Delivered & Radiant

I had never met her, but somehow she got word about Robert. She was brave, this much I decided.

Only a brave woman would deliver a homemade meal to a neighbor she never met after hearing their son was home dying.

As she handed me the casserole dish, she looked me in the eyes and tilted her head, looking puzzled she calmly said, “You have the most beautiful skin, it just radiates.”

It has been almost 16 years since that moment in my home. Robert has been dead almost as long, he died a few days later.

Seeking the Lord had been woven into the fabric of my being since I was 16 years old, never anticipating our journey together would lead me into the unimaginable depths of childhood cancer and death. Robert was only 11, the second oldest of my 4 children. Truly any parent would say this is their greatest fear, their child dying. My neighbor’s words mystified me that day, but now I understand.

Years and years of healing from this unimaginable reality, after wandering off trying to be normal, here I am, “radiant” not covered in shame.

It didn’t take long for Guilt to pay me a visit after my son died. Imagine that?

Guilt is a frequent flier holding on to the coat tails of Death. Guilt is a shame giver. No doubt. It offers up lies to feed our minds and is a burden no one can bear. Of course Guilt told me somehow, some where I missed something, or did not do something, or should have done more, or must have sinned; I missed something and my son got sick and died because I was his mom and somehow I failed.
Guilt shattered all that I had built up around myself to keep me safe.

I walked in fear all the time. Yet, I appeared fierce, take my word for it. If there was an emergency or last minute event that needed someone, I was who they called, who they relied on. Fierce.
After years of holding it all together I began to see how totally vulnerable I felt. I had no idea who I was in Christ, and forgotten how Jesus loved me just the as I am. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Lack. Fear.

Yet, somehow, that day my neighbor did not see a shattered woman full of shame, she saw a woman who “radiated.”

It took years before I could hear His voice again; years to hear Him say, “I have never left you alone.” This was when I took the first step to seek Him again and He began to “deliver me from all my fears.” I say began because it was a process.

Turns out fear was deeply embedded in my mind. Seeds of fear had taken root from my early childhood and they desperately tried to grow all along. This fierce, strong, tenacious woman was a living breathing vessel of fear. I felt shattered like the windshield on a car, held together by the protective film that keeps the glass from falling apart. I wanted to be free.

I was shocked to realize how much fear I had in me. It permeated deep inside me. I felt this struggle for some time and never understood what it was until one day a whisper deep inside asked, “When did this fear begin? Go back to your roots and let Me and My Word heal it all.” It was work. It was hard – painful- but it is worth it all.

So I took Him at His word, put one foot in front of the other and let Him show me where it all began.

I was 5, a babysitter’s teenage son took great pleasure in teasing, taunting and terrorizing me and my little brother. It was the first time I tried to become invisible; it was the first time I was frozen in fear trying to be fierce as he taunted me while I napped. I did not flinch as he tried to prove I was not asleep. I slept on the outside to protect my little brother, we were under a table. The teenage boy thought it was funny to tease us and daily tried to humiliate and coax us into doing things and looking at photos he would flash at us. This day, I was lying on my tummy, frozen-trying to hide and become as small as I could. I remember how he lifted the back of my dress. He paused to see if that would jar me to move. I didn’t flinch. Then I heard him say, “I bet if I do this she will move.” He snapped my little girl panties and laughed. I did not move. I was helpless and afraid. It was a beginning of a lifelong battle of feeling vulnerable and afraid.

All the work to be healed deep inside, choosing to seek the Lord, was a deliverance for me. My son had died, my marriage ended, I was a single mom raising my 3 other children as best that I could, and knew my only chance was to seek the Lord and the truth I knew to be true, His Word.

Fast forward to today, I walk around as a woman feeling radiant and full of love. Every day I do what I can to help others grow and know who they are. I do not walk in shame, or feel like a failure. Guilt has no place in my life. Every time someone compliments my skin, or tells me my smile is infectious, I know what the truth really is.

I sought the Lord, he answered me; delivered me from all my fears and I am radiant.