I’m four years old. Everyone tells me what to do. I don’t have too many thoughts of my own. Am I allowed my own thoughts? It’s time for evening worship. I don’t understand what is read or what is said but I may not move. I have to be there and I must be still. When we pray, how should I kneel? What is the right way? Do I sit on my ankles or keep my body straight? The last choice is hardest so that must be what’s right. Everything hinges on me doing the right thing. I must do what is right. But what is right? I don’t always know, so I guess.
I’m a year and a half old. I jump, jiggle and jerk until my crib bumps the sink. Look! I know how to make the water come out of the taps all by myself. What fun! I jump and dance and clap my hands. It spills to the floor. I am an island on a lake. Water is fun!
I’ve just been born. I cry. I need Mommy. Daddy comes. He hurts me. I scream. Mommy! Mommy! He hurts me. Every night. I must not cry. I must not cry my need. It hurts. I must please. I can’t be me. I must be... what?
Everyone else defines who I am. What I think, say and do don’t matter. How I feel doesn’t matter. I want so much to matter. I want to be wanted and loved for me. I’m so confused.
I’m a newborn in the crib. It is dark. A father form looms over me. I am a victim. What else could I be?
“What would happen if the dark form went away?”
There would be light! But when I tell the dark form to go away, it gets bigger. I’m scared. It won’t go away.
“Who, what is that dark form?”
It’s Satan. I gasp. I blanche. My dream at four years! The dragon in my dream is the same. I wail. The dragon is chasing me. I’m running but it wants to get me. I cannot stop crying. What can this be? What does it mean? This has to end. It can’t go on. What can I do?
A thought hits. I can stop. I stop and turn around. I look at the dragon. I tell it to stop. “Jesus defines me. I belong to him. Nothing can separate me from his love. No one can separate me from him. You need a pin poked into you to deflate you. You don’t control me.” I don’t need to run or hide from Jesus.
But I have! I thought I had to—in the other dream. I’m four years old, in a basement. There are many adults. Everyone is bad. Jesus comes to the top of the stairs. He looks down at me. I’m in the corner. I’m in a bad place. He looks away. I’m not good enough. He wanted me to come to him but I didn’t.
“Jesus, I want all of you. I don’t want anything to come between us. I want you, Jesus!”
I walk to the stairs but something stops me. I can’t see it. What is it? It is Fear.
Jesus’ Spirit comes and wraps around me. He is a glove over me. He will keep me safe. Nothing can harm me when Jesus wraps around me.
I try to climb the stairs. Jesus is at the top but I stop. I can’t go further.
“What do you want to do?” I am asked.
I can’t believe he wants me.
“What would happen if you were wanted and accepted just as you are?”
Only one person has ever accepted me like that. It hurts to remember.
I want to get to Jesus but something more is in the way.
“How would it feel if it were gone?”
I whisper to myself, “No matter what I do, Jesus wants me. Whether I sleep or stay awake, he wants me. If I have an imaginary friend, he wants me. If I’m quiet or loud, he wants me. Whether my table manners are acceptable or not, he wants me. If I get A’s or F’s, he wants me. He wants me whether I’m good at marriage or not. He wants me when I’m confused about friendships. He wants me.”
A beam lights the space between us. The light is safe. I can walk in the light. I just need to walk in the light.
I’m at the top and Jesus puts his arms around me. He’s holding me, carrying me where he goes. He is trustworthy and safe.
The dark form is over the crib. It is the dragon. Light comes. Light pushes dragon away. My crib fills with light.
Suddenly I’m three again. I have a new dress. I put it on. It is white. Tiny, three-dimensional roses are scattered on it. There are many crinolines under the dress. Light fills the room. I twirl and dance and twirl some more. "Look, Daddy!" My Daddy is watching. He is happy. He is pleased. He claps his hands. I shine with delight and twirl some more. All is well. I matter. I am loved. I please my Father. I am me.
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