From the blog

Dennis’ Book-His Life

Chapter 1

Seeds of Rejection?

August 26, 2001, 7 a.m. I thought to be the darkest day of my life. It was at that time that the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department, along with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies knocked down the door to my shop, covered their faces with cloths to protect them from the toxic fumes and chemicals; dragged me outside, cuffed and arrested me.

After the fire department and hazardous waste clean-up crews arrived, I was taken to the Stephens County Jail and charged with manufacturing and trafficking illegal drugs. They had good reason to throw the book at me. From 1998 up until this time, I had been in and out of jail dozens of times for countless criminal activities. I was on probation and out on bond at the time of this arrest. My charges were later given to me and I was facing two life sentences and $75,000 in fines.

I grew up in a wonderful little town of about 25,000 people. We lived on the outskirts of town, in a semi-country setting. I attended a small country school and was all boy. When I wasn’t playing basketball or baseball, I was scouring the countryside and creek banks for rabbits, squirrels, quail or anything a young hunter could set his sites on.

Sports, hunting, fishing and a mother who served as both mom and dad, was my life. My young life was so full of adventure and exploration. I had many friends and cousins to share my expeditions with so the rejection of my father stayed covered and hidden in my heart for many years.

I had uncles and other father-figures who loved and encouraged me, along with a mother who tried to fill the void of a father in my life. You see, my father never wanted children and he let that fact be known, not only by having little to do with my brother and me, but also by telling me pointblank for most of my life. It wasn’t until many years later that I begin to understand the damage that this rejection had to my integrity and character.

I began in my teen years to exaggerate and stretch the truth. I did this in an attempt to impress people, especially older men who I looked up to. These were the early seeds Satan planted in the garden of my soul, which eventually sprouted into lies – the fruits of being rejected by a father who I desperately needed.

I always excelled in sports and craved the attention and praise my friends got from their fathers. Even though my friends’ fathers and my mother tried to supplement this loss, it was still hurtful and damaging – something I buried deep inside me that didn’t surface for years to come.

At the age of 13, my mother divorced my father and married a man who owned and operated night clubs for most of his life. My brother went with Mother and her new husband, Raymond, and I went to live with my beloved aunt and uncle.

My aunt and uncle had three sons – two of which were my age. I had spent most of my summers with them so it was not unfamiliar or uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, my cousins and I loved each other enormously and my aunt and uncle always treated me like their own child.

They lived in a small mountain town called Medicine Park, Okla. It was a child’s paradise, especially being as adventurous as we three boys were. We went to a small-town country school at Elgin, Okla. and life for an outdoors boy couldn’t have been better.

My uncle loved his boys and I and whatever activities we were in, he was in on it with us. We had all kinds of guns and hunted all over the mountains, fished every pond and lake, treasure hunted with metal detectors, deep sea fished in the ocean and finally got into riding and racing motorcycles. My aunt, however, did not know about the racing park!

My life had become so busy and full that I had very little time to think of how much I missed my mother, or about all the friends that I had left behind – but that was about to change.

After I graduated from the ninth grade and summer vacation rolled around, I planned on spending part of the summer with my mother and new step-father. I had never met him that I can remember, so this visit was a little intimidating.

They owned a motel with a night club attached to it at the south end of Duncan, Okla. They lived in the office, which had two bedrooms. They shared one bedroom and my brother had the other. Separating the two bedrooms was a huge kitchen/living room. I stayed in my kid brother’s room, and saw little of my step dad. He and Mother didn’t usually get out of the club until 3 a.m. and would sleep until around 10 a.m. Raymond would then open the club again at 11 a.m. and Mother would go to work at around 6 or 7 p.m. (Somewhere in this paragraph you might want to go into more detail about the club – its reputation. If you want!)

The club was open six days a week, so I saw very little of either of them. However, at the age of 15, and with all kinds of friends who had gotten cars while I had been gone, this was all right with me. I began going places with my friends, running up and down the highways, seeing old friends, meeting new girls and I began to drink. I was running around with boys 2-3 years older than I and thought I was somebody. I loved the freedom and attention, or lack there of. It didn’t matter when I came home, because no once knew or seemed to notice! Mother worked all night and my brother didn’t care.

Needless to say, when it came time for me to go back to live with my aunt and uncle (which is exactly where I needed to be) I broke their hearts and chose to stay with Mom. Mother had given me my own motel room, which was kind of like my own apartment at the age of 15. One of my friends who drove had a father who owned a liquor store. He had all kinds of liquor at his house that we helped ourselves to, so I was steadily becoming a full-fledged alcoholic. I loved the excitement of this new lifestyle and I started to receive a lot of attention from many men who were regulars at the club.

This choice to stay with my mother proved later to be one of the worst choices that I ever made. I had such persuasive and manipulating skills by this time that even when my mother knew what was best, I would play on her guilt and emotions to get my way.

I had come from a perfectly loving family – an ideal environment to raise children in, to the absolute worst environment to raise children in, especially teenage children.

All of my heroes became the mean, outlaw-type men who came to the club. Incidentally, my step-father was known to be connected to the “Dixieland Mafia.” This sweet, innocent country kid was slowly and steadily becoming the thief and con-artist I later became. I was making a reputation for myself at the age of 16 as being mean and tough – a con-man and outlaw. And I was doing everything necessary to live up to it!

At this time, I was becoming increasingly closer to Raymond. He had bought me a car and at age 16, he was allowing me to come into the club in the early afternoon. (Was he letting you drink, etc. in the club during this time?? Should mention that if so! Call me if you need to and I will explain why I think so!)

I thought Raymond was the greatest guy alive. He was a professional gambler and carried huge sums of cash. This was is the ‘70s and it was not uncommon for Raymond to carry around $15,000 to $20,000. For nearly two years, I would sneak into Mom and Raymond’s bedroom before going to school, lift Raymond’s pants while he slept and help myself to one or two $100 bills. I did this about twice a week. He had so many that he never missed them, or so I thought.

I had a car and pockets full of money, making me popular among my peers. I was accepted, which is the opposite of rejected. Remember where rejection began? Explain this statement if you want it to stay in – clarify what you are trying to say!

Around the same time, in order to gain more of Raymond’s acceptance, I would take him a $20 bill each Saturday to pay toward the car he had gotten me. I don’t think he ever expected me to pay him pack, so I was really impressing him. I lied and told him that I had been working, building fences or hauling hay on the weekends. He would brag to everyone about what a good-looking, hard-working and responsible boy I was. Man, that would make me feel 10-feet-tall!

I was so hungry for the kind of love and praise Raymond was giving me that his acceptance overpowered any convictions I might have had for stealing. Looking back, I was so self-centered and under the influence of this new life I had found that I don’t believe I had any conscience. I justified myself by blaming the divorce of my parents for destroying my young life. I was listening to the voices of demons throughout this time, although I knew nothing of this at the time. The devil did come to steal, kill and destroy life!

I am not, by any means, trying to shift the responsibilities of my bad choices. I had invited the devil to control my life when I chose to do the evil things I did.

Eventually, my days of glory and high-rolling came to an end. One morning, my mother caught me stealing from Raymond. She awoke to find me sneaking from their bedroom. She didn’t do anything at the time and let me go onto school as usual. At around 10 a.m., I got a call to report to the principal’s office. I had no ideal what for and still had a couple of $100 bills in my shirt pocket. When I got to the office, and saw Mother, it still didn’t even dawn on me that I had been caught. I had gotten away with this for so long that it had become a natural part of my life. How pitiful I had become! How hard and cruel!

This continued to happen throughout my life. I would compromise a little value here, break a little rule there, overlook a law here and there and break bigger and bigger laws. I never considered that I had slowly become numb in my conscience, finally reaching the point that I had no regard or respect for the law, whatsoever.

This is exactly what Satan has done to the world spiritually. We have no regard for God or His laws – no place for holiness or morality. Satan has been strategically numbing our consciouses for decades until what is accepted as normal now was considered an abomination only 50 years ago. From Elvis shaking his hips to outright pornography and using the Lord’s name in vain in the very presence of our children through television and computers. Our nation’s heart is so insensitive to the Holy Spirit that we can’t even hear the heartbreaking cries of our heavenly Father trying to save His lost children. How terribly frightening this is! This is the one unpardonable sin – blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This is the point where God will turn His back on man. There cannot be a greater evidence of God’s hatred and wrath that His refusing to correct man for this sinful course of vanities.

When God refuses to any longer correct, there God resolves to destroy! There is no man so near God’s axe, so near the flames, so near hell, as he whom God will no longer spend His rod upon! “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelations 3:19) KJV.

“God is most angry when He shows no anger.” (you had this in quotations. If it is scripture, we need a scripture reference)

Back to my story – as you might well assume, my life and relationship with Raymond was destroyed. He wasn’t a man who knew anything of forgiving and forgetting, but only in getting even. From that time on, he very seldom acknowledged me and didn’t speak to me until years later. (Explain here or somewhere later when he did speak to you again) He had completely cut me off in his spirit, which is called indifference. Jesus calls it “murder.” (Reference this in scripture) He only tolerated me because of Mother and after this, most of the regulars at the club that I had became so attached to knew the whole story. This proved to be some of the worst rejection I encountered and at the age of 17, I had dug myself into a huge pit of despair. (Give example) My mother didn’t know what to do with or for me.

This is the bitterest of all – to know that suffering need not have been; that it has resulted from indiscretion; that it is the harvest of one’s own sowing and that the vulture which feeds on the vitals is a nesting of one’s own rearing. Ah me. This is pain!

It wasn’t long after this that I quit school and went to work for a man who had come to Duncan after a tornado had devastated the town. He was a roofer staying in one of the motel rooms at my stepfathers club. I worked so hard for him that when the work ended in Duncan months later, he asked me to go to Kansas and live with his family and become part of his business.

This, like everything else in my young life, lasted for awhile, until I was tired of it. During my stay in Kansas, my appendix burst and I had to have emergency surgery, which brought me back to Duncan and eventually to my grandmother, who was the Godliest person I have ever known and the greatest influence in my life. She still speaks volumes to me today even though she’s been with the Lord for 25 plus years. Being with her would’ve changed anyone’s life – but not me!

As I reflect on this chapter, the thing which stabs my heart is the devastation that rejection can cause on a young child’s life. The bible says, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21 KJV) It also says that fathers can bless or curse their children. (Scripture reference needed here) My father was cursing my life and never showed any acknowledgement of doing so. He was an extremely negative and pessimistic person. His negative side always seen in the bad in life. The glass was always half empty to him. He always saw the thorns among the roses instead of being grateful for the roses among the thorns. This coupled with the fact that his indifference toward me let me know that he never wanted me planted deep emotional seeds which eventually produced a huge garden of wild weeds.

Many parents today are unintentionally cursing their children’s lives by speaking negative to them or even by comparing them to other children or themselves. Satan has young girls cursing themselves by comparing themselves with superstars and models, of which they are killing themselves trying to live up to an image.

I do not want to close this chapter on a negative word, which produces death. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” This pen is my tongue today, and I believe life will be spoken to the readers, that they may eat of some good fruit.

The world is full of fault-finders and critics who spit poison more deadly than a rattlesnake out of every word, whose only goal is to selfishly put someone else down so that they may look better to themselves. “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” (Proverbs 12:18) NKJV

The Proverbs are full of examples of the tongue being an instrument to speak death or LIFE! “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:1-4) NKJV

Jesus speaks about our words in Matthew 12:34-35, which says, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth evil things.” Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he!”

Listen very long to people talk and you’ll know what’s in their hearts, which is exactly who they are. A word from your mouth speaks volumes about your heart. Let us be life-givers and speak healing and encouraging words into the lives of others. The boneless tongue, so small and weak, can crush and kill, declare the Greek. The Persian proverb wisely says, “A lengthy tongue, an early death.” Sometimes it takes this form instead! Don’t let your tongue cut off your head. He who keeps his tongue keeps his soul.

God takes what is spoken to His people, whether good or evil, as being spoken to Him.

Mark Twain once said, “I could live a whole month on one compliment.” Kind words are always the right kind of words. Your life will either shed light or cast a shadow. A little encouragement can speak a great accomplishment.

Look for children, or people who need a little encouraging shove in the right direction. Speak blessing into people and you will reap a bountiful harvest in return. Speak life, for whatsoever a man sow, that will he also reap. Give and it will be given, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. (Scripture reference)

Negative people are very ungrateful people and live miserable lives. I know. I was one! It has been said, sow a word or thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap character. Sow character, reap a destiny. What better destiny than to speak life everywhere you go – laying up treasure in heaven?

I feel lead to close this chapter with a short, but powerful prayer from Psalms 140 NIV.

Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet. Proud men have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. O Lord, I say to you, ‘You are my God.’ Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy. O Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle – do not grant the wicked their desires, O Lord; do not let their plans succeed, or they will become proud. Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused. Let burning coals fall upon them; may they be thrown into the fire, into the miry pits, never to rise. Let slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down men of violence. I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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