"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best... when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things."
~ George MacDonald~
"So tell us about your walk with God." The elders leaned into the membership interview. The organist was practicing in some far gallery, and the library shelves embraced them all with the wisdom of the ages.
"Well," she began, "I can't ever remember a time when I didn't know about God." (And how did that ever save you sorrow? she wondered. ) "But when I was three I had a problem with guilt…"
“My parents would discipline me – appropriately – and send me to my room to think about what I had done. But it never seemed enough to me.” (Why? What would drive a three-year-old to self-mutilation? A three-year-old who had never heard of such a thing?)
A dusky early morning. Her father with a suitcase and a business suit bending down, down to catch her as she danced to the fizzy hi-fi and to kiss her good-bye. “I’m going on a business trip. Don’t know when I’ll be back.” He paused, “Who do you love best, Mommy or me?” Suddenly, all the dance drained out of her. Hardly breathing, she remembered the shouting, the weeping in the night, something in a bad dream…but no. Surely what she said now would either bring her Daddy home again or never again. She would have to hold them together. All of them. Now there was a baby sister, too.
A perfect answer. It would have to be a perfect answer. No second chances.
“So in the interval for thinking, I would…hurt myself. Biting, bruising, scratching. It was best if I could bleed. My mother was beside herself with worry. She consulted with older women, who taught her to tell me the Gospel very simply. I remember asking Jesus to pay for my sins with His blood. And I never needed to hurt myself again.” (The abuses continued. Dad was …the pressure never let up, she realized. I would never be perfect enough to make life OK for Dad. But someone else had bled. Someone else had died, as I would have died. It was the perfect gift.)