All of this pain, this desperation, and this terrible, gut-wrenching loneliness have brought me here for the second time. I swing my legs under the stool, trying to hide my fear. She explained the process last week, and this counselor is going to try and bring me back there in my head. She’s going to make me re-live it all.
“Penny?” I lift my head and mentally chastise myself for wringing creases into my skirt.
“I know you’re afraid, so we’re going to let God lead us through this, okay?” I nod mutely and gather the skirt material up again in my sweaty hands. She leans over to grab a paper and pen. I feel like I am in a movie – it’s all playing out before my eyes, and I’m the main character. Surreal.
She relaxes back into her chair, pen poised over the blue lines. “Tell me about your friends growing up.”
That one’s easy. I never had any.
Images come floating into my mind of a time when I was seven. A gasp escapes my mouth and I feel my lips shake a little.
“Are you remembering something Penny?” She leans forward, concerned. I nod. “Can you go back there and tell me about it?” I close my eyes and let time fade away. I’m back in my bedroom. I smile and touch my neck.
“I’m so excited. I’m going to church to do something special, so I’m putting on my favorite dress and Mommy’s helping me with my hair. I have it around my neck – the necklace – it has two parts to it, and they lock together to say BEST FRIENDS. I’m going to give one half to Marilyn, and then we’ll be like sisters. I’ve never had a best friend before.
“I see Marilyn, and she’s standing with another girl. I run up, but she’s laughing, and so is the other girl! Are they laughing at me? I stop. Then I remember why I am here. I fiddle with the lock, and when it clicks open I take half the necklace off my neck. I’m holding it out to her, the one with BEST written on it, because I want to give her the BEST half. “Will you be my friend?” I’m shaking.
“OH! She’s hit my hand and the BEST piece is on the floor. I’m on my hands and knees, crying now as I treasure the rejected half of me in my hands. She’s laughing at me again.”
“Whatever made you think I’d want to be your best friend? Look at you, and that dress … hahaha.” They walk away, and I lie there, my tears wetting my clumsy fingers as I try to put the necklace back together again. It’s not locking together, and I cry even more.”
“Penny, can you tell me how you see yourself in that memory?”
I hesitate, but the truth comes swiftly. “Nobody could ever love me. I’m stupid.” The tears slow down now. This is my reality.
“”Let’s see if the Holy Spirit has anything to say.” She bows her head. “ Lord, Penny feels that she is unlovable and stupid. Will you please bring your truth?”
I listen with my heart, as she has taught me to do. Deep inside something lurches and grasps at a knowing, a surety that I am not rejected by Him. It is as if I can see Him in my mind’s eye, and He’s gazing into my eyes with the kind of love I have never seen in a person. You are not stupid or a loser, but you are special. I breathe in, deeply. Like dripping honey, the love trickles down into recesses and dark corners that hitherto have been denied access. I stay with Him until the sweetness lodges.
She smiles and leans back again. We move on to another memory. This time I am less fearful of facing the pain; I know He is here.
I cry a little and tap my foot off the chair leg as I recount more hurt. Then I wait …
I see Him again! He gets closer … and closer …
“OH!” I jump and laugh and cry all at the same time, instantly locked to Jesus in one glorious, crazy, messy jumble of love.
“Penny?” She grins; she knows God’s up to something good.
I force my laughing, crying lips to speak coherently.
“It’s Jesus – He’s wearing the FRIENDS half of my necklace around his neck…!”
While this is not a personal story, it is true - I had the joy of watching it happen:)
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