I’ve been researching my genealogy and I uncovered a deep, dark “family secret.” It’s in the public 1880 Greene County, Indiana census, but unless you know how to research well, you might miss it.
My second great grandmother, Catherine Ellen “Kit” Buskirk, had four illegitimate children before marrying the year after my great grandfather, David William Buskirk (one of the four illegitimate children), was born. The children's father(s) aren't listed. She didn’t seem to have anything else to do with those four children because you don’t see her living with them after she marries. In fact, she moves to another town. She doesn’t admit that she actually has eight children (four with her husband) until a much later census when she is 53-years-old.
1880 Greene County, Indiana Census excerpt, David W. Buskirk was my great grandfather.
In this on-line genealogy research website source I use, you can view other people’s genealogies if they make them “public.” They do an excellent job at protecting your privacy when you want it. A week ago, I received an anonymous on-line message through the website from a woman saying that Catherine’s sister was her husband’s great grandmother, and “How do you fit into this tree?” Surprise! There it was! The “skeleton” was out-of-the-closet!
Once I explained my research and my relationship to Catherine Ellen Buskirk, she didn’t seemed to be shocked and was very amicable. Of course, she realized she needed to add four more children to their family tree. She also had some additional information about Catherine that she didn’t put on the website that was “kinda of not good stuff,” as she put it. Based on Catherine’s “behavior,” I knew there had to be a lot more to her story, and “generational sin” does have its consequences considering my father’s life choices, but that’s for another blog post.
Four generations later, the truth comes out, as truth always does -- sooner or later:
“Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops,” (Luke 12:3, NASB)
I was reading my daily devotional and Bible this morning and asking God, my Heavenly Father, if there was anything He wanted me to write today. He reminded me of Catherine and the revelation of her past actions that she seems to have regretted later in life. As far as can be derived, she abandoned four children to live with their grandmother, who had little knowledge of their mother -- abandonment is a strong emotion that leaves deep wounds. I know them all too well.
As I remembered the message I received from the anonymous woman, the thoughts flowed and the words spilled through my pen as if I wasn’t writing, but God was writing the words. I’ll share what He "impressed" me to write. As I wrote it, it became very clear that He meant for others to read it, too. God has taught me much of this already, but I didn't mind hearing it again.
I see everything. No matter how small and I will attend to it, mold it, shape it if someone needs My protection, or I will allow someone to take the path he/she has chosen and allow him/her to deal with the consequences. I will be there to uphold, protect, inspire and encourage whenever I am welcome and sometimes even when You don’t realize it -- like when you were frightened sleeping in the attic and you couldn’t see in the dark, but I could.
[When I was about 10-years-old, my bedroom was in an unfinished, full-sized attic in our early 1900’s home in Oak Park, Illiniois. It was a very cool house! Once my mother remarried, my stepbrother was given my downstairs bedroom. My stepfather had planned to build my bedroom as soon as he finished his daughter’s at one end of the attic. My makeshift bedroom was sandwiched between my newly finished stepsister’s bedroom and my sister’s original loft bedroom. With no windows in my room and only a bedside lamp for light, it was pitch black when I turned off the lamp. During those months, it took all my courage to turn off the light to go to sleep.]
I laid there beside you with My back to you to protect you even when you didn’t believe I was there. I would not let My princess, My precious one, be left exposed and vulnerable.
When you were hurt or affected by someone else’s evil or selfish choices, I couldn’t intervene because I have given all men free will, but I have not given all men free reign. I still intervene to stop where I say, “Stop!” and yield where I say, “Yield!” and go where I say, “Go!” Just as I keep the tide at the shore, unless I know that releasing those waves will ultimately bring someone closer to Me and believe in Me, and find salvation in Me.
As humans, you are very stubborn and endure much even at your own hands. I built you that way -- to survive even your own destruction, at times, but you still eventually feel the pain or the consequences of your choices.
That’s where I am waiting. I’m waiting where your stubbornness to survive a mediocre, unsatisfying life meets its end, and I am there extending My hand of salvation to rescue you. I have come to give life and to give it more fully.
The thief comes to steal, and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep, (John 10:10-11, NASB).
You can’t experience that fullness until you come under My shelter, My will, My love. Following Me is not a burden -- it’s Freedom. Freedom to be the person I intended you to be, to finally become the person that makes sense to you, that inspires you to create, that ignites your spirit and seeks Me.
I am YOUR REFUGE! (I see Him beating His chest with tears in His eyes and desperation in His voice.) I am YOUR SALVATION! I am THE LIFE you keep trying to create on your own, yet, you can find no satisfaction. You think you have found satisfaction. You think you have found your “way out,” but your “way out” is your way “in” to destruction.
I have not created you to be destroyed, but to be built up, lifted up and raised up by Me so you can be your TRUE self. There is no other way but through Me, and if you think there is another way, you’re only kidding yourself.
I will wait because I must. I have given you free will, but please understand that I will do everything in My power to persuade you to seek Me, because you are My children, and it breaks My heart to see you suffer when you have chosen a path that leads to your own destruction, and the destruction of those around you.
As the father stood, looking down the road, waiting for his prodigal son (or daughter) to come home, so will I wait for you to come home to Me, the only Person who loves you just the way you are because I love all those I’ve created. You are My children, and I long to gather you like a hen gathers her chicks.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling, (Matthew 23:37, NASB).
"Family 'Skeleton' Has Its Day" © Copyright 2013 Gena Buskirk-Ford, writer/photographer, Gateway PhotoArtistry™, www.gatewayphotoartistry.com.*
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