“Ugh! I want to kiss him so bad!”
“Why don’t you do it? You only live once.” I can’t decide if she’s a terrible person for saying this or the wisest sage I’ve met.
It sparked something in me. “You know what? I’m going to!”
So I left my room again, and knocked on his closed door.
He opened the door, and before he could say anything I blurted out, “I decided I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t kiss you tonight.”
So I asked my dad for advice. I think subconsciously I went to him because I assumed he would talk me out of going out with this guy.
But instead he said, “Go out with him. If you don’t like him, don’t do it again. If you do, go out again.”
Seemed simple enough for my confused young mind. (But what father encourages his daughter to date?? At the age of 13?!)
So I went out with a boy three years older than me.
And my parents let me.
When I found out about the abuse of my sisters, I felt completely helpless. There was nothing I could do to go back and know more sooner and change things for them. I turned against myself and felt the guilt and shame rushing in. If I had been more emotionally mature at the time, I would have begged for their forgiveness.
For a while we tried to dig a well by hand. When that didn’t work, my dad hired some guy to “witch” for water. He was supposed to hire out the the drilling of the well, but it was too expensive, so the project got put off.
Four or maybe four-and-a-half years of living that way and my mom got fed up.
“I found it!” I told Grandma, clutching my side from running so hard back up to the front of the house.
“Where did you find it? How…?”
I never did tell her that I said a prayer. I just shrugged my shoulders and said it was in the shed. (Oh, the innocence and lack of ego of a young child!)
Later I would come to realize how profound an experience that was for me. In those few minutes I learned for myself that God was real, that He knew me, and that He heard and answered prayers. Becoming intimate with the Spirit had also begun for me.
Shaking her head, my grandma said, “Someday, this will come back to benefit you.”
I was only eight or nine years old so I didn’t understand what she was saying, but I filed those words away into the back of my mind to come back to later.
Now I understand what she meant.
And it was probably the best “advice” I’ve ever received.
It was a simple relationship: I was here to love her and take care of her.
My dad’s response of a shrug rang through my mind as I sat furious and shivering all the way home.
It was not a quick trip, and I was humiliated and angry the whole way.
Even to this day, when I think of that moment, the feeling of emptiness wells within me. Now I have words to make sense of it: The parents who were supposed to take care of me just weren’t capable. I am on my own.
That’s the moment I grew up.
What if Christ IS the Kingdom of God? Then the kingdom of God was at hand, truly. This used to confuse me, because it has now been over 2000 years since he proclaimed that statement. But I was thinking the kingdom of God was a place. Not a person. If Christ is the...