Women stood in worship and raised their voices to God. The song spoke of upstretched hands, and I raised mine high. But I couldn’t keep them elevated. Weakness pulled stronger than my desire and the weight drew downward. How much longer could I keep my arms up in praise?
You may not know this, but I’m a writer. Creating stories in my mind occupied much of my time as a child. Over the years, I’ve scribbled ideas on napkins (though that will stop considering the state of affairs with paper products—smile), notepads, corners of newspapers, and any tidbit of paper I could grab.
Thoughts swirled like dust bunnies released from captivity. Self-talk pulled me farther down with each ticking moment.
“You’re not good enough.”
“No one wants to pick you.”
“What makes you think anyone would hire you.”
“Your words don’t flow well enough.”
And the darkness tugged harder.
Another line of accusation joined.
It’s Christmas Eve morning. The lights of the tree glisten, soft music plays in the background. As is my tradition and in order to prepare my heart for Christmas, I’m sitting with a cup of tea reading the Bible chapters of the story of Jesus’s birth.
Every year, I’m struck anew by the points of both fear and obedience. Several times, angels say “Fear not” or “Do not fear.” And I smile because the only reason to speak that encouragement is because there will be reason to humanly fear.
Malls, craft fairs, web stores, and many other places are busy with people either trying to find the perfect gift for someone they love or looking for something to add to their own wish list. Online retailers make hopeful promises that orders will arrive in time for the Christmas celebration.
The words connected like a cast-iron skillet to the head.
And just as painfully, it hurt.
I've been reading Wendi Lou Lee's book of devotional thoughts from her days on Little House on the Prairie.
In one day’s entry, she talked about comparisons and how detrimental they are.
“You’re so dependent, it drives me crazy.”
“Raise your kids to be independent thinkers.”
“Why should I be dependent on anyone else? I’ve got this.”
“I want my independence.”
“A woman should never be dependent on a man.”
“God doesn’t love me. He loves the world. Not me.”
My mouth dropped open and I worked to recover from the shocking words spoken from a woman I’d known for many years.
I wish I could tell you why certain truths stick with some people and not others. Or why a fear sucks life from one once-exuberant heart but leaves another person trying to ignore it.
My stomach flipped upside down, but I wasn’t on a Ferris Wheel or a rollercoaster. A battle raged inside of me. I wanted to understand and live a good Christian life but there was a big problem.
Confusion. Frustration. Dichotomies. Perplexities. Imbalance.
I often felt like I was trying to put a puzzle together using pieces from two different boxes.
My friends planned to go to the theme park. They didn’t include me. Who had I offended?
How could she not have invited me to the party? I immediately felt unloved and unwanted.
Did the invitation for the wedding go to the wrong address? I felt sure I’d done something wrong.
Other friends spoke of a conversation they’d all shared. I hadn’t been included.
After years of living under lies and fear, I have found truth and victory in God.