Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Turbulent Year Eleven -- Chapter 8 in My Life Story

As young as I was at nine and ten, somehow when I hit eleven, I decided I was pretty darn big for my britches.  I'm not sure what all was the reason for this, other than the fact that I always liked attention and maybe just being older dawned on me as being super cool.  Mainly it was just my sin nature driving me to lie to my parents, have a bad attitude at church and do other things I thought teenagers did.

I remember friends that I really loved from that age -- Charity and Tina were sisters and had been my friends for years.  They are sort of the bright part of that era.  I remember being with them and discovering all kinds of cute actors (Charles in Charge in anyone?) from movies and TV shows.  Since they were somewhat older than me, I still deemed them cool.  Unfortunately, I went through a pretty horrible phase where I was not kind to my little sister and my younger friends -- like my dear sweet friend Vanessa who had been a best bud for a long time, despite being 4 years my junior!  They just weren't cool enough for me.

I got a perm at age eleven -- right after my birthday, I believe.  So many people told me I had pretty hair, and let me tell you, I hardly needed help building up my pride!  I look back at that age with such grief, knowing that I really wasted a precious year of my childhood.  It grieves me to remember my sin and pride.  I'm sure it grieved my parents.  I recall one time when my sister told me I looked pretty and I answered "I know" really quickly just because I wanted to go on doing whatever it was I was doing.  Mom rebuked me for my arrogance -- obviously it made an impression on me since I still remember it!

In the spring of 1990, my parents told us we were moving again -- this time to Billings, Montana.  My dad had gotten another promotion and would be the president of the division of that SuperValu office.  I DID NOT want to move.  My parents flew to Billings a few times to look for houses and things, but I didn't want to go along.  My sister Anna went with them one time -- she was excited about it, I remember -- and came back filling me in on everything.  Our new house had a pool, and at the church my parents were visiting the pastor had 3 daughters and they were our age and they had Anna over to their house even.  

My interest started to build, somewhat.  I think I was kind of making myself miserable in my sinfulness, and even at eleven years old, moving to a new area, with new friends seemed like a good way to sort of start over.  Built in friends already waiting there for me!  

I remember flying into Billings for the first time so well.  I remember thinking the air smelled like the beach -- kind of dry and salty or something.  We celebrated Emily's first birthday in a hotel, once again waiting for our boxes to come on the moving truck all the way to Montana.  It was a gorgeous huge hotel built with all the rooms around an 8 story atrium, and had a glass elevator, which we enjoyed riding all the way to the top.  The swimming pool had a waterfall in it!  I noticed things in Montana were built using local resources, so many buildings had lots of rocks, sandstone and wood in or on them -- it made everything seem very western to me!

If the hotel was great, our house was even better.  Very airy and open and western feeling to me, built into the side of a hill in "Emerald Hills" (the only thing green was the trees!).  It had a gorgeous pool and we put in a hot tub, and 2 levels of decks. Anna's room was in the "exercise room" -- we knew it was that because it had a whole wall that was just mirrors and had a sauna off of it (we used the sauna to store our stuffed animals and dolls which made them smell like cedar).  I got my own room, with my own desk (it was really exciting to me!) and my own phone!  Looking back at how good my parents were to me, how they blessed me with love and trust after all the grief I brought them, I see how they painted for me such a good picture of God, who loves unconditionally and gives grace and healing.

It started slowly, but as I ended my eleventh year, I was able to see my rebellious attitude for what it was, and reconcile myself to my mom and dad.  Night after night I'd lie awake, ridden with guilt and afraid of God's judgment.  I'd rise from my bed, go find my parents and confess whatever sin was heavy on my heart.  At the time I was so frightened of not really being a Christian, but now, looking back, I believe that I was so miserable with my sin because I was truly a believer.  I would pray for forgiveness almost every night, but it took a while before I could begin to rest and trust that God wasn't angry with me.  Again, I think it was my parents' love and forgiveness that enabled me to understand God's love and forgiveness.  I remember Mom crying and praying for me at my bedside -- it brings tears to my eyes to think how she must have wrestled for my soul! 

I am so very very thankful that I can look back and see the conclusion of this difficult year in the light of forgiveness and a new beginning!

Me, Nathan and his friend Jimmy in the pool
And those new friends Anna had promised?  Right away, Rachel, Jessie and Esther Miller became our best friends.  Summer lay in front of us, full of promise with a big gorgeous pool to play in all summer long.  I got to recapture a bit more of childhood with those girls and my sister that summer.  We played mermaids, lifeguards, swam races, made up swimming/diving contests, etc.  Life was fresh and new, and growing up didn't need to happen too quickly.

This is chapter 8 in the story of my youth -- I'm linking up to Mommy's Piggy Tales.


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Precious story. I have had children go through those years...sometimes because of hormonal does grieve a parent, as it does our heavenly father. Your maturity is amazing.
My parents served as missionaries in Montana in 1987, so I heard all about Billings.
I love your story of doesn't always happen that way, my sister never pulled out of that stage and it brought a lot of grief to the family
Enjoying your story...thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Hey Gret wonderful presentation in writing of love and forgiveness, pain and redemption. I miss your mother so thanks for sharing your storyephisant

Anonymous said...

I have my own years like that for sure. Worse than that. I hated that one for you though. :( What a wonderful thing to move to Montana! :) Heheh...remember all those TEEN magazines on your table in your room.... Remember all our soaps in the sauna too? It smelled SO good! And remember when Nate would try to bug us and he would stand in the "craft room" and not be "in my room", but still be with us!? haha.... GRAND times.


gianna said...

so many of us moved in 6th grade! CRAZY! Your move was an incredibly huge change for you! Wow! I'm so glad that you were a "snotty" kid for less than a year! YEEHAW God. God was so gracious to you!

MommaHarms said...

thanks for showing how you came through the petty/selfish stage. I'm not really looking forward to it with my own girls, but it's wondefrul to read about the "light" at the end of the tunnel.

Tina and Todd said...

I was really sad and missed you so much when you moved to Montana .... but remember when I came to visit? I LOVED your new house!!!!
Funny ... I even remember you being snotty during that time ... how God's redemption changes us:) You have some amazing godly parents!!!! Love ya!

Debi said...

Wow - I love hearing about how God works in the heart of a young girl. You describe it so well. Bless you ~

Anonymous said...

Oh how I remember visiting your family in Montana!! I LOVED your house and the pool was wonderful (Nate kept it very clean!) Thanks for sharing - you were always sweet to me! Such good family memories.

Aunt Pat

Emily Benzing said...

This was a beautiful post. I cried alot, and praised God for his grace of allowing minimal damage to come to me, when I experienced similar feelings. :)