Junior High Years (7-8) and Growing Up UPC...



"I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: 
I am like a broken vessel" 
Psalm 31:12


 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good 
in order to bring about this present result...
Genesis 50:20

I finished up my six years of elementary by the "seat of my pants" as the old saying goes. During a Parent/Teacher meeting it was suggested to my mum that maybe they should hold me back a year. I was passing, just barely mind you, and my teacher felt it was due. in part. to all the bullying that I was experiencing. Most of my teachers said that I could have been an A student, but because of the stress of the weekly tauntings, my grade levels were mostly B's and C's. However; in the end it was decided upon that I would enter Junior High (7), and if need be, could repeat grade 7. 

Grade seven started out a little rough. Paul Dube, my nemesis from my elementary years, tried to start up the bullying once again. But this time it was brought to a quick end. I had very few friends and the one friend I did have, well we had very little in common. While I was the church going kid who wasn't involved in the party life and all that entails, she was the party girl who got into a fair amount of heartache. But when she wasn't parting we were the closest of friends. I guess you could say she was my BFF.

Most days at school were fine no major complaints. The teachers for the most part were nicer and my grades were improving. My challenges were mainly standing up for my faith and what I believed in. The bullying had pretty much come to an end and we were all getting along. The challenges that I was beginning to face were not coming from the school but secrets that I was carrying that no one knew of. Questions about my "faith", about God, and the biggest question of all, "WHY"

The story of Joseph from the Bible has some similarities to mine. When Joseph says of his family that, what they meant for evil God had turned it around for good, this would be a reflection of my own life and the secret pain that I was going through. The only difference I would not be able to see the good until years later down the road.

Because of the sensitivity of the following subject and out of respect for family members I will only make reference to the happenings in my life during this time. Most everyone who reads this can figure out what the necessary words mean. I will not go into detail or mention names, but you will get the picture.   

I was eleven and a half when the molestation started by an extended family member. This went on until I was about thirteen. This was something that I could not understand. So many times I had heard preachers say that as God's children He would protect us from evil. I could not understand why God had allowed this and why He didn't protect me from this evil. You may be wondering right now; didn't she tell anyone? The answer to your question is; no. This person was very well known, was very well liked, and did a lot to help family and friends. So as a young child I felt that if I told, no one would really believe me because he was so nice. But there did come a point, after the death of this person, that I did tell my mum and thank God she believed me. But for the duration of the abuse I suffered in silence.

During this stage of growing into teen years, for any young girl, the new experience of taking note of the opposite sex is of big interest. Also is the awareness of body image. It was after a junior youth camp and I was at home, I had received a letter from a boy I met at camp. A family member was visiting and we had just gotten into an argument. When they entered the dinning room where I was sitting answering the boys letter the old saying of; sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me, is not true. Words do hurt and they're lasting effects can last, sometimes, a lifetime. When asked what I was doing the response to my answer, that I was responding to a letter from this boy, was cruel. Let me say here that because my immediate family never once made me feel to be "different" from anyone else, after what this person said I knew just how different I was. I was told to wake up to my reality; that no man was every going to love me because I was scared, because I had a colostomy, and because I could not have children. The bullying I took in my elementary years was nothing compared to this hurt and from a family member...

At church we were experiencing a revival. Many folks were coming in and it just seemed like that most of the young couples that were coming in were all expecting babies. One night after coming home from church I ran upstairs and shut myself in the bathroom. This would be the first time that I ever got angry with God, and boy did I let Him know. And just for the record here, let me say that if you are angry at God, it's OK, He can handle it, just read the book of Job. So I was in the bathroom and I let God know just how angry I was. I asked Him why He chose me to be created in the way that He did. I asked Him, out of the four of us kids, why He couldn't have dumped something on to one of my other siblings. I never did get my answer right then.

I believe I told you about my BFF from junior high, the non Christian, well in my junior high school there were five other Christians; three were from the Pentecostal Assemblies, one was an Anglican, and one was a Baptist. Here's what I could never figure out, I had more in common with the five other Christians than I had with my non Christian friend. Yet time and again; I was discouraged from hanging out with these five Christians. And why? Though they, in every way, looked and acted Christ like, I was told that they were unsaved, that they didn't have the "truth" like we did.

More and more I had questions about the things that was being taught at my church. More and more I was confused by the messages of how Christ died for everyone, but when I would point out certain types of sinners, then God's love was limited. I myself often struggled with the unseen UPC bar code. Just when I thought I got things right, the unseen bar code was raised a little higher, and I would realize I had to work harder still. Most of my time spent at the altar was crying and begging God not to come till I could figure out how to get it right.

One of the many "fear tactics" that was used in my home was the "rapture" card. When I wanted to do something or go with my friends some where it was always the same, "well Paula; if you want to do that, or go there, or wear that, and the Lord was to return, He's not going to go there to get you, or if you're wearing that, He's not going to take you up in the rapture.

My dad; was a good man. He followed the UPC rules as best as anyone could. He just had, well two problems; he had a constant battle with cigarettes and he didn't speak in "tongues" as required for salvation, according to UPC dogma. I had a very hard time with this. And when you live with the constant notion that, unless your dad gets his game on, even though he's doing everything else right, your dad is going to hell, it's tough on a kid/teen. I got to the point where I couldn't take it any more and I just wanted out.   

There was this bridge in Edmundston, I use to cross it every time I went down to the park. You could either cross the upper bridge or you could go down a hill and under the bridge over like a dame. Well many a times as I said, I would cross over this bridge to head down to the park. With every thing going on around me and all the hurt and confusion building up inside of me; from issues at school to the secret of the molestation that I was carrying, to the religious dogma that was so judgmental and condemning, I had made up my mind at fifteen that I was going to end it all. I got on my bike this one day, never even said anything to my mum, (and she passed away not ever knowing that I ever had thoughts of suicide) and headed out for the bridge. I can tell you, the Lord had other plans for me that day. I stopped in the middle of the bridge. As I stood there, I looked down, and there was this BIG old rock. I thought to myself, how did that get there. How come I never saw that rock there before. I then started to think that if I did jump there was no way of avoiding that rock and that would cause some serious pain. For as many times as I have spent in a hospital, I don't like pain. I decided that I wasn't going to do it and I got back on my bike and went down to the park where I swung for awhile on the swings.

I will never understand the workings of the Lord or how at the right moment He changes things up and what the enemy thought he could scheme up to end a life, God steps in and says, not today your not. These were lonely confusing years. But some how through it all I still maintained a hope and a love for God, even if that love was based in fear.

You were there when it all came down on me
And I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story's always gone

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life's been a journey
I've seen joy, I've seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Through all of it




Comments

  1. Great Blog Paula--God loves You! So glad His love kept you through all the heartache. A favorite song of mine-I'm sure you know this one--"Something beautiful, something good, all of my confusions, He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful out of my life. You too. God Bless

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bible School Days...

Short Stint in Ontario And One More Year In Quebec...

Time For Healing Begins...