On a hot, sticky Friday afternoon in the receding summer of 1969, the jet black four-door 1964 Ford Fairlane cruised up the two-lane freeway with the songs of the Beatles and the Monkees blaring on the radio. In the passenger seat lay the road map marked with directions. This was my very first car and my first summer following high school graduation from Pleasant Hill High School. Through the overt blessing of God, I was awarded grants and scholarships for a full four-year ride at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon in the approaching fall. As one who has always enjoyed learning, the academic side of college was easy, as was playing on the girl's university basketball team. A little over three years earlier I met my first love, Jim, at Cannon Beach, Oregon where many young romances blossom. Newly engaged, life seemed nearly perfect even though the political issues of Vietnam hovered over America like a dark, brooding storm cloud.
Following graduation, I stretched my freedom and rented a small room above a garage in Springfield, Oregon while working at the Dairy Queen making $1.75 per hour, which was minimum wage at the time. Like most teenagers, I had countless questions about the universe, the creator, the Bible, and my conservative Christian faith. My grandmother, Nonnie, and my parent’s friends encouraged me to talk with a Christian Pastor/Counselor and Educator to help resolve some of my questions. I met him earlier during the year as he had attended Sunday evening gatherings at my parent's home. He was about the age of my parents and I viewed him as a pastor, teacher, possible mentor, nothing more, nothing less.
Arriving at his home in the early evening, I pulled the Black Bomb into the gravel driveway of the cozy blue country cottage near Centralia Community College where he taught. Gratefully, we went to eat at an air-conditioned local pizza joint, looking for some relief from the muggy summer air where I began with 101 questions about the Christian Faith. Intermingled in the conversation, was the joy about the new love of his life. Details rarely escape me as earlier I had noticed the two plates, two wine glasses and two sets of silverware in the plastic dish drainer on the kitchen counter.
After returning to the simply shingled country blue cottage, he pulled out his 12-string guitar and strummed some tunes. He was practicing a new song for his girlfriend, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack. I reminisced about the first time I met Jim when we were at Grace Haven Lodge on the panoramic Oregon Coast. Even though I love the sound of guitar music, as my grandfather was a brilliant gifted guitarist, the pain in my head would not cease hammering.
Blaming the raging migraine headache on the relentless summer heat, I retired early to the simple guest room. A twin bed, nightstand with lamp and chair filled the small room drenched in summer humidity. Awakened abruptly, much later in the dark of the night, by his words, "Jennie, don't be afraid, I want to talk to you"...but his 250 pound frame, which was double mine, wanted and took much more than I could even begin to understand or imagine. The shock physically paralyzed me as though I was hit with a stun gun. Slightly before daybreak, I dressed quietly, planning to leave at daylight when I would be able to read the map once again, that would direct me home. Clutching the borrowed Samsonite overnight case in my hand, I tiptoed into the living room. There he stood blocking the front door.
He took the time to explain that Jesus had asked him to deposit God's seed of love into me so that I could know the fullness of life in God. None of that made any sense to me at all. Finally, after promising that I would tell no one, he allowed my departure. So, very traumatized, frightened, disoriented and confused, I left as soon as possible with my emotions, innocence, thoughts and beliefs shredded into tiny, little pieces like confetti, blowing in the wind.
I struggled through the first year of college unable to concentrate on my studies, unable to focus on my future, unable to make any long term plans. In January 1970, Jim, my ever so handsome fiancé brought a dozen long-stemmed red roses to celebrate my 19th birthday. I knew I would never be able to marry him, as he was a student at Puget Sound College of the Bible studying to be a pastor. Although I knew that he would understand…I just couldn’t get the word rape across my lips to tell him what happened. After he went back to school, I wrote him a letter fabricating a story that I had met someone else on a camping trip and was breaking our engagement…I was so terribly sorry.
Later that summer I contacted Pacific University informing them that I was giving up my four-year grants and scholarships...No, I really can't explain why. At this time in history, America's legal system held no consequence for this type of violence. The abused were threatened to remain silent. The consequence of speaking the truth resulted in much greater abuse...often death. As the Sounds of Silence season lifted from America…fifteen years slipped by before I could actually say the word rape out loud; and perhaps the freedom came because the one who came against me died after suffering for twelve years with bone marrow cancer. It is not that I wished him dead, I only hoped he would stop hurting teenage girls as I knew I was not the first one, yet prayed I was the last.
Almost thirty years later, in the summer of 1999, I met an evangelist at a tent revival meeting in Sherwood, Oregon as only the LORD could order the timing. Apparently Robin Hood is still in Sherwood reclaiming the King's wealth for the spiritually poor. The Holy Spirit gave me a vision of a Lion of Judah Glory Ring for this Messianic Jew Evangelist, which I began at that time. It was a new pattern from the LORD, which meant bringing what I saw in the Spirit to the earth's realm with only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. After I began working on the Prophetic Worship Glory Ring, I learned that the evangelist and his wife lived in Centralia, Washington. It was more than evident that GOD had a very specific purpose. I believe that the LORD wanted me to give an expression of HIS Glory into the city (the territory) where I was violated, to learn to fully possess that JESUS habit of blessing those that persecute me.
Over a five-year period, I worked on the Lion of Judah Prophetic Worship Glory Ring sporadically which was a continuous struggle with design, ribbons and tinsel. In 2003, I enthusiastically e-mailed the evangelist letting him know that as soon as I finish the face, the Glory Ring would be mailed. For everything I tried, I could not finish the face. Nothing worked - not tinsel, not sequins, not fabric paint, not embroidery...absolutely nothing. In 2004, during prayer, I mentioned the LION of JUDAH Glory Ring, asking the Holy Spirit to please help me finish it. HIS profound answer was simply, “Ask for help.”
One evening when my friend, Pam, and I were visiting, I showed her the Glory Ring and asked her to paint the face, just as the Holy Spirit suggested. She did as only a true friend would do, knowing it is nearly impossible to paint on fake fur. When she brought it to our worship gathering to give to me, after taking one look, I quickly stuffed the finished Prophetic Worship Lion of Judah Glory Ring and all my feelings back in the bag for safekeeping. Later, on the way home, the Holy Spirit spoke into my spirit, “Now you have your face.” Perhaps one of the strangest phenomena's that happens when you are so brutally violated is that somehow you become so lost, or so broken, or so fragmented that it seems as though you spend the rest of your life trying to find out who you really are or at least where you belong.
The pivotal turn for me in healing was in July 1995 when Carl, a true Christian brother and friend, one the LORD GOD had sent to mentor me, quoted Romans 11:29, “for the gifts and calling of GOD are irrevocable.” Then he took the time to pray with me for the restoration and freedom that I so desperately needed. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that for twenty-five years I had believed a very effective lie of satan ... that because I had been raped I couldn't be married to anyone in ministry, let alone be in ministry. It is amazing and tragic that one believed lie, a simple collection of a handful of words, a few letters arranged in a specific order, had the power to devastate a life. God never changed HIS mind about who HE created me to be...not for a moment. When I graduated from Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon in 1994 (without the full four-year scholarships and grants), our Class Scripture was: "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
The LORD's timing was the key that released me into this ministry. Each time I have made a Prophetic Worship Glory Ring, HIS hands come over mine and HIS vision, design, purpose and message are imprinted into my spirit. HIS radiant, glorious presence continues to transform my life. Learning through the process of ministry over the last ten years, HE has taught me that our identity is not in what we do: career, hobbies, sports, exercise, community activities or what we wear: clothing, shoes, labels, jewelry, make-up, hair color or in our relationships: mom, sister, aunt, pastor, friend, grandma, teacher, mentor, mother-in-law, great-aunt or in modes of transportation: plane, leer jet, car, SUV, Hummer, Corvette, truck, bus, train, tricycle, bicycle or in the places we go: restaurants, church, retail stores, coffee shops, hotels or where we live: homeless shelter, garage, apartment, duplex, house, camp trailer, mansion or our education: high school, college, graduate work or our history: abuse, divorce, drugs, alcohol, imprisonment, unemployment, abandonment, failure, injuries. Our identity is in Jesus Christ, also known as Yeshua, Our Messiah. It is about HIM, not us. Our face reflects HIS face!
Perception is one essential key. Recently while my grandchildren were visiting, Sarah Joy (age 2) noticed something on the carpet. She pointed and proclaimed loudly, "Poop! Look Grandma! Poop!" Realizing that it is not what she is proclaiming, I scooped up the little brown piece of wood carving from a Mexican village and hold it in my hands for Sarah to look at. "No, honey, it isn't poop, it is a little wood carving. Come Look!" She looks at me in complete disbelief, with hands on her hips and proclaims, "No! Grandma it is poop!" Finally, I convinced her to hold it and look at the tiny village hand carved on the piece of wood, less than one inch in diameter.
Perception! Perhaps it is time that we ask ABBA, ADONAI about our value as human beings, as HIS creation. It is about GOD's perception, not ours. Hopefully how we treat others reflects HIS perception, not ours. Because HE gave HIS only begotten Son...
The statistics in America are staggering as to the countless people that have been so violated by false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, priests and bishops, and even family members ... not to mention those not proclaiming to be Christians. As this Lion of Judah Glory Ring is released, my prayer is for any person who has been so violated, betrayed, and/or deceived will see Jesus Christ face-to-face and experience the fullness of HIS healing love, divine restoration and holy redemption. When we know HIM face to face, then our face reflects HIS face…Then our identity is in HIM. Then our gifts, callings, anointing and personality are in HIM, through HIM and transformed by HIM because of HIS overt love and grace. Repentance and forgiveness are essential, and the rest is just perception. Make a commitment to yourself and God that you will not allow any person to steal your true identity in Christ Jesus, as a child of God.
As the doors to our stories close... In the summer of 1993, at the encouragement of academic counselors I told my mom about the incident, her only comment was, "Have you had an AIDS test?" I replied "Yes, for the last 10 years." It was never mentioned again until September 2000, shortly before my dad's death. With tears streaming down his face, he apologized for not protecting me and that he was so sorry about what Curt Lydic had done to me. I did not know until then that my mom had shared the information. As I was not living at home at the time of the rape, I did not see protecting me as my Dad's responsibility. Yet his deep love for me continues to be life changing.
A girlfriend found Jim on a computer search in July 2007. At the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, I sent him a holiday card in December 2007. Exactly 42 years from our first meeting on December 31, 1965…Jim sent a card in response my holiday card. On January 5, 2008 – Jim and I met for the first time in many decades and I was given the opportunity to tell him the truth and to ask forgiveness for hiding behind the shame of it all, for fabricating a story…because I believe the truth makes a difference. His response was exactly what I thought it would have been 38 years earlier, he was kind and forgiving…his character had not changed. The grace of GOD is without comprehension.