I'm Joyce Johannesen Lighari and I'm a Kingdom Blogger. I fill the Tuesday slot. Home has been a lot of places - right now it's just outside Music City, Nashville TN. I started life in Brooklyn NY. I am a wife, mother of 8, grandmother of 12, great grandmother of 2, an ordained minister, Norwegian and proud, and I'm working on my doctoral degree. I've had almost as many different types of careers as places I've lived. I love Jesus and His people.
It’s the night before you fly to Missouri. Your parents have decided to move you out of the city and change their lives forever. You are excited. You think this is a big adventure. Since graduating from Pershing Jr. High, you’ve been cut off from your friends and support systems. Oh there’s church but you are still relatively new. Again, your parents made a decision to leave their Norwegian congregation to hopefully find something better for you – you always think these adventures are great and they usually sour.
This one will sour too. Your move to Missouri will not be as great as you think it will be. You’ll have a lonely sweet 16 birthday at your brother’s house. Your dad won’t be there yet, he is staying behind to wait for the movers and then take a bus to Missouri. Your mom will eventually find a little bungalow tucked in between more wealthy houses. This will accentuate the difference in you and everyone else. Your classmates will be suspicious of the girl from Brooklyn…they will think you were in a gang and carry a switchblade.
In eight months you’ll be married. You’ll think it is validation that you aren’t ugly and undesirable. You’ll struggle with that for the rest of your life, but for a moment or two you’ll feel pretty. And you will be a pretty bride – although you’ll look like a little girl trying to play dress up, because you are. A year from now you’ll be pregnant and will be doing your best to play house for real in a 8x25 trailer. Eventually you’ll move to a bigger one – in less than 16 months you’ll be a mommy. You’ll deal with stares and misplaced guilt because everyone will assume that your story of a premature birth was a cover up – it wasn’t.
Already you’ll be suffering with abuse – you will have been hit, as will your son… and you will be ridiculed and emotionally devastated. You won’t be out of your teens before you have your second child.
You also won’t be out of your teens before your daddy goes home to Jesus. You’ll feel the emptiness when he goes, but because you are so young, you will only realize the deep loss as time goes on. You’ll pray that your father knows you overcame all these things and hope that he’s proud of you.
You’ll have a lot of challenges. You’ll eventually deal with the childhood sexual abuse. You’ll have a lot of kids and a lot of joys and a lot of sorrows. But you’ll survive.
You’ll survive because that Viking blood runs through you – but more than that, you’ll survive because you know Jesus. He’ll be the only constant in your life. You’ll find Him faithful. And you know what? All those Sunday School lessons and experiences as a child have developed in you a strength and perseverance that you’ll need.
Someday, you’ll look back and wonder why you were excited today. Someday you’ll wonder if leaving Brooklyn was the worst thing that ever happened to you – it set in motion a chain reaction of pain. But you’ll also look back and say Thank You Jesus for being faithful to me and giving me the grace to remain faithful to you.