January 14, 2013
Last week one of the topics of study was parenting styles. Each person in the class was asked to choose the type of parenting style they were reared under and then get with the group of others in the same parenting style, discuss quickly what this parenting style looked like in real life, from the perspective of actions and words of the parents and then how that affected us as children. Then make a presentation to the class as to what these looked like in their home. There were 6 choices. I must have looked over the descriptions of the parents 5 or 6 times and not found what I would have chosen as their parenting style, so then I looked at the descriptions of the child reared under that style and with tears in my eyes as I read through the list found myself immediately.
1. Prolonged separation/distance from parent.
2. Absense of something.
3. Does not feel important.
4. May not recognize the nature of difficulties.
5. Suffer from loneliness yet keep people at a distance.
6. Lacks feeling of identity, "Who am I."
7. May become performance oriented; doing.
8. Unable to attach; comes to exploit others.
9. Demonstrates lack of conscience/guilt.
10. Drift in and out of relationships.
11. Unrealistic standard for parent.
12. Wants to be "mothered."
13. Overvalues sex.
Not all of the above described me, however, enough that I knew that was the group that I belonged to. As I looked at that list over and over, I remembered that teenager and young adult. I remembered the way her mind worked. I remembered that she felt alone. I remembered that she thought if she accomplished enough or worked hard enough that she would realize a sense of self. I remembered how she could move for the umpteenth time with her family and how she wouldn't let herself miss her old friends. I remembered her using people for what they brought to her life. I remember her making choices that were wrong and not feeling any guilt over them. If she didn't look out for herself, no one else would.
I sat in class and thought to myself, I look back at that girl as though I know her, I can see her face, I can feel her desperation and darkness, I can feel her fear of quiet, I can feel her pain but she is a distant memory, the darkness has been filled with the Light.
Where did she go? How does one go from being unable to attach, guiltless and empty person to someone who is full of God's love for herself and others. It is God. How did God create in me a new heart? How did he mend what was broken? How did he instill love and kindness? How did he help me be able to believe in myself and in others?
I would have to say that God has worked in me a miracle. It was His word that transformed me. I did not know 12 years ago when I took my first Beth Moore Bible study that not only would I developed a feverish love for God's word, nor did I know that I would find myself healed through hours of Bible study, the homework for the studies, prayer and listening to Beth among others share how God had worked in their lives.
I have prayed for God to help me love. I have prayed for God to help me be merciful. I have prayed for God to fill me with His strength. I have prayed for God to be where I get my identity from. He has been gracious to me. 20 years have gone by since that broken little bird, who had no where to go, was lifted by God to a new place and a new home. 20 years of taking one crevice in her heart at a time and gently filling it with His truth to not only mend, but to recreate. The fingertip of God through His spirit has held my heart in his warm embrace to grow me into someone who still has much growing to do, but I can now love, I can now have faith, I can now have hope. It has been an amazing 20 years. To God be the glory.
I often times wish that I didn't feel so deeply when the past is scratched. However, if I did not feel the painful twinges, my immense gratitude to God for His mercy and for the lessons I have learned along the way might not be so full. The dance that God and I have experienced together is worth all I have experienced, may one step never go to waste.
He is my beloved, and in Him I am a new creation. God keep me close. In the old hymn...May I never outlive my love for Thee.