Wednesday, April 12, 2006

age of accountability


do you remember that first moment when you actually felt the weight of your sins? i do ... i was 8 ... it is etched so vividly in my brain that it never gets lost in that "oh ya, now i remember" file ...

mom was working a late afternoon shift ... dad decided to invite some of his buddies over for the evening ... since my brother and i slept on the pullout couch in the living room of our small apartment, we were temporarily shifted to the bedroom ... i remember lying awake, listening to the noise of men drinking too much ... my brother was cuddled in a little ball beside me ... my eyes dimly made out the cross that hung over the doorway of my parents bedroom ... as i gazed at that cross, i felt so very very bad inside ... as bad as an 8 year old is able to feel ...

we had been sporadically attending a Lutheran church in the rough mining community we lived in ... i was befriended by a wonderful couple in that church ... i don’t remember a conversation about sin, salvation or God’s saving grace ... but they must have shared something with me, because my 8 year old heart knew the burden of unforgiven sin ... i knew at that moment that Christ had died for my sins - personally ...

i remember crying and asking God’s forgiveness ... i remember telling Him i was so sorry that he had to die for me ... then i fell into a deep sleep ...

my sleep was shattered by a loud bang, then a crash and the sounds of scraping furniture ... i heard raised voices and more crashes coming from the living room ... my brother, who is 3 years younger than me, was afraid ... i was too, but big sisters have to atleast appear to be brave ...

more angry shouting ... then there was silence ...

we crept out of the bedroom and took in the scene ... the furniture was knocked over and spread out ... it looked like food and drink were spilled on the floor ... my dad was lying on the floor with a knife in his hand ... he was crying ...

my brother hung back, but i went up to dad and put my arms around him and told him that i loved him ... in a drunken stupor he ground his teeth and said that he would kill us ... i hugged him some more and then grabbed my brothers hand, leaving the apartment and my very drunk father behind ...

i found safety for us with a neighbour ... and my poor mom came home from work to a horrible mess ... a husband passed out in the wrecked living room and 2 missing children ...

this is the first time i write this account down ... i’ve only talked about it a few times ... yet, even without the recounting of it ... it is one of those defining moments ... i don’t know why it all played out this way ... eternity will show me the completed tapestry of my life ...

i learned i loved the Lord so much - the one who died for me ...
i learned i loved my dad, despite his weakness ...

as Good Friday comes around once again ... i remember that first time i felt convicted because of my sins ... and the first time i felt loved and redeemed because of Jesus death on the cross ... maybe that was what kept my brother and i safe from what could have been just another deadly statistic in a world full of domestic violence ...

24 comments:

Mrs. Diamond said...

wow...no 8 year old should ever have to go to sleep listening to those sounds....or wake up to that. my heart aches for the littler girl in you.

Saija said...

mrsd ... in a fallen world, this is common ... yet a child can survive it ... i'm so glad that the Lord drew me to Himself ... i'm so glad my Heavenly Father never behaves this way towards His children ... blessings to you ... and praise the Lord for Godly parents like you & your hubby ...

Dawn said...

I was another child who spend time like you did Saija . . . only no other siblings to be with me . . . just Jesus . . . He was my Comfort then, and now, and He has blessed my life greatly since that time . . . with rain in between.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

What a great way to honor Good Friday....brings real personal meaning to His sacrifice...doesn't it.

Blessings!

Diane

Saija said...

dawn ... do you find that you try to bring humour and brightness to your own life now? i know i try to dwell on the positive - and only tell my story if God asks me too ... blessings to you, dawn.

Diane ... Jesus went through so much for us, didn't He? ... to draw a sad little girl into His arms, just before she needed that extra love and security - God's love in action ...

Elizabeth said...

Sometimes those of us who grow up under less than ideal situations or even under horror situations, learn early just how much God takes care of us. My dad was stone cold sober, never took a drink in his life, but beat us without mercy to the point that I think it is a miracle we survived. I always knew GOD kept me alive...and that HE was real.

((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))) to you dear...from another sufferer who also has been kept to this day by the LORD!! I love how such things as this become a "distant grief"...so many situations in my life since those early years too...and yes, I can still feel the grief and pain of those difficult times...but it is distant now...we are comforted to comfort others...thanks for sharing. No wonder you are "REAL" and I was drawn to you...!!

Saija said...

elizabeth ... how it must hurt our Heavenly Father when those He entrusted us to, break that trust ... i am so sorry to hear of your childhood - yet rejoice that you love the Lord and that He lives within you too! and if you haven't read Beth Moore's book, Breaking Free - i think you would enjoy it too - it truly blessed my heart and helped me to let a few more things "go" ... blessings to you elizabeth and thank you for the encouragement!

Elizabeth said...

It is a process of letting go of the past, true, but in my case it continues yet today. My dad is alive and well...and still creating hurts, if not for me, for my brother there in town. (So I am the comforter, listener, etc for my brother as well). We consider him mentally ill...how else does one conclude about such illogical behavior in one who considers themselves a strong Believer? I have read some very helpful verses recently...and it really seems that it is God who chooses who can "see" truth and those who cannot. I think we so little understand HIM or HIS plan or purposes in this life! Perhaps we are just more blessed if we can see HIM and how to live, more clearly. Helps give one more patience with someone who simply "cannot get it"!! Thanks for the kind words, dear! How wonderful that our REAL life to come will be so very different than this one, with a different set of rules!! (Actually not so different as just easy for all there to understand, I think).

I find the Bible the very most helpful place to go with this problem, or any other. SO easy for any human to get off track, doctrinally. I am glad you were helped by Beth Moore. I used to be in a Bible study of hers (video) but had to leave due to some places she got off track Biblically...we just have to search the scriptures for ourselves, I think. I think she has been able to help some in some areas however.

Saija said...

elizabeth ... you're absolutely right about the bible being the #1 source of all comfort ... also, i am so glad that you are there for your brother ... that is a blessing to him i'm sure ... (hugs)

Maggie Ann said...

Dear Saija, your testimony is a very powerful one...my heart is touched and my eyes want to cry. What timing for you to have called on the Lord on that very night your life could have been snuffed out on this earth. The Lord was with you and your little brother, its easy to see. What a great blessing to read this account of the night you got saved! That is the strong bond between us, the Lord Jesus Christ! We are sisters indeed in him....smile. Loving wishs for a Joyous Easter to you and your hubby!

Maggie Ann said...

Forgot to mention your picture is adorable!! *hugs* *s*

daisymarie said...

Wow! A powerful experience powerfully presented. I felt the fear and joy of a little girl all over again. I'm so glad His mighty hand of grace and protection began holding you and carries you yet today!

Saija said...

maggie ann ... i hope your Easter is a blessed one too! we have so much to rejoice about ... we each have unique stories to share about God's love & protection ... about how the Good Shepherd found us, sometimes again and again! His Grace did abound! :o)

tina ... there are other stories of His protection - times that i have only recently thought about and realized "wow, that could have turned out badly!" ... i bet you have some to relate too! Happy Easter to you and your fam!

Lorna said...

bless you.

This must have been terrifying. But it's wonderful how God was there with you -even as an 8 year old - with your 5 year old brother.

Saija said...

lorna ... God is always there, isn't He ... for us all ... blessings backatcha!

Rita said...

Powerful and profound, Saija. Isn't it awesome how He holds us and loves us through those times of tremendous distress and despair ... and He brings us to the other side filled with His peace? How wonderful is our God! Happy Easter to you and Leo, sister.

Dawn said...

Yes Saija ...... humour and brightness ...... you're right .... guess I never really stopped and thought about that before, but yes ...... and to remember more the good times of childhood and not to dwell on the bad. Healing is a lifetime process and Jesus is there every step of the way ........ and sometimes there are only the one set of footprints in the sand .....

Saija said...

rita ... He does fill us with His peace ... i hope you are enjoying your Easter time with good health! blessings backatcha!

dawn ... i hear you and understand ...

Badoozie said...

that picture of you, wow. you have an angelic little face, but there is something desperate and lonely in your eyes. i'm so glad you found Jesus at such a young age, its surely what saved you and led you into the woman you have become. what a great testimony. it almost makes me want to cry, thinking about your little self back then, but you have such a gentle spirit about you, and such meekness. beauty from ashes they say.

Saija said...

susie ... one of my mom's friends from those days, called me the little girl with big sad eyes ... but i hope i've grown into a woman with peace & joy in those eyes ... when i read your blog and how you champion your son - well what a blessing for him to have a strong mama bear like you! (hugs)

Elizabeth said...

Our eyes do speak volumes don't they, to those who care to look. The windows to the soul I have heard it called.

Ah, where would most of us be, had we not been carried in HIS arms at times...easy for us to see the one set of footprints, isn't it? I think as we grow older and look back, we seem to see even more places that there surely was only one set of footprints, though at the time, we may have felt so very very alone. Won't our next life, OUR REAL HOME, be so very different though...great joy to me in thinking of that place and time!
Blessings...

Saija said...

elizabeth ... great joy indeed! hope your weekend has been super!

Penless Thoughts said...

Wow Saija my eyes are brimming with tears. Praise God for that couple who shared God's love and hope with you. You are who you are today because of your loving, forgiving heart!!!!!! I am honored to call you a blog friend.
Susan

Penless Thoughts said...

PS You were so cute then, too!!
Susan