It was this past December 23rd. I had found out the day before that the reason we never received my baby’s social security card was because he had never been issued a social security number. The lady on the phone told me I would need to take the baby’s birth certificate to the Social Security office in order to be issued a number. So there we were Christmas Eve eve.
Luckily, Jeremy had taken the day off work. We had a few errands to run, so he stayed in the car with the boys while I ran inside the Social Security office “real quick.”
As I stood in line to go through the metal detectors, I was so thankful I was able to leave the boys in the car. Before you went through the detector, the police officer in charge completely unpacked the bags you were carrying. Read: everything totally dumped out and riffled through. Thank goodness my diaper bag was in the car!
After making it through the detector, I took my number and sat down. My line of numbers seemed to be moving pretty fast, so I was encouraged that I would not be spending an hour there. My turn came and I sat down with the baby’s birth certificate and form in hand ready to get this errand out of the way. The man behind the counter took my form and immediately told me, “Ma’am, you’ll have to bring a copy of his shot records to get a Social Security number.”
“What!?” I asked, “I was told on the phone yesterday that all I needed was this form and his birth certificate.”
“No, you have to have the shot records,” he informed me as he pulled out a paper and highlighted some information on it.
“The instructions on this form don’t say that. They only say I only need his birth certificate.”
“Sorry, ma’am, but you have to have the shot records.”
“But the lady on the phone and the instructions only say…”
“Sorry, ma’am, but I cannot process your request without the shot records.”
“You mean I have to come back in here with my three children and wait all over again when the instructions didn’t say I needed them?” I said my voice raising. “If they would have said it or the lady of the phone would have told, I would have had them.”
“Sorry, ma’am but I cannot process your request without his shot records.”
I grabbed my papers and stormed out of the office. Almost as angry about having to come back with three boys, as I was about the angry tears springing up in my eyes.
Now, I have a temper. I don’t even pretend I don’t, but it usually takes a lot more to push me over the edge than a Social Security agent. Later, I thought that poor guy. No wonder they have cops all over the building.
As I wondered why my temper was so close to the surface that day, I realized it was because I had stumbled over another pocket of unresolved anger. However, this time it felt like a cauldron of rage and bitterness. Red. Hot. Lava. When I talked to Jeremy about it, I discovered I was most angry that my Dad hadn’t been the Daddy I needed and wanted while I was growing. Instead, I had felt abused and abandoned.
I wanted freedom from my anger, but I didn’t have a clue where to start. So finally, I told God, “I don’t know how to seek you in this situation. I don’t have enough in me right now to fight it and free myself. Please, come find me!”
In the last month, He has answered and honored that prayer of desperation. I had been reading the book Wild Things by Stephen James and David S. Thomas and the next chapter I read happened to be on mothers and sons. Reading about how mothers who harbor unresolved anger inadvertently emasculate their sons, gave me the motivation to not be “okay” with where I was. I DID NOT want to be that mother and pass on any of the abuse and anger I had been dealt to my sons.
Then at the beginning of the new year, one of my friends from college began offering a study she had written called, “How to be FREE.” On day four she wrote,
Today, I don’t want you to miss this: THE God –the all-powerful, Creator God, Judge, Sustainer, Light and Life–THAT God is FOR you. Not just not-against-you. He’s for you, moving space and time, working wonders to free you from the forces that shackle your feet…Whatever it is that’s enslaving you, it doesn’t stand a chance against the God who is I AM. ~ JL Gerhardt
Through this study, comments on Facebook, and even novels I have read over the last few weeks, I’ve seen that God wants to set me free. In fact in some ways he already has, it’s just up to me to trust His promises and cling to them if need be. I’ve also seen I need to actively give this anger to God. Even the anger directed at God for allowing it to happen.
Then a few days ago I had a realization, if my relationship with my Dad would have been good, if he would have been the dad I needed, then I would have never needed God at such an early age. Sure, I would probably still be a Christian. I might even be a strong Christian, but I don’t think I would be as fully aware of my need for God and depend on Him like I do now. I’m not saying those who had good Dads can’t also be aware, but I know I wouldn’t be.
With that realization, it was like the last bit of rage and bitterness that I had been holding on to leaked out.
I find that the past often tries to enslave me. It’s then that I have to cling to verses like Galatians 5:1:
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Maybe anger or the past isn’t what enslaves you. Maybe it’s an addiction of another sort. If you feel stuck and as if you have no strength left to fight, I encourage you to pray the same prayer I did. Tell God you just can’t. You’re weary and don’t have the strength left to find Him. Ask Him to please come find you. Those are the kinds of prayers God honors. He loves to seek those who are lost and brings them home rejoicing.
If you would like the study “How to be FREE” by JL Gerhardt you can find it at Godscout.com. So good!