I started dwelling in an invisible world when I was in the fifth grade, to feel normal and to find a place where life was sane. I don’t even remember when it began; I woke up one day and realized that I had a space inside of me with a family that consisted of a loving father, a warm and caring mother, and me. It was a world so different from the one I lived in, and it was patterned off of what was supposed to be my life.
I find it funny that people speak of children from “good” homes having imaginary friends, and how normal that is and perfectly harmless. But, I always felt that I was on the cusp of insanity, as I lived major parts of my day being a happy, well-adjusted child in a family that did not truly exist. I knew that I could not tell people of this other place where I spent much of my day, escaping from hurt and neglect, and being so completely joyful. The real me actually envied the me who lived in a unreal world. Yet, I think that having had this space in which I felt loved, never went hungry, wore clean clothes, and always was viewed as valuable helped me more easily to accept an invisible God who loved me and created me to worship Him.
I have come to believe that the imaginary world was not my creation, but God’s gift to me, to help me survive the horrors of childhood, so that He could one day use me to keep other children and adults from needing imaginary worlds of love and care. Psalm 139:13-16 reminds me, “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.”
Before I even knew of him, it seems that he knew me and what needed to be done to help me grow into the woman of God that I am today. My faith is built on the certainty of the reality of a Father who knows me still. People ask how can I believe in someone that I cannot see or touch. My answer is look at the wind. The wind is invisible, and the only way we “see” it is when were watch the swaying of the treetops, and the only way we “feel” its touch is when it shoves us gently down the street on a windy day. So, I know the wind is real, in spite of its invisibility, by its movement.
My Father, Abba, is the same. I “see” him in the movements of the tides when I am at the beach, the changing of the seasons, the love of my children and husband, and the joy that floods my soul when I experience the beauty of flowers, music, and colors that He so wondrously supplies to us on this planet. I have “felt” his touch in the midnight hour when he wiped my tears away and assured me all wouldf be well. So, even though he is invisible, I know He is real by His movement in my life.
Having spent time in an imaginary world helps me to understand that some of the most necessary elements of remaining sane in an insane world, such as love, joy, peace, and hope, are invisible to the eye but real to the heart and mind. My faith in God was created in that invisible space of love and belonging, where I learned to believe in my value and worth.
Dear Father, Abba,
Thank you for still knowing what I need to survive in this often strange world. I worried about that invisible place and wondered if I was a little crazy, but I came to understand that without that space, I would not have survived my past. You are real to me today, because I see and feel your love for me every day. You operate in a realm that we cannot see with our eyes, but the evidence of your reality is felt in our world every day, if we will open our eyes to see you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.