Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Somewhat of a Testimony--God's Timing

I had a thought while driving this morning....I realized yesterday that some of the pain from Nana's death was related to a loss of a childhood home. During my childhood, Nana herself represented a place of safety and love. When my world was unsafe and uncertain, I knew that Nana was out there loving me and wishing I was with her.

My mother was physically and mentally ill for a large part of her short life. She taught me not to respect Nana or my dad or anyone related to him. Even while I did not afford her the respect she greatly deserved, Nana represented goodness and safety to me. When I thought of "home", I thought of Nana.

I NEEDED to know that Nana loved me even as I was daily (and sometimes many times during the day) told that I was unlovable and that I was not worth loving. Nana took me to church when I was very young and somehow through all the stomping and yelling and red-faced fire and brimstone preaching of Brother Wallace, I learned that God loved me enough to send his own son Jesus to die for me. And I believed it. Without the knowledge of God's great love for me and Nana's love for me, I don't know what would have become of the little girl that wasn't pretty, had no sense, and was "unnatural".

Though I fought the messages of unlovableness, they did manage to take hold. Believing that I was not just naturally lovable, I tried to become whatever the people around me wanted or needed me to be. I thought this is what I needed to do to be lovable. Yet, there is an emptiness and an anxiety in getting this kind of "love." I constantly had the thought that people would figure out that I really was not lovable and actually did not feel lovable as I found myself changing for each group I found myself in. I really did not know who I was. If I didn't know, who else could love me?

It took many, many years for me to slowly but surely believe God's word. He says that I am wonderfully made. He says that he created me for a purpose. In other words, me all by myself without any efforts at changing to please others is worth loving. I AM loved. I have been loved. The one who created me and knows my inmost being LOVES me. It's okay to be me. I am not perfect. I don't have to be. God loves me and he has put people in my life who love me--the me under the surface.

It was only when this message took hold, that I truly felt free to be myself. People didn't run screaming that I was detestable! They loved me! My relationships were true and not couched in fear of discovery of my unworthiness. Not only did I not hide my flaws, I began to put them on display telling others, "See we all make mistakes and isn't it fun to realize how silly we really are!" No one chided me for being terrible. Instead they thanked me for being real and helping them to be real!

Only after all this, only after I had discovered and had grown in a love for myself did God take home my first source of love. My heart aches as I miss her so much yet my heart breaks with the gratefulness I feel that God let me have her here when I so desperately needed her.

So my childhood home is gone and I can never go home again but I am at home within myself now. God is good. God is great. And he has the most excellent plans for me.