wildflower

Her long, red, barrel sized curls bounced off her shoulders. Pops of purple peek through her layers. The white floral print dress form fitting to her body. Pink and cream blooms scattered across the snow like fabric in an organized fashion. Shades of green mingle in. Hidden side pockets were her favorite feature in this comfy article of clothing. Barefoot is her favorite kind of shoes. Peeking out from the bottom of her dress were pale pink toenails matching her freshly painted hands. She had the clearest complexion. A sweet glow in a sense. Her skin fair but lately she’s turned golden brown, kissed by the sun. Freckles prominent on her knees and elbows. She loves makeup. Today, it’s a more subtle look but each day varies with each given mood. Dark chocolate eyes twinkle in the light. Soft colored eyeshadow and extended, beautiful eyelashes. And that smile. Wow. It could brighten the darkest of rooms. Her board straight posture reflecting the countless minutes meditating and practicing disciplinary yoga. The young lady’s physique was a true expression of her balanced nutrition. Her body a machine and extraordinary temple. Arm muscles and calves distinctly defined enough to provide some curve that it didn’t seem unnatural but not overly done. She grasps firmly to the freshly picked wildflowers careful not to damage their stems. With arms spread wide like an eagle the young girl twirls around gayly. When she wasn’t in her favorite dress you could find her in stretchy yoga pants or rolled up overalls. Her heart belonged to the wild things.

The sun was close to preparing to turn in for the day and the environment seemed to glow. A kaleidoscopic colored blanket sprawled across a portion of the field. Journals and books stacked on a fraction of the fabric. The camera sat in the midst. A place of meditation and grounds for recentering. It’s a secluded retreat. Bumble bees floating from one nektar hub to another. The sweet aroma of honeysuckle and musty dirt spread vastly across the field. There’s a gentle breeze breaking up the thick heat. Life as a crummy weed was no longer part of the young girl’s plan.

After enough care and grooming, she finally bloomed. Each petal a different attribute. Confident. Humble. Vibrant. Joyful. Poised. Free spirit. Gifted. Connected. Affectionate. Spontaneous. Brave. Exuberant. Independent. Expressive. The list could drag on and on but this new life is much more fulfilling.

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dear body

Dear body,

You are the only tangible thing that has been with me my entire life yet I’ve treated you like complete garbage. For 22 years you’re embarked on this journey with me, and honestly, I think I’ve put you through far more than you deserved. You’ve become something that holds such deep shame and unworthiness and in my mind I’ve removed myself from you. This is all so beyond my comfort zone.

I can’t help but look at you and instantly feel disgusted. Two of the nastiest words smear across the mirror when I try looking in its reflection. Fat and ugly. Two words that have circled my brain countless times and their power strengthening each year. My face reminds me of a chipmunk whose cheeks are constantly filled and never fully empty. I see two extra neck rolls like sausage busting out of the casing and the stretch marks on my stomach seem to continuously grow. My chest is heavy and when I lay on my back I feel like I’m being suffocated by my own body. There has never been a thing called a thigh gap nor have I been toned and fit. My stomach the least favorite part of my body. I hide behind baggy dark colored clothes in hopes I blend in and remain unnoticed. It’s difficult to accept any sort of compliment let alone try to believe one. Swimsuits have never been on my side and the majority of the time I am the “thicker friend.” Chocolate has held its control and my self discipline is nearly in the negatives. I tend to hide when I eat in fear that someone will judge. Athleticism does not run in my genes and society tends to fuel my fire of brokenness. You have been violated and abused. I’ve taken advantage of you and hold quite a few battle scars. Honestly I could probably keep going but this is where I draw the line in the sand.

I should be treating you as a friend rather than an enemy. You do not define my worth. I am an heir of the almighty king and need to be acting that way. I was created in HIS image. Not my image. Not society’s image. But His.

Matthew West says it best. “I am no longer defined / by all the wreckage behind / the one who makes all things new / has proven it’s true”

Jesus take off this shame that’s over my life. I am filled with God given purpose. I am unique and precious. Loved and forgiven. Protected and chosen. Free and whole. Righteous and light. Washed clean and created new. I could go on and on as I dig deeper into His word.

But I was only given one body and it was created to be treated like a temple. I’m sorry for not caring for you like a precious jewel. I promise to work harder in being more mindful in caring for you and living in a season of thanksgiving. My hope is to build a better relationship with you.

I’m going to love you.

2017 reflection

The days are dwindling down and the new year is quickly approaching. I always love spending this season reflecting and using it as a time of thanksgiving. So much can happen in 365 days. Each month holding at least one significant event. Digging into my memory bank, I notice that 2017 was filled with a lot more magic than I realized.

In January I started a new job breaking away from the repetition of flipping burgers and handing out french fries. The aroma of fresh perennials would win any day.

For a year I tried to muster up enough courage to go back to Milledgeville where it seems my whole journey began. Something about February seemed just right and I overcame the fear head on. It was a conglomeration of feels but the power of accomplishment towered highly over the others. Gritty sand and radiant sunshine filled March. Along with a venturous spring break in Hilton Head, I also started dating my quirky boyfriend. I never imagined I could be with someone who loves me so wholeheartedly and effortlessly as he does. April rang loudly with a year free of self harm while May graced me with an incredible weekend in Atlanta. Golden sunflowers overflowed June and bled into July. A beach getaway trip also added jewels to the memory bank. Spring City, Tn was the prime spot to absorb the universe in totality. The solar eclipse was definitely one of the top moments not only in August but the whole year. Closure and healing blanketed September. Magical sparks flew in October as I stepped foot into Disney World. November was chalked full of photo booths and nights out embracing the wild side. Pure snowflakes, twinkling lights and irreplaceable family time jam packed December. This only places a dent in 2017.

Through it all this year also held countless taco dates and uplifting messages. I connected with precious people who touch deep into the soul. The kind of people that you know was all because of Jesus. I also grew in my writing and broke down barriers to be extremely raw and vulnerable. My faith has been tested yet also made me take a step back and stand in amazement. Transition has flowed into my life on a various amount of levels.

But I have high expectations for 2018. Passion, purpose and prosperity have been laid heavily on my heart. I pray that Jesus will speak words and life into my book and it’ll launch by January 1, 2019. That it’ll exceed my expectations and soar deep into people’s souls. Maybe it’ll create a movement of shining His light and destroying stigmas’ walls. As I dive deeper into His word, I pray that my Father will reveal His purpose for my life and strengthen my relationship with Him. With each step I take on my journey this coming year, I pray that there will be strides taken to overcome ed. It’s control is not welcome here. There is hope for my recovery. I pray that my friendships will bloom even larger and my eyes will be open to so much more of the world. More of Him and less of me. My war room will become my safe space.

Regardless of what is thrown at me this coming year, I will walk hand and hand with my Daddy as He paves my walk and shows me His ways.

It’s time for the butterfly to take flight.

12.24.17

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m scheduled to work an 8 hour shift in a grocery store. This is not how I pictured my life. I should be at home reflecting on the season and spending time with my loved ones. I want to be doing so much more in this world. My heart has no spirit. Instead it’s heavy and melancholy. I miss the magical nostalgia you get as a child baking cookies and singing carols. The rich aroma of a fraser fir sailing effortlessly through the house. Sleeping in late and curling up on the couch with a snuggly blanket and warm hot cocoa watching The Grinch or A Christmas Carol. Driving around town after dinner in search for the prettiest twinkling lights. It’s not the same as an adult. There’s bills to pay and a job to show up to. But sometimes life isn’t all about money. Memories and family make for a richer heart. I can feel change coming. I’m not exactly sure when or in what way but my hope is starting to shine again. Throwing fuel to my fire for Jesus. Going into a new year makes me nervous but there’s also a deep thrill. I am praying 2018 is a year of purpose, passion and prosperity. That I continue to find my way and take on the journey that is thrown in my direction. I know there will be plenty of adventures and challenging growth. I hope I reach dreams and embrace each moment. I want and need Jesus to be my sole focus and center. Without Him I am nothing. Looking back, so much has drastically changed in 365 days but I’ve also gained some incredibly beautiful things. For over a month I’ve been living in a funk and I’m beyond ready to escape its shell. Things won’t be easy by any means. Overcoming ed will be one of the most life transforming, soul growing, earth shattering experiences. I believe there is life on the other side. These shackles and chains no longer belong. Not just with ed but also my other fears and burdens. I want to formulate and piece together extravagant words to spread a story of life and progress. Somehow I will build a bigger platform and extend my heart to others. There’s no way I can do it all alone. I’m not doing life right now alone. There is a plethora of thoughts and ideas circling around my brain but I’m still searching a way to get it all out. My words probably don’t make sense now and there’s so much more to say but for now, it’s all a start.

me too

It’s been over two weeks. I’ve been lagging behind my intimate time with Jesus. The infamous purple pen has barely made contact with the inside of my journal. Part of my authenticity has been pushed to the back burner. Most of November smeared together like peanut butter and jelly in between two slices of freshly baked bread and I’m just now taking a quiet moment. I’ve finally secluded myself in the cozy corner of my war room.

Digging deeper into the gunk that has settled into my soul completely unwelcomed, there’s a moment that I unintentionally avoided. Shame and discomfort bubble to my heart’s surface similar to the fizz atop an ice cold soda.

We’ve been friends for nearly a year. I never thought something like this could happen to me. By now one would think I’ve would’ve learned to expect the unexpected but nope, not with this crazy life I live. The more I try to ponder over the situation, I still can’t pinpoint how it actually started.

As the conversations gradually grew the vulgarity heightened. Changing the subject was nearly impossible. I was in complete disbelief. There was no time to process what was going on. Your disgusting talk continued. All you wanted to talk about was sex. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. Is this all guys think about?

You described in detail what you desired to do with me. Vitamin “D” would supposedly cure my stress. The words “friends with benefits” flew around like fireflies with no intended destination. All talk seemed so natural and normal to you. But me, I felt violated and ashamed. If I didn’t tell anyone then maybe it wouldn’t seem like real life. Despite knowing I have a boyfriend you continued to push, asking if I thought I could keep up with you sex drive or concerned that I might formulate feelings for you with how often we would do it.

After a couple days I finally mustered up enough courage to talk to someone. I was scared and felt like I was in the wrong. I think I was also in denial. Through social media and the news I’ve heard the “#metoo stories” but it never fazed me that one day I too would be using those simple words. It took telling three people and their torn up reactions to acknowledge that I was being sexually harassed.

For so many years I’ve taken everyone else’s crap regardless of how it might damage me. I thought this talk was ok because I didn’t do anything to stop it. As scary as it’s been there has also been clarity and growth. It is never ok to talk to a female or anyone for that matter they way you did. I should never think twice about telling someone. There are more people who will love and protect me than I realized. This is just another bump in the road and not a dead end.

I will take this piece and add it to my story like a rugged puzzle piece fitting into a grander picture. I don’t know why this all happened but I trust that Jesus reveal the plan in His time.

I will be ok.

it’s time

Dear Ed,

For as long as I can remember I’ve been chasing after you. Seeking approval and hiding emotions. You’ve captured me ransom like a cat chasing after a tiny barn mouse or a puppet and it’s master. You the puppeteer and me the vulnerable rag doll. I’ve grown so acclimated to your presence that our souls seem to have merged into one like two young lovebirds reciting nuptials at the intricately decorated altar.

My identity stripped raw like a criminal confiscated from his clothes and presented with an orange jumpsuit. I’m a prisoner in my own body. My self worth drained dry like a cracked desert emptied down to the last drop.

Like any two acquaintances, our relationship has endured its various seasons. At the beginning of high school you and I restricted. Skipping lunch nearly everyday then returning home to lay near the toilet on the ice cold flood afraid I would throw up. I felt miserable and at times this only lead to bingeing. I gorged myself with food like a football player with an endless metabolism. What part of myself thought this was ok or normal?

The second half of high school took a slightly different path like an unexpected thunderstorm on a beautiful summers day. After school I would rush to the gym, ready to run away the stress. Hour one, feet hitting the rubber conveyor belt hard and upbeat rhythm keeping the tempo. Hour two, metal plates clashing as I pushed harder to leg press or any other weight machine. A strength training class often filled hour two on certain days. Hour three, ridiculous dance moves in Zumba class. Some days I put in two hours others were filled with three. But for five days a week almost every week this was my routine. I logged my food intake more frequently in this season. The compliments fueled my health craze fire. In a way, this season was addictive, boosting my physical health only to cover up my mental health.

College was a separate season of its own. It wasn’t very common for me to have three real meals a day. Others were spent with constant snacking like a pregnant mother unable to satisfy her hunger. Each day like a mystery eagerly waiting to be unfolded. Chocolate began to be my escape. Stepping into this portal blinding the harshness of my raw reality. An outing would be considered unsuccessful if at least one candy bar wasn’t purchased.

Growing older as the years passed you only intensified like a pounding migraine seizing to loosen control. You’ve embedded fear into my heart as I watched a loved one inject himself with insulin. I become uncomfortable in my skin when I pass obese people on the street. Eating cookie dough didn’t faze me as an unhealthy choice for breakfast. You pushed me after a disoriented representation of beauty and self worth.

I thought picking the skin around my fingernails was awful and considered it self harm but honestly what we’ve done is far worse. I’ve filled my body with extreme toxins and allowed the machine of a body I’ve been given to corrode. Unknowingly and unintentionally I made you an idol and placed you on a golden pedestal. As you became greater, Jesus became less. And that’s not the life I wish to chase after.

It’s way passed time to separate myself from you. You don’t deserve to be my lifeline. There is a whole other life out in this big world that I’m desperately eager to experience but can’t with you weighing me down like a boat’s anchor welded deep into the ocean’s floor. Just like depression nor anxiety claim my identity neither do you. You are a part of my story and my journey but by no means are you my soul existence.

Sometimes it’s comforting to walk hand in hand with you but I know you’re not from God. You only started when Adam and Eve sinned but will be destroyed when I completely trust Jesus. You wrap me up in loads of bondage, baggage and chains. It’s going to be a process but over time Jesus will take one link of those chains off at a time.

It’s time. Time to press into the Truth of who He says I am rather than what the world and the enemy tells me I am or am not.

silent night

This morning I woke up to the sound of drizzling rain, steadily beating on the roof top. The weather has finally begun to cool and signs of fall have grown clearer. A gray, dull canvas covers the sky and the atmosphere appears gloomy. But laying in my queen size bed with one too many pillows, I embrace the stillness. Fighting a sinus infection and a stressful week has drained my energy. A deep, dense fog wrapped tightly around my brain. It’s intoxicating. I feel my stature sink deeper into the quicksand as the weight on my shoulders grows heavier.

After a bowl of cereal, I muster up enough energy to take a shower. As the warm beads of water meet my skin, I can feel layers of buildup melting away. I felt refreshed and willing to dry my hair. Maybe looking halfway decent won’t be too terrible today. Sometimes the most basic personal hygiene tasks can be like climbing a mountain for someone with the ugliest of monsters. Today marks a year and a half self harm free and my heart holds hope. My mood has stayed leveled up until this point.

“What is going on inside of Maddie?” The question circling through my head like a race car driver fighting for first place. I write the seven words in the margin of a blank piece of notebook paper. The black ink uglier than my typical purple pen. Although I need to be practicing mindfulness more, it’s not often that I’m left completely alone with my thoughts. And boy was it scary.

As I was scribbling words onto the paper, my hand couldn’t catch up with my brain. Suddenly the tears were streaming. Then the cry turned into a hard sob. I was hot and sweaty and in full blown distress. My chest tight like a rope pulling two sides oh my body together. The importance of today was thrown out the window and replaced with strong urges to pick my fingers and pull my hair. It was the kind of meltdown where I sat cross legged on the floor with my hands thrown in the air to avoid self harming. I couldn’t stop. I had reached the point of hyperventilating crying. The worst kind there is. My mind had taken over and honestly, I think this is the worst meltdown I’ve had since I was in treatment.

Reaching out to my therapist, I was past the point of using the skills she suggested. Instead it was the kind of meltdown that I had to listen to “Silent Night” seven times. Seven. Times. That’s nearly thirty minutes of trying to come back down. Laying on the floor with my hands reached above my head, I’m doing my best to breathe.

It’s been over a hour. My eyes are swollen like puffy marshmallows and the house is so silent all I can hear is heavy breathing. I sit and stare at the white baseboard in my room. The adrenaline rush gradually dissolving. As the moments creak by, tension seeps out of my body. My energy is completely drained. I grab my blanket and cocoon myself before I lay in bed. Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath and feel grounded again. It was an intense roller coaster ride in such a short period of time.

I feel disgusting and shameful. I’m embarrassed that I would allow my mind to take over this way. I should’ve been stronger. But just as Jesus’s timing couldn’t have been any more perfect, He spoke truth through my best friend. She said, “You can’t help it. The mind is powerful and sometimes we can’t control what it wants us to do. You can’t help that it was taking over today. Sometimes that happens. That’s part of mental health and healing. It’s all okay.” My little angel.

Maybe I needed to have a “meltdown” in order to really allow myself to keep pressing into my ED recovery. Since I’ve had a hard time expressing about ED recently, maybe this was my body’s way of letting it out to start breaking down the walls I’ve built. It’s natural for my body to behave the way it did. Jesus designed me specifically that way. It’s ok as long as I don’t wallow in that dark hole. This isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful.”

– unknown

God can bring beauty out of ashes. – Isaiah 61:3

release

“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.” – Brigitte Nicole

{release :// to free from confinement, bondage, obligation, pain, etc.; let go ; to free from anything that restrains, fastens, etc.}

There I sat, indian style on the lush green grass. My black yoga pants with a brush swipe of white paint on the knee and royal blue oversized T-shirt. “Shriners hospital for children,” printed in the top left corner. Hair thrown up wildly in a sloppy ponytail. The humidity seemed suffocating which lead to feeling gross and sticky. It’s the first day of fall but there were no signs of crisp wind or chunky sweaters anytime soon. That’s the south for you though. Airplanes roaring by like thunderous storm clouds and cicadas creating that distinguished sound. The day’s makeup nearly smeared completely off. I am an utter mess.

There was this clear pictured painted in my head. Matching colored balloons, each holding pieces of various letters inside. Atop the mountain overlooking the magnificent view right as the sun setting. With my best friend capturing the moments as I released the helium filled latex. It would be perfect. Full of symbolism and faith. A joyous moment filling me with pride.

Except this is nothing how it went. Grass smooshed between my toes, I took my mismatched balloons and plopped down in the side yard. I was angry and disappointed. Plans had fallen through and isolation was settling in. The image sculpted in my head was breaking down piece by piece. Part of me didn’t want to release anything anymore. I didn’t care about moving forward in recovery. Subconsciously, I was clinging to the discomfort and despondency created by my father, sister, ED and the monster. Emotional mind fogging up the view of wise mind. Tears began to fall. First gently then more aggressively.

The sun was ready to turn in for the night and I was still gripping tightly to the white strings. Salty water droplets streaming steadily down my freckley cheeks. Clicking open the Pandora app, I choose Hillsong United in hopes my stubborn monster will shut up. Attempting to clear my mind the best I could and grow present in the moment, my heart is filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus relit the fire inside my soul but I could feel the enemy seeking to suffocate the red orange flames. The world seemed to be spinning slowly, like a snail searching for food, yet the worship songs were adjusting momentarily. As the tears continued to roll, I allowed my heart to open up fully to embrace the complete rawness and brokenness. The moment my Heavenly Father was anxiously waiting for.

Staring intensely at the mismatched balloons, subconsciously I think, “this shouldn’t be this hard.” Thirty seven minutes had passed and as I was on the verge of giving up, “I am not alone” by Kari Jobe blares out of the iphone. The angelic words capture my breath.

When I walk through deep waters

I know that You will be with me

When I’m standing in the fire

I will not be overcome

Through the valley of the shadow

I will not fear

I am not alone

I am not alone

You will go before me

You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow

I see Your light is breaking through

The dark of night will not overtake me

I am pressing into You

Lord, You fight my every battle

And I will not fear

You amaze me

Redeem me

You call me as Your own

You’re my strength

You’re my defender

You’re my refuge in the storm

Through these trials

You’ve always been faithful

You bring healing to my soul

Keyboard notes filling the atmosphere. It’s as if the song was written specifically for me in this treacherous battle. My mind closes off the rest of the chaotic, monster filled world. It’s only me and Jesus. All that I could ever need in this moment. Swirls of orange and pink braid into strips of grey. “I am not alone” resonating deep within my soul. Gazing up at the jet black, sunshine yellow and violet purple balloons, with glossed over eyes, timing seemed just right. Taking in a deep breath, I slowly unwrap my crinkled hands.

As if staying in path of my year of transition, a wave of relief washes over me. Ten balloons filled with shreds of paper drift off into eternity. Dusk has fallen over the country pumpkin town and I’m embraced with a sweet blanket of peace. The sliver of the moon greeting me with its warm white glow while the sun states its final goodbyes for the day.

This is the ultimate transition. I feel that Jesus has been brewing this one for awhile now. Probably the hardest yet but also the most elegant and charming. Moments like this shift my perspective. My Heavenly Father doesn’t care how many Instagram likes I get or how perfect a Facebook post is. Instead, He wants my authentic, pure, broken self. While I see imperfections and unworthiness at times, my Father looks at me with the brightest smile and claims that I am chosen and holy. He welcomes my brokenness with open arms. He calls me beautiful one and vastly loved.

They say, “the best view comes after the hardest climb” and this was my climb.

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.

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