No pictures tonight.
Nothing but me… raw and unadulterated.
We need to get to know one another. I need to let you see me. Truly SEE me.
I’ve been running from myself for so long that my legs are tired. My body is winded. I want to stop…I have wanted to stop many times. But I feared being rejected. I feared rejection despite the acceptance that was all around me.
It’s amazing how one experience can change a person. How one relationship can leave such an impression.
I am 38 years old. For 20 of those years, all I knew was abuse.
But I left that behind.
All of it. Behind me. No looking back.
And yet the scars still haunt me. The wounds still bleed. And I am still broken and battered, lying on the floor, crying out to my God to save me and heal my soul.
But He has. Already. It’s done.
“Pick up your mat and walk.” He said that years ago.
But I didn’t listen. I kept running.
Running while lying on a mat. How does one run to stand still? How does one change her location so often yet remain in the SAME PLACE.
I am so tired of running. Tired. Breathless. I want to rest.
I want to be ME.
Who is she? Who am I? Lord, I cry out to you and ask you – WHO AM I?
And tonight He came… for the hundredth time yet for the first time. Confirming what others have said to me. Confirming what I already know in my heart and mind but don’t want to admit because to admit it means I know it and to know it means I have to … become it.
To be what I am.
I am a writer.
I bleed words.
I speak life into people.
Even when I just want to be a friend I can’t stop myself from speaking life into dark places. To look in the eyes of the hurt and let them know I SEE YOU. I see you.
To let them know I HEAR you. I hear you.
We often hear it said that we can’t love others until we love ourselves but I call BS on that one. I call it for the lie that it is because I haven’t loved myself for years. I have loathed myself. I have hated that I allowed pounds to cover up my being because I wanted someone to see me, to TRULY SEE ME. To look beyond the beauty and the laughter and the way I make them feel and to SEE ME. To see my heart. To bleed words with me.
To bleed words…
To speak with me.
To love me through this gift.
To look at me and see who I am.
I have loathed this girl who threw it all away because she was afraid of success. The girl who had it all and gave it up. Because having it all meant I had to be and being just hurt. And hurting… well it sucked.
And so I threw it all away.
All of it.
Sold my stuff.
Gave up my life.
And spent a year running. Yet even at that I failed because in my running I helped others. I ministered to others. I gave to others what I did not have within myself to give to me. And you know what happened?
God brought people into my life to pour into me.
To take my nothingness and speak life into me. To bleed with me. To bleed words with me. To bleed this gift with me.
And I wrote.
I have written.
I bled onto the paper and books were brought forth and people’s stories were told and hearts were healed and people met God. They MET GOD. And I…I was still broken.
I bled the words but my heart didn’t feel any better.
Why didn’t my heart feel better?
Why didn’t God heal my hurts when I did what He asked me to do?
And therein lies my problem… thinking I am doing what He asks of me when in reality I only give so much.
“Stop there, Lord. You are pushing too much.” I only let Him go so far. I won’t let Him in fully because He, like every other man in my life, will break me.
I am already broken.
What if He will be the man who finally pieces me back together?
What if He will be the man who shows me the true depth of those words uttered by a substitute teacher and later good friend, “You are worth more than rubies. He looks at you and He sees a princess.”
Does He know who I am?
And He still loved me.
He knew who I was and what I did and what I would do in the future and yet He still loved me enough to stay on that cross and die, and rise again, and conquer death so I could have life.
And life is not what I have had.
I have had things.
I have had people.
I have had stuff.
But I haven’t had life.
I haven’t lived life.
I stand here broken.
I stand here with my mat.
I stand here wanting to move forward. To walk ahead. To be who I am.
I stand here wanting to be WHO I AM.
The girl who is cheesy and can’t keep a beat.
The girl who loves to sing despite not being able to carry a tune in a swimming pool.
The girl who loves others but still hasn’t learned to love myself enough to believe someone can truly love me.
The girl who will do anything for anyone but feels awkward when someone does something nice for me.
The girl who shares her heart but only to the point that I am comfortable and unafraid.
The girl who God looked at and said was enough.
The girl who loves God.
I am me.
I am flawed, broken, unaware of what I have within me despite feeling like I have an idea.
Afraid of what success lies within my calling and wondering if I won’t mess it all up and trade it all for a distraction that will feel great for a moment but leave me with regret. What if I mess up? What if I can’t do it?
I want to fall in love but I am afraid I will break him. People keep telling me I will fall in love. But I see a clock and know I am not Sarah nor Hannah nor anyone who wants to start so late in life. Yet I yearn to throw the ball around with my son and raise my daughter with a sibling and did I just type that for the world to know? But how can I see that dream come true. How can I see that dream come true when I am afraid to love or be loved in such a way that I let down my walls and let someone in to bleed with me. To bleed the words that matter. To be a part of the story I am creating with my life?
How do I open up to allow the prophesies to come forth when all I know is heartache and therefore I push people away when things start to get too intense?
And all these questions sit. In a file. On the computer. Never being answered because the answer scares me.
He calls my name.
Reminding me to come sit at the table.
Because at the table He can speak into me and I can walk away filled. But when I dine with Him I cry with Him and I want more of Him. I want to feel Him and never let His skin leave mine. The skin that bled for me. That loved me as no one ever had. The skin that took pain for me. His words give me life and that life gives me love and for a moment I am whole and for a moment I can love except the moment fades and the experience dies and I am sitting at a lonely table, without Him.
And I cry.
I cry because I know that even Christ I push away.
Even Christ I cannot keep around.
And I scoot my chair back from the table and walk away with my head held down in shame, wondering why I exist…except at that moment I hear the music playing. The sweet music of the Holy Spirit wanting to fill me and lead me and heal me. The Holy Spirit wanting to purge all the darkness within me and bring me to a place where dining with God won’t lead to sin or heartache or betrayal. I don’t want to offer a kiss but a towel. I don’t want to give Him a kiss that brings death but to wash His feet and serve Him and as I do, I know my healing will come. So I grab a towel and I sit at His feet and I grab the rag and I slowly wash His feet. Jesus, I come. I surrender. I give you all of me so I can truly come to love you and honor you and obey you.
Because that is what I want from my life.
To be Shell. The lover of Christ’s soul. The lady who loves Him so much she will follow Him anywhere, even if it means being lonely for a time so the right person can come in and fill that gap. Even if it means looking beyond my own insecurity to step out into the deep waters that will surely overtake me. Because after all, He calms the waves. He has invited me to this room and will not humiliate me. Instead He would prepare my heart.
And so tonight, after an amazing service for the second week in a row, I have the answers I need for the hundredth time, and yet for the first time I am truly ready to respond because I can’t care what the world thinks of me or even what you think of me but only what HE thinks of me. And He loves me.
He loves me enough that He is going to ensure I don’t fall flat.
He loves me enough to let me be ME while I raise my daughter to be herself.
And He loves me enough that He already knows how hard this will be for me and yet He is willing to walk it with me. And to be patient with me.
I am breaking. I am broken. I am ready.
Until next time,