i love you more

Tucked into the corner of the bedroom, cross legged on the floor with my journal and Bible sprawled open. Cup full of colorful pens and a stack of index cards to the side. Bright sticky notes in various shapes and sizes. The light brown bookshelf caddy cornered filled with romance novels and inspirational stories. Golden light shines brightly from the antique lamp. This is my retreat, my safe haven.

The monster has captivated me hostage for the past couple weeks. Drawing me deeper into an endless hole, like my feet slipping away in gooey quicksand. Trapped with no escape. Crawling out of bed has become more difficult and nights have grown restless. My emotions walking on a tightrope, ready to break at any given moment.

After long, stress filled work days I come and rest comfortably in the safety of my cozy corner. The single place where my undivided attention is centralized on Jesus. A place where the Holy Spirit is alive and present and the enemy is unwelcomed. I’ve cried tears of thanksgiving and also desperation in this space. Worship music has floated effortlessly in the environment but I’ve also basked in the utter silence. Only allowing conversion between my Father and I here. Freshly painted finger nailed hands lifted high absorbing His presence. Kneeling in prayer and pressing into The Truth. This is my “war room.”

Lies cultivated by the enemy fill my already vulnerable brain. Unworthy. Alone. Unwanted. Broken. Impossible to love. Each slowly stripping away any signs of life. The fear of shutting down struck my mind. This is what the enemy wants but I can’t allow myself back down a treacherous trail. Jesus is my lifeline.

Clinging to Him, I reach for my purple pen ready to spill my mind and heart out. Something catches my attention. Looking down, my tattoo seems to move to the forefront of my mind. My mind easily gets distracted and sometimes it’s hard to remember the truth behind it. An alluring butterfly on my right wrist. The same wrist I would attempt using a stick or scissors to numb the pain momentarily. An elegant design created by my art therapist at the time. The body, a semicolon, representing the life I chose to continue living. Wings spread to remind me that the life of a caterpillar was nice but living as a butterfly is incomparable. The most valued part of all, the words “I love you more” curve up the one wing.

I love you more. Four simple words with an immense power. At times the monster’s voice is louder than usual distorting my thoughts and reality. These four words speak truth and wisdom. I remember that my Heavenly Father loves me more than I can imagine. My sisters and family pop into view. All of my treatment team from Atlanta. The sweet circle of sisterhood and even daily interactions with complete strangers. A concoction of such a diverse yet pure cluster of souls reminding me of a wonderful gift.

Various bible verses pop in mind. Jesus’ love like a warm cup of tea and a thick snuggly blanket on a dreary winter morning. First, Romans 5:8. He has loved me at my darkest. In the black hole, vegetable state; He still loved me. Zechariah 2:5, “And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will be its glory within.’” Jesus protects and shields me from the enemy. Also, Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Wow. Let all of that sink in. Jesus takes me exactly as I am. Flawed yet still worthy. He loves and takes me for who I am, the authentic Maddie Rae. Not what society thinks I am or what the monster tries to tell me who I am. Jesus takes the raw, no makeup, messy bun, cluttered brain Maddie and still loves me for more than I can fathom.

He loves me more.

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dear ________,

dear ________,

Using your name seems unnatural but it seems even more unnatural to say, “dear dad.” I’ve never considered you as a father figure. You were never there. Even if you were psychically there it still didn’t mean you were actually there. We could be in the same building but couldn’t be farther apart. It was like two separate worlds.

Disappointment and anger are my mind’s instant reaction. There’s a buildup of hurt and deep pain. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around what would posses someone to do the things that you did. How can someone be so self centered and loveless?

For so long I’ve craved a sweet relationship with a Daddy. A daddy to dress up elegantly and escort me to daddy/daughter dances. A daddy to build the perfect little tree house so I could play family with my baby dolls and have campouts under the starry black night. A daddy to eat snow like powdered donuts with surrounded by other cool dads at “Donuts for Dad.” A daddy to practice sports with me on Saturday mornings then share warm fluffy pancakes for breakfast. A daddy to carry me to bed when I had fallen asleep on the couch and tuck me in with sweet forehead kisses. A daddy who would be there to wipe salty kisses away with every breakup and heartache. A daddy to protect me like a knight looking after his castle. A daddy to be a role model and instill good morals into my heart. A daddy to love me unconditionally and wholeheartedly. A daddy to kneel beside me as we leaned against the bed, hands clasped together reciting our prayers.

Growing up the enemy had blinded my heart and corrupted me with corrosive thoughts. I was deprived from The Truth. Ed, the monster and of course the enemy all joined forces to team up against me. It was like a jet black filter that only allowed the negative to seep through. I began to believe that all men were monsters. You were a monster in my head.

Trust issues arise. Neglect and unworthiness. A wave of isolation and emptiness. Slight pinch of disgust. Hatred and shame entangled in. How could one person cause so much emotion to arise? You let me down. Every standard for how a daddy should be completely thrown at the window. Effort to mend a broken relationship wasted. You are the most egocentric and sadistic person to ever step into my life.

Because of you, I had reoccurring nightmares that for so long my brain couldn’t make the connection it was you. Because of you, I faced severe ptsd that took years for me to seek the truth. Because of you, I spent part of my freshman year of high school and entire summer unable to stay home alone because I was terrified you would show up. Because of you, I almost didn’t go to my cousin’s wedding because you’re her uncle and I was certain you would be in attendance. Because of you, my relationships with males tend to fail. I could probably continue to trail the list on but at this point there’s no reason to.

Despite the unpleasant interactions and disgusting memories, there also came beauty. I never thought I would pair those two together but as I’ve continued to travel on this journey of recovery I never fail to surprise myself. You haven’t physically been in the picture for many, many years but there’s still been a sense of control. My life is better without you.

The lack of relationship with an earthly father provided me a key to an even sweeter connection with my Heavenly Father. All of those times I craved to have you there He was far more present. My desire to be closer to Him only grew stronger as you continued to fade. Thank you for that. Without Jesus, I don’t think I would’ve made it this far. He has been the only stability in my ever changing journey. Regardless of the heartache you caused me, I don’t think I would’ve changed anything.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I forgive you. In order for me to press on I must put this chapter behind. This was part of His plan all along. He opened my eyes to see the kind of strength I carried to forgive someone who isn’t even sorry and accept an apology I’ll never receive. There’s only one person who holds the title of Maddie Rae’s daddy and that’s Jesus. I’m sorry you missed the opportunity to love and grow with two exceptional young ladies. But you can’t help the way you are. I pray that one day you will come to know Him and unfollow the enemy. I pray that my little half brother doesn’t ever experience the same trauma as I did. I pray that my heart will continue to heal and forgive. I pray that I continue to chase my Daddy and love Him unconditionally. My worth is only found in Jesus.

Sincerely,

Madeline

her evergrowing tribe

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu

{tribe:// any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community or customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc}

Golden sunflowers. Pastel colored lavender. Champagne and baby pink zinnias. Fiery red coneflowers. Multicolor dahlias. Petite white daisies and tiny buttercups. Potent eucalyptus seeds. Sprigs of caspia bent every which way. All dancing gaily in the wind. Buzzing bumblebees gliding from one nectar home to the other. Fuzzy caterpillars slowly advancing across the ridged emerald green leaves. Butterflies fluttering across the fields. Lightening bugs floating on a breeze. It was near time for sunset. A unique blend of colors smeared across the once blue canvas. Tangerine orange with a splash of purple. Cotton candy colors swirled in the mix. Cool air was settling in. Replacing the humid, sticky feel of a typical summer day. There was a slight breeze drifting in and out which made the night slightly more refreshing. The dark cedar pergola sat at the top of the hill overlooking the luscious garden. Hearty veggies on one side and rows of perennials to the other. Vintage bulb string lights intertwined tiger orange marigold garland creating a canopy of twinkling stars. Buckets of freshly picked flowers scattered around in the newly cut grass. An elderly barn off in the distance. Faint animal noises could still be heard. Dogs running around wagging their tails. Their happiness couldn’t be tamed after waiting a week to play with their other puppy friends. The long whitewashed farm table with extended bench seats placed under the canopy just so. Intricately designed cloth napkins placed delicately atop the statement colored plates. Simple arrangements in various colored bottles and mason jars line the center of the table. Even a few cacti and succulents mixed in. A Mexican style table runner directly down the center. There was a plethora of color.

It was taco Tuesday. Her favorite day of the week. Crunchy corn taco shells and creamy white queso. Freshly made guacamole and slightly spicy salsa made recently picked veggies and herbs. Warm tortilla chips recently removed from the oven. The aroma of ground beef and shredded chicken tickling the hungry young girl’s nose. Shredded cheese and snow white sour cream. Crunchy leafy lettuce and vine ripen tomatoes. Pitchers of freshly brewed tea and recently squeezed lemonade. All the basic mega Mexican fiesta essentials. Scattered across the table. Of course with every hearty meal, sweet decadent treats followed as a cherry on top of a mountainous ice cream sunday.

Taco tuesday not only meant delicious food but exquisite friends. Precious, spirit filled souls congregated around the extended table. Before each meal hands were linked taking turns asking the blessing. The young girls catch up on the week’s events and discuss any exciting upcoming news. Pure sunshine radiating from their faces while laughing uncontrollably. Of course the typical silly faced pictures were taken and corny jokes were shared. Before the sun tucked in to sleep, each girl picked up their plastic buckets and woven baskets to pluck the week’s harvest. It was always a joyous occasion.

Soaking up all the vivacious vibes, the young girl is reminded of the numerous blessings her Heavenly Father graced her with. She had prayed and prayed and prayed. God had far exceeded her expectations when He placed these special people in the young girl’s life. Each of these precious souls have been such a blessing and a huge part of the young girl’s recovery and life.

Jordan Dooley seemed to sum it up perfectly for the young girl. “I admire and love these women so much. Their bold hearts for the Lord, humble spirits, and tender love for others pours out from every single angle of their souls. I’m so grateful for weekends full of love and community. Getting to do life with people where the Spirit is always active, present and welcome, where laughter and dance parties are never in short supply, and where real, messy and simple life is lived and loved with such overflowing joy and gratitude is an absolute gift. This is church. This is the kind of church that we so desperately need — the kind that reaches out, invites in, and always makes room in the circle… the kind that sits together, shares together, eats together, and celebrates each other.” This is the life the young girl’s Father is teaching her to embrace.

Growing up, her momma always said, “it takes a village,” and she never fully understood what it meant until she was older. The countless mother figures and added siblings creating a dysfunctional family. Friendships coming and going through various chapters of life. Separate states proving that love has no boundaries. Hardships and glorious celebrations. Tragedy and disastrous moments. Light of new beginnings and hope for what the future holds. Every element contributing to the person she is. Throughout her journey Jesus has been evident even in the darkest of moments.

The historic African proverb states, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Looking around at the exquisite environment Jesus had created, she was grasping how the proverb fit into her life. One earthly person couldn’t even begin to instil so much wisdom and truth into another’s life. Her Heavenly Father brings each discipline to the young girl to teach her, love her, support her or even hurt her. Positive outcomes or not each person continues to shape, mold, and reveal to the young girl who Jesus created her to be.

This was her tribe.

jumbled laundry

Wishy Washy. Like a load of dirty laundry floating in soapy lukewarm water. Swishing back and forth. Back and forth. There have been some decadently sweet moments but also some utterly sour moments. For the past couple days the wheels have been swirling like a rapid tornado. I’ve been teeter tottering between various pieces trying to comprehend why it was so easy to begin letting the hurt and pain out. This week seems to be different. I’ve barely written. The only thing screaming to come out was emotion.

There was the fear of unknown causing a shoulder tensing stress. Last night tears strolled down my face, fogging up my purple rimmed glasses because of a movie. Reaching back into my memory, I don’t think I’ve ever cried during a movie. Extreme hatred towards my body and how I look. An emptiness, unsure of how to repair the black hole inside. There were moments of numbness with a hint of fear that I was drifting back into the vegetable state. Other moments where I couldn’t text my sister fast enough expressing my overwhelming thoughts. Sadness mixed in like a key ingredient of a recipe. A pinch of hopelessness and burdensome worry. Self destructive urges peaked up. Regret. Why did I eat that, when I knew better? Jumbled into the mix, there were times when I couldn’t really place my finger on a specific feeling or emotion. Moments that took a little extra power to get out of the coziness of my bed. There were also times when I wanted to throw in the towel, throw up my hands and say, “ok, monster and enemy, you win right now!” It seems to be a whole laundry list of rancid feelings. Dull colors. Boring and lifeless. Bland.

But underneath there seemed to be another load. A glimpse of sunshine and paradise. Brighter colors. An incredibly, breathtaking solar eclipse. The glowing smiley face from the tiniest of littles when catching fish from the blue green lake with the petite fishing pole. Sweet, pure surprises from a secret sister. Creating unexpected friendships in the nail salon. Messages filled with wisdom and truth. Receiving a book that was eagerly waited on. Movie nights with the one whom my soul loves. Hugs that were a little tighter. Jubilant birthday surprises. Ridiculously corny jokes. Encouragement and mighty power from irreplaceable sisters. Compliments catching my completely off guard. Happy and thankful tears.

Jesus never failed to show up. He heard my cries and carried me through the vulnerable times. The bad could easily outweigh the good but I clung to hope and faith. This part of recovery is so unbelievably difficult but Jesus is working in me. Scooping out the gunk and instilling a rawness that hasn’t been experienced before. I can’t expect to magically heal over night or force myself to write about a distasteful history fully in one sitting. Casting Crowns, “Praise You in this Storm,” and Dave Barns, “Carry me Through,” have played randomly in my car several times this week. Each time, the words strike my soul a little harder.

There’s a mountain
Here before me
And I’m going to climb it
With strength not my own
He’s gonna lead me
Or the mountain beats me
Carry me through
Carry me through

My Heavenly Father is and, will continue to, carry me through this storm. He’s filled me with the strength similar to a mighty warrior. Transforming my heart and mind. His timing is impeccable and sometimes it’s challenging to fathom such an overwhelming, selfless love. I will continue to fix my chocolate brown eyes on Jesus. I will strive to trust in Him more and more with each passing day. As I continue to travel on this path, I look forward to what will unravel and how my eyes will be opened to newer, fresher things. Some days I will need to remind myself that I am not alone and that there’s no shame to my story a little more frequently and that will be ok. No doubt will there be more cloudy, rainy days but that is part of the battle, as long as I don’t fester and start to live in those black hole moments. I will continue to cling so tightly and hopefully to Romans 12:9.

Jesus, help me to cling to what is good.

 

 

Romans 12:9 :// Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

 

temple

As I sit here staring at the screen I'm filled with aggravation and pain. I've written countless blog posts and journal entries but this is by far the hardest thing for me to write about. Part of me doesn't understand. I don't understand how I can write about a tornado and trauma with my father but can't even think to begin to write about this. It feels like it shouldn't be this difficult. I've been hiding from the truth practically my whole life.

All I can think about is an alcoholic reaching for his next cold one regardless of the situation or time of day. That's how I feel with you, ED. You're far worse than an abusive relationship. You're there when I wake up, when I'm happy, when I'm sad or anxious, when I'm trying to go to sleep. You're there every minute of every day. Quite frankly, you're exhausting. It's always one extreme or the other. I eat too much or I eat way too little or not at all. I spend over two hours in the gym or don't do anything at all. There's no in between. You make me so mad. I feel like I've done everything yet still can't get rid of you. I want to blame it on my father since that's when it seems you decided to first come around. I was so young and so vulnerable. There would be weekends with no food or water. What kind of parent doesn't care to properly nourish their own child? Anger arouses. The enemy had swooped in and already taken control.

Then I begin to think how could anyone allow their self to skip meals and in turn lay on the bathroom floor crying because it felt like they were going to be sick? But I allowed it. It was a coping mechanism. ED, you teamed up with the enemy and filled my mind with lies. My heart hurts and filled with cheerlessness.

I've allowed other people to walk all over me because of you. I believed that I was ugly and fat and can barely look in a mirror now be because of it. The people I love the most and look up to would ask, “Are you really going to wear that?” Or “Do you think you should eat that?” Now I hide in dark, looser clothes because I'm embarrassed and broken.

Hopelessness and fear. Anger and jealousy. Sadness and pain. Regret and shame. Restraint and burdens. I feel trapped and a failure. All strong and powerful feelings and thoughts swirl in my mind as I begin to allow myself to experience something that I've never done before. It's completely outside of my comfort zone and honestly I don't like it.

The figure and shape on the outside can't even begin to represent the person I am on the inside. There's this picture in my head. A tall, beautiful girl dancing freely and confidently in fields of sunflowers and wildflowers. She radiates desire and grace. That's who I long to be.

I've prayed and continue to pray. I know that I can only experience complete freedom through Jesus. Without Him the enemy and Ed will continue to tear me down. I am reminded in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that my body's a temple and won't magically be built overnight. He has placed Godly women in my life to speak truth and wisdom over me when my mind begins to trick me in thinking I can't overcome this. As badly as I wish that my fairy godmother could wave her magic wand and all of this mess would magically be fixed, I am beginning to accept the challenge and time that it'll take. I've faced many challenges in my short life on earth and with each step I've grown in my faith and relationship with Jesus. I've watched one sister fight Ed and is now living out life in freedom. This is a gleam of strength and hope. I will continue to be vulnerable and trust that my Heavenly Father continues to take care of me. It's time for a new season in my journey. I know it won't be easy. It'll be hard. Very hard. But I've fought like hell to get where I am and I don't plan to stop until I can finally say I've broken up with Ed. With Jesus and sweet sisters by my side, I will overcome this.

washed by the water

“Your story is unique and so so different.. and NOT worthy of comparison.” -unknown

{wash :// to apply water or some other liquid to (something or someone) for the purpose of cleansing; cleanse by dipping, rubbing, or scrubbing in water or some other liquid. to free from spiritual defilement or from sin, guilt, etc.:}

Something had been off but the young girl couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She couldn’t tell if it was her monster or lies from an outside source. Brushing off unwanted funk the young girl tried to continue her days as normal as possible. Whatever normal was. It wasn’t until she had a full blown worship session in her car that it clicked. 

Pulling into the work parking lot after lunch the young girl noticed the sky shift colors and atmosphere vibes turn from bright and cheery to mellow. Like most young adults, she had failed to spend a few minutes being still. She constantly is consumed by the chaos of the world to take time and “be.” There were a few minutes left of her lunch break and a feeling urged the young girl to play “Washed by the Water” by Needtobreathe. 

Cranking up the volume, she lifted her hands up to her heart, palm side up, welcoming the Holy Spirit. As the young girl closed her dark brown eyes she knew her Heavenly Father was with her. Listening to the tiny water droplets bounce off windows. Comfort and peace swirled around as pure words fill her heart. 

The hectic world began to diminish as she worshipped unapologetically in the comfort of her little Kia Rio. The young girl is extremely cautious of the words making their way back to her ears. Certain words touch her soul deeper than others. 

Even if the earth crumbles under my feet

Even if the ones I love turn around and crucify me

I won’t never ever let you down

I won’t fall

I won’t fall 

I won’t fall as long as you’re around me 

A mound of emotions and thoughts race through the young girl’s mind. These specific lyrics stuck out to her like a mighty bee sting. Her heart synchronized to the steady beat of drums. The young girl scrolls through her memory bank and reverses back to the day before. Unintentionally she shares her story of the monster and recovery with two coworkers. For the first time, the young girl did not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Texting her best friend, their relationship recently blooming yet it feels like years since they’ve met, to discuss the previous moments. Both girls agree that no one person should feel compunctious or humiliated about their story. A story is an incredible aspect to our world. Diversity brings such value and strength. The young girl lets the words and memories mellow into her soul.

The moment was so elegant and beautiful that it was difficult to put in precise words. It was like a Christmas gift perfectly designed in intricate paper. The funk she had been carrying slipped away. Her Heavenly Father swooped down to cradle His little girl. A gentle reminder, she too, was washed by the water. 

There was so much power in the young girl’s few minutes and she desperately longed for others to know it was ok to share their journey. It’s so easy to get consumed by life’s mess that the young girl forgot who is in control. Complete unshakable control. Her Father has carefully placed God fearing women in her life to bind her tribe together in the most holiest ways. The young girl was confident that her extravagant adventure was part of His way to shine the light. 

She only needed to be still. 

transition 

“Honor the space between no longer and not yet” – Nancy Levin

{transition :// movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change}

“You’re doing life.” Those three simple words settled into the young girl’s soul as she headed out the door. She was leaving a long overdue therapy session with her wheels turning. Life had transformed over the past few months. What exactly did it mean that she was “doing life?” 

Headed home, sitting in Atlanta traffic, the young girl soaks up the abundant amount of joy and love overflowing from her heart. She was about to finish her first semester back in school and transition into a new season of education. Preparing to take the next steps excited her. Of course there was also a hint of hesitation but the young girl felt charged. In a few short days she would reach her 1 year self harm free mark and at times it was hard to believe. This time last year she had just graduated from her treatment center and was preparing to transition back into the “real world.” There had been so much growth and dedicated work in those 365 days. Her writing had now blossomed and the young girl could feel the light she was shining on others was glowing brightly. This fueled her fire. Part of the young girl wanted to spend every minute of everyday writing and letting her creative juices flow. Oh, and how the magic filled the air. The young girl was in a new relationship and never could’ve imagined that someone would treat her the way this man does. She honestly felt that this was the man she had prayed for. He was her knight in shining armor and she the princess. It was like a fairytale. Confidence levels were building and in a way it felt like she could take on the world. The young girl looked forward to dressing up more often and wasn’t so eager to hide behind the sweatpants and oversized shirts. It was easier for her to look forward to going out and making new plans. She was feeding off the rush a new adventure gave her. Before long, some of her family widely spread would reconnect in a special spot. She could not begin to contain her excitement. A wave of smiles and inner sunshine consumed her daily routines. If only the rest of the world could share this feeling. Gratitude was at the forefront of her mind. Jesus had drastically changed her life and continues to work through her. She wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. 

This is what it meant to be “doing life.” The young girl knew that every day would not be perfect and she would have her monster filled moments but she was willing to take those days as they came. She was following the path her Heavenly Father had intended for her to take. At times it was difficult to put it all in words. It’s not often the young girl is left speechless digging for the perfect words. In the moments when she couldn’t piece the words together the young girl would rest in His presence. 

This was a life worth loving and the young gir believed the butterfly had finally taken flight.

rest.

“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” – Ovid

{rest :// the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep; refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor}

It’s nearly 3:00 am. Severe weather warnings flash across the tv. She watches the lightning fill up the dining room. Sounds of politic filled late night shows fill the background. The corner of the cozy couch conforms around her. Every few seconds a crack of thunder consumes her universe. Normally the young girl would be crawling out of her skin during a thunderstorm. Tucking herself away in her bed with headphones in and music blasting. Tonight was different. PTSD shot down. Her monster lost. Instead Jesus won. 

Unbothered by her surroundings, the young girl continued to watch a Facebook video. The woman in the video discusses about rest. How Jesus created in six days but the seventh was created specifically for rest. As she began to think about it, she couldn’t remember the last time she had rested. It had been over a week since her last off day from work. The young girl was exhausted. Physically, mentally and spiritually. She had veered off her path with her Heavenly Father and succumbed to the enemy’s power. Losing herself in work rather than finding herself in her faith.

The young girl climbs into bed. Turning on a new meditation a friend sent her. As the video starts she can feel her body relax. The words are powerful and meaningful. She can feel the impact in her soul. Noticing the words the young girl pays attention to the mention of rest again. This was Jesus’ way of calling His daughter back to Him. 

The “to do” lists would still be there. Her job wasn’t leaving. School work wouldn’t diminish. Friendships would not be broken and the world would still be spinning. It was time she carved out some time, even just 15 minutes, to rest. She needed to spend time in prayer and allow her body to recharge. The young girl wasn’t being selfish, she was learning to take care of herself. 

The only way to refuel herself was through Jesus. In a world full of high demands and countless temptations it’s easy to become burned out quickly. Her little thunderstorm moment was a glimpse of peace. She wanted to make a habit of fueling her fire in a healthy way. A fire fueled by Jesus. 

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

https://youtu.be/3ELxqlES8v8

https://www.facebook.com/whoasusannah/videos/1378096158911336/ 

a guy that knows

“I am worthy of so much more than what I started to settle for” – unknown

 

{worth :// good or important enough to justify; usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose}

 

There was something in her soul and it needed to come out. She wasn’t sure where it was coming from or what exactly possessed her to feel this intensely about it. The young girl picked up her phone and began typing…

 

Let me just be real a second… all I want is a guy that knows…that I sing “forget you” at the top of my lungs to let anger out. That I listen to silent night when I’m distressed. That I can easily lose myself in a bookstore, especially in the children’s section. That the beach brings me back to myself. That I prefer sunsets over sunrises but think both are equally beautiful. That my sister is my ultimate best friend. That sometimes I just need a day out with my best friend, Al. That knows my past complete with every high and low but still takes me as I am and loves me anyway. That I am the most free when I’m driving in my car, singing at the top of my lungs with the windows down. That I have a heart made of gold but should be treated as a delicate flower. That I prefer to be behind a camera rather than in front. That sometimes I would much rather stay at home and watch movies than go out. That sometimes I don’t always know what is wrong and that I just need to cry. That I love to snuggle and it makes me feel safe. That the smallest things can make my day. That I don’t need to be spoiled in materialistic things. That I love surprises. That flowers always make me happy regardless of how I’m feeling at first. That I get my nails done not bc I’m a “basic girl” but because it’s a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and that I have the willpower to destroy a horrific habit. That sometimes writing is my own true escape. That sappy chick flicks get me in touch with my feels. That lavender oil helps me sleep at night. That hot tea warms my soul. That I love bath bombs. That each of my littles take up a large portion of my heart. That I believe there is a good in anyone. That I get slightly sad when I want Chickfila on Sundays. That sometimes a drink with Brittney is what I need. That I am very independent but will always want you too. That I aspire to be a world changer. That sunflowers make my face light up. That I think oreos and peanut butter are a wonderful combination. That Atlanta is also home. That I am always up for any and every adventure. That sometimes I snort when I laugh too hard. That I love little notes written on the bathroom mirror. That cleaning is a stress reliever for me. That I love watching football even though most of the time I’m not exactly sure what is going on. But most importantly I want him to know that I am me and I am not defined by anything.

 

After pressing send an instant wave of relief washed over her. It was kind of weird since she wasn’t really sure that the feeling had even been there. Then it made sense. She had found her worth. Through all of the chaos life had brought to her the past few weeks this was brewing inside of her. This was who she was. Just because others couldn’t see her for how great she was didn’t mean that she would start settling for anything less than she deserved. The young girl deserved her fairy tale. All of the hurt and pain from previous relationships would not take away the hope she had for future ones. Out there in the world was a guy who would know these things and then be able to create his own list one day. Her prince charming would come.

 

Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;   your works are wonderful,  I know that full well

the list

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

 

{trauma:// an experience that produces psychological injury or pain}

 

It seems she can’t begin to explain and process the amount of hurt and pain the list of men have caused in her life. It started with a man so called her “father.” He came into her house where she felt safe and comforted and took her just because “you wanted to have us that weekend.” That’s just controlling, not a person who loves his two daughters. Would a loving father let his first born daughter stay in her room all weekend without food or water? She was a little girl who was scared of her step mom’s big dogs. They might not have been big to you but to a young child they were. Would a father let his step son lock his daughter out of her own house and watch as he laughed at her? Would a father just up and leave his family to go be with some other women he barely knew? This was only the beginning of her list.

 

Sophomore year of high school comes. An ex-boyfriend whom she thought she loved. The girl was young and didn’t know any better. She replays the night over and over in her head weeks following the traumatizing event. Standing in the door frame, the drunk guy grabbed her arms pleading for her to come outside. She was terrified. Looking at his friend she yells for him to get the guys hands off of her. Vulnerable and over caring, the young girl dealt with the drunk the rest of the night. Holding his hands, trying to protect him from hurting himself. He kept running into walls. Later she stands in the boys’ bathroom as his two friends demand him to eat the peanut butter sandwich. They sit on the bench. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and then suddenly his face turns green. A green similar to a grass stained football jersey. This was unlike anything the young girl had ever experienced before. Part of her felt that this could not possibly be real life. This night would be permanently implanted into her mind for possibly the rest of her life.

 

A few years pass and she had fallen in love much deeper and harder this time. The young girl reaches the house. He tells her to immediately go to his room. The belligerence cranked to full throttle. She has pushed herself as far into the corner as possible. The door was locked yet she was still frozen with fear. Deep down she believed her boyfriend would protect her but, as for the drunk, the feelings weren’t mutual. Eyeing at the window, thoughts of climbing out pass through her mind. She flashes back to that sophomore night. A man who was supposed to be a father like figure was reminding her more of her actual father. How could someone she loved and cared for so much act this way?

 

Another year or so has come and gone and the young girl was in a completely different stage in her life. Cross legged on the hospital floor, the nurse tries to hand her an Ativan. She refuses. Her emotions have reached overload and she simply just wants to cry. The young girl was ready to go home. This wasn’t the place for her. Alone, frightened, unsure and exhausted, physically and mentally. After repeatedly being told she couldn’t call her mom the social worker appears. They walk to her room. The social worker begins to speak, expressing his concern that she’s assaulted another social worker. Threatened to be sent to jail, tears flow unapologetically. “I would never hurt anyone,” she thought to herself. If this worker knew her in the slightest way, there would be no question of whether she assaulted someone or not.  

 

Now, several months fill the gap of the previous incident and the young girl was in a treatment facility. An ordinary day had turned into the unthinkable. It was like a switch flipped. What seemed to be an innocent bus ride to the gas station turned around to be the unthinkable. With the blink of an eye, the man at the rear of the bus shouts. Upset over something so little and out of his control. Turning around showing his butt for everyone to see. The bus pulls up to main campus and the young girl flies off as quickly as possible. Climbing over people and backpacks. She had done her best to fight back tears. Now the flood gates had opened. Shaking and hysterical the young girl was unsure what to do with herself. There was no way she could get back on that bus. She wanted to be as far away from that man as possible. Disoriented the young girl nearly flipped over the front railing of the bus.

 

Relaxing on the couch after a fun filled night at the museum her friendly giant didn’t seem so friendly anymore. The insults and hurtful words fly. Processing the events became seemingly impossible. What just happened? How could someone she cared for so deeply and thought of as a sweet, harmless soul say such damaging words. She was frozen with a surmount of raw fear and shock. The young girl felt numb. Sitting in the nurse’s office, the previous moments slurred together. Flashbacks from childhood issues come flying back. She’s hit a wall. Unable to hold it all in the young girl has become a complete mess. The day’s makeup and salty tears stream down her face. She no longer felt comfortable. Sitting in a chair facing several important people on her treatment team, what tiny bit of self-confidence she thought she was gaining back had been wiped away.  

 

Each incident added a brick to her crumbling backpack. The bag was torn and her body slouched over. The young girl desperately craved to divorce the load but it was as if the backpack was permanently attached. There was no escape. Each block of hardened clay brought reoccurring dreams and extreme resistance towards any male species. The young girl converses with her best friend explaining how she had reached a point where the thought of being touched with a 100-foot pole by a man sickened her. Then the image appears in her head. The Grinch. Her view of men could not be explained any clearer than this. The only difference between the Grinch in Whoville and the young girl’s Grinch was that she had multiple. Not only did she have several but these monster like creatures’ hearts never grew. The young girl has carried this backpack nearly her entire life. As the years passed the load grew heavier and her weak body crumpled even more. But this lifestyle was about end. The young girl had had enough of being controlled by these horrific moments. It was time to take back over her life. She was excited yet terrified.

 

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand