I have been aware of my plummeting self esteem for quite sometime but have tried to ignore it in hopes that one day my confidence would just miraculously reappear when my kids got older or I was more “accomplished.” The other day the Lord took me to the beach. Not the usual beach I go to but a busier beach. I started going to my usual spot despite the gentle nudge to try the other. I eventually threw off my stubbornness, made a u-turn, and headed in the direction of the crowded beach. I made my way toward the boardwalk filled with nerves and anxiety. I took my shoes off in hopes that the warm cement that made the ground beneath me would distract from my feelings. I went to stand up after removing my shoe. I couldn’t. For the life of me I could not hold my head high or stand straight up tall. I could not look at anyone and could feel myself deliberately avoiding everyone. “You want to be seen, but you do not want to be known.” I have touched briefly in past blog posts about my struggle with acknowledgement and pride. You can see someone without actually knowing them. Instagram is a great example. I follow a lot of “lifestyle bloggers” none of whom I know but you best believe I am looking at homegirl’s acai bowl she ate for breakfast. I will never know any of them though (if I did you best believe I’d be eating acai bowls every morning.) I pass dozens of people everyday and can maybe recall two of their faces but I will never know them. The people I know, my people, the people my heart leaps for. I run up and hug them with open arms because I know them. I know their heart and they know mine. I could not stand up straight that day because I did not know who I was anymore. Every contortion I made was a valiant attempt at confidence but it fell short and left me feeling like some kind of baby pterodactyl…that was pushed out of a nest…onto some sand…then run over by a golf cart.
My relationship with Jesus has fluctuated from nonexistent, agnostic, borderline atheist,then to Jesus might have been a real dude but he was obviously dealing with psychotic episodes,then to okay… I believe what you did for me, I felt your presence, you brought me out of things I thought would never change, and most recently I know who you are and I believe what you say about me so I’m all in. It has been a process. I knew the Father but I didn’t know him as Dad and I certainly did not know what it meant to be His Daughter.
My relationship with my own dad is a redemption story in itself, but I think about the way my daughter talks about my husband. It does not matter what she goes through she knows her daddy has her back and she is proud of who he is. When he was working minimum wage at a garden center she told people all about the cool bugs and plants he would bring home and would always preface it with “My daddy must love me a lot.” She walked up to a little boy who was bullying her and said,”Just so you know, my daddy can eat 6 cheeseburgers ALL BY HIMSELF” (That is a less violent version of “my dad can beat up your dad” in case you were wondering.) She proudly tells people our last name, our identity, because she knows who she is.
Somewhere between middle school and 26 I lost my identity, not because my credit card information was stolen but because I had forgotten who I was. I could not decipher what traits were “good” and what traits were “bad.” Who I thought Jesus wanted me to be and Who I was just didn’t seem to be lining up. I knew he loved me and I was starting to get that but the shame I had carried for years of being a slut, never feeling good enough, hurting others, talking behind people’s backs, never feeling like a good mother, not being a good wife, feeling abandoned, fearing being left again, not having a degree, not feeling fulfilled even though I love staying home with my children, never knowing my true worth…it was finally too much. I needed healing. I needed to know who I actually was and it turns out the views I had of my past, present, and future look very different to Jesus. That is why nothing was lining up. I started going straight to the source about Who I am. Turns out my debt was paid for. All of those “good traits” and “bad traits” are just all wrapped in a little package that is ME. Everything I used to do or didn’t do, he took my place and He still loves me unconditionally. Everything I will do or not do, guess what. HE IS STILL GOING TO LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY. I can’t mess it up because grace has me covered. I currently wake up about 5 every morning for a coffee date with my main man Jesus. I love it, like I legit get excited for 5 o’clock prayer time. Y’all, I have two kids. Mornings are death….but Jesus is life for real. I ache when I think about the condemnation people feel when they think about God and the church because that is not the Jesus I know. If you have been hurt and you feel beyond repair please know I am locking arms with you because I have been there. And I know if he can redeem me: an awful, manipulative, lost, broken, girl with daddy issues I know he has you covered. After all, he put his life on it.
If you are interested in learning more about who you were created to be along with building relationships with strong, like minded women, Life Group sign ups are happening now! Wednesdays at 10:30 am Children always welcome! This semester we will dive into The Dream Of You by Jo Saxton
Hope to see you there!