I was such a good girl. I mean, I had this vision impairment that made me sort of burdensome and my arrival was perhaps dismaying to some. But I was good, so good. Obedient and smart but not too smart. Silent when the house was loud with silence, cheerful and helpful and downright obsequious when it seemed my flurry of goodness could halt the flying slings and arrows of our family life.
It never worked.
And there is an ongoing wounding when a child’s feet, instead of firm on a bedrock of beloved, dance and slide on a treacherous morass of performance and failure. Words and wordless, seeping silences harm, not like fists, but more like a slow smothering. That little girl questions her right to be on the earth, her most foundational worth, her purpose and identity. In the absence of beloved, identity can become the dance and scramble itself. “See me. Call me. Name me. Claim me. Please?”
How can a woman broken and wounded by such a childhood heal?
I’ve found the answers in how God calls me in His Word.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
All through Scripture He calls me His child. From a childhood not steeped in a sense of beloved identity, I’ve discovered a God eager to parent me in tender, fundamental ways. This is not a pop-psychology joke about nurturing my inner child, but a process of unlearning formative hurt and allowing my sense of who I was created to be to be transformed.
I have a dear friend who also has a hard history to be unlearned. A long time ago she shared with me something she made in counseling as part of this process. Her “truth cards” were a spiral bound set of index cards. On one side of each card was a dark belief she had held about herself and her life. And on the reverse, Scripture refuted each sad accusation with truth. It was a physical tool for the soul renewal needed by a child who needed to grow in her beloved identity. Our knee jerk responses to trouble, stress or earthly rejection may come out of our broken history, but slowly those responses can be replaced with ones on accord with our value and beloved birthright.
I’ve become like a child. I’m reminded with gracious gentleness and patience who and Whose I am.