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Published March 9, 2017 by Chloe Madison

MacGyver. That’s mostly what I remember. One of my all time favorite TV shows as a little kid. I was about 10 years old and MacGyver was on TV. It had to be a rerun because it was really late at night. My dad was lying on the couch and I was sitting on the very end of the couch near his feet.

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All of the sudden, it began. He started telling me to do things and I blindly obeyed. I moved as slowly as I could, resisting the only way I knew how. I was in a sudden state of shock and confusion. I absolutely could NOT believe what was happening. I couldn’t believe that it was my own dad doing this. I was also incredibly bewildered and perturbed. I knew what was happening was wrong…didn’t I? I knew that what my neighbor did to me a year before was really, really wrong. That’s why I never told anyone. But now…my DAD???

Wait…maybe it wasn’t wrong.

No, no, no…it’s definitely wrong.

I was so confused and my mind raced back and forth about the morality of what was happening, how I could get out of the situation, and how to deal with the fact that it was my own dad this time.

It seems like it lasted forever. I remember twisting my neck to awkwardly stare at the TV, pretending like it wasn’t bothering me. I stared so hard at the TV. Just kept staring…didn’t even blink. It was the only place I could look. I started involuntarily trembling. It slowly got worse and worse. I kept my neck twisted toward the TV to the point that I was in pain. Shaking…then, the tears. I couldn’t stop shaking and I surely couldn’t stop the tears. I think (but I’m not sure) that’s what made him stop.

He coldly told me to go wash up. I did. I couldn’t scrub hard enough or use enough soap. I stayed in the bathroom a long time. I was afraid to come out, afraid that it might not be over yet. When I did get the courage to open the door, I darted into my room.

I can’t remember anything else. I could tell you that I cried myself to sleep that night, but I don’t remember. Honestly, I’m glad I don’t remember. I’ve prayed so many times that God would take these memories from me. He never does.

The next thing I remember is the next day. We were driving over to my grandma’s house. I can’t remember who was driving (it must have been my dad), but I remember sitting in the front seat, looking out the window. I remember hearing the words, “we don’t talk about things like that.” He was referring to the night before, essentially telling me not to tell anyone. I remember knowing that he was just trying to shut me up. I continued looking out the window and rolled my eyes.

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Dichotomy

Published February 27, 2017 by Chloe Madison

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I feel desperately alone. Yet I will tell you that we are children of God. God is our Father and we are all his family. Even when we feel we are alone, God is always there. We might not feel Him nor hear Him, but make no mistake…He IS with you.

I know that no place on this Earth is safe. Yet I will tell you that you are safe in the palm of God’s hand. You are safe when you lose yourself in His word. You are safe when you immerse yourself in prayer and converse with the Lord.

I feel completely and utterly insignificant. Yet I will tell you that we are God’s chosen people. We belong to God.

I feel sad, depressed, overwhelmingly hopeless. Yet I will tell you to hold on, to trust in Jesus. Hold tight to His promises. Confide in Him, talk with Him…then listen to Him.

I feel…no…I know that I don’t want to live anymore. Yet I will tell you that we are alive in Jesus. God has given us the gift of life. He created us with thought and precision. It’s wrong to even think of throwing that away. I would say don’t focus on yourself. Instead, focus on your Saviour and your Lord. When you have negative thoughts, focus on praising God, your loving Father. Tune in to His goodness, His gentleness, His strength, His love for you and for all of humanity. Concentrate on others- how can you help others? What are their needs? Look for a need in people, open yourself up and allow God to use you to somehow benefit others.

So much easier said than done. There is nothing profound here…just the constant battle inside my mind.

Run from the negative thoughts- they are not from God. Run to Jesus, run to your Heavenly Father. Trust in Him and cling to Him always.

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Mystery Money

Published February 16, 2017 by Chloe Madison

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I have to report on God working.

Last week, I received a mysterious white envelope in my mailbox at work. The only thing written on it was the first letter of my first name. There was no note inside, just $40. Ironically, only a few days earlier, I realized my monthly finances were going to be off by about $25. I’m working really hard to pay down debt so I’ve allocated every extra dollar that’s not going toward bills to pay debt. I didn’t leave myself with any wiggle room. Unexpectedly, my electric bill was about $25 higher than it normally is. I was trying to figure out how I could scrounge even more on my food money to put $25 back in the bank.

Then, this mysterious white envelope appeared. I even chuckled right there in the mail room and thanked God out loud for answering my prayer. I told Him there was about $15 extra that I didn’t need though. After I had my little chuckle, I started to wonder if this was a mistake…was this money meant for someone else? Was someone paying someone else for Girl Scout cookies or something? I quickly came to the conclusion that this white envelope holding $40 was an error. So, I sent out an email to the entire staff asking if anyone knew who put it in my mail box or if anyone was expecting a payment that they didn’t receive. I got a few cryptic emails back, saying ‘maybe it’s for you’ and ‘maybe someone has a crush on you.’

I then talked to several people at work and found out that over the last few years, there has been someone who randomly and anonymously gives money to those in need. These people asked me if I’d told anyone how I was working nights in order to pay my debt down.  The answer was yes, I had mentioned to several people that I work some nights. So they concluded it was from this anonymous giver. I’m a great investigator and I’m going to put my skills to use to find out who this person is (we’ve got about 200 people on staff here)…I just really want to thank them and let them know how much it means!

But, the above story is not even the best part. Yesterday, a teenager came to me with a dire need for nine dollars. She explained a sudden emergency and told me how she had spent the last 24 hours borrowing money from friends and family…she just needed nine more dollars. I had completely forgotten about the mysterious white envelope! So, I went out to my car and was scrounging around for singles and quarters to give to her. I found eight dollars and made it my mission to borrow at least one more dollar on her behalf. As I was walking back into the building, I suddenly remembered the $40 in the envelope! That’s what the extra money was for! I truly feel that not only did God provide for me, but He was also providing for this girl. I happily took out the extra twenty dollar bill from the envelope and shared the story of its mysterious appearance with her. I told her that I was pretty sure this extra money was for her, not me. The look of relief in her eyes and on her face was all I needed to know that this was God providing for His people. Forty dollars is all it took.

God is indeed good!

Just a side note…with everything else that’s going on in my life, I am deeply grateful for this kind of reminder that God is here and He is working. When I feel alone or distraught, it’s an amazing feeling to be reminded that God has never left…and He never will.

Betrayal

Published February 14, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Memories are like that…like those chocolate chip cookies my grandma and I made…the cookies are your sweet memories and they’re sprinkled with bits of bitter darkness.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

What a great day to write about love. Or betrayal…

Don’t you just adore your grandmother? I adore mine. She was always one of my most favorite people on the face of this Earth. I have so many fond memories of her taking care of me when I was sick (and my mom had to work), us baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch, playing on her property…climbing trees and running around wreaking havoc. Sprinkled in with these great memories are a few bad ones as well. One incident occurred that caused a great rift between my uncle and I. (This is the same uncle that committed suicide.) My sweet, ol’ grandma had Alzheimer’s and entered a phase where she started wandering off. She was at my house with me (in da hood) and we were the only ones there. She suddenly took off, went out the door and down the street. I panicked because she was a little old, white lady in a very bad neighborhood. It wasn’t safe at all and this situation was not good. I ran after her, caught up with her, and begged and pleaded for her to come back inside the house. She kept walking and so did I. As a last resort, I even tried taking her purse from her, thinking that she would follow her purse. I was going to use it to entice her to turn around and head back to the house. It didn’t work. She became furious that I tried to take her purse and I quickly folded. So, this being before the time of cell phones, I left my grandma and raced back to the house to call my uncle for help. He was staying at her house about 4 miles away. I asked him to come help me, to drive her car to us and pick her up. Mind you, this is in the sweltering heat and humidity of South Florida, where people literally melt if they stay outside too long. Not only was I concerned that my sweet grandma was easy prey in da hood, but I also knew it wasn’t good for someone so old to get overheated. My uncle denied my request and we got into it. He refused to come get his mom and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled something at him on the phone- can’t remember what- and I hung up. I had to get back out there with her to protect her. If nothing else, I would be by her side. So, I raced back onto the street and ran my little heart out to catch up to her. We walked (at a slow old lady pace) for what seemed like hours. We were over halfway to her house when my uncle pulled up in her car and got her to get inside. He took off and left me standing there on the side of the road. I was relieved he finally decided to come help her, but I was still so furious at his cold initial refusal. And it didn’t help that he LEFT ME there! He left me in the middle of a terribly dangerous neighborhood where gun shots regularly rang out. I figured he must have been mad at me too. We didn’t speak for years after that…so many years, that I actually lost count.

So, this past Christmas, my mom and I had a heart to heart discussion about the past. She told me things I never knew and I did the same with her. One of the things she told me hurt me so badly that I refused to believe her. It’s been stewing in my brain for nearly two months now. My mom told me that my grandma knew that my dad sexually abused me and that she worked to keep it covered up. It looks like she was more concerned with keeping her son’s (my dad) reputation flawless than with making sure that her 9 year old granddaughter was OK. I was in such shock when my mom told me this that I couldn’t even fathom it being remotely true. Perhaps my mom picked up on my disbelief because she repeated it and then expanded on the situation. She said that somehow in the conversation, my grandma offered to pay for therapy down the line, if I would ever need it.

Ever NEED it?!? Ha! I sat back in the midst of being dumbfounded. I am f**king ready to kill myself over this sh*t and IF I ever needed help, my dead grandmother was supposed to be the one to pay for it. Thanks, grandma.

I’m still processing it all…I still wonder how true this really is. The fact that I distrust my mom and now, my dear sweet grandma… I just don’t even know what to think!

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this…as the betrayal of someone so precious to me sets in.

All my fond memories…are sh*t. If she was so ready to betray me…to cover up her granddaughter’s sexual abuse, to leave her granddaughter in silence, with no support, no nothing, then that means that everything we did together was a lie. It was probably just her guilty conscience trying to amend things. And that’s giving her too much credit.

I’m not going to lie. My family sucks. Nearly everyone passed away when I was little anyway, but the few family members I knew and interacted with sucked. It’s a good thing that my pastor just did his sermon on the topic of family last Sunday. I guess I need to try to cling more to my church as my family.

Matthew 12: 49-50

Ephesians 2:13-22

I can’t even think of a good way to end this…my mind is fractured and I’m trying to tend to the various pieces. I can say that I’ll never look at a chocolate chip cookie the same way again.

Update on…Fear

Published January 27, 2016 by Chloe Madison
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Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

An update on Joe…

I moved to Colorado about 4 years ago to get a fresh start. Even though I feel extremely isolated here (with no close friends that I see on a regular basis), I still felt safe. All the people who have ever hurt me were very far away and that made me feel better.

Until I decided to check on Joe. I found his Facebook page…a background picture of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. His profile picture is him with a huge smile with his wife and 2 children. The first thing that was alarming was that he was ever in Colorado!! Why did he have a background pic of Garden of the Gods? Vacation, I guessed. The second thing that was alarming was his wife…she looked like me. Reddish hair and all.

So, just to make sure he was still far away, I researched Joe. My heart shot up to my throat when I saw he was now employed and living in Colorado Springs. He’s working as an attorney for a defense and space company. He’s probably making a jillion dollars, living the sweet life: white picket fence in a big house with his family and 2 little ones. (Note the tad of jealousy.) I’m struggling and he excels.

Well, at least he’s not working in the court system as either a prosecutor or defender. I’d have a serious problem with that.

But, I can’t explain my feelings when I first found out he was HERE so close to me!! Colorado Springs is about an hour and a half drive south of me. But, I went there all the time! I love Garden of the Gods and will continue to go there. (Garden of the Gods is actually a very special place to me.) I have to be honest…my initial reaction was to move. I think I might have had a minor anxiety attack that lasted several days. I was paranoid, always looking around, shaking, my heart was racing and so was my mind. That’s when I decided I needed to leave Colorado. Even though he lived an hour and a half away, that was TOO CLOSE!! Never in a million years would I want to randomly run into him. I’d probably freeze up, panic, then faint. And then wake up and throw another blueberry muffin.

I talked to a friend who knew Joe and the whole story. She spoke common sense into me and made me realize I shouldn’t move, nor did I have to in order to feel safe again. It took me several months to feel relatively safe. I’m still on the look out for him though…just in case. I’m still not comfortable knowing he’s that close by, but I’ll live. Isn’t ‘do not fear’ and/ or ‘fear not’ in the Bible many times?  Maybe I should take that to heart.

Cancer blows.

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

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I’m currently dealing with many old wounds being brought up. A pastor at my church, (whom I barely know, yet admire immensely for his compassion and work with others) was just diagnosed with cancer. It crushed me!  It affected me and continues to affect me way more than it should. I immediately had words with God. (That’s street talk for ‘we had it out.’) I was so mad at God. How could you let cancer affect someone so wonderful? Someone so young?  Someone who does so much to spread love and caring around this world?  Someone who has a beautiful wife and two young children? Why would you allow someone like that to be afflicted? I just don’t get it.

This brought me closer in to the Lord…I find myself in prayer constantly for this man. I feel so deeply sad for him and his family. I know they’re in for a long term struggle and I feel so helpless! I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help him. Yes, I can and do pray for healing and peace…but aside from that, there’s not much one can do for cancer.

I had a short conversation with him at church the other day. I had already decided I only wanted to lift this man up, always be encouraging, never say anything negative. I wanted to make sure that he only got hope…so I had already decided to NOT mention anything of the many, many family members I’ve lost to cancer. Only a week before I found out about his diagnosis, I lost my cousin to a rare form of incurable cancer. And yet, somehow my stupid mouth spewed out about my dad. Shit. I didn’t want to say that. I didn’t want him to know that my dad didn’t make it (because I wanted him to have hope that anyone can make it!) So, I tried to clarify right away- I pointed out that my dad did not want treatment and he gave up and let cancer eat him alive. My dad was diagnosed at Stage IV only because he waited so long to seek help for feeling sick. My dad hated hospitals and doctors and it took my mom forever to get him to agree to go see what was wrong. So, my dad agreed to surgery for the cancer, but he refused to do chemo or radiation. I remember my parents fighting about it multiple times. My mom felt (and still feels) abandoned by my dad. She just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to fight it and try to live through it. So, in realizing that I just told my pastor friend about someone who died of cancer, I tried to show him the difference- that he was going to fight it and my dad didn’t. That he would have hope even though my dad didn’t.

Let’s not even go near the fact that I now believe that maybe my dad thought he deserved to die. He was a sexual predator- he had preyed upon and abused his little brother and his daughter. I can’t help but wonder if he felt guilty, if he felt that this was karma. Maybe he just accepted his cancer as a death sentence and that might be why he refused to fight it.

Maybe that’s part of why it’s affecting me so deeply.

Cancer has cut through me over and over and over again- with each family member it’s taken. And then all these memories come flooding back…my dad with cancer, dying at my house when I was little. I have one very distinct memory: my dad was yellow because the cancer had caused bile to spill into his body. He got up from the bed and rushed to the bathroom and started vomiting. As a little kid, I didn’t know what to do to help. So, I stood with my father and gently rubbed his back while he was bent over the toilet. In between bouts of vomiting, he yelled at me to stop and get away. At the time, I was deeply hurt. I was only trying to help and didn’t know what to do. As an adult, I can understand that when someone is nauseated, rubbing their back probably only makes them feel more sick. So, I understand why he pushed me away. But, that’s pretty much the last memory I have of interacting with my dad. My next memory is of him laying in his casket.

 

 

Update:

Cancer is in remission for the amazing guy I started off writing this post about. YAAAAAYYYY!!! I can’t exclaim that enough! I am so happy for him and his family! I thank God every single day for his healing and I pray that God continues to keep his body free of cancer.  🙂

So much has happened internally with regards to this situation. Since I first wrote this post, I’ve been in serious prayer daily for his healing and that’s brought me face to face with all kinds of issues that I personally have. I’d look at this guy’s children in church. I’d try not to stare. When all this started I believe his daughter was around 10 or 11 years old. I was 9 years old when I was first raped by my adult neighbor. I’d look at how sweet and innocent and frail-looking his daughter is and wonder how the hell someone could hurt or take advantage of a little girl like that. Even the thought of this is making my hands shake right now as I’m typing.

I think his son was about 11 or 12- the same age I was when my dad passed away from cancer. I remembered how I thought I caused my dad’s death and how the heaviness, the guilt, the seriousness of the situation weighed upon me and pressed me down.

Having this guy beat cancer was so important and symbolic to me on so many different levels. Yes, of course the victory is his and his family’s and the Lord’s…but seeing myself in his children had such a profound impact on me. I can’t even think of words to explain it.

Needless to say, I’m ecstatic for his healing and I’m so relieved he and his family can go on living their lives. He’s become one of the people that I admire greatly for their walk with the Lord…his selflessness and compassion, the caring nature of both him and his wife, the way they love their children…these are truly great people and this world needs more people like them! Praise God for remission!  🙂

New information…my dad

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

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So, what does all this mean for my dad?  Well, as I sat there in utter shock digesting what my cousin had just told me…several realizations came flooding in. I realized I wasn’t the only one my father had abused. That has so many levels of (I don’t know what) to it. A year and a half later and I’m still fully digesting that!

 

I also realized that the same thing must have happened to my dad. My father was born in 1944. So with sexual abuse in the 40s…I mean, where did he learn to do that? I think back then it had to be learned from someone. Nowadays, with the internet and how p**n permeates our society, I believe people can allow their own minds to be twisted by watching some of the stuff that’s out there. But, back before that existed…I think he must have learned it from somewhere…either by watching it be done or by having it done to him. And because of his compulsion to do it, both as a youngster and as an adult, I think it must have been deeply ingrained and therefore, must have been done to him. Now, you might think I’m just making excuses for my abuser. Ehhh…I don’t think I am. My father REALLY WAS a great person. He was kind, intelligent, helped others out so much, and had a heart for people who struggled. But, I think he was tormented and afflicted by his deviant thoughts, which turned into actions. Obviously, it was wrong and he was at fault. I’m not negating that. But, I can’t help but wonder what happened to him. And who did it? Was there someone else in my family responsible for abusing my father? Was he just mimicking behavior he learned as a child?  I honestly have no idea. Any adult who could have done something to my dad as a kid is long gone.

But, it brings up the question to me of generational curses. And that might explain why life has been so hard. Could the sins of my father have trickled down into the family tree?

I have a headache and I feel sick…like throwing up, sick. I’m going to stop writing for now. Give it all to God.