Thursday, February 21, 2008

Secrets, Lies and pits

Some things have me captive that I thought I was free of.
I have a stepmother that came into my life when I was 19, only a few months after my parent's divorced. The whole of the situation is and has been overwhelming to me and so I have just said "It doesn't matter" and told myself that my feelings on the deal aren't important. For 27 years I've squashed down the anger and hurt and said that I forgive them to myself and all sorts of stuff that apparently haven't been very effective.
Because today I feel overwhelmed by it all again. Daddy had a heart attack last night while in the hospital for some tests. This family emergency reveals all of the stress points and upsets that we've (my two brothers) held onto.
I'm angry at my daddy. Growing up, I was a good student and he would promise me monetary rewards for all A's. The A's came but not the rewards. He didn't really expect me to get all A's. I just swallowed the disappointment and produced the A's. When it came time to go to college, I was to have my real reward. "You are a smart girl. We'll send you to college anywhere you want to go." And I believed him. The worst part was that he was angry that I believed him. "Look around you," he said, "does it look like we have the money to send you to college?"
My English teacher told me about financial aide. My mom helped me apply and I got student loans to fund my first year at ECU. My mom sent me a little spending money the first year, but by the second, she had left and I had to reapply for financial aide based on my new circumstances. Daddy wasn't too happy about having to fill in his personal finances, but he did it and I got loans and workstudy to pay for the remainder of my time there. There was never any money from my daddy. I worked summers and used the money I saved for spending money throughout the year.
My stepmother's part in all this, to be honest, is unknowing. My daddy needed money for the divorce settlement and to get it, he told my stepmother he was using the money to send me to college. For a very long time, neither of us was aware. Then four years ago, my oldest went off to college. Of course, talk turned to the expense and my stepmother began to say how the sacrifice was worth it and they never regretted the money they spent on my education. At first, I said nothing. I just stewed and boiled at the gall of her trying take credit for something she didn't do.
And then on a visit home, daddy walked outside with me and asked me a favor. He pulled out of his pocket a roll of 100 dollar bills and asked "How much did it cost you to go to school?" I told him I honestly didn't remember and all the while I'm stunned and trying to process what he's saying to me. "How about six thousand dollars?" and he counted it out and gave it to me. "When she says we paid for your school, now you can say we did and it'll be true."
I gave the money to the building fund at our church.
But it doesn't stop there because a lie never does just a little damage. My brothers have always thought that I had it made because daddy sent me to college. I told them over and over that I had taken out loans and paid for it myself but somehow that didn't register or maybe they just thought I was the one lying. I told the oldest brother (I'm the oldest child and only girl) about daddy giving me the six thousand dollars "hush" money and he was silent for a moment. Then he said that daddy had always said to him "I had money for one to go and that one isn't you". Wasn't anybody listening when I said HE DIDN'T?
And my daddy doesn't care what this does to me or how it hurts me. He just doesn't want his wife to find out he used her money to pay off his ex.
I thought I'd forgiven him when I gave the money to the church but my husband points out that I haven't gone down to see them since. When they come here, I have very little to say in the face of my stepmother's implications that I'm spoiled and ungrateful.
There are so many other pieces to this situation but this lie is the key piece. My stepmother has expectations for how often I should call and talk to my daddy and how often I should come see my daddy. She lets me know that I'm not meeting the quota. I'm not a good daughter by her estimation. I think her concern ought to be for what kind of parent has my daddy been? What has she done to encourage him in his relationship with me? Why not say "Honey, call your daughter. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you"? I don't feel that I owe her anything and she thinks that I owe her, at the very least, my college education.
I wasn't going to go to North Carolina to sit around in the lobby with my stepmother. But I want out of the pit. So.
I was praying about it last night before falling asleep and this morning as I lay in bed in the time just before being awake, the Lord said " I was sick and you visited me".
I began to ask myself why is it that you don't want to go? God made it all clear. I sought the Lord in my distress and He answered me. I'm going to trust Him with the rest. We are going to see daddy next weekend and having made that decision, whatever else happens is in God's hands.


Susan said...

Well. I have read this through. I have a ton of thoughts. I'm asking God to filter them and give me words to say to you.

In the meantime. I'm praying for you, sweet Siesta.

We never really know all that is going on with the women in our lives. I'm so glad that you felt like you could share this with us. God has really been talking to me about transparency. Honesty. Openness. It's tough for a girl who has held EVERYTHING in for 47 years. Even from a loving husband who has told her repeatedly, "there is nothing you can tell me that will ever make me stop loving you." He IS the definition of unconditional love.

It sounds to me like you have a husband like that, too. One who loves you and supports you. I pray that it is so. You will sure need him when you go to visit your dad and step-mom!

Love and hugs.


He Knows My Name said...

dear kathy, i have thought about you so much after reading this post. like beth moore said and i think you know this already we can get pushed into the pit, we can slip into the pit or we can jump into the pit. this situation, and i have many, many of them too, has you in a pit. i listened to the show life today with james and betty robison thursday. i think if you access it on the internet you will be so blessed by that program and find some encouragement. i will also pray for your visit to go well. you take care and God Bless You. ~janel

becky said...

Came upon your blog and was touched by your writing. I have no words...just prayers. I'll be praying for you!

Midwest Nest said...

Thank you for being so open to your blog friends. This touched me immensely. I too have some issues with my father that I have swept under the rug. I pray that your visit with your father and step-mother will be blessed by God.

Darla said...

Sweet Princess, I am praying so much for you and your healing. I can hear the hurt in your words, and All I can offer you are my prayers, and to tell you I love you, and so does Jesus!