I have tried putting off writing this for almost two months now but as usual, God wont let it go. He is relentless like that.
It seems that lately I have been struggling with thoughts of growing up in my hometown. Most of the time I can convince myself that it was a lovely, quiet little farm town and I “joke” that I want to move back there. But other times…
those happy thoughts are overtaken by the “not so happy” – you see when I think back I remember coming home from 6th grade and crying because the other students were so mean to one of our classmates and as I grew older I am sure I was just as mean but there are lots of things that were said between 6th grade and 12th grade that I still hear today. Things like “you aren’t good enough”. Things like “why would you like her?” Things like “wow. she really is a slut, isn’t she?” Things like “she had sex in a car while her best friend was driving and was afraid she was pregnant so claimed she was raped”…The words said over me have far more impact even now 30+ years later than I ever could have imagined in the glory of the 1980s.
A part of me wants to be thankful because all of those hurtful moments worked together with the good moments to give me the life God has for me today. And it’s a pretty good life. I love God, I love my family. I have an amazing husband, kids and grandkids. I have friends around the world who pray for me and my mother never stops telling me that she is proud of me. I have even gotten my dad to say “I love you” out loud a few times.
But I think of that Samaritan woman by the well (John 4) …the one who waited until all of the other ladies who were gone to fill her water jars. The one who Jesus told he knew “all that she had ever done” – she knew he was the Lord! She knew he could fulfill her and even though moments before she was avoiding being seen by her hometown after the encounter with Jesus she ran back to town to tell everyone about Him. and they listened to her!!! Because of her boldness and her faith she ran and told them!
I don’t know if I have that boldness and faith. I often feel like I could share but I could never share in my hometown how Jesus works in my life because I feel like that little 6th grade girl with a silver cap in the middle of her smile who became that teenager that everyone talked about (and not in a good way). Would they be able to hear about Jesus from someone like me? or would they just think “what good could come from her?”
I am praying that I can forgive those 30+ year old hurts and that I can be bold and brave like the woman at the well and run back – especially to those who hurt me and not be afraid to tell them all Jesus has done and will continue to do. I seek the peace that can only come from him I am still learning and it is a work in progress. I pray that the words you hear may be “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
- Are you holding onto thoughts from years ago? Do these memories haunt you or spur you onto goodness?
- What scripture soothes your soul?
- If you could say something to your 14-year-old self, what would it be? Is there something you wish you could say to your best friend? or worse enemy?
- How can you speak life into someone else today?