Entering into the new year of 2017, I made a goal for myself. To be as transparent, and vulnerable as my emotional little heart would allow. After all, Jesus was more vulnerable than any one of us could ever fathom when He was on the cross, so what's been stopping me?
I've been telling myself, since I started this blog, that I want to share my story, to reach other people who may be struggling with the same battles, but there's always been that little voice in the back of my head telling me "Nobody is going to care about what you have to say, Why even bother...". On and on and on that voice goes. Truth is, I carry around a lot of anxiety, shame, and insecurity that comes straight from the evil one. But I want to, no, I need to share my story. I need to lay it all out there so that I can come face to face with what's pulling me down. Hopefully, along the way, I can reach others as well.
I grew up in a broken family. All the love in the world can't change that fact or the pain that it brought along the way. My mom and dad were divorced when I was 3 so I don't have much of a recollection of that. My dad was remarried when I was 4, and was in that marriage for 12 years before I experienced another divorce. With that marriage came my three beautiful siblings that I love so so much. Because I saw so many marriages fail and end in divorce, I never believed fully in marriage. At least not in a Christ-Centered, forever enduring marriage. I just never had that example in my life.
I dealt with emotional abuse for many years from someone I really trusted. I've forgiven that person and am trying to reconcile, but forgiveness doesn't make the pain or the scars left from it go away. Throughout middle school, I was told I needed makeup to look pretty and that my clothes made me look fat. Inevitably, many girls in middle school hear things like this. It’s unfortunate, but true. However, coming from someone who was supposed to care about me, it absolutely wrecked me.
Fast forward to high school. I never really had a "group", because I attended 4 different schools. I desperately sought to fit in and be "cool". That just never happened. I started dating in 10th grade. From there on, I sought acceptance from the one place I thought I was actually finding it. Boys. I was a flirt, I wore the most revealing clothing I could get away with, and while I had fairly long relationships for someone in high school, I still never felt truly accepted or truly loved. I always fell fast and thought I was gonna spend the rest of my life with whoever I was with at the time. I gave little pieces of myself to any person who would just notice me. When I was 15, a boy I was dating at the time asked me to send him dirty pictures and I refused...at first. I knew it was wrong, and I knew it could end up bad. But, then he told me that if I didn't send them that he'd break up with me and find another girl who would send them. Ouch. So I sent them and as ashamed and dirty as I felt, he told me I was beautiful, something I hadn't heard much. That was all I really cared about and I buried the shame. Our parents ended up finding out and we broke up, but not before I found out that he had shown some of his friends. To this day, I have no clue how many people saw those pictures, and it terrifies me. I had hit rock bottom at this point and thought many times about suicide. I started "dieting" to try to lose weight, thinking if I was skinnier, maybe somebody would really love me. I was in a very dark part of my life until I was 17. Throughout that time, I lost my virginity, my dad and I had to move out where I was separated from my siblings, and I caught a person video recording me undressing while in my bathroom, which further developed my anxiety. I formed ridiculously bad coping mechanisms to deal with all of the pain I was experiencing. Despite believing in God, I didn't have a relationship with Jesus, because I just didn't understand the kind of love that came with that relationship. I really didn't think there was any escaping the darkness that I was so lost in. I didn't realize that He was the only thing that could pull me out of that darkness.
Over Christmas break in my senior year of high school, I decided I was going to swear off dating. I wasn't going to deal with boys, because they were all immature and I kept getting my heart broken. I was still going to flirt but wasn't going to let myself get close enough to fall for someone again. Really, this was just a cover-up for my true feelings which were that I wasn't beautiful or worthy enough to be loved. That was my plan, but as you know, most of the time our plan is not what God has in mind. Nope. God's plan came in the form of a boy, okay man (he's three years older), that I had met a few months earlier but hadn't really noticed all that much because "I'm dating someone, so I can't even have friends that are boys." LOL. Anyway, we started joking around whenever he would come into McDonald's. He ended up inviting me to hang out with a friend of his and we went to see a movie and the rest is history. Not really. I was actually kind of mad at God, because this guy was pretty amazing, but I had told God I didn't want to fall in love with anyone ever again. I think He was probably laughing up in Heaven at how sneaky His plans are. This friendship and the way I felt was totally different than with any other guy I had ever known. I didn't feel like I needed to prove myself, or show myself off. I could be vulnerable. Truthfully, it was terrifying letting someone in. He started to bring me to church and at first, I think I only went because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. But it evolved. I actually LIKED church. I felt a love that I had never known in my life. I ended up re-committing myself to Jesus that spring. 4 months, after we became best friends, Blake asked me to be his girlfriend. He made me wait, he taught me to be patient, he pointed me to Jesus first. Those 4 months were frustrating, but so worth it. We talked about so many things like what we wanted for our futures, and what our passions were, and how we never wanted our marriages to whoever they were, to be broken. I didn't realize then, that this man, this man who actually cared about me, and not just my body, would be the man I would marry.
Despite being with a really incredible guy, the shame and insecurity was still there. It's still there. Dating someone doesn't get rid of that. I didn't quite understand that at first. Only Jesus can heal those wounds. It's a journey I'm still on. There are still days that I don't feel worthy of the love Jesus freely gives. I don't feel like I've done anything to earn the Gospel. I still compare myself to so many people. I've had this fear of rejection and of things falling apart, because I've experienced it. I've allowed my fear of not being good enough to distort the truth.
The truth is that my worth and your worth lies in Jesus. It lies in the cross. In the mercy and grace of God.
Jesus is the only one who can heal brokenness and I am so completely broken. But, so are you. We all are. We live in a broken world. Every single day, anxiety keeps me worried about all the things I need to do and insecurity whispers to me about how gross and worthless I am. But then faith reminds me that God is sovereign, and I survive another day.
I may struggle with this my whole life, but I also know that I have freedom in Him. So I've come to a certain realization, a secret if you will. You wanna know what it is? It's okay to be broken. Your purpose, my purpose, still stands. His love still remains. God is faithful, even when we feel worthless.
His love endures and His grace is sufficient.