This afternoon I had tea with a good friend, and in the midst of our conversation a specific memory was brought up from my childhood:
I was standing in the back pew of my childhood church, my Mother to my left along with my two younger sisters, my Father up front playing the penny whistle alongside my Grandmother who was playing the piano during worship.
I remember the smoothness of the pews, how I loved to slide the length of them on my bum. And the bright red hymnals, found in the little shelf hung on the back of the pew in front of ours. I can recall the sun shining in the tall sanctuary windows, the birds singing, the fresh green grass. It was spring.
My bleach blonde hair was pushed aside from my forehead. I’m almost positive it was a little messy, my Mother unable to keep me still for enough time to make sure it was properly brushed. I can’t remember what I was wearing, but I’m sure my favourite rubber boots were on my feet.
I can recall the twinkle of carefree joy shining in my dark hazel eyes as I sang out from the depths of my heart during worship. I remember feeling carefree, joyful, full of childlike innocence.
I loved to sing. My Mother tells numerous stories of me singing to strangers, to passersby in the grocery store, to myself as I walked the woods behind out little house. I would sing children’s songs that my parents taught me. I would sing bits and pieces of the hymns we sang in church. And of course, like any little child, I would sing the words that came from my heart and mind, not caring that my songs were silly and didn’t make sense.
While singing from my heart that morning at church, I remember hearing laughter. I remember turning my head to the right to see who was laughing, and finding that it was a family friend laughing at no one else but me. I’m sure it was not a mean laughter. In fact I’m almost positive she was laughing with joy, finding me and my singing cute and refreshing. But I can recall the feeling of shame that came over me, how I all of a sudden became self-conscious and afraid. That was the moment that I stopped singing.
In talking with my friend this afternoon, I shared how that moment was such significant moment in my life. It introduced me to the fear of what others thought of me, to the fear of not being good enough. From that moment on, I was self-conscious, shy, and fearful of stepping out.
That moment affected so many areas of my life. Growing up I was afraid of making friends because I was afraid that I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t good enough for them. I would shake and sweat any time that I was put in a position of being the center of attention, fearing that I would make a fool of myself. I was afraid to love people, to let them love me, because I was afraid that they wouldn’t like what they saw, afraid that I would be rejected.
From that moment on I feel that I lost something significant: my childlike innocence and freedom to be who my Creator made me to be. For so many years I was held in the bondage that fear brings. And let me tell you, it has been a long, hard road regaining that childlike innocence, that freedom to be who I was meant to be. BUT, our God is faithful. He can restore what was once broken and stolen from the enemy. He gently, patiently and lovingly leads us through the healing process, mending our broken hearts, restoring us to whom He intended us to be.
Do you have any memories/stories like this? Maybe you are searching for healing, maybe you are in the process of being healed, or maybe you have been set free. Either way, I would love to hear your story, to encourage you, to walk alongside you.
Friends, don’t forget that you are beautiful, you are loved, you are valuable, and you are 100% worth it. Don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.
I love you!