Did my circumstances change me?
I was nine when the familiar world around me fell apart and I wanted to be unknown. For most of my early years I was smart and loved learning and had a family where I felt safe and secure. That life changed as the Winter of record snow fall gave birth to the Spring of my 3rd grade year. I always wanted to go back, to undo the damaged, to go back to the imperfectly good times of rural country life: with pets and family and the teacher I'd prayed for and -- identity.
Then we moved from rural to city, country landscapes to industry, a home to an apartment, and tragically -- I had to give away my beloved dog.
For the completion of my third grade year I was sentenced to Mrs. White's class. She made no qualms about the fact that she didn't like me. I had always been a good student, but in her class I thought I'd dropped two grade levels. Mrs. White made me wish I was invisible. My most vivid memory was when she made fun of me in front of the whole class because I didn't know the answer to 7x6 and then called me "stupid." I remember she was reading the class A Wrinkle In Time when I first arrived - to this day I hate the book. I never understood what was happening because I'd missed the first few chapters. She didn't bother taking time to summarize the story for me. Even the children in the class noticed her singling me out and would ask "Why is she so mean to you?"
That 3rd grade year was also when I first heard the words "Schizophrenia." My father, unable to cope with the stress of moving, was admitted to the psychiatric ward in Portland. His life too -- forever changed by voices and images and paranoia.
My world fell apart before my 9 year old eyes and my identity was lost. The person I am now has everything to do with the trials life through upon me. Those years before I found Christ are still hard to process. Without my identity, how was I to find meaning or value or purpose in this life? Even at age nine, I knew that my identity defined my purpose. My lost identity was found in Jesus Christ at age 15, When I was sealed with Christ I became a new creation and received my new identity in Him.
As I watched my son Drew tonight, building a castle with his daddy, he is similar to little girl I once was. He is energetic, attention seeking, hard to contain, always learning, always discovering and always moving. Sweet Drew looks like me, talks like me, he even has the same mannerism's as me. He is a random learner who dives into life using concrete ideas - like his momma.
What I see in that glistening child about to embark on his next big "adventure" redeems all those years I lived in dark places. If I had not experienced the dark, then I would have never grown to appreciate the Light.
Elisabeth Elliot writes,
"I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion." ("This belongs to it, that does not")? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives."
"God is the blessed controller of all things,
the king over all kings and the master of all masters."
-1 Timothy 6:15
"Lord, you have assigned me my portion
and my cup; you have made my lot secure."
I have found contentment with All God gave and will give - for He only gives good gifts!