Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Learning for Life (08/23/04)
TITLE: Learning the Hard Way
By Jess Godwin
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I was helping my Papa cook supper. We were frying chicken, and for some reason, my Granny was at the back of the house doing something. I was getting the pickles out of the fridge when my Papa said “Go get your good for nothing Granny and tell her to get up here.” I froze and then spoke my mind.
“Don’t say that!”
“What do you want me to say?”
“Say that you love her.” (Because all grandparents love each other, don't they?)
“What? You want me to lie to you?”
I was devastated. This man that I thought was the greatest in the world had just shattered my image of what a man was supposed to be. I couldn’t talk about this to any one. To this day, my parents don’t know what he said to me. I carried the emotional baggage and scars with me for years.
When I was seventeen, my granny called it quits and walked out of the sham of a marriage. One more suitcase was added to my “emotional packing list.” And then, the most painful blow of all. My Grandfather decided that being a part of a family wasn’t what was important to him…his drinking buddies and various girlfriends were.
It really wasn’t any wonder that I developed a severe distrust of men in general. I didn’t trust guys who said they liked me, and I didn’t trust myself to like a guy. I didn’t even trust that the God I’d once loved could love me enough to stay with me through the hard times. Because I’d been shown that I wasn’t worth the time or effort it took to love me. I learned these lessons at an early age, and it was hard to believe that maybe, just maybe, I’d been taught something false.
On April 11th, 2001, I returned to the God I once loved. For a while, I felt special, and beautiful, and wanted. But quickly, the old fears came back, and though I knew God loved me and wouldn’t leave me, I still had severe trust issues. I started attending a woman’s Bible Study at my church by Beth Moore. The study was “Believing God.” And one of the key principles was “I am who God says I am.” I learned that no matter what label, I can strip it off. No matter what emotional suitcase I carry, I can lay it down. Because God is the one who speaks who I am. It isn’t my grandfather, it isn’t my friends, and it isn’t the boys who rejected me in High School. God redeemed me, summoned me by name, and I am His.