7:30 am is simply too early to catch a school bus. I can remember thinking this one muggy September morning. I made my way down Palma Sola Blvd. to the corner of Palma Sola and Montezuma Dr., I reached the top of the neighborhood humped-back bridge and saw what I dreaded: the bus making its way down the Blvd. This meant I’d have to run to catch it. This also meant I’d be nice and sweaty by the time I got there, because September in Central Florida is always nice and steamy, even in the morning.
Well, I made it to the bus and climbed the stairs. The bus driver, none too pleased with me, watched with patient exasperation. This was the moment I hated most; trying to find a seat. I looked down the student filled bus and caught the eye of one of my class mates. He shook his head. “Not here Galvano.” Fine. I didn’t want to sit with him anyway. I spied another spot. “Nope.” the two popular girls crossed their arms and shook their heads. One by one, every kid on that school bus refused to let me sit with them.
“Galvano!” The bus driver shouted. “Sit. Down! There!” She pointed to the seat near the front with two kids who glared at me. They didn’t move over much so I had to balance all the way to school, while they pinched me. Needless to say. I was not very popular. (true story)
Now a tale such as this may make you think: “Poor little girl.” Or “Those mean kids: why didn’t the bus driver intervene?” (I have no idea) Do you feel sorry for me?
Yes, this kind of thing haunted me from kindergarten to high school. Yes, I’ve had a life long battle with insecurity especially about my appearance. (There are days I look in a mirror and still hear kids say, “You’re fat!”) But this very thing drove me into the arm’s of Jesus.
I grew up Catholic, so I’d always loved God. But then, one day I heard that He wanted a personal relationship with me. That He loved me just as I was. Here was someone that loved me despite my Italian hips, extremely curly hair (in a Marsha Brady world) and acne. I ran straight to Him, and I haven’t looked back.
He hasn’t let me down yet.
Knowing pain and humiliation is one of the reasons I created the character Lucinda in book 2 of the Casa Bella Chronicles. She’s been through as much as any human should. She not only lives with fear she clings to it because fear has been her closest friend for years. I wanted to paint a picture of a person who has given up and of a loving savior determined to set her free.
What’s your greatest fear? Mine was people. I was so afraid of rejection that for a long time I just kept my mouth shut. Jesus brought me out of my shell. He’ll pull you out too. And just like Lucinda, He has taught me to face my fears. Is it scary? Yes. But: Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)
After all these years, I can honestly say, I’m no longer afraid.
Only God is capable of turning fear into joy. Let Him transform you.
Grace and Peace… and lots of joy!