If you’re on my list, sometimes you will receive posts about global education or another international topic, to inform, inspire, or enlighten. Other times, you will see something deeper as I blaze a trail for my softer side in creative writing. Nowadays, between consulting work, job applications, jogging, and the beach, I’m working on a fictional memoir (the last six years of my life), and periodically I post excerpts for those who are a wee-bit curious about me. If it interests you, read on. If not, delete, and wait for the next post which may be closer to your taste and style. We’re all multidimensional complex human beings, and it’s never a bad idea to talk about it. This is the beginning of Chapter 4. I’m 38 years old here, diving back into my first month of college, telling readers what happened between two male constructs and myself as a young woman…
It’s back—my childhood dream to become a writer, to open people’s hearts and minds with words. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). It’s the most revealing sentence in religious texts; it’s how we’re made, an ancient artifact buried in our DNA.
There’s a war raging in the world; I can feel it every day getting stronger, pulling me in. Mass media, clever minds, blatant liars using words for their own selfish gain. They rape language and twist it to look important, sell products, and get what they want. They don’t care who they hurt, who gets sick and who dies; all they want is to seduce you with their lies and manipulation, to serve their need for more. While the world is a dump for caca and cadavers; it’s also a womb for you, crying out for new life, new hopes, new feelings, freedom that drives your destiny home. You are born in a pile of caca. It’s up to you how to get up out of it.
I was a quiet girl, always in my own mind, my own world, my stories, my fantasies. My mother enrolled me in a creative writing class, and in fourth grade I won a creative writing contest and received a few other awards during high school. I started writing seriously when I was eighteen years old, in college. Even that was something inexplicably meant to become. It was my first month at Indiana University, and a woman in her mid-twenties with dark eyes, long brown hair, and a sweet smile randomly came to my dorm room, not once, or twice, but many times. Her name was Robbia. She was a college missionary, and she wanted me to go to a Bible study with her to learn more about Christianity. I was always busy, wasn’t interested in that Christian stuff my parents and step parents fell into.
One day she told me about an event, a revival, and begged me to come. I didn’t want to go, but I did. It was in an auditorium with many people. The speaker pointed at me, only me, and told me to stand up and come forward. So I stood and walked to him. He told me God had a message for me, took my hands into his, and asked me to close my eyes. Then he started to speak all the right words: you don’t know the love of a father…you don’t even know what it is…God is sorry for your broken heart…he wants to be your father if you will open yourself and let him in. There was more, and it pierced me deep like a needle in my core and caused me to swell. I tried to hold back, but it flooded my head and the only way to release it was to weep.
Something opened in that moment, which I can’t describe, from another world. The speaker asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart. I didn’t know what to do in front of all those people, standing there, bawling my eyes out. What was I to say? No? That I wanted to think about it? After all we don’t make such big decisions spontaneously like this. By the way I was feeling, a vulnerable little girl, already embarrassed by my gushing tears and smeared mascara, standing in front of an audience, it seemed like the right thing to do. So I repeated the lines he said verbally accepting Jesus into my heart, and accepting God as my father. They spent some time with me afterwards, and explained what this meant. A few days later, I was baptized in a pool and escorted into a hotel room by a group of Christians and Robbia. They prayed over me and prophesied in the name of God. It was a true cultural experience.
One man spoke, “I’m bringing a great trust into your heart towards other people, because you can first trust me, and out of that trust and love that you have for me, says the Lord, you are going to trust other people. I’m going to change you on the inside, says the Lord. I’m going to establish your foundation, says the Lord, because upon the foundation of my word, I’m going to build a strong tower, an immovable building. You’re going to be a pillar, says the Lord. Other people are going to look to you in the future and the things to come because of the word that’s inside of you says the Lord and because of your discernment and the anointing upon your life. Other women are going to look to you for counsel, you’re going to love them and they’re going to feel loved by you, because I’m bringing a healing into your life.”
Another man and woman told me God was raising me up like Catherine Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, and I would do profound things in my life that would greatly impact other people, especially other women.
A professor said, “How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves. This is from Song of Solomon 1:15. I just feel like God wants you to know that. In fact, I feel like you’ve really felt some rejection in the past. I mean when people speak to you about this confidence, in your mind you think that could never be me. God wants to know that you’re so beautiful and precious to him, and he can see you that way. God is beginning a work of confidence in you. When it says here that your eyes are like doves, one thing that this suggests is that the dove has the single devotion to God, the one eye to God, and as you do that, God is going to bring a whole new confidence in your life and really a new security. In fact there’s an insecurity that you’ve felt in the past, maybe because of your family situation.”
A man professed, “God’s going to reveal his father’s heart to you. You’ve not really understood that in the past. In fact you’ve hardened your heart towards this. What God spoke to my heart is he’s going to show you how he’s a father and how he really cares for and loves you as a father. A lot of rejections and hurts that you’ve experienced, he’s going to heal.”
And the last woman spoke, “I’ve seen you even at the times that you’ve looked into yourself since you were a fetus curled up in the womb. Know, says the Lord, that I’m straightening you out this day says the Lord that you will stand on legs that are strong and firm, that I meant your back to be straight and your shoulders to be held back. I’m placing your foot on solid ground. As you stand, you’ll feel a power that rises up inside you that will want to come out of your mouth. Don’t hold it back says the Lord but let it come out. I’m going to cause your words to be words that aren’t just coming out of your mouth and going to a few people but they are words speaking over crowds says the Lord and many people will hear them. I put on you a stature today that women will look to you and say there’s something different about her. They will follow you because of God, because they see his truth in your life.”
After a week, Robbia came to say goodbye; they were moving onward to another school. She gave me a beautiful cloth journal, white with pink and purple roses that I filled from front to back. I still have it. The inside cover is red and the rose-scented perfume lingers even now when I open it. I never saw Robbia or heard from her again, but there was an inscription inside my journal that became a part of me and embroidered my womanhood, my life to come:
I picked this book out for you because I am hoping you like this. It reminded me of something Laura Ashley would have designed.
I wanted to purchase you a book for a journal so that you can write all your ideas, favorite quotes (if you come across some good ones send them to me). Also if you have any questions or grievances or exciting things you can keep them in a fun little book. I go back and read mine and find it very encouraging and can see my growth. Also at times it has become my best friend. It also has helped me to be honest with God thus being honest with myself.
I love you so very much and am very grateful for our friendship and care very much about you.
I love you,
I can’t tell you how much this woman changed my life with this beautiful little book of pages. I bought book after book and I filled all the pages with my thoughts, feelings, experiences, joys, and frustrations. Robbia was like an angel who walked into my life when my birth father was angry at me for not defending him in court against my mother, and my roommate was a nymphomaniac, with a different man in the top bunk every night (I was on the bottom). I told my roommate I didn’t mind, but I was just trying to be nice. When it got to the point when the bumping and squeaking was too much, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, I started sleeping on the floor of friends’ rooms. My roommate appreciated my absence, and after one semester I moved out.
It seems that right alongside God there was Peter—my karate instructor and my other self-selected father figure. He pursued me and my love feelings for him continued to develop together with a new-founded relationship with Jesus Christ. In this fantastical world, Peter was either under the influence of Satan trying to destroy me or he was Jesus Christ’s right hand man just in time to protect me from the clutches of my womanhood, while I waited for my Prince Charming to ride in and save me on his white horse. My inner life was a spiritual war zone. It was wrong to have relations before marriage in this new Christian world. Once you give yourself to a man, I was told by other Christians, he owns your soul. I didn’t want to make any mistakes; I wanted to wait for my Prince. I wanted to rest in God, and I tried desperately to connect to him through my Bible, through people, through my mind and my heart.
DING! (a text message arrives) Back to reality, 20 years later…