Engraved: Seen

“Can we go for a walk?” Rachel asked. Their Saturday talks have become regular and they started to become very close but today, she had a hard time staying still.

Sarah agreed and they both strolled off without saying anything at thing at first. They had grown comfortable with each other, so silences weren’t awkward anymore.

They passed a group of boys from their hall. Rachel spoke, pulling her friend to the present, “They always stare at you, you know.”

Rachel said despairingly, “I know.” Her plump figure always gave her more attention from men than she’d like despite her prude-like attire. Rachel noticed she seems to love long sleeve tops.

Switching the subject quickly, she asked how the journey has been going.

Rachel gave a loud sigh, “Honestly? I still don’t have a lot of things clear in my mind, but I have been praying more. At first, my prayers were self-loathing and condemning. They were awkward and sometimes I just sat in tears. Slowly, I felt God healing my heart, I don’t cry as often again. Last weekend though, I went home, and I…I talked to my mom.”

Sarah stopped in her tracks and turn to her, “Like talk, talk?”

Rachel responded softly, “Yes.”

Sarah tugged at her elbow and said, “Tell me everything.”

Rachel swallowed before starting, “I took her out to dinner. We talked about school and work for a bit. I noticed she avoided bringing up grandma. Then I said mom, I have something I want us to discuss tonight. She looked immediately directly at me. I then shared how I have been feeling during previous weeks. I told her about how her emotional unavailability affected me and surprisingly, she listened intently, teary-eyed and almost giving a knowing nod.”

Sarah asked hurriedly, “Did she say anything?”

“When I was through with that and waited for her to say something, she was silent for a while and then she started talking, working hard to keep her voice under control. She apologized profusely and reached for my hands. She told me she was in a dark place before I was born and then she just never knew how to get out. She told me she loved me too, mom doesn’t say those things, ever. I can remember feeling that for the first time in my life I felt like my mother actually saw me. Like, she looked up from her pain and saw my own. She said she does want things to be different between us especially since it is just us, with that, I took the opportunity to ask about my father.”

Sarah was in disbelief, this was not the girl she knew some weeks ago, she thought, look at the confidence one can find in having communion God.

Rachel continued, “She said we should talk about this in the car. So, we left and when we settled in the car, I asked her again. She held on to the steering wheel for what seems like support. Before she could get out anything, she started crying, like ugly crying. I was confused but when I attempted to put my hand on her shoulders, she flinched and said, “Listen before you comfort me.”

She continued, “I was 21 at the time. He was 25, we went to school together. I was pursuing nursing, He was studying to be a pilot. One day, I was in the library one day and came and sat right next to me, but he said nothing just like hello and stuff. He did this for a few weeks, if he wasn’t around the table where I was, he would be nearby. One day, when I started to leave the library, He asked me where I was headed to and I said to my class. He offered to follow me there and we started talking every day before classes. Before I knew it, we were spending so much time together, He seemed so genuinely concerned about me, He even went to church with me and was always there to listen. After a while, we claimed to have fallen in love.” She mocked.

Rachel then said to Sarah, “Mom continued by saying that at the time she wasn’t interested in a relationship, my grandma and grandfather were working really hard at a factory to send her to school, it was best she focused on school, focused on God. She said these words, “I knew that I just … I just don’t know why I did it,” with that she used her hands to cover her face and sobbed even more. Rachel said, “I felt such shame and guilt in her voice. I thought, what could she feel so guilty about? Then it hit me, it was me, Sarah, she was ashamed she had me.”                                                     

Sarah started, “I am so sorry Rachel…”

Rachel stopped her, “Wait until you hear about him.”

Sarah held her breath. Rachel continued, “Mom said that when she told him about me. He was really torn up about it, he fell into depression immediately. He wasn’t ready for a family. He was on a student loan, he had a few years left and wasn’t working, how could he support a child? So, he encouraged her to abort me.”

“Sarah, I almost vomited!” Rachel exclaimed, “How could he even think of that? It wasn’t my fault.”

Those last four words hit Sarah deeper than she anticipated. “It wasn’t my fault.” she thought.   

Rachel saw Sarah had gone into someplace in her mind that left her with a blank expression. Rachel called out to her and she answered after the second time. She asked if she was ok and Sarah convinced her friend to continue.

Rachel said, “Mom said she couldn’t bear that guilt, so she didn’t. With her decision, he stopped talking to her. He left her life without a trace except for a growing baby girl. He left her to face my grandparents alone. What a coward! They were beyond disappointed. They couldn’t look at her for days. In just a few months everyone would know at the church, her family members and school friends. She said she would be lying if she said that she didn’t contemplate suicide but that wouldn’t do any good. At the time it was expected that she leaves her parents’ house. So, she got a job, rented a place and worked for some months before my birth so she could buy what I needed.”

Rachel continued, “She then said, When I had you, I felt so alone, no one except mom helped me. My father tried coming around, but it seems he never got over the shame I caused. All I have ever known from that moment is pain and it consumed me.” I then asked her, “What is his name, where is he now? She said his name is Devon Dixon, but she doesn’t know where he is. The last she heard he finished school and went overseas. I am not sure yet if I want to meet him or even talk to him, I mean what would I even say?”

Sarah then asked, “I understand. How does all of this make you feel?”

Rachel gave a long sigh and said, “Now that I know why I was abandoned by my father and why mother was not emotionally present it doesn’t take away the rejection I feel or the anger. I talked to God about it though and guess what?! He spoke to me, Sarah. He led me to scripture too. 1 Cor. 6:20, the one that says that I should glorify God in my body and spirit because they are God’s. Sarah, He said I belong to Him, not my mother, not my father not even Grandma. I am His. So, when the awful thoughts come back as well as the feelings, but I am no longer powerless to them. I can challenge my own thoughts and decide what I believe. I opted to write ‘I am His’ on my room mirror, so when I walk up it is the first thing I see. It is also strange but finding out that if it was based on my parents, I wouldn’t have been alive, it has given me a new sense of purpose.”

Sarah saw that her friend was telling the truth and not some “overnight deliverance” euphoria. When she passed her between classes, she didn’t have this look of otherness anymore. She didn’t look so tired either. She had been seeking for weeks now, she had truly submitted and finally, God could do what He always wanted to do, heal her heart and bring her closer to Him.

She didn’t say anything and in the middle of the campus near the water cooler, she hugged her friend and cried tears of joy. Rachel started crying too. Once they calmed down, they started laughing at themselves behaving like stereotypical girls. They didn’t care though, it was refreshing to be happy, at peace.

Rachel then spotted Mark and called out to him. He walked over and greeted Rachel blissfully but simply called Sarah’s name. Sarah did the same and then they both looked away from each other. Rachel observed this and decided to ask about it later. Mark then said he was headed to the library and sped off.

Sarah then said, “It’s getting late, I am going to go back to the dorm to finish some reading.” The two hugged and said their goodbyes.

Two weeks after Rachel realized Sarah was more and more unavailable to talk with her. She barely answered messages or answered when she knew Rachel was unavailable. Rachel started thinking at first maybe she is now tired of hearing my sad stories and thinks I am just hosting a pity party. But Rachel pushed back her thoughts, chose to believe that wasn’t true and decided to visit her on dorm one Saturday evening. 

Mid-Semesters were at full speed, she saw students studying in the lounge downstairs with huge mugs of coffee and every university student knew what that meant. Rachel had seen improvement in her grades as well, she wasn’t so hazed and tired all the time, she could focus on her lectures and study successfully. She passed more students on the stairs and proceeded to room 203.

The door was slightly opened so Rachel knocked and pushed it a little, “Sarah?” she called.

What she saw when she entered was unimaginable.

How do you hear the voice of God?  

 The noise from our circumstances sometimes seems to drown out the truth of God. What can we do to ensure we are in a position to hear God’s voice?

  • Read the Word

God has already spoken. Everything you desire to know has been revealed in the Word! We tend to feel like we need something more than just words on pages. This means your view of the scriptures is dangerously flawed. You say you don’t know where to start. I say open the book! There are also hundreds of Bible reading plans available. Look one up!

  • Pray

Prayer is not a talk show for you to only voice your concerns. Communication involves talking and listening. We may believe, “I am in this pit God should be the one who should make the first move.” Precious, He has that’s what the cross represents. If an error is present, it is with us. Swallow your pride.

  • Listen

Many people forget this part in prayer. God has something to say too. A personal revelation may be given if we are humble enough to listen. 

  • Fellowship with other Believers

God uses my friends to speak to me too. This even happened today. Participating in corporate worship too is extremely important to believers. The gifting of the Spirit in the body is for our benefit. Go to church! 

What’s Next? You tell me!

This week’s feature was geared to help you with a framework for your talk with your parents and how to hear the voice of God. You can reach me at shanyesica@gmail.com to discuss it further. What did Rachel see? You can guess in the comments!

Engraved : Uncovered


“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.  

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