Excerpt from “Can God Really Speak Through a Pelican?” by Rebekah Royal
Chapter 11- Free to love
I had an interesting conversation with my husband tonight over our candlelight dinner. He made the comment that it has been so much fun for him to watch God bring me freedom in the area of expressing love. This has been especially evident to Tim during the last six months as he has watched me thoroughly enjoy our new grandson, Harper.
Oddly enough, he pointed out that a major part of my healing happened several year’s earlier with our daughter’s dog, Rocky. Now that was a complete and total miracle.
Due to the fact that I was bitten by a stray dog as a child, I did not particularly care for dogs. I was also traumatized as an eight year old when our family cat was in my arms as the screen door slammed shut and chopped off his tail. He ran wildly through our house, bleeding, and my parents were not home. I was terrified! About a year later, I was thrown off of my grandfather’s horse. I watched my mentally ill uncle beat the horse mercilessly in front of me. I didn’t care much for animals after those incidents.
When our daughter needed to move back into our home right after she got her first puppy, I was not a happy camper. However, God moved my heart in a powerful way when that dog loved me unconditionally; he leaped into my arms when I arrived home each day. My friends were shocked at my newfound love for animals. I remember feeling that my heart experienced an actual physical healing.
I remember attending my first Exchanged Life conference in the late eighties. We were given a list of symptoms displayed by a person who has experienced a large amount of rejection. On the list there was one particular item that jumped out at me. It said, “This person has trouble giving and receiving love.” Tears filled my eyes as I knew this described me exactly. I can’t tell you how many times I felt extremely “defective” in this area. I would cry out to God, “What’s wrong with me?”
During the early years of our marriage, I could not feel love for my husband no matter how hard I tried. At times, I doubted I loved my two children. Now I know that every thought that enters my mind is not my thought. The enemy was condemning me in every way he could find possible. As I look back, I know that I loved my children to the best of my ability, but I loved them with a wounded heart.
I saw God heal my own self-esteem which gave me the ability to love Jason and Christen. God also used this conference to open my eyes to the fact that it would not have mattered whom I married – I would still struggle with feeling love for my husband. The following months I saw God heal my heart and heal my marriage.
I have been keeping my grandson two days each week. When I considered taking on this project, I was a little uncertain. I never liked keeping the nursery at church. I always said that my “calling” was definitely to adults. Children just weren’t “my thing”.
When I had children at such a young age, I felt extremely overwhelmed and inadequate. For this reason, I didn’t take the time to really enjoy my children. I remember rushing along their entire life, not because there was anything wrong with them but because there was a lot wrong with me and my belief system. When they were five years old, I bought them toys for a child of seven. When they were ten, I bought them toys for twelve year olds. I did this without realizing why.
When they grew older, the Holy Spirit revealed to me my ways of coping as a mother, and I grieved over the years I missed, rushing them to grow up. If you are a mother with children at home, slow everything down, take a deep breath and pray daily for God to help you enjoy your children in the moment. They grow up much too fast.
When I made the decision to keep Harper two days each week, I was a little anxious. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if this new endeavor just “wasn’t me.” Much to my surprise, I loved every single minute of it. As with the time with Rocky, I could almost feel physical healing take place inside me. I sensed that God was redeeming the lost time I had with my own children.
Today, Rocky left this world for the next. Yes, I believe animals go to heaven. Can I prove it? No, but I still believe it. Thank you God for blessing my daughter with a loyal best friend and blessing us with two grand dogs. (Rufus belongs to Jason and Katie and the boys. Harper is now 7 and I have three more grand son’s that I adore. Elliott Royal (5), Easton Phillips (13 months) and Grant Royal (5 months). I am blessed!)