And on the heels of…. “When God Gives Good Gifts”

When God Makes Things Right:  Part 1

God may make some things right during our lifetime, others He may make right later on, but He will make all things right at some point. 

The above photo is of my childhood bedroom. The reason I have any photo at all of it is that my father is interested in photography, and this photo was a light exposure experiment using the mannequin’s head as a prop. But let me tell you about my room, which was nothing more than an area sectioned off with some drapes and strategically placed furniture. I am fully aware that millions of children would be happy to have even this much of a room, but I am not addressing that point here; instead my purpose is to show how God loves His children and for whatever reasons, often “rights wrongs” and blesses them. This post is to illustrate that blessing.

My bedroom had no windows, no air conditioning (neither did the rest of the house, although a window unit sat in a cardboard box for nearly 20 years), nor did I even have an electric fan. During the night in the summer, I would throw water on my face in an attempt to cool down, and go back and lay in bed. This room became so hot, candles would melt. When it rained, the ceiling leaked. We saved large aluminum juice cans to catch the drips. Rags were placed in the cans so the dripping sound would not bother my father and keep him awake.  The water would invariably soak the plywood floor, and it would buckle and warp and produce splinters that my feet would pick up.  Over the years, the ceiling leaked in so many places, I had to move my bed in an attempt to find a dry location in my room. Eventually, there were no dry areas.  in-between the 2X4 studs, you will see water stains and exposed electrical pipes.     My mother drove nails into the 2X4s so I could hang my dolls up for “display”.  She painted pieces of cardboard and nailed them to the wall so I could have a bulletin board…she tried to make my room livable. Eventually, the ceiling leaked over my father’s bed, and he just moved over to a dry area, placing a plastic dish pan on his bed to catch the drips.

In the winter, I wore gloves on my hands as I did my homework. On the wall towards the left, the boards had spaces between them, and if I had left a light on in the room at night, bugs came crawling out of those cracks seeking warmth.

Through out the house, there were electrical extension cords, open electrical boxes and exposed wiring. My father was an electrician, and we were warned never to touch those wires. Drywall was missing in the hallway, light “fixtures” in the ceiling had no covers. The back door was the only working door, the front door was on one hinge, and my mother would have to lift and move the door to open it. The rare visitor was instructed to go to the back door–we shouted to them from the other side of the front window. It would have been difficult to climb the front “steps” anyway–loose concrete blocks piled by the front porch.  Some windows were never opened in the summer, as they lacked screens. Those that did have screens, Mom struggled by herself to remove the heavy storm windows as my father sat in the corner of the couch, reading. In fact, he sat there so long for so many years, the bottom fell out of the couch. If I remember correctly, books were place under where he sat to prop up the bottom.

Mice had the run of the house, and sometimes made it to the closet pantry. Mouse traps were constantly being emptied and re-set, and even at one point, we had rats. I vividly remember my father measuring out rat poison on a small scale, and then later, hearing that my mother and brother had killed a slow-moving rat in the kitchen with a broom. Rats crawled under the house and died–we were greeted with that stench as we opened our back door, and during the winter, we smelled it all winter long.

At one point, we had a snake and a bird in the house– they were not pets. My mother stuffed strips of rags around windows, and placed folded up newspapers where the window shuts in an attempt to keep out winter drafts.  Once, when the hot water pipe leaked under our kitchen sink, my mother asked my father to repair it. He couldn’t get it to stop leaking, and just turned it off. Mom had to get hot water from the bathroom or boiled water in a tea kettle on the stove so she could have hot water to wash dishes. Our basement flooded during hard rains. The rain would come through the coal bin, and into the rest of the basement. Mom and my brothers would scoop the water into a bucket, take it outside to empty, and then place newspapers on the floor to soak up the moisture. A salamander lived in the basement… I think he acquired a name.

This is how we lived, this is what my brothers and I thought was “normal”. I remember not liking it but being powerless and not having the ability to change anything. As I grew and visited friends homes, I could see what actually was “normal”. I so wished I had a pretty bedroom, and I was embarrassed for friends to see my home.

Up Next:  Part 2.  God Makes Things Right.

JOY

 

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9 thoughts on “And on the heels of…. “When God Gives Good Gifts”

  1. How did you ever come out the other side so normal, yes – I know wait for Part 2.
    By the way a few points of interest.
    1: Yours is the only blog I follow, although I regularly look up a few others (esp. Meeting in the Clouds).
    2: Nasty adverts have appeared on my blog (can’t stop ’em) – so sorry about that.

  2. I can relate to your situation in many ways. Although our house was ‘sound’ rather than ramshackle, and even though they HAD money, they were the worst penny-pinchers ever. We lived on ‘throw out’ (read rotten) fruit and veges, (a box full for almost nothing) and bread and dripping. My school books were envelopes and wrapping paper sewn together. My clothes – well, I wouldn’t call them clothes. My biggest problem, though, was mental abuse which was extreme and constant, with smaller amounts of other abuse. Of course, I knew it was all my fault and I didn’t deserve any better.

    I was top of my school academically but wasn’t allowed to continue past a leaving age (then 14) because they “couldn’t afford it” – even though a few months later they went to England (from Australia) for four months, by ship and left me at home on my own.

    I’m looking for your next part and the rejoicing as you found, (as I did when 22 years old) that life was worth living after all.

    • Oh, that part where you didn’t deserve any better… my father is still like that. I’ve noticed that the worse my living circumstances became, and the more “things” I did without, the more he approved of me. To this day, if we live like “normal” people–air condtioning, eating out, having some frivolous possessions, he thinks we are wasteful. My poor mother scraped and did without all her married life because of him (the only way she was able to have anything nice was by going to work and earning the money herself and even then, she had to hide purchases from him.) Praise God she is in heaven enjoying her reward and living like a queen.

  3. This is heartbreaking Joy. Neglect takes many forms, and it sounds like you were dealt an extreme form of it. I anticipate hearing how your story continues. God bless you for sharing with us,
    Ali

  4. Hello Joy.
    I’m at a complete loss for words, but I do now understand about what we talked about. Never fixed a thing……..
    Moving on to your next post.

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