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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Bridge Builder

I came across this poem last night while I was reading in one of Austin's homeschool books & it melted my heart. It ties right in with everything that we are trying to get accomplished, hoping that other people & espcecially our kids can learn from previous mistakes! Hope you enjoy.

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim-
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head.
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

-WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All in God's Plan

Shortly afterward, we stumbled (with God's direction) into our new church. We have become very active in it & feel completely accepted & at home. I know that everything happens for a reason & everything happens in God's time. I can say this with even more assurance now than ever.


My family is growing closer to God. No, we aren't saints & never will be, but we are striving to be more than we ever have been before. Not only have I seen the desire grow in Justin & myself, but I have seen a greater desire in Austin's life as well. He teaches me so much more than he will ever realize.


We have stepped out on faith & are joining the ranks of other crazy homeschoolers this year. I say that with the utmost respect & love for anyone with enough courage to attempt this. This has not been an easy task by no means, even this early in the year, but I have already seen positive rewards from our willingness to be obedient to God's calling. (Makenzie can look at a map of Europe, tell you where Italy is, & even a little bit about Roman culture. How many other 4 year olds can do this!)


I now understand why God allowed all of this strife into our lives. We had talked about homeschooling before, but it just wasn't possible. God knew that I also would never willingly leave that job, so He didn't give me the choice. I am thankful that God's plan is so much bigger than ours!

My Deepest Valley

The only reason I am choosing to share this next part is in hopes that it can help someone else from going through the same pain that I encountered. Please do not sit in judgement on me, because I am only human & God is my only judge.


I had it all - a loving husband, 2 beautiful children, a job that I truly loved, & a church where we felt comfortable (comfortable is not a place to remain if you ever want to grow in Christ). But I was unhappy, underneath it all, I wondered if there was something else. I don't want to give the Devil anymore credit than he deserves, but he knows what our weaknesses are. Mine - this time was attention.


I have always been outgoing, easy to talk to, & somewhat of a flirt. I never really mean anything by that, it just comes natural to me. This time, it took me down a long & dangerous road. That's the thing about sin. It looks good while you are in it, but it will take you so much farther than you ever wanted to go a lot faster than you even realize.


I started flirting with someone, or I should say, he started flirting with me & I didn't stop it. Whoever started this was not important. We were (& thankfully still are) married & knew better. I was bored. I was unhappy. My husband wasn't giving me the attention I thought I needed. I was tired of just being Justin's wife & just being Austin & Makenzie's mom. I needed to still be Tracie & I had a hard time figuring out who she still was. So I ran to the garden of Eden & dealt with my own tree of forbidden fruit.


Without rehashing details, I messed up. No, I never had an affair with this man, but if I would have stayed on that same road, it more than likely would have ended there. I lost the job that I loved, I put my marriage on the line, I put his marriage on the line, & we were forced to find a new church.


It took me a really long time to forgive myself. I have been a lot of things in my life, but I have never been a "homewrecker" & I have never had any respect for anyone who was. Lesson learned here - don't judge anyone, because you don't have a clue what you would do in the same situation.

My Very Own Cowboy

I had joked for several years that I would marry someone whose last name started with a "B" because I was tired of being at the end of the line. I had also recently become tired of the "player" persona & I said that my next boyfriend would be a cowboy. Boy, was God really paying attention, or maybe God had brought me to this point so I could pay attention to Him.

I met Justin cruising one night & he was nothing like what I was used to. He lived on a farm, for goodness sake & here I had huge plans of running off to New York just to get away from the small town life. He wasn't interested in impressing people, he wasn't exactly part of the "popular crowd" in school, and most importantly, he wasn't into playing games with people's heads. I knew immediately there was something about him that had caught my attention. I never believed in "love at first sight" until I found him.

Long story short... we were engaged only 6 months after we first met & were married within the next year. We have been married over 10 years now & have 2 of the most beautiful children in the world. I gave up the thought of big city living & actually enjoy my own little farm now. I'm thankful for God's plan instead of my own.

The Devil in Disguise

Caution - you may want to skip this section if your opinion of me might be altered from my stupid decisions. This is my past, but thankfully, its not my future!


My Senior year was supposed to be the highlight of high school. I was now the "top dog", you know, we ruled the school. But....just like so many other times in my life, I was deceived. I met a guy that would change my life forever. For a long time I wasn't sure if that change was for the better or for the worse. Now I can say it was a combination of both. On the one hand, I experienced things I wished that had never happened, but on the other, those experiences have made me who I am today.

Our relationship started out just like any other. We were infatuated with each other & always wanted to be together, so when the small subtle changes started, I didn't recognize them. I was spending more & more time with him, and less & less time with my friends. I started dressing different because he didn't approve of some things I wore. I even bought a one piece bathing suit just to wear for Senior Day at the Lake & I never wore anything other than a bikini (at least back then). When he proposed to me, I actually accepted. There I was, looking through those rose colored lenses again. He even changed colleges just so we could be together more - just so he could control my life was closer to the truth. Of course everyone else started seeing the changes before I did, I thought they were just jealous & didn't want me to be happy...oh, if only I would have listened. Hindsight is 20-20 though right.

He had a temper on him and I have never seen anyone so jealous but somehow I was able to overlook that most of the time. Then, the violence started toward me. Yelling, threats, guilt, apologies. It really is a vicious cycle that's hard to stop from turning. He only hit me a few times, but that was too many. No one deserves to be treated badly in any relationship.

The worst part for me wasn't what he was capable of doing to me physically. Don't get me wrong, there were several times that I was scared for my safety. I even went to the extremes of hiding my car off campus & having friends walk with me everywhere I went. The emotional bruises stay with someone long after the physical scars have healed up. Once again, I didn't feel "good enough". I wasn't pretty enough, I wasn't skinny enough, I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't cool enough.

Oh....& did I mention that he was a drug dealer? Oh yeah, here is Lil Ms Good Girl on the honor roll who developed a taste for illegal drugs before she had ever even smoked a cigarette. For that matter, before I was even old enough to buy a cigarette. I never knew from one day to the next if the joint I was smoking was simply pot or if it had been laced with cocaine....again.

Somewhere in the middle of the three years I spent with him, one of my best friends got killed. The guilt weighed heavy on me for a long time that we were supposed to go see her that night, but I was out on a beer run. That Spring Break party was more important at the time & I could go see her the next day after everyone sobered up. Well, I did go see her the next day, but she was hooked up to life support until the rest of the family could get there. I had taken a huge detour from the path I had wanted my life on & I wasn't sure how to get it back on track. I didn't have a clue what I wanted out of the future anymore.

I finally took a stand - for myself & for women everywhere. I told him that if he wanted to waste his life, that was fine but I wasn't going down the tubes with him. I had no desire to spend the rest of my life in jail or end up dead because of his choices. I can still remember the look on his face as I spun gravel all over him as I was leaving his apartment.

The next few days, weeks, months of course were not easy, but God saw fit to keep His hand around me through all of my stupidity & He even brought my future husband into my life not long after that.

Not Your Typical Rebellious Teenager

I've been a Daddy's girl for as long as I can remember. There's a lot more behind that other than the usual daddy - daughter relationship. Early on in my teenage years, my mother started having muscle spasms & really bad cramps. Her health became so bad that she had to quit the job which she loved. She had worked in a school cafeteria every since I started public school. She loved the kids & they loved her just as much. I was so happy to have her as my mom. The doctors had a very hard time trying to figure out what was going on with her. Some even tried to convince her that it was all in her head & she was crazy. They tried all differents types of tests, procedures, and medicines. She was seeing several different doctors & specialists both locally & out of town. Finally after several years of this running around, she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - a disease that is still not understood 15+ years later.

Several of the medicines that my mom tried were experimental & had all kinds of side effects. She was extremely depressed & became angry very easy. Guess who she took it out on? Yep, I was the easiest target. I was everything that she had never been - a good student, played sports, popular, & we had enough money to not be poor. I had my whole future ahead of me, whereas she had dropped out of high school & gotten pregnant at 18. The baby didn't make it.

Between my sophomore and senior years, my mom tried to commit suicide on 3 different occassions. Somehow, it was always my fault. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I always made the A-B Honor Roll, she wanted all As. I played volleyball & softball. She hardly ever attended a game, but made sure to tell me how good she had been at volleyball. I wasn't fat, but I was a little heavier than my friends & always had to hear about how skinny she was before she had me. I went out for the Homecoming Court (not nessessarily because I believed I would make it, but because it was fun) & she would tell me not to be dissappointed when I didn't make it. And whatever guy I was interested in was never good enough.

I can easily say that during this time, I was the most miserable I have ever been in my entire life. I was no longer proud of my mom just for being her. I hid so much of the pain & rejection from everyone. On the outside, I was still the very dependable, very outgoing happy person everyone had always known, but on the inside I was desperately looking for acceptance & love.

I started seeking out the guys that I knew she would not approve of. I was looking for the 3Ps - preppy, pretty boy, player. The first two could be comprimised, but if he wasn't a player, I wasn't interested. I guess it was the way that he made me feel & the way that all the other girls wanted to be with him.

The Begining is a Good Place to Start

My deepest desire is that by reading my personal life story, someone may be touched by it & come to know Jesus as their saviour. None of us are perfect& it is very painful for me to relive a lot of these memories. There are some aspects from my past, that no one (except God) knows about.


My name is Tracie Devin Williams Bauguess. Yes, my middle name really is Devin. You have to remember that when I was born, Devin did not have the same popularity that it has now. My mom got it off of some soap opera before I was born. I HATED it when I was younger because the neighborhood kids used to tease me and call me Devil. It has grown on me over the years & I actually like it more than Tracie now.


I am an only child, so yes, I was slightly spoiled & there wasn't a lot of material things that I asked for that I was refused. I grew up in Millers Creek, NC & had a relatively uneventful & normal life until my teenage years.


I wasn't raised in church like so many other kids from this area were. I had an Aunt who would offer to take me to church occasionally & I enjoyed it when I went, but my parents did not feel the need to attend church on a regular basis. Then, when I was 8 years old, I went to a Bailey Smith Crusade at Wilkes Central High School with a friend & her family. I made my first profession of faith there. I can still see the shirt I was wearing. I convinced my mom to go later on in the week. She also made a profession that night. That's the only time I can remember her going to an altar for her needs. That's the only hope I have that she really is saved like she claims.


We started attending church on a regular basis & I was very active in all the youth programs, but I still didn't feel at peace. I made several more professions & can remember them all. Then we started going to Calvary Baptist Church. This was, & still is, a very spiritual church. Every time I go back to visit, it feels just like I am going home. The day before my 14th birthday in a typical Sunday morning service, I hit the altar one more time somewhere around 1pm. (I say typical because we never got out of church before 12:30 & most of the time, it was later than that.) I finally accepted Jesus into my heart. That's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me & I beg you, if you do not know my Saviour, please allow Him to change your life.