Friday, September 30, 2011

Encouraging Words for Those Who Are Discouraged by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand my Mother and Father and why they treated me the way they did.  They seemed to live to discourage me.  I guess I was an easy target.  I was a sensitive child when it came to criticism, but when I was angered, I fought back with a torrent of words.  Yet, some cruel things cannot help but discourage.

I remember when I was about twelve years old, and I started to wonder about my looks.  I had red-gold hair (as a matter of fact I still do) and amber colored eyes.  I had pale skin and lots of freckles.  I had blossomed overnight, and I was very developed for my age.  This made me feel a little like a freak.  I was the only one in my small Catholic School seventh grade, who wore a bra.  That was a big no-no, and I was often accused of flaunting my chest, as though I had a choice about those things.

So, feeling very low in my self-esteem, I went to my mother looking for encouragement.

“Mommy, am I pretty?”  I asked, somehow knowing that she would encourage me.

I was greeted with total silence, and then my mother looked at the ceiling, then hemming and hawing, she finally gave me an answer.

“Well, you know, Marianne (my sister) was always a beauty, but you have a wonderful personality.”  That was her answer.  Okay, that told me that I wasn’t pretty.  I had this great personality.  Sheesh.  Just what child needs to hear.

Then, one day, my father and I were sitting at the table.  He stared at my hands and he said, “You have a man’s hands.” 

I was devastated.  I was twelve years old, and I had a man’s hands.  That was just perfect.  Not only was I not pretty, but now I had a man’s hands.  To this day, when I look at my hands, I see a man’s hands.  Discouragement.  They were experts.

When I was nine, my father screamed at me.  “You are a failure!  You’ll never be anything!  You are nothing!  And you will be a failure all your life!”

It took many years to understand that my father, in some kind of conflict with himself, was talking about himself.  His hurtful words were more about himself than they were about me.  But I was a child, and all it did was hurt.

My mother gave away my meager possessions, a few books that I loved, a doll, pictures, and toys that she said I’d outgrown.  I discovered that she had given them to my seven year old cousin, since I didn’t need them, and the clincher, as my aunt and cousin looked on was, “You never wanted them anyway.”

I was stunned and shaken.  It felt like ice water entered my veins and my scalp felt prickly.  I had no defense, as everyone looked on.  Again it was years before I understood just what was going on.  My mother wanted to impress my aunt, and since she had nothing to give, she took my things and gave them away, so my aunt would think well of her.

I could sit here and write dozens of strange things that I never understood about my childhood, and of course they affected me my entire life, even into adulthood.  Even today, I have a difficult time believing I was ever pretty, and my hands…well, you know.  I find it difficult to acquire things for myself, even the house I live in which is my dream home.  I felt unworthy, because it was so lovely, with a view of the mountains that I’ve wanted my entire life. 

When my pastor heard me say I was unworthy to own this beautiful home, he said, “How dare you tell God how He is allowed to bless you!”  That convinced me.  This house was and is a blessing, and if God thinks I’m worth it, well then so do I.

These are simple things that tell us who we are, whether good or ill.  You probably have similar events in your life, but please don’t let them discourage you.  God has a plan for you, and if you turn to Him, He can heal all wounds.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

God has a plan for each of us.  We are his cherished treasures.  He wants to prosper us and not to harm us.  He gives us hope and a future.  However, this is not because we are worthy.  It is because He is worthy.  He says to us, “Then you will call on me, come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me WHEN you seek me WITH ALL YOUR HEART.”

It could not be more clear to me.  God is my Father and He loves me.I am special to Him.  I have learned that seeking Him with all my heart is an end in itself.  The feeling of connection with God is like no relationship I will ever have.  He is my first love.  May I never forget that.  I am one of God’s favorites, and, my friend, so are you.  Just remember that the evil someone says about you, says more about them, than it says about you.  God bless and keep you.  Do not be discouraged.  You have a heavenly Father who loves you with a great passion, and as you turn to Him, your life will change.

My Father’s Heart  by Jaye Lewis

There's a feeling deep inside me
That I, somehow, can't express.
It chokes me to my very soul,
With utter loneliness.

How must my Father feel, each day;
As I cast His hand aside?
His gentle hand, that comforts me
Like the gently, rolling tide.

Sometimes I get so busy,
As I race from place to place;
I forget that I can rest in Him
And contemplate His face.

For I see His face in everything,
And in all I hope to do.
I, even, see His precious face,
Each time I look at you.

I wonder how He feels, when I
Spend days without a care,
And does He shed a tear, when I
Forget to kneel in prayer?

Perhaps when I feel lonely,
And I don't know where to start,
I could bend my knees, and bow my head
And learn my Father's heart.

© Jaye Lewis, 2001

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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