Friday, March 6, 2009

Made With Love By ____________________

Did anyone you know ever make you clothing and put one of those labels inside? My gram used to make me an Easter and a Christmas dress every year, and my music-in-law made my rehearsal dinner dress with a "Made with love by _____" label on the inside.

I have issues with owning things. I don't write inside books (ok, I'm starting to, a little, but it feels weird). I don't write my kids' names on the tags inside their coats. I keep EVERYTHING. I was thinking about this phenomenon in my life the other day in the car on the way to the gym. It hit me like a bolt of lightening, the realization that I am absolutely petrified.

I am afraid to ascribe something to myself because I am TERRIFIED of losing things. And by things, of course, I mean things that matter. My home, my children.

I was raised to know that I own nothing. I remember very clearly when I was in junior high, my mother told me to bring her HER yearbook. Really? Did you really own the pictures of thirteen-year-olds? Why would you even WANT to? It wasn't about owning the book. It was about lording power over me, letting me know my place. Letting me know that I was worth so little that a book with my own picture in it didn't belong to me.

Years later when I was in my 20s but still childless, I went to a friend's house and heard her tell her son that he didn't own some toy of his. It wasn't malicious, he was being a little smart and silly and she was letting him know, but it made me immediately nauseous. The thought of telling my children that their things are mine just seems wrong to me. Firstly because it teaches them nothing about caring for their things. Secondly because it teaches them nothing of stewardship. I don't want to teach them that first their things are God's, then mine, and THEN they might get to claim some stake. And of course practically, if I own it all then it's my job to clean it all, put it all away, keep it in good working order, etc. I don't have time in my life for that.

I am so, so afraid of God. Terribly so, specifically that He would just randomly snatch away all that is "mine". I attribute this fear to my mother's iron-fisted will to control everyone but herself. I don't know if that was or is the truth of her character, but it sure felt like it to me. I've always lived with the pervasive sense that I should have just been grateful that she didn't abort me and that anything over survival was a blessing bestowed by her on someone as worthless as me.

I'm working through a range of emotions right now (obviously). Some lovely, some horrible, and all intense. I have a friend in my life who is moving to another level of intimacy, and it's nice. I adore her, she's just the cat's pajamas. She loves me too, and it's good. She's showing me that I don't have to perform perfectly for her to love me, and even loves my efforts. She's challenging me to develop some areas that I feel weak in, just for the joy of it and for God's good pleasure. It is blessed. But then there are those feelings from my childhood that bubble up like tar and threaten to explode on the prgoress I've made.

I'm also having dreams about all of the people I need to forgive. How sweet and gentle of God to bring them to mind in such a safe way. A couple of weeks ago I didn't do any work toward it, and God brought this person to me in a second dream, as if to say, "Babe, I showed you what to do. Please do your part, too".

See how gentle He is? See how irrational my fear is? I've often said that we as the body of Christ have lost a healthy fear of the Lord. I still think that's true, but I'm no better. I'm just the opposite, seeing damnation around every corner.

So today, Lord please show me what a healthy fear looks like. Though each day is a surprise gift, when I say, "I PLAN to do X" is really just fear speaking from my heart, not a respect for Your awesome power. And please use just a tiny bit of that power to allow this woman to touch the hem of your garment and be healed from years of wretchedness.

"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."


Beth said...

Heather, thank you for being so open and honest. Keep drawing near to Him. :)

Nicole said...

Oh... I completely get the "owning" lessons of childhood.

I very distinctly remember a fight with my father over the mail. (One of many, by the way!) There were rules that I wasn't allowed to bring in the mail. Well, for whatever lame reason I liked bringing in the mail because, though rarely was there anything for me, sometimes I got a Seventeen magazine or something.

I once tried to explain this to Dad who went on a tirade about how the magazine I wanted to get out of the mail wasn't MY magazine.

Then began the diatribe on how I don't own the shoes on my feet (eastland penny loafers, btw, so must've been freshman year), my bed or anything else.

Why is it that parents feel compelled to do that? Hmmmm...