Dazed and Confused


Further Confusion

Further Confusion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was fifteen I had a couple of experiences that would shape my expectations of how God works in the lives of those who love and follow after him.  On a warm spring Sunday morning in 1967, I asked Jesus to come into my heart in the living room of a woman everybody called “Gifford.”  About ten of her followers were gathered around me, their arms lifted, their heads jerking and shaking, most of them moaning and praying in tongues.  Gifford, being the homeowner and leader of this band of exuberant worshipers, had come up with her own brand of Christianity, and to say it was a little “off” is an understatement.  In the Bible there is a little scripture that packs a powerful wallop.  Romans 3:4 proclaims “Let God be true and every man a liar.”  So, whatever Gifford’s belief system, she did love and trust God, and He tends to show up wherever he’s invited.

A little later that morning, I walked off of Gifford’s front porch and out into the California sunshine feeling light as air, as if some heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders.   I felt a deep sense of profound love for every person on the planet.  “How beautiful and wonderful people are!” I thought, wanting to hug strangers on the street.  It didn’t quite fit in with Gifford’s theology that everyone, except Catholics and African Americans, were worthy of this love, and so naturally I began to wonder about her belief that her church was one of the few that held the Truth.

A few months later I was going through a mandatory “foot check” in my physical education class at Morningside High School in Inglewood, California.  I was lucky enough to have a sore on the bottom of my foot that was alarming enough to get me sent home from school immediately.  Later, a podiatrist diagnosed it as a papilloma, and surgically cut it out.  He warned me that it could grow back, and if it did, I would have to have another surgery.

Sure enough, by my three-week post op appointment, the darn thing had reappeared.  I didn’t really care one way or the other.  It had gotten me out of school one time, and maybe it could get me out of school again.  But then Gifford got wind of it, and during a Wednesday night prayer meeting at her house church, I found myself once again in the midst of the group, rocking and rolling, shouting and moaning, and praying for my foot like my life hinged on the thing.  My foot was anointed with oil and hands touched and jerked back, fingers vibrated over my toes and one particularly fired up prayer warrior played the top of my foot like a flute.

When it was time to get myself off to the podiatrist that next Monday, my mother was, shall we say, “unavailable” to take me to the appointment, so I walked, which caused me to show up very late.  By the time I arrived, the podiatrist was irritable but I had a hard time feeling any remorse.  The guy just did not know what I dealt with.

Hurriedly, he pulled my foot up onto the stool, ready to inject Novocain into the area of concern.  He seemed puzzled as he carefully studied the bottom of my foot and glanced at my chart.  He picked up my other foot, took off my shoe and sock, and stared at that foot.  I watched as he looked from one foot to the other, several times.  Finally, he looked up at me, both feet in his hands.

“It’s gone!” he said.  He seemed stunned.

“Oh!  Well, I had my foot prayed over last Wednesday night!” I said, as if that should explain everything.

He continued to stare at me for a moment longer, and then told me he had just felt the hair on his arms rise up as if in protest.  I couldn’t wait to tell my mom.  She didn’t like me going to that “Bible thumper” group, so now I had solid proof that my participation had actually saved her some money on medical bills.

A lot happened in the eight years following my encounter with Christ within Gifford’s faithful group of followers; a lot of terrible things.  I ended up dazed, and confused, but I had not forgotten those experiences at her house church.  Because of them, I believed Jesus could do ANYTHING!  So it was not out of the realm of possibility in my mind that since I had come crawling, broken and contrite, back into the fold, I would be healed again toot sweet.  All fear, all sadness, all grief, all pain; it would all be lifted out of my brain as quickly and easily as the papilloma had disappeared from the bottom of my foot.

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.

~ Jack Korouac

I had a plan, and that was to escape hell, both now and in the world to come, as quickly and easily as possible.  The Lord had a plan too, and upon reflection, his made a lot more sense.  He wanted healing for me more than I wanted it for myself.  But he knew an instant healing would have been a temporary fix.  I would have just “thought” myself back into the same set of symptoms.  And besides…I had more trauma and heartache coming.  Being God, he knew this, and he got very busy preparing me for what would come next.

8 comments on “Dazed and Confused

  1. Very interesting my friend….another thing I did not know about you….I thought you were saved at Don and Luannes church!!! Love it when God comes on the scene…it is like one can now take a breath of air because you know He has you covered!!! And Lo, these many years later, He always did!!!

  2. Hi Dixie! I tend to think of salvation as a process rather than a one-time thing that happens when one goes “forward” during an “altar call” Have you ever thought of it that way? I think there can the first moments of understanding, realization, repentance, and reaching back, but then it happens over and over again. Just a thought…

  3. Linda, I know in my own life, I held myself back from “healing” in many areas because even though I knew God, I didn’t feel like I was worthy of any type of healing. I never understood that what others spoke over me, negative or positive, had such an impact on what I believed of myself. I know that the last year has been an amazing journey and I am thankful for the Lord, my family and friends, that have helped me see my own value.

    • Yes…I work every day with young girls who believe the lies that have been spoken over them since they were little. Even things like, “you have no reason to be angry!” Or, “don’t be a scaredy cat!” has an impact on how we view our own emotions. And then there are the worse types of invalidating comments. It takes the spirit of God to undo some of this damage…but he leads the way, step by step. I can tell by your own writing that he is leading you too.

  4. Michael Roomie on said:

    Linda,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog so far. You’re storytelling is buoyed by a rich history and I’m reminded of the writing of Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes and ’tis).

    You’re aware that I have no belief in a higher power, but I am a believer in you. There is no question that you are a testament to resilience.

  5. Linda thankyou for this. For most of this post I was fascinated and loved the story you’re telling (the house church sounds like the sort of experience that you never forget indeed!) and then in the last part something you said stopped me in my tracks.
    ‘But [the Lord] knew an instant healing would have been a temporary fix. I would have just “thought” myself back into the same set of symptoms.’
    Ah. This really spoke to me.
    There’s a whole big part of my life that needs His healing touch and I’ve asked and asked and thought I was making progress and recently I feel that I’m back where I started all because of a throwaway comment someone made that brought back twenty-five years of rubbish I’ve believed about myself.
    I know that these are lies, I know that God wants healing for me, but I ‘think’ myself back to square one over and over again.
    I sense that somewhere in the future is a point where I’ll look back and see that there was a Plan but at the moment… sigh.
    Thankyou for your wonderful honesty and great storytelling.

    • Hi Helen,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging comments and your honesty at the end. Moving forward, what you are talking about will be what my blog addresses. There was so much confusion in my life due to my beliefs about life, about myself, my thoughts, etc. It took a long time, and it’s a huge reason I became a therapist. Now it is what I do…help others move forward in understanding. It will happen for you…watch and pray carefully for guidance from Him…he uses people to speak into our lives…just not ALL people. Let’s keep this conversation going…Have a very blessed Thanksgiving, Helen. Big hug from me.

%d bloggers like this: