If you happen to be s subscriber to my blog you will find a common theme (I hope); a theme of healing and deliverance; of HOPE. I am “in progress” (as Bill Johnson says; he’s the pastor of Bethal in Redding, California and is quoted in this post on Honor) which means I am walking out my healing.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. And we had run out of toilet paper in our bathroom so I walked down the hall to the other bathroom to get some and then I laid down in our guest bedroom for a while. I don’t want to talk poorly of the Hubs but he’s a noisy sleeper sometimes and sometimes he plays keyboard or guitar in his sleep….I am not kidding. He will hold my hand and totally in his sleep be playing an instrument. I am glad he’s gifted and obviously eats and SLEEPs music but I can’t sleep when I’m a piano. And the bed in our guest room is the one from when I was single and it is really, really comfortable. I was kind of dozing off except (my friend Alice told me this when she visited) it was really cold. I guess where the AC vent is, it must blow directly on the bed…it is a small room.
Since I wasn’t sleeping, I started praying. I began thinking about a situation that has been kind of nagging at me…something about it bugged me but I didn’t really know what, yet. Let me preface this by saying, God will often remind me of something to “explain” something else. For example, I might meet someone new and they may remind me of someone else even thought they do not look like the other person or act like the other person, however, the anointing on both individuals is very similar. God has used this form of communication with me to help me to identify and declare spiritual callings on people’s lives. It is one of those personal ways God speaks to me. In a similar way, there are times when I meet someone and they remind me of some event that took place in my life and that event maybe positive or negative. I was laying there praying and thought about someone I know and how that person treated me. On one had, this person reminds me of several “brothers” I’ve had in my life.
I’m going to take a little rabbit trail here. (Do you like that I warn you?) When my mom was pregnant with my sister, Judy, I was 4 years old. My parents told me that I was going to have a brother. The doctor had don’t this new thing called a sonogram and assured them (after having two girls) that they were having a boy. They told me I would have a brother. I didn’t want another sister. I had one and she didn’t do much (of course, now I am so thankful for my sister, Jenny but at the time…I was 4 and she was 2 and couldn’t even ride a tricycle!). When Judy was born, (and I vividly remember this) I was at my Mam-maw’s house and my dad called on the phone. I guess I was staying with Pap-paw because Mam-maw was at the hospital with them. Anyway, my Mam-maw and Pap-paw had this high bar in their tiny kitchen (for those of you in the family…this was pre-renovation) and us kids loved climbing on those high barstools. The old rotary phone hung at the end of the bar on the wall. I remember sitting on one of the bar stools talking on the phone with my dad (I felt really important because I had my very own phone call) and him telling me, “You have a sister.” And me telling him, “You have to send it back because you told me I would have a brother. I don’t want a sister, I want a brother.” I cried. Seriously, I cried tears. My dad told me we couldn’t send her back. My point is, I longed for a brother…even at a young age, my heart cried out for a brother. Through the years, God has send me several brothers.
Back to the story. I was thinking about this friend of ours and something so insignificant that happened and how it made me feel. On one hand, I see the potential for this man to be a real brother in our lives but this little insignificant exchange and how it left me feeling, makes me think the relationship, though it might be worth developing may also include a “sting”. I started asking myself, why would I feel “stung” over the exchange. I had even mentioned (very passing) to the Hubs. The Hubs is really good at cutting to the chase with personalities. He pegs people. I’m not sure he knows he’s doing it sometimes. He said, “Yep, I said something to him about this and he looked at me like he didn’t ‘get it’ but it was funny.” Basically, and we all know someone like this…they will tease with you but when you tease back, somehow you end up look like the “bad guy” or they just look at you like you are stupid; somehow you are the one who ends up looking stupid or feeling like a jerk. Sometimes it isn’t the person but outside dynamics going on.
I will give you an example…this happened years ago. (last night, I remembered this incident too) I was part of a singles group and the pastor, who was a personal friend of mine, called a meeting right after church. I don’t remember what it was for. The pastor was usually a really fun guy so I was joking around with him and he wasn’t in a joking mood that day…instead of asking everyone to be quiet (maybe did…maybe I wasn’t listening and maybe sort of deserved what happened) he mimicked me in a very mocking way that embarrassed me in front of everyone. Probably, no one remembers but I sounded really stupid coming out of his mouth. Which made me feel like I probably sounded stupid all the time and I didn’t realize it….then I started thinking maybe I sound stupid to everyone all the time.
The fact that I remembered that story and felt sad about it made me think “why would I remember something so insignificant?” When I think about it, this wasn’t the first time a “brother” had caused me hurt that led me to feeling so poorly about myself. I had to keep digging to the root of the this problem. The problem wasn’t the incident in the lobby of the church. It went farther back than that….it went all the way back to childhood.
Growing up, I had some surrogate brothers. In hindsight, one of them was kind of a bully. He would do things to try to make others feel badly about themselves so he could feel better about himself. Back when I was a kid, parents didn’t look at bullying like we do today. To me there has to be a balance. When the Boy first came to us, there was a boy (younger than him) in Sunday school who would push, shove, bite and get on top of him. He would cry and run to me when we saw this kid. I told the Boy, “You have to say ‘NO!’ and tell him him to leave you alone.” These days he isn’t afraid to tell anyone “NO!”. I’m a proud mama because I will not raise a victim. However, I also started helping out with nursery and I taught that kid not to treat our Boy or anyone else that way. People are afraid to tell other people’s kids anything….I’m not. If a parent will not tell their child to stop doing something to another child, I don’t mind telling them. I’ve even told an unsupervised child at Chick-fil-a to stop bullying. Parents need to step up. In any case, when I was growing up, I would tell my “brother’s” parent and even my parents what was going on. The answers I got were sadly not enough. One of his parent’s said, “Stand up to him.” (What and tell him to stop? Like I hadn’t done that already), “Fight back” (Hit him? he’s a few years older than me and I hit like a girl) or “Boys will be boys” (which I think should only apply to boys getting dirty or picking up bugs or something like that). My parents were trying to be good Christians and they say, “Turn the other cheek.” I am pretty sure my mom also told me to fight back and I tried but again, what does that mean to a 5 year old? Personally, if a child treated our boy like that, I wouldn’t allow him to play with that child. (That’s another blog) As I got older, even into adulthood, this “brother” would pick and tease and make fun of me and when I stood up to him, somehow, I always walked away feeling stupid and “not cool” (for lack of a better description). In reflecting on this, it is interesting that he has always thought of himself as “not smart” but he would call me a “nerd” because I like to read and I knew about computers. In years to come, the very things he made fun of me about were things that God used in my life to advance His Kingdom. (Wow, even as I am writing this and I am seeing it a little differently).
My serious love for eduction, reading, computers, writing…it has all been used for Kingdom purposes. I am a fun person…I love to joke around to laugh and even to do some crazy things but I have struggled with the idea that others would take me too seriously and not think I was “cool”. Like everyone, I wanted to “fit in”. Later in my life, I realized that “fitting in” is more about being comfortable in your own skin than anything else. Ultimately, that bullying was an attack on who God created me to be and I fought through it but fighting through it is not the same as being whole. Wow! Let me rephrase that; Fighting through something and making it through is NOT the same thing as being whole.
I shouldn’t feel bullied or sad because a friend teased me. That’s woundedness. That is a sore spot. This brother didn’t wound me; that wound has been there for years. Childhood bullying was the root of the emotion. Now that I recognize the wound, I can be healed and that changes everything.
I can also stop “not liking” the bully. He isn’t really in my life any more. He is still a bully in some ways. When dealing with a person like him, you really only remember the last negative encounter. The last vivid encounter I remember having with him, I had just recommitted my life to Jesus Christ and I was so excited…he reminded me of a sin I had committed three years earlier that I couldn’t take back…he reminded me of it in a mocking way as if I was disqualified from being a minister of the gospel because of personal failure. I fought through that too…but still the memory is vivid.
Everyone has deep wounds that are far beyond the current hurt. In order to stop the hurt, you must identify the root and get healed. You can ask someone, “What’s your issue?” They may answer, “I am fat.” Being fat isn’t the issue…what issue caused the over-eating? What issue did you want to insulate yourself against. What are you hiding from? It’s deeper than, “I eat too much.”
Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be accepted. Everyone wants a place to belong.
Often, so often we cannot find love, acceptance or a place to belong because we have believed the bullies in our lives and we do not love, accept or belong to ourselves. And we have a very hard time believing God loves us, accepts us and that we belong to Him.
If we want to truly be who God created us to be, we must do more than “fight through” we must become whole.
Quoting scripture isn’t going to make you whole…the Word is the sword and it will cut through things but it doesn’t make us whole. We must revisit that place on our knees and allow the Holy Spirit to work.
There was another bully in my life years ago. Sadly, she was a “user” but the way she did it caused deep wounds in me. She came to our church and became my best friend through the summer (we had a swimming pool) and when school started, she decided I wasn’t “cool” and became friends with an older girl and just stopped talking to me. I was only 12. Later, she came to the school I went too and she was my friend until she found someone “cooler” and “richer”. She did this to me several times. Seriously, it was like she was following me. When I did recommit my life, my sister, Jenny, told me I would have to forgive her. I did. But every time her name came up, I had a serious bitter taste in my mouth. Jenny also told me I had to believe she could change. I didn’t believe. One day in prayer, God brought it up. (By the way, God’s plan if for our wholeness too…He won’t relent. He will keep bringing it up until you deal with it.) He brought it up because I had another “sister” friend who discarded me and it felt “the same”. As I started praying, my prayer was, “God please help me to forgive her.” That is all I could pray at that time. Romans 8 says, the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. I began to go into a deep place of intercession…I felt deep groanings. It was as if I was back in the parking lot of the church I grew up in, and she was there flinging her hair (it was the 80s and she had a lot of hair) and telling me “I told you why I wasn’t going to be your friend” (I don’t remember any conversation in which she told me why she wasn’t going to be my friend…on top of having “done” something to her I was crazy because I didn’t remember her telling me what) and basically, “Stop calling me.” I was so sad because I had believed that God had sent her to be my friend. In that time of prayer, with emotions rushing back, I cried all the tears that I had bottled up over the years. And after, I could see her and not cringe and I could hear her name and not react in a snide way. I was healed. I hope that same healing for her.
Now it’s time to take this root to my Father and get my promised healing.