An Ordinary Girl An Unordinary Life
She was bold and unafraid of anyone; willing to fight at the drop of a hat. She had a slight build, a quirky nose, bright eyes, a big smile, a quick wit and a mouth that dripped sarcasm with every other breath. She was gentle of heart with a bone crushing
There once was a girl who was the oldest of four children. She could have been any girl but she wasn't. She was special but she didn't know it at the time. This girl believed that being able to survive an in home pedophile, being abandoned by her father, learning to live with an alcoholic mother, surviving life on the streets, overcoming teenage domestic violence, fighting through and misunderstanding the battle of sexual orientation, suicide attempts, stepping into drug use and teen prostitution was an everyday affair. She did not understand that her response to these things were preparing her for a life she could not begin to imagine.
She went on to drop out of high school at 14 only to be shipped off down south to live with extended family. There she quickly learned where the drugs were, where the men were and how to keep living the lie that said everything was ok and normal. She was a smart girl with a knack for writing and the ability to read through a book within a few hours in a day. She went on to graduate from high school a year early with no after school homework assistance or program to help the underprivileged. She chose not to walk the aisle for graduation because there was in her mind no one interested in attending on her behalf. She had long since moved out from living with extended family and convinced a number of young men and women to care for her. There was nothing wrong with this in her mind because that's just the way life was. You did what you had to do to survive.
She was bold and unafraid of anyone; willing to fight at the drop of a hat. She had a slight build, a quirky nose, bright eyes, a big smile, a quick wit and a mouth that dripped sarcasm with every other breath. She was gentle of heart with a bone crushing exterior that belied the truth underneath. She was forceful and charismatic; she carried a huge presence that outweighed her small build. When she opened her mouth people listened. She did not stop to wonder why. She was used to people doing what she asked or told them. She did not understand that this was evidence of who she would become, what she was called to do and how she would be called to lead. Her personality left little room for the foolishness and stupidity of people. She had a low tolerance for anyone who displayed ignorance, rudeness or selfishness.
This girl had big dreams but never understood how they could ever come to pass. Thankfully her mother believed in education and fought through her own issues to ensure she had the opportunity to learn. This girl was known in every local bar and by every local drug dealer. Her mother had a credit line with each of them. Many days this girl did not attend school because she was making the rounds with her mother and holding on to the cash. Late at night this girl would dream about a different life and make up stories in her head about the future. She thought for a long time that education was the answer to all of her problems and that like a magic wand her problems would dissolve once she completed college.
This girl finished high school down south, went back to the city and promptly fell headlong into an extended time of drug use. Amazingly she came out of that period, realized she needed a change and went into the military. She was married within a year and over the next three years gave birth to three boys. Her problems never went away but she learned how to mask the pain and continue to survive. She kept being drawn to church but did not understand why. Whenever she asked too many questions about God she was made to understand she should shut up without ever being told to be quiet. She felt empty and lonely every day and could find nothing to fill the wide gaping hole in her soul.
No one ever guessed how badly she was hurting. No one asked. No one offered to help. It was probably her fault. You see she was so good at seeming to have it all together that no one thought she needed any help. She was used to caring for everyone except herself and she was damn good at it. So good at it that even if help was offered she would not have known how to accept it, but she spent many nights silently crying herself to sleep. She relived her life over and over again wondering why there was so much pain and hurt. She was constantly trying to figure out what she could change about herself to make her life easier and less painful.
One day she was given the opportunity to invite Jesus into her life. She accepted the invitation and believed that her life would dramatically change. She was right of course; it did change. Poor, silly, uninformed girl. No one told her that the forces of hell would be unleashed against her and that everything she had buried for years would begin to leak and then spill the hell out making a complete mess everywhere. No one prepared her for the small minded, judgemental, ultra conservative, single perspective christians she would encounter; and certainly no one explained that the church was an institution that had been infiltrated by satan thousands of years ago. It was unfortunate for this earnest young woman who had four small boys at the time and was divorced that she was so uneducated in the hierarchal system that controlled the church. She was totally unprepared for church politics.
She came in speaking the truth that she saw with her eyes, heard with her spirit and felt within her soul. In a short time she was earmarked, stereotyped and rejected. She was so earnest for God that she did not realize what was happening until it was done. Over the years she learned how to protect herself in a different way. She did not openly fight but she started a prayer group of intercessors. She prayed and prayed and prayed. The strange thing was that the problems in her life seemed to multiply instead of decrease. During this time she got married again and had two more children. Still the problems increased. She could not figure it out. She tried talking to the people in charge but most did not have time for her. She got the feeling that men thought she wanted them and women just did not like her. She wanted to scream and yell. All she sought was answers from people who seemed to know more about God than she did.
This young woman was desperate for change. She could feel the tidal wave of suppressed issues rising again to the top just waiting with anticipation to overflow again. She was afraid. She tried to convince herself that the war she seemed to be in was normal that every Christian experienced a multitude of trials and that she was not doing anything wrong to warrant the attacks. She never quite believed that because she could find no one to validate what she thought in her heart and believed she heard in her spirit. At some level this young lady began to believe that the words spoken to her when she was young were true; "that she would never amount to anything and no one would want her". She had fought against believing those hurtful things all of her life, but now even being a Christian was not enough to stop the pain.
One day the flood came and she drowned. She did not die but she could no longer live the same. Something within her died that day. A part of her faith was crushed and demolished but she vowed not to give up. There was something, a wisp of belief that encouraged her to keep believing in spite of what her life looked like; so she did but it became apparent over time that she was wore out with trying to keep the faith. She became discouraged, disheartened and completely depleted by life. Somewhere along the way she mostly gave up but kept going through the motions. For some reason she could not completely let go of her relationship with God. She kept talking to him even when she did not think he gave a damn or was interested.
She told God everything about him that was unfair and wrong. She made demands and issued ultimatums then took them back and told him she quit. This went on for years. In the meantime life ho hummed along and she just accepted that her life would always be difficult, strange and overwhelming. None of the prayers of intercession seemed to be working, decreeing and declaring sounded empty, walking in faith was exhausting and reading the word felt like her toenails were being pulled out one by one without anesthesia. She kept on going and going and going. Eventually, she found ways to cope and manage and still be in control of her life.
She was tired of seeking deliverance, healing and restoration for things she was not allowed to talk about over the pulpit let alone in small group classes. She figured out that most Christians wanted to be left alone within the mess of their own lives rather than find a way to freedom. She mused that perhaps they knew something she did not. No matter how hard she tried she could only settle for that type of thinking for very short periods of time. Eventually God came after her. He was always pursuing her, hot on her trail. She tried hard to ignore him but he was relentless. She was confounded; why wouldn't he just leave her alone. Her life was a mess, internally and externally, many people even close friends had decided long ago that she must be doing something wrong to suffer so much. She just wanted peace.
God wouldn't leave her alone. He would speak to her all the time and then suddenly be quiet for no apparent reason. He always seemed to shut up when life got really, really bad. But even when he wasn't talking he was talking. Everything he had already said would repeat itself over and over again in a thousand different ways in her life. She was sick to death of being a Christian. Plum tuckered out with being friendly to nasty, back biting, judgmental folks and just wanted to be left alone. The day time was better; she would be busy at work and then with the family so she could ignore him and all of his ploys to get her attention and draw her back in.
Night time was hell. He would enter her dreams. Wake her all through the night and remind her of his constant presence. She was strong though; this girl had survived so much pain and rejection that she was sure she could outlast him. She ignored his plea for fellowship claiming that she was too tired and would meet him in the morning. She learned how to hear him without listening, to see him without watching and to feel his presence without responding. This girl's heart was tired of being hurt, rejected and having the life squeezed out of it. She was determined to prevent continued hurt at all cost. She figured that life had not gotten better with him so what was the point of living fully for him. Even though she could never bring herself to openly deny or reject him, despite being unable to completely disengage from him and unwilling to completely sever ties with him she determined to keep a part of her heart for herself and to never let him in again. He had proven that he could not be fully trusted.
She wanted answers, she wanted truth and she demanded change in exchange for his requested devotion. Within one year her life went from bad to beyond worse. It seemed like every single demon from hell was sent a personal invitation with her name on it. The invite was filled with explicit instructions to destroy her life and her faith no matter what it took. She failed every test sent her way, gave in to every temptation that hit her doorstep and seemed to live up to everything she despised in other people. Every week there was a new attack on a different area of her life; every week she found herself falling farther and farther away. She couldn't pray, couldn't fast; and everything she thought she knew became unfamiliar. She was beyond a mess. One morning she decided that she was done; completely and forever done with Him.
This girl that had survived so much and overcome so many obstacles was tired as hell and had no fight left in her. She was wrung out and hung to dry. She felt beaten to a pulp with no energy left to even reach for a Tylenol. She was weary and burnt out; tired of living what felt like a lie and sick of preaching and teaching to people who didn't want to hear it. She felt like a hypocrite whose life did not seem to reveal the glory of God anywhere and was sure people would be filled with glee to see their initial predictions about her come true. She did not care anymore. This girl was sick and darn tired of trying to live up to standards that she had not set. She was disgusted with trying to fight against the stereotypes forced upon her. She was depleted by the effort to continue encouraging others while watching her own life disintegrate..
This girl walked away from God that day. This girl was and is me.
I will let others down. I will hurt people. I will make mistakes. I will at times be overcome by temptation. I will prove over and over again to you that I am human and while you may not like it; and might in fact demand I live a perfect life because of my Christianity, I am so thankful that I no longer feel compelled to live up to a standard God did not set. I have learned that people usually want me to live up to an image they struggle to attain themselves. I no longer have the strength or desire to create any sort of image for myself or for others. I can tell you that it is a great relief. It is more than a breath of fresh air to release control of my life and its outcome into the hands of one more capable than I. His process still drives me nutty but that is a part of my journey as well.