“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun. The frumious Bandersnatch!”
~ Through the Looking Glass.
A year ago I was a different kind of me, I was a passionate, fierier, less fearful sort of me. In that season I had so many doors opening up, inviting me to walk through them, I was excited. However, I had no Idea that in a few weeks all of them would slam violently shut, leaving me in their winded shudder. A year ago, we were church planting with friends, and in addition I was invited to do a tour with a person who was ordained a prophet and was asked to speak alongside of them. I was seeing God move in such huge ways that only few ever get to see, and grateful for it. In one church setting the Pastor randomly stopped worship and stood up in front of the congregation and said, “If there is anyone here who has a testimony from the Lord let them share.” I stood up and began to speak what out what I felt God had said and done. As I spoke the Holy Spirit became so thick, and Steven (my husband, sitting next to me) was excitedly slapping my leg in absolute joy to see what was taking place. I stood there shaking (with nervousness) as the Word of the Lord fell from my mouth into the hearts of those around. When I had finished the Pastor stopped and said, “There are days that the Lord shows up and ruins our best laid plans, today is one such day, this girl just shared the Father’s heart with us, it is too great to be ignored.” and then there was silence in the room with a deep sense of something about to be released into our presence. The Pastor then gave an altar call, the congregation was 300 or more and everyone but 50 people came forward. I closed my eyes tight, the room whirled about me the presence of God had showed up, and all the plans for the night were forgotten in the presence of the King. I just sat down and took in the presence of God and was still before my Maker. Completely saturated, I hardly noticed the touch on my shoulder and a whisper in my ear, it was the pastor’s wife, “Young lady, I want you to open your eyes and see what devastation you brought upon the enemy in these hours, and to see what our Mighty God used you to do.” I opened my eyes, hours HAD passed! and as I surveyed I realized the whole congregation was still there soaking and that indeed a great battle had taken place, people were sprawled about on the floor, in the pews, on the stairs. As I looked I saw that there was the Pastor laid out on the floor in a star pattern waving his arm from time to time as if he had too much to drink and was waiving the bartender by to serve the next person. Next to him on the floor was the Prophetic Healer that was supposed to speak that night, the message was never given, rather it was forfeited for something far grander, it was dumped for the Holiness of God. That night forever changed my perspective of HIM.
But, for a split second, I flinched, and this flinch was about to be my undoing. My house of cards was about to come crashing down about me. The reflection of myself that I was accustomed to was going to be forever changed. My relationship with and perspective of God deeply marred.
Beware, Beware, Beware….These famous last words, and hindsight, always leave you a bit sorer then when they first find you.
For, “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun. The frumious Bandersnatch!” (Lewis). Some students once asked Mr. Lewis what exactly was a Jabberwocky and a Bandersnatch. He replied thusly, “The Anglo-Saxon word ‘wocer’ or ‘wocor’ signifies ‘offspring’ or ‘fruit’. Taking ‘jabber’ in its ordinary acceptation of ‘excited and voluble discussion. In other words the fruit of jabber” and the Bandersnatch he described as a monster that hunted those who exhibited leadership qualities in a group and devoured them. And quickly devoured I was, a misunderstanding left a fracture, and when pressure came the fracture was left shattered and there I stood in front of the dreaded Jabberwocky, and the Bandersnatch.
Stripped of my right to pray for others by leadership for fear that, “You will pray in hopelessness and despair,” (from the fracture), I fell into the depths of despair…and anger…and resentment…I cried and cried and cried, I laid in bed or on the floor for weeks not functioning, not thriving, alienated and ashamed removed from all I knew. There was no more, there was only nothingness…I struggled with hate and became afraid, I was withdrawn a fractured image of who I was. The girl in the looking glass I couldn’t even recognize her anymore, my own reflection was scarier than I remembered. I couldn’t even open my Bible for fear that God too had a harsh word for me that would leave me more hurt than before. I spiraled downward into the depression the leaders were afraid I was in. I shut out my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, I even shut God out and resisted Him and all His small nudges of love I crushed and tore up in anger; too afraid to look at the wound, I knew I was bleeding to death.
I was offended, fractured, a wreck, nonfunctioning, counting the days till Steve would have enough of my lashing out and just leave, I prayed I would wake up from the horrible dream, I would go to gatherings hoping for a kind word or two, though there were a few, most of my interactions were met with more silence, disturbed looks, shallow judgments said in “righteousness”, blank stares and tragically, an even more bruised heart.
It seemed that somewhere, somehow I fell down a rabbit hole and was met at the bottom by nothingness and darkness. I had stared down the Jabberwocky and the Bandersnatch, I flinched and lost. Broken and wounded I lay at the bottom of the Rabbit hole unable to move, unable to fight, my thoughts turned to HIM. I lay wondering if HE still cared, wondering if HE had planned a way for me out of this hole. I know I’m not the first saint thrown unfairly by others into a hole, I know I won’t be the last either. I sat feeling the dampness of the wet stone and mud beneath me seeing the nothingness around me, feeling the cold sting of betrayal that poisoned my eyes and the bites of the Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch that cut my skin so deeply and I cried, and lashed out into nothingness only to find that nothing echoed back. Worn, I fell asleep accepting my undeserved fate.
And then a stoic heavenly voice, a whispering in my sleep to speak love to my spirit when my soul refused to hear; they were sweet whisperings in the night and songs quietly lulling me to touch a deep DEEP wound, HE was calling me back to HIM, and then after a while I awoke and looked up and out of the darkness there was a brilliant night sky with dark clouds reflecting a great silver lining, and way beyond them were thousands of heavenly host beaming down at me in a twinkle reminding me of their own struggle against the darkness and of the radiant light that shines through them because of it.
With a little focus toward the narrow edges of the hole, I saw my HIM and my Steve calling to me through the nothingness inviting me up from the grave that so eagerly tried to swallow me whole.
“Tut, tut, child! Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it!” ~ The Duchess, Alice Through the Looking Glass.
And this is where I am now dear readers, not at the end of my story but at the end of myself. I do not know who I am anymore, I do not know where tomorrow will bring me, I do not know what greatness or despair it holds. But I do know this: “When I stare into the looking glass, it is not I whom I see, for when I stare into the glass something greater looks back at me. And when I focus upon the glass how much dimmer my own glory seems. For peering back at me through the infamous glass is my HIM, the Creator of all Eternity“ (Nichol Richardson, 2013)