I was born into an Italian family, the oldest child of my parents and the first grandchild in the family. To say that I was loved, expected, wanted and spoiled is an understatement.
Then, three years later on the exact date of my birth, my baby brother was born. Of course, all the attention and acclaim went to the new baby and the first boy of our family.
I remember standing outside of the nursery door and wondering why my parents were giving this screaming bag of bones all of my attention. I was told to go outside to play; and from that day forward, outside became my happy place.
Yet, I experienced all of the deprivation, abandonment, rejection and loneliness that accompanies having a new baby in the family.
My defense was to be a good little girl and mommy's helper with my baby brothers, as two more boys came into our family. I received less and less personal attention with each new birth.
As the only girl and oldest child, I was given household chores. We fell into this routine until, during my adolescence, I started to assert my independence, which my parents termed as "stubbornness".
This earned me the increasing wrath of my bipolar father, who resorted to violent physical punishment. He even used brutal force and sexual abuse on one occasion in an attempt to force me into submission.
My resentment grew and I turned more inward, often hanging out in our tree house with a good book. I preferred to be alone than to put myself in situations that brought me further hurt.
My mom attempted to compensate for my dad's wrath by leading my Girl Scout troop while I was in junior and senior high school. She helped me to apply to national and international events, which allowed me to travel.
I appreciated her constancy in doing all the right things for me; but since her mother died when she was three, and she grew up with a stepmom who worked long hours every day, she never personally experienced nurturing and never learned to cherish us emotionally.
My mom was required to do household chores, serve her alcoholic father and four older brothers and to care for her two younger brothers. Her emotions were locked up tightly within her soul, just as mine were, and she found her fulfillment through service in her community.
I married when I turned 20 and parented my own three children with this same aloof attitude of my mom and easily angered response that I learned from my dad. I did not know what it felt like to experience or to give nurturing.
Over the ensuing years, the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit gradually healed my wounds and painstakingly replaced my negative learned behavior and personality characteristics with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
I also borrowed books from local libraries and learned how to nurture the wounded "child" within me; as well as my own children, my mom and the wounded members of the churches in which I served as a Pastor's wife.
The husband of my youth, wounded from his childhood, remained as aloof as my mom and as exacting as my father. Only our Father God cherished me as His little girl and gave me comfort and safety under the shadow of His wings (Matthew 6:6-9).
God's Spirit revealed to me the devil's lies which kept me in bondage to the wounds of my past ( www.theophostic.com ). He helped me to forgive my parents and husband, and to let go of Satan's deceptions and the resulting wounds.
I learned that my inheritance with Christ of God's Kingdom is priceless and that there is forgiveness for my own sins and healing for the results of the sins others perpetrated in my life. God is our good, good Father and we are loved by Him as the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8).
Father God, we could never thank You enough for adopting us into Your family, forgiving all of our sins, transforming our short-comings and healing our past. You care for us all the days of our life and even look forward to us joining You in eternity (Psalm 116:15). We anticipate that day when we gather around Your throne with all of Your Saints in order to praise Your goodness and mercy for eternity.
As we spend time in solitary prayer now, just as Jesus did, You energize our body, soul and spirit with Your continual presence within us. We find spontaneous tears of gratitude flowing down our cheeks as we dwell through each moment of our day in communion with You and by walking in Your Spirit.
Thought for the Day:
When we catch a glimpse of our priceless inheritance with Christ of all that is the Kingdom of God, we are filled with the wonder and humility that we feel at the magnitude of His presence in us and His provision for us both now and throughout eternity.