Many years ago, as an ice breaker at church one morning, the Bible study leader asked, “When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
The other women in the class answered things like scientist, teacher, mommy, princess, nurse. Typical little girl answers. We all smiled and laughed.
Then I answered, “Safe.” No one laughed.
I didn’t have dreams of becoming a doctor or princess. I had only one dream as a child: I desired to be safe. In a perfect grown-up world I would be safe.
There were safe homes for me to walk or run to – the Lanes, Taylors, Torbetts, Gaithers, and others in the neighborhood. The mommas in those homes loved me and were kind. They fixed lunches and laughed with us as we played. My friends were kind, though I wasn’t always. When you live in a home filled with abuse, you sometimes are mean to others.
I loved going to school where I felt safe. My teachers praised me for a job well done. I learned the rules and what was expected. (In my house the main rule was “Don’t make mom mad. Especially if she’s drunk.) I excelled in academics. Teachers didn’t yell at me or get mad for no apparent reason. When other kids picked on me, they got in trouble. The teachers were never too drunk to stop a beating. I felt safe at school.
But not at my house. My house was rarely safe.
During my teen years a friend invited me to church. At college another friend showed me what it looks like to follow Christ daily.
I am grateful for the redemption of Christ. I am grateful that I am being conformed to His image. I am grateful for the forgiveness given to me so that I am able to forgive others.
I have forgiven those who hurt me.
Yet my history still pops up at strange times. Like yesterday while I was on my tractor.
I was mowing and humming and smelling the cut grass and wild sage. Beautiful smells, beautiful trees, and beautiful land. Then all of the sudden I remembered wanting to be safe. I remembered my childhood dream. And I felt so grateful that I am safe now.
I have a wonderful husband who loves me well. We have enough of what we need: clothes, a home, food, transportation. Our children are grown and doing well. I live in a nice small town in which I can drive anywhere with safety. I am rarely afraid for my physical or mental safety.
And I am child of God. I know my eternity is safe. He will keep me both now and forevermore.
My life is not perfect and we have been through difficulties, but I do not live in fear.
I am so glad I got my childhood dream; I am safe.
What about you? What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Song of Ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.