It is 11:30 am, on a Wednesday. My palms are sweaty, my stomach is nervous, and I am scared. My fears are numerous… being judged, criticized, losing relationships…just to name a few. I have no idea how many “chapters” I will share or even how my story will end; but I do know that I have become so tired. I am exhausted from keeping the mask on for all these years. The last two years have been the worst of my life so far. The six years prior to that have not been pretty either, and now I see that I have been hurting and confused for quite some time.
I attended Women of Joy this past weekend. I sat there and listened to numerous testimonies from women who have, and still are, broken. I purchased a copy of one of the speakers books, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I have only made it through the first two chapters, but those two chapters have created two full pages of notes for me. Lysa writes, “As long as I suspect that honesty’s intention is to expose me and hurt me, it will always feel like a dangerous thing.” A couple pages later, she shares her new perspective on honesty…
“Honesty isn’t trying to hurt me. It’s trying to heal me.”
So, here I am. Sharing my first chapter… how I perceived what was going on in my life as a young girl and how I felt at the time. I am not sharing this for shock value, affirmation, or to silence the gossip. This is not to point fingers or blame others for where I am at today. This is my first step in healing myself… and maybe for someone else out there who thinks they are alone and no one can understand what they are going through .
Here’s my story……
I remember lying in my water bed, listening. I had never heard my parents argue before, and I’m not sure I had even heard my mom cry at that point. My mom started saying words like “welfare” and “divorce”. I was old enough to know that those were not positive words to be saying. I silently started to cry; and soon those silent tears turned into sobs.
The house we lived in didn’t have doors on the bedrooms. My dad walked by and heard me. I remember him coming into my room, but I don’t remember if any words were spoken. He left to get me some tissue and I got up and walked into the living room. There sat my mom, on the couch in her nightgown, crying. I curled up on her lap and thought ‘something bad is happening’. I was 9 years old the night my whole world changed.
My life, as I knew it, had been perfect up to that point. I don’t recall my parents ever arguing, and we had seemed to be like a normal family. We had moved quite a bit. We had lived in three different homes in the same town, had made a brief move to Florida, only to end up moving back to Indiana to a different town. We lived with my Aunt and Uncle for a short time and eventually my parents found a home to rent. My dad worked quite a bit, but I still remember family outings. My parents used to love shooting bows, and we would go to several bow shoots or the archery range. Our weekends were usually spent at a close family friends house, where my sister and I would run around outside or listen to all the hunting stories being shared around the kitchen table.
I have a few memories that I hold dear to me of my dad when we were still a family of four. My dad’s favorite T.V. shows were Jeopardy and Perry Mason. I used to sit in my daddy’s lap as he would watch Jeopardy, eating a bowl of Raisin Bran, and listen to him answer most of the questions correctly. I remember thinking that my daddy was the smartest man on the planet.
The next couple memories I do not remember, but they are stories my dad loves to share. Apparently, I would refuse to go to sleep until my daddy would go to bed. He would have to sit and rock me until I finally fell asleep. (Interesting to note that this same behavior of rocking myself to sleep carried over into my adult years and onto my oldest son). The next story involves a pink bunny. This was not just any pink bunny. This was my ‘security blanket’. I was never without it and there are several pictures to prove it! We had gone to the same family friends house we usually went to most weekends. I, of course, had taken my pink bunny along; but somehow had forgotten to bring it home that evening. My dad says, in the middle of the night, as he was sleeping, he could sense someone watching him in bed. He awoke to seeing two little eyes staring at him…. My dad drove the twenty minutes, in the middle of the night, to get me that bunny!! I still have it too…. I just can’t seem to part with it.
I was a true daddy’s girl. I thought he hung the moon and could do no wrong. He was smart, strong, handsome, and I thought I was the luckiest little girl to have a daddy like that. I always thought I was special, maybe even his favorite if I am being honest; because he never spanked me (unlike my sisters), and I always would get the special kiss…on the forehead.
No one could have predicted how my life would turn out after the night my world changed. I know I sure could not have. It is amazing how choices made by individuals can start a snowball effect and change a little nine year old girls perspective. That choice changed my view on the world , my daddy, who I thought I was on the inside, and eventually my self worth…..
Living by His grace,