I know you. Your heart hurts... aches... truly. Deeply. Nobody knows you, not really... even the ones who think they do, you hide your whole truth from them... your whole self. You're afraid what they'll think if only they knew the real you. The real pain, the real hurt deep down inside... the secrets... the things you've decided make you less than worthy of love. Affection... even though you long for it. Truth telling time... sometimes you'll even tell yourself what they'd say. What they'd think. What'd they'd do... if only they knew... you.
I was like you. Some fleeting moments- I'm still like you. ...but I've relearned this trick we used to know as children- to refuse the dark and focus LIGHT. And let that be MY REAL LIFE.
I did something I regretted for the entirety of my life. I'm 32 today. In that moment, I was only 9 years old. If only I'd been old enough to understand how I'd feel about it the next 23 years... Hurt. Broken. Afraid. Ashamed. Unloved- by myself and others because in my mind, no one could know me, if they didn't know all of me (and I'd unwittingly let this one thing define “all of me”)... so… that meant no one could love me... completely. Unconditionally...
...until one day... God said that was enough.
He started to plant something else in my heart... a yearning to have more in life… be more. Be better… somehow...
Better in my mind, was in a better place, doing better things with my life rather than feeling as lost as I'd started to feel. But soon I learned that better to Him, meant HEALED. Whole.
So I prayed... I asked him to set me free...
...and thus over the next eight or so years... he stripped me. Time and time again… in small ways and big ways. He started to speak to me... in books I'd read... directly from the pulpit when I went to church... through signs on the street... all the ways you hear people talk about... and in ways I'd never dared to dream were even possible.
He spoke... directly to me.
And somewhere along the way, He gave me what I thought I wanted. My more… a successful career, where I could be my own boss and have the freedom to decide what was right for me. But somewhere along the way, work became too important.
So He turned my head and showed me the love of a husband… and a deeper connection to my family, where I was able to finally open up and share my mistakes… and rather than turn me away or find themselves as hurt and angry as I’d always imagined them being, they opened their arms to me and pulled me in closer. They became the safe haven I’d always longed for and never believed I could have… until they told me that I was deserving of love… and that my mistakes did not define who I was. My family began to help me learn to love myself... and it was in these connections, I finally found my truth… God’s truth.. and the reason my version of more could never have been enough.
Before these moments, I'd thought my innermost hurts didn't really matter- that I'd never be able to open up and get beyond what I thought I was... but He opened the door. Because He spoke to me... which meant He saw ME.
And He told me I had His heart... that I was good and beautiful and loved. That I was full of love and kindness and compassion, even if I couldn't give any of that to myself.
And then by giving me my family in ways I’d never known I could have them before, these words were no longer just words... but tangible love in the form of flesh and action.
I was able to put my past behind me and finally...