To be 100% honest, I am incredibly anxious and fearful as I write this post. A lot has happened in the past few weeks, and it wasn't until a few days ago that I realized just how much pain I've been carrying around with me. I have made an incredibly poor choice lately, I thoughtfully made the choice to distance myself and not tell the people that love and care about me how much my heart has been aching. Bundling up all of my fears, shame, and sadness all because I was afraid of being judged or turned away. That kind of thinking obviously is not healthy and can easily turn into a downward spiral. There's a quote that I read yesterday from a book called "The Gifts of Imperfection". This quote smacked me across the face and woke me up... "Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare." WOW. Brene Brown could not have said it any clearer than that. If I want to help myself heal, I have to recognize the damage that's been done and not hide my scars. If all I do is distance myself and pretend the problems I have don't exist, that just leads to more suffering.
Here's the thing, in my 23 years of life, I have experienced more loss and grief than one person should in a whole lifetime. Now I'm not trying to say that what I've been through is worse than the person next to me, but in a general sense I have been through the ringer. I am a young woman that has lost both of her parents and two other incredible people whom I loved dearly. That's four major losses. If you're not familiar with grieving over a loved one, let me just tell you that it is a nasty and painful experience to go through. When you lose someone important, you are not yourself, life isn't the same. You go through so many different phases just to get to a place of healing. What phase am I in right now? I'm in the "Life sucks" phase. It is so incredibly hard trying to figure out how to do life without parents. Who is my support system now? Who's going to take care of me if I get sick or injured? Who can I call at 2 a.m. if I cant sleep because of a bad dream? All of those questions, and more, run through my mind. Days like today, the pain is incredibly real that I do not have a mother or father around to help me. My life right now is just one big guess of what to do next. I get incredibly frustrated and worn out, there's no parachute to catch me. At least that's what it feels like a good amount of the time.
But I do have a parachute, God. He is more compassionate and loving than anyone I could ever meet. He says this, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." Christ promises me a home, a place of rest. Looking at the bigger picture, it's a lot easier to see Gods grace and know he'll come to my rescue... but when emotions are high and all I can see is the current world around me, that picture isn't as clear. One thing has prevented me from seeing clearly..I've been trying to avoid saying this specific word, because it's scary and hurtful, but I realize that if I want to grow and heal I must get over this thing I've been so afraid of admitting. Want to know what it is? *deep breath* I. Am. An. Orphan. There... it's out there for the world to see. I want to let that "scary" word go. I don't wan't it to have control over me. But for the past 8 months, it has held me down and made me feel incredibly ashamed of who I am. I don't want to feel that way, I wan't to have confidence in who God says I am. He calls me loved, chosen, His child. I am Gods child. Now realizing that takes a lot of courage. And as I am reading "The gifts of Imperfection", I am slowly realizing that I need to love the woman God has made me to be, and that includes all of my scars.
There is a recurring theme I've noticed with Brene Browns book and what God calls us to do, live honestly. Embarrassing who you are, being vulnerable, sharing our story. Stories speak to the heart, that's why God calls us to speak out. There's a fun fact I learned while reading this book, the root word of courage is cor, Latin word for "heart". Originally, courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart". Interesting right? So as I was saying at the beginning of this post, I made a conscious decision to distance myself and not speak out about what was making my heart ache. I finally got the courage to share, with my wonderful best friends, what I was struggling with. They responded in the most loving and Christ-like way I could've imagined. I have learned gradually, that yes, I don't have parent's, but God is purposefully placing people in my life that love me and care for me without limitations. That is something to be thankful for. I look back and think, "How in the world would I have been able to get through this pain without these people?" So as I'm bringing this post to a close, I know that being vulnerable and raw about my struggles is not a weakness, it's a sign of strength. It's being courageous. God is making me courageous.
So to the ladies that are such a big part of my life (you know who you are), thank you. To me you are the hands and feet of God.
I am a child to my Heavenly Father.
Vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness.
I can find confidence and rest in Christ.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."