I left off my last post, LOST, with Matthew 13:19 because I wanted to point out something particularly important here before I get into the next chapters of my life. It is imperative that I explain why this verse is so profound.
“When anyone hears the message about the Kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”
Why is this so profound? I asked my stepmom, Marcia, a couple of months ago what she thought was the most important thing my Dad wanted us to learn growing up. Her response was “Your dad wanted you guys to be God-fearing.” At first, when she said it, I snorted and thought, “Well, we definitely learned that.” But God poked at me to look at the meaning of God-fearing. I thought that God-fearing meant you were afraid of what God would do to you if you didn’t obey him and his twelve billion rules. As God often does, he opened my eyes to the true meaning of the words I found that God-fearing meant that we should be afraid to do life without God. Was it my Dad’s fault that Pastor and my teacher and the divorce had taught me fear? No. I didn’t understand that wording and in the events of my life, Satan would use that confusion to drive a wedge deeper and deeper between not only me and my family, but me and God. I don’t have to blame my parents because their intentions were honest and true in the beginning. The execution of those plans did not go the way they wanted. I’m not the only one of my siblings who left the Church.
My parents left Catholicism because it didn’t offer them truth. I’m not dogging the Catholic church here because I believe that one of the places that I found acceptance was within the hearts of those who held Catholic teachings to be true. If I’ve learned nothing from my time within the school system and working with other people’s children who feel just as lost as I have been, it’s that people don’t understand things in the same way. I can say one sentence to five different people and all five will come away with a different understanding based on their own feelings and interpretations and life experiences. I can’t tell you how many student support calls from teachers I have gotten where the first thing the teacher says when I walk through the door is “I’ve told him 15 times to quit doing that and he just won’t listen!” Well, yeah because that kid is not hearing in a language he understands. Kids speak in different languages as well. They don’t always just walk up and say, “Hey! I feel like crap today because my parents are fighting, and I’m scared they don’t love me anymore.” What they usually say is some version of “Get away from me! I don’t need any help from you!” or they just give you the finger or a lovely stream of curse words and maybe a kick to a desk or a classmate for emphasis. We read people and situations through our own lenses and our previous experiences (or in some cases, lack of experiences) do have impact on how we see ourselves being treated by other people.
I felt like I wasn’t loved by my parents for a very long time. It was never because they said, “Hey, Jackie, sorry we know we had you and all but this just really isn’t working out. We don’t love you so you can hang out in the family but that’s all we got for you alright?” Nobody said anything like that to me, but SATAN is a liar and I believed a narrative that wasn’t true. I can’t go back and ask Pastor why he felt the need to humiliate me in front of his whole school because he died awhile back, but even if I had been able to ask I doubt he would remember. You might be saying to yourself, “Yeah, but that’s a terrible thing to do to a kid. He should have known better. He was a man of God for crying out loud!” And I would agree with you. I used that as my narrative for a long time. It was the only thing that made sense. It was the only thing that made sense until I grew up and hurt people with my own actions when I thought I was doing the right thing that I began to see that good people hurt people too. He might have just been a jerk, but that is not my judgement to make.
My parents gave me a solid foundation of God but love never came across as part of that. I’m sure if they had known what it would do to me as a person, they would have done things differently. We can’t go back in time and change the choices that we make that hurt the people we love the most, as much as I wish we could. I genuinely believe that the saying, “God never gives us more than we can handle” is the truth. In November of last year, I had had enough. I was done. I had nothing left. But God used the Pandemic to show me I could have stopped my brokenness at any time I wanted. All I had to do was tell him “God, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t walk around acting like I’m fine when I am dead on the inside. I don’t know what I need, but it is not this.” As soon as I was ready to look at my pain OUTSIDE of my anger at the world, God took my misery. All I had to do was admit that I had it and that I needed him to take it because I couldn’t carry it anymore. He’d have taken it earlier, but I refused to ask. Does my past still hurt? Of course. Some parts of it always will. Some of my pain is as engrained in me as the color of my eyes. The difference now is that every single thing I went through was necessary for me to experience, to be hurt by, and to live through in order to be good at what he called me to do. I made the choices that took me down roads he never intended for me to go, but that doesn’t mean he left me there alone. I spent most of my life yelling at God like one of my students and telling him “Get away from me! I don’t need your help!”
In the book, Wholeness, Pastor Roberts talks about the different areas that crack our view of the world. This can be from abuse, or an unexpected loss, really any number of things can distort the way we see the world around us.
He says, “The problem with having a marred world view (not whole) is that you miss the beauty if you don’t process these things. This is compounded by fear, fear keeps you disabled, you are scared to try new and different things. Even if something is good you won’t see it because you expect negative outcomes. No longer drawn to good things, you attract bad because you only know how to look for negatives.)
Let’s face facts here. None of us have escaped some sort of pain in this world. If my story doesn’t make sense to you and you don’t understand it then I am happy for you. Honestly. I’m glad you have never been at a point you felt you were nothing but pain and boiling rage. Does that mean you can’t relate to anything I’m saying? No. When something hurts your feelings it cracks who you are. You may not see it but it shows up in the choices you make, the people you surround yourself with, and the way you view yourself that nobody else can see. If you don’t learn to rewrite your narrative to see the highest possible thought about another person you really are only doing yourself the same disservice that I did.
“Wholeness brings healthy perspectives. Unprocessed pain will always be ill processed pain.” Roberts says. “In order to heal, reimagine motives from other angles.” I can’t tell you how deeply I hope that if you are reading my story because you feel like you are dead on the inside that you listen to me when I say this. Refusing to forgive someone who hurt you does damage to YOU and not to them. I used to get frustrated with this line of thinking because I didn’t know how to forgive. When I rewrote my narrative it made more sense and I could begin to offer forgiveness not only to the people in my life who hurt me, but to myself for taking on a pain I didn’t ask for.
If this is you and you need more information than I was able to put here please feel free to contact me on either of my Facebook pages or through my personal number or email if you have it. I may not have the answers you need and I am in no way a counselor or someone who is equipped to handle your life, but I have connections to some seriously AMAZING human beings that can help you find your answers.