Nominations had been made, the court was selected, and escorts had been asked. The big question was looming, and it was nearing the final vote. Who would win homecoming? Although years have come and gone, and it has become a blip on the screen of life, right then it was as important and talked about as the presidential elections. This was a small town, and not a lot of news came down the pike. The cows and corn stood in the fields, and anything that altered the daily routine in the slightest became news worthy. Homecoming was the big event, and who would be crowned Queen her senior year was the fairy tale we all dreamed and waited to see to whom such an honor would be bestowed. It was the culmination of our high school career, speculated about, and commented on endlessly—we had our own version of CNN way back then and there were voices that were the authority on the pick. It was voted upon by our peers and counted by the student council, but endlessly bantered about with all the details as if it were Entertainment Tonight at the Oscars. There were four finalists. It was American Idol—who would be the winner—who would be left standing in the spotlight? The air was electric with the excitement—today was the big vote.
As you may have guessed this was not just any vote—they were voting on me! Sadly enough, I had all my worth wrapped up in it—no one was there to balance that voice, and I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. I was nervous, excited, and ready for the results. As is the case in most hand counted ballots, those who did the counting were the first to know the results. AND they happened to be friends that knew I would be excited, so they did what a good teenage friend would do. They called me after school to let me know that---I had won! Seriously? I was in shock. Wow! It was hours before the announcement at the football game, and they couldn’t wait to tell me. I think they were as excited as I was. So I got ready and waited for the official announcement, determined to act surprised.
The halftime came, and my football hunk escort escorted me out along with 3 of my friends, the other candidates. The 3rd runner up was announced and applauded, and we all hugged her as she joined the other representatives from the freshmen, sophomore, and junior class. The 2nd runner up went her way as well. Then it was just me and Mary left, and although I already knew, it was still heart pounding as the stadium shook with whistles and cheering. The voice continued, “The 1972 Delavan Darien High School Homecoming queen is… “Mary______”! True to plan, I acted surprised—but it was no act. We hugged, and the crowd stormed the field, and tears were on everyone’s faces, but my tears were of a different nature. I managed to keep my smile and soon my friends that “knew” approached and hugged. They were stunned and so apologetic that they had given me the information ahead of time, and they were mad; they knew she had not won. They had counted the votes themselves. They saw and knew the injustice. Mary had not gotten the most votes, but welcome to the real world. They went to the supervisor of the student council to get answers. Although we did not believe in child sacrifices in my town, and no one had ever literally slain a child on an altar, I believe they did slay me in a figurative way that day. I felt that I was sacrificed on the altar of injustice. What they were saying in doing this switch was that money had more power than the vote, that social status was exalted, and that factory workers of my father’s position were not honorable enough; and coming from the wrong side of town had its penalties. The altars of worshiping the dollar, the social strata of valuing some over others, and rigging elections took precedent over the one man-one vote, in which our country firmly believes. It was wrong plain and simple.
It finally came out that Mary’s father was a prominent businessman that was well known for his generous gifts to our community. As the years have passed, I understand what really happened and even agree with their choice. Mary modeled a much better overall package than I did. She was an ideal girl and held up the image well to the community of brains, beauty, and money - the things for which we bow down as a country on the whole. I, on the other hand, was from a home that was quite the opposite.
I understand it now, but at the time, Satan used it to wrap me in chains. I became in bondage to lies. They became my truth—not real truth, just my perceived truth. They have entangled, chaffed, and clanged in my ears for years. That is until just recently. True truth has been unlocking one bloodied chain after the next. I had fought them, pulled on them and yanked at them, but I think I finally gave up. For they seemed to almost become as accepted as a necklace of ornamentation of my identity. Their clanging and rattling noises became the comfort sounds to which I walked and slept. These lies told me who I was and what I was worth. Thankfully, God was not satisfied with letting me remain enslaved to my lies, and He has set me free. I have known verses and tried to use them to file away at the chains, but they were as iron. Many friends through the years would appear to tell me I was bound, but they proved to be quieter voices than the sounds wrapped around me. Then God used a friend to speak truth, and as iron sharpens iron, it became a key to opening me to run unfettered and unshackled and free. It was my appointed to time to hear truth to be set free.
I knew there were lies around me; I just didn’t know how to get set free. As freedom came, the lies are now more easily recognized, and I can reject them and cling to truth, and allow my heart and mind to be filled with truth. As I do this, it changes what I believe and what I hear and how I react. It is a wonderful place.
My dear poor husband has watched and listened to my lies and has been trying to point them out and has loved me well through them, but for whatever reason, I could not believe him. All of his, “You are beautiful” were only because he loved me and not real in my ears and head. I feel so bad for him and so thankful at the same time. He has been so patient and truly loving. These chains, no doubt, caused many a bruise to him. O dear, my children as well have no doubt been hit (not literally) with a flying chain on occasion! It is no wonder that the sins of the mothers are passed down to their children. They had to put on chains to defend themselves from my chains and on and on the story would go it there were not a way to stop these generational sins!
God arranges things to show us His love and demonstrates His wisdom in circumstances. Last night, I had dinner with a friend in Virginia at their home with her kids and husband; it was a lovely meal, but beyond the meal I observed her wise mothering style and well-behaved, kind children. I was blessed by dinner discussions and the evening routine of homework, playing outside, emptying the dishwasher, and taking out the trash done by her kids without an attitude or cross words. I spoke with her this morning as she told of how her mom taught her and guided her through being a young mom. I was staying with her mother and father in their home, and I could see the blessing of being raised in this home. I realized that that is what He desired for me too. That is how He meant for homes to look like; what children should know, and the identity that they need to have. It affects how we think of ourselves and how we behave; it is what we believe.
As I write this, I am well aware of how many of you are mothers and have children growing up in your homes. Do you believe lies? Are you dealing with chains from incidents in your past that form chains around you? Are your children hearing the same lies? Wouldn’t it be great to be free; to hear truth and operate out of truth instead of lies; to be able to let them hear and experience a healthy happy home? Some of you are doing just that; I am so proud for you. But some have chains that you carry and lug around weighing you down, struggling to be set free. Have hope! Freedom is possible.
Isaiah is filled with wonderful phrases and verses: “I have chosen you” “thus says the Lord, your Creator, …and He who formed you, do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.” “…I love you” “I am with you” “I am the One who wipes away your transgression” “my servant whom I have chosen” “you will not be forgotten by Me” “I will go before you…” He wants you to operate in truth and so do I; it is for truth that you have been set free. And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. YOU ARE CHOSEN BY GOD. The vote may have been rigged against you too. Satan means for you to stay bound by feelings of rejection, inferiority, and abandonment, but that is not what God has for you. Saturate yourself in the Word, call and let us pray with you. Let’s see what God wants to do to set you free. Come run with me in the wide-open spaces of freedom God longs for you to hear truth, fill your mind with His Word, and feel the presence of God with you. Chosen by God - aaahhhhhhh.