Updated: Aug 22, 2019
I was just coming up to my 4th birthday when I entered the children’s home. I arrived in the late evening and was immediately shown to a toy room which held second hand toys and books. You were allowed one toy, which wasn’t a difficult choice for me. There was a huge knitted orange and yellow fish that was big enough for me to wrap my arms around, from the moment I saw ‘fishy’ I didn’t let it go. I took it everywhere. It was my comforter, my friend, my go to thing.
I was always aware of a feeling…I couldn’t identify it at the time. It came from the pit of my stomach, it was as if I was constantly hungry, I ached, something was missing and a feeling of foreboding hung around me like a thick fog. I wasn’t aware that I was abandoned, I wasn’t aware that the brief but natural bond I had formed with my mother had been severed. I didn’t know I wouldn’t see her again. It was like I was awake but I was in a trance, bewildered and unsure of the environment around me. My once tiny world had suddenly become so much bigger, so there was so much more space to be on my own in.
Over the years I was drawn to people that knew that pain. I became friends with people that knew that feeling, I recognised myself in others who congregated in the places where we all had one thing in common. Everyone I knew had a story of loss and pain. Everyone identified with the feeling of inadequacy. We all fought our demons in different ways. Some of us turned to drugs so the oblivion would numb our memories, for some it was drink, for some it was a constant search to be loved by someone, anyone. To either feel something, or feel nothing.
Through all those moments of turmoil and self-annihilation I could have turned back to god, my father. In all those times I felt like death was the only thing I was worthy of, in those darkest of hours he ignited enough spark in me to stop me from giving up, he gave me just enough fight to say no to the paths that would have taken me away from me forever. He gave me the kick I needed to change the outcome so that I would continue to survive, I was surviving, barely functioning, but I was alive.
I’ve met hundreds of people with this same story and my heart breaks for every single one of them. This story is repeated time and time again. I never question that God Is real because I’m here to tell the tale. What I regret was that he was always sufficient for me, I never thought I was worthy of his forgiveness. I was never going to be able to be the best I could be without accepting that I needed my father to guide me and nurture me as a father should.
I felt fear for so many years and couldn’t identify it, it stemmed from the rejection I had unknowingly experienced as a child, and there was a cloud that had followed me around for most of my life because of loss of a normal family environment. I was surrounded by broken people in the children’s home that were victims of their own brokenness, violence, exploitation on different levels, I remember a boy trying to force me to kiss him, whilst he held me too him, I couldn’t get away, and I felt terror. I was 6, he was many years older. I was so thankful for my siblings, all three of us learning to cope in our own way but never speaking about our fears either. I thought it was all normal because we didn’t know any different.
After a lifetime of fighting to erase the problems of my past I cried out to my father in one of my darkest moments, the realisation that I couldn’t do it on my own anymore, I had nothing left. The world had sucked me dry. I lost the ability to bounce back despite the rejections, judgements and unfairness of the evils of the world. I never cried, only out of anger, as I child I learnt not to, if you didn’t cry it signified strength, making sure my enemies didn’t know they’d hurt me. I screamed, cried, beat my chest and threw myself at god’s mercy. I cried out to him and begged him to take me back, to take the pain. I would do anything to stop the emptiness from killing me. There was no overnight transformation and it was a long journey but something had changed, that was my willingness to believe that I needed god, that I didn’t want the world, I never had really, somewhere along the line the narrative had changed and I had been blindsided.
3 years on and a lot of stories in between I am a new person, My heart has been mended, god has taken that pain and the fear has been replaced with an immense feeling of peace and joy. The loneliness I have carried with me for so long is gone. The hole that was in my heart has been mended by the love of Jesus, a love that only he can give. Forgiveness is real in Christ’. The Holy Spirit is known as the comforter, the helper. It’s the spirit that has changed my heart; I was never going to be able to heal without the spirit. I was never going to be able to do it on my own. When I stepped out in faith I was at my lowest point. God knew that I would call out and he knew he would answer, and when he did the angels rejoiced. I try and imagine that in my head when I think about that…what an overwhelming amazing sound that would be.
I don’t know what I’d do without him’ is an understatement. I don’t have to imagine a life continued in sorrow and pain. You don’t have to either. He’s waiting for you to give it all to him. Come as you are and he will heal you and make you new.
As I grew up I neglected ‘Fishy’ more and more. He sat on the top of the wardrobe for many years until eventually the mould that had spread on him was so much that his body started to decay. I mourned him, conscious of the fact that I hadn’t hugged him for such a long time. If id taken care to show him the attention and love he needed he wouldn’t have rotted away, all alone. We need to love one another; it’s the lifeline that keeps us from dying inside.
John 6: 31 – Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself………. Everyone has a story.