“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them … all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.”
These are the words I was raised on. They flowed through my mother’s milk. They burned in my ears and in my dreams. You must make yourself worthy of the discriminating love of Almighty God. Love is temporary and easily lost. Especially the holy and unblemished love of God.
The fear was a constant companion. Always there was a shoulder to look over. Rights and wrongs painstakingly combed through. Was that bad enough for me to be left behind in the Rapture? Have I been adequately punished for the unrighteousness of which I am made? There was no way to know for sure. Because this…
I am through and through a worthless piece of trash and the only thing I can hope for is to throw myself upon the mercy of a God who’s ear I can only hope to earn. I lived with a ridiculous fear of rejection based on my performance.
Only it turned out to not be ridiculous in the slightest.
With barely a backward glance, all 7 of us were systematically signed away. Ages 17 on down to 8. Over a span of about 2 years. I grieve for everyone who has looked across a courthouse table and watched as their flesh and blood gave them up. Threw them away. For the saving of my soul. I had become so wicked that God could no longer reach me through my birth parents. Their holinesses were at a loss. I could not be saved any longer by their piety. I was 16.
While my life improved incredibly at this point, the wounds remained. Scars formed.
I has learned that love is temporary. While a part of me knows that is utter bullshit, an ever-growing part of me, the me that spent 16 years failing to gain a parent’s unconditional affection is not sure. I want to be sure. I want to claim that chapter over. I want to be done with it. I want to not feel the sudden and unexplained surges of fear. I would like to breeze through my day with normal worries and everyday difficulties. Without the bottom falling out with no notice.
I fear my adoptive family will be sorry they let a tempest into their lives. I fear my husband will suddenly reach a limit he didn’t know he had. I fear my friends will find me just too hard to love. That my insecurity will be too ugly. That my neediness will suffocate my people. That they will be washed away in the flood of my tears.
Because I learned that love is not forever. It does not conquer quite everything. I can be too much. I can be not enough.
I open the Word of God and I to fight to hear His loving voice over the din of condemnation. I struggle to believe that He is not Who I learned Him to be. I am up to my eyeballs in battle.
I don’t want to make excuses to the people I hurt with my brokenness. I have some reasons. But reasons are excuses. I could have, should have… Any number of things.
I almost never know when it’s going to grab me by the heel. By the heart. A word. A phrase. The 1611 NKJ version being recited. A bit of Christianese wielded flippantly. Any reminder that love is not everlasting. That I can fail to keep holding onto enough brownie points.
Not that I believe anything other than Jesus is my life. But everything else… Everyone else. It’s just a matter of time. I will be weighed and found wanting. Or worse I am sabotaging all of it.
Some days I see His goodness.
On days like today, I try to remind myself I will see it again.
And I think I understand this passage just a little now.
I am His little one. And I have been made to stumble.
And even if my fingers start slipping, He is still holding onto me.