Trapped by claustrophobia

                               By Phil Scovell

               Over on  the other  side of the  apple orchard,  was another
          unkempt field.   It  appeared to be,  in actuality,  several lots
          where homes could be built.

               In this  rundown area was  an old house.   It was  small and
          occasionally  we met  there just  to  hang out  and play  various
          games.    Fort, that  is,  being  attacked  by indians  or  other
          warriors,  school, clubhouse,  or just  about  anything we  could
          think of and we could think of a lot.  It was also where I smoked
          my first cigarette.   The  kids, who  lived in this  part of  the
          neighborhood,  were not  kids  we often  played with  for obvious
          reasons.   My dad  and I had  a little  talk about  the cigarette
          smoking ordeal later.   No, he didn't spank me but  he did listen
          to my story and explained why  we didn't smoke as Christians.   I
          was about 8 years old at the time.  I  didn't smoke again.  Well,
          not until my dad died and I was a teenager and a pot and  tobacco
          smoker for a defiant period of time of my life.

               One day, while  playing in this old house,  we discovered it
          had an  attic.  It  was mid summer  and pushing back  the ceiling
          door, we climbed into the super heated attic to look around and I
          mean it was  hot, too.   So we came  up with this  big idea.   We
          decided to  take turns,  one by  one, to  climb up  into the  hot
          attic, close the ceiling door, and weight for the boys downstairs
          to count to one hundred.  We  did exactly that, taking turns, and
          everyone passed the test.  What men we were.   With this in mind,
          I want  to tell  you about another  experience I  had when  I was
          about the same  age but this time, the  experience brought sudden
          fear and panic.

               My dad had built  a luggage carrier out of wood  for the top
          of our car.  One day  he had removed it from the car  and laid it
          upside down on the ground in the  backyard.  Why upside down?  So
          if it rained, it couldn't collect water.  You see, it  was just a
          big square box with huge  suction cups on the bottom  with straps
          so it would stay clamped to the roof of the car.  Dad would drape
          a  large  tarpaulin over  the  luggage  to  protect it  from  the

               Discovering the luggage  carrier one day, I thought it would
          be neat  to lift one  side and climb  beneath it.   I did so  and
          lowered it to the ground.  It was a tight fit but I had plenty of
          room to move around on my belly.  There was no logical reason for
          what happened  next because I  head done such things  hundreds of
          times.  Suddenly,  fear washed over me.   "What if you  can't get
          out!"  I started  to panic and quickly lifted the  carrier off of
          me.  I was not trapped, I was in no danger, but something made me
          not only frightened, but like  someone was going to stand on  top
          of the carrier and keep me pinned inside.  I was going to die.  I
          shook the feelings off and ran away to play elsewhere; putting as
          much distance between me and that luggage carrier as possible.

               Over  the years,  this memory  frequently came  to mind.   I
          never understood why.  Yes, there was fear and a strong  sense of
          claustrophobia  directly associated with the memory every time it
          came to  mind.  I  was just a kid,  though, and I  always quickly
          dismissed the memory of  having no value.   After all, it  wasn't
          true,  I  was fine,  and  besides, I'm  a  grown man  now  and it
          happened decades ago.

               Recently, when the  memory suddenly popped  into my mind,  I
          stopped what I was doing and  focused on it.  "Lord?" I  queried,
          "what is wrong in this memory?  You are allowing it to return for
          some reason and there is something wrong.  I can feel it."  I let
          myself feel the fear and the strong claustrophobia.

               "You are trapped.  You will never get out alive."

               "What do you feel?" I heard the Holy Spirit ask.

               I told Him.

               Suddenly, I was viewing the memory  from outside the luggage
          carrier.   Always  before, the  memory was  of me  underneath and
          trapped.  Now  I was viewing the  entire memory from the  outside
          but I  was still  underneath it  and it  was laying  flat on  the
          ground.   Something was  instantly different,  though.   A golden
          yellowish  illuminating man figure  was bending over  the luggage
          carrier and reaching  out with his arms  as if he were  poised to
          grabbed it and pull it off at any second.   I nearly laughed when
          I realized  what I was seeing.   At first I thought  it was Jesus
          but the form didn't  seem like Jesus.  Then I  realized it was an
          angel.   I was never in any danger at  any time because the angel
          was there even if I couldn't see him.

               Are such childhood  memories important?  What  do you think?
          Claustrophobia  and fear  of being  trapped  and apprehension  of
          impending death  are not of God.   Not then, as a  child, and not
          now as an  adult.  Was this  memory effecting my life?   You tell

               Now,  when this  memory comes  to  mind, I  see the  luggage
          carrier flat  on the ground, knowing I am  under it, but I always
          see this golden illuminated man poised to  snatch it off of me at
          a seconds notice.  This is  what the Bible calls the renewing  of
          the mind.

               I have no  doubt this story has sparked  similar memories in
          your  own  life.    Jesus wants  your  mind  devoid  of all  such
          unpleasant memories.  If you allow Him, He can make your memories
          of such events perfectly whole.  Do you need help finding the lie
          and hearing the voice of the Lord?  I'll be glad to teach you how
          easily it works in your every day life.

                               End Of Document

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado - Mountain Time Zone
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