I am allowing an earlier voice to speak here. It is painful to do so but only someone in the darkness I felt at that time can give honour to the struggle the me of that time felt. When I read this, I also know some of what the following years revealed. I will let her speak though from where she was at for those who may need to know what she heard in this prayerful conversation with her God.
The Walled Off Room
March 8, 2002
Look, Jesus, you don’t want to deal with what is in there, trust me. I have read the Bible enough to know that God hates sin, especially when we know it is wrong and yet shut that knowledge out and keep doing it….. Look, you are doing enough by working on these other rooms. I will take care of this one. I mean, with all the you will be fixing, my time will be freed up to do what needs to be done here…. That is what you want us to do, right, Jesus? Repent and turn away from sin. This is the command we are supposed to obey to measure up to God’s standard ….. yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you forgave me my sins back then. But I wasn’t part of your family then so what I did could be forgiven. I know I am a part of your family now so I have to take responsibility for that room.
“Linda, do you remember the dream you had once where you were trapped in a room with a person who wanted to destroy you and all the doors and windows were gone? Could you find a way out?”
Well, no, Jesus, but ….
“Stop! I know you are going to dismiss that as a dream just as you do most things that come from inside you instead of from others ….. but I was talking to you then and I know you got the message. How did the dream end?”
Well…uh… someone appeared in the room with me and when that person reached toward the wall, there was suddenly a window there that he opened so that I could escape.
“Exactly. That was me. I know your intentions are good and I know you want to please God by taking care of this one yourself, but I have a question for you. How are you going to work in that room? You have built the walls so stout in trying to keep what is in that room from harming the rest of the house or anyone else that you have walled yourself out. How are you going to work on something you can’t even seem to get inside so that it can be cleaned and repaired from the inside out?”
I couldn’t think of an answer I was willing to admit.
“You know the answer. I will have to open that room. You also know that what is in there is too big for you to handle alone, that your need to quiet the hurting inside you hasn’t cleaned up anything. It has only caused you to distance yourself from me because you knew I know what is there and love you anyway. “
“You don’t want to believe love is real. Love is not something you understood in your life so you have closed off this part of your home because you think that anyone who could love somebody like you is stupid if they know what is in this room. I know. You have been telling us how stupid we must be to love someone like you more than once”.
“And you know what I have to say about that too. I know you remember the vision I gave you over 20 years ago. I made sure it was imprinted on your spirit. When the speaker asked you to close your eyes and see me and hear what I said, what did you see? I know it wasn’t what you expected. What were my words? It is important that you admit them to me.”
I …. Um …. I saw me, Jesus, cowering in a corner, trying to hide from the figure standing in front of me. The figure with open arms and outstretched hands and a face so full of love that I couldn’t even describe any feature on it except the tears flowing down the face. I knew who it was. I knew it was you even though you didn’t look disappointed in me again like I expected.
And … you kept repeating the same phrase over and over. All you said was, “It’s okay. I love you.” Over and over AND over …. “It’s okay. I love you” …. Jesus, you were freaking me out! You knew what things I was doing to try to find acceptance outside of you. You should have been holding a belt or a whip instead of reaching out to me!
And didn’t you leave something out? I mean, you know what is in this room! Don’t I need to totally get rid of all this so I can be the kind of person that deserves your love? I mean, look at all the times I have let you down! Look at all the ways I keep letting you down!
“It’s okay. I love you. I want to take care of this for you. That is what these scars in my hands are all about. My father knew that you couldn’t handle this kind of mess on your own. Will you let me love you enough to clean out this room for you?”
But, God, I don’t trust that word! LOVE?????? Most everyone who has ever told me they love me has used it as a weapon to cage me. I mean, that is why I covered the door so well. I couldn’t get locked in there again. How do I know that you won’t do the same thing? I know your Bible says that I can know the truth and it will set me free but, God, you know I have tried to reconcile what I read in the Bible with what I have been taught in the churches I have tried and it hasn’t freed me.
I remember what you said that night and I remember running into your arms and you wrapping them around me while I cried. I remember how cleaned out I felt with the breeze of something expansive blowing on me. But then something began fading and when I looked back into that vision I was back in the corner cowering from you again.
“Yes, I remember, and how I wanted to go and pick you up, but I knew that this was one step I had to love you enough to let you take. I had to let you accept that I love you enough to want to do this for you. I have been waiting for you to be ready to accept all the ways I have kept telling you I love you. I want to make this room livable again.”
“Remember I framed this house when you first turned to me asking me to be your heart’s home and make you a shelter that wouldn’t collapse on you …… And I built this home for you. But you felt uncomfortable living in such a beautiful home that you walled up a lot of the rooms to make it smaller even before you closed this room off.”
“Can’t you see that I wanted to give you the house just the way I built it for you? You are worth that much to me even if you have been taught that you don’t measure up. Even though you are convinced that you don’t deserve more than a shack? Will you let me take that step toward you so that you can stop cowering away from me and instead feel my arms of love around you as you did in the vision that night? Will you let me love you that much?”
I looked down at the floor. I knew what I longed for inside my heart, but to accept that what I had always known as love wasn’t really love? I would have to stop running from the hurts in my life. I would have to accept that my daddy didn’t love me enough to stop mom or to give me a chance when my sisters accused me of something, that he didn’t love me enough. And my mom! What will be left for me to hang on to if I accept what Jesus showed me about his love that night years ago? It’s okay? HE LOVES ME? I can really hand it all to him?
Am I willing to? Can I let go of my need to prove I am lovable enough and capable enough? Can I love him enough to let him put his arms around me without cringing with fear that I am letting myself in for being used by letting him touch me? Can I believe he really loves me enough even though I couldn’t measure up at home, even though I didn’t make it in my marriage, even though I spend so much energy on trying to convince him he shouldn’t love me so he would stop saving me from being physically harmed beyond help? Can I let go of my passive death wish and accept that he has already died FOR me? Can I really believe he loves me enough that he wants to take on what is in this room for me? Can I believe he loves me?