Growing up, in my early elementary years, I had a best friend. We will call him “Matt”. Matt and I lived a few blocks away from each other. His brother and my brother were in the same grade. We went to the same school. We traded baseball cards. We played games. We caught fireflies. I think there was even a “wedding” in his front yard.
In second grade, we received a new student. We will call her “Mila”. Mila’s family had known Matt’s family for years; their dads worked together. Her moving to our school was a happy event for their families as their kids were friends. It, however, was not a happy event for me.
You see, Mila was not okay with the fact that Matt was my best friend. Being the petite, shy, glasses wearing child that I was, I was an easy target for assertive people. My mom knows this full well as she wiped many a tear from my eye when I would come home crying because someone was being mean to me. Mila was no exception.
Thus the creation of the “I Hate Katie” club. Mila had somehow convinced all of the kids that I was not worth playing with anymore. Every second grader at my school was a member of this club except Matt. He stayed by my side. I cannot tell you how long the club lasted, but it was enough to make a mark.
Eventually Mila, Matt and I all became friends, spending countless childhood moments together, exploring and setting out on great adventures. I soon forgot about the club. I was just happy to have close friends to play with.
I would sometimes share this story with people with a laugh in my voice to connect to tough childhood moments, but I never gave it much thought. Until recently.
I was telling my husband that I told the “I Hate Katie” club story to a co-worker and he made a comment that I bring that memory up a lot. I hadn’t realized that I used it so much. He ended the conversation by saying, “Maybe that’s where all your issues come from.”
Now, to give my husband some credit, he didn’t mean to sound rude. I had recently been complaining about feeling left out or how not fond of my outer appearance I was. He was merely making a connection to my current thought process and this childhood memory. However, this connection was a revelation. It would make sense that I would have issues feeling left out, lonely, and like everyone was in one group and I was on my own. I had already lived it! But to see that this could be the root cause to a lot of my insecurities was amazing.
And extremely depressing.
I’m a little older than the average second grader (by over 20 years). I should not be responding to things like a second-grader would. But here I am, standing in social situations, or in front of a mirror, or staring at social media, and I’m eight years old, with my confetti-colored glasses, super short hair and bicycle shorts . (I was small; they were the only things that fit.) I’m alone at recess while everyone else is grouped together in the “I Hate Katie” club.
So this week I’ve been working through what this revelation means, and how it affects me now. After grieving the stupidity of letting this subconsciously lead my life for over 20 years, I have come to a few conclusions:
- Kids can be mean, not knowing the scars they may leave behind.
- Adults can be mean also, but there’s always more to it than what we see.
- I am not eight years old anymore.
- Not everyone is a part of the “I Hate Katie” club.
- There are actually more people NOT a part of the club than there are members.
God showed me that no matter what someone may call me, label me or do to me, I am not what they say I am. In fact, I am not even what I say I am. I am who He says I am. I am a child of God. I am redeemed. I am set free. I am clean. I am created with a purpose. I am loved. I am set apart for His plans. I am valuable. I am whole.
Work in Progress
If I’m honest, I don’t think the struggle is quite over with this memory. It’s still too fresh to be completely set free of it. But I do know that God is working with me. He is teaching me. He is healing me. He was there when I was eight and left out and He’s here when I’m 31 and feel the same way again. He is my Comfort and my Peace.
I forgave Mila a long time ago. I must learn to forgive other “Mila’s” in my life, the ones who hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally, and that resurrect the pain of that restrictive club.
Whatever memory, pain or scar you carry, whether in the front of your mind or the depths of your soul, know that God has a plan and a purpose for your life. You are not defined by those moments. You are defined by the hope and truth that is found in Jesus Christ.
You Know Me
One of the most comforting things to me about God is that He knows me. He knows me so well that He can hear my heart when I have no words to express my pain. He knows my thoughts, He knows my intentions. He created me. I find great comfort in having such an intimate relationship with our Creator. One Bible passage that has always spoken to me is Psalm 139. Digging deeper into these childhood pains has shown me why I love this chapter so much: It shows me that He is with me and there’s no getting rid of Him! God will never create another “I Hate Katie” club. In fact, He’s the president and founder of the “I Love Katie” club. If you doubt the love of the Father, check out the passage below.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake, I am still with you. If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
NIV Translation, Bible, 2011 by Biblica
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