When my parents decided to renovate our kitchen, my mom took it upon herself to fill some of the holes that were going to be painted or tiled over. There was one hole in particular that was quite large, it had to be from an outlet or something . . . I don’t remember, I just remember that she took a huge glob of wall putty and started trying to fill it, and then left it to dry. It turned into this disgusting hard blob that looked like it dried in the middle of a drip. Both my dad and the lady who was painting the kitchen were very frustrated, it was really hard to fix the job my mom had done. Eventually we all laughed about it, and the fact that I took my cue from her and pretty much puttied my entire bedroom when we re-painted it (I used a LOT of tacks to put up my DC Talk posters.).
The revelation that I shared in yesterday’s post, about going back into my family tree and seeing the patterns of unforgiveness and rejection has opened my eyes to see that some of my wounds are a lot bigger than I ever realized. On Wednesday when I sat down and asked the Lord where we were going, he took me back to a relationship that I’ve shared before, right here. It’s the only relationship that I have vehemently regretted and beat myself up over for many years. Awhile back I did walk through forgiving myself for being a stupid teenager, and received some revelation about what was really going on back then, but this week I got an even clearer picture of what happened.
It all started with some innocent flirting. I’d never had a real boyfriend before, and in my head, it was ‘safe’ to flirt w/ this particular guy because I knew his reputation and I knew I was never going to be interested in him (insert eye rolling emoticon.). I was visiting friends for the weekend and he happened to be there. We’d never met before, but as I said, his reputation preceded him and I wasn’t the least bit attracted to him . . . at first. I don’t even think I realized that I was attracted to him until one afternoon we were all at someone’s house watching a movie and he sat beside me. About half way through the movie, he grabbed my hand and started rubbing it with his thumb. My insides went crazy. I had no idea what was happening to me, but my cheeks were flaming, my legs shaking and my heart was racing. I felt like someone had zapped me with some kind of electric current.
I think you know how the story goes from there; we dated for awhile, it was bad news, he as a jerk etc. I have always chalked that relationship up to the fact that I was ill-prepared for what happened when I experienced physical attraction for the first time. I have preached it to whoever will listen, and even whoever will read it, here on this blog. I still believe that it’s monumental that we teach our kids about how our bodies respond, that there should be no shame involved . . . everything I’ve ever said here about this subject is still true and good, BUT: There is more to my story than that.
There is one wound in my life that has bled into Every. Single. Relationship. I’ve. Ever. Had. There is one offense that has colored my entire life with rejection, one gaping hole in the wall of my heart that I have been trying to fill since I was a child. When I experienced that feeling for the first time, that electricity buzzing through my body at the affectionate touch from a male, it was something completely foreign to me. My heart, my head, my body, they had no idea how to process what was going on because of lies and agreements that had been allowed to plague my family for years. I was lacking in something so paramount for a teenage girl, aside from rejecting who I really was, as I talked about yesterday, the part of my heart that needed healthy physical affection had never been filled. To this day, if someone, even a friend, touches my arm in a caring way, I get goosebumps and and my heart squeezes momentarily. The flip side of that is that I am not an incredibly affectionate person with my friends. I’m not a natural hugger the way my husband is. He hugs everyone. I wave, smile or eventually do the awkward side-hug. This stuff is mind-blowing for me, you guys!!!
It now makes sense to me that the first time I felt that squeezing in my stomach, those butterflies dancing inside, that I latched on to that guy and mistook it for love rather than a natural physical reaction. Do you know how many years I have hated on myself for making that mistake? SEVENTEEN YEARS. It wasn’t my teenage stupidity and lack of knowledge. It was a festering emotional wound that led me into the arms of the biggest regret of my life. I can see it so clearly now that I feel sorry for that fifteen year old girl. She was just trying to find a way to meet her needs without even realizing what they were. She was gooping wall putty onto a hole that was far to big to be filled with such an inadequate substance.
The Father showed me a picture of a big heart, full of those gaping holes, and then showed me that instead of putty, he was pouring cement into those holes. Putty can be drilled through again, but with cement, it’s a lot harder. It takes a bigger tool and a lot more effort. The Father is filling the holes that were drilled into my heart at a very young age, and all I have to do is break the agreements I made with rejection and continually walk in forgiveness. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but every day it’s a little easier, especially because I can see that the ‘offender’ in this situation was just walking in his or her own wounds, which is often the case when offense is stirred up. We’re all in the middle of our own stuff, and when my stuff collides with your stuff, sometimes it explodes. There is misunderstanding, regret and hurt, but when we come together and look at things with clear eyes, we see that we’re all just dealing with our stuff and reacting out of what’s going on rather than who we really are. Did that make any sense at all? I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it and I’ll touch more on it in the next post because it’s an ongoing theme.
I kind of wish there was a grace period for the teenage years . . . I mean, there is grace, period, but what I mean is that all of the things the Lord is bringing up in me have to do with those tumultuous years where I just had no idea what was really going on. I’m thankful I’m seeing this stuff now though, before my kids reach their teens, because maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to remember to ask deeper questions and use my new Holy Spirit Eyes to see what’s really going on when I see my kids hurting. I pray that’s the case!
What would you say to yourself as a teenager? What do you wish you could go back and fix? Where was the Father in the midst of those struggles? Can you see His hand in those memories?