I sit in a coffee shop, awaiting my fate. I’ve chosen to finally get involved in the church I’ve been going to for the past year. I’ve sought out a homegroup–randomly picked a name from the list of leaders–and now am meeting with some of the women from that homegroup.
I’m a little anxious. I had more nightmares, per usual, the night before. I think back to the last time I got myself into something like this, and how it ended.
The last mentor I chose welcomed me with open arms and told me I was a wonderful person. She told me it was like looking in a mirror. She told me I was “tough,” and reminded me of herself when she was my age. She told me I would always be welcome with her. She gave me a hug and told me how much I was loved. She put her hand over mine in a loving gesture–her reaching out to me. She had scolded me just minutes before, and now was asking me if I had anxiety. I accepted her reaching out to me, and let her become my mentor. Maybe she really could “fix” my life.
Then her love toward me changed.
She started being very critical of me. Though, looking back, she had always been subtly critical of me. I couldn’t even disagree with her with the food I liked to eat. I “wasn’t being healthy.” It would “make me sick.” She cared so much how she looked. I think that if I had made her look bad, she would have thrown me out. She did push me out, but that was later. I don’t know exactly what happened. All I know is that it hurts. Oh God, it hurts.
I was “disrespectful.” I “wasn’t keeping the peace” in her life. What peace? Do you just shut everyone up if they don’t see things your way? Did you meet your match in me? Another woman with as strong a will as your own? You couldn’t control me, so you threw me out. I got the message. I left. My mom got the message. She left your books on your front porch, as requested.
And now? I’m scared to death. I have three other “mentors” now, and one gal friend my age. We meet in a coffee shop tastefully littered with Christian paraphernalia, and I think to myself, “Oh God, not again.” The other women start talking about “The Lord,” and speak of Bible verses, and talk about all the things that God is doing in their lives, and I want to bang my head on one of the coffee tables. Not again. Not again. Not again.
But, I try. I talk paraeducator stuff with one gal, and we share our “war” stories on the battlefield of special needs kids. Another gal is my age. We find out we’re literally a month apart in our ages (I’m older). The main difference is that she’s married and has a two-year-old son. I try not to feel jealous. She seems genuine, and she’s an adult. Maybe she’ll become a real friend who actually cares about me and takes time for me.
Another of the women has a lilting accent and our leader says she’s a major prayer warrior. Later, she prays over me, speaking in tongues and telling me what she heard the Lord share with her about me. She gets most of the stuff right. All except for one thing. But that? It is something a close friend of mine has gone through, and she shared it with me very recently. I wonder if it was meant for her, meant for both of us, as I walk with her through this dark valley.
I share my story. How can I not? I cannot seem to keep my mouth shut, and I’m in such desperate need of uplifting. My depression is severe, and I need help–I know this. So, I reached out. I just beg God that these women don’t throw me out within three months. That seems to be the length of time I “wear out,” where their love turns to dislike, and dislike to abandonment. I am the castaway treasure, unwanted.
The woman with the lilting voice–she understands spiritual warfare. She understands principalities. She doesn’t call me crazy when I tell her of the nightmares, and waking up to seeing something awful leave my room, there off at university. She understands the voices in your head that nearly drive you out the window, and how God woke up your gal friend ten minutes before you texted her, when you needed prayer and someone to talk to. I don’t call her crazy when she shares her story with me. Our God is Almighty. And there is the spiritual realm–it exists. We are in a war.
The women–they pray for me. I can feel tears in my eyes, and I’m trying hard not to cry a lot. A few tears are fine, but the last thing I need is to start crying my eyes out. I can do that at home, on my mom’s shoulder. I look down at the tablecloth. The word “Hope” stands out to me. I need hope. May God provide hope. I’m in sore need of it. I need more to my life than Sunday church, going to work at a job I dislike, teaching dance class, and seeing my gal friends whenever they have time. I need support.
I have to believe, and try, and hope, and choose vulnerability. Everything I see says these women will be there for me. May it be so, my God. Please let it be so. God knows I need it.
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“Following Your Feet, A Young Woman’s Journey”
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