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  • Elisabeth Mahan

The People I Come From

Updated: Oct 2


I am Elizabeth Kirsten, born to Joe and Mary, January of 1969, an incredible year of firsts in the country to which I was born.

My Momma, Mary Elizabeth, an only child, born to Jim and Laura gave to me the love of travel, good food, family, music, singing, an appreciation for beauty and best of all the joy of Jesus and His Kingdom.

My Dad, Joe Wayne, the youngest of 4, born to John and Margaret bestowed upon me tenacity; fearlessness; incredible work ethics; love of the outdoors; my height and fiery disposition; and the overarching consideration of the fact there is a God and He is watching.

I have to say intelligence is a given from both sides. Dad, Joe, an aerospace engineer, left brain all the way and Momma, Mary, endowed with right brain brilliance, flowed freely and successfully in the arts. Emotional Intelligence, on the other hand, was not something readily presented on either side and was much harder won on my part as you will read.

The standard negative human qualities were inadvertently passed along to me as well. Typical human qualities like rage, fear, selfishness, etc. Also, of which you will read about, how the facets of these ugly character qualities presented themselves within the fabric of who I am.

Regarding all of that I think it is important to jump ahead and sum up my position regarding human relationships. How I see the negative and positive qualities that humans pass on within those relationships — familial, friend or foe — as assets rather than liabilities.

Fast forward to an experience in my young adult life.

Father’s day was approaching and this particular one presented a huge dilemma for me. I had just come to the place in my life of choosing to believe that obeying God’s commands was something I wanted to do (more on that later) starting with the Big Ten. In that moment — “Do not lie and Honor your father…” were leaving me in a terrible position as Hallmark had not yet offered a ‘dysfunctional family’ line of cards and I myself was stumped. I went to God and repeatedly, desperately asked for a solution. May I add that anytime one asks God for a means to obey Him, He will ALWAYS provide the means!

One morning the answer came in the form of a question, ”Have you not learned from all that that your Dad has been in your life, what you want to be as well as what you don’t want to be?”

Well, there was my answer! Honor without lying.

I made a beautiful, sincerely worded, love driven card that evolved from the truth of applicable life lessons which helped shape me into the God-seeking-joy-filled person that I am. I didn’t lie and I was able to sincerely honor him.

That moment in life gave me my world-view regarding all relationships and the good and bad they bring: All relational experiences can be assets to my journey. It is all a matter of how I filter, then discard or integrate, each of those relational experiences into the fabric of my own life.

For example, having moved 6 times, from one side of the country to the other, before the age of ten has given me the ability to live fully wherever I am at the moment, even if in a hotel for the weekend. This also brought out my grandmother, Laura’s, gift of never knowing a stranger.

The child, Elisabeth, just had to go along with all upheaval but the adult, Elisabeth, could choose to see all things, the good and the bad, as asset rather than liability giving birth to incredible qualities within me that have served me and those around me quite well. Which is after all, one of my life’s goals — to be an asset to those in relationship with me (familial, friend or foe).

No one in my young life was specifically teaching me to process all that passed through me. The adults in my life, as much as the loved me and I knew they loved me, didn’t equip me to see the bigger view that allows me to take all — genetics, relationships and life experiences — and integrate them, bad or good, as assets into the fabric of my life. How did I get here? Until next time…

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