by Charmaine Louis
I grew up as an independent middle child in a family of five. My mother often reminded me how expensive it was to have me from the weekly injections she needed to take to stabilize the pregnancy, to the emergency c-section. Until I was 8 years old, I would get asthma attacks and I hated it. I felt like a burden and disappointment to my family each time we had to rush to the clinic. My mother labelled me a problem maker and said that I was too problematic to be loved. I believed every word she said and thus felt unloved, unwanted, undesirable and unheard.
Family life was also challenging for me. When I was in primary school, my parents fought over my mother’s choice of school for me and they did not speak to each other for 9 years thereafter. Thus, I carried the guilt of the separation of my family. My father also refused to sign my report book. While all my other peers had two signatures on theirs, mine only had one and it made me feel like I was unacknowledged, abandoned and rejected by my father. Whenever I felt rejected and desired to be comforted by my parents, I was either ignored or told to stop crying and keep quiet. I was even caned by my mother for not living up to her expectations. Even when I ended up trembling and out of breath, she didn’t seem to care. With all these, I swore to grow up strong, not wanting to rely on anyone.
My SOW journey started rocky. When I had to reflect on the Father’s love letter, I realized that there were many things I knew, but couldn’t accept in my heart. In SOW, I felt that I was presented with problems that were out of my control. Thus, I ran from God because of my ungodly self-reliance and it was exhuasting. During an outpouring session, I remember very clearly looking at the Blessed Sacrament saying, “I’m so disappointed in you.”
However, God continued to pursue me and I came to experience God’s love for me during worship on Valentine’s Day. I received a vision of my entire life, starting from my mother’s two miscarriages. God said to me, “Do you not see how you have been chosen by me. I made you the way that you are and brought you forth the day you were born.” For the times I suffered asthma attacks, God said, “I am with you, and I breathed my life into you that you may live.” Whenever I cried, God said, “I am the father who comforts you in all your troubles, I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Nothing will separate you from my love again.”
Jesus also began healing my fear of people waiting for me to fail so that they could mock me. God reminded me that even though Jesus did nothing wrong, He was still condemned to die. Yet, on the cross Jesus could still say, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” With God’s grace, I am now able to release forgiveness to my parents and relatives, surrendering all the hurts and burdens I was holding on so tightly to Jesus.
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Once again, love called me back. There’s is no such thing as an absent Father, just a child who forgot who her heart belonged to and where it’s safest at. Now Jesus sings a new song over my life. He says, “I am blessed, I am called, I am healed, I am whole. I am saved in Jesus’ name. I am highly favored, and anointed, and I am filled with his power and made for the glory of Jesus’ name.”
I claim that God will continue to pursue me and that I don’t always have to be strong but God will fight the battles of lies for me. My brothers and sisters, releasing forgiveness will never be easy, but the change of our hearts doesn’t have to be sudden or dramatic. Jesus calls us each by name to move in his peace and clarity knowing that he is carrying us in our journey. Will you allow him to help you?
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