I recognize that I am a girl who loves hard, and am fiercely loyal. This is a wonderful attribute, I think. However, there’s an element to all of this, I have conveniently been able to overlook. I’m also incredibly stubborn... obstinate as a mule. There I admitted it. But, it tends to be in ways that aren’t necessarily quite so overtly obvious. Somewhere between the beginning of middle school and the end of high school, I had all of my confidence stolen. I entered this wasteland of self-loathing… which led to dumb decisions, impractical relationships, compromising situations, heartache after heartache, eating disorders, and the slow wane of trust… etc. etc. etc. all in some strange attempt to get it back. But, instead of the real thing, I kept chasing after superficial feelings that would simply mask the issue, rather than getting to the root of the problem and get healed up. Throughout all of this, however I have been blessed beyond all measures of reason to have people in my life who have been bent on encouraging me. They incessantly remind me of who I am, even when I don’t believe them. They love me through all of my doubts, one day at a time. It’s something quite spectacular, actually. But I’m so stubborn, I clenched with all of my might to that insecurity. Silly girl.
I never thought in a hundred years I’d say this… But I’m thankful for this crappy horribly low time.
I have questioned everything. Lost hope in so much. Hit a bottom I didn’t realize existed…
All to have everything restored.
And, although the specific situation that served as the catalyst to shove me over the proverbial edge, ended up working out… (Which I am absolutely overjoyed about. Please, don’t think I’m shrugging that off), this “epiphany” if you will, came yesterday before all the happy came. An accumulation of thoughts and words said over the last few weeks. Years, even. I heard it one more time. It hit like a dagger in my heart, that I am such a treasure. That I’m a beautiful creation. I’m not perfect. But it’s ok! In fact, it’s part of the beauty of it all. And all of this is absolutely true, whether I’m being told that or not. Whether I’m treated like it or not. Whether I believe it or not. Whether I see it or not. Whether I'm wearing a size 14 or a size 7. Whether a situation works out in my favour or not. Even when I am rejected. To know that I’m deeply loved in SPITE of and regardless of what is happening around me. And nothing can change that.
I’m so thankful for the ‘wall of arms’ that have utterly encompassed me through all of this. The voices that sang those words loudest to the voices that went silent, and gave me their presence and their ear and their arms. It took a walk through a dark valley to realize that my family and friends have been speaking truth to me all along. (duh, nitasha.) In fact, some of them refused to let go of me until I could catch a glimpse of it. Too long I have carried around this ridiculous self-hatred. Like silver in a refining fire, it all had to come melting down… all of the crap burned out… so I could begin to be shaped again and begin to understand. All that has been lost, has been restored. I can only see a little glimpse of it, yet. But I’m sure the rest is coming... That’s hope talking. Shouting even! =) I am a work in progress, but I am wonderfully made. The timing is perfect, even when I don’t think so. Man.
You don’t often walk uphill to find water. You go down to the river, to the sea, to the ocean. The mountaintop isn’t teeming with life. The valley is where life flourishes.
sort of like the often quoted psalm 23...
"God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. "
And driving back from New York City on Sunday, something broke… the tears flowed, but somehow they weren’t the same.
And so, I’m thankful. Deeply. For all of this.
And for you…
And that’s the joie de vivre, isn’t it?