Ever have one of those moments where you feel like you're a little kid again? A scent, a sight, a sound-- something that takes you back to those days gone by?
I was there all last week.
We went on vacation, but it was more than vacation to me. It was a walk into the past of a very insecure little girl, and the memory of that little girl was nowhere near as timid as she was. The memory of that little girl tried to override me again and again, and it was a struggle at times to remember that she was no more.
Now, don't read too far into this-- I had a rather Pollyanna-ic childhood. No serious trauma. No broken home or great tragedies. I had a wonderful upbringing, and I thank my parents for that.
Sleeping under that peeling pink wallpaper in my grandmom's home just brought me back to the time when I questioned everything. You think too hard about everything, my mom used to say to me. I was so shy-- I was so timid that I felt a closer connection to Laura Ingalls and Huck Finn than the girl at the desk next to me. I was afraid of everything.
Most of all, I was afraid of God. The word fear always seemed to be used when God was mentioned in my childhood. The preacher never failed to remind us that God smited man for his disobedience. My grandmom never failed to remind us that God punished the wicked-- her absolute favorite word. My mom was even quick to call on the tales of God's wrath to keep her children in line. In our little country church, come to think of it, everyone was quick to jump on the God-can-take-you-down-in-a-second bandwagon.
I saw you in a pair of shorts at the park last week, Bobbi Jo. How do you think God liked that?
Your hair is your crown of glory from God, Bobbi Jo. It is never to be cut or else the fear of God is to be in you.
Your parents are sending you straight to hell, Bobbi Jo, having that television in your home. You better pray and ask that he spare you from the wrath they will face.
Your brother is sick, Bobbi Jo, to punish your parents for their wickedness. Your father needs to have you in church every Sunday-- not just the ones he doesn't work on.
Here I was-- thirty-two years old-- a woman who grew from that to know and love my Jesus, and as the train whistled outside the walls of my grandmom's home, the doubt and the fear started to creep back in. If I did die before I wake, would my soul really be His, or did I not live up to His expectations? Did I somehow, once again, screw it all up? I'm such a mess-- how am I ever going to possibly live up to what I'm supposed to be?
Of course, I screwed it up. I do every day. The good thing is, when I came to really know Christ a few years ago, that was all wiped clean. That little girl-- she's no longer me. And God doesn't want me to be like her. To doubt if I'm good enough. To ask why I should even try-- I'm not going to get it right anyway. To FEAR Him in any other way but reverence.
As I snuggled under the blankets of the same bed I spent many summers in as a child, I talked to my God and saw that without that little girl I wouldn't be the person I am today. It's not about the length of my hair or the fact that I now have a ring in my nose and never, ever wear a skirt. It's not about the fact that I'm in church every Sunday or that I like the occasional WB show and let my son watch Teen Titans. It's not about me at all. It's all about Him. It's all about what He did for me when He went to that cross and took my discretions with Him. I laid in that bed, and I praised Him for reminding me of that with some peeling pink wallpaper and a train whistle.