“Dee-bra. Dee-bra. Dee-bra.”
“Debbie dew worm, Debbie dew worm.”
These words were not spoken on the playground. These words were not even spoken in the neighborhood. They were SHOUTED all around the neighborhood whenever he spotted me. Then, as if that were not enough to be inflicted at one time, in his best carnival barker voice –
“She walks, she talks, she crawls on her belly like a reptile. Yes its Debbie dew worm.”
Not just once. Not just twice. Not just on Sunday. Every day. Every. Single. Day.
It is said that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Can I say to you that I would have rather had him throw rocks?
Instead, he threw insults. He singled me out for mistreatment.
Insult was added to injury because inside my house the same thing was going on.
Before my mother and father got a divorce, I would have to hear my Dad say mean things to me too.
“Why don’t you use your head for something besides a hat rack?”
“What tribe you from? Big Foot or Black Foot?”
“To make people like you ask questions?” (People like me?)
“You learn more by listening than talking.”
Only later to be asked why I wasn’t saying anything.
Since in the house and out of the house the same thing was happening, I grew up thinking that it was just the way it was. Normal.
Maybe these persons perceived themselves to be funny, or perhaps they were trying to cover up their own insecurity. Either way, the damage they did to my grade school heart, even today, after much healing, can still bring a sting if I let it.
All through high school, their words settled into that secret place right next to my heart. The behaviors that I taught myself, helped to shield me from the likes of them. No one would ever hurt me like that again.
The real truth of the matter was that for all of my protecting myself, I was only allowing the poison of their words to hide inside of me, and fester like a hidden infection.
I think of it like a hatchling. The fear of these painful words coming at me again and again was like a little hatchling. Implanted deep inside. Un-announced. Un-seen. Un-prepared for. This hatchling was left to grow, undetected, until it was big enough to eat through its protective shell. It had been protected there long enough to gain its own strength, and then it came powering through, to destroy and devour its host.
I didn’t know it was there. Even if I did know it was there, I would not have been aware of it, or that it was actually a sin. Holding on to what the opposite of God says about you, is in essence, calling Him a liar.
James 1:15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.
In my case, my desire was to medicate or hide from the pain instead of confronting it with the word of God. The intent of this sin was to bring death.
The truth of the word of God clearly states;
How great is the love of the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
Some people in my situation would turn mean. I lashed out in intentional meanness only once. I was so ridden with guilt, that I knew I couldn’t be mean to anyone ever again. So meanness wouldn’t be my poison of choice. Instead I would choose sex, drugs and rock and roll. In all of this, I found a place to hide my pain. A place to cover it all up.
Comfortably Numb. That is how Pink Floyd put it.
I internalized and protected that little hatchling like crazy. When it got big enough, it attacked my body. As an adult I suffered from chronic pain, extreme fatigue, confusion, and so many other things that I simply can’t name them all here.
This is was what that hatchling grew up to be.
Doctors, doctors and more doctors. Nothing. Then, finally, The Great Physician, Jesus Christ. A light finally began to shine.
Here’s the truth. I found it in God’s Word. It began me on a journey that I could never have imagined. A Significant Encounter. All I had to do was say yes.
Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
You see? You were made in that secret place and you don’t have to share it with sin!
Now, I assure you, when I read this, I had no idea WHY He let the things that happened to me happen. What I did see though, was just a glimmer, just a hint of someone not trying to hurt me ….. It was Him, God. HE made me. HE thinks I’m wonderful. HE knows about me and all my days.
Is this even possible? How can this be real?
To this day, many years after that first Significant Encounter with god, I still pinch myself. Yes. It is true. He loves me, and thinks I’m special. And you know what? He loves YOU too! You are oh so special to Him. Hurt or no hurt.
I pray that these words will begin a growth of hope in your heart so big that you won’t be able to fathom it.
I would love it if you could share with me a Significant Encounter you have had with God.
If you haven’t had one, then I fully believe that God will have one ready for you.
All you have to do is say yes.