“This is the story of how Much-Afraid escaped from her Fearing relatives and went with the Shepherd to the High Places where “perfect love casts out fear.”
“Hinds Feet on High Places”, Hannah Hurnard
When we are young, we have such a narrowed perspective. As small children we tend to learn and see things as being black or white, right or wrong.
As young adults, we begin to push against the simplicity of that perspective.
We experience betrayal and disappointment.
We recognize the frailty of humanity.
We understand that truth can be manipulated without being completely distorted. We learn the power of nuance, and so on.
Thus begins the long journey of stumbling our way through the various colors, shades, and shadows of life.
“There was, however, another even greater trouble in her life. She was a member of the Family of Fearings, and her relatives were scattered all over the valley, so that she could never really escape them. An orphan, she had been brought up in the home of her aunt, poor Mrs. Dismal Forebodings, with her two cousins Gloomy and Spiteful and their brother Craven Fear, a great bully who habitually tormented and persecuted her in a really dreadful way. ….(Until) one dreadful day they laid before her the family dictum that she must immediately marry her cousin Craven Fear and settle down respectably among her own people. If she refused to do this of her own free will, they threatened to use force and compel her.”
“Hinds Feet on High Places”
The process of chronicling my testimony has been rather like looking through an old family album of black and white photographs adhered by those little corner stickers used to hold the picture in place. It makes me think of my lineage; of where I came, and from whom I come.
Oh, how I long to better understand the journey made by those who came before me, their lives and struggles and experiences. For just as surely as my experiences have shaped my life and influenced how I parented (and therefore impacted my children), an understanding of the experiences of my grandparents and parents lays the groundwork for empathy, and releases forgiveness to do its work.
“It took me a long time to get to this place of understanding, but I now know that the people who inflicted the most pain on my young soul were each dealing with their own family histories and experiences as best they could. The truth is, when you put broken and wounded people together in a relationship – you usually get a big ol’ mess that often spills out onto others. I should know, because for a long time, I was broken and wounded … a big ol’ mess just waiting for a place to happen.” ~But God
Picking up where I left off at Week 23, I think my teenage years were fairly typical. The dreams had stopped by then, and I had safely tucked all memories of them away. I discovered a passion for music and was active in school and church choir. I started working part time. I got my first car. All pretty normal stuff.
But underneath all this normalcy was a low-boiling anger towards both my parents. By the time I hit my teens, whatever passion they once felt towards each other had degraded to a sort of platonic friendliness. Sadly, I do not recall ever seeing my parents kiss or embrace, and more oft than not there was a very tangible presence of hostility emanating from my mom towards my dad. I think he put up with it as a form of doing penance, and perhaps justifiably so. But it made for a very prickly environment, and the absence of affection in the house left gaping holes in my young heart that begged to be filled.
I was incredibly lonely inside, and for hungry acceptance. And so by the sage old age of 14, I had started to date. [Yipes!! In hindsight, that just makes me cringe. I had absolutely no business dating that young, that naïve -– but of course when you’re 14 you think you have the wisdom of Solomon.]
At 14 ½, I met “M”, who would turn out to be my first husband. I’ll pick up more on that next week but for now invite you to read a little more about the desperation that was driving me..
“I have loved you with an everlasting love – out of faithfulness I have drawn you close. And so it shall be again, My virgin Israel; I will build you up, and you will be rebuilt. ” (Jeremiah 31:3-4, The Voice translation)
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