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Flashback Number 14

November 26, 2011

Flashback Number 14

 

Rev 2: 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

I have not given much thought to my childhood schooldays. It was a painful time. It was as “the best of times, it was the worst of times”, a wise man wrote. Having been out of grade school for many years I really did not have to think of it. Helping my husband with his teenaged daughter has taken me back. I have flashbacks while talking to my stepdaughter. On this particular day, she was explaining the benefits of finally being a part of the “in” crowd to me and how this was going to help her “rep” going into high school next year. When I asked some penetrating questions about her status I was alarmed to find out this “in” crowd was the very popular snotty, well-dressed, mean, boyfriend switching girls and she was very proud they called her one of them. I asked how her old friend felt about it since she was not chosen she mentioned that they do not speak.

She talked about her efforts to reconcile with her friend and  happy that for a time, she belonged to two groups. But, at some point her friend did not get along with some of the girls in the new “in” crowd so she was out of their crowd. We talked a bit more about the pain caused by rejection in cliques and how this “in’ crowd was affecting her character. She will face a defining moment soon that will have an impact I told her. I expressed hope that she will emerge from this impending crossroad having made the right decision that honored God and who she really was as He made her. I told her how pretty and bright, friendly, and well-meaning I thought she was. That is who God says she is.

I was fearful that as usual, she was writing me off and had turned me off in her head.  I could tell she had done this because of the very polite way she appears to listen-this I believe is a family trait as her father pretends to listen to me in this way quite a bit. There is a suspicion that I have long-held that he can sleep with his eyes wide open without being detected-he may have slept through many major conversations we have had and now his daughter was looking at me much in the same way. Well, at least she was not sleep and I was assured of this because there was no snoring or uncontrolled drooling.

But I was taken aback. The flashback seemed to start precisely at the moment when I began to talk to her in a very real way about her character, the way she treated people, her reputation and on. Her staunch defense of the mean girls frightened me, nauseated me, and made me angry. Here comes that metallic taste I get in my mouth when I am afraid and the fear is just given way to very deep, burning anger. This anger was very deep, very old, and way too big for this moment. Something was about to happen that was going to make me more like what Jesus is writing on that stone.

Sure I was delivered, Jesus did it and by His name by golly I was walking in it!  That was until He decided to use this moment as a target of opportunity. God was showing me something He was about to do for me, to me, and through me. I started to feel the anger rise above the other emotions-love for this child, fear, jealousy, and envy.  Help me Jesus, what a mess I must be to be jealous of a 14-year-old “it” girl!

This was the Holy Spirit’s signal to me that while the enemy was trying to get me off point, He was using this opportunity to deal with something that was buried deep. Perhaps He was “once and for all” laying the axe to the root cause of the rejection and feelings of inferiority that were vulnerable areas. It seemed to have its tentacles in every aspect of my personality that tends to show up when I am being challenged in some way. I was not part of the “in” crowd in grade school or high school or even college now that I think of it. I was the one never chosen, not as natty a dresser, not pretty at all, invisible, and rejected by most standards that matter to teens. The “in” crowd always got the best of everything, clothes, boys, and looks, money, etc. I felt intimidated by their status. I felt ugly, not as good as, dumb-just horrible and now in this car, I am talking to the very same kind of girl.

Being in their presence made me hate myself when I was her age.  I saw that same look of contempt in my stepdaughter’s eyes. She was long past bored now, this flashback has sent me back a long, long time. I was feeling 14 again and probably should have added another “long”, to the flashback I was having. I remember, reluctantly, that I did not even feel important enough to be looked upon with disgust. Sherman and Mr. Peabody could not have taken me this far in the Way Back Machine. Holy Spirit was taking me into some deep, dark place buried in my heart. There were worse things I found out there. The thing that was worse than being looked at with contempt and disgust was not being looked at, at all.

This girl was flat-out ignoring me now as I was trying to reach her.  What could have been a bitter cruel and ironic moment that would ordinarily cause me to retreat was something my Heavenly Father decided to use to deliver me. This was a transformational moment and I knew it. I knew because He and I have had them before.  I want so desperately to be like Him, to be what He has designed! He took me there and I went there with Him, willingly. Okay, I trust You, God. Holy Spirit helped me to see that if I rode this out with Him, He promised that He would prune out another thing in me that was not like Him. I said to Him, gladly, Sir, I yield this to Your loving hands. I want more of You. I knew He would not leave me in this place. He had every right to take me there, I trusted what He was about to do.

The Hand of God so expertly, and with the precision only He can master, can do the delicate surgery required here. His Presence served as the anesthetic needed to tolerate the procedure. Some operations must be done while you are awake, others you must be asleep because there is so much repair work that needs to be done.  Because we had been this way before, He was letting me stay awake for this one testing my responses as He worked in me. The beauty of this suffering I would not trade for anything. I got more of Him as I yielded, surrendered to His ongoing process in me.

What was happening in that transformational moment was for the both of us, my stepdaughter and I. We were both being shaped more into the image He has of us. I wanted it badly enough for the both of us until she gets the mind of Christ for herself. Holy Spirit, I sighed inward, please do something with my face so that she knows I am still engaged, still listening to her. So there I sat as she continued to rationalize, I continued to listen. How was I going to teach her to recognize these God ordained moments? How would I explain that He uses heart breaking moments in our lives to heal us. She was going to need to know about these moments so that she would know to sit-to sit still as He writes her name on that stone.

I am grateful as I look back on that moment. I am reminded as He was pouring His Word into me that His word to her, the Word that was being poured into her, would not return void but it will accomplish what He had sent it to do in her life and in my life.  God’s goodness and love shows up in so many unexpected places. He showed up to rescue both of His girls one Friday evening on the way to Virginia Beach.

phyllis is the wife of a pastor, stepmother, minister, and life coach. She has a heart to help those in transition, to triumph and finish well.

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