"F·L·R Day!!"    [ 10 ]   
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Nov 2015
  F   R   E   E   D   O   M  
  L   I   B   E   R A T   I   O   N  
  R   E   D   E   M   P   T   I   O   N  

 

•            THESE ARE HARD-WON WORDS            •

 

╠═      ·       anyone who has experienced a true "dark night of the soul" understands this       ·      ═╣

 

My own dark night of the soul went on for years (well over a decade, if you want to get technical) brought on by the deepest of betrayals. Some people lose their fortunes, or their health ...or sadly, a child, perhaps. Others can be crippled by a life ravaged by drugs or alcohol, or the horrors of physical abuse. I thank God that we did not suffer those things as a family. However, what did happen has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in legal defense, untold mental and emotional anguish (not inflicted just on me, but also upon my children), public slander, and immeasurable heartache leveled against my remaining family and I. This abuse has gone on for over eleven years now. Volumes of materials exist detailing the repeated (and some truly heinous) assaults against our home as orchestrated by those who were once most loved and trusted, but the purpose of this post is not to dredge through all of that in detail. Rather, I will ` * CELEBRATE * ´ the real deliverance God has provided for us this day!

 

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done!

Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced...

—  Psalm 105:1-5  

 3 girls

My precious daughters (11, 8, and 4) could not understand what was happening at the time, back in 2004. They were even turned against me for about a year by once-trusted adults in their lives. Meanwhile I braced for impact, choosing to accept the responsibility of facing the oncoming destruction sent my/our way, punished for crimes committed by others, as it were. I had * no * idea this kind of behavior would go on for years, but shouldered the burdens and carried on to provide at least one stable home for my children, defending them legally and morally against certain depraved influences as the years rolled by . . .

Well... Not only has God PROFOUNDLY blessed my resolve (a credit to Him, not me) and our home in general, but He also set me up in a fabulous job that has afforded ALL the flexibility required by a single father raising three children under hostile legal conditions. Our home, my work, and their schools fall squarely within a three-mile radius — that kind of thing doesn't 'just happen', and it certainly isn't due to any brilliance on my part. God has blessed us through our trials, and He continues to provide for us and guide us to this day —

Seven years ago, both Danielle and Jessica made the unsolicited choice to come live full-time with me (unprompted by me or anyone else I am aware of, outside of a number of heartbreaking encounters with those 'certain adults'). Naturally, this spawned more years of legal infractions. Ann also wanted to join us then, but she was still so young, I dragged it out for a couple more years simply to validate the nature of her convictions through various professional counselors. My youngest finally came to live with us full-time in the summer of 2010. Since then, my two eldest daughters have grown up to find great success and peace out in the wide world.  :-)  Ann remains at home still in high school, and despite the ever-present threat of more viperous actions aimed against our household, we have continued to thrive for all these years.

╠═      ·       I express all of this to underscore why this moment is so FANTASTIC for us        ·      ═╣

 out of the blue

Out of the blue — a full 2½ years before Ann's automatic legal emancipation (that is, graduation from high school, here in AZ) — we have suddenly acquired FULL CUSTODY of Ann solely in my name, along with a new flexibility to relocate out of Phoenix if we so choose (with its sun-seared desert-city heat and ill-fitting memories). Ann has longed for this for years! AND it was achieved amicably/peacefully, which has always been so important to me - no coercion or undue stress... This is nothing short of a -` MIRACLE ´- given the contentious nature of the other parties involved. So it was ~ so unexpectedly, so wonderfully, almost magically ~ that our long-awaited FREEDOM arrived in the judge's hands on October 23rd, reviewed and signed on October 28th, and was officially filed in the Maricopa County Court on this New Family Celebration date:

 
 November (N)  November (O)  November (V)  November (E)  November (M)  November (B)  November (E)  November (R)    November (4)  November (comma)    November (2)  November (0)  November (1)  November (5)


 FREEDOM from the tyranny of what has become known as the 'jordanelli way' - that is, a lifestyle comfortable with routine deception. (This is no real surname, but an appropriate moniker for their entire coterie)
 LIBERATION to relocate! I could have left years ago if I wanted to, even when all of this first went down. I chose to remain in Phoenix instead, to afford my children every opportunity for resolving their own relational convictions over time. This has proven to be quite a challenge for me, and painfully enlightening for them - but I am pleased for us all, now at the end of all these matters, that I made that decision.
 REDEMPTION / Recovery / Restoration / Reinstatement / Reestablishment / Compensation / Deliverance / Reprieve / Regeneration / Rebirth !


 

In the 1998 film version of "Les Misérables" (starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush) there comes a time at the end when {─SPOILER ALERT─} after pursuing Jean Valjean for nearly 20 years, Inspector Javert unshackles his quarry, binds his own hands, and throws himself into the Seine river. At long last, Jean Valjean is Truly Free from this man and his unbearable pursuit..! He slowly begins to stride along the river as the reality of his new condition slowly dawns on him. Stunned incredulity washes over his face, then he glances up toward the sky as if to thank God for, at long last, answering his prayers. He can't help but quicken his step while exuberance breaks out over a tearful expression of gratitude, hope, and the realization of new, unhindered opportunities ~ Life can begin anew . . .

Jean Valjean unshackled and set free from his tormentor, Inspector Javert

 I know what this feels like!

 
Some might view this occasion as a rather dismal thing to celebrate. But this 'alternate Star Trek reality' is something I never dreamed could happen in my marriage, in our family, in our lives. And now, at long last, the hollow crater has slowly grown over with a lush Miyazaki-like forest, so welcoming and inviting, flush with fresh opportunities..! But the cost to get here was so very high. By way of example —( there is much more I could share, but this makes the point )— I took a recent photo of just some of the legal paperwork and support documents accumulated against the hostilities set against me and our little family over the years (see boxes below). A good three or four times more than that exists. And for those who recognize what is represented in the list down the left margin, you can appreciate the many instances of contention I have had to manage through sleepless nights, lack of funds, and raising a family on my own ~ all the time and the untold costs involved (financial and otherwise) due simply to the intentional harmful choices of others. I have been told that they have continued to come at me so viciously and for so long in a desperate bid to assuage their own guilty consciences for fracturing both of their families. I don't know... but none of their efforts seem to have produced their intended goals. Perhaps that explains why this special November 4th has finally come to pass! I share this only to reflect exactly how / why / what we are celebrating now, that from which we have been set FREE . . .
 
   family court history
 court documents
 

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten —

       the great locust and the young locust,

       the other locusts and the locust swarm

       my great army that I sent among you.

 

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,

       and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,

       who has worked wonders for you;

       never again will my people be shamed.

 

Then you will know that I am in Israel,

       that I am the Lord your God,

       and that there is no other;

       never again will my people be shamed.”

   
  —  Joel 2:25-27      
   
 locust

 

There are times in our lives (if we are blessed) when everyone can recall seasons of good fortune, luxurious moments of such goodness, such exultant vibrancy, when hopeful LIFE flows through the veins to make every taste of food all the more savory, every song on the air more exhilarating [except for Country ~ just keepin' it real], every sensation all the more wonderful, every color more vibrant! The very air about you seems florid and electric ~ nothing seems impossible! Since November 4th that is how it feels for us now... HOW could we not but celebrate?! The Bible describes how ALL Good Things come from the Lord (James 1:17), and this is so very very good! Jean Valjean as portrayed in the movie is blessed by God in industry, managing struggles, yes ~ but also experiencing God's guidance and protection over his trim, single-parent family. Just so, have I lived this.. yet I emphasize that I have not earned this or deserve it. God has simply blessed us, and for the sake of myself and my children, I am profoundly grateful .. .

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    You preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me!

The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever —
    do not abandon the works of your hands.

—  Psalm 138:6-8  

 Lessons Learned

LESSONS LEARNED  ──

I aspire to gain wisdom in all circumstances, so you can imagine the kind of education this decade has provided. Some of these lessons apply to myself: mistakes I have made, and truths proven by placing my trust in God. Other lessons, however, reflect hard-won knowledge gained about certain kinds of people out in the world. These things I have learned:

•  A deeply practical knowledge of how to work with (and what to expect from) different lawyers, judges, courts, and the judicial court system in general [joy]

•  That I was not wrong to love someone dearly, deeply, and extend my trust, in whole, to others (I just need to be more careful and selective)

•  Having said that, I now understand that just because you love someone does NOT mean it's a good idea to propose marriage!

•  Your value does not decrease based on someone else's inability to see your worth

•  There are some people who truly believe that ANGER + VOLUME = RIGHT  //  avoid such people at all costs

•  God is faithful! I have learned this in very practical ways as He has guided me, provided for us, sheltered us, and even redirected the hearts of those pitched as enemies against our family

•  Faith put into action is this: TRUSTING in the goodness, loving care, providence, guidance, AND timing of God. TRUST is Faith in action!

•  Some people choose evil; they just do. You can't stop them. And you can't help them. All you can do is pray for them.

•  Si vis pacem, para bellum ~ [Latin] translated: "If you want peace, prepare for war." In a famous 1960 speech, then-Senator John F. Kennedy said: "'Pursue peace,' the Bible tells us, and we shall pursue it with every effort and every energy that we possess. But it is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war." ~ I really understand what this means now.

•  What doesn't kill you . . just didn't kill you

This cuts contrary to the popular maxim "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." I saw a coyote limping off a desert highway one night after getting clipped by a car. I do not believe it got stronger as a result of its encounter with a speeding car. IF it survived, it will likely suffer a gimp for the rest of its desert-scavenging life, out-paced by its buddies chasing down prey or running from danger. What did not kill it just didn't kill it, and for the rest of its life it will endure the consequences of that one unfortunate encounter...

Everyone lives with scars of some kind, physical, emotional, mental, even spiritual... Of course I 'get' the illustration, how the "stronger" inference pertains to wisdom gained. But that sometimes seems like a hollow victory after getting charged over by a train.

Ah! One last maxim comes to mind, one that our family has adopted in the last few years. In the immortal words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart (as played by Jason Nesmith [as played by Tim Allen]) in "Galaxy Quest":

       
 
 "Never give up - never surrender!"
 GALAXY QUEST splash

 The view from here . . .
 

Played for laughs in the movie, this declaration of bravado has nonetheless become a mantra of sorts as we have faced off against mind-bending conflicts and unfathomable alien thought patterns through these years! Oh, and this also reminds me of one more altruism:

 

Time And Truth Walk Together!

I won't go into details, but * MAN * has this one proven true!!

 


We couldn't do a whole lot in the way or Real Celebrating on Wednesday the 4th when we first received notification, so I ended up just taking the girls out for dinner at our favorite Chinese food restaurant, then to DQ for dessert! But curiously, our fortune cookies seemed to confirm this banner achievement - Ann drew the one on the left / and I pulled the one at right:

  Only if you dive for pearls shall you find one.  
  Only one who attempts the absurd
  can achieve the impossible.  

More seriously, Psalms and Proverbs have really come alive in my life like never before over this past decade, along with other plenty of other passages, even entire books from God's Word! I saw what they describe happen, we witnessed it as others wandered away from God, or experienced it for ourselves as we placed our hope and trust in Him. I could list tons of Biblical references down this page, but it would paint pictures too specific that, frankly, I would rather not recount. So instead, I will cast a virtual high-five to dear friends who really went above and beyond in our lives during this past decade . . .



Shout Out! —   for their invaluable friendship, support, love &/or encouragement:
 Shout Out!
Mom & Dad Lisa S Ray D
Ant & Alex Tara L Don M
Jim & Teri Tara M Rich W
Dan & Lori Carol S Scott F
Eric & Lisa April G Mark E
Bern & Tina Kathy L Jerry P
Stâve & fam Myrna B Wade H
Ken & JoAnn Cinthia H Daren D
Darrel & Beth MaryAlyce S Howard D
Steve & Betsie Tracy (sister) Mr. Witting
Loyal & Shireen Heather (Canada) Mr. Blackburn


 
( photo snapped by suspected next son-in-law, Philip )
╠═       THIS IS MY (GROWING) FAMILY: Ann / Dad[me]Grandpa / Danielle holding little Sopheria / Ben / Jessica       ═╣
 Family portrait

So what now?

 Dad `n` Ann

Ann and I can take on the world!!

We can move whenever we like, wherever we like, as God affords opportunities! (see James 4:13-15 / Proverbs 16:9 & 19:21) The way things are shaping up, we could end up in Europe someday, or Tokyo. France. Or Sweden. Maybe Australia. ~ Seriously ~ Or I may just go to work for NASA next! (Stranger things have happened for us!)

Eleven years ago, we experienced one of the * worst * Thanksgiving of our lives.

THIS year brings us one of the BEST EVER!

A close family friend suggested that, now that it's all over, we should take all the many boxes of legal documents and just have a great big bonfire, complete with popcorn and s'mores!  Heh.. I would take it one step further and sizzle up some nice juicy steaks over those flames!

 

All I know now is that
 WE ARE FREE ! ! !

 

 Tombo Unchained
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