So much time has passed… Although I get it, I so wish this weren’t the case. But if I got the chance, this is what I’d want to say… this is what I’d try to say. I can no longer just run past you, feeling sad about you & sorry for you. I want to stop and actually do something, because I know how much it’s meant to me and changed my life that a few people along my path stopped to help me. And well, I love you. Please know everything in this is from love. It’s not full of advice, mostly a little truth I’ve found for myself, and I’m writing it down because I need the reminder too. I want to share this with you, hoping you’ll let it take some of the weight off.
When you walk through life, holding on to the lies all these years, it doesn’t matter how heavy each one has been, it’s how long you’ve held onto them. Over time the weight seems to be unbearable, and now, you’ve allowed these things to define you… believing them yourself, instead of taking them for what they are or were – understanding that the One who created you is the only one that can identify you.
It’s not about what you’ve done or how you feel, but what’s already been done for you – how you’re already forgiven & loved. It’s not too late for you…
When we were totally new to Jax (how the cool kids say Jacksonville), like 4 weeks in… it was my first time making the drive from Atlanta to our new house… and of course it’s the one time I’m making a road trip with The Kraze all by myself. When you’re on a road trip and BOTH of your kids are asleep, you set the cruise on 80 (a leeeettle fast, just a little) & turn on your favorite show (so you can actually hear another adult’s voice) and you wait, until the very last moment, before you HAVE to make a stop for fear of waking them up… I exit off one interstate to get on the next – I’m an hour away from home (Woo hoo!) and there is NO EXIT… for 10 miles… for 20 miles… all I see are trees… my car keeps dinging at me, but it’s too late to turn around now. And with a sudden jolt, my car starts rapidly slowing down & my steering wheel locks up. I ran out of gas on the side of the interstate WITH MY BABIES IN THE CAR!?!?! Fear, panic… I could literally see a rest stop 1/2 a mile away, but obviously there was no way I was going to walk my girls down the side of the interstate that far! It took an hour and a half for someone to bring me enough gas to get to the next gas station, which was only 3 more miles down the road – I digress. Taking full responsibility, I knew I was taking a risk. However, I had no idea that my decision would land me on a road with no exit strategy, nowhere to turn around.
Here’s my point: I know you didn’t see the rest of the path you would lead down when you exited off the road we were on. I can just imagine the fear, your heart pounding, when you felt you had gone too far and there’s no turning back. Because I couldn’t help myself, I had to call someone. You have to help yourself, but you can still call on someone – you’re not alone. The main difference in your path and mine is there’s an exit, at like every step of your path. Visualize an exit: it has everything you need that you can only get if you get off the path you’re currently on… you only have to turn the wheel a 1/4 turn. Not only are there exits all along the way, but the emergency lane in the middle is wide open. Instead of the sign saying ‘Emergency vehicles only’, it says, “Return to me” because He’s compassionate and longs for you. (Joel 2:12-13) Surrender is the hardest part (at least it was for me), but we’re all standing here waiting for you.
You’ve looked at my life & thought I made all the right decisions & it’s been easy the whole way. I kid you not, this has not been the case. Letting my circumstances define me, made me realize I was only robbing myself & others of seeing His goodness and experiencing His love. Letting Him refine me through my circumstances made me better, braver, stronger & kinder. I can say this because I look back on the person I was during my darkest times, and am so thankful I’m not the same as I was. I know you feel broken. Brokenness is where it started for me too. Thank you Andy Stanley for summing it up so well:
- I messed up.
- I gave up.
- I looked up.
- God showed up.
When we seek Him, He shows up… wherever you are, whatever mess you’re in.
The truth is…
You. Are. Worthy.
You think you have nothing left to lose… truth is, you have everything to gain. You think you can’t be forgiven… Who says?! The truth is, none of us can do anything to deserve His love or to fall out of His grace. You don’t have to do anything to ‘deserve’ better. Your battle is fierce – no doubt – but He is stronger & who better to have on your side?!
I hope you find your truth and share it with others. Tell them they are loved and worthy of that love, and watch them stand a little taller. Then, you didn’t just help yourself – you shared truth, you shared the Source of hope and it set people free. He can not only change your life, He can use you to change the world, just as you are.
Lysa Terkeurst writes something we can all relate to on some level in her book, Uninvited: “At the core of who we are, we crave acceptance that comes from being loved… To satisfy this longing, we will either be graspers of Gods love or grabbers for people’s love… If we become enamored with something in this world we think offers better fullness than God, we will make room for it… But at some point every one of those things will reveal its absolute inability to keep us full. And then, since we denied God’s power to lead us, we forget His power to hold us.”
You’ve sought acceptance. You’re still seeking acceptance. What if you believed you were already accepted?! The truth is, you’re loved, just as you are.