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The Muffler Dragon

When my kids were young, at bedtime, they’d say, “Tell me a story about you, your sisters and the rest of your family.” I told them about my sister Karen dumping syrup all over herself, the Sunflower Club, walking three miles on stilts, Dad chasing a raccoon through the yard in his underwear, building a Flying Ginny and the Muffler Dragon.

When I was about four, my family, all six of us, stuffed into our station wagon to go camping. Dad liked to travel in the middle of the night when there was less traffic and it was more likely that his four little girls would fall asleep. We were on Hawes Pike, not far from home, when we heard a roar. Dad pulled off to the side of the road. We waited while Dad went out to see what was making all the noise. He popped his head inside, and said, “It’s the muffler draggin’. I need a hanger.”

Mom found a hanger and Dad straightened it out and went off into the darkness.

I half expected my dad not to return. My four-year-old ears heard my dad say, “It’s the Muffler Dragon.” I pictured him going out there, fending off the dragon with just a coat hanger. When Dad came in and said he had tied it up, I almost felt sorry for the poor Muffler Dragon. I could picture it by the roadside all tied up. I don’t know how long it took me before I realized what had been so frightening was just the muffler dragging. Sometimes, simple things can have damaging effects in our lives.

One “Muffler Dragon” I had to deal with is that my great uncle used to call me Connie Marie. I was about three or four, and it infuriated me. My middle name is Lee. I used to stamp my foot and shout, “My name’s not Connie Marie!” And, of course, everyone would call me Connie Marie even more just to see me have a fit.

One morning, during my devotional time, I read the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. When she, pregnant with Ishmael, fled Sarai, an angel spoke to Hagar and told her to go back and submit to her mistress, for God would make a great nation from Ishmael. Verse 13 says, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her; ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the one who sees me.’”

Like many others, feeling like no one understands me, knows me or even sees me is something I have dealt with all my life. That morning, the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart, “I love you, I see you, and I know your name is Connie Lee.” It was another reminder to base my understanding of who I am on what God says, not what others think about me — nor on my “muffler dragons.” The healing of our self image begins when we see the God who sees us.

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7.

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