My roots are showing. No, I’m not talking about my hair… I’m talking about my make-up. And no, I’m not talking about the liquid foundation that goes on my face, I’m talking about my foundation, my beginnings, my roots… what’s formed me, what’s made me and what moves me. Meaning, my inner being. And music is part of my make-up. It’s been a part of my life as long as I remember. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of my babbling while “Take it to the Limit” by the Eagles played in the background. This has to be one of my all time favorite songs. And without a doubt, if I hear Seals & Crofts “Summer Breeze” from 1972, there will be tears. It reminds me of being young, and of my brother, and of playing, and of innocence.
Yes, I just love music… because it moves me in a way that nothing else can. And it’s not just Christian or gospel or hymns that move me… it’s all kinds of music. When I clean the house, you can bet classic country will be playing… loudly. And I will be singing along at the top of my voice. And depending on my mood, you may hear anything from seventies to oldies to eighties to classic rock to Christmas in my house. It just depends. And here’s what I think… that no matter the genre, you can find God in it. If you listen with your heart. And it’s one of Bob Dylan’s songs that moves me. It’s one of his that makes me think about being God’s little girl. Perhaps you’re familiar with the lines…
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl.
Funny that no matter how old a woman may be, at heart, she’s really just a little girl. And no matter how strong she thinks she is, there are just going to be those times that she falters. There will be those times that she breaks… And you know, it doesn’t even have to be a big thing that causes her to break. No, usually it’s something small and subtle that sneaks up on her. Like what recently took place with me. Something silly, really, and yet… I felt just like I did all those years ago. I felt just as vulnerable at forty as I did when I was growing up. And so, I find those lyrics true and stirring… she may be a woman, but truly, she breaks just like a little girl.
You know, when I grew up I felt less than. Some of you will know what I mean by that. For example, the first sixteen years of my life I lived in an apartment that was on the backside of a store situated right beside a highway. My backyard was sandwiched between our small porch and a cow field. When I was young, I loved the sensation of running through the cow fields and the freedom to roam. However, as innocence waned, I began to feel embarrassment about where I lived. It was, well, less than what other people had. My bedroom didn’t even have a door. At sixteen, we moved into a regular house. Finally, shame abated because I no longer lived in less than adequate quarters.
Since my hometown is so small, there’s no need for a middle school. Elementary grades range from kindergarten all the way through the seventh grade. And it was through those formative years that I had three different best friends. Each one was special, outgoing, funny… they were leaders. But I was painfully shy and awkward… a follower. And I always felt less than them. This inferiority complex was cemented down when my fifth grade class-mate told me that just because my best friends were popular, it didn’t mean that I was. And for a little girl, the remark was stinging. It was heartbreaking. It marked me… so much so that I remember it vividly as a forty year old woman.
The first few years of high school were okay… but money was scarce. Oh, we never went hungry, so I never endured real suffering. Just feelings… less than feelings. See, all the girls wore particular brands of clothing (just different colors). They all looked similar, but I didn’t look anything like them. And so eventually, I started to hang out with a new crowd. And with my new friends, fashion was a non-issue. But, I think I still cared deep down. Because to this day I remember a boy saying, “Pam, I really admire you… you wear things that no one else would wear and don’t even care!” He didn’t know that if I could have worn different clothes, I would have. He didn’t know that I couldn’t, because my family couldn’t afford the clothing that other girls wore.
In high school, my best friend had the best of everything… at least in my eyes. She had nice clothes, a new Subaru Justy, a CD player (before they were common place), Clinique make-up and Anais Anais perfume. Oh, and she was beautiful and outgoing and could sing. She feared nothing and I feared everything. And so, at seventeen, the feeling of less than sunk deep into my soul. This became my identity. And ironically, it was not that long ago when I talked to my girlfriend about all this. She shared with me about her own insecurities from that time period, and she was so surprised that I didn’t recognize them all those years ago. But I couldn’t have… I was so engrossed by my own feelings of insignificance, that I was blinded to her own inadequacies. I give you all of this background so that you’ll understand the following, and although seemingly insignificant occasions, they forever touched me… forever marked me…
Two particular weekends from high school were brought to the forefront of my mind last year. And I was surprised when the memories surfaced. And in hindsight, it all seems quite silly. But it didn’t feel silly then. In fact, my heart was broken. At sixteen, I had a very steady boyfriend and it was near the end of the school year. And there was a huge party… the party. And although his best friend chose to take his girlfriend, my boyfriend did not choose to take me. See, he wanted to spend time with the guys. And that evening, I felt so insecure… so insignificant… so left out… so, well, less than. I felt forsaken. Flash forward to the next year. I had my very best friend, and we did things together every single weekend. It was a given, no need to ask if we would be together… we just were. But one particular weekend, her old best friend came to town. I assumed I would spend time with them. Why would things change just because an old friend came to town, right? See, she was my best friend. But, there was no phone call. Not one time all weekend. And as the previous year, there was a big party. My best friend took her old friend, along with three other girls to that party. I was left home alone. Again. I felt so insecure… so insignificant… so left out… so less than. I felt forsaken.
And here we are today. I am forty year old woman. And, well, this will seem quite silly and so insignificant. Especially in light of current events and the real suffering that takes place in the world today. But nonetheless, I was somehow marked. My dear friend who lives out of state chose to spend time with her other out of state friend. And deep seated feelings erupted to the surface of my heart. I felt so… you know. And so what becomes clear to me today is that age does not matter. A forty year old woman can in fact feel just like a little girl. It’s becomes clear that although she aches just like a woman, she can break just like a little girl.
There is such irony here. You see, I just wrote about “Who I am.” I wrote about being confident and finding my identity in God. I wrote about people watching, and really feeling for those insecure adolescent girls that I see today. The irony? Well, I am no different than those young girls. In fact, I am still just a little girl myself. At least in my heart. And so, I surmise that all of us women are just that… little girls. And although we may ache like women, and break like a little girls, we do have hope. See, God is with us. He made us a promise, and He will be faithful to keep it. He said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.
And so, little girl, remember that. Don’t ache, don’t cry, and don’t break. For you don’t ever have to feel forsaken again. Because you are not alone.