Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Regrets.....

Warning, this a very different post! I am going to write about a story that has occurred over the last 14 years and it came to an end this last Saturday night (23rd) at about 11:00 p.m. I do not know what classification this story would come under, it might make you laugh, cry or something else but being in the middle of it I probably would have called it a "horror" story. Maybe its a Biblical story, one of sin, forgiveness and restitution, nevertheless it was providentially started and now it has thus ended that way.

14 years ago when we moved out here in the country, a widow of 20 plus years would be our neighbor. After we got settled I made contact with her via the phone and introduced ourselves, we were just neighbors calling upon each other only occasionally. Upon going to her gate for the first time a man living not far away happened to be at the top of the hill as we were turning to go in said to us “I warn you not to go there.”I do not know if he was warning us of a blessing or curse. I guess he had his dealings with her and now it was our turn....we went in! We helped her on occasion and she really at the time seemed to like us. She had been a widow for 20 plus years, no family around, four adopted children, one seemed rather different and later he died due to a med overdose, and one adopted son living out of state that she hadn’t seen up until last Sat. in 30-35 years, another son whom she never spoke of as I recall and a daughter the last I heard was in prison. She was a type of hermit; she was a very tough lady, very very independent in ideas and ways. Around the year 1999(?) or so she started having health problems that ended up being cancer. Since she had no family we kinda helped her a lot through the next year or so with hospital visits and doctor appointments. I made all her arrangements for her to get to the places and Terry would pick her up from chemo each day and bring her home, some others helped her too. Still all was fairly well; it just sometimes got old when he had to be late to get home but we continued trying to help her out. Soon Terry and the boys started helping her with her ranch chores (she lived on 78 acres and had a bunch of cattle) he would get up before he had to go to work at about 5-6 a.m. Caleb and Daniel too, and in freezing cold weather cube her cows out of the back of our old station wagon. It seemed as she got to know us better on occasions we either couldn’t comply to her wishes and she just flat turned mean. She would run us off, and then in a few days call for help once again. Caleb and Daniel would go over about 2 or 3 times a week and do chores inside and out for sometimes 4 hours at a time. She payed them 10-15 dollars a month, which we told her many times not too, but she did. We began to have great problems though, she demanded things her way, she used bad language in front of the children,(which she denied, but I believed my sons over her) she threatened us and to even go in her gates let alone her home was just so oppressive. She had cages of dogs and cats and everything had to be done precisely or else. Now I know Terry could handle anything she said, but when you start in on my children that’s another thing. She would call to our house many times a day demanding this or that chewing us out and then just hang up. I felt like a doormat, I felt used and abused by her. I saw her as my enemy. I will have to say that there were a few times we had her over for some meals, had a birthday party for her, and we took her meals on a regular basis. So there were some good times if you want to call it that. Sometimes she would tell me we were the best mom and dad to our children and then she would say that Terry was the devil's brother. There are so many episodes but heres one...one afternoon the children and I were outside and I heard gunshots right by our fence, you could not see for all the trees, I screamed at whoever and told them that children were out and to quit shooting, they continued. I jumped in the van and flew over to her house, knocked and went in, heart beating, firmly telling her and this man that was sitting in her bedroom in a chair that was totally out of breath, (like he ran to the house) and told them not to shoot our way.( this was a time when she had ran us off and we were not helping her for a short time) They both looked like they had no idea what just happened and finally said it was target practice....hum, on 78 acres and right by our house???? I have no idea what the motive was but it did scare me. One more....she had dogs in cages, like 10-12 and she had asked Terry, literally begged him to move these very dangerous, vicious dogs, she asked me to please get Terry to move them. In Oct. 06, when Joel was having his fevers we went over for our regular eve chores at her house and to move these dogs. Terry and Elijah sought to do this but Terry got bit. He came around the back of the house, I was there holding Mercy and watching Joel and Josiah and I just saw him and started screaming and ran into the house and told her loudly we had to go to the ER that Terry had been bit, she was stunned. He was sore for several days and the next day I called her to he was ok, and to confront her that she is the one that wanted us to move these dogs. She denied even asking us, she lied to me right there, of course I was boiling. We let the situation rest a few days but then to call back over and tell her we would still help if she wanted, so round #2 begin. She never wanted the little children to come over, she was so scared they would get hurt, and that we might sue her, which I do not know where she got that idea, but Terry would go over after work and spend an hour or more over there and it was taking out time to be with his family, so he told her we would serve her but our whole family would be coming. She did not like that at all but she did not have another option.

In my opinion she was a wicked old lady. Now I want to paint a not so pretty picture of me as Norma is not here to give her side. The scales might seem out of balance by now but believe me I gave my share to the situation to make my scale measure right along side of hers. She would get on her broom but I would get on mine too and we would get after it.We continued to helped and do whatever we could for her, I complained, I begged God to deliver us from her.I felt like the Israelites begging Pharaoh for release. We were committed to hear the cry of the widow so we couldn’t just walk away. I have so many faults with this lady but I tried to seek forgiveness with her after each fault. This was so hairy. I tried on many occasions to get back, but only to repent and ask her forgiveness. This stuff has gone on for 10 years, minus a few years of calmness on the front end and since Joel died, the last 19 months we haven’t had much contact with her. After Joel died I called her up every couple months just saying "hi," she was sorry for us and expressed her sympathy. She had found help and we were grieving, so we just let it be.

Many times I still sought to pray for her. We shared the word with her so many times over the years, bits and pieces of the truth. She said she was "very religious." I think she believed there was a God, but in all the years of knowing her she did not attend a church and really all of the people she had contact with was ones that helped her. I certainly had a heart issue that I constantly dealt with as I sought to help her. When the phone rang, I would cringe. She occasionally said thank you, but everyday was so unpredictable. You never knew if she was going to have a loving or hateful attitude towards you. I'll be the first to confess, I failed miserably in this project, Terry had fewer faults than me in it. She could have fought with the devil himself and seemed a winner, was my perspective.

The last phone call I had with her back 2 months ago did not go well. I tried to call her back and make amends but she hung up on me. Right after that she must have gotten sick again, her cancer had come back. Last Sunday (17th) a medical truck stopped and asked where she lived. We thought something was up, and Terry tried to call several times but someone else answered the phone and said she was not there and couldn't give any information. Sunday late afternoon, me and a couple of the children walked over and the guy helping came out came out and said yes, she had been sick and didn't seem to want to give any info besides she had been in the hosp. for 3 weeks. I told him to tell her that we came by. Through out the week a car was always there. On Monday I stuck a letter in the mailbox and of course asked her to forgive me for our last conversation on the phone and then I told her once more about Jesus, how we must repent and ask Jesus to save us through His blood.

This Monday,(24th) the guy helping drove up and told us she had died on Saturday night and that he was sorry for not giving us any info but she did not want anyone to know. I asked him if he read the letter to her and he said at first she didn't want it read yet, but on Thursday she said to read it to her, she said for him to tell me "thank you." Now her life is in eternity and I hope she is with the Lord, I think she is, as she had a time with another lady that told me she did pray and ask Christ into her heart several years ago, so I'm just going on that. So this story is about regrets. I feel like all was well between us at the end, I made amends with her and her last words to me were gentle. I have regrets of how I acted, I'm ashamed, and saddened. Sad that I did not represent Christ in a blameless pure way. Regrets that I did not finish well with the project of "Norma." But it's over now and I know what I desire to do now, seek to live without regrets, I don't know why I feel compelled to write this, it's really a dark side of me, but it will be brought to light one day and I guess I just want to humble myself before the body of Christ and say will you forgive me for not doing right! I often wondered after Joel died how could a cranky old woman of 86 years be allowed to live so long and hurt people with such vicious words and my little boy only live such a short time, but you know what, it's the sheer mercy of God upon any of us that we are not consumed. So yesterday at 2:00 pm we went to her memorial service. I would have thought I could never receive something good from her, but I have.... to seek to live unto Christ without regrets. I do not know if this is helpful to anyone...but it has been for me. I still am in great need of his mercy and grace upon my heart, may he grant it ever so abundantly for it so undeserved! I am going to leave this post up a couple of days and then I am going to delete it as to remind my heart that He forgives from the East unto the West!!

Cindy

10 comments:

pjacobs482 said...

Great story. It ought to be a screenplay. I have found in life that there are givers and takers. Certainly both categories of people are covered in this story.

Jesus said that many are called but few are chosen. Some are also predestined to be jerks and some work hard at making their calling and election sure.

Much love,

Paul Jacobs

The Watchman said...

Reading this story makes me think of my grandmother, and mom to a lesser extent. I grew up in a lost home and received Christ at the age of 20, my mom and grandma are both still lost I believe. I struggle so hard to willingly be a light and servent to them, one moment they are appreciative and loving the next they are hateful and demanding. Unfortunately I fail often in being christlike to them. I grew up in a home with them and I still couldn't adapt enough to able to rejoice in that affliction. God bless your family's longsuffering.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Cindy! I have dealt with a few bitter old people, but I have NEVER encountered anyone with this kind of temperment. I had to laugh when I was reading it--I could just see that lady.

Once again, you've been a tremendous inspiration to me. I think you went beyond the seventy times seven thing.

I would have probably turned around that very first time when the man said, "Don't go there." But I know me and if I did go in that first time, I wouldn't have lasted long. I've been given a LOT of grace and mercy so I ought to be more like you, but Norma would be too much for me!!!!!

Thank you for this story. I've been blessed (but I'm still chuckling).

DON'T MESS WITH MY KIDS!

I love you, Cindy Morris!!!!
Ann Parker

Tammi said...

Thanks for sharing cindy this was a true blessing to hear. I know your heart and it was to serve and you are a great woman for what you did. I know a lot of people that would not of even attempted and used there kids protection, or many other excuses and you kept pursueing a relationship to serve her as you know the Lord would have you do. God Bless you and your family, I miss seeing you all many prayers. Tammi Foster

Paulette said...

Wow I have to say that this story is allot like my testimony about my mother! My mother and father were Satanist's and raised me in a satanic cult. My mom was just like this!!I empathised greatly with you. I do not believe at all that you should have any regrets because it sounds like you put up with a great deal of abuse if the truth be told.
I LOVED the way your oldest son's even went over to help her even when it was so very difficult. And your husband and your's faith in all this. I also loved how your whole family took the attitude of helping the widow when she made it so very difficult. You tell your family God is proud of them!!
I think you need to release yourself of any regret because I truely believe you went way above and beyond.
I also want to say because I do know a few things about mental illness, she was mentally ill and you did the very best you could, I believe you suffered distress at her hands and you still continued to do the Godly thing.
Let it go, your family is precious, every last one of your children!!

Lockwoods said...

Oh Cindy, Yes, your story did help me as I have been struggling with my heart attitude so much lately in a certain area. I did cry as I read this.
How merciful and gracious our Lord is! And how undeserving I am of even the breath He allows me to take.
Thank you for sharing...thank you for allowing the Lord to use what He has taught you to help me.
You're in my thoughts and prayers daily.
love,
Jaynee

-stephanie- said...

God has used you, Cindy, to help me see what I have to change about myself. Thank you for your honesty.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cindy,
WOW - what a story. I actually think you and your family were a tremendous witness and testimony to her! You showed patience and mercy, I know you struggled with forgiveness but as I see it you overcame, but even apologizing- for what!? I'm not sure.But your own conscience knows, and God knows.. Remember God is greater than our conscience!
This has touched my heart as I am in desperate need of a move of God in my heart towards someone.....in restoration, forgiveness and healing.
Much love,
Christal

randibisme said...

I just wanted to let you know how precious your son Joel was and still is. I just read up on him on the side column. I have twin boys (Nathaniel and Anthony) and we are having them dedicated to Christ at our church on Sunday. Your family sounds beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Randi

.....Psalm 27..... said...

Psalm 27
Of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh, [a]
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, "Seek his [b] face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

I have been reading 2 psalms and one proverb every morning for our family bible study and prayer. How the Lord Provides me such Joy and assurance.....