He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27
One of the earliest memories I have is of standing behind my Grandfather in the dark, cement-floored corridor as he talked to my Dad. I had an infection on my leg and he wanted to get medication for it.
I must have been about 3-years old, and I’d been sent away to live with my grandparents. My father gave us the medication for my rash and we went away.
We weren’t invited in, and I didn’t see my Mom. She didn’t come down to see us.
This is my first memory of rejection.
There were probably good reasons of why my Mom didn’t come down. My parents were going through a crisis in their marriage. They had separated and had come back together again when my brother was born. But he passed away a few weeks later.
As a mom, I can only imagine the grief my Mother was going through. Maybe the last thing she could do was cope with an active toddler.
But how I could have understood that then? I only felt the rejection. My Grandma tried hard to make up for what I was missing. And she became like a mom to me. To this day, she remains the kindest earthly person I’ve met. She nourished me with her tender love and care.
While they eventually took me back after several months, my relationship with my Mom never fully recovered from the separation. Looking back now, I can see the self-protective wall that I began building around my heart.
And over the years, that wall grew thicker and thicker with each painful rejection. They say it’s all about survival. If we leave our hearts wide open and continue to get hurt, how can we survive? To cope we must protect ourselves and so begins the wall building. And for most of us it begins in the first years of our lives. For some even while they are in their mother’s womb.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’”
Yet, how can we love or receive love when our hearts are closed off?
I committed my life to the Lord Jesus one happy day when I was in college. That day, I truly believed God loved me. But for years the knowledge stayed in my head. My heart needed to receive but could not.
It wasn’t until after my second child was born, that I began to see the walls around my heart. I was at a healing conference in southeast England, where I poured out my heart to an older, wiser Christian woman.
She helped me to pray that day … but before we did, she told me to pretend that she was my Mom and to tell her how I honestly felt for being sent away. Some ugly, painful things came out of my heart.
After the tears, she led me in a prayer to forgive my Mom and Dad. Then to ask God to forgive me for any bitterness or judgment I may have held against them.
It was the beginning of the breaking down of the stone walls that encased my heart.