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Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Main Thing is to Keep the Mane thing the Main Thing

Within a few days of my youngest brother’s birth, my hair turned curly.

I had had wavy hair since I actually got hair at about age 2-1/2, but as soon as little Timmy made his appearance, those waves turned into a full head of spiral curls.

No, I didn’t get a perm.

(I actually didn’t even know what perms were until I was in my late teens and I watched my grandma do one for one of her beauty school classmates. Naturally, I didn’t think much of that idea. Curls are nice, but I’d never sit in that stench for the sake of a few curls.)

In a way, I became sort of obsessed with my hair. I wanted my hair to be very long because it’s convenient to hide behind long hair. I knew I had really beautiful hair, and if I could draw people’s attention to my hair, they wouldn’t be paying attention to the rest of my pathetic little self.

I kept that up for… several…. (like, 20) years.

I was never pushed into having long hair. I genuinely preferred it, and I would have wanted it regardless of what anybody said or thought about it. My desire for long hair had more to do with emotional/psychological issues than religious rules.

This is one of the ways that I was a stereotypical patriarchal daughter. I just sort of fell into the role, whether I realized it or not. Later, I was exposed to some erroneous doctrines that made me believe that I was living in holiness and righteousness because I had long hair, but it also made me believe that my holiness and righteousness was completely hypocritical. While I was submitting to the command to have long hair, I was rebelling because I wasn’t wearing a head covering.

These ideas did NOT come from my parents or any church we attended, although attending the patriarchal church did not help the situation at all.

For a while, I inwardly struggled with the idea that I needed to stop being rebellious and start wearing a head covering like a good, submissive Christian girl was supposed to do. Fortunately for me, my pride and ego wouldn’t allow me to actually go through with such a ridiculous notion. It would have been another thing I would have had to explain to people, and I just wanted to live a quiet, peaceful life, avoiding as much conflict as possible. So I tucked the guilt over my rebellion into a little corner of my mind and did the best I could to forget about it.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in My Story

 

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And Baby makes Five

On my 8th birthday, my parents informed me that I was going to have a new baby sister or brother in 4 months.

I was absolutely convinced that this baby was going to be the baby sister that I had always wanted.

That was the LONGEST 4 months of my life.

My brothers and I argued and fought over the gender of the baby — the boys being convinced that Baby was a boy and me being convinced that Baby was a girl.

One day, the doctor told us that based on the heartbeat, Baby was likely to turn out to be a girl.

I was triumphant.

A few weeks later, the doctor told us that based on Baby’s size, it was likely to be a boy.

The boys crowed their victory.

But time would tell.

My dreams also suggested the gender of my newest sibling. I had several dreams about this new baby, and in every dream, the baby was a boy.

Those dreams caused a lot of anxiety for me. What would I do with 4 brothers? Isn’t 3 enough for one girl?

Finally, on an overcast morning in early September, my mom grabbed her already packed overnight bag and walked the 6 blocks to the hospital.

Several hours later, my dad called to tell us to get ready to go, because he was coming home to pick us up and take us to the hospital to meet our newest little brother.

I cried.

And it wasn’t tears of joy.

Oh, yes, I was happy that my brother was here. But I was bitterly disappointed that I was surrounded by a multitude of brothers and I didn’t have anybody to do girlie stuff with.

I also cried because in some of the dreams I had had, the baby boy was sickly/ugly/malformed and I was so afraid I would go to the hospital and see a baby that was somehow imperfect.

Fortunately, those parts of the dreams didn’t happen in reality.

Baby Timmy was beautiful, in a manly sort of way. I was completely captivated and immediately decided that it was ok that he was a boy. Obviously, I still wanted a sister, but I wouldn’t have changed Timmy for anything.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in My Story

 

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Malaise

Also during the time of my Moment of (spiritual) Epiphany, and my introduction to the Bible, I got really, really sick.

Now, sickness wasn’t unusual for me at all. As an infant, I had constant ear infections and ended up taking that nasty pink, strawberry Amoxicillin for a year straight. And after that, it took me almost 25 years to decide that I could eat a strawberry without throwing up.

However, the sickness I had when I was 7 was much different and as far as I know, I had never been so sick in my life. I remember laying on the couch and sleeping through my dad reading Anne’s House of Dreams. The only reason I remember that it was that particular book is because I remember drifting in and out of consciousness and not knowing what I was dreaming and what I was actually hearing — but I remember it being about the old haystack of a man, Marshall Elliot, Miss Cornelia and Captain Jim at the Light House. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should totally read that book.)

I don’t know how long I was sick, but shortly after I started to feel better — meaning that I felt good enough that I didn’t sleep all day anymore — I received a letter in the mail.

I wasn’t very good at reading at that point, so I asked my dad what this letter said and he told me that it said that I had to go to the clinic and see a doctor to see why I had been so sick a few days before that. I did not like this idea and I think I protested a little, saying that I felt fine now and why did I have to go to the doctor?

But, I went anyway.

Dad took me to the ENT and the first thing they did was to look down my throat, decide that my tonsils looked nasty and then order a throat culture.

My throat still hurt. Having the doctor stick a swab down my throat hurt like the dickens. I gagged and I decided that I would NEVER allow anyone to swab my throat again. (That didn’t last long!) The doctor decided that I didn’t have any infection in my throat and I didn’t need my tonsils out, even though they were hugely swollen. (To this day, the swelling has never gone away.)

The doctor did determine that I needed to have my adenoids removed. My adenoids were blocking my airway, making it impossible for me to breathe through my nose and causing me to snore very loudly. My unprofessional assessment of the situation throughout my life up until that time is that I probably had sleep apnea, which caused me to not get enough oxygen while sleeping, which caused me to panic in my sleep, which gave me nightmares about death and dying.

About 3 months before my 8th birthday, I had my first surgical procedure. (If you would like to see a video of an adenoidectomy, click here. Disclaimer: Please don’t click on the link if you are sensitive to blood, surgeries or other medical procedures. I only included it for the benefit of people who are a bit nerdy like myself and love to learn about these things!!)

Surgery was a trippy experience.

Everything smelled funny.

It was SO cold in the surgical center!

I had to get up at like 6:00 am to get dressed so I could go to the surgical center and put on a funny nightgown so they could put me to sleep again.

As far as I was concerned, that was a totally silly thing to do.

I remember them taking me back into a huge room and laying me down on a long, skinny bed. I brought my baby Rebekah with me and the nurses told me they would take good care of her while I slept.

They put a black rubber mask over my nose and told me to breathe deeply and count to 10. I got to 6 and decided that it wasn’t working.

The next thing I knew, I was in a different bed and I threw up every time I moved. I felt horrible.

A few hours later, Mom brought me home and I spent the rest of the day sleeping on the couch.

And I spent that night not sleeping because I had slept all day.

My throat hurt.

I was hungry.

But I didn’t dare eat anything because it hurt to even think about swallowing.

I was given Amoxicillin in the pink strawberry form, which I didn’t take because I vomited the first dose because I couldn’t stand the taste of it. I was also told to take tylenol for pain, which I also didn’t take because I couldn’t stand the taste of that either.

My first meal after surgery consisted of a banana. I have never again had such a delicious banana.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in My Story

 

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Crampin’ My Style

A few days after my spiritual epiphany, my three brothers and I received brand new, leather-bound King James Version Bibles for Christmas.

On New Years’ Day, we began our annual tradition of reading through the entire Bible in 365 days.

We were 11, 9, 7 and 5 years of age.

This ritual consisted of all of us sitting in a circle and taking turns reading 2 verses each until the assigned passages were finished.

I don’t know how anybody else felt about this new development, but personally, I hated it. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like reading the Bible as it was that I hated that it was so ritualistic and it kept us from doing “kid” stuff.

My brothers and I liked to listen to Focus on the Family’s “Adventures in Odyssey” on Saturday mornings, and this new Bible reading thing totally cramped my style when it came to stuff like that.

And, I was a brat. If I didn’t like something, everybody knew about it. Sometimes, by the end of the Bible session, I would be screaming and everyone was fed up. I don’t remember exactly what my thought process was, but I think it was something along the lines of, “If I’m not enjoying myself, then no one else should either.”

On top of that, I had turned into a major control freak. I wanted it to be exactly the way I wanted it and everybody else had to adjust. I didn’t care if it meant that I would be “spanked” or punished in other ways for disrupting the order of things.

While I’m on the topic of my spiritual education….

My parents were very diligent in seeing that my brothers and I learned not only the stories in the Bible, but the theological and doctrinal teachings of the Bible as well. By the time I left home, I had pretty much memorized the books of Proverbs, John, Romans, Hebrews, Galatians and Ephesians from having repeatedly read those books.

One time, I was in Sunday School (at a non-patriarchal church) that was taught by the pastor’s wife, and she started by saying “Today we’re going to look at the story of the Woman at the Well. Turn to….” and she began scrambling to try to figure out where we were supposed to turn and I said, “John 4?” My teacher was flabbergasted that I knew exactly where to find the story she was looking for.

When I was a little older (10-12 years old), I began to really resent the whole Bible reading thing. I wanted to do it on my own. I started to read old copies of Keys for Kids, a devotional published by Children’s Bible Hour. The family Bible reading thing was too boring and I made it too chaotic to get anything out of it, so I started reading on my own. After a while, I found a Bible somewhere and hid it in my room so I could read the scriptures that went along with the devotional readings.

Yes, I said “hid.” I wasn’t ever told that I couldn’t read the Bible, but I felt so discouraged in every aspect of my life that I felt that I had to hide it, if for no other reason than if no one knew about it, I wouldn’t have to explain myself and possibly have to win a battle to keep doing what I wanted.

When I was in my middle teens, after I had saved my birthday money, Christmas money and random pennies I found in random parking lots, I asked my mom if I could buy my own Bible. Yes, I had my copy of the family Bible, but I didn’t want to bring it to my room to read it because I didn’t want to be discouraged. So I thought I’d just end the possibility of that happening by buying my own — one that no one could tell me when to read and when to not read. My mom discouraged that idea. But the next time we went to the Christian book store, I secretly purchased one anyway, and hid it under my mattress. And read it I did — I read that Bible faithfully through my teen years and through the first three years of college.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in My Story

 

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On a Lighter Note

The only time we ever got new clothes was on our birthdays and Christmas.

At this point in my life, I totally understand that. I don’t see the point in buying each kid a bunch of new clothes when they’re going to outgrow them in a matter of weeks or months.

I don’t think I really cared all that much about it at the time either.

But, one day, one of the neighbors gave us a gift certificate to K-Mart. (This was back when K-Mart was cool. I still have a soft spot in my heart for K-Mart because of this!) We went on a good ol’ shopping spree.

I got a purple corduroy skirt and purple t-shirt set.

When my parents asked my little brother what he wanted, he said, “Puppy pants.”

He went home with a pack of brand new Snoopy underwear.

I don’t remember what the older boys got.

My dad told this story to some friends a couple of weeks ago, and he said that the next time we went to Prayer Meeting, we all came parading out, so proud of our new clothes. Except for my younger brother. His share of the loot wasn’t something you could really show off.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in My Story

 

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All’s Well that Ends Well

Sometimes we just need a good chuckle….

Yesterday, while I was getting ready for church — in other words, while putting my face on — my phone suddenly chimed, which completely startled me and I ended up sticking my mascara wand in my eye.

(My apologies to the three people who have already heard this story. Keep reading. Part 2 follows!)

A few seconds later, my eye started to water.

And a reddish brown tear rolled down my cheek.

I freaked out.

I had visions of an ER visit, followed by probable vision problems, followed by medical bills followed by financial ruin….

And then I realized that the mascara was brown. I was crying mascara, not blood.

But wait- it gets better….

This morning, when I went to grab my hairbrush from the cabinet, the mascara apparently saw me coming and threw itself to its demise — or at least, attempted to. I was able to save it from certain death.

Apparently, the mascara can’t take the abuse of being stuck in someone’s eye.

Poor, demented mascara….

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Awkwardness

I went to Bible Study tonight. We were supposed to get into groups and answer this question:

As a child, how did you adapt in order to be accepted or in order to fit in?

I didn’t answer the question.

I fully intended to go home and think about it, but my friend’s 3-year old threw herself at me the second I suggested going home, so I held her, hugged her, and prayed that she would never, ever have the same answer to that question that I have.

My answer to that question is “absolutely nothing.”

Because abused children know that no matter what they do, they will always be rejected.

I have a book called “Broken Children, Grown Up Pain” that talks about the affects of abuse on children and how abused children (often) grow up to be abusive adults. One of the things the book says is that when an adult abuses a child, the underlying motivation is always rejection.

Someone who loves and accepts you doesn’t beat the crap out of you. That just doesn’t happen.

When someone controls you, beats you, calls you names, belittles you, rapes you — they are saying, “You don’t deserve to be treated with respect. You are a reject. You are a loser.”

They are also saying, “I’m taking this from you because I am entitled to it.”

Abusers create an imaginary lower level to place their victims on.

I was placed on that lower level at a very young age.

I was never exposed to anything else and never had a clue that this wasn’t normal and wasn’t ok. I was expected to take the abuse and be happy about it, to be gentle, sweet, loving and submissive in all situations. I adapted to those expectations because I was told to.

I suppose you could say I adapted because I didn’t want to be beaten. I don’t like to say it that way because my personality is to please people, and I would have been all those things regardless of whether I was beaten or not. To be perfectly honest, I think I would be even more of a pleaser if I hadn’t been abused. That’s how much of a pleaser I am.

So, sitting in church tonight, I said nothing.

What would I say? “I got the crap beaten out of me regardless of what I did, so I just gave up.” It would be true. But honestly, no one wants to hear that. Especially not church people.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in My Story

 

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Crime and Punishment

I’ve been procrastinating about telling this part of the story.

In the previous chapter of the story, I talked about having nightmares about death. That story was the whitewashed version. I’m not saying that what was written isn’t true. It is. But for me, the experience was a lot worse than it probably sounded in the previous chapter. When I was in college several years ago, I wrote several autobiographical stories, and most of what I posted in the previous chapter was one of the stories I wrote. At that time, I wasn’t in a place where I could expose what really happened.

I’m not sure if I’m currently in a place to talk about it either.

But I’m going to try.

Those years of my life are kind of confusing for me because I don’t remember explicit or exact details. I hope that everyone is able to keep that in mind as they read. I’m going to say here and now that the things I’m about to say are NOT clear in my memory, and I only remember them because of the pain, anger, confusion, insecurity, etc., that these incidents caused. Because of the emotion attached to the incidents, I’m sure my mind has warped my memory of these incidents, causing me to remember them differently than anyone else involved does.

Several times, when I woke up from a nightmare, I would go to my parents’ room, wake them up and they would “spank” me and put me back in bed, without taking the time to figure out why I was awake in the first place.

“Spank” was the term that my parents used to describe their form of punishment.

According to the Collins English Dictionary (10th ed.), to spank is “to slap or smack with an open hand, especially on the buttocks.”

My parents had two wooden spanking sticks (just in case one broke or got lost, I suppose) that were about an inch wide and a quarter inch thick.

Considering that it was never done with anything but a stick, a more proper verb to use would be “beat.” According to Dictionary.com, to beat is to “strike violently or forcefully and repeatedly.”

That definition is an accurate description of what would happen.

I would wake up in the middle of the night, scared out of my mind that I was going to die, I’d seek comfort and would instead receive a beating with a stick.

I don’t know how often it happened. I do know that on at least one occasion, the next day my tush and hips were bruised a deep purple.

During that time, no one really slept at my house. My screams no doubt woke up all of my brothers, plus the renters upstairs.

There were times when I was manipulated into silence. I was always told that if someone outside of the family heard me screaming, it would be MY fault if I or my brothers were taken away.

And, I was often reminded that the school system, CPS, the police and the government were out to get us and their goal was to remove me (especially me) and my brothers from the home. I was conditioned to be very paranoid about this and in addition to being terrified of death, I was also terrified of what was “out there” in the big, bad world, where I would inevitably be placed once someone heard me screaming in pain and anger from another beating.

But, nighttime wasn’t the only time these beatings occurred.

I remember a specific time when I was in maybe second or third grade. I was having a hard time understanding something in school. I was beaten and when I screamed and cried, my parent covered my mouth and nose and held me down so I couldn’t move or breathe. I struggled until I got my mouth uncovered just enough to holler “I CAN’T BREATHE,” to which the parent in question replied, “You don’t deserve to breathe.”

Another time, when I didn’t understand something in school, after being beaten, when I cried and protested that this wasn’t fair and didn’t even make sense, I was made to read aloud excerpts from Proverbs for Parenting. This book informed me that if a child lacks understanding (specifically, if he or she gets an answer wrong in his or her studies), or if they are being “foolish” (stupid), they are to be beaten. I don’t remember anything else specific from that book, but that was the day that I began to seriously question the meaning of “the rod” in the Bible. (Today, my understanding of the term “rod” in the Bible is that a shepherd used a rod. He didn’t use it to beat his sheep into submission, but rather, to guide them to safety, health and security. I believe the Bible means that if someone in authority confronts rebellious or foolish behavior and seeks to teach and guide the rebellious/foolish person, the behavior won’t get progressively worse, like it would if you just ignored it. Ok, so maybe I’m terribly liberal in my interpretation, but I can’t see Jesus beating someone, and if Jesus didn’t do something, then we shouldn’t either.)

At any rate, the punishments were rather bizarre and over-the-top on a lot of occasions.

Beginning in about 5th grade, I was horrible at Math. Looking back, I can honestly say that it wasn’t so much that my brain wasn’t oriented toward math. My problem was that the math curriculum we used (Saxon) was simplified to the point where I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how one lesson was any different than the one before. They broke everything down into minute details and taught one little part each day. I learned nothing because the way my brain works is that I have to see it from start to finish and then review it several times and I’ll understand and remember it. I have to be able to make connections — and if it’s broken down into itty-bitty details, I can’t make the connection, so I’ll never remember it.

The last 7 or so years of home school were an absolute nightmare for me. I lacked understanding and I was “foolish” when it came to math, so I had a lot of beatings and there was a lot of yelling and screaming going on.

My dad was fiercely protective of my mom, so if I did anything that made her mad when he was around, I was severely punished. I got too big to manhandle, so on one occasion, he knocked me to the ground and stood on my hair for several minutes. I don’t know how long this lasted, but it seemed like forever. I laid on the floor, held down by my hair, kicking and screaming and trying to get free. Finally, my brother came home and when he saw what was going on, he ordered my dad to let me go. The only thing I stuck around to hear or see after that was my brother told my dad he had just lost the last little bit of respect he had for him. My dad let me go and turned on my brother, hitting him in the face.

For several days after that, when I would make attempts at brushing/combing my hair, big chunks of hair would fall out. My head was so tender and painful for a long time after that.

After that incident, I refused to do any schoolwork when my dad was around. Dad worked nights, so I was up doing schoolwork until 3 or 4 in the morning a lot of times. I was required to be up by 9 am every day (and often earlier), so I didn’t get much sleep during that time — and neither did my mom.

Honestly, most parts of my childhood were an absolute nightmare.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in My Story

 

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Holy Terror

I like to tell people that I’m a quarter Lutheran.

But I’m really not.

I tell people that because it helps them to stay focused on the story — because when someone makes a statement that ridiculous and silly, naturally, everybody’s going to start asking questions.

When I was a little kid, we spent a lot of time with my grandparents in South Dakota. I think we visited about one weekend per month (roughly), and we always went to church with them. Hence, my being a quarter Lutheran. 🙂

Between all the Chapel services, Sunday School and roughly one Lutheran church service per month, by the time I was about 5 I knew just about everything there was to know (from an intellectual, memorizational standpoint) about God and Jesus. I also knew that the Lutheran church talked about Epiphany and Lent and Advent and Pentecost, but I wasn’t around enough to have any clue what those things were all about.

I must have heard several sermons on hellfire and brimstone too, because I was absolutely terrified of death.

Summer was the worst.

There was something about the sticky, stifling heat of summer. Something about the chirping grasshoppers outside my window and the strains of eerie music that signaled the beginning and end of the radio program, “Night Sounds,” that I listened to as I was drifting off to sleep every night. Something about the clunking and rattling of the baby blue box fans that labored unsuccessfully to cool my bedroom as I labored – desperately – to sleep in the hot, sticky dusk of late evening.

Summer wasn’t so bad the first three years of my life. Those years were heavenly in my little mind. I shared a tiny bedroom with my two older brothers and my baby brother. The room was so small that it barely held the crib and bunk bed, the tiny dresser and the bookshelf that held all the picture books we loved to read. Every night, my mom came in to deposit little David in the crib and then stepped up on the bottom bunk to reach up to kiss my oldest brother, Jonathan, goodnight. Then she knelt next to the bottom bunk and kissed my other older brother, Andy. She moved to the other end of the bed where I was snuggling into the blankets and hugging the pink bunny that was given to me when I was born by one of the people who had rented the upstairs portion of the house that was closed off from the main floor. Mom sat on the bed and leaned over to kiss me. “I love you,” she whispered and then kissed me again. Then she whispered the most important thing I thought I had ever heard; the secret that I begged her to tell me every single night before I could fall asleep. “The most important thing about you is that you are you.” One more kiss and then she tiptoed out and closed the door. I was left to dream sweet dreams.

When my parents decided to build another bedroom on to the house when I was 4, my brothers took the bunk bed and crib with them when they moved into the big bedroom next to mine. I was given a large, unfriendly metal bed that was probably left over from the World War II era. The bed was enormous. Room to stretch, right? Not to this little girl. I was drowning in bed. I hated everything about it.

The thing that mattered the most to me about my brothers moving was not the change in furniture. It seemed as if when they left, they took the comfort and security I had always felt into their new room. I’d never slept alone before and it terrified me. I certainly didn’t like it, but at first, it wasn’t too terrible.

But as weeks turned to months and winter winds began to die and the warm breeze of spring turned into the hot stickiness of summer, things in the room began to change. The heat was unquenchable. Harsh, driving rains coupled with hail and funnel clouds in the green sky did nothing to cool the air. It only served to make the heat more eerie and oppressive. It felt almost as if the heat of hell had somehow invaded my bedroom.

I began to have nightmares. I dreamed that I was dying. That I had died. That I was alone and I was dying and no one knew. I saw myself in a casket, ready to be closed up into a waterproof box and dropped into a hole in the ground to be covered with a mountain of soil.

I sought comfort in my brothers’ room. The atmosphere was different there. Their baby blue box fan didn’t clunk and rattle.  And it moved the air. It cooled the room. The temperature difference was very noticeable.

I crawled into bed with Andy for comfort. This always helped. I didn’t need to talk. I just needed something warm and comforting. Somebody. Sometimes I told him my dreams. He never breathed a word of it to anyone, although I think they probably scared him almost as much as they scared me.

The dreams became more terrifying. Dreams of being kidnapped by aliens in weird spaceships. This was worse than death, because the end result was so ambiguous. Who really knows what happens to you if you are kidnapped by aliens? I had dreams of wars with aliens. Laser beams were aimed at my house from an unidentified source in the sky. Meteors crashed into the earth in my backyard leaving a crater that engulfed what had previously been my home.

Terror reigned. I could not be alone, even during the day.

At night, the heat of hell and terror of night filtered into my bedroom where I stretched out alone on the gigantic bed that swallowed my tiny body. I lay for hours, trying unsuccessfully to sleep. I could sense when my mom was about to go to bed. Minutes before she would have turned the kitchen light off before crawling into her own bed, I got out of bed and climbed into her lap.

I told her I was scared. She put me back into bed and went to bed herself. I was more terrified than ever. If I were to suddenly die, no one would find me for many hours. I finally fell into a fitful sleep, only to wake a few hours later after another nightmare.

Sometimes I went to my parents’ room. I shook mom and said, “Mom! I had a bad dream. I’m scared.”

I don’t know how often this happened. In my mind, it seemed constant and unending. I fell asleep only to be wakened a few hours later with a nightmare. What little sleep I did get was troubled.

It finally came to an end just before Christmas when I was seven years old. It was sometime in the wee hours of the morning – between when my mom went to bed at around midnight and when my dad got up at 4:30. I woke from another nightmare, terrified.

I woke my mom again, and she brought me back to my room and put me back in bed. I could tell that something was going to be different this time.

“What is wrong with you?” my mom asked. “Why do you keep waking me up in the middle of the night?”

I thought I had explained it before, but apparently I hadn’t. “I’m scared,” I said.

“But what are you scared of?”

I didn’t want to tell her, because even though I was so little, I knew it was kind of silly. But it was so very real to me that I couldn’t just pretend that it wasn’t there. “I’m afraid I’m going to die,” I blurted out.

“Oh,” my mom replied. “Is that all?”

“Yes!” I said. By this time, I was almost in tears.

She told me that I didn’t need to be afraid to die because Jesus died so that I didn’t have to worry about what happened if I died. Although my parents took us to a prayer meeting, Sunday school and three church services a week, I had never heard that before. I knew practically everything there was to know about God and Jesus from having gone to church so much, but no one had ever said anything about being able to know for certain what would happen to me after I died.

She went on to explain that when Jesus died, it wasn’t just for the world in general, it was for me personally, and if I asked Jesus to come into my heart, I could know that I was going to spend all of time with Jesus after I died.

When Mom asked me if I wanted to do that, I remember sitting in my bed, weighing this decision very carefully. It was almost as if I knew that I couldn’t go back if I decided to go forward into this strange new thing with this guy named Jesus. I almost said no. I was tired. I just wanted to go to sleep. Seeing Mom was enough for right then. I would be ok for the next couple of hours.

Then I thought about the terror I always felt when I was alone. I said, very quietly and very seriously, “Yes.”

I said a short prayer telling Jesus that I was sorry for hurting Him when I was naughty and that I wanted Him to live in me, and then Mom turned the light out and closed the door behind her.

And I slept. For the first time that I could remember, I slept the rest of the night without nightmares and without waking up.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in My Story

 

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In the Write Moment

Reaching4HisHem

Stretching out to touch His hem with 6 kids in tow:)

Just a few things I've been thinking about....