As a little girl, life seemed so easy. I played house, raked leaves, and went to the park with my sisters. Sunday School was a favorite place to learn and socialize with friends. I even went to two Sunday schools because my friend went to the Salvation Army in the afternoons and mine was in the morning. I liked learning the memory verses and Bible stories. I also attended a backyard children's group once with a really nice lady named, Mrs. Butcher. She taught us about the narrow road and the wide road and how it is a narrow way to heaven. She taught us from a wordless songbook made of felt demonstrating the blood of Jesus, the black heart of sin, the gold page representing the streets of heaven.
Applying the lessons was not as clear as the story. Being loving like the Bible characters alluded me and sometimes my anger or disappointment was locked inside. One incident that seems petty has stayed with me all my life. Mom wanted to go on a trip with dad so my place was to be a "good girl " and stay home. Inside was unhappiness, but no expression was given to the feelings.
Life started to be more serious as I grew older and one night we got a knock on our door in the middle of the night informing us that a fire had caused a terrible tragedy to my first cousins. I remember the chaos and sadness my mom was experiencing because her brother had lost a wife and six children. I had to stay home again with a babysitter and let momma go. It was traumatic, but I just kept it all "bottled up" again. Questions were forming inside, but I never voiced them. I wanted to know where was God and why did he let my cousins die?
As time went on suppression became a pattern of coping with my life. At one point I was depressed or oppressed and asked for prayer. I wanted to understand why I felt like this. I really thought my life was good and I had no reason to feel like this. Once marriage and children came along I had more people to affect my feelings and it became more difficult to camouflage my real self. I would not have realized that I was functioning as a phony person. Teaching school added another thirty children to influence my life. Cleaning, cooking, parenting, laundry, taxi-driver, wife, lover, friend, sister, daughter, schoolteacher, and bookstore owner were only a few of the roles where expectations drove me to be superwoman.
Finally, my facade cracked open and I came to the end of my ability to carry on this lifestyle. A few weeks before we had cried out to God with our church that God would do whatever He wanted to do with us, so that He could use us in Kingsville, Ontario in a greater way. We would not have prayed that way if we would have thought our walls would have to come down and we would have to be real people. We had become quite comfortable being the people we had created ourselves to be. Our defense mechanisms held us as prisoners behind these walls.
When my shell cracked open the little chick had to quit a job and go for counseling. It was as close to a breakdown as I ever want to be. The medication started working just on the hope that it would. My counselor told me it wasn't even possible for the pills to be into my system yet and already I felt better. I don't want to downplay the seriousness though. It was like hell on earth to me and I felt like a failure at life.
Through this experience we realized we needed God. We got into His Word more deeply and cried for His help. I cannot explain the years since 1981.I started journaling and will share over the next few months some of the nuggets God showed me as I grew in my understanding that Jesus wanted a real honest relationship. He wants to communicate with us and have us respond to His love and wisdom.
I don't really like telling you this about me because you may not respect an emotional basket-case. But I am now a real person who can't be of any good to Jesus unless He fills me with His power and goodness and love. By the way that's His plan for everyone. Have you given Him your vase to fill? We are just like an earthen vessel that has a treasure inside.
A suggested reading is in the Psalms and especially Psalm 139.This is a place you will meet a real person who has feelings that fluctuate, but eventually David got God's perspective on his life. Lately, I have had another tragedy which has caused me to be emotional. My husband died suddenly a year and a half ago. Although I am sad, God's grace is giving me a strength without medication. My family and friends are helping me and I am being real. Praise God we don't have to run this race on our own.