|Run to Him & know when you're|
hiding from Him, He'll always
seek after you!
I'm going to die before I'm 35... I'm quite certain of it. I knew this from about the age of 12. Back in the days when I was gangly (not just skinny) -- resembling a rather unattractive 7 year old the height of a full grown adult! I always felt "a little less" than others around me. And, the ever-present silent thoughts occupied my mind: "You will only have to take this for less than 35 years. That's not TOO long. You can make it."
I took comfort in those thoughts wrapping them around me to insulate me from feeling, connection, pain, relationship.... life!
During my teens & early 20's I was in a constant battle with my thoughts, perceptions, self-image, etc. There were really only moments of rest from the thoughts that plagued my mind - those that brought me to the depths of despair one day & into a numbing sense of dullness on others. Thoughts that haunted me in the cold, dark hours of the night. Thoughts that whispered to me "No one will like you when they get to know you." I understood I'd never be loved by anyone who didn't HAVE to love me -- after all, I was ME! Thoughts and talk of suicide were probably a daily occurrence for more years than I want to remember. And the one thing that kept me from going through with it was that I felt I'd go to hell & then it would NEVER end, not even at 35! I would be in anguish forever!!
The dawn of my awakening came at the end of my sophomore year at Anderson University It occurred to me that quite a few of the people who "liked me" at the beginning of my freshman year still seemed to "like me" then. Imagine that?!? It was then I began to recognize some of the brokenness, in the lives of those around me & in some things that had happened to me as a child, as contributors to my initial feelings of unworthiness. So, I spent the next 5-6 years being incredibly angry with those people & the injustices I'd suffered. All the time I was taking comfort inside knowing that the hurt would all be over in a matter of years.
In my late-20's I coincidentally met & became friends with a Christian counselor, psychologist & author -- a pretty "cool" person, I thought. Over the course of a year, I began to see that although people & circumstances had affected my development, I had a choice to break free from those bonds. I'd been a Christian from an early age. I'd strayed away... and come back... and strayed away... and come back. But, I'd never actually believed that God could mend my brokenness from all those years ago. Putting the past behind me was scary. I was entering the unknown. And, we all know, there's no control in the unknown.
In the coming years, I thought less about what I knew: I was going to die before I turned 35. As I drew closer to the age of 35, the thought no longer brought comfort. I wondered, how will my passing affect my husband... my daughter... my son? What brought me peace through the struggles of my youth & young adulthood now brought me a sense of sadness.
Well, the 35th birthday has come & gone. I'm still here. I still have moments when I'm transported back to the gangly 12 year old girl who wasn't asked to the popular girl's slumber party... the 14 year old who locked herself in the bathroom threatening her parents that she'd end it all.. the 16 year old who was asked when she was going to start looking like a girl by the popular boy in the youth group. But, in those moments of remembering, I am reminded that there was plan in process for my life. A plan that was leading to a future & a hope.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD.
"They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope."
I don't question the thoughts that played out in my mind all those years. I believe that God allowed me to find peace of mind in the only way I could experience it in those darkest of days. And in those dark days, He was doing a work in me to bring me closer to wholeness. There are still times when I struggle with depression - especially in the cold, bleak winter months. And, there've been several times in my life when peace came in the storm with some feeling of knowing the outcome. Quite often the storm passed and, the outcome of which I was certain never happened.
|photo by T. Getz|
I'm willing to allow Him to write my story - any way He chooses to write it. There will be more storms ahead to face. But, I take comfort knowing that I have a future and a hope.