Thank you for this opportunity to share my testimony.
I grew up lonely for reasons I don’t fully understand. All of my early memories have a longing, wistful feeling to them. I wished my dad would pick me up. I wanted my mom to hold me. Instead she got angry at me when I was afraid or sick. I wanted to have fun with other kids like I saw on TV. They all looked so happy! I suffered no terrible abuse, just loneliness.
My family was religious, but the God they taught was theoretical and distant. Don’t bother him with your problems! Even so, I remember feeling a faint, comforting presence with me just on the other side of my grief. For example, I was lost and afraid deep in the woods at the age of 4 or so. There were barking dogs screeching at me on a cliff above, a river too wide to cross and pricker bushes on either side. But just beyond my awareness I felt someone told me to “go this way” and again “go this way” until I saw my familiar yard again. Of course this all happened and no one knew I was lost. I never told anyone either. A repeating theme in my life as it turns out.
The isolation grew when my mom died. She died on a Friday with a funeral on Monday and I was back to the 7th grade on Tuesday. Not a word was said about it at school . . . no one knew. I told one friend and she thought it was a sick joke and kept her distance from me evermore. No one stepped in to care for me or ask how I was doing. My dad and the few people passing by to visit now and then left me with “you’ve got fat as a pig” or said I was lazy and a bad housekeeper. Over time I improved personally and life bumped along well enough.
I married a kind man and had children when severe anxiety began to paralyze me. Panic attacks were daily occurrences. Therapy helped me to be reflective and understand some things but it didn’t heal me. Everything began to change when a friend asked me to go to a Bible study. There I learned about a personal God who is loving and kind. One night after Bible study I lay in the bed trembling in fear all night. I still don’t know why! But the more I heard about Jesus the more He revealed himself to me in special, sometimes miraculous ways.
One night I was in prayer and emotional pain when I heard a voice in my spirit say, “You have a lot of healing to do and we are going to walk through it together.” I have been on that journey of healing and homecoming for years now. I still cry a lot because of a chronic condition but I am so grateful because I am not alone. Now I pray or read the Bible or listen to good preaching and I am comforted to my inner being. And the Holy Spirit has led me to emotions I was terrified to feel and healed them. Outward circumstances often find me grieving but inner wells of joy and peace and hope keep springing up to meet me. The Holy Spirit has been gentle . . . my teacher, my comfort. Jesus is my beloved companion. Our God is loving and faithful. Amen!