“In that day, sing about a fruitful vineyard. I, the Lord, will watch over it, watering it carefully. Day and night, I will stand guard so no one can harm it. In the days to come, you will take root. The fields will bud and blossom and fill the whole world with fruit.” (Isaiah 27:2-3, 6)
A gapped-tooth, small-town kid, withdrawn and timid, yet inconspicuously full of life’s most precious gifts that would later manifest into something of greater value. I recall one glorious day when God spoke to me and said son “the crown of your life begins back at the root of your upbringing.” He instructed me to go back to my roots to uncover the untold mysteries hidden deep within my soul.
I was born and raised in the dirty South with no major highways, yet plenty of byways to navigate the plains. My household consisted of both parents and four siblings. The most memorable parts of my early years were established in customs of the church and family traditions.
For a greater insight into my life, I was baptized at a young age and give the ability to walk in purity before God. Thereafter, I joined the music ministry and became a faithful member of the Rosebuds Choir. Much to my excitement, I became overjoyed with showing adoration for God in prayer and song. My mind, heart and body were in harmony with the word of the Lord.
I appeared to live a “normal” childhood. That was the perception considering the propensity for people to conform to the world’s standard of normalcy. However, the complex nature of human experiences and emotions often tells a different story. The way we are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define us are shaped by our experiences and emotions. We subconsciously identify with worldly elements and become established in a way that is influenced by human thinking, yet we are not fully aware.
Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” However, when you’re born into a world of sin, wickedness, corruption, and violence, “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” (Proverbs 22:15). In the same way, God stated in the very beginning that “every thought or imagination of the human heart was consistently and totally evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). The aforementioned are facts proven to be true. So it’s not a rude awakening to see people persistently reject acts of righteousness because the truth is not in them.
We do not have a full understanding of who we are at birth, so someone with experience, knowledge, and good judgment should teach us the way of the wise. As noted in Proverbs, there is a saying that requires us to “listen and pay attention to the words of the wise; apply our hearts to God’s instructions.” This will position us to narrate our lives by way of receiving counsel and advice from a higher source where truth is revealed.
This is why identity is so complex and the word “normal” is easily understood or presents no difficulty. I wouldn’t use “normal” to describe the treatment and instructions I received as a child. My life consisted of many different and connected parts throughout childhood that would affect who I was to become. I’m pleased and grateful that a few wise individuals, faithful in all their ways, saw a youngster with a seed inside that had yet to grow in the fullness of God’s light.
They followed through on the words planted in their spirit that says to “start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). A timely scripture that rings prophetically in my ears today.
The Lord has been searching for me since childhood, because he searches all hearts and test the mind to reward each person according to their ways and the fruit of their doing. I was tested, and he knew my anxious thoughts. As Psalms 139:23-24 denotes, God pointed out anything in me that was offensive in any way so that he could lead me along a path of righteousness.
The encounters I had with God’s supernatural influence gave me a momentary view and understanding of who I am, of my place in the world, of the excellence that sets me apart from others, and of a future divinely fulfilled in eternal life.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” Psalm 139: 13-18