If I close my eyes I can still see it. Having moved so frequently it is the only one I can remember. It being one of the bedrooms of my childhood. I likely remember it because it was just..so…PINK. Pink everywhere. Pink doilies for goodness sake! (In all seriousness, did you even know doilies could come in pink and, if you did would you than put them as decoration in an 8 year old’s room? I mean. . .come on) This pink infused room is likely the origins of my distaste for the colour. It was in that absurdly pink bedroom that there was a small square piece of paper taped crookedly to my sliding closet door. On it I can still see my printing scrawled out in crayon the following statement,
‘I know I’m somebody, ‘cause God don’t make no junk.’
Where I saw that written originally I am not sure, I just know that the statement struck a chord deep in my soul and I have never forgotten it. I grew up through uncertainty, consumed by fear, feeling alone and confused by my sadness. It’s the childhood I remember, these are the memories I know. Deep in the belly of years of confusion, running to and from pain, that statement would come to my mind. I didn’t really know what it meant though. I didn’t own it. Insecurities ravaged my every thought, choice and life decision. Constantly in search of, ‘What am I really doing here?’ In all the chaos and strife I could see that crayon scratched out on paper. The penmanship of innocence reminding me of a truth I am still only at the beginnings of truly understanding.
In the turbulence of my childhood edging into the angst of my teen years, I hated my name on top of everything else. ‘Amy.’ If you were born in the early 80’s you knew an Amy. . .or seven. The lack of originality nearly suffocated me. I just felt so generic. I craved to be exotic or special in any way. Later in my early 20’s I shared a positive conversation with my mom about some of the hardships I had struggled through growing up. She looked so hurt that in addition to my heart aches, that I had hated my name as well.
“Did you know that I chose your name Amy?’ She spoke so softly.
I hadn’t even known that she was the parent that had picked out my name.
“Do you know why your name is so special?” I leaned in curious to what she might come up with, as I obviously didn’t know of any special significance to such a lame name. She went on to tell me of a missionary from years ago named Amy Carmicheal.
I am paraphrasing the retelling.
As a small child, this young girl Amy would kneel at the foot of her bed every morning and night and pray in earnest for God to change her boring brown eyes to a beautiful shade of blue. Years this went on for her. Frustrated and unsure why God had made her appearance so common. She continued on with life and eventually gave up her quest for the beautiful blue eyes she so desperately desired. As a young adult she moved to India with her parents where they were committed as missionaries. During a particular time of unrest she was asked to pose as a local townswoman and lead a group of young children on a journey to a different camp where they would be safe. She was terrified as she was a white woman and would surely be killed if found. The people in the village dressed her in the appropriate clothing and had her stain her skin in clay and dirt to fool any onlookers into thinking she was from the local area. Terrified, she left in faith with the band of children to lead them to safety. Her story goes on to say that they were stopped on their journey where she was checked. Her arm held tightly by militia who stared deep into her brown eyes challenging her on where she was going. She was able to excuse her way out of trouble and successfully lead the children to the neighbouring village.
“Amy.” My mom looked straight into me as she explained, “If her eyes were blue, they likely would have all been killed. They would have known she wasn’t from that town and was surely up to something.”
I knew she was getting at something but my thick headedness needed her to get around to what she was trying to say.
“God made those brown eyes for her. He had a plan and a purpose for her and her life. Brown may seem boring or plain but they were exactly perfect to fulfill her purpose.’
I love that story. I love even more that when my mom heard it she knew that it was the name placed on her heart to give to me when I was first handed into her arms. It helps hold the pulse of my memories now. It’s my high beam into the fog of negative and sad memories that had engulfed my mind.
That story spells love for me.
So many of us walk through life completely unaware of our purpose; the beauty of our gifts and abilities completely lost to insecurity and confusion. Pain can close our eyes tight to the light. I’m amending my previous identity of hurt and confusion, my eyes slowly adjusting to the glow from the light of truth. I DO have purpose (unique just to me) I DO have ordained gifts I can call my own. I DON’T need to forever feel unsure, wavering on what steps to take. I can, with confidence and soul filled conviction, know that as long as I move my feet, the Lord will illuminate my path.
The exciting thing here is that this story is ours to share. Regardless of our histories, present circumstance or future trajectory. . .there is light to guide us and truth to sustain us.
May you always be encouraged!