Every Child Has An Important Story
I never like to compare (and rarely share) hard childhood stories. Suffice to say, my mother has confessed to not remembering most of those years. There was much neglect and other abuses birthed out of, what I believe to be, our single-parent home, exacerbated by deeply broken-hearts and pervasively broken-minds. Because of this, my mantra was, "I don't eat much and won't take up much room." This is was what I told myself and others with a smile... every move to another state, at every new school, to every new person I was to live with and in every new living situation I was placed in.
Our Innate Need for Love and Emotional Connection
It was my attempt at saying, "I am easy to love. You won't have to do anything. You'll hardly even notice I am here." My stepmom described me as "completely love-starved" when she and my dad found me abandoned at another American Indian boarding school and easily obtained custody of me and my older sister when I was 12.
Strategies We Needed to Stay Safe As Children
It seems so obvious after 3 years of Christian counseling that, as an adult, I complained of "feeling invisible" in my important relationships. I continued to live my life using the strategies that helped me survive as a child; witholding my feelings, thoughts, opinions and questions from others (and even myself) to avoid any chance of conflict or abandonment.
Powerful Truth About Being An Adult
My counselor had shared many powerful truths with me. One is that I am no longer that little girl who needs to remain unseen and unheard to stay safe. In fact, it is a sign of maturity (and higher EQ=Emotional Intelligence) to know what you are feeling, given a specific story or occurrence, and be able to connect with that emotion... at the right time and with the right, safe people.
In the beginning, I would recount tragic life-situations without emotion and she would ask me, "How does that make you feel to share that?" I didn't know, but could guess. "I suppose I felt scared. Maybe unloved?" Again, thinking and speaking without feeling the emotion.
God Loves Your Voice
I will never forget the moment my counselor said it: "Snow, God loves your voice." I choke up typing it now. She went on to say that He created me and loves to hear my thoughts, share in my feelings and even answer my questions! Relationship with God is NOTHING like the co-dependent, unhealthy, one-sided relationships of my past. God is a holy God and Jesus is the way for me to connect and commune with God. Through Christ's victory and His Kingship of this world and my heart, I can have a daily, intimate relationship with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I believe, in this season and through these revelations, He is drawing me into a reciprocal, healthy, highly communicative relationship. Teach me, Lord, and continue to make it obvious!
How many times do you apologize and choke down the tears, and even words, when you feel emotion coming up when you are with a safe person? Maybe it is time to know who your safe people are that God has given you. The glorious handful of highly reciprocal relationships where you share a mutual curiosity about how things are going in life and what makes the other tick. Those who know you are growing and transforming right alongside of them. They haven't already transcended to levels beyond your imagination and they aren't so stuck in their ways that they can't relate to you. Bless these safe friends and relationships that you can practice sharing your story with, and even better, connecting with your emotions as you tell your stories to them. They validate thoughts and feelings. They navigate through conflict and disagreement without anger and resentment. And they, like God, love your voice.