Is Your First Memory Real?

     What is the very first memory you have? How old were you? Most researchers believe most early memories are not true. We base them on stories we’ve heard or photos we’ve seen. That may be true, but does it make it less of a memory?

     I believe first memories can be foundational to who we are. It must have been an important event, even if a small one. Why would our brains hold on to it if it didn’t really matter? So, it got me thinking about my first memory. Why do I remember it? Why am I holding on to it? Am I making it mean more than it is? Was it real?

    It was springtime. They dressed me in my little yellow dress. I think I hated dresses even then. White hat with a yellow ribbon. White gloves. White patent shoes. It was Easter. I believe it was 1967 which made me 3 years old. I don’t remember church, but I know we went. I don’t remember waking up to an Easter basket, though I’m sure I did. What I do remember is my grandmother’s backyard. I’m sure if I could go back there now it would seem a small postage stamp yard, but then it was the world! Fully fenced with lilac bushes, lilies beginning to bloom, and hedges all along the fence that encapsulated the entire yard. 

I walk out the back door, down the 3 steps with my empty basket in hand and run as fast as I can to the little bushes to the right. I could see the color of the egg peeking through the grass. I grabbed it and put it in my basket. “Found one!” I hollered. 

That is my memory. Just me in the backyard. In that Easter outfit. Looking like a little doll my mom could dress up that day. It’s funny what we remember and why. Knowing my family and our past rituals, I am sure there were others there. Cousins aplenty. I’m sure all the moms were standing on the carport chatting while the kids ran around the yard finding the eggs. But, I only remember myself.


As long as I can remember I loved pleasing people. I would perform, smile, laugh, whatever it took to make them smile and keep them happy. If you knew my mother, you would know this was no easy feat. But, I remember her happy that day. I’m sure she delighted in what I was wearing. Yellow was her favorite color and I looked like a little doll. Then I would find an egg she had hidden and there was delight in her face; I had succeeded. Then, the part I can’t remember, but I imagine as history dictates, the rest of the time went something like this…

“Mommy, we found them all! Hide them again! Hide them again!”

“No, Barbie. I hid them once. Have your cousins hide them for you.”

And like that it was over. The attention, no longer there. Quick. Fleeting. Just as I remember. 

What is your earliest memory and why do you believe it is the one? Share with us in the comments below. 

4 Ways We Hide From Who We Are

Every time someone asked me about my father, I got a stabbing feeling in my gut. Like it was my fault I didn’t know him. So many times I would make up stories. 

“He was killed in the war; he was a hero!”

“He was killed in a car crash.”

“My mom and dad are divorced.” 

That last one, the divorce one, in the 70s, was about as bad as not knowing him. But, it was so much easier than saying “I don’t have one.” Of course, I have one right? Even 4-year-olds know that! But I just couldn’t face explaining to people I didn’t know him. I learned to hide who I was in as many ways as possible. 


The first was lying. Each of those statements above was a lie. But they diverted the real issue, and it worked. So I learned, lying works. It takes the attention off the negative. It ends the conversation. Until it doesn’t. Until the truth comes out and you’re in a deeper hole than when you started. I would lie that I didn’t take any cookies from the cookie drawer. This lie would lead to many years of dysfunctional eating. I would lie that I was spending the night at my girlfriend’s house when instead we would be out partying all night. 

Then as I aged and matured, I would lie at church and in my groups that my marriage was great. We did all the things right. We had date nights, devotions, regular sex, deep conversations. The reality? For a while, we had none of that. 

Those things weren’t happening because of the lie I would tell myself. The lie I would tell my husband. The lie I would tell my best friends. 

“I’m Fine!”

Oh, sister, how many of us live in that lie? We say it enough until we believe our situation is fine. When our reality is anything but. We believe the lie. 


When I realized it was too hard to keep lying, I secluded myself. If I hung out in my house, just me and the tv, no one could know. How often do we drive home every day, park in our garage and close the door? Close ourselves in. Away from the world. 

As an extravert, that only worked for so long. Yet, I found ways to stay secluded, even out in the world. I would busy myself with the kid’s school. I would walk around a shopping center or the mall. Anywhere I could hang out with people yet not be asked questions. I was the loneliest I had ever been amid a sea of people. 

But, you introverts, can hole up for days. Even though you too need some human interaction, there are words that keep you hidden. 

“I’d rather not talk about that. I’m a very private person.”

Interpreted – “I will not let you into my pain. I will deal with it myself so you will think I’m ok.” 


In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve hid from God. This is the first account of trying to hide from Him. 

8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Why were they hiding? They had done the one thing He asked them not to do! They were ashamed. They thought if He couldn’t see them, couldn’t see their nakedness, He would not know. 

We speak so many words over children that can bring on a lifetime of shame. 

“Putting on a little weight aren’t you?”

“Stop slouching!”

“How can you be so stupid?”

I heard so many of these things. I would wear oversized boy clothes to hide the little pudge I was developing at age 11. Then I would sneak an extra Twinkie at night because it made me feel better. I would make up stories that would make me sound smarter. Steal clothes that we couldn’t afford so I would look more normal. All the while developing ulcers because I was so ashamed, knowing I was wrong. 

The worst feeling was making up stories about my mom. Stories that made her look like a strong, caring mother. Stories that would show the world I didn’t need a father. We were better because we didn’t have one. Didn’t need one. The truth? I was so ashamed of not having one, I couldn’t bear anyone knowing it. 

All of this led to the biggest way I found to hide…


I read something in a book the other day that rang so true for me. I don’t remember it exactly, so I’ll paraphrase. It said something about wanting to be the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. Man, that was my childhood. I was an only child, but I had a slew of cousins around a lot. I loved most of them like siblings since I didn’t have any. Yet I always felt like an outsider. I learned the best way to get the attention I so desired was to perform. 

If I performed well, nobody saw the pain inside me. Everything looked so good and accomplished on the outside. Except for my hair… it never looked good! 

One cousin always called me spoiled. He talked about all the games and toys I had. What he didn’t understand was I received those things when I performed well. So it fueled the wrong thinking –

The only way someone will love me is to put on a smile and perform well.

If I didn’t do those things, they chastised me. “Stop crying.” “Stop whining.” “Try harder.” So I hid behind the things I did well. If I couldn’t do something well, I quit. And that is the attitude I carried into my adult life of marriage and children.

Until next time, ponder what this means,

 “May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.   ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5


Is It Hard to Tell Your Story?

Photo by The Coach Space on

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!