Recently I woke up with a song going through my mind.  The words “All my life You have been faithful.  All my life you have been so, so good.  Every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”  As I went about my day, that song was reverberating through my mind and spirit.  Memory after memory flooded through my mind, like a movie on a screen.  Truly, God has been faithful and good, even if I didn’t understand or acknowledge it at the time.  

For many years I had the desire to draw close to God, but I was intimidated by Him.  My perception of Him was that He was unapproachable, stern, and the big, mean man in the sky; that if I did something wrong, He would be mad.  One minister I heard recently said it this way, “I’m bad, and God’s mad.”  That sums up how I felt. 

 As a child, my parents taught me about God by how they lived.  We had family prayers around the kitchen table.  They helped me with my prayers at bedtime.  We faithfully went to church every Sunday.  I learned to pay my tithing when I started to make an allowance.  When I was eight years old, I got baptized.  

I had a habit of sucking my thumb, and Mom had been trying to get me to quit by rubbing this terrible tasting liquid on my thumbs.  It didn’t work.  When I learned about Yeshua dying on the cross for all my sins, I wanted to be clean of that habit, and I quit in three days.  A month later, my only grandpa I knew, died of a heart attack.  Two weeks later my mom had my baby sister Loretta.  She was a darling baby, with big brown eyes, lots of dark hair, and a birth defect.  The moment mom brought Loretta home she sat down with my other sisters and me and told us that Loretta was very special, but she was different.  Loretta was born with one finger on each hand and one toe on each foot.

 My mother suffered from severe postpartum depression and was finally hospitalized when Loretta was three months old.  Before my mom was hospitalized, she was crying all the time, and under extreme stress.  Any noise made her upset.  I spent my time outside of school keeping my sisters quiet, cleaning the house, and helping mom.  Several times, she would wake me up in the night to pray.  One day, one of her friends came to take her shopping.  She had made some booties and matching gloves to put on my sister’s hands.  When mom went to put the gloves on her hands, God’s audible voice said “No, don’t”.  That upset mom so badly she didn’t leave the house.  

My parents lost several of their friends during this time, because people thought they must have done something wrong to have a child like this.  Even some of our relatives were ashamed and embarrassed.  When mom was hospitalized, my two youngest sisters stayed with my aunt in one city, and my sister two years younger than me and I stayed with my grandma in our town, so we could keep going to our school.  It was during this time, when I was staying at my grandma’s home, that my uncle sexually molested me.  I clearly remember thinking after this happened, “God, I hope you can forgive me.”  This was a very dark, trying season for my family.  It took months to get us back to somewhat of a “normal” life.  

My perception of “I’m bad and God is mad” took root deep in my heart.   I carried that dark root for many years even though I loved Yeshua. I still prayed to God all the time and even received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of 21.   God is so patient and merciful.  As the song declares He is faithful and good. He continues to woo me to Him.  Through the years, I have had many experiences to accept His love for me and show me that I am not bad; and He is not mad.  He is faithful to cleanse and redeem me.  Those who look to Him are no longer covered with shame. Psalm 34:5. Also, in Psalm 34:8, it says “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”  

He truly is my good, good Father.  

Joie Conrad

BYNA Elder

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