You see, several of us recently just got back from the first annual Be a Voice Conference hosted by People to People ministries. During one of the workshops, we were challenged to write our stories depicting the events that led up to our conversions. Granted, I have my testimony written out, but did I start in the middle? Maybe.
So, the other part of my testimony has me starting out in the hallowed halls of Yahoo Chat. But what about before then? What drove me to the chat rooms? Reality did. I didn’t like it, didn’t like my life, was tired of always having to be everybody’s everything and was mentally and physically exhausted.
In reality, I was married, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a piano teacher, a Sunday school teacher, a kid’s choir director, a part-time musician, a housewife and full-time employee at the local grocery store. I was, to borrow Bob George’s phrase, busy and barren. Might I add ‘invisible’ as well? My needs were neglected and perhaps even unknown.
Trying to please everyone all the time is the utmost attempt at futility. When we first found out that I was pregnant with our first child, everyone was elated. When we found out the baby was to be a boy, that was a super plus. For 9 months, at least, I was somebody. People cared for my health, checked on me to see if I was okay, and constantly asked how I was doing. During this small part of my life I felt wanted, pampered and loved.
When our baby was born, he immediately became the apple of everyone’s eye, and I immediately vanished into invisibility again. Because of my lack of backbone, I was unable to raise my child, I felt, because the grandparents came and got him constantly to go here and there. No one asked about me. No one asked how I was doing, no one asked my opinion about anything. I was surrounded by family and church people; I was also lonely and heartbroken. Couldn’t & wouldn’t admit that, though. Not a characteristic of a ‘good christian woman’.
I became pregnant with our second child. 2nd trimester I miscarried. No problem, husband tells me, we’ll simply try again. I choked down the feeling of being used. No sympathy for me? No words of comfort?? Gee, thanks.
A few months later finds me pregnant again. Because of my previous miscarriage, the doctors wasted no time in getting a sonogram set up, ‘just in case’. All is well. I saw the heartbeat, the little nubs that were to be the hands and feet.. all is as it should be. I was elated. The next doctor’s visit, there is no heartbeat. The baby is dead. I am devastated. My husband says we’ll simply try again. I want to scream. Doesn’t he care?? Have I dropped so low on the family status that I am no longer a person, but merely a human incubator? Feeling guilty and heartbroken, I desperately try to shove these feelings of rejection down–way down. A good christian woman doesn’t allow little things like rejection to dictate her life. Although there were health issues after this second miscarriage, I continued to be a wife, a daughter, a piano teacher, a Sunday School teacher…and now a mother. Truth was, I resented my life, I resented the people in it who had so callously tossed me aside, or so I felt. However, I continued to wear my mask of serenity, and act as if all was right with my life. I was still the good christian woman, totally dependable, and totally trustworthy.
Soon, I became pregnant for the 4th time. I refused to get attached to this baby. After all, 2 out of 3 pregnancies already failed. Why should this be any different? There were women in the neighborhood spitting out babies like a vending machine with so many different daddies, whose lifestyles were less than wholesome. I tried to live a good life, yet my pregnancies failed. The Lord gives and the Lord takes, blessed be the name of the Lord. Did He, too, think I was such a failure of a mother that He would not allow me any more children? Why get attached? This baby will just die like the other two. This baby went to full term, and the closer it got to delivery date, I figured that God was going to let this baby be still-born. I’m convinced that God doesn’t want me to have any more children. The baby came, without incident, and fully whole and healthy. Great. Now I feel guilty for not bonding with him.
My health has always been a bit on the poor side, and now, with an infant and toddler, I needed help, guidance, direction. I had none. The people I had hoped I could count on again were not there. When the first child was born, everyone surrounded his life, and I knew that he’d be okay, even though I had been banished to invisibility. When the 2nd child was born, he had nobody but me. I didn’t feel I was good enough and became angry at the others who weren’t there. I must tell you that during this time, our family had some of the older members that were on their death beds on my side and my husband’s side, of the family. So emotionally and physically, the people I’d hoped to depend on were unable to be there, as they had to take care of the elderly family members. The church family was oblivious as usual to my needs. Why shouldn’t they be? The only thing they saw was my mask of serenity that I wore so faithfully each Sunday.
Soon, I was asked to go into chat to do some sleuthing. I didn’t know anything about it, but decided I would help out, thereby continuing with my charade of Good Christian woman. I did the task at hand, but while I was there, I saw a room labeled, “Christian Chat”. Wonderful! I expected to go in and find pleasant conversation. Of course, if you’ve ever been in any sort of chat room–it’s a free-for-all. There were some decent conversations of course, and I quickly made a circle of friends. In chat I was not a wife, nor a mother, nor a Sunday School teacher, nor a kids choir leader–I was simply a person with opinions and views. I drank this in as deeply as I could. I was actually allowed to have a conversation! People actually listened to me for a change!
The rest, as they say, is history. (This is where the meat of the testimony picks up)
Just a note, the babies have grown into fine young men, and I am loved. God knew just when, where, how, and through whom, to get His gospel message of love straight to my heart. God’s good like that. He’s done it for me, He can do it for you. Are you ready?