Will she ever be good enough?
From a traumatic childhood at the hands of an abusive alcoholic, Dayle manages to find hope in God. However as she is doing everything from month long fasts to serving full time, nothing ever feels like it is quite good enough. What can Dayle do?
My father was an alcoholic. When he got drunk, he wasn't a happy drunk. He would get argumentative, violent, destructive. I remember many smashing scenes at home. He put his boot through heaters, things like that. My mother was a battered wife. So she just lived in survival mode. I was sexually abused from about age four or five. And just misery. I remember wanting to cut myself and not understanding why.
My mother had grown up in church, and so she took us kids to church with her, and it was there I heard about God. It was an interesting place, because it was there that I experienced happy families. It emphasised to me what I didn't have. I remember looking at these kids and I was so jealous of them, so envious. I was so critical with it, “You don't even know what you've got.”
I prayed. I prayed to God. “God change my family!” And nothing happened. I didn't understand about free will in those days. I didn't understand that God gave us free will, and even when other people's choices caused us pain, I didn't understand that He walks through it with us. I didn't understand that. I just thought, “Well, there we are. There's another one who doesn't keep his promises.”
At seventeen, I went nursing. I left home and never went back. I went and lived in the nurse's home, and I also changed churches. At that time, I met my husband. My own particular Mr. Right. It was such a mutual attraction. Over the first year or so, we dated. And then we were on our knees in front of the altar and I was meant to be praying, when he leaned over to me and said, “I want you to be my wife.” He was so funny, he was so kind. I just thought, “Man, you're a nice guy.” Well, it just seemed like a good idea. “Okay,” I said. And then we celebrated.
I went home, back to the nurse's home and I could hardly sleep. I was thinking, “Hang on a minute, I was never gonna get married. I don't want this. I'm scared. I'm not gonna sign up for this. I'm gonna stuff it up.” I felt sick inside. And then I heard the Lord say, "It's gonna be alright." And once I heard that, I was fine.
When we were 30, after we had done some training, we were called to go into a small country church in Otaki. There, we were given this ginger kitten who had been abandoned by the family that was looking after it. It was a terrified little cat. Utterly terrified. We all love animals in our family, so we really wanted to look after this little kitten. The boys could handle the cat and it would be really responsive. It was responsive to Ian, but it was never responsive to me. I would pick up this cat and it would just want to get down. I longed to pour love into this cat, but it wouldn't let me. I was complaining to the Lord one time, "Why won't this cat let me love it?" I was so frustrated. And you know what He said to me? He said, "I know exactly how you feel." And I knew He was talking about me.
So I said, "Well I don't know how to fix myself. I can't fix myself. You have to help me here." I did the very best I could to fix myself. I knew I was broken. I read Scripture. I memorised it. I fasted. I've even done a 40 day fast. I've declared, done everything I know to do, to perform in a way that would make me acceptable to God. But I always had that ongoing sense of not being worthy, not good enough, not making the grade.
There was one time I was preaching. I talked about the woman who had been set up, and then taken as a test for Jesus. I told the story from her perspective, what may have been happening inside for her, as she was contemplating being stoned. Her perspective as she looked at her Judge, the One who would seal her fate. I was preaching this, full force. And then, as she looks at the eyes of Jesus, as she sees those eyes that are full of compassion and deep understanding, there's no judgement. There's no criticism. Because He knows what that woman has gone through. I was preaching this and I had this same encounter at the same time.
Whenever I go back in my story, I'm taken back to that. Those eyes of Jesus that understand everything about you, but there's no judgement. There's no criticism, because all that has been dealt with. Since that time, my relationship with God has been like nothing else. And I've recognized that all that early conditioning that I had, was nothing short of lies. It completely misrepresented the heart of God. And when people have encounters with the living God, who He really is, they will never be the same.