Learning to Live My Own Story

I have always been a voracious reader. I can remember my mother telling me countless times to go outside and play instead of staying inside with a book. So, I would carry my book outside and find some shade – kind of missing my mom’s purpose in sending me out to begin with!

Learning to Live My Own Story ~ What My Kids Read Either way, inside or out, rain or shine, I read tons of books. I wasn’t terribly discriminating. It just had to be something with print on it. I read almost every book in my parents’ house, brought home stacks from the library, and found myself reading encyclopedias, dictionaries, cereal boxes, shampoo bottles… I developed a preference for classics early on, but I still would read anything I could get my hands on.

Some of that was just because I enjoyed learning, but looking back, I think a lot of it had to do with escape. Maybe you can relate. You see, my early childhood was as common as those heartbreaking statistics about kids show. Of course, I don’t feel like a statistic, and I didn’t stay only a statistic, but I had parents who fought when I should have been asleep… I had to shuffle from one house to another for the weekend, only to readjust back to the rules at my mom’s house or my dad’s house… My step-sister moved into the room I had helped build, and I had to sleep on the floor… I had scary secrets that I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone – not that they would believe me… And of course, no matter how hard he tried or didn’t try, I never could trust my dad not to let me down… Because, after all, I believed that he already had.

So it isn’t a surprise that I escaped. Some kids lose themselves in video games or television, others act out in violence or spend most of their time with friends to distract from the pain. I chose to read, and I read constantly. I would even listen to books or radio dramas to fall asleep at night, just to avoid facing the pain and fear of rejection. I read Robinson Crusoe when I was 8, and it was miserable. I hated it because it was so long and full of descriptions, but I couldn’t quit reading. I couldn’t stop long enough to face the fear that would rise up if I was still and undistracted. It went back to that lie that I was dirty and no one wanted to see me. It went deep into my beliefs, and echoed in my mind if I didn’t keep my mind busy. So, I read. It’s why I’m fast at reading because I had to stay ahead of my thoughts and feelings.

Learning to Live My Own Story Now I know, I’m strange, right? I mean, who says they are a recovering reading addict? It’s crazy. But, it was true of me for many years. My story didn’t continue in fear and pain like so many others, although they lingered decades after I was adopted and loved by the man I now call Dad. He married my mother and literally changed our lives for good. That is another story, full of love and grace. But the early feelings of rejection still lingered as a powerful story that I could not out-think or out-read.

When I was 7 years old, my aunt and uncle gave me C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia¬†and I was introduced to the wonders of Narnia. To this day, if you talk to me about God and His ways for any length of time, I will probably bring up something from the Chronicles of Narnia. Those stories gave me hope and a way of thinking beyond the darkness, and I learned that God wasn’t a terrible monster, but a kind and gentle King. Although He is not tame, He can be trusted because He is good. I’m serious, I could go on and on about how the Chronicles of Narnia still form the base of most of my beliefs about God, but suffice it to say, this is probably not the last time I will reference Narnia on this blog! The point is, the Lord brought light and hope in the midst of the darkest times of my childhood, and He found me even in my escape.

It has been a long, slow process to even recognize that this was a problem. I was married and had a baby before it dawned on me how frantically I would look for something to read if I had to be still to feed the baby. As I realized that, the Lord began gently redirecting my heart toward Him, and I began to pray instead of turning to reading.

Now, I wish I could wrap this post up neatly, explaining how I no longer escape, but it would not be true. God has done an incredible work in my heart, bringing healing and forgiveness, but old habits are hard to break, the internet is full of stories to read and escape into, and I have years of lies ingrained in my soul that swell up in moments of doubt. And yet, I have learned that it is okay to be still, to face those fears, to breathe through the pain, and to live my own story with His grace.

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  1. I love seeing how you allow The Lord to continually “wrap” and shape your life!!!
    It’s beautiful!!

  2. Thank you so much for those sweet words! You have set an example of grace and beauty that I hope to follow in. :)

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