December 31st, 2017; January 1st, 2018.
A reflection and a hope.
Such a great amount of healing has come into my life the past couple months. Now that I’ve tasted this newfound freedom, I can’t help but wish it for everyone else, as well. In greater and greater amounts. BUT FRIENDS, LET ME TELL YOU, it has been a process to get here, and it will continue to be. There is no “one and done”; we are constantly learning, growing, and changing; and I’m realizing I have developed such a great appreciation for the ability to simply be honest throughout the process.
Honest with our journey: Where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we want to end up. Honest with everything these different steps and stages will entail, whether that be physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
I’m a sexual trauma survivor. I self harmed for years. I have contemplated suicide. I can be incredibly controlling. I’m not sure I ever want to get married. I take medication for my depression and anxiety. I have struggled tooth and nail making sense of “purity” and how that concept fits into my life. I have questioned and doubted and refined my faith time and time again. There are at least a hundred other things I could list here, but hear my point more than any of these alone-
None of these are any longer my identity. My identity is a child of God, and I have come to truly understand and embrace that within these past couple months. It’s a BEAUTIFUL thing. However, all of these things ARE factors and pieces of me and my story. They affect how I think and process and what I relate to. And they’re not things to hide.
We have been far too quick to silence and judge both ourselves and those around us. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small; but the fact is, we are all on a continual journey that deserves to be heard and respected. The emotions, complications, and hard things in our lives – they’re no less valuable and important to live out than the joys, blessings, and wonderful things. All of these together are what make us human: relatable and real. And it is from this vulnerability that so many incredible opportunities can come for discussion, ministry, and long-lasting, powerful relationships.
Life isn’t easy, but it is GOOD; and it’s 1,000x better when we are acting and relating from a place of genuine love and God’s best intentions for one another. Supporting and encouraging one another, and reciprocally being supported and encouraged ourselves. It is within this mutual exchange we THRIVE, and it can only come in its purest form as we truly understand our identities as children of God above all else.
“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it. Still, You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”
This song is a beautiful one. God continually pursues us, and when the truth and power of who we are in Christ is understood, the hold of anything else over us begins to fade away. Let this become life for each one of us. Let us no longer allow anything to hold us back from accessing every bit of the sweetness offered to us in the arms and community of Christ.
Basically, just think how beautiful this year could be if we all resolved to:
- Be honest and open with our journeys.
- Allow love and understanding to be our driving forces.
- Give as much as we receive, as we actively participate in one anothers’ lives.
It’s an incredible thought.
So, here’s to a new beginning. A marker in the journey.
May we enter 2018 in pursuit of greater honesty, connection, wholeness, and joy. Bound together tightly as a community. In grace and peace, with all life’s bumps and ups and downs and all arounds. May we genuinely reflect the Lord to one another, and seek His face together.
Welcome to 2018.