For Everything There is a Season (Day 2 from an untitled collection)
My mother remarried when I was five, my dad was in the Air Force and stationed in Texas, so we moved away from the only family I had ever known. It was also the year my life changed forever due to sexual abuse by an airman that was our babysitter. I only say this because my parents never knew and it created problems they did not understand. God laid out in Ephesians 6:1-4 His plan for the family, “Children, obey your parents in the LORD [as His representative], for this is just and right. Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother---this is the first commandment with a promise---that all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment] but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admiration of the Lord,” My dad’s mother died when he was a young boy and not long after that his dad abandoned him, as a result, he locked his emotions deep inside. Then when he joined the military all he knew was hard discipline, so that’s how he raised us. The one thing he did not tolerate was weakness; after the sexual abuse I became introverted and he saw that as weakness. When he felt I needed to be disciplined it was hard and physical, the madder he got the harder the spanking became, the next morning the bruises were evident. More often than not a negative past determines our future actions that why the Word of God tells us; “. . . Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19).
As I got older I learned not to show emotion, it only seemed to anger him more, and then as he put it, he would give me something to cry about. I don’t know how many times he told me he would teach me to respect him, I never did; all I learned was fear. What I didn’t know was that “[God was a] father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) defending the powerless. From the time my father died, He stepped into our lives and never left us.
It seemed my dad was always angry so when he was around I would hide in the bedroom in the closet or on the other side of the bed in the corner. When things got really bad I would make believe I was someone else, her name was Barbara. Barbara wasn't afraid of anything so I learned to hide behind her when I couldn't get to my room. But even then there were times dad's anger came out unexpected and I couldn't get away and it always ended up with a spanking; at first, it was with his hand but later he used his belt. I was an adult when my mother told me when they were first married I could talk him into anything by wrapping my arms around his leg and just looking up at him and smiling; all I had to say was please and it was done. But because they didn't know what had happened and why suddenly I seemed to be withdrawn that everything changed. She also told me when I was born my father had changed my name from Barbara to Beverly after a friend. Years later when I learned of dad's childhood I wondered he my withdraw had made him feel as rejected as I had all those years.
Proverbs 22:6 gives parents the responsibility to train their children in a Godly home, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it;” this responsibility however fell to our grandmother. Every year we made the long journey home and while we were there we spent most of our time with her and our aunts and uncles on our fathers’ side. To this day I can remember grandma’s felt-board lessons in Sunday school. When she put us to bed I could hear her praying until I would fell to sleep. Everything thing about her was a lesson about the God she loved with all her heart.
My childhood wasn’t all bad there were times I could forget, but they always seemed to involve a horse of one kind or another. There was a friend of the family that had taken a special fondness for me and my love for horses that he gave me first pair of cowboy boots. My feet were so small that they had to be specially made. Oh how I loved those boots, my mother told me I never wanted to take them off, not even for bed. One day we went to have our pictures taken on broncos, I was the happiest child on earth. Then there were the times we visited my grandfather who had a pony and would let me ride it around the barnyard. I would do chores around the house to earn money, and when I had saved enough I would buy a figurine of a horse; I had quite the collection. Many years later I gave that collection to a little girl in my sons' fourth-grade class that had that unmistakable love for horses as well.