Last Labor Day week-end fell flat! Instead of pleasure, pain accompanied me throughout the four day respite. A cloud of negative self talk eclipsed any positive thinking as I struggled to enjoy my vacation.
An unexpected phone call interrupted my misery as a friend from work warmly greeted me that Saturday morning. “Susan, I feel the Lord wanted me to call you and relay a special message. Your face kept coming before me as I prayed and I needed to follow through. God loves you, and so do I. He has wonderful plans in store and He wants you to know how special you are.”
Sobs caught in my throat as I listened in disbelief to this love note from heaven. She confided that it had been a little scary responding to this prompting from the Holy Spirit. I reassured her though that she had been right on the money. “Rosa, you’ve given me the words I most needed to hear today,” I choked out between sniffles and sobs.
It seemed incredible that God could really have used a Christian sister to meet the deepest needs of my soul. I didn’t understand why I’d been feeling so crummy about myself. Why was I struggling with such a dirty, unattractive self-image? It seemed to dog my daily steps like some ratty, homeless mongrel who knows she’s not wanted.
Throughout the rest of the week-end, I marveled at the Lord’s help given obediently through one willing Christian vessel. Even though depression lingered as my companion, a glimmer of hope began permeating my despair. Perhaps her call provided the loving security blanket to warm me in the painful days and weeks to follow.
As I lay in bed near the end of the week-end, memories returned of childhood visits to my grandmother’s house. I pictured her familiar living room and couch where I spent many an afternoon hour reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Strangely enough, Bill, my step-grandfather appeared prominently in my reverie. As I lingered over his negative entrance into the picture, horrifying awareness rose to the surface. Somehow, from the recesses of hidden memories came the repugnant belief that he had done something bad to me.
The inquisitive part of my brain searched for solid, concrete pictures. The seven year old inner child, however, shuddered at the possibility and shut her mind’s eye to his sleeveless white undershirt, boxer shorts, and skinny legs.
After repeated phone calls to sisters, aunts, and cousins, I pieced together some evidence to support the dreamlike pictures that kept forming. Grief, depression, disbelief, and anger marched through my emotions like persistent soldiers off to battle past demons. I clung desperately to Rosa’s words and repeated them back as I tried to understand the concept of blocked memories and a painful past that had eluded my fifty five years of conscious beliefs about a happy, carefree childhood.
A few days later it occurred to me to reiterate my gratitude to Rosa for the life preserver cast towards a sinking soul. As I stumbled through my conjecture about suspected sexual abuse, she nodded reassuringly. “Are you telling me this because of my abuse?”
Surprisingly enough, I hadn’t known about her experiences. Apparently, she’d been quite open about her recovery of blocked memories and had started a support group in her church to help other women who had been damaged through sexual abuse.
“Oh, Rosa, now I know that God was definitely behind that phone call. You had no idea why He was prompting you to reach out to me, but God knew I would need your help and support as I worked through these ugly memories.”
We cried and embraced as we marveled at the goodness of God who could use the scars and sordid wounds of the past to bring healing to others in pain. The help of God passed from one wounded servant to another proved to be one of the most practical examples for me of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet.
(The names have been changed.)
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