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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 14th January 2014

Featured #TellHisStory Writer: Sandra Heska King

#TellHisStory Storytellers Series

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Story has the power to change the world, one paragraph at a time. I share this space, once a week, to spread the message of great storytellers in our midst.

This week’s featured storyteller is Sandra Heska King, a dear friend and blogger at SandraHeskaKing.com.

Be sure to come back Wednesday to link your own stories or photos with us in the #TellHisStory community.

When I Was Worthy of Spit
By Sandra Heska King

The pups have had a party with their new toy, and already they’ve loved the stuffing out of it. White fluff leaves a trail across the carpet and leads straight to the enucleated and brainectomized pink, terry dog head with rope ears. I ignore that mess for the moment.

I’m tucking Christmas in red bins, collecting clutter in baskets, and squashing suitcases in the closet when I notice the album. I haven’t looked at it for a while.

I open the front cover, and my mom’s smiling up at me in faded back and white. She’s maybe six months old. I remove the sheaf of stapled pages.

“As you go thru this photo album,” Mom had typed in all caps, “I thought this might help to identify persons, places, etc., that you may or may not remember. The first picture is of me over 70 years ago . . . I have been informed that I spoiled a New Year’s Eve party . . . “

She goes on to say her parents divorced when she was about six or seven, and I wonder what kinds of messages and memories colored Mom’s early years. How many other parties did she believe she spoiled?

I could have spoiled a New Year’s Eve party. But I waited until three weeks into the year. And I’m guessing I was pretty much a handful for this barely 20-year-old mom.

Why?

Because the very first thing I remember is she spit at me.

It’s my first memory.

When she leaned over the side rail and spit smack in my face.

She said she didn’t do it.

Didn’t remember doing it.

But that’s what I remember.

Maybe I’d spit first, and it was a teachable moment.

Like the head banging. My parents said I’d bang my head against the headboard and move the crib clear across the room. Mom worried that something was wrong with me.

The doctor shook his head. “There’s nothing wrong with her,” he said. “She’s just spoiled.  The next time she bangs her head, help her do it.”

Mom said she couldn’t, but the next time I threw a tantrum, she did it. She helped me crack my head. She said I never did it again.

Some say our first memories tell a lot about how we see ourselves. That in them we can find the seed of who we believe we are.  I’m sure my mother never knew I carried a spoiled seed for so many years.

Maybe she just spit to make me quit.

But the doctor had diagnosed me.

I was spoiled.

Damaged.

Flawed.

It’s crazy how our memories can embrace even inadvertent messages of failure and not good enough.

Too many of us deal with the same demon of doubt in our own delightfulness.

When others rip our stuffing out, we think it must be our fault. We might feel we deserve whatever life spits at us.

Maybe we’ve bought the lies.

You are less than.

You don’t measure up.

You’re not good enough.

You spoiled the party.

You are spit-worthy.

So we do too much, try too hard, say “no” too little, and compare ourselves with too many. We rush breathless to please other people and prove our importance. We cherish applause while we live with the fear we’ll be found out, stripped of our false wax of worth.

We struggle to be still because the world screams busy, and busy buys worth.

Enough. Is. Enough.

It’s time to stop striving and…

just.

be.

still.

To trace the shimmered strands from God’s hands threaded through every facet of our lives and embrace the beauty that began even before our first breath.

So we can see that…

In spite of our failures, we’re not failures.

In spite of our spoiling, we’re not spoiled.

We need to let these truths still us:

God is giddy wild about us.

In fact, He loves the stuffing out of us, then stuffs us with Himself.

And we are enough because He is enough.

sandra heska king Sandra Heska King is a writing, camera-toting, recovering doer who’s learning to just. be. still. She’s mom to two, “nama” to two, wife to one, and lives in a 150-plus-year-old farmhouse. She tries to live Mary Oliver’s words, “Pay attention.
 Be astonished. Tell about it.”

Sandra (AKA SHK) blogs at www.sandraheskaking.com, but sometimes she spills words in other sites like The High Calling, BibleDude, and Tweetspeak Poetry where she just accepted a dare that involves T.S. Eliot. She contributed to The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter: 365 Inspirational Meditations to Brighten Your Day and is currently working on a memoir tentatively titled Still. Enough. as well as a novel. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, and Instagram.

  • Megan Willome

    Sandy, I thought I knew you pretty well, but wow!

  • Lynn Mosher

    Happy to follow you anywhere, my sweet friend Snady! Thank you, Jennifer, for having her. I always love what she writes, and you, as well. Jennifer, ask Snady sometime about chocolate-dipped Brussels sprouts! 😉

    • LOL, Lynn! You remind me that I meant to share that video with Rex Hausmann while we were at Laity Lodge in November. I’m guessing it might be due for another posting. 😉

      • Lynn Mosher

        LOL Oh, yes! 😀

  • Nannette Elkins

    Love this, just love it. I wasn’t spoiled…that I know. But I was loved. I might be spoiled now though and I am thankful! Most of all thankful for the words you have written are alive in my life…and all of our lives if we allow them to be. ♥

    • I’m thinking about how hard it is for earthly parents to balance that line between loving and “spoiling” and all the implications that word carries. I hope we can see God as the perfect parent, and lean on the reality that the true measurement of our worth is through His eyes. He treasures us as the apple of His eye.

  • Rachael

    I love that He loves the stuffing out of us! An animal loves the stuffing out of something when it delights in it abundantly. Such a beautiful picture!

    • And He does delight in us and love us abundantly–just as we are and too much to leave us as we are. It seems like He’s always removing more of my stuffing and replacing it. 🙂

  • You are such an encourager, Sandy!

    Your beautiful words here tie right into the phrase that God put on my heart last week from Colossians 2:10 — “You are complete in Him.”

    • Thank you, dear Lyli. And now I’m going to be pondering your words, “You are complete in Him.” That little word “in” packs such a punch, too.

  • Goodness, Sandra – this is so good. My favorite line is this: “He loves the stuffing out of us, then stuffs us with Himself.” Love you big. xox

  • Dear Jennifer… thank you. Thank you for letting me spill a little of my heart here. Thank you for being such an encourager and cheerleader and dear friend.

    And thanks, Mama D, my moon friend. You’ve loved well.

  • Such wonderful words, Sandra! Thank you. They are a gift to me this morning: “we are enough because He is enough.” Amen.

    • Thank you, Christie. We need to keep reminding each other of this, yes?

  • Dang, girl! I’m just over here on this side of the screen marveling at the way you threaded this thoughts together.

    Also, thanks for the reminder–when the old writing well runs dry, perhaps I should run toward the cabinet where my photo albums dwell. They do hold an awful lot of stories, don’t they?

    And those puppies! Enucleated? Love it!

    • Those puppies are a mess! And yep, they pretty much scratched/bit/chewed that innocent little toy’s eyes right out.

      And you’re right… those albums are treasure troves of stories threaded through every photo. I’m grateful that both my mom and mom-in-law collected them together for us.

  • Pingback: when I was worthy of spit - Sandra Heska King | Sandra Heska King()

  • marthaorlando

    I so needed your words today, Sandy . . . going through a bit right now, and your reminder of how much God loves “the stuffing out of us, then stuffs us with Himself” hit me in my heart and soul. Thank you! Blessings always!

  • Elizabeth

    You know how to write and tell tender beauty. You will encourage many with your vulnerability. May your story have wings. ♥

  • I’ve got the puppies, the photos of Mom and the memories… I was labeled as spoiled, too. I wish all of these things we had in common would just zip up the miles between us so that we could be sitting next to each other right now. That would be even more comforting than your words. xo

  • pastordt

    Just beautiful, Sandy. So sorry for those early memories, but grateful for the ways in which the Spirit is helping you to re-learn them, to learn the truth about who you are. Love you.

    • Most of those early memories were really good, Diana. But it sure is interesting what one can learn about oneself by revisiting them. Love you, too.

    • Most of those early memories were really good, Diana. But it’s interesting what we can learn about ourselves by visiting all of them. Love you, too.

  • smoothstones

    I think you have allowed your hurts to make you beautiful and compassionate and beautiful in your compassion.

  • Wow, Sandra….just, Wow! The most amazing thing, is you are such a kind and giving person! Funny how one person’s story triggers your own memories…I have always refrained from writing about my past. Maybe it’s time to open the closet door just a crack…

    • Fire that editor, Diane. Crack that door and just pull out one little thread. Pull it out of that red sweater there in the corner. The red one because I always associate red with hope. 🙂

  • Man, Sandra! This is a treasure! YOU are a treasure! You could have kept this to yourself, you know? But you share it so generously and I’m better because you shared your story. Thank you.

    • I’m better because I know you. And see… you encouraged me to dream and be brave. 🙂

  • DeanneMoore

    What a challenge to look at our memories and consider that they may be shaping us now. This is so the reason to live in the now, to still as you wrote, and to live in the truth. Our early memories might be true moments, but they are the whole of our reality. Needed this reminder. You are such a gifted writer. I don’t remember how I found your blog but so thankful I landed there that day. (And you know I keep hanging around! Ha)

    • And… the way we remember may not be true. It’s really helping me to look at my past and see the threads that have led me to where I am now. It’s not all bad. I’m so glad we connected, too, my friend. . Here’s to the present. And please don’t stop hanging around. You are a gift.

  • Donna Falcone

    Standing ovation… oh… and I am speechless. xo

  • soulstops

    Oh, Sandra,
    You tell this so beautifully and so bravely….and I love how you ended with how Jesus loves the stuffing out of us, then stuffs us with Himself…great metaphor and awesome theology…hugs to you, my sweet friend, you just shine Jesus’ love 🙂

    • You fill me up this morning, Dolly. Thank you for helping me be brave.

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