Awakening in the Valley

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Awakening in the Valley

Photo Credit: Carol Steffens

by Carol Steffens, oneLifemaps Facilitator and Blog editor

Have you ever realized something later in life that you may have carried around with you since childhood? So it was for me, as I uncovered a seemingly inconsequential item until I was willing to allow the pain to surface about an incident that occurred in my early years.

After school one day, while rummaging through some old boxes, I came across an unsent postcard welcoming baby “John Andrew” into our family. Apparently, a number of these announcements had been made up in preparation for the birth of a son. It was to be my parents’ first and only child and I can only imagine their surprise when “Carol Ann” was delivered! Those were the days before ultrasounds, allowing little time to align hopes with reality. My mother smiled as I showed her the card, perhaps trying to lighten the tension that mounted in my neck and shoulders. She implied that my father had intended to pass the cards around to his business colleagues. I didn’t have the courage to face him with my discovery.

Instead, I began questioning to what extent I may have been a disappointment. A doubt about my value was raised that day, and a seed of insecurity was planted. Unspoken feelings of rejection festered into resentment that I buried deep inside. To compensate, I perfected my “good girl” routine while I escaped into books, school activities, movies, T.V., and mostly, remained in the background of my own story.

I worked hard at people pleasing and accommodating, actually made a career out of it. I was quite successful at living an “unconscious” lifestyle in the years that followed until I began seeking God’s presence with intention. Searching the great love letters of scripture, I saw that each of us is created uniquely—a treasured daughter or son—even before we are born. I felt empowered and encouraged to begin examining my own life, in the hope of finding a more authentic way of being.

A few years ago, I was introduced to oneLifemaps through my therapist, who facilitated a small group at her office. Each map sharing brought new insights and opened windows of fresh air and light that shined in some dark places. It was during a session with the “Valley” map, that this particular childhood memory came to light. Space and safety was felt in that group to enable me to express and find forgiveness for myself and for my parents.

Being in a safe environment really made a difference for me: to be listened to without judgment.; and, to be truly present in the presence of God and the other. Releasing this deep insecurity revealed the truth of my identity as God’s daughter, planned and loved long before I was born. I am His handiwork, intentional and created on and with purpose.

The sun rose over the valley for me that day and I felt awakened in a new way to His presence with all of who I am, to follow Him and His design for my life—at long last and into forever!

 

Scripture:

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”  Psalm 139:16-18 NLT

Questions:

  • Has God revealed a hurt from your past that you would now be willing to examine?
  • Consider writing to God about a past hurt and asking Him for healing.
  • Do you find it harder to forgive yourself, or others? Why?

Prayer:

Father God, we come to know ourselves by knowing you. You hold the blueprint of our identity and calling, waiting to share as we trust in you. Thank you for your love and for being with us each day, each moment. Thank you for forgiving us so that we might forgive. Help us to be more aware of your presence as we seek to follow you.

In Jesus’ name.

Book Recommendation:

To Be Told by Dan Allender

 

About the Author:

Carol Steffens lives in the Chicagoland area and is retired. She and her husband together have six children, ten grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She has participated in Listen to My Life groups and looks forward to facilitating in the near future. Storytelling has long been a passion, and she believes oneLifemaps offers people a way to find God’s loving handiwork in each of their own stories.

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