Have you ever told your story to someone? Have you told a friend over coffee or written it in a letter? Maybe you’re asking “What is my story?” “Do I have a story?” Well, yes, you do! Everyone has a story. The Lord doesn’t allow us to go through the trials without creating a story through it. But, why? And why should we tell? Because when we do, others gain insight and wisdom into their own pain and struggles. Wouldn’t it be easier to share your pain with someone if we knew 100% that what we told them would bring them peace and hope for their future? Some may say yes, while still others give a resounding NO! Vulnerability is hard. I know. But, what I’ve learned is to just step out once. Take a risk. Each time you do, the story gets easier and easier because nothing heals a wound faster than watching someone else heal.
It took me 53 years to share my full story. As I began sharing, I learned how unique and miraculous it is. Over and over people would thank me for sharing, with tears in their eyes, because they too had father issues that kept them from fully engaging with a Heavenly Father. I didn’t feel special. Just a story of a little girl born to a single mom who refused to tell her who her father was. My norm. Nothing special. Until it was, by God’s grace.
According to the CDC, in the mid-1960s, only 3.1% of white infants were born to single mothers. It was far from the norm. So, when this happened, it either happened in secret or in shame. My birth was the latter. No celebration of pregnancy while in the womb. In fact, no one knew I was in the womb! “How?” you say. Well, my mother was a large woman, and she wore big smock tops. But how?? My development. I developed high in the uterus near the rib cage. I didn’t produce much of a protruding belly. I hid, so she could hide. I sensed her shame, and I held onto it for many, many years to follow.
Statistics say, in my school class of 150 students, I would be 1 of 4 fatherless children. I was the only one. I cringed every time someone asked me where my father was. My favorite answer was “He died in the war.” The only answer that justified my illegitimacy. So, I would ask my mom, “Where is my father?” “Who is my father?” I cannot remember an answer. I never got a real one. I knew, from a very young age, it was the question you do not ask. Mom lived in constant unwarranted fear of losing me. Unwarranted fear. How many of us live in that every day?
As much as I dreamed about my father, I never thought about him as a real person. Funny, I don’t remember people telling me who I looked like. I didn’t hear “You are the spitting image of your Mama.” I always wanted to look like my grandpa. He was a handsome fella, but I think it was my deep, intrinsic desire to link me to a father. I didn’t favor my mom, except for my eye shape and my curly hair. Never crossed my mind that I may look like my father or his side of the family. Never. He was so non-existent in my world.
So, here begins my story. A story of hidden pain and hidden shame. I hid it well. Placed in those recesses of my mind. We all have them. Those places only we know about. Places we put things too painful to tell anyone else. Things that cause so much shame we bury them deep. Until life happens and they surface. Until we have to face them. Until the day God says
“Enough. I can’t watch you continue to do this yourself. You are my child. I love you and it grieves me to not see you healthy.”
When that happens, we have a choice. We will face it and deal with it, or we shove it further down, refusing to give it light. Oh sister, please don’t do that. Those are the things that ruin relationships, cause cancers to grow, bring about addictions. Those are the things that hinder us from the full freedom and calling we were born to live. So tell your story. Not only to save yourself but, to save others. Your pain. Your difficulties. Your insecurities are not for nothing. Tell your story the way that works best for you. That’s what I’ve done and we will walk this road to freedom over the next several posts that lead up to a book release!