the same mentality. 
as with the ranch, he was our boss. the
thought of mutuality was not a
concept he really grasped. but....
neither did i understand that there
are special gifts in us all, and it
was my responsibility to protect
and take care of me and the
children...and even will if he was
not catching it.

there were hundreds of times 
when i needed to pull on my big-girl boots.  
stand with my back rigid,
and refuse to bend to some whim
of will's.

we were all in the car,
going to a walk-in hair-cutting

"honey, the best person there is
named tom. he's excellent. gay,
with some funny quirks, but he's
really skilled."

words spit through the narrow
spaces in his teeth.
"NO gay man is going to cut
my hair!!!!"

a chill ran down my spine.
"stop!!!"i hissed.
"i mean it, ann. don't you
dare put me in that position."
i held onto the door.
praying. breathing...gulping...
contaminated air.

somehow, i held my tongue until late that night 
after the children were
tucked in beds, and will and i were
behind our own, closed doors.
i whispered out screams. i cried
until my throat was raw. my eye-
lids were swollen. reminding
my tall, curly-haired, handsome
husband that he was a pharisee.
a fool. that Jesus is ALL about
love and mercy..that if he ever
spoke like that again in front of
the children, he would seriously
regret it.

most of the time, i just swallowed
the  pain...and let bitterness
soak up the pure places in me.
it made me physically sick. i
swallowed my pain pills and
developed kidney infections and

i breathed every breath for my
children. bike rides and ice cream
and talking in the dark at bedtime.
will alienated himself from us. i
never knew what he was going
to do next, but i allowed fear to
consume me, and a healthy person
would have seen her addiction.
grown up. and established some

tomorrow is the end of this saga.
a picture of what Jesus can do
when both husband and wife
care enough to get well. i'm not
an absolutist. God hates divorce,
but He hates other things even
more. i just know miracles can
live, and children deserve parents
who can shed diseased thinking 
and live out beautiful,
God-centered love.

Thursday, December 5

thank you, so sincerely, for
all your love and prayers and
compassion for me. the way you
wrap your hearts around my
wounds....and draw me into
the circle.  if a
picture could be
drawn of God's love, it would
look like you.

people can say marriage is hard,
or a broken rib really hurts, but
unless you've walked the path,
it is, truly, a foreign concept. i
was married for 19yrs., and have
broken multiple ribs. neither easy.

will was black and white. his way
or the highway. i will always believe he wanted to be the best
husband and father, but he didn't
grow up with the tools instilled in him. 
will was the first-born,
and only son...and loved and
adored at his house. he walked
on glistening, colored stones and treated like a prince.

will was the first to find Jesus,
and miraculously, led his entire
family to the Lord. a beautiful
story, but he was academic about
everything, and felt powerful. me?
i was the most serious co-dependent ever.   
i looked professional and intelligent, but
i grew up with my brother never,
ever looking at me so i was positive
i was less than nothing which
translated into my marriage .

will ran the show,
and i buried my growing
rage over money issues and
no power. as the children were.born,
it became more
complicated. i was afraid of
really standing up for anything.
the Bible said we are to honor
and obey our husbands, and
nothing terrified me more than
disappointing God.

the LAW was will's sword and shield, 
but law without divine
love created judgement and criticism,
i thought, and will's passion
to take our little sons, and make
them tough and fearless ruled.
one of will's live and die by Bible
verses was "spare the rod and
spoil the child."  the children and i
were afraid of will, though i never
verbalized it. some things i can't
contemplate often.

has to be one of God's ways
of shaping us. forgiveness is
imperative. a humble spirit is
a major working tool. it aligns
us with the Cross, and it really
does take time and sacrifice to

"if you don't go all the way
with Me, through thick and thin,
you don't deserve Me. if your
first concern is to look after yourself, 
you'll never find yourself. but if you forget about yourself
and look at Me, you'll find both
yourself and Me."  matthew 10:38-39

"it is best to start small. give a cool cup of water to 
someone who is
thirsty. the smallest act of giving
or receiving makes you a true apprentice.  
you won't lose out on a thing."  matthew 10:40-42

i was authentic and grown up
on the outside, but underdeveloped
at my core. emotionally fragile.
one night, in the heart of boston,
a couple years before i met will,
i was sexually assaulted. terrifying.
it was not until my honeymoon
that we realized something was wrong. 
flew into town, and will
immediately drove me to the

a sexually-transmitted disease?!!
so naive, i had never heard of it
before. nothing on earth could
have destroyed me in an instant
as that did. i was sullied.
abused. ruined. the doctor gave
me the first morphine shot of my
life. immediate healing of body
and soul, and the beginning of an
addiction. a two-week
honeymoon, and then my nail--beds...scalp..fingers...and heart
dried to a crisp like my soul.
they caught the man, but they couldn't give back what was taken.

in the end, however,
God has used EVERYTHING, as He
promises, and works it all for good.