My heart is in a place of happiness. It flutters and beats and swells with excitement. I am entering into a season of transformation. A season filled with choices and growth accompanied with the occasional freak out. My life is changing. It is weaving together the past with forgiveness and grace and redemption and opening a new chapter. A new section. A new start. A new beginning. I am different and that is ok. I am learning and experiencing and making mistakes. I am loving. Deeply, sincerely, whole heartedly loving. I am discovering feelings I have stuffed. I am working through memories I have suppressed. I am changing…and that is good. This year, I am graduating. I am learning. I am seeing. I am dating…I am dating. Dating a man who seeks Jesus first. A man who does his best to live intentionally. A man who at my core, makes me feel again. This guy is such a gift. Such a blessing and answered prayer. I desire a future with this man. I didn’t think I would ever say that. I hoped to…but didn’t think it would come. I have prayed for you for so long. I have prayed for a man who knows what struggle and defeat is. You know and fight both daily. I have prayed for a man who understands surrender and daily lays down his life and desires and wants at the feet of Jesus. I have prayed for a man who is gentle. A man who makes me believe that men can be good. You are gentle. In your words and touch. You are gentle with your eyes. Lord I could not have asked for someone to suit my heart this well. I could not have asked for a man to come at a better time. I could not have known my heart, the way You do Jesus. Lord this season, You are teaching me what love is….for myself, for others, for You. You are teaching me what sincere beauty is. You are you teaching me what struggle and hard work and diligence look like. You are teaching me what discipline looks like. God I pray You would use me to show this man the way You love him. The way you adore Him. The way you seek him. I pray You would use me Jesus to show him what true and tangible and right intimacy looks like. I pray Lord you would use me to show him what patience, beauty, self control, diligence, surrender, love, compassion, and gentleness looks like. God my biggest prayer is that individually we would seek You first and foremost. I pray our hope would never be in each other. I pray that no blessing and gift from You would ever mean more to me than You. I pray that You my God would always have number One in my heart and life and eyes and mind and soul. I pray I would experience You before anyone else. I pray I would seek You before anyone. I pray my words and actions would be pleasing to You and You alone. God I pray that whatever comes my way…I would trust You. Jesus You are my Source.
Thank you God for saving me from the pit I was in. Thank you God for bringing me Hope. For being my Hope. For being my Joy. My Peace. My comfort. My Source.
I have seen so much growth in myself these past few months. I have seen my trust in You soar to new levels. I have felt more. I have opened up more. I have believed more. God in this past month I have felt more needed and wanted and beautiful. I have felt like a woman who doesn’t need to be ashamed. A woman who wants to know True Beauty. A woman who wants to be at rest with my soul. A woman who wants to serve and listen and love. Lord you have worked in my heart and soul and mind more in the past month than in years. You have set these dry bones and given them new life. You have spoken into the silence and breathed into the lifeless…. You my King have taken me back to Wonder. You have taken me back to a place of Hope. A place of Peace and Joy and Light. Jesus You have won back the keys to my heart. Fill me. Take my dead places and fill them with Love and Light.
Inadequate. Unqualified. Failure. Those are the words I hear. Not words of encouragement by any means, not words of life…or grace…or growth. Words of attack. Words that remind me of a place I’ve been. Words that suck the giddy light hearted girl out of me and instead stir in my heart of hearts that I am no ones princess and I don’t live in Happily Ever After. I am caught. Caught between playing defense. Building walls. Tall thick grey walls. Impenetrable walls. Or sitting. Releasing my grip. Laying down my weapons. Allowing. Allowing the warmth of feelings, beauty and Truth to slowly seep their way into this Cynical Ball of hurt and doubt. Tenderly scaling my walls, courageously fighting my battles, and gently placing a hand on the places of me that are still works in progress. Once again I am stuck. Stuck between the Experience of my past and believing there is a Better Future. Afraid to be excited, so instead giving way to what if’s and terror and Nothing has Changed. Relenting to the seemingly quiet whispers at night that I swear are shouting Run! Do not Trust! You will be left…broken. shattered. alone. And that is the Core of my fear. The stirring in my heart and pain in my stomach and the tears that possess stories, and pain, and a beauty I wish could break free are mute by their own paralysis and they burn like fire down my cheeks.they burn like fire down my cheeks… they burn like fire…they burn…but one day they will burn with Beauty and not fear.
Because I. have. changed. As much as that has been resisted and blocked out and unwanted…I am not the dead, empty, Will Do Anything You Ask For Acceptance kind of girl anymore. I am trying. I am seeking. I am listening. Learning to accept the Beauty, the Challenge, the Fight that is within me. A gift from the Creator that I’m still exploring what to do with. This new phase, this possible chapter of my story is going to shine a light on the Core of my fears and insecurities, but I will rest in knowing that light is not one of mockery and attack, but of warmth and love and growth. For this light is from The Light and I will choose to be still. I will choose to believe my past does possess Beauty. I will choose to sit in the Soil of Unconditional Love and let it cultivate in me, allowing my roots to be planted in the One Being that will never ever leave me abandoned. I will fight to keep the shouts of lies that fill my mind at bay because the King who deemed me Worthy of more than lifeless words….calls me His Princess and delights in the Happily Ever After we are walking in.
Sometimes I forget about writing. I dismiss it as something I can do, something I like to do. I pretend it takes too much time, too much emotion, too much concentration to pull up the emotions I continually stuff down. It is easier to ignore the burning in your chest, then sit in it. But tonight, I am going to try to sit in this burning. I am going to feel it, and hold it, and then put it out. Because allowing something like disappointment, sadness, and what feels like desperation to burn inside of you for so long, will eventually turn you bitter and cold.
It is hard. It is hard not to feel like as a woman my worth is in a relationship. You ask a woman if she is dating or engaged and if she says yes, there is that sometimes unconscious pang of ‘what am i doing wrong’. I’ve experienced the reality of putting worth in a relationship…but I’ve also dealt with the consequences. I have learned and lived and worked to never be in that situation again. So far, so good, but this burning, this heaviness, this ‘pang’, this feeling is different. I don’t feel betrayed or abandoned. I don’t feel unworthy or less than. I just feel sadness. Sadness that a choice couldn’t be made. A tightening in my chest, that contracts when I wonder if I did the right thing. And the part that breaks my heart the most is the nauseousness at the idea of him never even hurting from this, never remembering what we had, never feeling the need to define, move, in either direction, backwards or forward,…never taking the risk to lose or gain. So instead, I chose. I choose to leave, to step back, to cut ties, because it wasn’t fair to be in a box with no lines, no boundaries…I am worth more than that. I am worth more than indecisiveness and blurry lines. I know this. I believe this now, 4 years ago I didn’t 4 months ago I didn’t, but now, now I do. I know the sadness will fade, because my happiness isn’t solely found in a friend. I know and rest in the fact that Jesus is in control, and nothing I ever do or say, can change that.
I want to be uncommon. I want to shine like a star in this dark world. Lord I pray my speech be uncommon. I pray it be uplifting and encouraging. I pray it be wise and peaceful. I pray it be humbled and kind, with words of gentleness and self-control. I want to make a difference in this world. I don’t want to just work and study for the money. I want to make a difference for Christ. Not only in my speech but also in my actions. I want to be so saturated in the Word and so deeply in tune with Jesus that the only thing I can do is surrender to Him. In times of hardship, in times of goodness, in the simple routine of everyday life…I want my response to be like Jesus. The past couple of weeks have been character building, heart stretching, and yet incredibly lonely. I am tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I have been overwhelmed and over stressed. I have let myself fall into the perfectionist trap and have suffered from the anxiety of knowing I will never make it. Searching my heart for the source of my anxiety has been in and of itself anxious. Seeing that I am striving for perfection in myself is discouraging, because I know it is a demon. I know it is something that is hindering my relationship with the Lord. I know in my head that I will never find perfection. That I will never reach perfection….but do I? I don’t know. I sit and write this, and I still want the man who is a solid Christ follower, a nice big house with nice cars and a boat, kids who are healthy and warriors for the Lord…is that ok to want? If I don’t get it, will I be dissatisfied? Yea, I know I will and that is what I need to work on. I need to realize that the Lord has better plans for me, than I have for myself. I have head knowledge of that, but not heart knowledge. I want to change. I need to change. I need to see Grace for what it is, and not what I have made it to be. I don’t want people to look at me and see perfection; I need them to see Grace. I need to see my story as what it is, but covered in Grace. I need to search for what Grace means. I need to seek how the Lord gave me Grace. Grace is what I will search for. Grace is what I will learn. Grace is what I will give.
First and foremost I want to congratulate you on your commitment to purity! We are now sisters that belong to a very special club J! Making a decision to save sexual relations until you’re married is one that should be celebrated! It is an awesome decision and I am incredibly proud of you for making such a mature and responsible commitment. I made the decision to stay pure when I was 13, and it was one of the hardest, yet most rewarding decision I’ve made. I hope someday, when keeping this commitment gets tough and challenging, you will find encouragement in knowing that it is worth the wait. I want you to know that I am praying for you. Praying that you would surround yourself with girls who also hold themselves to a standard of virtue. I am praying that you remember to be a role model and example to Caroline, as well as other young girls who look up to you. You my dear Savannah, are turning into an intelligent, wise and beautiful young lady. I am so proud of you!
Secondly, You might not grasp the full realm of your decision now, but in a couple of years, keeping to this promise will not come easily. Keeping your purity is not something the world thinks is normal, but you are not normal…you are special. You are a prized possession. A gift, that should be treasured and treated with the upmost respect…at all times. The people of this world will judge you, not understand you, and pressure you into doing things you don’t believe in, but YOU are more than others opinions. You are strong and of great worth. You are allowed to have your own dreams, goals and beliefs, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Savannah, being authentic, real and passionate is what makes you, you; it is what makes you lovely. The next couple of years will be some of the most exciting and most trying. Your friends might start dating, but it is ok if you don’t. People you know might start doing things you don’t think are right, but it is ok to disagree with them. Girls will start obsessing over what they look like and what they wear, but Savannah, you are more than that. You are more than makeup, a size and a boy’s opinion. You are beautiful because you have been raised in a family that loves you and has grounded you. You have the example of a mother whose inner beauty radiates from within. Learn from her. Beauty isn’t the physical, but the heart. Inner beauty is what you should strive for. Inner beauty is what will make you the most beautiful girl in the world. Have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Always remember, that you were made with a purpose. A special purpose. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. ( Psalm 139:14)
I love you Savannah. I am here for you, any time, any day, any question. I am so proud of the accomplishments you have made and cannot wait to see the lovely lady you blossom into.
“A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest, trusting God because she has come to know him to be worthy of her trust. She exudes a sense of calm, a sense of rest, and invites those around her to rest as well. She speaks comfort; she knows that we live in a world at war, that we have a vicious enemy, and our journey is through a broken world. But she also knows that because of God all is well, that all will be well. A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become.” –captivating
These past few months have been challenging. Sorting though memories I fought hard to forget, sitting and actually feeling the effects of experiences, seasons, and decisions I have made was not an easy task. Remembering words that filled me with insecurity and defeat, speaking of the touches that left me confused and angry, and internally facing the people who caused me to hate this world…hurt.like.hell. These open wounds and fresh scars became apart of me that I hated. Apart of me I had to accept…until you reminded me that I am redeemed, I just need to start believing I am worth it. You told me that anxiety wasn’t something to be ashamed of, but to picture it as the Lord telling me to come and rest in His arms. That picture, that beautiful visual is humbling and comforting and healing. You listened without judgment. You encouraged me to see the beauty The Lord sees in me. You pointed out my gifts that I simply saw as burdens. You genuinely believed in a girl whose heart was so tired of feeling like nobody understood. Your compassion for me moved me to see what you saw. Your care for me touched the deepest parts of my heart. I can now look at myself and not see failure, feel hatred, or think I am a mistake. I have a sense of Whose I am, not just in my head, but also in my heart. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to me. Thank you for sharing your experiences, your stories, and your heart with me, and thank you for allowing me to share mine. I am starting to feel, not just the weight of other’s hurts, but my own. I have a long way to go, but being able to embrace the sorrow, the joy, the mourning, and the triumphs of my life, is a gift I am so thankful you helped me to open. Life is not easy, but you helped me see my past, not with eyes of disappoint, failure, and weakness, but with grace filled, love saturated, and purposeful eyes. You have cared for me. You have loved me. You have prayed for me. Those acts of kindness and selflessness are humbling. Thank you for believing that I have always been enough, and thank you for pushing me to see that in myself. You, fighting for me, to expel the lies that entangle and believe the Truth that sets free, has pushed me to fight the same battle. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus set me free, and no past can take that away. Thank you for being an example, a mentor, and a woman I can look up to. Words don’t do justice the appreciation I have for you. Your giving spirit, loving heart and listening ears are rare beauties that shine the name of Our Lord. I am going to miss you, and am so grateful for the time I was able to spend learning from you. One day, I hope to help women see the same Truth you helped me to see.
Tears dont come easily for me. They dont summon at the tug of my heart or the bark of a command. Walls are my thing. They are high for a reason. Protection is key. Security is my goal. Dont hurt me and we will be ok. My tears dont come easily, but today I need them to come. Today I hurt. Today my heart feels anger and sadness. It is filled with confusion and despair. Today, I just want to be wanted. I am sick of letting down walls only to find that hurt circles right back in and touches the very wounds Im trying to heal. I hate that I have come immune to feeling. I hate that I cant cry or emotionally process. I hate that I have to sit here, with the light out, door shut, in order to feel safe to cry…and even then, it doesnt come easily.
Two weeks ago my strength was tested, my faith was shaken and I was forced to feel. Forced to feel the weight of this world and the consequences of sin. Sit in it. Cry over it. I was forced to find a reason to hate it. Hate it with more than just a calculated response, a cogitatively correct answer, but with a fire that is burning this heart. Two weeks ago I was praying I would remember Whose I am and what I am worth to the King, instead of the world. I left a photo shoot that day, proud of the growth that had taken place in the depths of my insecurities. In the crevices of my soul, those areas that held tightly to the lies men have told me, were finally kicked out by Truth. God had worked. He had taken this broken, sick, skewed girl and brought her back whole, healthy, ready to embrace life as life and not as something to compete with. I was seeing healing. I was seeing redemption woven into the being of my mind and heart and body. Two weeks ago I thought I was finally going to stop struggling to trust, stop fighting the fact that I am loved; stop buying into the words that told me I was a disappointment. I thought I would finally get my break, finally catch my breath…finally understand why I went through this mess. Two weeks ago, seems like a lifetime. One letter, one letter that took all of five minutes to read, that is how long it took for my world to stand still and every lie, every action, every doubt that I had about men came flooding back, not necessarily with strength and power, but instead with a steady sting of hopelessness and disappointment. Every belittling word that was spoken to me, every unwanted comment, every inappropriate touch and every look that made me feel unworthy…crushed my hope of thriving. I was once again reminded that men, no matter their position, no matter their upbringing, no matter their spiritual depth, are not worth trusting. One man’s sin, his moral failing, his inability to authentically link his actions with his words and seemingly correlate that into the beliefs of his heart uncovered wounds that I had run so far from, worked to hard to heal and tried desperately to forget. My heart hurt. It felt heavy with the weight of lies and secrets and a life hidden from the knowledge of others. For two weeks my heart has felt the brokenness of the world, the messiness of life and the danger of sin. I have tried fighting it. I have tried thinking about it until there is nothing left to think about but the thought of thinking. I thought this might help me not feel, not face the reality that another man disappointed, another man lied, another man reopened a wound in my heart that I am so tired of coming back to.
But today was different. Today, my heart experienced peace. Today I saw growth. Today, I ran into a woman who I thought I would always hate. A woman who wounded me, knowingly. Selfishly. Repeatedly. Today, I was reminded that my heart has mourned before. My world has stopped once. My soul has experienced betrayal. I have walked these deserted streets in this seemingly lifeless desert. I have, and I will continue, but it is in these deserts that I feel His presence the most. It is when I am walking these streets of despair, that I find my hope. Today I was able to love and forgive a woman who betrayed me. Today, I was able to give grace and compassion and mercy. Today, I was able to see that my pain, my struggle, my wounds are not pointless, unnamed, or uncared for. Those events, those feelings, those memories, as much as they hurt, have shaped my character. They have showed me love, True love. Today, I was once again am reminded of His Faithfulness in the desert. These moments, these moments of remembering the places I have been and where I am now, remind me that I have never walked alone. It reminded me that even in the midst of a scandal, He is being glorified. Even in the midst of loving and experiencing life with high school girls who know nothing of a good and warm life, but instead live in a home of fear and havoc, I have to trust He is still being glorified. I have to trust that He has placed me in this season for a reason, even if I may not understand. I have to trust that even in the attempted suicide of a friend, even in a friends death of a sister, a father, a mother, a brother, even in the days after a pastor walks away from his family, his friends, his church…I have to trust that Jesus’ love is bigger than the enemy’s hate.
Lord for what purpose did you put me on earth? What is it that you have for me to accomplish in Your name? I can dream, but if these dreams of mine are not what You have planned, strip them of me. Lord direct me. Direct me to the places that I fail to see You clearly. I know You have plans for me, that should be enough. I know You hold my future, it doesn’t matter what it involves, as long as You are center, I will be filled with Joy. I pray for strength to keep my eyes fixed on You. I pray for courage to obey Your instructions for me. I pray I would let go. Let go of my plans, and be open to Yours. Be accepting of Yours. Start living Yours. I want the dead parts of my heart to flourish. To have nutrients, water that only You can give. Lord, show me these dead parts of my life. These areas of pride, control, perfectionism, and my future, that I am keeping You from. Forgive me. Love me. I need to trust that You know what is best for me, despite my own desires. But there is the issue. My desires…my desires, my desires shouldn’t be mine, they should be Yours. Lord, I am sorry. I am sorry for putting myself, and my needs and wants, before You. I am sorry for idolizing myself. I am sorry for idolizing my ideas and fantasies. I am sorry for not seeking you diligently in my life. I am sorry. Forgive me Lord, forgive me. Enter into these places of weakness. Enter into these places and make me whole. Enter into this dead soil and cultivate it with Your Truth. Your Love. Your Mercy. Your Way. I pray that my heart would be moved, to align with You. Be my Vision Lord, be my Vision. Prepare my ears to listen to the gentle whisper of Your Truths. I pray my ears would be tuned to Your instructions. I pray I would remember my First True Love. I pray I would remember Your faithfulness in my life. I pray I would remember Your calling, Your instructions to me. I pray I would seek you, unceasingly day in and day out. Jesus You satisfy. You satisfy more than the worlds most treasured possession. Be my Cornerstone. Be my Rock. You are my Rock. Lord move in me. Dig up the weeds of my soul and in return take root with Your beauty. Seek Him. Seek Him earnestly.
This feeling inside, a sliver of what one-day could come, is the most wonderful yet terrifying surge of emotion. Coursing through me like a vengeance-seeking whirlwind; it is taking my breath but giving me oxygen, tensing my inner fibers but soothing my heart, horrifying but invigoratingly exciting. My blood, in all of its richness, is pulsing with the knowledge of failure, yet seemingly unaware of its favor towards the unrealistic reality of the possible. Whoa.
One day… some day, far from now, I will look back and know the risk was worth the lack of control.
In all my being, I am terrified. Terrified of what may come, yet at the same time, terrified of what may not ever come. Stuck. I am stuck. Somewhere, between the control and fall…I’ve become lost. Wandering. Not content with full control, nor satisfied with risk. Bewildered. I’m bewildered in this forest of trees and leaves and bushes, all different types and colors with roots deep and shallow, trunks hallow and full, colors dull and vibrant. I walk through this forest senseless. Guarded with walls that don’t welcome that which needs nurture to grow. Safe in my walls, no tainted air, no hallow, dull or decaying is allowed. I thought I allowed the high and stiff walls to protect me, from that which is outside, yet in doing so, I never allowed the sun to shine its light, the rain to come, the moon to rise. Afraid of the warmth of its touch, unwilling to allow a season of tears to soak me, unable to imagine a ball of hope glowing in the darkness. I am afraid to hope. Afraid to hope for a future that involves someone else. Simply and selfishly because then I wont be in control. I will be able to disappoint. I will be able to feel, the good, the bad, and the inadequacy that everyone seems to see in me. Inviting you in, into my heart, my life, is like learning a new language. A tongue I’ve never heard, know, or understand. I.Am.Scared.