But where is that beginning in my world?
I’ve always been different from other people. Growing up as a child, I knew I was different than my friends. I’m not sure how I understood that as a young child, but I did. I just knew I wasn’t the same as the kids I played Hopscotch, and Red Rover, and Chinese jump rope with on the streets of Philadelphia.
When I became an adolescent, and living in Harrisburg, PA., it became even more apparent to me that I was ‘off’ somehow, not the same as the other kids in school, and, it didn’t help me any that I was a poor student, (especially when it came to Arithmetic), so the teachers, and Nuns, (since I attended Parochial School), payed little attention to me since I was not a stellar student. I loved Reading, Spelling, Science, and Art class, but still, I was invisible to the teachers, and I didn’t fit in with the other students. It was hard for me to make friends, and guess what? .. I was the fat kid standing on the sidelines during Kick Ball, and Soccer, and Four-Square because nobody wanted me on their team, but I’m probably not the only one with that horror story in their past, am I?
A lot of the kids used to tell me they were afraid of me; don’t ask me why, I haven’t a clue. But they were, and they told me so, and I believed them since I mostly found myself alone! So, I learned how to keep myself company, and how to occupy my time with my own thoughts and interests! I threw myself into going to the Library, renting as many books as I was permitted at the same time, and became adept at reading as many as 4 books in as little as three days! And since I was a bit of a Science geek, I did as many Science Fairs as the school offered throughout the year, and I’d win too! I earned quite a few medals and ribbons through the years! I also frequented the local drugstore to fetch as many chocolate bars as I could afford on my allowance each day, and I’d enjoy every one of them while reading. It’s no small wonder why I was 136 lbs. in sixth grade. I weighed then, as much as I weigh now, as an adult! And no, I’m not having a pity-party here, I just want you to understand that I was different. Different in many, many ways, and I knew it. The other kids knew it too! I just didn’t know why.
I’m pretty sure my family knew I was different too, though I don’t think anyone then, knew just how different I was. For one thing, I was a whiny child, and though I felt shy, I was always talking! I was dubbed, ‘Motor Mouth’. Ouch! I think because of the abuse I was enduring, I was trying to tell someone in my own child minded way, to anyone who would listen, but no one was paying any attention. This is going to sound contradictory, but it’s the truth, I didn’t know, or couldn’t comprehend at that time what was happening to me at the hands of my Dad. I was a child, thinking a child’s thoughts, and in no way had an understanding of what I was going through. Truth said, I thought all the other little girls Dad’s gave them extra attention too! I found out much later, that I was wrong.
But back to the family. So, I had no understanding that what was happening to me was wrong. What I did know was that I wasn’t like the other kids. So, even though I had no understanding of the abuse, I think some part of me did in a way. A feeling always there, telling me that something wrong was happening to me, and I believe my constant talking was a way for me to relieve the fear and horror I felt, without really knowing that I was in fear, and I also think, my subconscious was trying to tell anyone who would hear me what was happening to me. No one ever heard me though, and no one tried to understand me. I was dismissed as a ‘troubled’ child. My family had a saying about kids, that I recall hearing throughout my lifetime. The saying was, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I think they meant it innocently enough, meaning it to say, that a child should not be a part of an adult conversation, but what I think it meant instead, was that children had no validation until they became an adult. Ouch again!! So, if that was the ideology, then no one would’ve wanted to hear me, because I was just a child, and I had no validation as a human being. That’s enough to mess anyone up mentally, though I’m not saying I am messed up, because I know I’m not! But add the way the family felt about children, and the abuse endured, and you’ve got a scared child, who feels something is wrong, and who feels wrong inside of, and about herself, with no one to go to, and no where to go to, so what did that child do? She created a place for herself in her mind, (though it wasn’t an intentional act of creation), where she could escape to. Where there wasn’t bad feelings, or fear. Where she could speak as freely as a child can, with a child’s understanding, or lack of understanding, and where she knew God listened and spoke to her, and where she found the comfort that she so desperately needed. And that is how I came to know God’s voice, and I’ve been listening to His comforting, and loving words my whole life! I’ve learned what His voice sounds like in my spirit, and I’ve learned to pay attention when I hear His gentle voice.
I’ve got plenty more to share with you about hearing God’s voice, and what He’s doing in my life, so I want you to stop back to read the next posting, because the story continues!
I ask myself all the time, “Do I deserve to hear God’s voice?” I know the answer to that question is a resounding, “NO!” I ask, “Do I want to continue to hear God’s voice?” Most definitely. And finally, “What makes me special enough for God to speak to?” The answer? “I’m not.” And that’s the point. I’m not anybody special! I’m the same as everyone else, only with a few more bumps and bruises than most, but not as many as some. I’m just me.