I have often felt like a kid locked out of the candy store of life; hands and face pressed to the glass I longingly gaze through the window at those who are enjoying the treats inside. The colors are bright and welcoming under the warmly glowing lights, but I am denied access and must always be on the outside. This feeling comes and goes, but recently it came again in full force bringing with it intense emotional pain. Grateful for my friendship with a deeply godly woman, I looked forward to meeting with her one evening to see if God would give us insight into the source of my distress.
As we shared our lives with each other, I began to go on and on and on about my sense of exclusion and lack of acceptance in a particular situation I was experiencing. Perhaps perceiving I was dancing around the heart of the issue, she gently interrupted me by asking, “And, what is your question?” After a moment’s thought I responded, “How long does one stay in a situation that is painful? When do you know God is saying it is time to leave?” (This has nothing to do with my husband or family.) Her answer was to turn to God in prayer, and we began to worship and seek Him for His wisdom and guidance.
Little did I know my question went far beyond the circumstances of the present, reaching beneath the surface to a time I had not yet faced. As we prayed, I began to weep. Weeping grew to deep sobbing, wave upon wave welling up from a lost place inside. Crying opened the floodgates to a dried riverbed that had been blocked by pain; the torrent of tears carried me deep into my soul to its beginning. When the anguish gradually subsided, I found myself with inner eyes wide open gazing at one source of a lifetime of rejection…the reality of my young life at my grandmother’s house.
Oh, I already knew about my dad’s sexual abuse (which took place there) and my mother’s mental illness, but I had romanticized growing up with Granny. Placing her on a pedestal, I believed she was the only one in my family who truly loved and accepted me. I loved Granny…I loved that she cared for us to the best of her ability, but I needed to come to terms with the fact that her ability didn’t reach very far. Indeed, she and Grandpa supplied our physical needs when our mother committed herself to the mental hospital, taking in my Dad, my sister and me, giving us food on the table and a roof over our heads. For that I am thankful. But, in the realm of emotional needs, she lacked the capacity to give the soul nourishment necessary for my sister and me to thrive and grow. In fact, each adult in that house had their own agenda and their own enormous personal deficits of unfilled needs and unresolved hurts which blocked all ability to love another person unconditionally. The truth had at last become clear. There was never a time in my growing up years when the person I was created to be was accepted. Everyone tried to shape and mold me into the person they wanted me to be, to satisfy their desires and to comply with their ulterior motives…even my Granny. (Years ago, God had even brought healing to me from rejection in my mother’s womb.) As much as I had tried to deny their existence, God knew the facts needed to be uncovered and acknowledged. By bringing to my consciousness that which I tried to avoid, He answered the question I had asked my friend…He let me know the time was right to emotionally leave the painful situation of being raised in part by my grandmother. This was the time He wanted to release the chains which continued to hold me captive to my family of origin to enable me to move further into the new life He had given me.
Once again I forgave. Once again I took another step further into freedom. Once again God had used the pain of the present to unlock the suffering of the past for His purpose of wholeness and healing in my life. Thank you Lord that your ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9) and that in Your wisdom You have brought out into the light that which I longed to hide in darkness. Thank You that You listened to my groanings and transformed your answer into so much more than I could have asked. Thank You that Your word is true and we can believe it when it says, “Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)