Engraved: Doubts

Usually the police didn’t declare a person missing until 48 hours but a friend from work, Phillip, noticed that he didn’t return after lunch. He called his cell but there was no response. He had tried his wife’s too but to no avail. Grace had abandoned her phone just like Sarah, meeting the same intrusion like her husband. He comforted himself by saying probably Malcom got the rest of the day off. When he left for the day, it was his shattered car glass in the parking lot that alarmed him. Phillip then called the police.

After analyzing the scene they deduced that he was kidnapped. The blood on the ground near driver’s door, the jagged piece of his jacket left behind and the stolen car keys. The cameras showing him being put in another car that sped off.

It was 7 pm when they arrived to question Grace. Just like the day when she didn’t look up at Malcolm under the tree, she didn’t look at the police men. Answering each emotionless. One of the men shot her look and then turned to his partner who understood. “What if she was involved?” he had said with his eyes.

They decided to keep a close watch on her. Sarah didn’t get a word out of her mother who walked zombie like to the ‘room’. Sarah’s heart flung violently against her chest, she wanted to say, “He doesn’t care,” but the ball in her throat wouldn’t allow it. Instead she tucked Ruth in even though it was early, all the crying made her tired anyway. She waited until she fell asleep. Sarah was headed to her room when Benjamin stopped her.

“It isn’t fair to keep me in the dark any longer.” He said.

He was right. Benjamin had always been more mature for his age. Sarah knew spending a lot of time with her father can do that to a person. He used the simplest things to teach them lessons. They had gone to the river to fish on a Saturday. It was right in the middle of summer. After the children splashing and the parents sitting on a rock nearby watching, they gathered for lunch.

“How did you know the river would be here today?” Malcolm asked. The children giggled at the question. They told him because they had come before. He continued to prod and asked why they thought the river couldn’t move. They were laughing now. “That’s not what rivers do.” Sarah had blurted out. “How do you know that? He challenged. Benjamin said according to the geography book he was reading, Sarah was right. Malcolm seemed pleased. “That is exactly How we learn to trust God, through his word.” He said finally, “Faith is the bridge to God. Without it we cannot reach him.”

Just as serious as her father looked then, Benjamin stared at her.

“Come in” she said.

She started slowly, pacing herself but somewhere between Rachel finding her and the knock on the door tonight, she lost herself, screaming her thoughts and her fears. Wishing for everything to go away, wishing for dad to come home, wishing uncle Ray had dropped dead, wishing she was never born. She only stopped when the words, “Not even God can help me,” flew out.

She placed her hands over her mouth when she realized, in her mind begging, not sure who, that Benjamin didn’t hear.

But he did, his bent head rose up and he looked in her eyes. Anger, disappointment and pity all mingled on his face.

Sarah cried even the more. “Now he knows I’m a hyprocrite,” she thought.

He held on to hands and said, “That’s a whole lot to carry in there,” pointing at her heart.

She barely heard him over her sobbs. Brushing back her tangled curls he pulled her in. As if getting some unspoken permission Sarah allowed her self to truly feel all the things that were bothering her. She found herself thumping the bed with the side of her fist and all her brother said was, “Yes, you can express that too, it’s ok.”

She said things but Benjamin couldn’t make it out, choking mid-sentences and sobbing even more at the mention of names. If the clock on her desk was right, she was weeping and shouting and thumping for an half an hour.

Bewildered, she slowly raised herself, greeted by Benjamin’s cologne now mingled with sweat. He got up and gave her small towel. She felt a little embarrassed but relieved. The ball that was on her throat was no longer there. Only a pounding of her left temple that happened whenever she cried.

When she calmed down enough, he said to her. “Your doubts don’t scare God Sarah. I don’t pretend to understand how any of this make sense. I sometimes get angry and confused too. But one thing I cannot deny, is the presence of a God. Nothing else makes sense without him.” He paused before continuing, “I am not worried Sarah that you doubt, I am only worried if you hide it from him.”

She felt like a five year old when she asked, “You mean, I can tell him about them, even if they persist longer than I want them to?”

Benjamin smiled and kissed her clamy forehead, “Yes, where else can you go?”

He left and Sarah never felt more hopeful. No where else promised any better. No where else had eternal hope. It was better to be broken in the hand of God than be broken by it.

The conversation sparked a new desire in her. She had remembered the phrase and looked up the story. Things might get rough, she may not understand why it all happened but one thing was true, the response of the disciples, “To whom shall we go, when thou hast the word of life?”

From there she went to read parts Job, Psalms, Lamentations, Hosea, Joseph’s life and finally Jesus in the Graden of Gethsemane. For once, she thought maybe there was something greater at work than her pain.

Road to Faith

None of us trusted God from birth. It was something we learned to do. For many of us it started from a place of doubt. Whilst others boast in having the gift of faith, people like me have to battle with doubt daily. They say faith comes by reading the word, I agree with that. I was just misguided that simply knowing it was enough. I know he is a provider but I still doubt he can. I know he is a healer but sicknesses usually make me anxious and feel hopeless. Maybe I was doing something wrong, maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Faith for me has become not a moment but a journey. It started with me accepting that I really don’t believe a promise but I tell God I desire to. I tell him, it has to be a work of his spirit because it is. There is only one requirement from me – surrender. Then in surrender, obedience is born. In my moments of doubts, my prerogative is not my feelings but my ability to endure. Who is in control? You or your feelings? You will only know the end of faith if you hold on to it.

A famous poet called Joe said in the perspective of God, “Before you doubt Me, doubt your doubts!” Why is it easier to believe what we see? Because we are human? Possibly, but also because we choose to believe it.

Our actions follow our real beliefs not the things we want to believe. Want to change your actions? Change what you believe. As a man thinketh, so is he. Or as a man believes, so he will do.

Perhaps you have been praying for a while about a particular circumstance. Perhaps, you fear God is not hearing or even cares. Niether of this is true. He cares more than you. What he wishes to do, is his choice, simply because he knows best. Until we can accept his sovereignty, we will never fully believe in him. Remember, you are precious.

Engraved: Unspoken

Malcom pulled up in his driveway. He had maintained a civil disposition upon hearing the news. What he was to make of it was beyond reach. For the first time since this all began, he loosened his tie, placed his hands over his eyes, and cried his eyes out. What a fool he had been? The man who prized himself on having a good judgement, deceived and deceived publicly. He walked in with hunched shoulders. 


His wife met him at the door, she had been waiting in the sitting room. She wrapped the pink night gown tighter as she met the cold air. Sarah got her frame from her, plump in all her feminine forms. Noticing how puffy her husband’s eyes was, she hesitated in asking about the details. But one could only bear so much when things have gotten even more out of control these pass few days. Helping him with his jacket, she asked if he would like tea first. He accepted half smiling. He had always appreciated how well his wife knew him. He knew she saw he needed to gather some strength first. 


Returning, she took her seat beside him, handing him the tea with a slice of banana bread. He took two sips then began. 


“Other victims have come forward.” he said flatly.


He sat expectantly as the gravity of the situation weighed in on his wife. Her eyes widened and pupils small. Even in the lamp’s flicker, her hazel iris shone. He remembered the first day they met. It was her eyes that drew his attention. Not the colour really, but how focused they were on sketch she was making. It was his umteenth summer camp at 19 years old. She sat under a tree with a drawing pad and a dark pencil. Her maxi skirt covered all of her legs even though she held them close to her chest. He had somehow wandered over to her looking at the sketch.


“Is there something I can help you with, sir?” She had said without lifting her eyes. 
He was quite dumbfounded, staring at the elegantly clad woman on the drawing. Her drawn posture did something that made him think of one thing, “Grace,” he heard himself say. This time, she looked up at him quizzically, “How did this stranger know my name.” she thought. He pointed to it and said again, “Grace.” She only looked at him. Even though they said no other words that day, Malcolm recognized the word meant something to her the way she reacted. He made a mental note to find out to what extent and after seeing her often at conferences and of course camp. It was only after when he had asked for her name he realized.

The two easily became acquaintances. 
She was hesitant about their friendship, always cautious of him. A previous heartbreak teaches you to be wise. He was that hard to figure out. Always open, always honest. Whenever he called her, she could tell what mood he was in. How easily he switched from playfulness to a sober tone. 


She noticed him staring off in the distance and gently squeezed his hand. 


She said, “Tell me what happened.”


He explained to his wife that after going over the details with the detective; they had enough evidence to prosecute Ray. To put him behind bars for a really long time. Most of the girls were minors including girls he knew. Grace placed a hand on his back. She felt a pang in her heart against her husband. This reaction puzzled her.

“It’s all right, dear. We will get through this.” she said. 


“Did you see him?” she asked distracting her thoughts.


“I couldn’t —  ” Malcolm managed. 


Making some soothing noise, she rubbed his back more. Finally, he gave up and hugged her, breaking down frantically. This display somewhat surprised Grace. She knew he loved his brother. But crying, in front of her, was very much unlike her husband. If it was another circumstance, she might have laughed at him. He’d always have a command over his emotions, it seems this, this was too much. 

Sarah shuffled out of her bed. Recently, only two things get her out of bed this early, Ruth or her bladder. Today it was the latter. Racing for the bathroom she had already started despising the fact she drank so much before bed. A good night’s rest was rare. When she was through, she cleaned her teeth and her face. She made a hot cup of cocoa and headed to the garden. The ‘room’ was no longer a place of solace just somewhere she had gone to expose her shame. Just somewhere she wasn’t ready to encounter again. 


She found her seat. The dew dripped off the leaves near her as she shook the tender plants. She had grown fond of the lavender bud. She felt it understood her, as she knew how to well to remain tightly concealed. She wondered how she kept the secret so long.

 
“Hypocrite” she muttered to herself. 


Not too long after, she heard a voice calling her name. The waist high girl came and sat beside her, nuzzling into her side. At least Ruth didn’t think she was, and at the thought she exhaled. 


“For someone who doesn’t go to school, you are up early.” She pointed out. 


She didn’t know what to say. How could she explain?


“Just enjoying the view.” she said.


“It quite beautiful Sarah.“ Ruth added. “Almost as beautiful as you.”  


Sarah didn’t respond. It’s been a while since she saw herself like that. When she looked at her face, at her chest, at her legs, all she saw were the scars he left behind. It was the unseen ones that were the worst though, the ones that tore her apart mentally. Broken was no longer a description for her, it was her name. 


“It’s time to get ready, let’s go inside.” Sarah said. 


She hadn’t quite figured out what to do while away from school. She spent mornings in bed. After noon in front of her TV and dinner with her family. Her mother worked from home so she would pop in now and then. She was in the middle of a series when she heard her father’s car pull in. Things have been awkward between them, he doesn’t seem able to meet her eyes. He only really talks with her when others are around. He didn’t always come home for lunch, this was new. That means something was wrong. I turned down the show just enough to hear their exchanged. He asked where Sarah was, and her mother directed him to her. 


He forced a smile and asked how she was. She answered shakily and then he took a seat, Grace entering the room.  He told her what the detectives told him. She didn’t blink; she didn’t move. When he mentioned that Camelia was one victim, that certainly got a response from her. She pulled down her sleeve even though her sleeve covered it.

Her father went on but she heard nothing else, “Poor Camelia,” she thought. How could she haven’t picked it up? She was distant too but only attributed it to deserting her. “Right” she placed her hand on her forehead. “I am an awful friend.” she thought.


He said Ray could go away for at least thirty years if they testified. What was she to say, that she was happy other girls went through what she did so they could prove his wrong doing? Would she have to testify? What about the other girls? This was stirring up way more problems than she hoped for. If he only he hadn’t—. She fled to her room overcome by emotions and shut the door. In there she was safe, from court, from Ray and from eyes that would only judge her.


She heard her father’s car leaving, her mother saying she would talk to her. She agreed with herself to apologize tonight and hear him out further. Only her father didn’t show up that night. It was only a knock on the door by Police saying curtly her father was missing.

Unspoken

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

I have been dealing with possibilities I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever imagine. It seems with the economy almost toppling over; I am no longer simply unbothered by corona but moving on to concern. Health risks were seemingly no threat, heaven sounded sweeter but now with lay-offs at our heels, I have a new faith to take a firmer grip onto — that God will provide. Whilst my family has food and a little savings, my heart flutters to the thought of future needs. At work, they are having the agents work from home. Every day we release a new batch. As a receptionist, if there are no workers at work, then — you get the point. 

With the uncertainty of the length of this outbreak, I could start working week on and off at a time. I have always enjoyed taking in my share. It seems only fair. Maybe things aren’t all that serious and all I have to risk is my pride, still I am concerned. I don’t intend to add to the noise of panic on the matter, rather my encouragement is way less economical or medical. How many persons like Paul have showed love (with no evil desire) and we closed our hearts to them? Whether from getting help or simply forming prejudices about them to hide your mistrust for people. I want you to be honest with the people closest to you. 


Not a hard request seemingly, but what if for one week you shared how you really felt? To share why something has been irritating you for months possibly years?

To share that you really enjoy someone’s sacrifice, company or kindness?

To share that you loved them?

What if you shared your deepest struggle with someone who could counsel you and pray for you?

What if you connected more with the community that you see than the one on your phone? 

What if you tackled the hard issues? Like why you have been avoiding someone and even why have you muted their status? 

What if saw your heart for what it was and not what you wanted it to be?

What if you obeyed God, accepted his will? 

What if you did open your heart to love?


Oh, what a week we would have had, full of honesty, realness, and probably a little brokenness? But in no wise greater than the joy of being you, of walking in your identity. There is brokenness that needs healing in all of us. Steffany Gretzinger says the more we encounter God, the more we become undone. The more we become conformed to his image. Take it not lightly that the bridge to wholeness means reconciling with our counterparts.

With that said, I wanted to say I really do appreciate you taking the time to read. People always say how much the blog helps them but I believe it helps me more. Thank you for giving me a safe space to express myself. The grace you extend to me is mind blowing. Your feedback, excitement, comments, corrections and thrills adds so much life these black and white pages. I cannot thank you enough. I am working on something for you but I can’t say yet. It’s having me giddy every time I think about. But, it will have to wait, blessed is he who endureth. Until next time, remember, you are precious. 

P.S. I am waiting on those predictions. *winks*

Engraved: The Encounter

Pastor Montique called Mark before Adrian could tell him. Mark apologized and told they will definitely talk about soon. 

Pastor Montique was a statuesque man, even Mark, 6 feet, had to look up to him. He always seemed to always have a smile. Everything about him screamed, follow me. He had the poise, the voice, education and most of all, the hearts of the people. The children flocked him after church. Some came for sweets, others hug and some, to show off their art work from Sunday School. Impatient adults always never liked that he attended to everyone first before they needed his attention for ‘real’ issues. His team seemed to revere the dust under his feet. Dashing into action at his bidding. Mark had grown to love him. In more ways than he considered him, his mentor. He always checked up on him and encouraged him.  

“I saw your message. What did you want to talk about?” Pastor asked.

Mark pulled him closer to the wall and said, “I have been struggling financially…” Mark didn’t continue, he couldn’t. His pride stuck in his throat. Pastor quickly said, he understood, and he will see what he can do. Mark had this odd feeling when he heard his response. He said okay and thanked him in advance.

Sarah avoided Rachel the entire time. It was strange how easy it was. Rachel would have come up to her by now. She sat at the back looking ‘out of it’. She would ask her about it soon. But today, she couldn’t deal with a reminder of her terrible secret. She was going home for Ruth’s Birthday. She was turning six on Monday, and she vowed to make her favourite breakfast for her. 

Sarah’s mom, Grace, was a guru in the kitchen. They endowed the table with Curried Goat, Baked Chicken, Coconut-Cream Shrimp, Mashed Potatoes and Tossed Salad in Raspberry Dressing. 

It was a peaceful for her to watch her family. They laughed and teased each other.  Her father looked up after pecking his wife on the cheek. “Are you ok Sarah?” he said. 

For once she could say from her heart, “Yes dad, I am.”

Benjamin was in the middle of a hilarious story when they heard a knock on the door. Sarah’s father pulled away to see who it was. 

“Malcom!” Sarah heard and all the blood drained from her face. Her father responded, “Ray. What a pleasant surprise.” 

They were still hugging when they came in, “How long has it been? A year?” Malcom asked.

“Hardly, I was at the family reunion.” Ray said. Sarah shifted on the seat, remembering she faked sickness not to be there. He greeted everyone but his eyes lingered on Rachel. “Do you want a rag?” Grace asked. Sarah didn’t realize that her blouse had grown sweats marks. “I am fine.” she said and reached for her drink.

After dinner, the parents sent the children up. Ray and his wife were having problems. She didn’t want him home. So, he needed to stay there for the night. Ray said it was her overreacting and his brother believed, his easy going brother couldn’t have started the squabble. 

Sarah went to her room early. His presence alone made her edgy. She couldn’t afford her parents to see the truth. 

She covered in a grey blanket from head to toe listening to music. Or rather overthinking with music in the background. She relived the moment repeatedly. Her thoughts finally gave her a break when her eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. 

Slam!

Her eyes flew open. The darkness illuminated her confusion. But the person on top of her felt familiar. It was Ray. He turned on the lamp, placed his index finger on his thick lips, and motioned to the shiny metal in his hand. Sarah heard her heartbeat drumming in her ears. Ray started trying to find the end of the blanket. Sarah realized she couldn’t live through this again. She couldn’t give him power over her again. She stretched her hands towards lamp and smashed it in his head. Ray threw his hand to his temples, dropping the knife. Sarah quickly loose the sheets and stamped her foot in his groin. Scurrying off the bed, she ran to her parents’ room. Her father met her in the hallway with a machete in his hand. 

“What’s going on Sarah? Is someone in the house?” Her father questioned.

She didn’t know what to say, she only saw his expression move from surprise and then hardened. 

“Ray? Is that you?” Her father said: squinting. He lifted the blade of the machete. “What were you doing in my daughter’s room?” He thundered. Ray’s undone zip seemed to blow a gasket in Malcom’s mind. Ray was slender so Malcom easily pinned him to the ground. He lifted his fist and said, “How could you!?” His wife called him mid way and he rested his fist on the floor. Without turning around, he said, ” Call the police. We have a rapist in the house.” 

If the noise didn’t wake the children, the flashing lights did. They bewildered the children. Police came and detained Ray while others took statements. Sarah told them everything.  The Paramedic noticed Malcom’s breathing and checked his blood pressure. He urged it to calm himself down as his pressure was rising steadily. The neighbours started gathering on the street in front of them. 

The police interrupted and told Malcom they would do more investigations as they needed more evidence to go to trial. He might only face a fine for tonight. When they left, Grace tucked Ruth and Nathaniel into bed again. Trying her best to soothe them. 

When she came down, she found Malcom arguing with the fifteen-year-old Benjamin about going to his room. Benjamin had wanted to know what had happened, but his father insisted they needed to talk to Sarah alone first. He reluctantly obeyed and went to his room. Malcom beckoned for grace to sit beside him on the coach while Sarah sat on the pouffe in front of them. She started playing with the edge of her left sleeve. 

“Why didn’t you tell us?” her father asked.

“He threatened me. He told me he would kill me and make it look like a suicide.” she admitted.

She saw an anger in her father that she never knew before. He didn’t utter a word, but his whole body showed what he was thinking. 

Her mom then asked, “When did it happen?”

“Last year around tax time, when he carried me home.” Sarah said.

Grace looked intently at Malcom, almost accusingly.  

She saw guilt tore up her father’s face. She didn’t want her father to blame himself or worse; she didn’t want him to feel that she blamed him either. She burst out into tears. Both her parents flew to her. Grabbing her and crying there for about an hour. 

Her father encouraged them to get some sleep, they would finish talking in the morning. Her mother slept with her for the night.  Warm tears awoke Sarah, but it wasn’t her own. She soon realized it was her mother’s. She was praying. Asking for help for their family. Sarah stayed still for a while and waited until she had long ended. She yarned and sat up in the bed. Her mother sat up too. She looked to her and said, “You are such a brave girl.” 

Sarah couldn’t help but nod like a complimented five-year-old. Then she remembered it was Ruth’s birthday. She ran to the bathroom and washed up. She started the breakfast and got to singing. She was putting the eggs on a plate when Benjamin came in with an expression she couldn’t read. He held out a paper to her. She took it and wished she could fall through the floor. It read, “School Teacher Accused of Raping Minister’s Daughter.

What’s Next!?

Things are getting stranger by the post! What would your advice to Sarah be!? Tell me in the comments or email me at shanyesica@gmail.com. The best advice will be given a special gift! Precious Thoughts will be having a give-away too for our tenth post in the series! Look out for that Next Friday at 5 pm!

Engraved : Uncovered

CELEBRATING INDIVIDUALITY, UNDERSTANDING OUR IDENTITYWHO ARE YOU?

“When did these feelings start?” Sarah asked. She knew emotions are never solitary, they are always attached to a thought that may be triggered by an experience.

Rachel considered this and then said, “When I came back to school last semester.”

“The semester after your grandmother passed away.” Sarah confirmed. Rachel nodded and rubbed the circle of the watch again.

“You never really said much about her death, I assumed you weren’t that close to her.” Sarah remarked.

Rachel laughed painfully, “Far from it, her passing tore me apart, it still does. It was just too painful to talk about it.”

Sarah, after studying her friend’s expression finally she said, “Tell me about her.”

Rachel started, “She gave the best hugs, those ones that swallowed you up and made you feel safe.” Now staring off in the distance at some yellow wild flowers, she continued, “She brought sunshine everywhere she went. Baking, oh yes, she loved it. She’d always bring banana bread for me on Sundays. She’d always check up on me too,” with this, Sarah saw the sadness return to her friend’s tired face. Rachel started stroking the gold watch again.

Sarah said, “She sounds wonderful. What’s the story with that watch?”

Rachel looked down and slightly shook in nervousness while she slid it off, “Grandma gave it to me.”

She pointed to the engravement on the back and Sarah read the words, “I am loved.”

Sarah looked up and into her friend’s eyes, “Do you believe that?”

“Sometimes,” Rachel admitted.

“Why just sometimes? Don’t you think your family loves you?” Sarah asked.

“Sometimes,” was all she managed to say.

Sarah then asked how things were when she was smaller at home.

 Rachel started, “Dad was MIA from the pregnancy, I’ve never met him. My mother started working three months after I was born, taking every overtime she could to provide for Grandma and I. When I got older things remained the same. It almost became a way for her to cope, I guess. She was always so tired, whenever she was home, by the time I started about my day, she fell asleep. Grandma was there but some things I wanted to hear and feel from my mother, you know?

“I understand. Did she ever say anything about your father?” Sarah asked.

“Never, this one time I practically begged, and she said it’s best I not know about him. She said I didn’t need him, and I should just focus on school. Surprisingly, even grandma was silent on the matter. She always has a flash of hurt on her face and then changed the subject,” Rachel responded.

So, when grandma died, with her you lost your sense of belonging and the feeling of being …loved? Sarah asked hesitantly.

Rachel looked down instantly, she thought it was silly of her to feel that way, but she did. Deep down she has been really feeling alone.

“Yes,” she said barely audible.

“How about God?” Sarah asked.

“What about him?” Rachel responded.

“Do you believe He loves you? Sarah answered.

“Sometimes.” Rachel admitted.

Parental Failures

Why would Rachel feel this way about God’s love for her? Could it be that her earthly father abandoned her, so she has a hard time accepting that her heavenly father wants to stay? Children form their worldview by age thirteen. You see, when little Rachel saw that her father was absent and her mother was present but emotionally unavailable, it sent a message to her saying, ‘You are not wanted, you are not important and probably no one thinks you are.’ Subsequently, she believed it but is that the truth?

Psalm 139:13-18 shares how carefully and thoughtfully Jesus formed us from the womb. Would someone take the time to create something so detailed and after his/her birth just abandoned them? I think not. We might look like our parents, but we are made in HIS image (Gen. 1:26). Do you know what that means? We are identified with Him, He becomes the source of our identity. Ultimately, what He says and thinks about us has the precedence and He says, “You are loved.”

Healing from Parental Hurt

Rejection, hurt and shame are feelings that we all deal with it. It damages us even more when we experience it from the persons who are supposed to love us the most, especially so early. Healing from this is not a walk in the park, the consolation is however, Jesus heals! Here are six (6) tips on pursuing wholeness:

Acknowledge that You are Hurt

Before you can heal you must acknowledge the wounds. Acknowledge how deeply it hurt, don’t shy away from how overwhelming the pain is. Don’t rush this part either, ask God to uncover them too. It is okay to feel pain, we are emotional creatures and we are made that way for a reason. Your emotions are not your enemy. They are indicators that there is something beneath the surface that needs a little attention whether in the mind or heart.

Be Vulnerable with God

Prayer is much more than making requests or a religious duty. God calls us to relationship. His desire more than anything else is to have communion with you. He wants you to involve him in every area of your life, past, present and future. Tell Him how you have hurt, share your frustration, anger and evil desires if any. My personal testimony is the moments that I have received real deliverance, clarity and comfort has always been in prayer. Be real with Him. Ask him to help you to forgive them. This article from Desiring God may assist you in the process too. Ask Him for help. I can assure you He will. ‘Did er’ a saint find this friend forsake him? Or sinner find that He would not take them? No, not one!

Find out what the Word says

Faith and hope come by hearing the word of God. What does the bible say about parental hurt? How does God declare himself to be our father? I have linked a few scriptures here. You can share others with me too! Repeat them, remind yourself with flashcards, wallpapers, written text on bathroom mirrors and set email reminders! This principle can be seen in scripture where God told them to put commandments on doorposts and foreheads (Deut. 6:8-9). It might seem silly at first but reminding yourself of the Word fights the lies of the enemy. Strongholds are only torn down intentionally and with much consistent force.

Tell a Friend

Sometimes things get to heavy for us to carry alone and we need help. This person might be your pastor, another leader, youth president or another brother or sister, just ensure these people are sober and not immature. We should share our burdens with each other (Galatians 6:2) that is why we have a community of believers, a family. There is so much power that lies in our tongue. Confession brings healing (James 5:16). I shared a post last year that addressed this in more detail click here to read. They can help you pray, keep you accountable and support you. We need each other.

Confront the Parent/ Parents

Confront doesn’t mean disrespect. The purpose is to bring about restoration of the relationship not just a venting opportunity. Be warned that they might not be repentant and acknowledging this fact is important as a negative response may trigger the emotions you were healing from. Nevertheless, this may lead to closure. I suggest you consider this prayerfully. If you do decide to confront them, find a relaxing environment, bring food, yes! Nothing makes a person feels more at ease than a full stomach. If you are not able to meet with them as highly recommended, give them a call when they are most available. Ease into the topic, don’t avoid it either but state your claims assertively and timely. State that your desire would be to have a better relationship and you would like to discuss how you both can work on improving the relationship. You can look at this too from Desiring God on the matter. This might be insufficient depending on your situation, please reach out to me if you need any further advice. I am here for you.

Fix Your Focus

Always focusing on pain never leads to healing. We are encouraged to deal with them healthily and then let them go. Paul encourages us to forget those things that are behind and reach forth for your new life in Christ. Set your affections on things above i.e. Set your affections on Him. This life is temporary. He is eternal. Will you continue to give them control over your desires, thoughts and actions? Don’t view life through tear stained eyes instead with eyes of hope and love. We can also rest in knowing that we have been adopted in a new family. Pray for a mother/father figure. Paul was Timothy’s father in the gospel.

What’s Next?

Your situation may not be as drastic as Rachel, maybe they were just not there for you to talk deeply with, maybe they laughed at a physical or emotional attribute. It is ok if it hurts you. You have a right to your feelings. Do not ignore your emotions rather deal with them as they come. This leads us to our next focus, does traumatic experiences affect how we view ourselves? Will Rachel find out the truth about her father and confront her mother, will she experience healing? We will find out over the next set of posts in this series called Engraved! Below is a sermon from Ravi Zacharias on us bearing the Image of God also the depth and importance of our individuality. Until, next time, remember you are precious.  

Watch Now!

The Claws of Comparison

When I settled to write this post in my journal, I had a major issue with finding where to begin. This is owing to the fact that comparison has been such an early and continuous battle for me. It ate away at my self esteem and destroyed any hope of me achieving my fullest potential.

Growing up was a bit of a challenge. I was the youngest of four children and the most introverted. This made it difficult for me to express myself clearly, especially if I was displeased. The introverts know exactly what happened next, yes, I retreated to my shell. Surprisingly, it was not that I didn’t feel safe or loved, it’s just I wasn’t wired like everyone else to just, talk.

Evolving into a teenager made things worsen. I started to compare my body with other persons’ shape, hair texture, smile, personality and the list goes on. Where I found not matching the ideal, I grew a strong dislike for that aspect of my feature (did a post about one on Facebook, link is in menu, check it out).

It didn’t end there, I found I was compared to my sister a bit more than I could handle. Okay, so she is extroverted, very outgoing, fun loving, joke telling, and charismatic. It’s hard not to love being around her. Then there was me at the time, too shy to even say good morning to community members, barely knowing how to interact with extended family members, loving my own space and lost in my own little world. People would often say in my presence, “I prefer (my sister), she is more down to earth, Shanann just so stuck up ,” or “She (my sister) would have had us laughing.”

This had a reverse effect on me as I didn’t covet or hate her, nothing can change my love for her, smiles. Only the introverts know what happened next too. Yes, you guessed right! I retreated deeper into my shell, affecting my relationships even more. In my social circle at the time I would always be listening, not because I had nothing to say but afraid of what the response would be to my thoughts. Afraid that what I had to offer wasn’t enough-that me being me wasn’t enough. Also, afraid that I needed to be someone else to matter. (Whew, this blog has me sharing all my secrets!) Persons would say you are so much like your sister. (Me at the time: I wish!) I took it as a compliment but deep down I wondered if that is all people will ever see me as, a copy and not an original.

So much rests on identity, no wonder the enemy seeks to keep us from truly realizing who we truly are.

Shanann Williston

The Liberating Power of Purpose

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So, to the good stuff! This is how I overcame, I found my purpose. Yes, I know it is not as simple as it sounds. God gave me some instructions and promises unique to me that I was reluctant to do but obedient to. Then after much conviction and bawling I decided to submit to His plans for me. (Submission and obedience are similar concepts but God delights in one, reflect on that.) Upon understanding the why of my existence, I deeply to desired to truly know the God who dictates my path. I found this mind blowing truth that He loves me endlessly so why should I want to be someone else?

What makes me different is the very thing that makes me beautiful. So yes, I am still a bit socially awkward, too caught up in my own world, not very expressive, living with a constant battle of indifference and sensitivity, not the best story teller, but guess what, I am totally, absolutely, unashamedly, me. I am not saying that I have never been tempted to compare after, but it no longer has power over me, I can rebuke the thoughts with the Word of God. I am even now seeing how the odd parts of my personality and physique are instrumental to fulfilling my purpose!

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Breaking loose from the claws of comparison has been a rending and mending process. It’s forgetting what you have accepted about yourself and reaching for who you were created to be. It’s experiencing absolute freedom, contentment, peace and being happy in your own skin- in your own mind. Don’t you want that?

If you are struggling with comparison, it’s because you haven’t truly discovered or accepted yourself and your uniquely devised circumstances. You might also be thinking I should have been like this or that but God is too wise, too powerful, too creative to make something that is irrelevant. You matter. He saw the world and said, hmmm the world is going to need one of you. Imagine a perfect God, fully knowing us, failures and all, and yet He still has precious thoughts towards us. This is a part of the reason why this blog is called Precious Thoughts! (Psalms 139:17, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”)

If your creator has precious thoughts about you, why should you think about yourself otherwise? Spend some time to mediate on Psalm 139, let the Word convict and tear down the inferior, defeated mindset that you have about yourself. Do a study on your true identity. Tell me, have you really found you? If not, start the journey today. Our future posts will definitely address how to. Here are two songs to reflect on in your quiet time (I couldn’t decide lol), “You Say”, by Lauren Diagle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI and “Loving Me”, by Jonathon McReynolds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfyVeJ2OdQg .

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If you want to hear more about the details on overcoming comparison, don’t be afraid to email me at shanyesica@gmail.com so we can chat on Hangouts! All information shared will be confidential. Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to like, follow and share! Until next time, remember you are not only precious but you are loved, important and uniquely designed, embrace you!