Friday, September 3, 2010

A Home of Peace: Psalms of the Pilgrim

By Karen Rae Elkins

When I'm not studying river maps I will turn to a different kind of map, a treasure map most know as a Bible. It takes me to the places I've been to let me know: I am not alone. The words lead me down the roads I've yet to see. They speak to me of my value on this earth. In the dark hours past midnight, I turned to my Bible for direction. The WHY LORD questions have ceased. They've been replaced with Lord, be the light that directs my steps. When I get to where I'm going, the treasure that I will discover is more precious than gold or silver. It's all about the journey, not the destiny. The Bible opened to this passage: Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war! (Psalms 120:6-7). Some may call the message chance, but I know! that I know, it was one of those divine moments when His words came through. It's a Psalm of special meaning. The enemies of peace will fail. I have the will to defeat conflict.

I desire peace, it's what I've wanted all along. Can I embrace the time of peace with the courage to make difficult decisions? Soon. Sweet peace: to gain enough strength to shape my own destiny, to spend precious moments with my children, to make lasting friendships without fear of their getting caught in the crossfire, to know my co-workers and let them into my life. As it is with most scripture, they were more than words when I decided to look deeper into the entire Psalm. Maybe, just maybe, it is my appointed time to move into a new beginning, a season of dreams, a hope fulfilled, a faithful day when I can say I have won the war against his continued attacks. Yes, I am for peace, but he means war. I can't change him. I never could. He has lost, and I have come to understand, he is just not that important. 

My adversity, the abuse, leaving and continued stalking has been for my life in order that I may share my experiences, my knowledge, my victories. I have given up virtually everything to find my life. You too, my sister in silence, may be faced with the same emotions, experiences and decisions. March on, do what you need to do to be strong in the struggles of domestic violence. Take time for yourself. You are important. Be a survivor from the devil who haunts you. Know that, "The Devil is a liar." He'll tell you that you are less than just to keep his control over you. Most of all, "Be safe".

According to  google, Psalms 120 through the final Psalm 134 are the Psalms of Degrees. Some call it the Psalms of Assents. It is described as the Pilgram Psalm. Anyone who has experienced leaving an abusive situation is a Pilgram of sorts. Each Psalm being a step of divine protection for the oppressed living in bondage, and judgment for those who have enslaved. These psalms are often used during the Feast of Tabernacle, which approaches in September. To the man who hates peace, read the Psalm of what awaits in your future. I don't wish anyone harm. I don't wish him anything. Life is about choices. Me? I'm leaving him behind, like a train wreck in my rear view mirror.

I've been writing blogs for Time's Up for eleven months. As I approach the one year anniversary, my pilgrimage, this is what I've discovered from writing. I'm not ashamed to say I blog against domestic violence. I found dignity in my experiences. It's an opening line, a life line in some ways to the women out there who sit silent in their abuse. Abuse comes in many forms.

I've taught myself to do what I have to do in this life to be happy. Fishing makes me very happy. I've found happiness in helping other women in their pilgrimage to leave abuse. I'm reminded of Kim, a woman who once confessed to me, "I can't leave. I can never take care of myself." It's what he had told her so many times that she believed his lie. She moved away from her abusive husband over a year ago and now owns her own home. Way to go Kim. A home of peace. May he never cross under your front door. She called me the other day frantic because he was going to take the car. I reminded her of how far she has come from the day she told me I can never take care of myself. I told her it was the last hold he had on her and to just go buy a car of her own. She did just that. I am so proud of her!  Pretty Amazing, huh? 

I'm keeping my dreams big and my worries small. I've learned it's my journey not the destiny that adds to my life. I love fishing, all the rest are details. No worries are that big. Life is full of obstacles. It's all about the fish in my boat.  Maggie is a young woman who dreams of fishing. Meeting other women who like to fish tickles me. While in the boat together I learned that in her short time on earth she has only known a life of violence. Her father beat her, her step father beat her, and today, her boyfriend hits her. She said, "Karen, I think I've become comfortable with hitting as a way of life. Am I crazy like they say"?  Pretty sad, huh? No Maggie, you are not crazy, that is just what others want you to think so you will continue to accept their fist. I told her she was strong enough to break the chain of abuse. And then, we just fished. I knew just like the big fish on my line, that I had "got one" in the boat and she is destine to break that chain of violence. How can she lose? She is my fishing daughter.

I'm going to chose a life that mean the most to me, not the life someone else has planned for me. I have to close with the story of powerful Mary, who has helped me. She now lives by the saying, "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6". I had to think about that one. Her story is one of kidnapping and shear horror. Her ex boyfriend held hostage for 2 days. He told her she was going to die. When she escaped, he shot at her as she was running through the neighbors yard. I can't imagine running from bullets. The ex boyfriend never spent one day in jail for his crimes. That's our justice system and that a blog for another day. Because of the experience and the fact that he is out there free to do it again, Mary now carries a gun with her at all times. She encourages other women to own a gun for protection. She instructs them where to go to buy a gun. She points them to the nearest instruction classes and shooting range. Mary always has one strapped to her, one in the car, and one in her Gucci purse. Pretty protected, huh?

I will have peace as I read more deeply into the Psalms of the Pilgrim. I can relate and listen to the women who are leaving what they know for a land of promise. Life is an adventure of the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. Today is a day of powerful opportunity.Peace can be found around every corner. I'm not ashamed, I have the tee shirt and wear it with grace. 

September promises to be a good month for fishing. Until next time, fish steady my friends.

Karen Elkins 
John 3:17 for God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
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