Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding Joy, Peace and Fulfullment

(These are pics of when I was a little girl. The littler girl is my sister Nance; the man is one of my step dad's brothers.)

When I was a little girl, I lived with a step father who was mean to me. I was scared to death of him and often did things that physically hurt me but I didn't physically feel it. I had a bad habit of biting my nails and cuticles (even though I got spanked pretty bad for it on a number of occasions). I remember one season of my life when my parents noticed that the skin on the pads of my fingers were raw. They asked me what I'd been doing or what chemicals I got into the basement that would have eaten the flesh off my fingertips like that. I had no clue. They even took me to the doctor and the doctor had no idea. Looking back, it fit the trend I had in other things but I lived in such a cloud of fear and sadness that I didn't pay any attention to things I did because of it, things that hurt me. It became clear to me once when watching a puppy chew the wound of it's paw; it had to hurt. But I realized I had done the same thing. I would gnaw of my nails and cuticles and tear the skin off my fingers without even realizing it. The pain in my heart was greater than physical pain. Besides, numbness became an element of some kind of survival.

I am sorry to be so graphic, and I won't go into the detail of other things I did to my self as a kid, including three attempts to kill myself (a kid's version). At age 10, though, I was given some hope - or so I thought. I found out this man who beat me, threw me around the room, spanked me until my bottom was raw, and even almost killed my mother (at least once that I know of) was not even my real dad! The hope this gave me was that there was a daddy 'out there' that was going to be a perfect daddy, who would love me, hug me, tell me I was a good girl, a pretty girl, a smart girl (the lie I believed my whole life until I was in my 40's is that I was 'good for nothin'). I had the hope that one day I'd find my perfect daddy and he'd take me in his arms and love on me like a momma dog on a lost pup. (Let me add here, that I forgave my dad many years ago, even before I became a believer, and thanked him for things I had learned from him over the years. We reconciled before his death in the 1970's).

When I was thirteen I found out I had a brother. He came to visit us for a few weeks that year. During his stay, his (and my) dad replied to a letter my brother sent him. My dad's letter (which I found and read in secret) said that he didn't know he had another child but he was not interested in me. My hope was crushed!

When I became a Believer in Christ in 1994 at the age of 38, God spoke to my heart. He asked me to think about the hole I'd always felt I had in my heart. (It's hard to remember what that was like now-it was a very deep hole.) He also told me that He wanted to make sure that the hole would always make me wish for a perfect daddy so that when I came to that day in my life, a day pre-ordained by God Himself many, many years before, I'd know that HE was the PERFECT Daddy I'd always hoped for. HE was the hope I'd always wanted.

There's more to the story of my past and the story of my salvation, but as I sometimes hear people talk about loneliness, even in the midst of their own families and their own lives filled with a lot of people, I can't help but wonder what my life would be like now that I've lost my best buddy in the whole world, if God hadn't already shown me this basic truth (and is still teaching me). He wants to be the one to fill our heart. God has been teaching me for years that HE is the one who desires to fill up every single hole in my heart. Even though it still hurts at times, He wants to be there to fill every hole and be the very ultimate element that brings satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment in my life. There is not one person, no not one, who is not given the same opportunity to find joy, peace, and fulfillment in Him, the One who made each one of us. Giving ourselves to Him and trusting Him with our life instead of finding those experiences by obtaining more clothes, shoes, jewelry, a spouse, children, career, a bigger home, a dream vacation or whatever it might be (and I'd still love anyone of those things) truly is a deeper and more fruitful and fulfilling way to live - even when the dearest of those things are taken away from us. I praise God daily to know this awesome truth!
Here's a picture of my biological father and another sister. I met them both for the first time when I was 29 but we parted ways soon after until I became a Believer. Since then, they both have become Believers and my dad and I have reconciled.

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