I wrote most of this reflection in 2014. My life has changed significantly since then. I’ve learned and am still learning a lot about myself and others. I’m learning the way my story directs my life in beautiful ways and limiting ways. One thing hasn’t changed – I still have walls. But I can say I’m not building new ones, and the old ones are coming down. Little by little, day by day, with lots of love and care and beauty and goodness, God is showing me how to take them down.
I have an odd mixture of sweet and sour childhood memories. Some of the best are summer Saturdays. The entire family worked in the yard or the house all day, then Daddy grilled steaks in the evening. Mom baked potatoes, put together a beautiful salad and toasted the barbecue bread. We’d eat then enjoy a restful evening.
But there were weekends not filled with happy hard work and eating well. Sometimes Daddy was on a drinking binge. Sometimes there were strangers in the house. And the music and laughter were too loud and the air smoky. I didn’t feel safe. It felt chaotic and scary.
My response to the chaos and fear was to build.
So I was a little girl going to The Little Red School House building walls around my heart to make me feel safe. In high school I gave my heart to a boy who didn’t know what to do with a young insecure heart.
So he broke it. And I built more walls.
I wanted a place where I could laugh and be myself and run and be strong and courageous. A place I wasn’t sad and scared. A place where I didn’t worry. I wanted a sanctuary. But I didn’t know how to get there.
When I was married I didn’t stop building walls. Every hurt, disappointment, or unmet expectation caused more walls and eventually my heart was surrounded. My children and dear friends were the only ones that could get to the tender part of my heart.
There was no sanctuary inside the walls. The trials and betrayals and disappointments came and they still hurt. Years and years of building the walls were useless. I didn’t feel safe. The walls made the space too small. There was no hope there. There was no room to be myself and no room for others.
Thankfully God is inside the walls. He knew. He knows the pain and the fear, and my desire to follow Him wholeheartedly. He held the tender part of my heart and never ever let it go. He holds it still.
He is my sanctuary.
He is tearing down the walls. Because I don’t need walls.
For I, declares the Lord, will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.Zechariah 2:5