I remember this moment though, because new toys (yes, even a piggy bank money-box) were rare and usually saved for Christmas or birthday, but this was an unexpected summer gift and I was keen to show it off.
So I sat proud on the lawn my father lavished great attention to, midst the scent of roses and buzz of honey bees, grinning unselfconsciously for a change.
Recollections aren’t always reliable. A hint remains:a shade, a shadow, a stain, a scent, a touch too much.
Feelings capture more than a camera can. Haunt us down the corridors of years.
When Bonnie asked us to “picture yourself as a little girl with Jesus. How do you picture her and what is she doing? How does she feel? What does she want?” I began to back away from revisiting the past, a country where I fervently wished my visa had expired but which pervaded the present.
We were also asked to express what was on our mind and heart to Jesus. Tell it all to Him. Look into His eyes and be aware He is listening. I gulped, prayed and spent some time sitting with Jesus.
This was the result:
“I’m sitting on a wooden bench in our garden at home, wriggling a bit because of the splinters. Jesus is right beside me. I am looking wistfully into the distance, feeling sad and alone.
As I turn to face Jesus I share how I’ve forgotten how to play and enjoy my life. There feels a heavy weight on my heart, like a dark cloud is suffocating all the joy out of me.
Jesus smiles, takes my hand and passes something to me. My eyes light up at the sight of a jar of bubbles, and I look up at Him curiously. He encourages me to open the lid and blow some bubbles at the sky. So I do.
And they grow huge even as they float with ease and care-free abandon. I can’t help but smile back at Him now.
He points to a dark cloud partly obscuring the sun. We watch together as a giant bubble rises, gathers momentum, nudges into the cloud and pops it softly. I gasp, laugh and Jesus joins in.
‘Look’, He says, ‘Your cares and concerns overshadow your days like that dark cloud and it feels like no heat, light or warmth is reaching you. It makes you sad and steals the joy out of your life. But I offer you joy unspeakable and full of glory, life and vitality.
All you need to do is ask Holy Spirit to blow on your wand of faith, and joy will rise like this bubble. And instead of the bubble being broken by the air pressure all around, you will see the dark clouds disperse and sun will fill and flood your day again’
I begin to feel warm all over as a glow spreads from inside my tummy outwards. The air shimmers and I shield my eyes against the brilliance of rainbow-coloured flares. However, doubts still surge through my child-like heart as I long to trust and believe, but have to voice my fears first.
‘Where will you be, Jesus? And what happens if the sky stays cloudy?’ He tilts my chin toward His sweet face and I look into the most tender, loving gaze I’ve ever seen. His voice whispers deep to my toes and reverberates through the sun’s haze as He reminds me that He’s always right here beside me, and says no cloud will ever cover up His Light, for it shines even in darkness.
I’m to expect Him to brighten up each day whenever I seek His face, and to look for the rainbow appearing after stormy skies have passed by. That will be a sign of His promise to restore life, light, colour and joy to my world once again.”
And I did have times of blowing bubbles as a child, enjoying their tactile magic. In the image above I’m overshadowing my twin sister and cousin as I hog the bubble-blowing, sitting on the edge of the bench in my eagerness to make them go higher and further.
I also remember my mother using a green bar of ‘Fairy’ soap as she scrubbed laundry stains, causing lather bubbles for us to wonder at, as well as concentrated ‘Fairy liquid‘ washing-up liquid agitated into lovely, multi-coloured rainbow foam-squirts sparkling in the sink.
Those memories are given a fresh perspective from the lens of age and grace.
If my parents were usually overly busy, anxious, stressed, angry, neglectful and dysfunctional custodians, they were also able to relax and be surprisingly attentive ~ if only for split seconds, mere moments in time, brief precious periods in my personal history.
Yet is is those positive snapshots I am choosing to cling to as I walk with God along the path of healing my wounded emotions, one tiny, faltering step at a time.
Each grey day can have a better outlook in His eyes as He helps us to see His continually reassuring presence through it all, to rest in His provision even In This.
Because God knows us intimately; He sees all we go through in the span of our lives and knows the truth of who we can become in relationship with Him.
My recollections were stirred by reading ‘Finding Spiritual Whitespace:Awakening Your Soul To Rest’ by Bonnie Gray.
Confession:I have been stopping and starting this book over the last few months because it is working soul deep and re-visiting childhood pain again is, well, pretty painful. Now, I sense God calling me to persevere with it and allow Him to awaken me fully to how I can rest my restless, anxious soul more in Him.
You can read this truly helpful book as I’m doing, quietly, slowly and privately by yourself, dipping in and out as needed, or alongside others in Bonnie’s book club on her Facebook page.
Over to you:
How do you feel as you look back on your childhood?
Have you been given a fresh perspective on it as you’ve grown older?
Joining with other writing friends at these grace-filled places:
Bonnie ~ Beloved Brews
Holley ~ Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer ~ Tell His Story