Memories don’t vanish. Having forgotten means they are they are temporarily sealed in the hidden places of our minds.
I walked on the cool sand at Wollongong beach in New South Wales one warm autumn morning, while my husband was having coffee and reading newspaper at the beach coffee shop. He was going to walk back to the motel where we were staying for the last few weeks. He came to visit me on my work trip.
I valued my alone prayer walks. It was the highlight of my Saturday mornings, long prayer walk chatting to God pouring out my heart to him. I stood on the hard sand where the waves were not reaching anymore as the tide was out, gazing at the rising sun. It was the end of autumn, most leaves had already fallen off the trees. The grounds were covered in the colourful carpet of yellow, red, and orange leaves. The trees were preparing to go to sleep for their long winter months. Many memories clouded my mind. Some I did not want to entertain and tried hard to push it away.
I groped for my phone camera to take a snapshot of the amazing view of the golden sky and simmering golden water. It looked golden but it was not gold. I thought of how things can be so deceiving. It looked magical. I felt warm tears fill my eyes as I remembered how far God had brought me. His goodness surrounded me even in those times when it felt like He had forgotten me. I remembered the days when I hid in shrubs waiting for my abuser to fall asleep while holding my daughter’s mouth to muffle any sound from her. I prayed to God as we hid, that we would not be found. I could hear my heart pounding in fear, waiting, praying, and crying. The man I fell in love with, left everything for, became the man I feared the most. I rebelled against God and my families to marry him but my love turned out sour, even bitter….this was not what I had imagined my life would be like…I had dreams like any teenager.
Even though it had happened a long time ago, some memory flashbacks threaten to destroy the present moments of bliss. Memories don’t fade, they are just hidden away. I worked hard at pushing those unpleasant memories away, speaking out loudly and declaring that God had brought me out like He did the Children of Israel from their bondage. I made positive affirmations as I continued my walk on the green spongy grass in the park next to the beach surrounded by rain forest. I inhaled deeply and praised God for bringing me to this amazing place called Wollongong in New South Wales of Australia an hour from Sydney.
I had not been here before. I had heard of it as my friend had moved here some time ago. I wanted to visit before but at the time I did not have the finances to do so but God had provided this time.
It felt warm as the sun rose up. It reminded of a scripture in the Bible; in Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”
God in His mercy had healed me from a person full of anxiety and fears to someone who was now encouraging and mentoring others. Indeed God had been merciful to me, healing and restoring me and making me a vessel for His purpose. All those tears of my youth were not in vain, my pain had a purpose.
I did not have to pay for this trip or accommodation. I was even blessed with a rental car. God had provided everything.
Why would He love me so much? I had nothing to bring to His altar, but my emptiness and my praises.
He had healed me of fear because there was a time even a door shutting loud and the phone ringing caused me to jump in fear. I had such poor self-esteem and had no confidence back then.
I was in a prison of fear for so long. It had ruled me for many years, keeping me from finding out who I really was. I had believed the many lies spoken over me.
I sat on the bench looking at people walking past. I couldn’t help but feel immensely grateful that I was free of domestic violence and abuse that had robbed me of almost a decade of my life. All because I had chosen to love someone. How could love cost me so much? It cost me my firstborn son, my baby, my heart……life had thrown me a bitter blow.
I was now free to walk, I was free. But my freedom had cost me. Although I had come out of domestic violence physically, domestic violence and fear were inside of me for a long time after that. It took me years to get the DV out of me. In order to do that, I had to change my mindset. And it was not easy.
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Years later, I could still see his little face as if it was yesterday when I held him in my arms. He was my firstborn son with no name. I was barely nineteen years of age when I had him. When others celebrated their marriage and honeymoon, their first pregnancy, I was cursing the day I got married. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but that was my truth then. Even to this day, I do not know where my child was buried. Maybe grass has grown over it, maybe others have been buried their loved ones over him, I do not know. I was not able to protect him from the beatings. I was sorry. I was sorry for my choices, sorry for not listening to the wise counsel of my parents and my brother. I was sorry that I did not trust God and walked away from Him. I was sorry that my mistake had cost me my firstborn. I was sorry…..tears streamed down my face and for a moment I forgot where I was.
Memories don’t vanish. Having forgotten means they are temporarily sealed, hidden somewhere deep down.
It is funny how a lovely scene, a beautiful day could bring back horrible memories. You could be sitting in a most exotic restaurant with the most delicious food, and a great company but still lose your appetite just like that because of one negative thought that can creep in and steal your joy. And with it, it will bring company of sadness, regrets and pain.
God has a way of keeping some painful memories away locked in his memory box because He knows that if we indulge in it too long, they have a way of beckoning us back to the past and sometimes it is best to leave the past where it belongs in the past because everything God has for us in ahead of us, not behind us.
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