People from my high school, and the city I lived in during high school, bring back feelings that are difficult for me to face. Nothing traumatic ever happened to me at the hands of my classmates, but they represent the absolute worst time in my life. It is not hard for me to go from thinking "So-and-so knew me in high school." to "So-and-so knew me when I was completely unlovable, unlikable and invisible."
Then I wonder why those years are so hard. After all, the abuse began when I was third grader. What makes those teen years so painful? Perhaps it was because my step-father was now sexually abusing a teenager whose hormones were raging, who was even more acutely aware of what was happening, and was beginning to take on her physical shape that she would take with her for the rest of her life.
I moved out of that city as soon as I could after graduation. I never looked back... Until, of course, I divorced my 1st husband and moved back to my hometown. I did not move back to that city, but I was only a few miles away, and I was dating a high school classmate. I went on to marry him. And over the years that we've lived in this house, we have discovered that there are a lot of people that we went to school with living right here in our zip code. When I see those people, I have to be careful not go back into thinking I'm invisible.
I mentioned the city... There have been a several times that my husband and I have been faced with the prospect of taking a great job, but it would require living in that city. Every time the issue would come up, I would say "I just can't go back there" and my husband would quietly accept that answer. Then, two years ago we were faced with it again. It would mean good pay, excellent stability, no concerns about lay-offs, etc... And that time I said (with tears streaming down my face) "I think God is trying to teach me a lesson. If it means I have to go back to that city, I will. But can we live on the far west end of town, as far away as we can get from the home I once lived in?" I had accepted that perhaps processing through this part of my history would require sort of living it again (not the abuse, just the location). I am very happy to report that another job came up that did not require us to move! However, I will obediently go there should he send me.
So, I've mentioned that all these high school peers live near us... Well, I recently shared this blog (and subsequently my story) with one particular former classmate. Sending this blog link to her took a little courage. But, in sharing with her, I feel that I have discovered part of the lesson God is teaching me. I believe that lesson is that I need to know and feel in my HEART the TRUTH about that time in my life and not just know it in my HEAD. I have never been invisible. I have never been unlovable. I have never been unlikable. He wants to not only heal the woman I am today, but he wants to heal the hurt feelings from my youth.
"Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle." Psalm 103:4-5 NASB