Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: God Never Says Oops.
By Julie Seeto
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“Stop being so picky,” Doris had told her and when Joanna had started to defend herself the rest of them joined in the accusations. Lovingly of course – after all this was a Christian group and they wanted to help one another grow. The group leader, Dr Mark, wisely used the rest of the session to teach about rejection and its consequences. Sadly, Joanna knew all too well about rejection.
No matter how hard she tried to please those around her, they always seemed to push her away, to disapprove of her very being. The group had been gracious as she poured out her heart in confession and was counselled. Then they had moved on to other things – dinner and evening devotions. But Joanna’s pain lingered. Even the thought of the word ‘rejection’ brought back many memories; memories no one should have; memories that should have died with her father. And now, alone as she was, they came flooding back and she was helpless to stop them.
For forty years Joanna had carried the secret pain of her father’s torment. He had never wanted her, had never loved her. He had abused her mother even while Joanna lay helpless in her womb, pushing her down the stairs in hope of causing a miscarriage. When she was a child, instead of tender hugs, he had given her many beatings, often for no other reason than that she was ugly in his eyes. And he used whatever was at hand. One time it was fencing wire across her back that drew blood and stained her clothing. The terrible abuse continued until his death when Joanna was nineteen.
She had thought her new life as a Christian would set her free from her past; had dared to think that Christian counselling training would give her life worth in somebody’s eyes. Yet here she was on the other side of the planet in her search for meaning, sobbing alone in her room. Why am I such a worthless human being that no-one wants around? Why was I even born; I shouldn’t have been born! I was a mistake. … My father should have killed me.
She looked at the pills on the table. I could end it all right now. I have no records here in this country for them to trace. My family won’t know and I’ll no longer be a burden to them. They don’t want me around anyway. … God, why did you let me be born? she cried.
When her sobbing had subsided, in the stillness of the night, her heavenly father answered. In the darkness she saw a vision of a hand outstretched, its palm facing upwards. In the middle of the palm she noticed a tiny speck of dust that slowly grew first into an embryo, then into a baby. As Joanna continued to look at this picture in front of her, the baby grew. "It’s me!" she exclaimed, surprised to recognize herself in the vision.
Then God spoke tenderly into her heart. “Child,” he said, “your father in his lifetime had the potential to produce many thousands of children but only one you. On the night you were conceived, out of all that potential, there was only one cell that would produce you and I chose that one because I wanted you. I chose you that night. You are not a mistake. I don’t make mistakes.”
Dedicated to Joanna (not her real name), who, at 79 years, is the most God-centred woman I know.
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